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Toshiba shows off world’s thinnest 10-inch tablet at CES 2012

by Phil Hornshaw

Thinner, for some reason, is better when it comes to tablets – and Toshiba now has the thinnest tablet of them all.

The electronics maker just debuted its latest Android tablet offering, the Excite, at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Mashable was able to get up close to the new device, noting that it’s both thinner and lighter than the iPad 2. The Excite comes in at 1.2 pounds and 0.3 inches thick, making it the new thinnest tablet on the market; the iPad 2 is 1.35 pounds and 0.34 inches thick.

Of course, the size of the tablet doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be great to use, but the aesthetics of the tablet market are a big part of selling the devices. Toshiba appears to be working hard to create a design that will rival the iPad and be remarkable in its own right. For example, the 10-inch Excite includes a burnished magnesium alloy back and a Gorilla Glass face, as Mashable reports, which helps make it feel substantial despite being so thin and light.

The Excite is also packed with ports, allowing users to plug in things like micro USB devices, SD cards and micro HDMI – something some Android tablets can do, but the iPad definitely can’t. It also includes two cameras like the iPad 2 does, but they’re a little more powerful than Apple’s offerings, with a 2-megapixel sensor in front and a 5-megapixel sensor in the rear. The screen supports a 1280x800 resolution, sports a dual-core 1.2GHz processor and includes 1GB of RAM to get apps moving.

Right, let’s get to the apps: the Toshiba Excite, Mashable says, will run the “stock” Android operating system, so expect to be familiar with it as soon as you pick one up. Toshiba doesn’t monkey around with the operating system the way some other device makers choose to do, which earns it a Google logo on the device. Right now, there hasn’t been a decision as to which version of Android the Excite will get, however, with either Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or the previously released, tablet-only Android 3.0 Honeycomb in the running. The Excite will support ICS, though, if Toshiba chooses to go that route.

We don’t have a price yet, but Mashable expects somewhere in the $499 to $599 neighborhood, which would keep the Excite in the same ballpark as the iPad. Toshiba is going to have its work cut out for it with the Excite, however, as it’ll be going up against Apple’s juggernaut as well as Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, a popular Android tab in the same size and price range. But it has some things going for it, including a cool design and some power under the hood. Toshiba needs to put some focus on the experience of using the tablet and help bring some strong apps to it, though, if it wants to compete against the others already dominating the market.