Innovation is just the start of the Journ.e
Whilst travelling on the train recently the notion struck me that I could do with a device that is smaller than a net-book but larger than a PDA and mobile phone. I have previously looked at devices such as the O2 Joggler and Nokia N800 tablet, but the new Journ.e Touch from Toshiba certainly seems to be an innovation that fits very well.
Image Credit: Toshiba
In the Journ.e Touch box is the device itself, a stand, a power adaptor, a quick start guide and a warranty booklet.
The specifications of the device are:
- 7” resistive touch screen display 800 x 480 resolution
- Windows CE 6.0 Operating System
- Wireless 802.11 b/g
- Battery rated at 2200 mAh Li-Polymer
- 2 GB internal Flash memory
- Smart card support (SDHC) up to 32 GB
- Built-in Speaker (0.5W)
- USB Ports, both a USB Host Type A (USB 1.1) and a Mini B (USB 2.0)
- The support file formats include: JPEG (images), MP3, WMA, WAV, AAC (audio), MPEG4, AVI, 3GP, FLV, WMV (video)
- Standard applications include Web Browser (IE 6.0), RSS Reader, MSN Messenger, Video/Music players and Image Viewer. Various online services are also supported including Facebook, Picasa, Flickr, and YouTube.
- Optional cradle with HDMI output
Switching on the device quickly launches the main interface dashboard, with the now familiar looking array of icons, touching an icon launches the appropriate application and icons can span more than one dashboard (Each dashboard page holds around 15 icons). Other visual display indications on the Journ.e include a wireless indicator, the current time and the battery level indicator. Connecting to a wireless access point was quick and painless and the wireless pass key can be entered using the onscreen virtual keyboard. It would have been nice to see a built-in 3G slot and Bluetooth for networking on the move but apparently this can be achieved using a mobile dongle.
Next to the video player, the killer application will undoubtedly be the application store, with a number applications, movie trailers, and other software available, although somewhat limited in number, currently being free. My current favourite applications are the IP radio player, the YouTube application and the RSS reader.
Whilst the device is intended for hand operation, it does benefit from the use of a stylus (not included) especially to reach some of the smaller buttons and icons (if, like me, you have big fingers!). It sits comfortably in the hands though and feels just about right in terms of weight, it is really quite light but feels solid and sturdy. I’m not sure how it would react to being dropped and I don’t really fancy the idea of test dropping to find out.
As far as initial thoughts, I think of this device as being a complementary lifestyle device rather than a replacement for say a mobile phone, PDA, or entertainment device. Having something handy that you can pick up, or throw into a travel bag, and use for a few minutes to say check some facts on the Internet, perform a few calculations, jot down some ideas or lists, listen to the radio or watch a video, whilst adding additional functionality in the video and audio players, and other downloadable applications is a real plus point. Consumers will also feel right at home with the familiar sight of well known and trusted applications including Microsoft Internet Explorer and MSN Messenger.
A direct comparison to the much talked about Apple Tablet, and the CrunchPad, is inevitable however Toshiba have a device that is ready and usable today. For an early generation device the Toshiba Journ.e ticks all the right boxes for me and does something that not many devices manage – it allows for computing without complexity – which allows the device to step out of the realms of geek-dom and into the mass consumer market. Once we get used to this device I expect it might become the first thing we switch on when we get up in a morning, rather than the TV or Radio and I could just as easily imagine my kids using this as much as my mum and dad – once they prise it out my hands that is. Actually, my three year old son already managed to find his favourite cartoons on the YouTube application – he even put down his current favourite device, my HTC Hero, to fiddle around with the device – so that says something about its broad appeal.
I will be writing more about life with the Journ.e, as we integrate it into our life, so watch this space.
For more information visit the Toshiba Social Media News Release.