April 10, 2012

Find These Three New Toshiba Tablets In The Bargain Bin A Year From Now

You would think we would have learned by now. Sadly, Toshiba is about to launch a trio of beautiful new Ice Cream Sandwich tablets. Why sadly? Because they are priced to compete agains the iPad. This has proved to be a losing battle.

But more on that in a big. What about these new beauties?

Well, they come in a pleasantly surprising array of sizes. There's the Excite 7.7, Excite 10, and most interestingly Excite 13. While the market for 7 and 10 inch Android tablets is already over-saturated, the 13 inch variety is the only one of the bunch that stands a real chance, because it's the only one that's really different from everything else that's out there.

All three of these devices share some similarities:

  • NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad core processor
  • 1 GB of RAM
  • 5 MP rear camera
  • 2 MP front camera
  • Gorilla Glass
  • Aluminum body
  • Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0)
But size isn't their only difference. Toshiba Excite 7.7, for example, sports:
  • AMOLED display
  • 0.3 inch waistline
  • MicroSD card slot
  • 16 GB ($499) or 32 GB ($579)
  • Available June 10
Excite 10 (a step up from the Excite 10 LE)
  • 0.35 inches thick
  • Micro HDMI port
  • Full size SD card slot
  • 16 GB ($449) or 32 GB ($549) or 64 GB ($649)
  • Available May 6
Excite 13
  • 13.3 inch 1600x900 HD display
  • Four speakers
  • Micro HDMI port
  • Full size SD card slot
  • 2.2 pounds
  • 13 hour battery life
  • 32 GB ($649) or 64 GB ($749)
  • Available June 10
So why will these tablets fail? I mean, they've got micro HDMI ports, unlike the iPad. They have SD card slots for extra storage, which Apple stubbornly refuses to implement. They've got a faster processor and more RAM. They've also got all the nifty Android features like widgets and free GPS voice navigation, which the iPad sorely lacks.

But all these advantages have been available in Android tablets for a long time. The 13.3 inch display is the only wild card. And all but two Android tablets have failed to make a big splash. Those two are the Nook Tablet and the Kindle Fire.

Why? They're cheap. If all the aforementioned features were available at half the cost of the iPad, we might see some interest from consumers. History has been very clear: Android tablets are not direct competitors to the iPad. At least not yet.

Google is trying to get there by beefing up their media offerings through +Google Play and creating a unified ecosystem through +Google+. But Google Play Music is still missing one of the four major labels. And Google Play Movies still has a very meager offering of movies and sorely lacks TV shows. Google Play Books is similarly lacking new content (except for the 2 million free books available).

Currently, Android's only option is to compete on price, like this $285 10-inch Ergo GoTab Epic, if onlly these tablets could be as well advertised as the iPad or the Kindle Fire.