When it comes to Android tablets, Toshiba hasn't really been the "brand to buy," so to speak. It's not that they put out bad hardware, because that's simply not the case - the Excite 7.7 is one of the best Android tablets I've ever used. It's that they don't promote - or more importantly, support - devices after release.
Case in point: today, the company has announced a new member to its Excite line, the 10" Excite SE.
Last month, owners of Toshiba's 10-inch Thrive tablet were dealt a blow when the manufacturer announced that the tablet's official update to Ice Cream Sandwich would be delayed to "early Fall." This news came several months after Toshiba had initially indicated an "end of Spring" release target for the update.
After all of that, it appears that the Thrive is finally receiving its update to Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich today – for real this time.
Just over a week ago, Aaron and I (Cameron) each received a review unit of the Excite 7.7. While I will largely be taking the reigns on this one, Aaron wanted to throw in his thoughts as well. Thus, while the bulk of the review was written exclusively by me, you'll also see his (clearly labeled) thoughts at the bottom of every section.
Cameron: I have to be honest: after using the Excite 10 and coming away feeling "meh" about it, I didn't have high hopes for its little brother.
As the person that reviewed both of these devices, the Thrive and Thrive 7, here at Android Police, I felt something of a responsibility to post on this matter. On its community forums, a Toshiba rep issued the following statement on the status of the Ice Cream Sandwich update for its Thrive tablets:
We are working hard to bring Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich to our Thrive tablets. While we originally estimated it would be ready this spring, we now estimate the update will be delivered to all Thrive 10” and 7” tablets by early fall.
The Tegra 3 tablet battle is in full swing now, with four full-featured tablets on the market at the current moment (ASUS Transformer Prime, Transformer Pad 300, and Acer Iconia Tab A510 being the other three). Today, we're going to take a look at the newest one of the bunch: the Toshiba Excite 10. This is the first device to come out of Toshiba's newly announced Excite line, with 7.7" and 13.3" models coming in early June.
Back in early April, Toshiba announced a trio of new tablets set to launch under the Excite line: 7.7, 10.1, and 13.3-inch models. The first of the bunch, the 10.1-inch Excite 10, is now available in its 16GB and 32GB variants, both on Amazon and directly from Toshiba for $450 and $520 respectively. If that's just not enough storage for all you digital hoarders, though, you can pre-order the 64GB version for $650.
Go big or go home. That must be Toshiba's new mantra where tablets are concerned, as it just announced a trio of Ice Cream Sandwich-packin', Tegra 3-powered additions to its Excite tablet line: a 7.7-inch, 10.1-inch, and 13.3-inch model.
The 7.7-inch model, appropriately named the Excite 7.7, sports a 1280x800 AMOLED display, the quad-core Tegra 3 processor, 1GB of RAM, and Ice Cream Sandwich. At just 0.3-inches thick and 13.4 ounces, the Excite 7.7 is a powerhouse in a tiny package.
So you want a decent Android tablet (not one of those cheap knock-offs), but you don't want to break the bank, and an affordable seven-incher isn't quite what you had in mind. How about a 10.1-inch Toshiba Thrive for $250? Sure, it's not a Tegra 3-packing Transformer Prime, but at less than half the price of the TFP, it's still hard to beat. In fact, this is one of the best prices that we've ever seen on a premium Tegra 2 tablet.
We got a look at the Excite 10 LE's at CES when it was called the Excite X10. Now, Toshiba is bringing the thinnest and lightest tablet* to the US market. The Excite 10 LE is identical to the Excite X10 aside from a couple of letters being rearranged. The slate still packs a "multicore" OMAP processor under a 10.1" LED screen. Unfortunately, the device will be launching with Honeycomb (3.2), but is "upgradeable to Android 4.0."
Here's the spec sheet:
Android 3.2, Honeycomb (upgradeable to Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich)
10.1-inch diagonal LED Backlit widescreen Corning Gorilla Glass display with IPS technology and 10-finger multi-touch support
We trotted on over to the NVIDIA boot at MWC in Barcelona this morning, and happened upon the newest tablet offering from Toshiba, the AT270. Officially unnamed at this point, the device is packing a 7.7" SAMOLED 1280x800 display, a Tegra 3 processor, Wi-Fi, and 32GB of storage (it's unknown if this is the standard amount). It's also running Android 4.0.
Playing with the device was a fairly pleasant experience - though an attendee using the AT270 right before us managed to lock up the device on the unlock screen.