Toshiba introduced on Thursday the Encore tablet, an 8 inch multi-touch Windows 8.1 device that is supposedly based on Intel's Bay Trail-T platform, aka the "latest-generation Atom processor." This x86-based support means customers can use most of their favorite Windows desktop apps on Toshiba's new tablet unlike other ARM-based Windows RT solutions currently on the market. Sporting Windows 8.1 out of the box also means the tablet won't be available on the market until 4Q 2013.
"Developed in close collaboration with Microsoft and built for consumers seeking a versatile small-screen tablet for home, work and play, Encore is well-positioned to accelerate the market for Windows-based tablets by delivering software-optimized features and sleek hardware design at a competitive price point," the company said.
Will Toshiba's Encore device fill the 8 inch x86-based Windows 8 tablet shoes that Acer's struggling Iconia W3 has been unable to fill? Toshiba attacks the current void using the Encore's multi-touch HFFS display featuring a semi-decent 1280 x 800 resolution and wide viewing angles. This screen will be encased in a "stylish" silver textured back plate, making the tablet both super-slim at 0.42 inches and lightweight, weighing 16.9 ounces.
"Encore is powered by the power-efficient Intel Atom processor, which delivers great performance, fast start-up and page loads, and an exceptional battery life rating," the company said. "It also includes the connected standby capabilities of InstantGo, enabling the device to receive updates while sleeping so content is always up to date when use is resumed."
Naturally Toshiba can't go into the Bay Trail-T specifics because Intel hasn't officially announced the platform. However the company does provide a few additional specs in its sea of promotional jabber, reporting that the tablet will have on-board dual microphones (optimized for Skype), a front-facing 2MP camera (Skype again), an 8MP camera on the back, stereo speakers and 32 GB of storage. A microSD card slot will add up to 32 GB of additional storage, rounding out the max capacity at 64 GB.
The tablet will also feature a microUSB port, microHDMI video output, both dual-band Wireless N and beamforming technology, and a full suite of sensors including a gyroscope, accelerometer and GPS. Toshiba will even throw in a full copy of Office Home & Student 2013 for convenient viewing and creation of Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. Bluetooth is probably in the specs somewhere, but for now these are the only "official" specs Toshiba has managed to cough up.
The Toshiba Encore tablet will be available for purchase in November at major retailers, e-tailers and direct from Toshiba at ToshibaDirect.com for $329.99. We look forward in seeing how this Windows 8.1 solution compares to Acer's current Iconia W3, or its successor if the device arrives within the next few months.