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Toshiba tablet teaser site teases iPad, iPhone

TJ Luoma, @tjluoma

You may have heard that iPad or iPhone/iPod touch devices don't do Flash. It's been mentioned a few times, and it's clearly the feature Android device makers are targeting when trying to answer the question "Why should I buy your device instead of an iPad or iPhone/iPod touch?"

Toshiba has a tablet that they claim is "coming this spring" (aka "it isn't shipping yet"), and it's tentatively called (are you ready for this?) "The Toshiba Tablet." A teaser website is up at If you visit the site on an iOS device, you will be redirected to a mobile site that ends with /mobile/apple.html, describing itself as one of the "interesting places on the internet you can't see on your device. Of course, if you had a Toshiba Tablet you would enjoy the entire internet. Yep, Flash sites too." At the bottom is the name "Toshiba" followed by "Leading Innovation >>>," but if you're expecting that ">>>" to lead anywhere, you'll be disappointed.

First of all, instead of sending the message as HTML (after all, it's only text on a colored background), the whole page is one large image file. That wasn't innovative when people were doing it in 1998.

Secondly, if you change to, you'll find a nice iOS-compatible page that will take you to all sorts of handy information, including the specs page, which will tell you everything you might want to know ... except battery life.

Sean Hussey pointed out that if you visit the Toshiba Tablet page on a machine without Flash installed, you'll find default Flash text that Toshiba didn't bother replacing.

Look, Toshiba, your marketing guys did their job, because this has been making news across the Web. Good job. Unfortunately, you didn't show us any compelling reason why we need Flash. All you did was misappropriate browser user-agent sniffing to redirect people to a splash page that fails to link to other compatible content. The splash page is an image, the Flash video that it shows us doesn't really add any value -- although it does tell us that the battery is "long lasting" and "replaceable," which sounds like code for "you can carry two of them in case one of them doesn't get you through the day."

What's innovative about requiring Flash? (For that matter, what's innovative about the name "The Toshiba Tablet?") "Skip Intro" was a joke about lame web design long before the iPad came along. Rather than thumbing your nose at iPad users -- who have already shown that they're willing to pay big bucks for technology -- why not make that same video in H.264 and show iPad users what they're missing instead of telling them. (By the way "show, don't tell" isn't innovative either. They should have covered it in your freshman year writing class.)

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