Earliest back-to-school promo ever: Toshiba unveils flurry of tablets and laptops

Toshiba has a bevy of tablets and laptops ready to launch for the back-to-school season. It’s early to the game, for sure, as school isn’t even out of session yet for this year. But most of the products won’t ship until June, after school lets out. That gives you a lot of time to plan your back-to-school purchases.

The new laptops and tablets reflect Toshiba’s strategy of offering next-generation features that compete head-to-head with Apple devices but are more affordable. The tablets run Android, while the laptops run Windows 7.

“We are cascading premium features down to our low-end models,” Toshiba senior product manager Duc Dang told VentureBeat. “The laptop market has matured and isn’t growing like it once did. So we are adding more value across the different price categories.”

Among the highlights are three new Excite tablets (pictured at top), ranging from $449 to $749. These tablets will run the 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” version of Google’s Android operating system. They will feature 13.3-inch (pictured right), 10.1-inch, and 7.7-inch touchscreens with quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 microprocessors, scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass displays, and a bunch of input-output options. Toshiba calls the largest one a “personal mobile gaming tablet,” and it is able to run full 16:9 high-definition content. So far, no major manufacturer has a 13-inch tablet on the market.

The Excite 13 tablet will be available for purchase on June 10 at $649 for 32 gigabytes and $749 for 64 gigabytes. The Excite 10 is available on May 6 at $449 for 16 gigabytes, $529 for 32 gigabytes, and $649 for 64 gigabytes. And the Excite 7.7 will be available June 10 at $499 for 16 gigabytes and $579 for 32 gigabytes. The tablets have a five-megapixel camera on the back and a 2-megapixel camera facing the front.

As for the new laptop families Toshiba is unveiling today, let’s start with the Satellite L800 and the Satellite C800. We expect these devices to have the new generation of Intel microprocessors, dubbed Ivy Bridge. But Intel hasn’t formally introduced those chips yet, and Toshiba can’t say exactly what will be in these machines just yet, only that they are “third-generation Intel Core processors.” Some of the models will also use Advanced Micro Devices processors instead. Those details will come later.

The L800 series laptops will have 14-inch, 15.6-inch, and 17.3-inch displays and come with Toshiba’s stylish Fusion II finish in a variety of colors. The touchpads on these machines are larger and recessed to prevent accidental gestures. The L845 will sell for $449, the L855 for $499, and the L875 for $599. The devices get around 10 hours of battery life, are less than half an inch thick, and weigh 1-2 pounds.

The Toshiba Satellite C800 series is targeted at no-frills customers with budget limitations. The devices will sell for $399 and up. The machines come with 14-inch, 15.6-inch, and 17.3-inch displays. They will have Intel or AMD processors and 500-gigabyte hard drives. They feature USB 2.0 or 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, and a Media Card reader and have a painted palm rest. The C series and the L series will be available at the beginning of the third quarter.

Toshiba is also preparing to launch the Qosmio X875 and X875 3D gaming laptops with a “Black Widow” red-and-black design. They will have a black shell and a red backlit keyboard and logo. The laptops are packed with the latest processor technology from Intel and Nvidia, including Intel’s code-named Ivy Bridge processors and Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 670M graphics chips. The models have 17.3-inch displays, including one with stereoscopic 3D.

Also coming soon are the Satellite P800 series (pictured right) and Satellite S800 series laptops that are aimed at multimedia and entertainment fans. The P800 series comes with Intel Ivy Bridge processors, Nvidia GeForce 630M graphics, and etched aluminum bodies in “champagne silver.” The laptops will have 14-inch, 15.6-inch, and 17.3-inch screens. The P845 and P855 sell for $799 and up. The Satellite 875 will sell for $849 and will be available at the beginning of the third quarter. The S800 series will sell for $699 and up and be available June 24.

Lastly, the Toshiba 21.5-inch LX815 (pictured right) all-in-one desktop computer and the 23-inch LX835 will be available at the start of the third quarter. The LX815 will sell for $599 and the LX835 for $879. The machines come with Intel Ivy Bridge processors, up to 16 gigabytes of main memory, and up to 3-terabyte hard drives.