Hardware maker Toshiba used the IFA 2013 trade show in Berlin, on Thursday, to debut three affordable mobile devices. The trio included a laptop-tablet hybrid and a budget laptop, but the scene stealer is its first 8-inch Windows tablet.
Reports coming in from the IFA, a major trade show for consumer electronics and home appliances, strongly focus on this tablet, dubbed Encore, as a credible contender to rival Apple, predicting that a full assault on the iPad mini may be only months away.
The $329.99 Toshiba Encore will go on sale in November, just in time for basking in the publicity as one of Microsoft's featured devices for its Windows 8.1 launch and campaign blitz for the holidays.
The Toshiba strategy goes well beyond rolling out a tablet for the holiday sales, though. Toshiba's move is aimed at coming out with a mainstream Windows tablet that can be promoted as a me-too device for play but that is also suitable for serious work.
The company described the Encore as a hardware platform that can deliver both the entertainment and productivity capabilities of Windows. As rivals such as Apple well know, beyond great design, productivity, like entertainment, is all about apps.
"Our fundamental approach to designing Encore was to create a better convergence of hardware and software so the overall app experience and capabilities on a Windows-based device is better than ever," said Carl Pinto, vice president of marketing, Toshiba America Information Systems, digital products division.
According to a Forrester survey earlier this year, when asked about OS and platform preference office workers said they used lots of Apple and Android devices but showed significant interest in using Windows 8 on their next tablets.
They can check off Word, Excel and PowerPoint on their wishlists with Encore as it comes free with Office Home & Student 2013.
Intel's new Bay Trail Atom will be powering Windows 8.1 in the Encore. The processor is said to help deliver fast page loads and good battery life. Encore is one of the first Bay Trail-based tablets to hit the market.
The other attention grabber is that the Encore is versatile. The Encore will carry "Xbox second-screen" capabilities. This means that the tablet will be able to operate as a secondary screen for the Xbox One, with Microsoft's Xbox SmartGlass technology. The table will also come with sensors and stereo speakers. The tablet will be Skype-ready, working with dual microphones and an integrated 2-megapixel front camera. (An 8-megapixel camera is at the rear.) (continued...)
Posted: 2013-09-05 @ 2:09pm PT
Does it have the requisite 1080P display for playing back videos shot with last year's smartphones?