Toshiba servers got their first outing in the UK at the Networks. Telecom '99 show in Birmingham last week, but the vendor refused to give an exact date for the UK launch.
The notebook vendor sells servers in the US and in its home market, Japan, but until now has held off from Europe. The UK launch is planned for "after the summer" and if successful will be succeeded by a European launch.
On the stand were single, two-way and four-way Intel Pentium II machines, but Toshiba plans to launch Pentium III and Pentium III Xeon servers.
Servers will be sold with Microsoft NT and Novell NetWare and will be certified for Linux. They will be available through Toshiba's notebook resellers.
Toshiba conceded that it would be difficult to break into the market with servers based on Intel processors and motherboards, but the company is hoping that its notebook customers will be interested in servers as well.
"No one is convinced it will be a walk in the park," said Justin Clarke, server business manager at Toshiba, who is responsible for the launch.
The servers will be competitively priced, Toshiba maintained, though refusing to give details. When Toshiba entered the desktop market two years ago it attempted to position itself as a higher-price, higher-quality manufacturer and ended up pricing itself out of the market. "We learnt a lot from the desktop launch," admitted Clarke.
At the show, Toshiba was also exhibiting its Bluetooth wireless connectivity technology using a beta PC card manufactured by Digianswer.
Bluetooth technology is currently at version 0.8, but the Bluetooth consortium hopes version 1.0 will be ready for an official launch early next year.
Early versions will use a PC card with Bluetooth software, which Toshiba said will work with any notebook from any vendor. TDK is working on a compact flash version of the module.
Nokia and Ericsson, founding members of Bluetooth with IBM, Toshiba and Intel, are expected to have integrated the module into phones before then.
From the second quarter, Toshiba notebooks will ship with a Bluetooth module on the motherboard, probably as an ASIC chip.
Pricing has not been set for the Bluetooth cards, but it will be less than £100. When Bluetooth goes into mass production the aim is to bring the cost down to as little as £2.
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