Toshiba is phasing out its 7- and 10-inch Thrive tablets and replacing them with a new line three of lightweight tablet devices, called Excite, that run on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The line, announced Tuesday, which includes a 7.7 inch model, a 10-inch model and a 13-inch model, all are WiFi-only tablets with Gorilla Glass displays, five-megapixel rear camera and a two-megapixel front-facing camera. It appears that Toshiba was unable to make its tablet line, with PC-esque features, thrive enough in the market -- I guess when people were buying tablets, they didn't really care about the full sized USB and HDMI ports as much as the company had anticipated.
“One size does not fit all, so we are carefully considering how and where people are using tablets and designing form factors to best suit various needs,” said Carl Pinto, vice president of product development, Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., digital products division, in a statement. “With amazingly thin and light designs, our new Excite family of tablets continues to incorporate what consumers have come to love about Toshiba tablets: essential ports for a more complete tablet computing experience plus durability that ensures they can go the distance.”
The Excite series 7.7 also has an AMOLED display, a micro USB port and a micro SD card slot; and the Excite 10 has an LED-backlit display, micro USB and micro HDMI ports and a full-sized SD card slot.
And at a slight 2.2 pounds, the Excite 13-inch tablet has a diagonal LED-backlit display and looks more like the top of a laptop -- perhaps a great choice for people that love to watch movies or read a lot of documents.
The Excite 10 become available May 6, at $450 for a 16 GB version — a modest $50 price cut from the similarly specified new LTE iPad. The Exite 7.7 and Excite 13 tablets will become available on June 10th and the base models will be priced at $500 and $650, respectively -- just as the Thrive is phased out of the market.
Toshiba introduced the world to Thrive tablet just a few months ago, in July, but all of the full-sized feature, removable batter options, and $430 price tag didn't entice the consumers enough and eventually the prices started getting slashed until now when we hear about a whole tablet line overhaul.
Toshiba also claims that the Excite 13 has an average battery life of 13 hours -- and if proved correct, this might actually be a successfully selling point since the HD power-sucking new iPads have left consumers feeling a distinct dependance on their power cords.
While we have seen a lot of these specs before in tablet devices, consumers will have to wait to interact with the new line to see if there is anything extra special or exciting about these devices. And with Google's rumored $200 Nexus Tablet expected out this summer, Toshiba may be fighting a losing battle in the tablet wars where the only big sellers are lowest prices or best design -- and anything in the middle is lost in the shuffle.
We already know that Toshiba isn't fighting for the top two spots in the tablet market since those have firmly been given to the iPad line and the Kindle pantheon.
Apple announced last month that itsold more than 3 million new iPads during the product’s first weekend in stores.
That’s at least triple the number of iPad 2 tablets that analysts estimated the company sold during that product’s opening weekend last year. While breaking the previous releases' record is now an expected move, the fact that it is triple is astounding and shows that there is no slowing rate at which people are snapping up these amazing screens.
The new iPad, released in early March starts at $500 and included what most are admitting is the best display screen in the market, a better camera, a faster processor and support from AT&T and Verizon’s LTE network.
So perhaps Toshiba wants nothing more than some crumbs from the growing demand for tablet devices.