This is my next caught up with Toshiba officials, learning their anticipated Android-driven tablet will hit pre-orders beginning next week. Dubbed the Thrive, it runs Honeycomb 3.1 from the get-go. As a result, expect compatibility with mice, keyboards, memory sticks and other USB peripherals from day one because Honeycomb 3.1 is the first Android version that acts as a USB host. Let’s not forget a built-in SDcard port for easy media transfer from your digital cameras and camcorders. In addition to full-sized USB and HDMI ports, the Thrive also packs in – and road warriors will appreciate this – a swappable battery. A couple more perks before we get to the downer…

You will also love the Thrive’s spacious 10.1-inch display which utilizes IPS technology, a premium display wizardry that allows for clear images at wide viewing angles, like on the iPad. Best of all, they refrained from “differentiating” by slapping a custom interface skin. The only additions on top of stock Honeycomb experience include QuickOffice and LogMeIn apps plus Toshiba’s file manager and an image-improving tweak. The 8GB/16GB/32GB Thrive will sell for $429/$479/$579. Cheap is good, but you may wanna consider that the device is crazy thick, about 0.66 inches (that’s 1.68 centimeters for our metric-loving readers).

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