Woot has a quality deal for the last minute Christmas shoppers among you. Today only (as per Woot tradition), you can get the Toshiba Thrive 10 for just $289 + $5 shipping. Woot says if you order this deal, they’ll make sure it arrives by Christmas. This is a refurbished unit with 16GB of built-in storage, and it’s also WiFi only. In case you’ve forgot, here are the Toshiba Thrive 10 specs:
While it isn’t the most streamlined tablet on the market, with a more ruggedized aesthetic than most, one of the best parts of the Toshiba Thrive 10 is that it has full-sized HDMI/USB/SD card slot, where most other tablets have micro variants of these ports. This means no adapting and no new cable purchases needed.
Toshiba is announcing the Thrive 7 today, a 7″ Honeycomb tablet which is the second addition to the Thrive series. Toshiba described the Thrive 7 as a smaller version of the Thrive 10 and it will feature that same grip-friendly back. The Thrive 10 is a ‘utility’ tablet of sorts, featuring a range of full-sized ports. I was hoping that the Thrive 7 would retain these full-sized ports, but unfortunately they had to be shrunk to their smaller counterparts in order to fit inside of the Thrive 7.
While other 7″ Honeycomb tablets have so far been released with 1024×600 screens, the Thrive 7 has been fitted with a 1280×800 LED backlit display. Honeycomb 3.2 is installed out of the box.
The Thrive 7 uses that familiar Nvidia Tegra 2 platform that most Honeycomb tablets are using today, which means you’ll find a 1GHz dual-core Cortex A9 CPU and 1GB of RAM inside. As for ports, the tablet hides micro-HDMI, mini-USB, and MicroSD away underneath a dust-cover. I thought an error had been made when I heard mention of mini-USB (instead of micro), but we’ve double checked and it is confirmed that the Thrive 7 has a mini-USB port instead of micro-USB. Why Toshiba went with mini-USB instead of micro-USB is unclear. However, you will be able to charge through the mini-USB port, or through the docking connector on the bottom. I think I speak for most of us when I say it would have been awesome to see full-sized HDMI/USB/SD on the Thrive 7, but I suppose they couldn’t cram all of that in the chassis of the 7″ form-factor.
In addition to the aforementioned ports, you’ll find a volume rocker, lock/power button, and rotation-lock switch on the Thrive 7, just like the Thrive 10. There’s also a 2MP front facing camera and a 5MP rear sensor.
At 11mm thick and 399 grams, the Thrive 7 won’t be the thinnest or lightest tablet on the market, but it’s trimmed way down compared to the Thrive 10 which is 16mm thick and weighs in at 725 grams. 16/32GB capacities will be offered. Though the Thrive 7 is focused on mobility, Toshiba says it has no plans at the moment for a 3G version of the unit.
Toshiba will be offering a range of cases for the tablet, including one which will allow the device to be propped up in both landscape and portrait modes. To make use of the docking connector (not found on the Thrive 10), Toshiba is readying a sort of multimedia dock which will play nicely with a Bluetooth keyboard that will also be offered with the device.
Pricing will be revealed closer to launch, which is planned for early December.
At IDF, Toshiba is showing off its second entry into the 10” Honeycomb Slate category with the AT200, which currently holds the title of both thinnest and lightest 10” slate.
Toshiba’s first 10” Honeycomb tablet was the Thrive which went for a utility-over-style approach. The Thrive is 16mm thick and weights 725 grams, but it also offered a range of full-sized ports such as USB and HDMI.
With the AT200, Toshiba is showing that they’re just as capable as the rest when it comes to making a svelte slate. To prove it, the AT200 beats out the current champ, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in both thickness and weight.
The Tab 10.1 is 8.63mm thick which the AT200 bests by 11% at 7.7mm. For weight, the AT200 undercuts the Tab 10.1’s 564 grams by 3% at 550 grams.
Impressively, the AT200 is even thinner than the recently announced Galaxy Tab 7.7 which is in the 7” category and has a thickness of 7.89mm.
Of course, the margin for these titles is quite thin, so things could change slightly, but just enough to unseat it, by the time the unit hits production – especially when they throw 3G/4G into the mix.
