New Toshiba tablet includes replaceable battery

Toshiba Tablet will include 10.1-inch screen and run on Google's Android 3.0 OS

Toshiba will launch a tablet later this year that includes a 10.1-inch screen and a replaceable battery, according to a company website previewing the device.

The tablet, called Toshiba Tablet, will run on Google's upcoming Android 3.0, which is code-named Honeycomb, and will be powered by Nvidia's dual-core Tegra 2 processor, according to the website.

The tablet provides the unique ability to replace a battery, which can be done by "screwdriver-savvy people," the company said on the website.

The capability to replace batteries could be handy if the device is regularly used to view high-definition movies or play games. Toshiba is pitching the tablet as a gaming and multimedia device, and the Tegra 2 chip includes a GeForce graphics core that can help the tablet display images at high-definition resolutions.

But playing HD video can draw a lot of power, which can affect battery life. Toshiba did not provide battery life details for the tablet on its website.

Other features include a 2.0-megapixel camera in the front and a 5.0-megapixel camera with autofocus on the back. The device will include USB ports, an HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) slot, and an SD memory card slot.

The tablet will ship in spring, the company said on the website. Toshiba did not respond to requests for comment.

Toshiba showed off a prototype tablet with a similar screen size running Android 2.2 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month, but did not specify a release date for the product.

The company did not have success with its first tablet, the Folio 100, with U.K.-based consumer electronics vendor Dixon's Retail pulling the tablet off the shelves in November last year because of high return rates. The Folio also included a 10.1-inch screen and ran on Android's 2.2 OS, which is code-named Froyo.

With the new tablet, Toshiba will be reentering a crowded market that took off in April last year with Apple's iPad. According to IDC tablet shipments totaled around 4.8 million in last year's third quarter. IDC is projecting tablet shipments in 2010 to total 17 million units, and 44.6 million units for 2011. Gartner is projecting tablet shipments to be as high as 54.8 million next year.

About 100 tablets were announced at the CES earlier this month, with many running Android 3.0 and powered by Tegra 2. Motorola announced the Xoom, which includes a 10.1-inch screen, and is expected to be the first Honeycomb tablet to reach market. Asus announced the Eee Pad Slider, which includes a slide-out keypad. LG announced the G-Slate, which will run T-Mobile's 4G network. Dell launched the Streak 7, which will initially run on Android 2.2, but will soon be upgradable to Android 3.0.

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