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Toshiba Introduces Android Tablet

Toshiba Folio 100
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Toshiba Folio 100

Toshiba has introduced in Europe a multimedia tablet-style computer that will go up against the Apple iPad and similar devices from other major vendors. The computer maker unveiled the Folio 100 Thursday at the IFA show in Germany. The tablet has a 10.1-inch, diagonal screen with a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. Folio runs on version 2.2 of Google's Android operating system.

The fact that Toshiba used Android 2.2 is important because the Folio will be able to run Adobe Flash, a ubiquitous Web technology for playing video. That's a key advantage over the iPad, which along with the iPhone can't play Flash video. The Folio is equipped with an SD card slot, and HDMI and USB 2.0 connectors. The device supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless, with a 3G model scheduled for the near future, according to Toshiba. The tablet is about a half inch thick and weighs 1.7 pounds. A Nvidia Tegra 2 processor powers the graphics and the Folio has 16 GB of on-board storage.

Preinstalled software includes the Opera Mobile web browser, the FBReader e-book reader, the office suite Documents To Go, notes software Evernote, Adobe Flash 10.1 and Fring, an application that works in combination with the Folio's built-in webcam to provide video calling.

The Folio 100 is scheduled to be available in the fourth quarter throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Pricing was not released, and no word on when it would be available in the United States.

Toshiba introduced the Folio the same day Samsung launched its own answer to the iPad, the Galaxy Tab. The tablet has a seven-inch screen with a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. The Galaxy Tab runs Android 2.2, has a Cortex A8 1 GHz processor and supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The device is scheduled to ship later this year. Pricing was not disclosed.

Apple is credited with jumpstarting the tablet market with the release of the iPad. The company released the tablet in early April and sold 3 million units in the first 80 days.

Samsung and Toshiba are not the only companies working on what they hope will be an iPad killer. Other vendors with tablets in the works include Hewlett-Packard, LG and Research In Motion, which makes the BlackBerry smartphone.


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