Toshiba Android 3.0 Tablet Touts Swappable Battery

Toshiba is offering users a peek at its forthcoming Android 3.0 tablet, a 10.1-inch-screen device coming this spring with dual cameras, Flash support and a swappable battery.

Toshiba launched a preview Website of its forthcoming Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet, a device geared to provide features Apple's iPad lacks such as dual cameras, a swappable battery, several data ports and Flash support.

eWEEK got a sneak peek of the tablet three weeks ago at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show, but few specs were made available about the device, whose name Toshiba has yet to announce.

However, much more information about this device has come to light vis-??í-vis this Toshiba teaser Website, which shows an attractive, portable computer with a slip-resistant, EasyGrip finish that will come in five colors.

Like the Motorola Xoom, launching from Verizon Wireless and Best Buy next month as the first Honeycomb tablet, the Toshiba tablet is powered by an Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor.

The device features 10.1-inch multitouch screen with a 1,280-by-800, 720p HD resolution and a 16:10 aspect ratio, "so neither your favorite movies nor your favorite Websites ever get cropped."

The screen also boasts an ambient light sensor to provide consistency between indoor and outdoor viewing.

Motorola chose to eschew physical buttons for the Xoom; Google said it designed Android 3.0 so that tablets wouldn't require physical buttons.

Toshiba offers the four physical home, menu, back and search buttons Android handset owners are accustomed to on their phones. So users comfortable with, say, the Motorola Droid X smartphone might be comfortable with the Toshiba input design.

The rear camera is 5 megapixels with autofocus, while the front is 2MP.

As for connectivity, the device provides WiFi access and features ports for USB, mini-USB, HDMI, and SD slot and headphone jack. There's also a docking port to let users connect to larger monitors.

IntoMobile has a hands-on with the Toshiba tablet here.

Again, the Toshiba tablet isn't coming until the spring, by which time the Xoom, RIM PlayBook, several Windows 7 tablets and even the iPad 2 are likely to be on the market.

The computer maker is clearly hoping feature differentiation such as the rubberized grip, multiple data ports and a swappable battery help it stand out in what is swiftly becoming a crowded market.

The tablet pie is large. IDC currently forecasts 44.6 million to ship in 2011, which may be conservative given the hype and trends.