Toshiba to bring tablet PC to Europe, Middle East

The U.S version of the tablet will run Google's Android 3.0 Honeycomb OS

Toshiba will launch its upcoming tablet computer in Europe and the Middle East in addition to North America, it said Tuesday.

The tablet, which was first shown at January's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, will have slightly different specifications and naming in the Europe and Middle East region to the version that will be offered in North America, said Eva Heller, a company spokeswoman. Further details were not available.

The North American version will be based on Android 3.0, the first version of Google's operating system designed for tablet PCs, and be powered by an Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, according to a Toshiba website. Other features include a 10-inch screen and dual cameras.

Toshiba previously launched an Android tablet in Europe. The Folio 100 started shipping to customers in the U.K. in November, but later the same month retailer Dixons pulled the tablet from store shelves because of high return rates. It remains listed on Toshiba U.K.'s website, but is not available through the online store.

Also on Tuesday, Toshiba introduced three new laptop PCs targeted at professional users. The R800 family of laptops come in 13.3-, 14- and 15.6-inch screen size models.

The 13.3-inch model is aimed at frequent travelers and will compete with other thin and light laptops. Toshiba hopes to differentiate it from the competition through the use of Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 processors rather than the low-power chips used in some other slim machines. It has a magnesium chassis and weighs around 1.2 kg.

The 14-inch machine is aimed at office workers who sometimes need to take their computer on the road, and the 15.6-inch model is heavier and designed to fill in for a desktop PC.

Perhaps most importantly, Toshiba is also promising lower prices.

"Previously we were at premium prices, but now we are getting closer to the mass market," said Raf Kuppens, director of Toshiba's B-to-B business in the EMEA region. "We had configurations in the past up to $2,000 for 12-inch machines. We will definitely be able to get lower than a $1,000."

Exact prices were not announced. The laptops will be available in the second quarter.

Martyn Williams covers Japan and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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