13-inch Toshiba tablet prototype spotted

Toshiba's latest Excite tablet is painfully underwhelming. Sure, it's marginally thinner than Apple's iPads. The 10" display has a reasonable 1280x800 resolution, and there are conveniences like a Micro USB port and a tiny SD slot. But the Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 SoC under the hood is only a slightly faster version of the chip found in the Kindle Fire, whose performance is hardly impressive. The Excite also costs quite a bit more than the Fire. Toshiba expects folks to shell out $529 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version, which isn't even running the latest version of Android.

Although the Excite fails to, er, you know, Toshiba's tendency to equip its tablets with standard Micro USB ports and SD slots is encouraging. (The company's cheaper, thicker Thrive tablets boast those amenities, too.) Also encouraging is the fact that Toshiba is toying with larger tablets. Turkish site Donanim Haber has seen a prototype 13.3-incher that purportedly boasts a 1920x1200 display resolution. The tablet appears to be based on Nvidia's Tegra 3 processor, and it's reportedly running Ice Cream Sandwich, but there's no word on when or even if the device will hit store shelves.

Tablet makers have begun filling out their lineups with smaller and cheaper 7" devices, but we haven't seen much in the way of options larger than 10" yet. Personally, I'd love to have a 13" tablet sitting on my coffee table. A bigger screen would definitely benefit couch surfing... just as long as it's not saddled with the 1366x768 resolution that dominates 13" notebooks.

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