Nvidia Delivers Complete Low Cost Tablet Platform


Nvidia has joined Microsoft, Google, Amazon and a host of others this week as it became the latest company to break from its traditional role in the hi-tech industry and deliver a hardware product designed for the consumer and business market, in this case a 7-inch tablet.

The company teased the market months ago with a brief demo of the product, and discussed its plans for a low cost platform last year but now the Nvidia Tegra Note is a reality, and has a basic structure that the company will then offer to third party customers who can add their own features in order to differentiate their products.

The Tegra Note features Nvidia technology to power the system and its graphics and includes a Tegra 4 with a 72-core GeForce GPU and quad-core Cortex-A15 CPU with a fifth battery-saver core. It has a 7-inch display that has 1280 x 800 resolution.

A key technology that the company is touting is its DirectStylus that it claims is a significant improvement over other stylus technology with faster response time, a finer point and broader stroke control. It calls older stylus technology passive in comparison

It will run the latest version of the Android operating system, feature 16GB of storage with an expansion microSD slot, an HDMI port, a rear 5MP camera with a VGA front facing one and what the company calls HD Audio speakers. All for $199.

The company has a host of new as well as established partners that plan to deliver tablets based on this basic platform including EVGA and PNY Technologies in North America; EVGA, Oysters and ZOTAC in Europe; Colorful, Shenzhen Homecare Technology and ZOTAC in Asia-Pacific; and XOLO in India. They join other partners, including HP, ASUS, Toshiba, Kobo and Xiaomi, which have already announced Tegra 4-based products.

As tablets have seen their popularity soar over the last year it will be interesting to see how this cookie cutter method will work. Will the developers be able to create differentiated products or ones that have specialized and localized features that will make them appealing to the market?

It does seem that time to market could be cut for many of the developers because they have an almost finished product to start with, but then in reality so do a lot of other established players such as Samsung, Google and Apple.

Toshiba Unveils a Trio of 10-inch Tablets


Looking for a new tablet and not interested in the smaller screen offerings? Well Toshiba is hoping that its latest product rollout will have something that fits the bill for every potential buyer out there as the company has introduced a trio of tablets.

The family will consist of the Excite Pure, Excite Pro, and Excite Write, all three of which will feature an 10.1-inch screen and they will all be using the Android 4.2 operating system with two of them, the Pro and Write will be powered by an Nvidia quad core Tegra 4 processor while the Pure will have a Tegra 3
The Excite Pro features a 2560 x 1600 PixelPure high resolution display, 2GB of RAM and a32GB internal storage that can be expanded to 64GB with an optional MicroSD card. It includes an 8 megapixel rear camera and a 1.2MP front facing camera. There is an optional add-on keyboard as well.

The Excite Write is very similar under the hood to the Excite Pro using the same processor, same cameras, amount of RAM and screen. It has either 16GB or 32GB of storage that is also expandable to 64GB. The biggest difference is that it features a stylus pen and includes a number of apps that support note taking and other stylus activities. It also features integrated Harmon Kardon speakers.

The Excite Pure is the entry eve offering with a 1280 x 800 resolution display, 1GB of RAM, 16GB/32GB internal storage expandable to 64GB with optional MicroSD card, and a 3MP rear facing camera and a 1.2MP front facing camera. The Pure starts at $299.99 while the Write will have a $599 MSRP and the Excite Pro a $499 MSRP.

Of the three I think the most interesting will be the stylus-based Write. I have not seen many stylus users among tablet users, but that could be because the software ecosystem has not caught up with the idea yet. All of the tablets are expected to be available by the end of the month.

Toshiba Shows 13.3-inch Tablet — Perfect for Watching Sports?

Are you looking for a tablet but so far none have met your needs, with the small Galaxy Note not even in the conversation, the kindle and Nook not even close to the correct size and the iPad and its ilk closer but no cigar? Then Toshiba might just have what you are looking for.

Toshiba’s Digital Products Division has introduced its line of Excite tablets today with a trio of offerings including one that features a 13.3-inch display, along with a 7.7 and a 10.1-inch offering to fill out the new Excite line.

The company said that it believes that a one size fits all model does not work in the tablet space and that it believes that the growing usage of tablets in an increasingly wide number of user applications calls for multiple sizes and features.

