Toshiba Thrive Is a $429 Android Tablet, Launching in July

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Another day, another Android tablet that’s cheaper than Apple’s iPad. The Toshiba Thrive will start at $429 when it launches this July, Engadget reports.

Mind you, the low price comes with some sacrifices. The Thrive’s base model includes a mere 8 GB of storage. For 16 GB and 32 GB models, you’ll pay $479 and $579, respectively. It’s also chunky next to Apple’s iPad 2 and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, weighing 1.6 pounds, and thicker to boot, but that’s the price you pay for full-sized USB and HDMI ports, neatly nestled in the Thrive’s bottom edge, plus an SD card slot.

The specs are otherwise what you’d expect from an Android 3.1 tablet: Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, 2-megapixel front-facing camera, 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The Toshiba Thrive also sports a removable battery, lasting about seven hours on a charge, and your choice of interchangeable back plate colors, just to keep things colorful. Optional accessories include a dock with multiple HDMI outputs, a standard charging dock and a case/stand combo with multiple viewing angles.

I bumped into Toshiba’s tablet at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, back when it didn’t have a name and was running Android 2.2. It wasn’t love at first sight; the bulk was noticeable — this was before the iPad 2 — and the rubber back plate, while easy to grip, felt cheap in the hands. But hey, low-price Android tablet!

It’s not the only one, though. The Toshiba Thrive faces competition from the Asus Eee Pad Transformer ($399 for a 16 GB model) and Acer Iconia Tab A500 ($450 for a 16 GB model). And they’re all running the same operating system, give or take a few tweaks by the vendor. Your choice in Android tablets will rely heavily on look and feel at this point, but fortunately, you’ll be able to try the Thrive at Best Buy and “office superstores” next month. If your mind’s already made up, pre-orders start at Best Buy on June 13.