Continuing to trumpet its image as a premier brand, Toshiba Corp. has released a new range of business and retail notebooks that shows it does not intend to go head to head with the budget offerings.
The company introduced a total of eight new models last month -- four in the Tecra business range, one new Portégé ultra portable and three Satellite consumer models.
While the company already held a 19 percent share of the portables market in 2004, Toshiba wants to grow its sales by over 20 percent this year and the range will enable it to reach this goal, says New Zealand country manager Callum Eade.
But Eade acknowledges that Toshiba's market position came under fire last year, as rival Dell became more aggressive in the notebook space offering a sub-NZ$1,400 (US$1,010) model through its only New Zealand retail outlet, the Warehouse.
"It used to be a two-horse race between us and HP, but now that has changed with Dell's moves," he says. Toshiba's new retail range includes its first entry-level consumer model, the Satellite A70, which, along with the Tecra A3 and A4 business models, it is touting as an affordable desktop replacement.
"We expect to see the death of the desktop very soon," says Eade, who foresees great success for the brand in the consumer space in 2005, as it can draw on its corporate presence to grow in this market.
The retail sector accounts for around 25 percent of the company's business in New Zealand, but in Australia this figure is 30 percent and over 50 percent in the US and Europe.
"Our retail numbers can definitely go higher," says Eade. The new Qosmio media center PC, released this month, should boost retail sales, he adds.
According to Toshiba ANZ product manager Matt Codrington, the new business models offer extensive connectivity and improved performance through the inclusion of latest technologies such as Intel's new Centrino technology.
The new Intel platform has enabled Toshiba to build the range on a completely new chipset and a new, faster PCI Express Bus, which signifies the greatest advance in data transferral rates since 1992, says Codrington.
"This is the biggest change in mobile PC technology in the last ten years and will become the mainstream standard by the end of this year," he says.
Enhanced wireless connectivity is achieved with Toshiba's patented aerial technology that features three wireless antennas installed in the top of the notebook lid, while the separation of the major heat sources, and a patented thermal cooling system, increases the reliability and durability of the models, says Codrington.
Toshiba's new business line-up comprises the Portégé M300 ultra portable, Tecra A3 value desktop replacement designed for SMBs and individual users, Tecra A4 widescreen desktop replacement, Tecra M3 for high-demand business users and Tecra S2.
The new retail products are the entry-level Satellite A70 desktop replacement, Satellite P30 for gamers and technologists and top-of-the line Satellite M40 with integrated Bluetooth, new PCI Express technology and new nVidia graphics card.