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Toshiba Thrive tablet to undercut iPad 2 price

Toshiba will enter the tablet arena fighting hard to challenge the iPad 2, claiming its Thrive Android tablet is better than Apple's device. It's certainly cheaper.

Toshiba's new Thrive 10-inch tablet will be significantly cheaper than the iPad 2. The basic model will cost $429 (about £260) which is $70 (£40) cheaper than the entry-level Wi-Fi iPad 2, BBC News reports.

While it shouldn't be surprising that there are cheaper devices than Apple's hallowed gadgets, Android tablet makers have struggled to bring devices in for below-iPad prices. Toshiba has been talking tough for several months now, however, suggesting the then-unnamed Android tablet would be better than the iPad 2.

The Thrive certainly packs in some decent specs that make it a serious contender in the crowded tablet marketplace. Thanks to Amazon we already knew it would contain a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 chip, a 1,280x800-pixel resolution 10.1-inch display, a 5-megapixel rear camera and 2-megapixel front camera, stereo speakers and the usual array of ports. It'll also happily run Flash (until the replaceable battery dies) unlike its fruity opponent, as well as sporting a customisable body.

Adding a further layer to the Android Market, Toshiba has stated it intends to launch an 'App Place' that will screen out software that doesn't work on the Thrive, as well as ranking remaining widgets and applications.

Jeff Barney from Toshiba America said, "There is a market out there of folks who want to buy non-Apple products." While that's definitely true, no one manufacturer has made any significant inroads into the iPad's dominance. For all of Toshiba's fighting talk, it has a long journey to challenge the iPad, particularly as a new kid on the tablet block.

The Thrive is due to launch in the US next month. There's no word of a UK date or price yet. Of course, Apple may soon come along and wipe the floor with its competitors once again -- the iPad 3 is predicted to arrive early next year.