Usually, we tech bloggers strive to get our hands on the latest and greatest gadgets before they are officially announced by the manufacturers. In turn, most gadget-makers do their best to keep their latest products under wraps until they are formally inducted into society. For everyone involved, it’s second nature.
Except for Toshiba. Apparently, the Japanese don’t care that Nvidia is using one of their upcoming tablets to show off their Tegra 3 System-on-a-Chip. The slate in question is codenamed AT270, and we first saw it back at CES, when it was in a rough prototype stage. Now, it’s almost surely a finished product, and boy, it’s pretty. So pretty that Nvidia decided to use the not yet announced slate to showcase its quad-core powerhouse. But hey Toshiba, if you’re cool with it, we don’t mind.
From the outside, the new AT270 impresses through two things. First, and most obvious, the screen – a beautiful Super AMOLED Plus displays that is as vibrant as they get. The 1280 x 800 display is similar to the one used by Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 7.7, and there is a good chance that they are actually identical. Super AMOLED Plus is the improved version of Super AMOLED, which comes with more sub-pixels and replaces the hated (by some) PenTile technology with a regular RGB matrix. (How’s that for a crash course into display technology?) The result: a thinner screen, improved brightness, and smaller energy consumption.
The second thing that catches the eye at the Toshiba AT270 is its sleek and stylish appearance. Previous Toshiba Thrive slates have been criticized for their unassuming, even stodgy design. Moreover, the cheap materials used to make them didn’t help correct that image. But now, Toshiba seems to have realized that we live in a world where looks are often more important than function, so the new AT270 comes without a full-size USB port like the Thrives had. This allowed them to shave a few millimeters off the new slate, which feels decidedly thin and light. And, instead of a rubberized back, Toshiba’s new tab features a gold texturized plastic back plate, which feels like a huge improvement. Overall, in terms of industrial design, the AT270 is a major step forward for Toshiba.
Now, Toshiba would have received ovations just for finally delivering an attractive tablet. But they decided to go for the gold, so the new AT270 features a Tegra 3 quad-core processor, clocked at 1.5GHz. Just imagine the copious amounts of eye-candy generated by pairing the latest-generation quad-core processor with a 7.7-inch Super AMOLED Plus display. Yummy! The icing on the cake? Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, of course.
Although we don’t have any precise specs besides the processor, it’s safe to assume that the Toshiba AT270 will boast 1GB of RAM and at least 16GB of internal storage. All around, some great specifications for a tablet that feels so light. No details about the battery life yet (remember that it’s only a show model, and not even an official Toshiba one). Presumably, both the Super AMOLED Plus display and the Tegra 3 4-Plus-1 architecture should contribute to a relatively good battery life.
Good question. With such impression specifications and the looks to match, the Toshiba AT270 clearly deserves the spotlight at MWC. No other tablet released so far comes with such tempting combination of specs – quad-core Tegra 3, Super AMOLED Plus, Ice Cream Sandwich.
So, why did Toshiba choose to neglect the AT270? Is the model seen at the Nvidia booth a real product or just a reference model? Will we see the real dealanytime soon? We’ll just have to wait and see. It isn’t too late for Toshiba to make a big announcement. Fingers crossed!