Why is Toshiba releasing a 13-inch tablet?

Summary:In a world of smaller tablets, can the Excite 13 find a niche?

The only successful alternative to the iPad thus far is the smaller Kindle Fire. Google appears set to be releasing a 7-inch tablet in the next few months, and Apple may be testing its own "mini-iPad." If less seems more when it comes to slates these days, then why has Toshiba just announced a comparatively massive 13.3-inch model?

If specs were everything, the Excite 13 sounds great: Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, 1GB of RAM, 1,600x900 screen, and Android 4.0. And at 2.2 pounds, it's not exactly like you'd be carrying around a brick with you. Then again, Toshiba isn't acting like you'd be lugging it around all the time. The company told Wired.com that it sees the Excite 13 as a "home tablet" (complete with built-in kickstand), which would be used for video viewing and the like.

While the Excite 13 can literally stand out from other devices due to its size, can its value proposition stand out, especially at a price point that starts at $649? For that amount, you can purchase a similar sized laptop that you would want to take with you in order to get work done. And if you want a family tablet, your kids are probably going to pester you for an iPad anyway, which for once could be the cheaper alternative. It might actually be useful in the enterprise space, but it doesn't seem like Toshiba is positioning it that way.

As happens so often, the Excite 13 may be a cool product that just can't find the right niche. But maybe I'm wrong. Do you think a 13.3-inch tablet will be a popular device? Would you have interest in buying one? Let us know in the Comments section below.

Topics: Laptops, Google, Hardware, Mobility, Tablets, Toshiba

About

Sean Portnoy started his tech writing career at ZDNet nearly a decade ago. He then spent several years as an editor at Computer Shopper magazine, most recently serving as online executive editor. He received a B.A. from Brown University and an M.A. from the University of Southern California.

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