Toshiba says that the AT200 will be available in a WiFi-only incarnation in December, while you’ll have to wait for sometime in Q1 2012 for a data-equipped model. Pricing is not yet official and specs are quite thin at the moment, but a 1.2GHz dual-core CPU has been confirmed so far. We’ll track down full details for you though, stay tuned!
Remember that commentary we posted on Liliputing’s initial hands-on impressions with the Toshiba Thrive? Well now the device reviews are starting to roll in and we though it was a good time to let you know what the world thinks about the device so far (or at least the part of the world that got their hands on the device early).
First off the bat, you have to keep in mind that Toshiba is a television company, and that culture, along with a few others, plays into the product positioning of the Thrive in its competitive market. With that culture comes the baggage of marketing words applied to product packaging and websites that do not necessarily translate to enhanced capabilities. I mention this because, while a lot of the media reviews are generally warm on the Thrive, I noted a recurring trend of enhancements that the Thrive claims to have, but do not really result in anything “better”. Features like “Resolution+” do not appear to add much to the Thrive’s value, for instance.
One feature that is advertised and does result in real world results is the full-size USB port combined with Toshiba’s custom file-manager program. Laptop Magazine’s Avram Piltch found that both the port and the app functioned as advertised with USB thumb drives and external USB hard drives. SD memory cards worked well with the file manager app when the cards were inserted. Remember that this is a full-sized SD card port. I can hear the sounds of photogs all over rejoicing at the concept of carrying the tablet around and immediately seeing their photos “developed” on a larger screen. I can not speak for all photo buffs, but I know that looking at my shots on my Sony Alpha a350’s LCD does not tell me enough about how the shots look on a big screen. Toshiba’s implementation and the decent reviews so far lead me to feel that the tablet is a shoe-in as a rambling shutterbug’s companion.
Video performance-wise, the Thrive scored better than the category average in the An3Dbench. It also bested the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, regarded by many as the genre-leader in Android Honeycomb Tablets. It is outpaced by the Asus Eee Pad Transformer however. Laptop Magazine’s benchmarks can be seen here.
As I mentioned at the outset, Toshiba is a company driven by a few paramount sub-cultures, and their background as a consumer, and especially budget, PC company definitely influenced the Thrive’s design as well as the TV culture I mentioned earlier. Therefore, the Thrive comes pre-loaded with a dozen or more apps of Toshi’s choosing. User value with these will vary, as many are limited trial versions. Among the apps included are QuickOffice HD, LogMeIn Ignition, PrinterShare, and Kaspersky Tablet Security. I have personally found Documents-to-Go and Lookout security to be preferable alternatives to the former and latter apps mentioned, so definitely consider whether or not you want to jettison some of the Toshi apps when you are doing initial setup. Of course, I did not see mention in the reviews if some of these apps are locked and cannot be uninstalled. I have found this to be the case with several Android devices that I have owned.
Model pricing is $430 for 8GB, $480 for 16GB, and $580 for 32GB, which stacks up well against iPad 2 pricing. The full size ports offer multiple options for expanding that storage capacity. Not all files work well, however, especially HD video files, if users try to play or edit them from non-organic storage.
The downsides to the Thrive are primarily size and weight. Users will have to decide if the trade-off are worth it for all of the expansion and utility options the Thrive offers. Also keep in mind that with heft comes durability. I feel fairly comfortable with my Motorola Xoom’s soft-touch, textured back, and durable feel, and while my iPad is lighter, its smooth back and light weight always make me nervous when I do not have it in a case. Similar thoughts should be considered by potential Thrive buyers if they are comparing that choice to other, lighter weight Android tablets.
There is a known issue where the Thrive will sometimes not wake from sleep. Because most buyer’s typically fall in love or out of love with a device in the first 3 to 5 days of use, it might be worth giving it some time for Toshiba to roll out a firmware fix before consumer’s get onboard the Thrive train. Toshiba indicates that they are aware of the problem, and a fix is being investigated. No word on when it will arrive.
Check out some of the reviews at the outlets below. These are just a few of the ones we checked out, and we are sure there are more out there. We had one commenter on the initial hands on report. How about now? Have the reviews brought any more readers into the potential buyer fold? Or do you feel that the word on the street encourages you to continue looking at other alternatives? Sound off in the comments below!
