January 26, 2012 | by Adrian Diaconescu
Tablet prices have dropped significantly during the past few months and one of the consequences has been the e-Book readers’ decreasing popularity. However, when Toshiba is introducing an e-reader running Android and featuring a pretty nice screen, as well as a snappy processor (for such a device, that is), it’s pretty difficult to not become interested.
Toshiba’s new e-reader is called the DB50 and will sadly only be released in Japan. Sporting a 7-inch color LED backlight screen with WSVGA resolution (1024 x 600 pixels), the DB50 has pretty much all the features you would expect from an affordable entry-level tablet these days.
There’s a 1 GHz processor under the hood (granted, it’s a Freescale i.MX535, so don’t expect a very high performance level, at least by high-end tablet standards), as well as WiFi support, Bluetooth connectivity, a USB 2.0 port and a microSD card slot.
The internal storage space is far from ideal, with just 8 GB of on-board memory to go around, but then again there is the card slot, so you can expand the storage. As for the software, the guys at Toshiba have stated that the e-reader will be running Android, but they haven’t released any additional details.
We can’t therefore say if the e-reader will run Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb or Ice Cream Sandwich (the last two are highly unlikely, though) and we can’t even say at this point if the DB50 will offer Android Market access. However, it will be compatible with Toshiba’s BookPlace, which I guess might be a big thing over there in Japan.
In terms of design, the DB50 looks pretty slim and elegant and is set to weigh only 0.77 pounds (330 grams) and measure a mere 0.43 inches thick. We also have a couple of details about the device’s battery, said to run for around seven and a half hours between charges.
As I already mentioned, the Android based e-book reader will only be released in Japan (at least for the time being) and will hit the market in February at a yet to be specified date and for a yet to be specified price. Stay tuned for more details coming soon!
Update: It seems that the e-reader will cost around 22,000 yen (285 bucks) and will start shipping on February 10. Also, Toshiba has decided to follow in the Kindle Fire’s footsteps and their DB50 will run a customized version of Android 2.3 with a simple, but interactive interface.