The three will share a few features including operating with the Android 4.0 OS, a Tegra 3 Super 4-Plus-1 quad core processor, having scratch resistant Gorilla glass and a full suite of Google mobile service applications. All three will also feature a 5MP rear facing camera as well as a 2MP front facing camera and stereo speakers.

The company recently unveiled the details on the 10-inch model so we covered that here but both the 7-inch, which will compete with the Nooks’ and Kindles’ of the market as well as the 13-inch monster are the talk of the release. The Excite 10 tablet will be available for purchase at the beginning of May 2012 for $449.99 for the 16GB model, $529.99 for the 32GB model and $649.99 for the 64GB model.

The company said that it sees the Excite 13 tablet as one that will appeal to groups for things such as watching movies, playing games and sharing photos. The tablet is 0.4 inches thick and weights 2.2 lbs. It features a 13.3-inch LED backlit display with 1600 x 1900 resolution. The Excite 13 tablet will be available for purchase at the beginning of June 2012 for $649.99 for the 32GB model and $749.99 for the 64GB model.

The Excite 7.7 is targeted at an on-the go user that does not want the bulk of a larger tablet. The Excite 7.7 tablet will be available for purchase at the beginning of June 2012 for $499.99 for the 16GB model and $579.99 for the 32GB model

I have to say that I really like their thinking on this product. It is not positioned as another iPad killer but rather as a product that serves different segments such as family and group use or users on the go rather than delivering a banal push for a tablet user. Samsung’s growing success with its Galaxy Note and other tablets shows that consumers are open to alternative sizes if they have the features that fit their needs.

I can certainly see the popularity of the person that brings a 13.3-inch tablet to an event where a group of friends can watch a playoff game that they would have missed if not for the tablet- even the ten-inch displays would not serve their needs as well. I wonder what the top end of tablet size will be? I suspect not any larger for mainstream users.

Toshiba Delivers Excite 10 LE Tablet as Market prepares for War

Today marks the official start of the ‘Is it an iPad killer’ season, spring edition. Toshiba has the honor of kicking off this event with the release today of its Excite 10 LE tablet, beating Apple’s latest iPad announcement by a day.

Now I do not believe that a tablet has to be an iPad killer, look at the success of both the Barnes & Noble Nook and the Amazon Kindle. Now some might argue that they are e-readers and not really tablets but so what? They found a market segment and are thriving.

There is undoubtedly a huge market segment that is currently underserved by the tablet market in the 10-inch space. Not because Apple’s iPad is not a great product but because not everyone wants an Apple iPad. Some want an Android; some may just not like Apple.

It does not really matter, the issue to date has been that no one has really tapped into that market successfully yet, but that day is nearing. Expect to start seeing available for purchase tablets that were announced last year, at this year’s CES and last weeks’ Mobile

Back to Toshiba, it has a stellar offering in its latest design, originally announced at CES, that at least of today is the lightest 10-inch tablet available and is available in two models starting at $530.

It features a backlit 10.1-inch color display with 1280 x 800 resolution made with Gorilla Glass to help prevent scratching. It is powered by a Texas Instruments 1.2GHz dual core OMAP 4430 processor and is only .3-inch thin (or 7.7mm) and weighs in at 1.2 pounds.

While it currently runs Android version 3.2 operating system the company has said that when Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) is available the tablet will be upgraded to that OS. The Wi-Fi enabled tablets are available in a 16GB version for $530 and the 32GB version for $600.

The tablets feature a 2MP front camera and a 5MP rear facing camera as well as featuring the ability to record 1080p video. It features a variety of interfaces including microUSB, microSD and HDMI ports. Toshiba said that the 10 LE will have an expected battery life of 8.5 hours.

It is interesting to see how much Toshiba has changed its design philosophy from its last generation Thrive models, which compare very poorly to the 10 LE. It is probably that the company simply rushed the delivery of the first generation and would have been better served to sit back and wait to deliver a better product and let others make the mistake in delivering poorly designed ones. Ah hindsight is such a wonderful thing.

Now that Toshiba is out, with the iPad tomorrow and a number of others expected in the following weeks the drum beat will start about iPad killers rather than asking the more important question of which tablet meets your price range and meets your usage needs.