Toshiba’s tablet set to arrive in June

Toshiba Corp. will launch its first tablet computer in late June in Japan and at around the same time in global markets, the company said Wednesday.

With the tablet, Toshiba will kick off an attempt to gain a 10 per cent share of the global tablet market by 2013, said Masaaki Oosumi, president of Toshiba’s digital products and services unit, at a Tokyo news conference. The company is one of the oldest and most well-known names in laptop computers, so its entry is likely to further raise competition in an increasingly active market.

The tablet PC, which is based on the Android 3.0 operating system, was first previewed at January’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, but the company did not announce a launch date or price at that time. (A video version of this report, including shots of the Toshiba tablet, is available on YouTube.)

It will cost around ¥60,000 (US$730) in Japan. Overseas pricing was not disclosed.

The tablet has a 10.1-inch screen and will run on Nvidia’s Tegra 2 processor. The LED-backlit screen has 1280 x 800 pixel resolution, and the tablet will be equipped with front and back-facing cameras, and connectors for USB, Mini USB, HDMI and an SD Card slot. Networking will be via 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1. It has 16 gigabytes of storage space and 1 gigabyte of memory.

It will also have a removable battery pack, and Toshiba will offer a long-life battery as an option. Typical battery life of the tablet was not disclosed.

In Japan, it will be marketed under the “Regza” brand name that Toshiba uses for its flat-screen televisions.

Toshiba becomes the latest of Japan’s major electronics brands to enter the tablet market. NEC has launched a tablet aimed at vertical markets and Sharp’s Galapagos tablet is an Android-based e-book reader with web browsing ability.

Sony is also developing a tablet PC, but the company isn’t saying much about its plans. It’s due sometime later this year.

A month after the tablet PC launches, Toshiba will begin selling a laptop PC with a screen that can produce the illusion of three dimensions without requiring the user to wear special glasses.

The computer, which will form part of its Qosmio range, has a thin lens in front of the display that can aim a slightly different version of the computer’s image towards the user’s right and left eyes. Such lens systems sometimes require the user to sit in a certain place to get the 3D effect, but the Toshiba laptop uses a camera to track the user’s eyes so it can dynamically adjust the 3D image.

Toshiba didn’t announce a price for the laptop or launch details outside of Japan.

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