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Samsung, Toshiba show off Android tablets to rival iPad

SAN FRANCISCO - Should we read anything into the fact that two competitors to Apple's iPad were introduced so far away from here? Of course not. But that distance does suggest the kind of ground that an iPad competitor (please don't call it an "iPad killer") has to cover.

Earlier today, Samsung and Toshiba introduced tablets running Google's Android operating system at the IFA trade show in Berlin.

Samsung's Galaxy Tab features a 7-inch screen, front and back cameras and mobile broadband and runs Android 2.2 (and therefore Adobe's Flash player, unlike the iPad). It weighs 13.4 ounces, a bit lighter than Apple's tablet. Samsung doesn't cite a battery life for the Tab.

The company says it's due in Europe in the middle of September and will reach the U.S. "in coming months," but hasn't specified prices. Prior reports have suggested Verizon will offer a version of it.

Toshiba's Folio 100, meanwhile, won't ship until the fourth quarter -- and then only in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Per Engadget's writeup (and the Toshiba news release copied there), it's a larger and heavier device, with a 10.1-inch display and a weight of 1.7 pounds. It runs Android 2.2 and so also Flash and features a Webcam, an SD card slot and HDMI and USB ports. Toshiba estimates its battery life at seven hours of mixed Web browsing, video playback and standby but doesn't cite any prices or a timetable for U.S. availability.

Weirdly, the Toshiba announcement makes no mention of the Android Market's availability on the device -- it's gone missing on other Android tablets. Instead, Toshiba talks about a "Toshiba Marketplace" -- which, if it comes from the dimwits responsible for the pathetic software bundles the company has deposited on Windows laptops, is about the last feature I'd want on a tablet.

There are more Android tablets on the way, fortunately. What's on your shopping list for an Android tablet? Post your own requirements in the comments.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  September 2, 2010; 12:16 PM ET
Categories:  Gadgets , Mobile  
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Comments

I notice you mention Flash, but that has been shown to work poorly on the Android mobile devices also. How does it work on the tablets?

Posted by: AlbertHall1 | September 2, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see video editing capability on a touch pad. Being able to take a small camera out in the field, like my DMC-ZS7, drop the SD card into the touch computer and edit scenes in 720p AVCHD and audio in the field would be a required feature.

Posted by: washpost45 | September 2, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

In the interest of fairness, I will wait and see. But, all the headlines shrieking "iPad killer" at Google News will likely prove to be in link bait. They come, they see, they fail. But, some don't even come. Germany is pretty far away.

I agree that Flash may work so badly it is an embarrassment, as well as a battery drainer. I've found NOT having mobile broadband, but going with a personal hotspot, to be a great idea, as I said in another comment. The catch with an HDMI port is that it can be used only for your personal video streaming, nothing commercial.

Posted by: query0 | September 2, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Apple fan, perchance? When you say "it weighs 13.4 ounces, a bit lighter than Apple's tablet." you're really stretching the idea of "a bit". In fact, the iPad is 1.6lbs (over 25oz), almost double the Galaxy Tab.

Posted by: getjiggly | September 2, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm looking forward to seeing more about them. I am glad that there will be other manufacturers of this device type. Unfortunately Apple, a good company, has been tending toward extremism in its new products. (Look at the ipod. Three models of the shuffle have come out, each worse than the one before it, all with tiny lifespans and unrepairable, the final model even being incompatible with standard headphones. The larger ipod? Three times the cost of a good mp3 player, but wow it has a video camera. How stupid.) Anyway, I like the concept but won't be buying any more Apple stuff till they get it together.

Posted by: larry9 | September 3, 2010 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Read this rather odd story about Viewsonic, who is trying to compete with the iPad with a new Android tablet:

http://proposition13.blogspot.com/2010/09/viewsonic-fair-distance.html

Posted by: freighter | September 3, 2010 2:40 AM | Report abuse

GPS.

Posted by: filfeit | September 3, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Very simple requirements -- everything on the iPad, including GPS, plus a screen resolution comparable to Apple's retina display, but in a size halfway between the iPad and iPhone.

Posted by: aamich | September 3, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Android tablets seem to add hardware features, missing in the iPad, i.e. dual cameras, a USB interface, a removable memory slot (for viewing camera stills and extra memory), and HDMI out. All very useful.

I have put an iPad and my desktop side by side and viewed web pages. For instance, there are elements on a great site, viswiki.com, that are simply missing on the iPad, probably due to its inability to run Flash. Flash would be quite welcome, though it needs a strong processor.

Where Android must get its act together is in offering a useful media database like iTunes. To have central organization of music and podcasts and videos and Android Marketplace apps is quite important.

Still I still wish for a 16:9 screen unit, paperback size, with stereo speakers, that would fit in my pocket. So I could have video, still and audio capture, notes, PDA, WiFi, and reference tools, where ever I go.

Posted by: eimbiere | September 3, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I'd want a tablet that's more than a web-surfing and music/video/book playing machine. I want a machine that can connect to periferals (printer, external hard drives, keyboards, card readers) and can receive updates without having to connect to another computer.

In other words, I actually want a tablet computer, not a multi-function tablet device.

Posted by: Russtinator | September 3, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Competition is good. Without it we'd still be using DOS.

On Android developers face more tweaking than iOS. There are 20+ manufacturers making X number of Android powered products. Android allows for 8 screen sizes, but makers will compete with even more different sizes.

Posted by: kkrimmer | September 3, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Pixel Qi display

USB on-the-go

speech recognition

external box to turn a tablet into an audio mixing board

Posted by: frantaylor | September 3, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I would like, in a tablet or iPad, the ability to use TeX/LaTeX software. Preferably the TeXShop implementation.

Posted by: Bruce25 | September 3, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Viewsonic looks to rather odd marketing campaign for its new tablet PC line:

http://proposition13.blogspot.com/2010/09/viewsonic-and-hero-pictures.html

Posted by: freighter | September 4, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

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