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Toshiba slims down with new handset

tg01

At the only mobile phone launch in London MIR didn’t attend in months, Tosh launched the TG01 – the slimmest of the slim phones, pre-empting the Mobile World Congress announcements by a matter of weeks.

Toshiba is calling this handset a ‘revolution in mobile entertainment’, how it presents itself by backing up this claim is entirely another matter all together.

The TG01, which does sound a little too close for comfort to the product branding of the G1 which is bound to cause a myriad of confusion from all sides by just that alone, is the launch name of their new handset.

It’s the first handset to be powered by Qualcomm’s new 1GHz Snapdragon chipset, shown off at CES last month. Yep, that’s right, 1Ghz – a powerful, powerful monster of a processor, even if we do say so ourselves.

This screen trumps the iPhone, rocking up with a mammoth 4.1-inch 800 x 480 WVGA touch screen display, ideal for watching videos. From what we’ve seen and heard, video playback comes off exemplary. It even has native support for DivX, plus what Toshiba is calling colour matching functionality, that’s seen in TVs giving off a rich viewing experience and also smooth playback. We’re guessing at this stage the 1Ghz proc has a big big part to play in this success, which it would need to be and we’re assuming that’s why it’s here.

The screen is housed in a waif like 9.9mm frame, much much thinner than the 12.3mm monstrosity that is the iPhone. Due to the size, it does come off looking like the Toshiba handset is missing its battery, if you’re used to much bulkier phones. Although the footprint of the mobile is a tad larger than expected as seen here, image courtesy of Pock-Lint. It could almost pass itself of as a personal media player, by its sheer look alone

Its underlying OS is Windows Mobile 6.1, despite the Snapdragon being aired to all its glory in Las Vegas on Android. As we weren’t at the London event, we have to rely on videos from Know Your Mobile and B roll footage to ascertain what the OS and its features are really like.

This close to Windows 6.5 being announced, we’d have assumed and wrong so, the mobile phone would be 6.5 based. It isn’t, but they have reworked the GUI to Windows 6.1 and brought onboard a new overlay which seems to be very reactive, usable and also looks good.

Its home screen is presented in three columns, which appears to be 8 deep on each, listing everything that’s really needed by providing easy access to all and sundry. These columns rotate vertically, in a 3D manner, giving off a rather unique swish effect that does look outstanding over what’s around today. This can be disabled, just as the CPU speed can be adjusted to both prolong the battery life extending it beyond normal usage.

Onboard are the expected usual niceties of GPS, WIFI, 3G, HSDPA and a 3.2 megapixel camera. Sadly, we’ve been informed today the phone only has 512MB of memory, not the greatest base platform of any multimedia mobile around today. Getting around to this no doubt controversial issue, Toshiba has said the TG01 can be expandable to 32GB by its microSD slot.

We’re looking to get a much more in-depth hands on handset visit with the Toshiba G1, sorry, TG01 in the future. We’ll then bring you more of a better overview of the GUI, OS and its features at that time. Expect the usual few thousand word work, over multiple pieces with some glorious video footage.

We’ve been told the TG01 will be around in the summer of this year, with no prices as yet set.

There are one or two questions that arise when a mobile launch happens this close to a major, major event such as the one in Barcelona in two weeks. The first, why wouldn’t a company wait until then and the second, what are they thinking??!?!?
There’s always the thought if they launched a handset then, it would be lost in all the noise of the other phones unveiled at the same time. Or the other idea is that it really isn’t that much of a significant launch, and it would be played down by the media or even obtain bad press. With the world holding back their mobile news releases until MWC, even throwing a bone out to the media with a minor launch would still get coverage.

This isn’t a minor launch; it wouldn’t have been lost in the happenings of Mobile World Congress and it would have stood out. So, we’re unsure why Toshiba did not wait and announce their product there.

On the whole, it looks like a good handset and one to rival the multiple media abilities of the iPhone, the BlackBerry Storm and the HTC Touch HD – just to lump all the recent contenders together. How it will standout against them and the others that are bound to show up in the next few weeks, only time will tell.

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