By Mark Long / CIO Today. Updated April 10, 2012.
Toshiba has taken the wraps off three new Android-powered media tablets featuring 7.7-inch, 10.1-inch and 13.3-inch touchscreens. The Excite 7.7 and Excite 10 models will land on U.S. store shelves at the beginning of May while the Excite 13 will roll out in June.
All three media tablets have scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass displays and run Google's latest Android 4.0 platform, also called Ice Cream Sandwich. The 13.3-inch model will set a new upper limit for the tablet industry with respect to screen size.
"One size does not fit all, so we are carefully considering how and where people are using tablets and designing form factors to best suit various needs," said Toshiba America Information Systems Vice President Carl Pinto.
When we asked for an outside opinion, however, Gartner Vice President Carolina Milanesi said her firm believes 13 inches is starting to be too large to be a practical tablet form factor. "We believe that 10.1 inches is enough from a productivity and presentation perspective," Milanesi said in an e-mail Tuesday.
Toshiba's Excite 13
Equipped with a 13.3-inch diagonal AutoBrite LED backlit display, the Excite 13 is a mere 0.4 inches in thickness and weighs 2.2 pounds. The giant tablet integrates Nvidia's quad-core Tegra 3 mobile processor with GeForce graphics and 1 GB of RAM.
The device's connectivity options include a full-size SD card slot for enabling the syncing and sharing of multimedia content, and micro USB and micro HDMI ports. On the audio side, Toshiba says the Excite 13 incorporates special sound enhancements for maximizing the performance of the giant tablet's four-speaker sound system.
When we asked Toshiba's representative about these performance enhancements, a spokesperson said the Excite 13 features the SRS Premium Voice Pro Suite, which includes volume boost as well as multimedia and voice clarity enhancement.
"Toshiba adds an audio ambient noise equalizer and other enhancements that deliver more natural sound and enhanced clarity," Toshiba's spokesperson said by e-mail.
The new giant among the tablet market's huge array of Android-based offerings, the Excite 13 has been designed specifically to deliver stunning HD cinematic and gaming experiences. Among other things, the device has the requisite screen real estate for effectively displaying feature films in their original 16:9 aspect ratio at a native resolution of 1600x900p.
The Excite 13 can play movies right out of the box because "Netflix, Crackle and Google Video are preloaded," Toshiba's spokesperson said.
The Excite 13 will also ship with a tablet stand for propping up the Excite 13 on a table or countertop to enable a group of people to view multimedia content or participate in multi-player games. The device debuts at $649.99 (32 GB) and $749.99 (64 GB) price points in June.
Features Shared Across Form Factors
All three Toshiba tablets offer 10-finger touch-screen support, and sport 5-megapixel back-facing and 2-megapixel front-facing cameras. And just like the Excite 13, the smaller Excite 10 and Excite 7.7 models integrate Nvidia's quad-core Tegra 3 mobile processor with GeForce graphics and 1 GB of memory.
Though Toshiba's three new tablets also integrate Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios, 3G and 4G LTE options will not be available for any model at the time of its release, Toshiba's spokesperson said.
The Excite 10, which is 0.35 inches in thickness and weighs 1.32 pounds, sports a 10.1-inch diagonal AutoBrite LED backlit display with 1280x800p resolution. By contrast, the Excite 7.7, which is 0.3 inches thick and weighs 13.4 ounces, will sport a super bright AMOLED screen.
Available beginning in May, the Excite 10 tablet will be priced at $449.99 (16 GB), $529.99 (32 GB) and $649.99 (64 GB). The Excite 7.7 tablet will be available for purchase at the $499.99 (16 GB) and $579.99 (32 GB) price poi