There is a part of design that is math and engineering. Weight, power, SAR ratings, maintenance envelopes… the basic stuff you get in any mechanical or systems engineering curriculum at your friendly neighborhood college. Then there is part of design that is art. And an additional part that is empathy; that part where the designers try and guess the subjective viewpoint some users will take, and use that to drive some of the design trade-offs they choose to make.
Why do I wax so poetic about the art of design? Because I think Toshiba deserves some credit for making some bold moves in its design choices resident in the Toshiba Thrive [tracking page]. Our pal Brad Linder over at Liliputing got his hands on a demo unit and offered his first impressions. What has me most impressed about the Thrive is that Toshi went with function over form, and that’s not something easy to do in the face of the class-leading iPad.
The primary focus of the Thrive is for the device to offer hooks into more standard ecosystems and infrastructures that most tablets do not. The list of proprietary apps that come pre-loaded on the Thrive is a mile long. One of these implementations that jumps out at me is the app that allows you to connect to universal plug-and-play (UPnP) devices on your home network. This should make the Thrive capable of reaching out and touching NAS units and UPnP capable DVRs. The thought of accessing all of my video files and photos on my NAS or streaming from a compatible DVR is very compelling, to say the least.
Typically, a long list of proprietary apps on an Android device today is indicative of a lack of Google licensed apps. Fortunately, the Thrive comes with the standard (properly licensed) Google app package, including Gmail, Gcal, and, most importantly, access to the Android Market. The device runs Google’s Android 3.1 Honeycomb OS. Thankfully, this OS has recently received updates that add more functionality when a tablet interfaces with USB devices that require USB-Host. Toshiba strives to take full advantage of these updates by equipping the Thrive with a full-size USB port, as well as an SD Card slot, mini-USB, and full-size HDMI.
Full-size means not having to compromise or hunt for adapters for USB components a user would like to pair with the Thrive. It means reaching behind your TV and grabbing the standard HDMI cable you might already have plugged in to a device and connecting your Thrive instead of ordering a min-HDMI cable for one device. While I am very happy taking only my iPad along on a photo shoot and using the camera adapter to immediately view photos on a larger screen, the problem is just that…I have to use an adapter. It is an extra piece of gear on my photo checklist. A lot of people might say “So what? Big deal”, but the point is that it is just one more thing that might be forgotten. The Thrive eliminates the need for taking along these pieces of pocket lint and lets you run the devices as they were originally intended.
All of these advantages come at a price, however, and that is primarily in weight and girth. The Thrive comes in at 1.6 pounds. That is about a quarter of a pound heavier than the iPad 2, and around 0.35 pounds heavier than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Toshiba’s web site does not officially list the dimensions on the product sales page, but you can see photo comparisons against the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 here.
I am personally ok with this trade-off. Much ado has been made recently about how a device is not innovative unless it is the lightest device in its class. However, I think that weight, like any other characteristic in a consumer electronics device, is an attribute that can be traded for other advantages. I spend a lot of time with my tablets in cradles or on easels. I do not mind holding a tablet with two hands. The Toshiba Thrive also has a soft-touch, textured back, which, as I have mentioned before, can go a long way towards making additional weight a non-issue. Any of these trade-offs might be worth it to a user more concerned with breadth of functionality over weight.
The Toshiba Thrive, with models ranging from $430 to $580 for 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB models, is priced very competitively against other 10inch tablets on the market. Liliputing has yet to post a full review, but Brad appeared to be very interested in Toshiba’s approach.
One problem with the tablet market these days is that there are a ton of “me too” devices in the retail and online channels. Each of the manufacturers is going to need to come up with a riff on the general theme that grabs the attention of potential buyers. Toshiba’s approach of hooking the Thrive into more conventional desktop and laptop infrastructures might just do the trick.
Liliputing’s video of their first impressions is embedded below.
The Thrive has a 10.1” screen @ 1280×800, flash support, 1G RAM, dual-core Tegra 2 processor and comes with Android Honeycomb 3.1 as its operating system. There are two cameras: a 5MP back camera and a 2MP front facing camera for video conferencing.
Before we all throw our hands up in the air and moan about “yet another wannabe 10.1” Android tablet”, bear in mind that Toshiba is well known for designing and making quality, sturdy laptops and this tablet looks very solidly constructed and would seem like it can take a knock or two!
