Toshiba will be making its Thrive Android tablet available for U.S. pre-orders starting on June 13th, and promises to make its Android Honeycomb slate stand out in the sea of Android tablets already on the market. The company is addressing user needs and demands with its tablet and promises that the Thrive will be among the top three market on the tablet. Does the Thrive live up to the company’s high and lofty hopes? We’ll have to find out in a review, but we did get a chance to sit down with Toshiba to talk about the features of the tablet that differentiates the Thrive from other solutions.
At first glance, the Thrive is like most other 10-inch Android slates on the market today. Powered by a dual-core Tegra 2 processor with front- and rear-facing cameras, a large high resolution 1280 X 800 display, and Android Honeycomb at its heart, Toshiba has the basics down. However, under the hood, the Thrive has a lot going for it, and hopefully the company can pitch some of these stand-out features to consumers without making it too geeky or confusing in its marketing.
First, the Thrive has a number of full-sized expansion ports and options not found on rival solutions. It has a full-sized USB port to connect a USB thumb drive, for example, to the tablet to share files. Users can also connect a full-sized SD card, so the Thrive may be a great companion for the mobile photographer to glimpse at test shots on a storage card right away without having to carry around a heavier laptop. Then, there’s also a full-sized HDMI port, which makes it easy to connect the tablet to an HDTV without having to rely on a smaller HDMI format.
The device does have a proprietary dock connector on the bottom in landscape mode, which will work with a multimedia dock or a charging dock. The multimedia dock, as an optional accessory, also adds on a few more USB ports so you can plug in a keyboard and mouse and use the tablet like you would a regular computer.
The Thrive is also customizable as well with a variety of colors for the back battery cover. When I had held the Thrive, the texture and soft-coat finish made it appear like it was a bit rugged, so while it is made of plastic, it didn’t feel dainty. The best part is the battery, which is said to give the tablet around 8-10 hours of computing power, can be user-replaceable so you can carry a spare if you’re out in the field.
The screen is the highlight of the tablet. With a brilliant HD display and Toshiba’s Resolution Plus technology, the tablet is capable of upscaling images and photos, making them appear sharper on the tablet. The adaptive screen not only adjusts the brightness, as most Android devices do, but can also adjust the contrast to make things appear better than they actually are on the Thrive’s screen.
I think that Toshiba’s late entry into the tablet game may pay off as the company is able to better examine what consumers need and want with some of the subtle features that the Thrive offers. The tablet will start at $429.99 for an 8 GB WiFi-only version, and prices go up to $579.99 for a 32 GB option.