Toshiba to Unveil Win7 iPad-Style Tablets Later This Year

Dennis Faas's picture

Toshiba says it will be launching its own line of tablet computers to rival the Apple iPad later this year. That follows on from a similar announcement by netbook specialists Asus earlier this month.

Toshiba may be working on more than two tablet machines, one running Windows 7, the other Google's Android operating system (OS). It says that as well as considering a 10-inch screen model, it's also looking at producing a dual-screen device, though the dual-screen version would run Windows 7 only. (Source:

That sounds similar to Microsoft's Courier project, which involves a machine that can act as a laptop, tablet or twin-page e-reader depending on how it is configured. Unlike Toshiba's plans, however, there's no definite confirmation whether Courier will ever be released.

Windows Tablet Users Pay Price Premium

Toshiba's Jeff Barney says the Windows versions of the tablets will be more expensive than the Android editions. That makes sense because Android is open source. However, prices could adjust later on: when Asus first started selling otherwise identical netbooks in Linux and Windows XP editions, the Windows versions carried a premium, but eventually the prices charged by retailers wound up fairly similar.

It's also notable that Toshiba is opting for the Android OS, both in that it's chosen that system (more commonly associated with smartphones) over more established Linux-based systems, and that it hasn't opted for the forthcoming Google Chrome operating system.

Chrome OS is effectively a souped-up version of the Chrome browser, with built-in links to various online Google applications such as Gmail and Google Docs. It's designed for users who have a constant Internet connection and only need a limited range of functionality. Google has already said it is working on a Chrome tablet with cellphone manufacturers HTC.

Toshiba Tablet Likely Cheaper than iPad

Pricing of the Toshiba tablets isn't yet known, though there's speculation it will be closer to the price of netbooks -- a few hundred dollars -- compared to Apple's iPad, which starts at a luxurious price of $499. (Source:

The market for tablet-style computers is certainly heating up. As well as the iPad, Asus and Toshiba models, Hewlett Packard is working on a machine known as the HP Slate. A leaked marketing document lists some of its advantages, including expandable storage through a memory card reader, a USB port, a camera and separate webcam, and an HDMI (high definition multimedia interface) socket for viewing content on a television.

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