Having look at the back cover (pictured above), it is made of Easy Grip surface which is textured and looks like it’ll provide you with a great non slippery gripping experience. The cool thing is that this Easy Grip surface is replaceable and you can customize the surface with different colored skins if you wish to stand apart from the crowd.
Here’s more good design Toshiba has thrown onto the Thrive:
1) Replaceable battery – I am always a fan of tablets that allows you to replace a worn out battery or carry an additional to extend your road warrioring hours, so big brownie points for Toshiba for this!
2) Connectivity ports galore (picture above) – the Thrive comes with SD slot, mini USB, full sized USB 2.0, and a full sized HDMI out, again, another standout inclusion. I really like that the two most commonly used connectivity interfaces are full sized and you don’t have to hunt around for mini or micro HDMI cables (eg, Acer Iconia and the Asus eeePad Transformer). There’s even a dust cover to protect the slots when not in use. Lack of ports is one of the biggest threats to the HP TouchPad.
The Thrive will come in three models, for the budget conscious: 8GB ($429.99), 16GB ($479.99), and the top of the range 32GB ($579.99). These capacities are currently available as WiFi-only but Toshiba has said that they will be releasing the 3G or 4G versions shortly.
Toshiba has certainly made the effort to ensure that the Thrive tablet doesn’t become ‘just another 10.1” tablet’ with some great attention into its design.
The ultimate sacrifice that manufacturers, such as Toshiba, are making by offering full sized connectivity interfaces and replaceable batteries will be the size and particularly the thickness of the device — it can never come close to being as wafer thin as the iPad2.
Still, the Thrive may win the hearts of road warriors like me that need a productive tablet that can interact with other devices and peripherals.
I’ve downloaded, installed and tested and can confirm that not only are you getting V2.2 of Android with a noticeable performance boost but you’re also getting Flash support which finally enables a reasonable YouTube experience. There’s also the Toshiba market for apps, music and radio and, of course, some nice features in 2.2 like the 3G hotspot feature for those of you with 3G versions. I’ve also noticed an increase in compatibility with sideloaded applications. Streaming audio through applications like Last.FM now work and there’s better graphics compatibility. Previously, many games just weren’t working.
One of the big question marks though is about standby. Original versions of the AC100 would often jump out of standby, an almost off state, and never fall back into it meaning batteries would be dead by the morning. I’ll be testing that tonight [Update: This morning it was still in standby. More testing needed thought] but in the meantime I’ve been checking to see if Toshiba have improved the active-idle battery life. They haven’t. Screen off idle, with Wifi on and apps able to use the Internet results in about 2.5w continuous drain. That is, in ARM-platform terms, quite embarrassing for Toshiba. I’m not able to test Internet-connected idle mode with the 3G here. [Previous testing here] In-use battery life still seems to be around the 6hr mark which is good for 800gm of device with a 25Wh battery but they really should have worked on the active-standby figures before the product went out of the door.
Performance increase is noticeable with browsing, UI actions and measurable in Sunspider and other tests. Sunspider results have improved from 4800 seconds to 3900 seconds – a 19% improvement. Quadrant results are at the 2000 mark and Linpack returns 34MFlops, an impressive figure.
So does it bring the AC100 back from the dead? I just had a look at the prices and I certainly think there’s value here now. The model I have under my fingers right now has just broken through 200 Euros in Germany. That’s with 512MB of RAM and 8Gb of storage, USB OTG and 1080P playback (with uPnP support) a good keyboard, about 6hrs battery life (10+hrs max) in an 800gm chassis. You don’t get Google applications (I would happily pay 50 Euros for that enhancement) and you’ll pay 40 Euros for the addition of 3G but still, that’s a great deal. Remember that a Novatel MiFi costs at least 150 Euro and you certainly can’t type docs, play music and 1080p video or Angry Birds on that! It’s not a netbook, but it’s a good value gadget.
I captured my download, install and testing on camera this afternoon:
Days before CES officially kicks off Toshiba have announced their Honeycomb tablet offering, or at least demonstrated the hardware. Similar to Toshiba’s previous Android tablet, the Folio, it’s powered by the Tegra 2 platform however it has been given a much needed makeover with a higher resolution 1280 x 800 10.1” display, 5 megapixel rear camera and a 2 megapixel front facing camera which will be able to take advantage of the many Android video calling services and hopefully a Google GTalk video calling service by the time the tablet launches.
