Toshiba Thrive tablet goes on preorder

The device boasts a 10.1-inch screen and runs Android 3.1. It has one USB 2.0 port, an HDMI port, and an SD card slot.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
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The Toshiba Thrive starts at $429.99.
The Toshiba Thrive starts at $429.99. Erica Ogg/CNET

Another tablet is available for preorder.

Toshiba's 10.1-inch, Wi-Fi-only Thrive tablet can now be preordered on Amazon.com, Office Depot's Web site, and Toshiba's own online retail page. The device, which starts at $429.99 for the 8GB option and goes up to $479.99 and $579.99 for the 16GB and 32GB models, respectively, runs Android 3.1. It includes front- and rear-facing cameras, as well as a host of connectivity options, including USB 2.0, Mini USB, and HDMI.

Although the Thrive might seem like a run-of-the-mill tablet, it boasts some features not yet typically found in slates, including Log Me In software, allowing people to connect to their home PCs from the device. Toshiba has also added a file manager that lets people look through an attached USB drive or an SD card inserted into the tablet. And if the color of the device's back plate doesn't appeal to its owners, they can detach it and add another. Back plates will cost $20.

Toshiba's tablet is launching at a time when several competitors are vying for attention in the marketplace. Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1, which also boasts Android and a large, 10.1-inch display, is scheduled to hit store shelves later this week. Hewlett-Packard announced last week that it will be offering up its TouchPad tablet on July 1. Those devices, along with the many others slated to launch in the coming months, will make for a crowded tablet arena going into the latter part of 2011.

Those tablets, in addition to the market-leading Apple iPad, will expand the market substantially this year. In 2010, according to research firm IDC, 17 million tablets were shipped worldwide. The organization said earlier this year that it expects 44.6 million tablets to hit store shelves in 2011 and 70.8 million tablets to launch next year.

Another research firm, Gartner, said that Apple will own 69 percent of the tablet market this year and that Android tablets will muster just 20 percent market share.

Toshiba has yet to reveal an exact launch date for the Thrive tablet. The company did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment on when the device will launch.

Further reading: The Toshiba tablet for laptop lovers