At last year’s IFA trade fair, I got the opportunity to play with the prototype of a radical new 7in touchscreen tablet from Toshiba, the JournE Touch.
“We belive these kinds of products will be the fastest selling kind in consumer electronics,” said Toshiba Europe’s general manager Thomas Teckentrup at the time. Well, he was right, but Toshiba has subsequently been trumped by Apple’s 3m-selling iPad tablet.
While friends and colleagues such as Mike Truman, Charles Verrier and Richard Messik have offered their impressions of the iPad, I went back to the much less expensive (c£150-250) JournE Touch to see how it compared.
To put the device in context, the JournE Touch is smaller than an iPad at 187 x 135mm (7.4 x 5.3in) and is specifically designed for consumer applications such as Facebook, Twitter, watching video streams and listening to music. I tried to use it for data input tasks such as updating my election night Google spreadsheet, but gave up as the device’s Wi-Fi speed and on-screen keyboard couldn’t keep up.
Toshiba based its tablet on the Windows CE operating system and for the moment it can only cope with one application at a time – just like the iPad. Within a few minutes of taking the device out of its box and plugging it in, I had calibrated the resistive touch screen and rigged up a Wi-Fi connection. Among the apps that were ready-installed was Radeo, a little streaming program that jumped out of the screen and launched straight into some churning, heavy blues from PBS 106.7 FM in Collingwood, Australia. The sound quality was great through a set of headphones, but because the JournE Touch couldn’t multi-task, it isn’t possible to listen as you surf elsewhere.