RetroFresh: Toshiba’s AT100 looks back at the T100X

Toshiba’s anticipated AT100 tablet isn’t the first time the big T has dabbled with mobile computing technology, with the similarly named yet completely different T100X arriving some fifteen years ago.

In 1995 – even before notebook computing was commonplace – Toshiba was experimenting with a new type of computer.

The T100X Pen PC, the first tablet from Toshiba.

Called a “Pen PC”, this new gadget featured a 9.5-inch grayscale display, 640×480 resolution, and a cordless pen with mouse button controls. Under the hood, the technology was very different from what you’d see in a modern day tablet, with 40MB of space, 4MB memory expandable to 20MB, a PS/2 port for plugging in a keyboard, Microsoft Windows 3.1 operating system, and a 386 processor.

By comparison, Toshiba’s new AT100 includes a 10-inch colour display with 1280×800 resolution, 1GB of memory (25x the memory), at least 16GB of storage (400x the storage capacity), Google Android 3.0 Honeycomb, and an Nvidia Tegra 2 processor that would run circles around the old chip. We don’t even need the pen anymore, as the touchscreen found on the new tablet can let your finger do the talking.

And that PS/2 port for connecting a mouse or a keyboard? That’s gone too, with the AT100 supporting a USB port and Bluetooth technology, allowing you to plug devices either directly in or connect wirelessly.

There’s really no comparison between the old and the new devices from Toshiba, although we’re quite happy to see that in fifteen years, it’s not just the specs that have improved, but also the weight: back in 1995, the T100X weighed 1.5kg, whereas the new AT100 comes in at 771g.

With a bigger body, heavier weight, and more firepower, the AT-AT100 will crush the competition… or at least blow it up in the middle of a snowfight.

We’re sure that this isn’t the last time we’ll see the “T100” name used by Toshiba, and hope that several hundred years from now, in a galaxy far, far away, we see the next line of tablets ready in the form of the AT-AT100.