Toshiba's Thrive tablet is what users want, pre-orders start June 13

Toshiba's Thrive tablet is what users want, pre-orders start June 13

Summary: Toshiba listened to what tablet users want and delivered the Thrive. Is this the Honeycomb tablet to compete with the iPad?

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Toshiba is joining the increasingly crowded tablet party in the U.S. with the Thrive, a 10.1" slate that doesn't try to replicate but better the Apple iPad by incorporating tablet users' needs in its design. But will consumers agree? I got a chance to see the Thrive in action yesterday so here are my takeaways from my meeting with Toshiba.

The tablet has a multi-touch, a high resolution widescreen display (1280x800 pixels), runs on the dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 CUPand and is one of the first slates to ship with Android Honeycomb (3.1). It has two stereo speakers, a front and rear cameras (2 and 5 mega pixels respectively), GPS, as well as built-in Gyroscope and Accelerometer so it is ready for mobile games that take advantage of these features. There is no 3G option for the Thrive as it only comes with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, but this could also be a plus for those who do not wish to purchase a data plan for the device.

One benefit of coming late to the game is that Toshiba is able to learn from its competitors and respond to users' concerns. One of them is the desire for an additional battery for the occasions when there is no outlet available to charge an internal one, like on particularly long travel day. That's why Toshiba opted for a removable battery that is accessible under the removable back cover.

Speaking of the back cover, it is black and has a textured, rubbery feel that is slip and scratch resistant out-of-box, so the user doesn't have to budget for a case to make the device usable (but some sort of screen protector would probably be wise). You can also opt for a different color back cover for $19.95.

Drawing on its laptop computing heritage, the Thrive also includes a few useful slots and ports that users will appreciate: one full-sized USB 2.0, one mini-USB, a HDMI connector and a SD-card reader. From what I understand, the USB port will recognize most USB devices except for a printer (the tablet does work with wireless printers according to Toshiba). Hopefully someone will create an app to fix this oversight. The HDMI connector will plug right into your HDTV so again, no need to hunt for a workaround here.

The downside to including so many ports and connectors is that the Thrive is almost twice as thick as the iPad at 0.61". That said, I must say its thickness makes it look heavier than it felt in my hands. The UI is also very basic (think: Windows Classic) so its lack of style may be a dealbreaker for some. I personally don't mind as that leaves more computing power to the tablet itself; the File Manager that displays your files according to the media they exist on (thumb drive or SD card) is a handy if not a particularly pretty interface.

An 8 GB Thrive will retail for $429.99, the 16 GB for $479.99 and the 32 GB for $579.99, which has a slight edge over the Wi-Fi only iPads (a 16 GB model costs $499, for example). With the availability of the SD card slot, you could even expand the capacity of the Thrive without having to pay for the 32 GB model.

For those who are looking for a mobile computer with the latest Android OS that requires no extra peripherals or accessories, then the Thrive could be just what consumers have been waiting for. By making the Thrive everything the iPad is not, Toshiba is actually in a better position to compete than if it tried to create a clone.

What do you think? Does the Thrive have the technologies you're looking for in your tablet?

Topics: Tablets, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Toshiba

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34 comments
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  • RE: Toshiba's Thrive tablet is what users want, pre-orders start June 13

    It's about $80 too pricey for the 16 GB edition, otherwise this could be the one to purchase.
    DAMANgoldberg
    • RE: Toshiba's Thrive tablet is what users want, pre-orders start June 13

      I bought myself one of this tablets. A 16 Gb one. I am very satisfied with it. It costed me around 90 bucks. http://www.handyortungkostenlos.eu/Kostenlos-Handy-orten/ | http://www.handyortungkostenlos.eu/Prepaid-Handy-Orten/
      Ibiossa
    • RE: Toshiba's Thrive tablet is what users want, pre-orders start June 13

      I ordered one piece for the firm I work for. They are very content with it. Its handy and good lucking too. You must try it. http://www.handyortungkostenlos.eu/Handyortung-gratis
      Ibiossa
  • RE: Toshiba's Thrive tablet is what users want, pre-orders start June 13

    This is the tablet I've been waiting for! I don't need the HDMI port but the USB one and SD Card slot is what I was looking for.
    Also removable battery is a huge plus as I really don't mind bringing an extra one while travelling.
    I was going to go for the Aconia A500 but now, I'll wait for this one instead.

    And to finish, I'd like to say to the author of the post that I back him on this: "By making the Thrive everything the iPad is not, Toshiba is actually in a better position to compete than if it tried to create a clone."
    EsmiMyst
    • What did they supposedly do better

      @EsmiMyst than the A500? And Toshiba specs don't show the 10 point multi touch gorilla glass display the Acer has
      archangel9999
      • RE: Toshiba's Thrive tablet is what users want, pre-orders start June 13

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  • RE: Toshiba's Thrive tablet is what users want, pre-orders start June 13

    H hum. Another tablet that does what others already do......yawn
    Drjp80
  • Finally, the iPad Killer

    I'm confused. The iPad has all sorts of third-party options like wireless keyboards, external batteries, docking stations, gizmos that turn it into a laptop, cloud-based extra storage and so on. All of these things are available from multiple vendors. Collectively this is referred to as the "walled garden" and "Apple controlling your every move."

