Toshiba gets 2020 vision

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Toshiba has outlined its strategy for the next 20 years at a celebration launch for the 20th anniversary of its entry into the notebook computing market.

Toshiba has outlined its strategy for the next 20 years at a celebration launch for the 20th anniversary of its entry into the notebook computing market.

Mark Whittard, general manager of Toshiba Australia's information systems division, said the Japanese vendor was working towards eight interrelated goals.

Improving audio-visual quality, home networking, the human interface, security, connectivity, miniaturisation, battery life and durability were the main foci, he said.

"More mobility, anywhere,  any time," Whittard said.

Toshiba's R&D teams were already developing digital TV, High Definition DVD and digital tuners in the audio-visual space. "HD DVD is coming later this year. A digital tuner is coming later this year," Whittard said.

In home networking, Toshiba was promising digital wireless TV developments. Meanwhile, the interface between human and computer needed improvement to make it easier and more comfortable to use computers anywhere, Whittard said.

Security was a major concern throughout the IT industry and mobile computing had already created security headaches by knocking holes in business communications networks, Whittard said.

Internet connectivity for mobile computing would get a lot better with the introduction of Ultra WideBand (UWB) and WiMax in coming years and Toshiba was researching new products around those too, Whittard said.

More durable, robust products would appear. Toshiba's goal was to produce an all-weather notebook in two years, Whittard said.

Miniaturisation would be enhanced with the introduction of filletless soldering and MLB stacking, he added.

Toshiba was also developing a fuel cell that would improve battery life -- long a bugbear for laptop users -- and could be topped up with methanol as required, Whittard said.

Toshiba released several new notebooks to mark the 20th anniversary of its entry into the notebook computing market in 1985.

The Portege R200 is 9.9mm high and weighs 1.3kg, uses a Pentium M Ultra Low Voltage processor and has a ruggedised magnesium alloy casing. The Portege R200 will be available to the channel.

Toshiba's second new product reprises one Toshiba tried 10 years ago with limited success. Toshiba has said it will only be available from Harvey Norman until late July.

The Libretto U10 is a chunky, miniaturised full-featured notebook suitable for use in cars. It weighs less than a kilogram.

"It has a DVD docker as well," Whittard said.

The technology now existed to make a much better, more useful version of such a notebook, Whittard said.

Toshiba also launched a new Tecra notebook, the M4, that would offer "no compromise" high performance tablet computing for businesspeople. The Tecra M4 was released in response to customer demand and would be available to the channel, Whittard said.

All Toshiba notebooks would also now bundle EasyGuard, a set of tools focusing on data security, system protection and easy connectivity, Whittard said.

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