Toshiba Thrives in the Tablet Market

We had an opportunity to meet with representatives from Toshiba this afternoon to talk about their upcoming consumer hardware, but while the majority of it is still under NDA (including some very exciting notebook refreshes), one of the biggest announcements is ready to go today: the Toshiba Thrive, their entry into the tablet market.

The Thrive may seem like an also-ran alongside many of the other Tegra 2-based tablets on the market, but Toshiba has some very special sauce they’ve liberally applied to this release. The Thrive is a 10.1” tablet sporting what appears to be an IPS panel (it passes the viewing angle tests) and Android 3.1, and while it’s a little on the chunky side, there are some very good reasons for that. Toshiba’s reps stressed that they were gunning more for a better bridge from their notebook business and wanted a tablet that was as user-friendly as possible.

For starters, they’re keeping Android largely stock with three notable inclusions. The first is Toshiba’s own file manager, which I found to be very easy to use and understand. If you’re at all used to Windows 7’s file manager, Toshiba’s will be an easy transition. Another inclusion is a single application for handling media playback: photos, videos, and music are all available here, making it easy to get to your media. Finally, coupled with their playback software is their “Resolution Plus” software which dynamically upscales video to high definition, tweaking color balance and contrast. Purists may or may not like it, but I found it did improve the viewing experience.

The rest of the Thrive is marked by a desire to make it as easy to use and personalize as possible. The back panel has a comfortable, slightly-rubberized texture to it, but it’s also removable and swappable with differently-colored aftermarket panels. What’s under it is a user-removable and replaceable battery. Along the sides of the tablet are volume and power controls along with a lock switch that prevents the display from rotating. There’s a combination microphone/headphone jack, but Toshiba made it a point to go full-sized wherever possible with ports to ease the transition to tablet computing, and as a result they include a full-sized SD card reader, USB 2.0 port, and HDMI port. There’s also a mini-USB port. Finally, the face of the Thrive features a 2-megapixel camera while the back has a 5-megapixel camera.

Toshiba expects retail availability in the next few weeks. MSRP is $429 for the 8GB version, $479 for the 16GB model, and $579 for the 32GB. That's a lot less than the Motorola Xoom and similar to the Acer Iconia A500; while all offer the same level of performance (thanks to Tegra 2 hardware), differences in the industrial design and pricing will play a major role. Toshiba will also be offering docking stations, including one with USB and HDMI connectivity for external keyboard, mouse, and display use.

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  • wwickedd - Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - link

    1.6 lbs. Reply
  • jramskov - Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - link

    Not being american, Lbs makes no sense to me, but it seems 1.6 pounds = 0.725747792 kilograms

    Sounds a bit heavy to me :(
    Reply
  • YoPete525 - Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - link

    It's only subjective, but according to some sources its ergonomics cause the device to feel lighter in comparison to more dense tablets, like the Xoom.

    Engadget: "The Thrive feels light in the hand -- lighter than you'd expect, given both its weight as well as its chunky profile. We'd even go so far as to say that it feels airier than the Xoom, which, at 1.5 pounds, is noticeably denser."

    I've seen the screen's responsiveness referenced in multiple sources (mentioning how "sensitive" it is), Anandtech care to comment?
    Reply
  • jramskov - Thursday, June 9, 2011 - link

    Well, I have only played around with an iPad 1 and iPad 2 and I think both are too heavy for holding in 1 hand for more than a short while. Reply
  • JaredLeavitt - Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - link

    1.6 lbs Reply
  • jrs77 - Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - link

    With all the current tablets form Toshiba, Samsung, Acer and Asus we finally see some real competitors to the iPad. All we need now to beat Apple is a decent OS and not that Android-crap.

    I don't like google. I'd rather go with Apple.
    Reply
  • wwickedd - Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - link

    To those planning on getting one of these bad boys, be sure to check out our brand new forum dedicated to the Toshiba Thrive @ http://www.thriveforums.org

    See you there! :)
    Reply
  • linlijunpp - Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - link

    The website whol esale for many kinds of fas hion sho es,
    like the nik e,jord an,pr ada, the jea ns,shirts,bags,hat and decorations.
    All the products are free ship ping, and the the price is com petitive,
    and also can accept the pay pal pay ment.
    ,after the paym ent, can ship within short time.
    Reply
  • EKTELESTES - Thursday, June 9, 2011 - link

    Finally...replaceable battery, usb slots, hdmi slot.. !!

    LOVE IT !! :)
    Reply
  • Wamiduku - Thursday, June 9, 2011 - link

    Yet another tablet priced almost as an iPad. Why are the devices so much more expensive than netbooks, when there more or less touchscreen netbooks without keyboards?

    And when will Samsung/Toshiba/Acer/Sony and all other me-too-brands discover that their brand names are not as strong as Apple's, so they can't charge Apple style premium prices?
    Reply

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