Will Toshiba Beat Apple To The Tablet Computer Market?

After Toshiba showed a prototype of its JournE tablet computer at the IFA electronics fair in Berlin, many are wondering if Toshiba will beat Apple to the tablet computer market. Thus far, Apple has remained mum on the subject of a tablet computer, despite many rumors and supposed sightings of a possible device.

Toshiba’s JournE multimedia touch-screen tablet, or Mobile Internet Device (MID), weighs less than a pound and has a 7-inch touchscreen. It has a brushed aluminum shell. Running on Windows CE 6.0 Pro (now called Windows Embedded Compact) with a Toshiba interface, the JournE tablet has 1GB of NAND Flash memory and uses an ARM chip, though the speed is still unknown.


For connectivity, the JournE tablet offers Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g) and runs Internet Explorer 6. Using an external USB dongle, the tablet can also support 3.5G mobile Web browsing. The tablet comes ready to access Picasa, YouTube, and Flickr, and has the ability to send instant messages. An on-screen keyboard appears as necessary. Windows Multimedia Player 9.0 is also included for viewing pictures and videos and playing music.

Toshiba said a base station cradle that provides USB and HDMI outputs will be available for the JournE tablet. This dock can also charge the tablet and provide an additional 32GB of memory (beyond the 1GB of flash memory on board) via a memory card slot.  

During the demo, the JournE tablet showed three rows of shortcut icons with five in each row. Each icon provides access to an application or service. One of these icons provides access to a Toshiba Store that will offer both free and paid apps and widgets for the device. There’s also a variety of Windows Embedded software applications available, so the store should provide many choices.

The tablet is expected to launch in Europe in the fourth quarter of this year. It will be available in other countries later. The expected price is approximately $357, which is also much less than the expected $500 to $700 range that is expected for Apple’s tablet.