IFA, the biggest consumer electronics show in Europe, officially commenced yesterday. Apart from the Samsung Galaxy Tab launch a day before, the new Toshiba tablet, the Folio 100, caused great media and visitor interest. This 10-inch tablet is similar to the Apple iPad in size, however, the software is far more like the Galaxy Tab.
It comes with Google’s Android 2.2, as well as a user interface Toshiba has created in order to upgrade this operation system. The Folio 100 homescreen is not reminiscent of what smartphones with Android have to offer, but the users have icons at their fingertips that access certain applications. If all icons cannot fit on the desktop, like in many other user interfaces with an upgraded Android OS, it can be scrolled.
Folio 100 is equipped with an SD memory card slot, HDMI and USB 2.0 hubs. It also includes WiFi and Bluetooth support. At the moment, communication through 3G mobile networks has not been facilitated, but Toshiba representatives have revealed that such version of the tablet will be launched quite soon. It does not have GPS support, and its processor is Nvidia Tegra 2.
Speaking of applications, the Toshiba Folio 100 includes Opera Mobile for browsing the web, FBReader as an e-book reader, and its compatible with all Microsoft Office files. It also comes with Fring, which uses the front-facing camera for making video calls. Adobe Flash 10.1 is also supported.
Hands On the Folio 100
We tried out the Folio 100 tablet in Berlin and concluded that web browsing is fast and quite precise. However, we did encounter a few hiccups on Flashy-heavy sites. The Samsung Galaxy Tab had no trouble downloading the same sites.
On the other hand, it is plain to see that browsing the web on a 10-inch screen is more comfortable and using this tablet is no different from working with standard notebooks (much like the iPad). Still, the touch screen lacks quick response and is not entirely precise while zooming and moving objects on the screen, even though it is very sharp and bright.
When held, the device seems rather large and will probably require the use of two hands. It weighs 760 grams, but seems quite elegant, being 14 millimeters wide.
Unlike Samsung’s tablet, the Toshiba Folio 100 will not be sold exclusively through mobile carrier channels, but despite this, the manufacturers failed to state its price. It was already revealed that the Folio 100 will be on sale in the fourth quarter of the year: in Europe and Asia first, followed by the USA.
There are no more tablets at IFA, apart from Toshiba, Samsung and ViewSonic models, at least for the time being, even though it was expected that other manufacturers, like Acer and LG, might reveal their devices.
Still, Acer has finally launched its eReader called LumiReader, which may be a serious competitor for the Amazon Kindle.
We tested this device as well and it seems to be one of the lightest eReaders out there. It is equipped with a keyboard, while thumbstick navigation appeared to be precise, but not entirely deft. We loved the deep screen contrast and the fact that the LumiReader is very slim, even though it is not particularly fast.