During celebrations for 25 years in the laptop computing business Toshiba has shown off a prototype of an upcoming Android tablet PC
Toshiba has a long and prestigious history in mobile computing. It has just celebrated 25 years in the space, starting with the T1100 in 1985. Over this time Toshiba has been first to market with a host of technologies, and has had a major impact on the way that mobile computing has evolved.
Happily, it shows no sign of slowing down. To celebrate 25 years of laptops it has unveiled three new products, the Portege R700, Libretto W100 and AC100 Cloud Companion. The Portege and Libretto are modern tributes to classic products in Toshiba history, while the AC100 is one of the most intriguing, forward looking products we have seen in some time.
|The AC100 Cloud Companion is not your normal netbook. It uses an ARM9-based Nvidia Tegra processor and runs Android.|
As part of the launch event we got some hands on time with these products. The Portege, which is already shipping, is a 13in thin and light laptop that packs a lot into a sleek 13.3in magnesium alloy chassis. It is available in a range of configurations and is available now.
The Portege is a beautiful, but it is still a laptop. The Libretto W100 on the other hand is in a category of its own. It features two 7in touchscreens arranged in a clamshell design. Powered by an ULV Pentium processor and running Windows 7, its interface is completely touch-based. When one needs to type a soft keyboard can be shown on the bottom screen, and even a virtual trackpad can be summoned to if you wish to control the cursor in that way. The W100 is a strictly limited edition product, but we suspect that Toshiba is testing the waters as to whether the form factor will be accepted by the general public.
What really got us excited though was the AC 100 Cloud Companion. Priced and sized like a netbook, the AC100 departs radically from the norm. Unlike all the other 36 products that Toshiba launched today it doesn't use Intel processors or a Microsoft operating system. Instead it pairs Nvidia's Tegra mobile processor with Android as its OS.
This has enabled Toshiba to create a netbook that is much thinner than the standard Wintel platform, with the kind of battery life seen on a smartphone. It also brings Android to a different form factor than we are used to, and will be able to take advantage of Apps designed for Android-based tablets that we expect to see appearing later this year.
This isn't Toshiba's only move to Android. While wrapping up its press conference the managing director of Toshiba Australia, Mark Whittard, showed off a prototype tablet that Toshiba is working on. Refusing to be drawn on specifics of the prototype, he did confirm that Toshiba would be releasing both Android and Windows 7 based tablets. The company is aiming at launching at least one of these products in the September-October timeframe.
|Toshiba Australia Managing Director Mark Whittard shows off a prototype tablet during 25th anniversary celebrations for the company's laptop business.|
Also see our video of Toshiba's trip down memory lane, via a fashion catwalk, from the event.