Is Toshiba Beating Apple to a Multimedia Tablet?

Whoa–check out this: The Toshiba JournE was just unveiled and the Engadget chaps gave it a hands-on at the IFA electronics show. It’s a handheld mobile Internet device–exactly the kind of beasty Apple’s supposedly working on.

Toshiba JournE

There’s a 7-inch resistive touchscreen, which rules out multitouch although there’s a stylus for fine touch control. There’s Wi-Fi, a video-out capability, 1GB of in-built storage which is expandable via SD card, and it can hook up to external hard drives over USB. It runs Windows CE 6.0 Pro, and since it’s designed for multimedia playback there’s support for H.264, DivX and WMV media. You can even hit up YouTube vids, Facebook page, IM chats or your Flickr archive using it. And it’s all in a pretty svelte 14mm-deep box.

But you’re not grabbing one of your own anytime soon since the JournE is just a prototype. Why did Toshiba whip this thing out for the camera then, if there’s no imminent product? Because a genuine Toshiba Tablet device based on its design is due by the end of the year, and because Toshiba wants to stake out some ground for itself in the nascent tablet market before other devices like the CrunchPad and Apple’s fabled tablet arrive. Toshiba’s obviously also a little free-er with its device marketing than the famously shuttered Apple.

One thing is abundantly clear: With a tech giant like Toshiba keen to join the fray, 2010 may really be the year of the handheld tablet, whether or not Apple finally reveals the iTablet late this year or early next–depending on which rumor you believe.

[via Engadget]KE