Toshiba readies the Thrive Android tablet for $429

Toshiba is the next hardware maker set to enter the Google Android tablet game when its Thrive ships in mid-July. The 10-inch tablet is available for pre-order today, says Gotta Be Mobile, with prices starting at $429. Don’t get too excited by the price point that’s $70 less than the cheapest Apple iPad 2 (s aapl) though: Toshiba’s starting model comes with 8 GB of flash storage, or half that in the entry-level iPad. However, memory in the Toshiba Thrive can be expanded through a full-sized SD memory card.

For consumers who would rather purchase a tablet with more internal storage, the Thrive is available in with 16 GB ($479) and 32 GB ($579) of memory. Other specifications common to all three models include:

  • 1 GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 (s nvda) dual-core processor
  • 1 GB of RAM
  • Google(s goog) Android Honeycomb 3.1
  • 1280 x 800 resolution display
  • Full-sized HDMI port, USB port, miniUSB
  • 5 megapixel rear auto-focus rear camera with 720p video capture, 2 megapixel front camera
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0
  • User-replaceable 23 w/Hr battery
Most of the Thrive’s specifications list mirror that of the other Wi-Fi Android tablets, although the replaceable battery is unique as is the full-sized memory card slot and USB port. Acer’s Iconia Tab A500 also has a full USB port, which worked well in my tests with a flash drive. I was able to listen to music stored on the portable drive. Android 3.1 also supports USB host mode, so a standard USB keyboard and mouse could be used.
The USB port, along with the memory card slot, could sway some to opt for the lower-priced 8 GB model since it provides two ways to add external memory. Full-sized ports can make for a chunky device, however. Toshiba says the tablet weight starts at 1.6 pounds and Toshiba’s own image of the device with its larger ports show a potentially thick tablet.