I've been thinking about writing this editorial for some time now. And today, with the announcement of Panasonic's upcoming Toughbook Android tablet, I finally decided to go for it. The point this article is trying to make may not be abundantly clear in the title, so let me see if I can get it across as a question: Is it just me, or are there a suspiciously large number of companies in or planning to enter the Android tablet market?
Update 6/14/11: All 3 Thrive variations are now on Amazon as well, for those who prefer themselves some tax-free shopping.
Ever since we saw Toshiba's then-unnamed tablet at CES in January, we've carefully put our ears to the ground to learn all we can about this surprisingly capable device. Today's Thrive news, then, has us excited - pre-orders have started, and all iterations of the tablet (8/16/32GB) will be shipping on the same yet-to-be-announced date next month (Toshiba's site now says "Mid-July").
While we've had a chance to put Samsung's upcoming flagship Tab 10.1 tablet through 3 weeks of rigorous testing, there was one thing left that we could not touch - the custom TouchWiz UX tablet interface, also known as TouchWiz 4.0. If you remember, Samsung announced last week that the first tablet units would be running pure Honeycomb, just like our review unit, with the TouchWiz upgrade arriving over-the-air sometime after.
Earlier last week, we got some leaked information about the upcoming tablet from Toshiba called Thrive. Today I had the opportunity to meet Philip Osako, Director of Product Marketing at Toshiba, who gave us a demonstration and a little more background on the development of the Thrive. Starting June 13th you will be able to pre-order the tablet at all major retailors starting at $429 for the 8GB version, $479 for the 16GB, and $579 for the glorious 32GB version.
Remember Project Kal-El, NVIDIA's first mobile quad-core CPU with 12 GPU cores that was announced back in February of this year? The one that was supposed to be 5 times faster than the current generation Tegra 2, which you can find in such devices as the Motorola Atrix 4G, the LG G2x/2X, the XOOM, the ASUS Transformer, the Galaxy Tab 10.1, and pretty much all other modern tablets.
As the Kal-El chip progresses towards completion in the 2nd half of 2011, NVIDIA put together a 4-minute video demo featuring a Kal-El powered tablet running Honeycomb and a little game optimized to use 4 cores, called Glowball.
Remember the stunning MyWater live wallpaper that was ripped out of the Transformer a month ago, complete with ice cubes floating in water that shifts around when you tilt your tablet? Here it is:
This was the only live wallpaper I've ever considered running on my XOOM - it's original, well done, and constantly draws intrigued stares from the people around.
Just so you're not worried that the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet with its single proprietary 30-pin connector (according to Wikipedia, it's not the standard PDMI port) is going to be crippled in the HDMI, USB, storage, and keyboard department, the company unveiled a whole host of [rather expensive] accessories that should satisfy even the most needy ones among you.
Since over 5000 Google I/O attendees already received and inspected every inch of their 10.1s, you may have already seen a flood of complaints regarding the absence of any kind of standard connectors, be it USB, HDMI, or SD.
Rumors of Amazon's first foray into the tablet world seem to be solidifying. Today, BGR received a tip adding credibility to the potential "family" of devices that the online giant is supposedly prepping. While these devices remain squarely in the realm of rumor, the few details that can be gleaned are pretty juicy.
The tip gave some info on two different tablets: "Coyote," an entry level tablet that will be running NVDIA's dual-core Tegra 2 processor, and "Hollywood" - a higher end device powered by NVIDIA's forthcoming quad-core Kal-El SoC.
Well, we all saw it coming. After giving away phones the past two years (HTC Magic G2 in 2009, HTC Nexus One/Motorola Droid and HTC EVO 4G in 2010), Google I/O attendees will be leaving with shiny new Limited-Edition Samsung Galaxy Tabs. Here's our little (big) guy:
The Tab 10.1 will be available to the masses on June 8, but I/O attendees will be receiving it first. The Tab 10.1 of course will be running Honeycomb (and will be getting the upgrade to 3.1 in a few weeks), have a 10.1'' screen, 1Ghz dual-core processor, and sport 32GB of onboard memory.
The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer is quickly becoming the darling of the Android tablet world. With all the specs (dual-core, Android 3.0, keyboard dock - the list goes on) and a price tag at $400, this may just be the one Honeycomb tablet to rule them all. Alas, when a great product and a great price meet, there is great demand - and when there is great demand and a less-than-great supply level, there is a high level of dejected customers leaving their electronics retailers with empty hands.