Apple CEO Steve Jobs gave rivals a verbal bashing at the iPad 2 launch earlier this month, but now they're starting to hit back. Toshiba has put its head above the parapet, with one of its Australian execs promising that its upcoming Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet will be superior to the new iPad.
Here's the exact quote from Toshiba's Rob Wilkinson on Aussie site Smarthouse: "We are confident that we can match Apple pricing for their new iPad 2 while delivering a device that is richer in features," he says. "We believe that our device is superior to the Apple device, it may be a little heavier (773g) but it does have a lot of features that the iPad 2 does not have."
That's fighting talk! Toshiba is currently showing its tablet off to retailers in the land Down Under, so what features does it have that will leap over the iPad 2's specs? We know a few from the prototype model shown off at CES earlier this year.
The as yet unnamed tablet will run Android 3.0 Honeycomb, with a 10.1-inch display and a resolution of 1,280x800 pixels -- that's a bit bigger and higher than the iPad 2 respectively.
Tosh's tablet will pack a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, whose performance we haven't been able to compare directly against the iPad 2's A5.
It will also have a built-in HDMI output, a 2-megapixel front camera and a 5-megapixel rear camera. The cams are certainly higher resolution than what Apple is offering on its second-generation tablet, for which users will have to pay extra for an HDMI output accessory too.
The Toshiba model also has USB and mini-USB ports, an SD card slot and a removable battery. In short, Wilkinson isn't spouting hot air: that tablet does have a lot of features that are better than or missing in the iPad 2.
You might argue that he's missing the point, though -- deliberately or not. The tablet war won't just be about features: it'll be about the apps that make use of those features and the interface that presents them.
We read a tweet the other day that summed it up nicely: "Kudos to Apple, they've reframed the market so almost all other vendors are bringing specs to an experience fight."
For Toshiba's tablet to take a bite out of the iPad's popularity, it may need a superior experience, not just superior specs. We're looking forward to finding out what it has to offer, though -- and hoping it's learned from the lessons of its first tablet, the Folio 100.