Like the Folio it also has full size HDMI and USB interfaces and a SD card slot. The tablet is also equipped with a mini-USB for all your charging needs however it’s a shame Toshiba didn’t opt to use a micro-USB connector to try and comply with the new European mobile charging standard.
The new Toshiba device also offers an interesting removable rubberized rear cover which will provide customers with the options of a replaceable battery and also the option to replace it with a different coloured rear panel. Android is well known to be a heavily customizable operating system, by both manufactures and users, therefore customers may see this sort of hardware customization as an attractive option.
Unfortunately Engadget were not given permission to turn on the device but were told that it will run “the next version of Android designed for tablets” when it launches in the first half of 2011. Hopefully after the firmware issues that Folio users were initially plagued with Toshiba will scrap their custom user interface and go for a stock Google Android Honeycomb experience.
If Toshiba can maintain the competitive pricing that was demonstrated with the Folio this new device could mark the start of a new wave of affordable and quality Android tablets that have access to all the Google goodies, including the Android Market and along with this a large influx of tablet compatible ‘HD’ applications and games which will start to come when Google officially announce their tablet friendly version of Android.
About 3 months ago I bought a Toshiba AC100 ‘smart’ book for testing. While I didn’t believe it would provide me with a netbook experience I was very interested in continuing my testing with ‘always on’ ARM-based devices. Unfortunately, that ‘always on’ experience highlighted in marketing and videos, has still not been delivered 3 months later. It’s time Toshiba actually stood up, removed the false claims, started apologizing to customers and fixing this broken device. More importantly, potential owners need to keep fingers off until we can confirm the problem is fixed.
We highlighted the standby battery life problem just a few days after we got the AC100 and a few weeks later delivered the message direct to Toshiba at IFA. The product simply doesn’t provide anywhere near the claimed ‘up to 8 days’ of standby battery life. You’ll be lucky if the AC100 still has a charge 24 hours later. Many many users have confirmed the same issue.
A promised upgrade to Froyo was the light at the end of the tunnel that most owners clung on to but that is now many weeks overdue with no official word about a timescale. In fact, a surprise firmware update last week that failed to install was followed by another firmware update that doesn’t seem to have fixed the problem or updated the device to Froyo. Do you trust them to deliver 2.2 AND fix the battery life problem?
In attempts to actually get something useful out of the AC100 I hacked the bootloader (yes, forgoing any rights to a return or repair under guarantee) to install Ubuntu and after trying the update a few days ago, I now have a bricked device. I’m sure others will fall into this trap.
I’m not going to address this email to Toshiba because their forum should be alerting them to their problems (link) instead, I’m addressing it to current and potential owners. The AC100 is still broken and I advise you to check your standby battery life and if you think I’m right, return the device. [If not, please let us know – we’d love to strikethrough and update this article.] Potential owners should refrain from a purchase until there are clear confirmations that the problems have been fixed. Better still, pass the message on and highlight that the AC100 is not yet the device with the ‘ultimate battery life’.
Toshiba have just announced that the Folio 100, the 10” Tegra2-based tablet, is now being distributed in Europe. The Tablet uses Android 2.2 and is much the same hardware as the AC100 we’ve been testing (and hacking) here at Carrypad.
You’ll see that Toshiba are pushing their own applications store (Google Market was clearly not authorised for this non-phone tablet) and there’s some interesting content. AceTrax is offering the video content which will be an advantage over the Galaxy Tab which doesn’t offer any video content in Europe . 7Digital is doing the music (as on the Galaxy Tab) but we don’t yet know who’s providing the applications and ebooks. The AC100 uses the Camangi Market but we suspect they have switched providers. There’s a possibility that they have teamed up with Archos to offer AppLib but we’ll try and get that info for you soon.
As for pricing, nothing was announced today but we’ve spotted it online for 399 Euros (Google search) without 3G. With the Archos 101 starting to hit the shelves at €299, retailers will have to do better than that although we expect some premium for the Tegra 2 platform. USB OTG is included along with an SD Card slot and HDMI-out and there’s also a 3G option. Without GPS and the Google Applications though, it has its downsides.
