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Toshiba has waded into the tablet market with the Folio 100. Like the Samsung Galaxy Tab, Toshiba's Android-powered slate aims to take on the iPad. The 10.1-inch Folio packs Android 2.2, as does the 7-inch Tab, but it's much lighter on features than Samsung's slate.
The Folio will arrive in the UK in the fourth quarter of 2010 for £330. A version with 3G connectivity will follow at the start of 2011.
Unlike the Tab, the Folio doesn't include a rear-facing camera or shoot video. You do get a 1.3-megapixel camera for video calling, but only over Wi-Fi with VoIP app Fring. There's no 3G calling or 3G Web browsing on the model that will be launched this year. As regards the 3G version that will launch in 2011, Toshiba made no mention of 3G calls -- only 3G Web browsing.
There's currently no choice of memory, either: you can get the Folio in any capacity as long as it's 16GB. You can save stuff onto a full-sized SD card, however, meaning you can expand the memory relatively cheaply. If you already have a compact camera, you may not need to buy any new cards at all, and it's especially easy to swap your memory card straight out of your camera, without any need for a cable. There's a mini-HDMI connection for high-definition video playback on your telly, with USB 2.0, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth rounding out the device's connectivity.
The Folio packs an Nvidia Tegra 2 processor under the bonnet. The 10.1-inch capacitive touchscreen offers multi-touch support, letting you tap or pinch the screen to zoom in and out. The screen has a resolution of 1,024x600 pixels, which is higher than most Android apps can cope with -- developers will probably adapt their apps as more and more Android tablets hit the market. The Folio plays 1080p high-definition and Flash video. The latest Adobe Flash Player 10.1 is supported, but DivX files aren't.
Toshiba has added its own front end to the Android operating system. The built-in accelerometer turns the display to landscape orientation when you turn the tablet on its side, with the option to lock the display in place when, say, you're watching a film in bed.
Toshiba claims up to 7 hours of battery life, as long as you spend most of your time Web browsing and don't watch too much video. An instant-on function has you up and running in less than 30 seconds after you poke the on button. Once you've fired up the Folio, there are various pre-installed apps to choose from, including Opera Mobile for Web browsing and FBReader for ebook perusal. You can also get down to business with the Documents To Go office software and note-taking app Evernote. You can download more apps and games from the Android market.
The Toshiba Folio 100 looks set to present consumers with a familiar choice: Apple elegance or Android openness?
Edited by Charles Kloet