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Toshiba may be late to the tablet party, but the company is definitely aiming to turn some heads with its $429 Thrive Android tablet.

The big focus with the 10.1-inch Thrive is customization: Toshiba is offering the ability to change the rear faceplate of the tablet to a color of the user’s liking. Removing the back cover also makes the tablet’s battery easily accessible, so hardcore users should be able to swipe away all day assuming they have a couple of batteries on hand.

But it’s unclear if users will actually choose customization over thinner and more polished options like the iPad 2 or Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

I got some hands-on time with the Thrive this afternoon, and while it’s indeed thicker and heavier than other tablets (it’s .6-inches thick and weighs 1.6 pounds), I was struck by how comfortable it was to hold. That’s mainly due to the slightly rubberized rear panel. The tablet will also ship with Android 3.1, making it one of the first Android tablets to have that revamped OS.

Beneath the hood, the Thrive is powered by a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor and 1 gigabyte of RAM. And as is typical for tablets these days, it packs in front and rear-facing cameras at 2 and 5 megapixels respectively. The thrive also sports USB 2.0, HDMI and micro-USB connections — ports that thinner tablets can’t possibly fit.

Toshiba says the Thrive will land sometime in July. While it’s indeed a noble effort, it unfortunately still ends up looking like yet another Android tablet. The Thrive’s low initial price may be enough to entice deal seekers, though, and could be driven down in the future with retailer discounts and the like.

Check out an in-depth demo of the Thrive below:

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