Toshiba announced a trio of Android 4.0 tablets today, including one with a whopping 13.3-inch display. That's a lot of girth for a tablet.
Toshiba added to the crowded tablet market today with not one, but three new Android tablets. Taking a page from Samsung's tablet playbook (pun intended), Toshiba wants to cover all its bases and is offering tablets with 7.7-, 10.1-, and 13.3-inch displays. Who could possibly put a 13.3-inch tablet to use? Well, let's take a look.
The three tablets share many of their base specifications. Each of the new Excite-branded tablets runs a stock version of Android 4.0 powered by a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor under the hood, with 1GB of RAM. Other shared specs include a 5-megapixel main camera and 2-megapixel user-facing camera for video chatting. Each also includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and stereo speakers.
The 13.3-inch and 10.1-inch models both sport SD card slots for storage expansion, though the 7.7-inch model uses microSD instead. All three include microUSB ports for charging and data transfer, but the 13.3 and 10.1 also include microHDMI for sharing content with other HDMI-equipped products.
The respective displays are all protected by Corning's Gorilla Glass, though they use different illumination technologies. The 13.3-inch model, called the Excite 13, uses an AutoBrite backlit LED with 1600 x 900 pixels. It supports 10-finger touch input, trusting that developers will put the technology to good use within their applications. The Excite 10 also uses the AutoBrite backlit LED but steps the resolution down to 1280 x 800 pixels. Last, the Excite 7.7 has an AMOLED display. Toshiba didn't reveal the resolution of the 7.7-inch display but said that it is compatible with HD content.
So, why 13.3 inches? Toshiba attempts to explain: "One 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." In other words, the company wants to offer a range of devices, though it doesn't specifically say why it chose to shoot for the moon with such a large tablet.
I have neither seen nor held the new Toshiba Excite 13, but I remember using 12-inch tablets made by Motion Computing ten years ago. They were heavy as hell. I also remember liking the 12-inch tablets better than the 10-inch tablets from a workspace perspective, but the added footprint and girth made it much more taxing to carry around. Toshiba's new machines are much thinner and lighter than those Motion-made behemoths, but we're still talking about a device with a large size. The display alone measures 12 inches by 6.5 inches, not including the surrounding bezel.
The Excite 13 measures 0.4 inches thick and weighs 2.2 pounds. Toshiba says it will offer up to 13 hours of battery life. It will be available June 10 for $650 and $750, respectively, for 32GB and 64GB versions. The tablet offers more than 75 square inches of viewing area.
The Excite 10 measures 0.35 inches thick and weighs 1.32 pounds. It will be available starting May 6 for $450, $530, and $650, respectively, for 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB versions. It offers more than 43 square inches of viewing area.
Finally, the Excite 7.7 measures 0.3 inches and weighs in at a mere 13.4 ounces. It will go on sale starting June 10 for $500 and $580, respectively, for 16GB and 32GB versions. It offers more than 25 square inches of viewing area.
After owning, carrying, and using tablets every day for the last two years, I can say with confidence that I wouldn't carry around a 13-inch tablet. The increase in screen area comes at a cost of transportability.
Even so, I'm sure Toshiba will sell a boatload of them.
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