Toshiba Excite Tablets Push Design Limits of Android Devices

The largest of Toshiba's super-thin Excite tablets features a 13.3-inch display. Like the 7.7- and 10.-inch models, it features a new Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core chip and Android Ice Cream Sandwich.

Toshiba has followed its March introduction of the world€™s thinnest tablet, the Excite 10 LE, with an introduction to possibly the world€™s largest consumer tablet, the Excite 13. Featuring a 13.3-inch scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass display, it€™s the Papa Bear in a new trio of Excite tablets, all running Google€™s Android 4, known as Ice Cream Sandwich.

The 13.3-, 10.1- and 7.7-inch tablets all run a brand-new Nvidia Tegra 3 processor with GeForce graphics that Toshiba calls the world€™s only 4-plus-1 mobile quad-core chip.

€œApps run faster, games are played at console-quality, HD video is smoother, plus it features a unique fifth battery-saver core to handle everyday apps, extending battery life,€ according to Toshiba.

All three Excite tablets also feature a 5-megapixel back camera, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, stereo speakers, and WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity.

The Excite 7.7, Toshiba€™s first with an active-matrix organic LED (AMOLED) display, weighs 13.4 ounces, measures 0.3-inches thin and features a microSD slot, a microUSB port and 1GB of memory. Intended for on-the-go use and gaming, it comes loaded with Google apps, including YouTube, Maps and Gmail, Toshiba Book Place, which offers access to 3-million-plus ebook titles, a Media Player with support for content sharing, a file manager and popular apps such as Zinio and Netflix.

The Excite 10 weighs 1.32 pounds, measures 0.35 inches deep (the newest iPad, with its 9.7-inch display, on the diagonal, is 0.37 inches) and has a reported battery life of up to 10 hours. Its display features a resolution of 1,280 by 800 and 10-finger multi-touch support.

And finally, the Excite 13, offering what Toshiba calls €œmore screen real estate than any other tablet on the market,€ weighs 2.2 pounds, is 0.4 inches thin and has a battery life up to 13 hours.

Designed for couch potatoes, kitchen-counter use and maybe keeping small people quiet in a backseat, its display has a 16:9 aspect ratio and resolution of 1,600 by 900, which is paired with a four-speaker sound system and what Toshiba says are €œexclusive sound enhancements€ made for Toshiba by SRS Labs. There€™s a gigabyte of memory on board along with Micro USB and Micro High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) ports and a full-size SD card slot.

The Excite 10 will arrive soonest, at the beginning of May, starting at $450 for a 16GB model, $530 for 16GB and $650 for a 64GB model.

The Excite 7.7 and 13 follow behind it, arriving in early June. The 7.7 will come in a 16GB model for $500 or a 32G for $580, and the Excite 13 in a 32GB model for $650 and a 64GB model for $750.

Since the launch of its chunky, rubber-rimmed Thrive tablets, Toshiba has learned that consumers want thin and light tablets. At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, it introduced the Excite 10 LE, a tablet roughly the depth of Motorola€™s super-thin Razr phones, which it managed to still equip with connectivity interfaces and ports.

Introducing the company€™s newest Excite models, Carl Pinto, a Toshiba America vice president of product development, said in a statement, €œOne size does not fit all, so we are carefully considering how and where people are using tablets and designing form factors to best suit various needs.€