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Toshiba Excite to launch one day ahead of new iPad announcement

Formerly known as the Excite X10, Toshiba's Excite 10 LE tablet will be available from "select" retailers March 6. That's one day before Apple's planned iPad event.

Sleek, sexy design notwithstanding, the Toshiba Excite 10 LE's price (and launching a day before Apple unveils its latest tablet plans) will be its biggest obstacle. Eric Franklin/CNET

Earlier this year at CES, Toshiba told me to expect a first-quarter release for what is now known as the Excite 10 LE tablet, and it looks like it's sticking to that.

On March 6, would-be buyers can purchase the 10.1-inch tablet from select U.S. retailers at prices of $530 for 16GB and $600 for the 32GB version.

Given yesterday's announcement of an Apple iPad event scheduled for March 7, it's difficult to look at the Excite 10 LE's scheduled March 6 release without a curious eye.

I asked Toshiba if yesterday's iPad announcement had anything to do with its chosen release date for the Excite, but the company declined to comment.

None of the Excite 10 LE's specs has changed since CES 2012. It still arrives sporting a dual-core TI OMAP 4430 CPU and running Honeycomb 3.2; an Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade is purportedly coming "later this spring." As for battery life, Toshiba claims a suitable, but unimpressive 8 hours.

Toshiba did, however, find room on the tablet's thin magnesium alloy-based body for a Mini-HDMI port, a microSD slot, and a 5-megapixel rear camera that records 1080p video.

As I said in January, despite its refined thin and sexy look, the $530 starting price feels too high for what the tablet seemingly offers. But we should be getting a review unit soon and will only then be able to accurately judge its worth.

I will say this, though: if you're going to release the world's "thinnest and lightest" tablet, it's best to do it before the next iPad announcement. Whether one day before is a long enough lead time, however, remains to be seen.