On paper the Toshiba Folio looked like one of the hottest Android tablets coming this year – dual-core Tegra 2 processor, Android 2.2, 10.1 inch capacitive display, etc. However, I got to spend about an hour with the device and a senior Toshiba executive behind close doors at IFA and what I found was a steaming pile of disappointment.
The Toshiba Folio was so bad I decided not to film any hands-on video because I couldn’t think of anything nice to say about it while I sat in a small room with some Toshiba reps. It was obvious the software build loaded on the Folio was not final, but it was so buggy and craptacular that I’m surprised Toshiba was even showing off the device. It made them look bad and I think Toshiba would have been better off either not showing the device turned on or completely scrapping it from their IFA lineup.
You would think if your tablet contained the fastest mobile processor (Tegra 2), that you might want to load some games or benchmarks to show it off. Unfortunately, I did not see anything that demonstrated the power of Tegra 2 and I was unable to download or install any applications (because of software bugs). I still have high hopes for Tegra 2, but the Folio did absolutely nothing to get anyone excited about NVIDIA’s platform.
Arguably the most entertaining part of my hands-on with the Folio was my conversation about the mobile industry with the Toshiba marketing exec (who will remain nameless hah). He ended up asking me way more questions than I had for him and I think I should have charged him a consulting fee. We mainly talked about their competitors’ tablets, Google’s preferential treatment towards certain manufacturers, and alternative app markets (as the Folio is not certified by Google). It was an eye-opening chat as he didn’t seem very enthusiastic about his own company’s tablet and ended the conversation by asking me, “So, we are screwed?”.
Everyone and their mother had an Android tablet on display at IFA and I would place the Toshiba Folio at the bottom of my list ranking which I would like to purchase. Samsung, Archos, and Viewsonic all had quality offerings that I would recommend, but Toshiba has their work cut out for them. Just because your product has the fastest processor, that doesn’t guarantee a win.
Going forward, I think we will see PC vendors continue to struggle with their initial Android efforts. There are a few new companies who get it (see Viewsonic), but for the most part the Android ecosystem is tough to completely understand and the handset makers should rule for the next couple years.
Look for the Folio to debut across Europe over the next couple of months. I was told there are no plans for a U.S. release and I expect it will flop so don’t get your hopes up.