We had some hands on at IFA and hope to bring you some testing with the retail version soon.
Fingers crossed that there’s only a few changes needed to get 2.2 out of the door for the AC100. We’re expecting an availability within a few weeks.
The work of the uber-Linux and Tegra Lords of these three forums allowed me to do this today:
Yes, you’re looking at Ubuntu 10.10 (RC) running on a Toshiba AC100 smart book.
This is the most exciting thing I’ve done in a long long time. It’s not quite there yet (the boot hangs at this point but the people-that-know are working on it) but apparently everything works apart from sound.
If I can fire up Firefox and get 7 hours battery life out of this 800gm slim-n-lite then I’ll be shouting “See. I told you the smart-book wasn’t dead.”
It took one Linux box, some Nvidia Tegra tools, a new bootloader (dangerous) and Ubuntu built for ARMv7 on an SD card. Clearly the doors are now open for other installations although if Ubuntu is fast enough it should be good enough for most people.
I’ll be doing more work on this when the new tarball arrives.
Despite the incomplete nature of these ‘smart’ books I’ve been testing, I’m still positive that the form factor and ARM-based processor has a lot to offer and that it will greatly influence the netbook of the future. People will say that the smart ‘book’ is dead but I guarantee that if Apple were to release a MacBook iAir running on iOS, the worlds axis would change and it would become the next best thing. Smart ‘books’ aren’t dead, they’re just gestating.
I’ll be continuing to test various devices with various operating systems and applications and in this video you’ll see me test a number of applications that are working out well on the AC100. Many applications don’t work well but the nice thing about a marketplace with thousands and thousands of applications in it is that you have options. All applications shown have been sideloaded using this method.
I have a 3G AC100 on order and am looking forward to new Froyo-based firmware soon so stay tuned for more testing.
In the video you’ll see Documents To Go, NewsRob, Raging Thunder, Wave Blazer, Astro, WordPress, Touiteur, Google Maps, Photoshop Express and XiiaLive.
Update: 4th Nov. The latest I have is that Froyo will be available in Germany on within the next 2 weeks. (3rd week of Nov) Yes, it slipped
We had a great chat with the product manager for Toshiba’s AC100 in Germany at IFA yesterday and we covered a lot of ground about the target markets and future for these smart-books. Toshiba seem quite committed to the ‘smart’ sector and already have a team of 25 working on their Android builds. The next two milestones for the team are the Froyo-based Folio 100 Tegra2 Tablet and Android 2.2 (Froyo) upgrade for the AC100. Yes, it’s coming in 6 weeks and I’m excited because not only will it bring a Cortex core optimised version of Android to the device but it will also bring important browser improvements. We should get access to Google Docs and for me, that’s a huge step forward.
I’ve made Toshiba aware of the battery issue and I’ll be following up with an email. We’re also planning to get up to Toshiba’s HQ near Duesseldorf to get some quality time with the Folio soon. Yes, i’ll be taking the chance to tell them how important the Market is and encouraging them to kick Google hard!
I’m hoping to get my 3G / UK version of the AC100 from Amazon soon so if anyone want’s to buy a German (QWERZ keyboard) Wifi-only version, let me know!
We didn’t get a huge chance for hands-on as we stumbled across the Toshiba press event at IFA today and with the device locked to the wall, without and sort of Internet connection and without any supporting technical staff, it was difficult to do a good test on the Toshiba Folio 100. We want to go back and ask about pricing, Google apps and Android 2.2 availability for the keyboarded version that we’re doing extended testing on, the AC100. I’ve published a video on YouTube (below) that might give you a few snippets of information about the Folio but we’ll be back over the next few days with more information. We promise!
There’s two ways of looking at this. Either you think about the issues of the Toshiba AC100 (no Google Apps, Market, Browser issues, crashes, standby battery life issues) and you think OMG – This is a fail from the word go, or you hope that the 2.2 upgrade and a touchscreen are going to fix it. Certainly if you take away the keyboard you won’t be tempted to try anything silly like writing a document so that at least solves one problem but I fear that the Market is still going to be missing.
There’s no way Google will licence Market for a device that is simply not supported by Android. Developers have no way at all to write screen-efficient apps for this screen size and the apps that do exist look annaemic on a 1024×600 screen.
