We’re currently on the horn with Toshiba executives who have given us word that the official Toshiba Thrive pre-order will begin June 13th with – as we’ve heard before – shipments coming in early to mid July.
The Thrive is one of Toshiba’s first forays into the Android World although in September we saw the Toshiba Folio 100 and back in the day they even had a few Android phones with the Toshiba TG01 and Toshiba TG02. All of those Androids stayed out of America and it’s with the Thrive that Toshiba makes it’s first real push at a mainstream Android device.
I wondered if Toshiba was merely testing the Android waters as we haven’t seen much of anything until now. Apparently not: “We’re in it for the long-haul,” said a Toshiba Exec, suggesting that in due time Toshiba will have “a family of [tablet] products.” Clearly, we can expect that this family will be of Android genealogy.
Strategically, it makes more sense for Toshiba to start their big Android push with a tablet as they’re already deep into the Consumer PC market. From a development standpoint, I have to wonder how working with Honeycomb may have differed from working with the mobile platform. With Toshiba’s computing and mobile operations in two different groups, we weren’t able to get much insight into the phone vs. tablet landscape for the company.
Toshiba’s unique take on Android brings continuity between traditional computing and the tablet experience as evidenced by the Thrive’s load of external ports including 2 full-size USB ports, Mini-USB, full-size HDMI-out, full-size SD card slot, and dock connection port in addition to a more standard power input. It has a 5MP rear camera, 2MP front-facing camera, and is powered by a Tegra 2 processor running Android 3.1. As you can see (above and below), several accessories will be available including docks, cases, and color options. One nice addition is a hardware rotation lock button that will prevent your screen from auto-rotating, great for those times when you’re lounging around and don’t want inadvertent angle shifts to disturb your user experience.
The Toshiba Thrive also contains a removal case which means – you guessed it – a removal battery. Batteries lose capacity over time so you may want to replace it at some point, but perhaps more importantly, road warriors can lug around a fully charged spare and “just-in-case”, have access to full power with a quick switch. Replacement batteries will cost $89.99 through Toshiba. Then again you might not need it: Toshiba claims their “quick charge” capability allows you to recharge up to 90% of the battery in 1.5 hours.
I say “lug” sarcastically as one of the Thrive’s few complaints is the .6-inch thickness and 1.6-pound body; it’s larger and heavier than many of its competitors.
From a software standpoint Toshiba is bundling a bunch of apps including a File Manager, Media Manager, Quick Office, Need For Speed, PrinterShare and LogMeIn. Whether or not LogMeIn will be the $30 full version, merely a trial, or something in between is still unforeseen.
The Toshiba Thrive will come in 3 versions – 8GB ($429.99) , 16GB ($479.99) and 32GB ($579.99) – all of which will be Wi-Fi only models.
We’re hoping to get hands-on with the Toshiba Thrive and eventually publish a full review, but until then, head over to our Toshiba Thrive Forums to chat it up with fellow Android enthusiasts about the company’s first big Android offering.