Toshiba Thrive takes aim at the iPad 2

Not exactly a budget tablet, but the Toshiba Thrive will be cheaper than Apple's iPad 2 when it finally hits the shelves.

According to Crave, initial pricing for the basic model is at $429 (about £260) which is $70 (£40) cheaper than the entry-level Wi-Fi iPad 2. OK, things might change when it hits the UK, but there's no obvious reason for a jump when it hits our shores. After all, Toshiba wants a chunk of the market over here, just as much as any other country, It also has a tasty feature set, which, if marketed correctly, could make the Thrive a real contender.

Thrive is the name for the unnamed tablet launched earlier this year, initially at the CES event. It offers a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 chip, a 1,280x800-pixel resolution 10.1-inch display, a five-megapixel rear camera and two-megapixel front camera, stereo speakers and the usual array of ports, including HDMI. Also present is the Android 3.0 Homeycomb operating system and access to Toshiba's own version of the Android Market. Essentially, the 'App Place' will rank widgets and applications, as well as screening out anything incompatible with the tablet.

Is it enough to reduce the gap between Apple and the pack? We'll find out when it launches in the US next month. A UK launch is certain to follow fairly soon after, although so far, Toshiba hasn't given any dates for the Thrive on these shores.

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