Let's all give a round of applause to Toshiba, who instead of giving us a prolonged tease for its Android Honeycomb tablet (ala Motorola), had the courtesy to just lay it all out there for us. CES may be in Vegas, but that doesn't mean every great product needs to go all "Showgirls" on us.
Here's the deal. Toshiba has a 10.1-inch Android Honeycomb tablet due out the first half of 2011 (price TBD, but in the iPad ballpark). The system uses an Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor, capable of 1080p video decoding, smooth Adobe Flash support, and full-resolution video output via the integrated HDMI port.
Like the iPad, the screen is glass-covered, capacitive, LED-backlit, and supports multitouch and accelerometer screen reorientation. Unlike Apple, Toshiba set the screen resolution to a 1,280x800-pixel resolution, fixed at a 16:10 aspect ratio. Users are also treated to a haptic feedback touch-screen keyboard and dual cameras--one facing you with a 2-megapixel resolution, and the other facing out with a 5-megapixel sensor.
Around the edges you get ports for HDMI, full-size USB, Mini-USB sync, and SD card expansion. Onboard storage is yet to be announced, but other specs, such as 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, stereo speakers, GPS, and digital compass, all come standard.
Another key feature worth noting: a removable battery. Granted, with all that horsepower, you'll probably need more than one battery to match the iPad's 10 hours of runtime--but it's still a feature not offered by any competitors.
Another little trick up Toshiba's sleeve is Resolution+ video enhancement, which upscales standard-def video and gives it HD-like color and contrast. Toshiba also throws in adaptive display technology, which acts as an ambient light sensor on steroids, adjusting both lighting and contrast in response to your environment.
Some obvious strikes against the tablet right out of the gate include a slightly heft weight of 1.7 pounds, a seeming lack of a camera flash, and a camera placement that is quickly covered by your hands when held in landscape orientation. Official Google App Market support is also unclear, but then, the role of Google's Market under Honeycomb is murky to begin with. Regardless, Toshiba will be providing its own app market, along with a BookPlace storefront for e-books.
Overall, I was impressed by the hardware quality on the engineering sample we handled. It felt more polished than the Samsung Galaxy Tab, and more rugged than the Apple iPad (though bulkier than both examples). The tablet OS wasn't available for the demo, but maybe that will change by the time it hits show floor at CES 2011.
In the meantime, here's our full hands-on photo gallery.