FANS of Google's Android OS can now rejoice with the launch of Toshiba Smartbook AS100.
Running on Android 2.2 and powered with Nvidia Tegra 250 mobile processor, Toshiba tries to pack the best specs in its tablet PC debut to rival Apple's iPad.
When I got my hands on the review set, I was pleasantly surprised with the SD card slot and the USB port.
The SD card slot makes viewing and uploading photos a breeze, something you cannot do on the iPad.
The USB port is a much needed feature for the Smartbook, which has only 8GB of internal memory.
I tried plugging in my external hard disk and almost instantaneously, I was browsing and playing all the videos without a hint of lag. The player also recognises the common file extensions so there is no need to convert your videos.
If you are still not satisfied with the generous 10.1-inch multi-touchscreen display (which is slightly larger than iPad's 9.7 inches), connect the Smartbook using an HDMI cable to the TV and enjoy your videos in full HD glory.
Web browsing on the Smartbook is expectedly good as it supports Adobe Flash player. (Activate it on Toshiba's website after purchase.)
I surfed all the popular websites (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) without any hiccups and also made a banking transaction online.
One major letdown of the Smartbook is the absence of an app store (Android Marketplace). This could be because of the lack of apps compatible with the Smartbook.
So early adopters of this product will have to connect the Smartbook to a computer before they can start to manually install new apps.
Toshiba's Smartbook AS100 may be a contender for the spot held by the iPad as current Android mobile users will find it appealing. But despite additions like a USB port and an SD card slot, the lack of apps means that you cannot milk as much out of it.
This article was first published in The New Paper.