    Meanwhile, Asus gets to release a tablet with their own proprietary docking station, call it the "Transformer," and have an Open System. Now comes Toshiba with a proprietary removable battery, and this too is a W00t.

    I see also that it's "ready for games that can use the accelerometer and gyroscope." That's sorta like how the XOOM was "ready for SD cards." Are there any games that do that? Does the Android API hide the peculiarities of Toshiba's gyroscope from the developer, or does the developer have to worry about whether he's talking to Toshiba's, or Motorola's, or Dell's? The reporters never seem to ask this stuff. Just like here they didn't ask what's coming down that HDMI pipe, as if the hardware connection was all we needed. Is it mirroring the screen, showing videos (at 720? 1080?)? Only the shadow knows.
    Robert Hahn
    • RE: Toshiba's Thrive tablet is what users want, pre-orders start June 13

      @Robert Hahn Because it uses the NVIDIA Tegra 2 platform, Thrive can output 1080p video through the HDMI port. On the device itself it can do 720p (screen has 1280x800 resolution).
      jleavitt18
    • RE: Toshiba's Thrive tablet is what users want, pre-orders start June 13

      @Robert Hahn

      The iPad doesn't have a removable battery and when the battery is done you either have to pony up for big bucks or head for a land fill.
      jnheroy@...
    • RE: Toshiba's Thrive tablet is what users want, pre-orders start June 13

      @Robert Hahn

      Yes... the Toshiba Thrive is on the right track. But so is the ASUS Transformer, which has comparable specs as the Thrive when including the optional keyboard dock. And the Transformer -- unlike the Xooms et al -- is selling out, requiring ramping up production, not cutting back.

      I've had my Transformer for about 3 weeks (with the dock) and love the extended battery life (18+ hours, above what is suggested). I also like the MyCloud, MyNet, MyLibrary free additional features bundled with the Transformer, that include free web storage, and a Remote Desktop option.

      And yes, for $550 (Transformer and dock), I get a 16GB complete solution, reasonable price, extras that include File Management, Flash support, an ever-growing App Marketplace and Honeycomb 3.1. Yes, this is the iPad killer: Transformer specs out-perform those of the iPad 2 (processor, cameras, ports, internal RAM, memory, etc.). What's not to like? And Transformer sales are proving it -- without expensive TV ads.
      lenrichardson@...
  • RE: Toshiba's Thrive tablet is what users want, pre-orders start June 13

    If these android devices could be sold under $150, there is some value in buying it.

    Nobody is going to spend $500 for some half-baked software with limited functionalities.
    owlnet
    • RE: Toshiba's Thrive tablet is what users want, pre-orders start June 13

      @owlnet

      If your theory was true no one but steve jobs would be buying the ipad. The truth is, it depends on marketing and if you market your product right..you sell alot of widgets.
      business owner
    • RE: Toshiba's Thrive tablet is what users want, pre-orders start June 13

      @owlnet Oh! Do you mean that half baked software that is the number one smartphone operating system in the world?
      Joefloater
  • RE: Toshiba's Thrive tablet is what users want, pre-orders start June 13

    I'm outside this community, but does this do the phone bit AND sync up with my pc's at home or even remotely, like can it be a dumb terminal. To be sure, they should make it capable of using ALL the apple add-ons, especially the third party stuff.
    pessimist
  • RE: Toshiba's Thrive tablet is what users want, pre-orders start June 13

    So the only advantage to this tab over the Acer A500 is the removable battery, and it costs more. Hmm, my Iconia Tab regularly gets 12 to 14 hours on a charge, so I don't see that as much of a plus.

    And yes, Robert ( above this) there are plenty of awesome games for Android that use ALL the sensors available.
    babyboomer57
    • RE: Toshiba's Thrive tablet is what users want, pre-orders start June 13

      @babyboomer57

      The difference is that when you battery begins to dog or even fail you can pop in a new one.
      jnheroy@...
    • RE: Toshiba's Thrive tablet is what users want, pre-orders start June 13

      @babyboomer57
      I have to agree with you, the A500 is a solid performer with Android 3.1 and was the first available with its specifications. The only other competition has been the ASUS Transformer, but it arrived too late for me. Acer may not make the best laptops, but they got it right with their tablets.
      sean.hanford@...
  • RE: Toshiba's Thrive tablet is what users want, pre-orders start June 13

    I haven't been a big fan of toshiba's but I like what they're doing here. Hopefully other manufacturers will see this and include SD readers and usb drives - none of that black box proprietary connector ports.
    awkward hug
  • RE: Toshiba's Thrive tablet is what users want, pre-orders start June 13

    Yes the Toshiba Thrive is what most of us want. Its the one I have waited for.The 3 prices are not bad for what you get.
    Best bang for the buck!
    N0ISV