Toshiba announces Thrive tablet details

Toshiba’s entry into the tablet market will be aimed at consumers who plan to use it mostly in their homes.

The Thrive tablet, which has been largely shrouded in mystery, was brought out of the shadows today as Toshiba revealed details about its move into the increasingly competitive market.

The most noteworthy detail is the price. There will be multiple SKUs for the Thrive, just like there are for almost every other tablet, but the cheapest one will only be $429. That makes it one of the most affordable big-name tablets, making it cheaper than any version of the iPad 2.

It will use Android’s most recent release, version 3.1, and has a 10.1-inch display. There’s also a full-size USB port (not micro USB), an SD card slot (not microSD), and several pre-installed apps. It is, as you might expect from those specs, a bit heavier and thicket than other tablets on the market – 1.6 pounds, and 0.61 inches thick.

The company also revealed the Thrive will go on sale on July 10.

Among the biggest contenders in the tablet space right now, in addition to the iPad, are Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, Motorola’s Xoom, and LG’s G-Slate. It is still a relatively nascent product class right now, though, and companies from all around are angling to find that perfectly unique concept that can catapult them ahead of the rest.

Toshiba doesn’t appear to bring that X factor to the table, but nonetheless, it feels it can compete. The biggest hurdle every manufacturer faces right now is trying to get consumers to look away from the iPad to realize there are other options out there. Because Apple defined the current tablet market, that can be a tall order.

But Toshiba’s Jeff Barney made a very salient point, as quoted in a BBC report. He noted, “There is a market out there of folks who want to buy non-Apple products.” True that, Barney.