Toshiba made its long-anticipated debut in the UK desktop market yesterday.
The company, which began shipping desktops in the US late last year, has made no secret of its ambition to become a top three PC player by 2000. It is currently ranked number five in the world, according to researcher Dataquest.
Although late to enter the desktop sector, analysts are optimistic that Toshiba will achieve its aim. Terry Ernest-Jones, an analyst at researcher IDC in the UK, commented: "Toshiba has very good brand recognition, particularly in the UK, and it has a highly developed business channel with its notebooks."
Howard Seabrook, desktop business manager at Toshiba's PC division in the UK, said the decision to enter the sector was customer driven and crucial to the company's future growth. "Notebooks account for only 20% of the UK PC market, and less than 20% of the PC market worldwide," he explained.
The desktop range, called Equium, is available now and costs from #1,149 to #1,999.
The desktop announcement was accompanied by new notebooks, including the launch of what the company claims is the world's smallest laptop.
The laptop, called the Libretto, is the size of a paperback book and weighs 850 grams (see picture).
Murray McKerlie, portable business manager at Toshiba's PC division, commented: "The Libretto is for people who want a powerful computing device on the move. It offers a full notebook specification in a handheld format."
The notebook costs #1,495 and includes a Pentium processor, 16Mb of RAM, 810Mb hard drive, 6.1in TFT display and sound system.
Toshiba said it will be launching a NetPC sometime next year.
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