I don’t want to be too negative but its difficult when you’ve tested three potentially great bits of hardware that were spoiled by having only half of an Android-based OS product.
I like the idea of Tegra 2 (with Android 2.2 it will, seriously, blow everything else out of the water in terms of Android benchmarks – i’ve seen it today) and the tablet form-factor at least ‘fits’ Android a little better but without the Google licensed apps, its only half of what it could be.
If I’m wrong about Google Market then great, we’ve got progress but i’m not holding my breath because I think only Android 3 can fix that.
For the last two nights I’ve been testing the ‘standby’ battery life on the Toshiba AC100. [Unboxing and overview video here] On the first test the battery was at about 30% capacity. I closed the lid and expected to have plenty of battery life left in the morning. When I woke up, the AC100 was dead. On the second test the battery was again at 30%. This time I turned the WiFi off before closing the lid. In that scenario I’d expect next to no drain at all. Again, when I woke up 7 hours later, the device was dead. Something’s wrong.
Looking at the battery information I’m seeing something strange.
Can you spot the issue on my WiFi-only AC100?
Yup, somehow the 3G subsystem is draining power which is really quite strange considering I don’t have 3G on this device. Have they left the 3G radio on the device and just removed the SIM slot? Have they forgotten to turn the 3G off in the firmware? Does ‘cell standby’ actually mean something else? I can’t imagine another subsystem in the AC100 that would take more power than the screen and Wifi. On my Android phone here, cell standby is taking only 9% of the power. When the firmware contains strings like ‘eng/test-keys’, commonly found on test builds, you’ve got to wonder what’s going on.
I’ll have to raise a support issue on this with Toshiba Europe.
Note: 12mins later, the graph was still the same. Cell Standby is taking 77% of the battery drain. Going to ‘airplane mode’ doesn’t appear to help.
Note: 30 mins later and ‘cell standby’ is up to 81%.
Anyone else experiencing the same on their AC100 (Is there anyone else out there with an AC100?)
Update: Just to be clear – active battery life is around the 6hrs mark (50% screen, wifi on) so there’s no problem with that. I’ve also found a lot of threads on forums that question the ‘cell standby’ measurement. One response says it’s a known issue in Android 2.1. Currently manually measuring screen-off drain.
In a third test last night I went to bed with about 60% drain. I woke up with 20% left – and the screen on. Something is turning the screen on and causing the drain. Have now done a factory reset to remove any of my sideloaded apps that may be turning the screen on. I’ll do another overnight test tonight.
Update: 1535 – 31 August.
With a fresh factory reset I’ve been testing the battery life over the last few hours.
With screen off, wifi on, idle, no usb subsystem, no sdcard i’m seeing 6 mins per 1% battery drain. That’s really not that good. – 2.4W average drain. I’m expecting more like 1W.
With screen off, AIRPLANE MODE, no USB subsystem, no sdcard, idle, I’m seeing 13 mins per 1% battery drain. That’s 1.14W drain which is terrible for an ARM system. A smartphone with screen off and airplane mode would take about 20-50mw. Remember, the AC100 is effectively has smartphone internals so when you turn the screen off, there should be no difference (i’ve turned the USB host subsystem off and removed the SDcard to remove that from the equation.) Something is sapping over 90% of the battery – which brings us back to the cell subsystem which, after these tests, was taking 84% of the power according to ‘battery status’ under Android. At this stage, i’m tempted to pull it apart. Will I find a surprise 3G module inside?
Update2 – 31st August.
I won’t be doing any more review work on the AC100 until I get to the bottom of this power issue because it’s a huge problem that takes away the main reason to have it in the first place. ARM-based devices do a good job at ‘always on’. Take the Archos 5 for example. It’s a Cortex-based Android device and just 30 minutes ago I checked some stats on it. It’s been sitting on my desk in a screen-off, wifi-off state for 4 days and 8 hours and get this, it has a battery that’s less than half the size of the battery in the AC100. Not only that, there’s 45% of the battery left. That’s under 50mw of drain. 20x less than the AC100. There’s the problem with the AC100!
Update 3: 5th Sept.
Toshiba Germany tell us that Froyo will be delivered in 6 weeks (Mid October) for the AC100. We have also reported the details of the above issue directly to the German product manager.