Why is Toshiba releasing a 13-inch tablet?

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

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  • A product designed for persons shopping at the Big and Tall men store.

    It's a product that fills a niche in the market place. How big a niche market remains to be seen.
  • Waiting on a 27" tablet myself.

    Who needs these small "toy" tablets? Give me something that is really useful! :-)
    • RE: Waiting on a 27" tablet myself.

      This would work nicely on the drafting table in my study.

      I believe that larger tablets will find some niches. Toshiba's 13.3-inch tablet is every much as portable as any laptop PC (unless apps requiring a conventional keyboard are needed).
      Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Google Tablet

    Yes, I would cope with up to 249 depending on the specs. Processor is one. No less than a Tegra 3. Memory expansion let to the customer by the way of a microSD. ICS 4 or even better, 5.. would be a kicker, Good resolution is a ASUS must, hence I count with it. Open BootLoader. Would not buy an encrypted crap.
  • Good for Windows 8

    When you are doing productivity type work, bigger is generally better. This goes for monitors, and tablets as well. Therefore if this tablet came with Windows 8, with a Transformer or convertible type configuration, it could do well. In fact, the size could be increased all the way up to 17+ inches. I hope most Windows 8 tablets have built in stands which prop up the devices at angles of 30, 45, or 60 degrees, and allow users to work on the devices at the same time.
    P. Douglas
  • To see if it sticks?

    At a $649 price tag, I don't see it having a chance, even as niche.
  • Niche tablets have GOT to be cash sinks.

    How many of these monstrosities need to be sold at $649 for the project to break even? Is that a number even Toshiba believes they'll sell?
  • Why is the tablet so big?

    Toshiba, why is that android tablet so big?

    Why, to make it easier to smash it on our heads when it fails, my dear.
  • Definitely a niche, but still...

    I want a big tablet for home use. The 7" and under group is better for portability, but the over-10" size would be ideal for me at home. Surfing the web on the couch while I watch TV, or (if "good" stylus support is included) drawing productivity, would be great on a 13" (or better yet 17") device. A laptop, even a convertable one, isn't all that comfortable for my lap in those situations.

    The price, however, makes me balk. The biggest problem with Android devices at this point is that once the device is sold, that's it for the revenue for that manufacturer. There is no incentive for OEMs to bring prices down to a reasonable level for the average person. If Google could somehow work out a way for the manufacturer, and in the case of cellular-capable devices the telcos, to recieve a portion of the Google Play revenue when a consumer buys an app on a device they sell, they could lower hardware prices and get more devices out into the wild. (Is it any real wonder that we have so much crapware installed on our phones that come with additional monthly fees if you choose to use them?)

    As an owner of both a Xyboard and a Razr, I'd like to see Motorola receive continued revenue from me. This is for wholly selfish reasons. Right now I'm running old OSes on both devices. I want Ice Cream Sandwich. Motorola has no reason to move more quickly on this because they've already received all the money from me they're going to get. Of course, this discounts that I'll likely move on from them if I don't get ICS before the contracts on them end, but for now, there is absolutely no reason for them to make an effort to cater to me.

    This is the big problem in the Android world right now. There is a disincentive to make end users happy for any reason other than hoping they'll buy another device from you later. That needs to change.

    My apologies on the soapbox rant.
  • If IPTV fails..

    I am a bit surprised. There will be IPTVs, bluetooth and WiFi TVs. People aim for less than 7mm tablets that weigh less than half pound with the option of wireless connection to keybords and larger screens. Toshiba may have invested in concept testing in its target markets and found positive results. However, portability is the theme, and not so many people consider multiple tablets.
  • If it were a Window 8 alternative, then yes. As an Android device, NO!

    I like Toshiba - a lot - but their devices are for enterprise use and executives in the workplace choose the "cool" factor over price/performance. They will choose the iPad.

    Enterprise workers "in the trenches" will choose Windows for getting work done. For them, a 13" tablet (with an available keyboard/mouse option) and running Windows 8 would be attractive - but only at the right price-point.
    M Wagner
    • Oh really?

      "executives in the workplace choose the "cool" factor over price/performance. They will choose the iPad."

      So, name one tablet in the same price range that outperforms the iPad. Just one. Yeah, thought so.

      "Enterprise workers "in the trenches" will choose Windows for getting work done."

      Dream on. Enterprise workers have had over a DECADE to chose Windows on tablets up to 17", and have NOT bought them.
  • Of Course 13 inches on tablets!

    As someone who like to program on fullsize desktop monitors and take notes at meetings on full size laptop keyboards, would I not want as large a tablet screen as possible to view content (if I had to use a tablet for something)?
    • Being that the use profile of tablets is TOTALLY different

      ... than that of desktops, one wonders what you think your point is.
  • Why is Toshiba releasing a 13-inch tablet?

    Perhaps a 12.1 is the better compromise. Good enough screen size with 0.5 kg (or more) weight reduction.
  • Misinformed author bias

    @ Sean Portnoy
    "... pester you for an iPad anyway, which for once could be the cheaper alternative."

    For once?!? It is well known that one of the main reasons that the Android tablet market can't get off the ground is that Apple has the supply chain so locked up that no one can manufacture comparable devices and sell them cheaper, even with Apple's 30% plus mark up.

    You live in a fandroid fantasy world. Please name a single Android tablet that has comparable specs that retails significantly less than the iPad.
    This ought to be amusing.
  • Ride-along

    They already have a production line set up to crank out 13.3" displays for their laptop line. This is a way to create a unique tablet without a lot of new tooling.
    Robert Hahn
  • 13 inch tablets

    13 inch tables maybe quite useful for recreational purposes. Stream netflix, watch films on a local server using pogoplug, scan photos, read email, read newspapers and periodicals, read books via kindle, etc. For many peoples the eyes have it.
  • Magazine sized tablet at last !!!!!!!!!!!!

    The new Toshiba 13 inch tablet\pad is perfect, it will allow you to display a digital magazine in "real size" People want to be able to handle something thats similar to a paper magazine, not some shrunken thing you need to put your glasses on to read.
    About time Toshiba, niche, more mainstream I think.