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Toshiba to launch its first touch-screen tablet

The JournE Touch has 7-inch screen and is meant as a third device for consumers, for accessing the Internet or sharing content to other devices around the home.

Toshiba JournE Touch tablet
The JournE Touch will be available in Europe first by the end of the year, with other regions to follow. Erica Ogg/CNET

BERLIN--We saw Toshiba's first Blu-ray product announcement coming, but the touch-screen home media tablet that the company introduced here at IFA was a bit of a surprise.

The JournE Touch, is--as you might gather from the name--a touch-screen mobile device. It's Toshiba's first, and they're clearly racing to beat everyone else, including Apple's long-awaited entry into the category, expected sometime early next year.

It's intended to be a third device for consumers at home. The application for the JournE is "when you want to access the Internet without booting your PC," said Toshiba executive Marco Perino. And it's an alternative to a smartphone, which Perino says "is not so practical because the keyboard is not the right size."

The JournE Touch has a 7-inch screen and is a half-inch thick, weighing in at less than a pound. Inside is an ARM processor, integrated Wi-Fi, and Windows CE.

It's purely for accessing the Internet or sharing content to other devices around the home. For instance, it can be hooked up to a TV to stream Web-based content like video and photos. It's not really designed for data input, but there will be applications that allow typing.

Toshiba says to expect the JournE to go on sale in Europe first, by the end of 2009, with other regions following early next year. The price is set at 249 euros, which would be roughly $360. While that is more expensive than some Netbooks with far less functionality, at that price it's a sure bet it would be cheaper than an Apple tablet.