Hands-on with the Toshiba TG01 Windows Mobile smartphone
If you were following the Mobile Computer Twitter feed this morning, you'll know that we were at the Toshiba Mobile Revolution press event, where the new TG01 smartphone was announced. It's the first handheld to use the new Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and the chip inside the TG01 runs at an impressive 1GHz.
The TG01 is a Windows Mobile smartphone and while it isn't Toshiba's first, it is the first that Toshiba has aimed explicitly at consumers rather than business users. Much was made of the TG01's multimedia performance and gaming potential, and although we saw little that we haven't already seen on other smartphones (even those running Windows Mobile), the Toshiba TG01 does have a few interesting features.
We have lots of photos, the full specification and a hands-on video of the Toshiba TG01 smartphone in action, all after the cut.
The Toshiba TG01's design is unarguably consumer-orientated – there's no keyboard, and the smooth, shiny plastic case is reminiscent of both the iPhone and HTC Touch HD. It doesn't have quite the style of either, but it's certainly a nice-looking smartphone. It's a slim one, too – just 9.9mm.
Toshiba hasn't skimped on the screen, which is a 4.1in, 800 x 480 LED backlit display. It's touch-sensitive, but uses resistive rather than capacitive technology – again, thanks to the need for handwriting recognition in certain markets.
Toshiba claims to have utilised some of its extensive television expertise for the TG01's screen, and it has both a variable backlight to improve the appearance of dark movie scenes and dynamic gamma correction to reduce colour stepping. It certainly looked impressive with video playback – as our hands-on video shows.
Like every other Windows Mobile device manufacturer with an ounce of sense, Toshiba has hidden as much of Windows Mobile away as possible on the TG01. It's custom 'Split Menu' user interface lacks the panache of HTC's TouchFLO 3D and looked rather fiddly to use at times, but we weren't seeing the final version, so it may well change by the TG01's release. It was very responsive to finger swipes though, and the 3D animations were smooth – the benefit of having a 1GHz processor, no doubt.
The Toshiba TG01 is the first handheld to come to market with the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor – there were several other devices on show at CES, but no firm on-dale dates. Although Toshiba seemed confident about the Snapdragon's performance and power consumption figures in a handheld, it was cagey about battery life and would only go as far as to say that it would be comparable to current Windows Mobile devices.
The TG01 units on show were all running Windows Mobile 6.1, but we can safely assume that Windows Mobile 6.5 will be dropped in by the time it goes on sale . Actually, we suspect that Windows Mobile 6.5 will makes its first public appearance at MWC.
Otherwise, the TG01's specification is on a par with other do-everything handsets – as you can see from the spec list below. One thing to note is that Toshiba hasn't seen fit to equip this multimedia monster with a 3.5mm headphone socket – you'll need to use the supplied adapter to plug a pair into the microUSB port.
Based on what we've seen of the Toshiba TG01 so far (which admittedly, isn't much), we can't say we're too excited. It's a stylish-looking device, but so far, doesn't seem to offer much that can't be found on other Windows Mobile devices – apart from that Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, of course.
With the iPhone making some serious inroads into the handheld gaming market, it's clear that both Microsoft and Toshiba are looking to lure gamers away from Apple with the TG01. The Snapdragon processor certainly has the potential to deliver a great handheld gaming experience, but Windows Mobile has a real image problem for most consumers.
While the iPhone is sexy, Windows Mobile is staid, and transforming it from the IT managers' OS of choice into something that will appeal to gamers won't be easy. Windows Mobile also lacks an effective application delivery mechanism and while there's certainly no shortage of choice, the mish mash of websites offering Windows Mobile downloads don't offer anything like the idiot-proof experience of the Apple App Store. Still, we suspect Microsoft has something up its sleeve on that front.
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE TOSHIBA TG01: A REVOLUTION IN MOBILE ENTERTAINMENT
The Toshiba TG01 is a super-slim, highly powered, multimedia-focused, mobile device perfect for the consumer that demands high-quality performance on the move. By combining Toshiba’s expertise in mobile computing and LCD technology with support from industry leaders Microsoft and Qualcomm, Toshiba has created a handset that delivers genuine innovation and raises the bar in the highly competitive mobile market.
- Super-slim, 9.9mm thin design available in deep black and vivid white
- Stunning 4.1” wide high resolution touchscreen
- 4.1” Wide-VGA high-resolution screen provides unrivalled image definition for video on the move
- Super slim 9.9mm package – bringing more technology into less space than before
- TG01 features Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 1GHz processing platform for groundbreaking mobile performance
- First mobile phone to launch with Qualcomm’s high-power Snapdragon™ processing platform
- 1GHz processing core delivers market-leading power and performance, application multi- tasking and high resolution video playback
- Ultra low power consumption with dynamic speed adaptation
- 4.1” Wide-VGA (800x480) touch-screen for enhanced viewing and optimum rendering of original movies
- Colour Matching, LCD Backlight Control, Colour Image Control and Dynamic Gamma Correction raise benchmark for portable video
- Upgradable SDHC memory up to 32GB and support for wide range of popular video formats
- Windows Mobile 6.1 platform allows users to enjoy multimedia and web content
- Microsoft Office Outlook Mobile® makes it easy to manage personal and professional email, as well as contacts and calendar
- Custom-designed Toshiba Touch three-dimensional interface offers one-touch navigation between different applications
- Innovative gesture operation - simple shake to activate an incoming call, switch between open applications by tilting the phone to the left or right
- Internet Explorer Mobile 6 delivers full flash support for true mobile internet experience
- Users able to browse internet as if using a desktop PC
- Full support to easily complete web transactions such as online banking and facebook updates
CONNECTIVITY AND GRAPHICS
- Full connectivity to GSM/GPRS/EDGE and 3G HSPDA/HSUPA, as well as support for Bluetooth v2.0 and WiFi
- Integrated GPS and A-GPS technology allows the TG01 to double up as a fully-fledged satellite navigation system
- TG01 also offers high speed mobile gaming with its high-resolution W-VGA display and touch- sensitive screen for enhanced playability
A full announcement regarding further details on the handset and information on European availability will be made at the Mobile World Congress 2009.
© Dennis Publishing