At what point does a tablet become a screen with an Android computer tacked on? Toshiba have announced a new product billed as a tablet for business environments, called the Shared Board. This tablet is based around a 24-inch, 1080p display, which is not much smaller than my television. The Shared Board is about an inch thick and houses a 1.0 GHz, dual core processor, 1.5 GH of RAM, 16 GB of internal storage. It has Bluetooth, WiFi up to 802.11n speed and runs Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean. It may be controlled by an IR remote, so it’s designed for presentations and the like. The tablet may be used as a television or monitor and can mirror content from smartphones via Miracast, or Windows computers via the HDMI input. There are two 2 watt speakers and we know that Toshiba have also customized the Android in the tablet providing it with a split screen mode, allowing two applications to run side by side. We don’t know the processor make, price or availability around the world (it’s only released for Japan at this time).
We don’t have a complete specification of the Shared Board so I can’t tell you if there’s a front facing camera for video conferencing, if there’s a battery inside and if so how big it is, but I did raise an eyebrow that Toshiba are releasing the device running an old version of Android. By old, I mean almost two years old: Android 4.2 was introduced with the Google Nexus 4. It’s possible that the Shared Board has been two years in development, but then it falls foul of Google’s nine month rule when it comes to introducing new Android products. This ruling is to persuade manufacturers to keep their devices up to date: when a new version of Android is updated, manufacturers can launch a device with the previous version for nine months if they still want it to include Google’s application suite, also known as the GMS or Google Mobile Services. It’s possible that the Shared Board doesn’t come with the Google Play Store; perhaps this is Toshiba’s plan all along and they have included their own application store on the device?
Would this matter? If I had a 24-inch hole in my kitchen, this is exactly the sort of product that I’d like to put into the space. I’m sure I could sideload the Play Store application and take it from there. I would like a front facing camera, for sure, but if it can access my Google Movies and run my media applications, I would be happy. However, unfortunately “made for business” usually equates with “designed for expense accounts” so the cost may well be very high. If and when we find out, we’ll let you know. Meanwhile, what do our readers think to this enormous tablet? Let us know in the comments below in the usual way.