ALTHOUGH hailed as the embodiment of the much-mooted convergence between IT and AV technologies, Toshiba’s Qosmio media centre notebook will not be sold through a converged channel.
IT resellers in New Zealand will not be able to sell the product, which instead will be available exclusively through AV retail stalwarts Noel Leeming and Harvey Norman.
Toshiba says the mass merchants will provide it with the best route to market as they possess both IT and AV retailing skills.
“They are already leaders in convergence,” says Callum Eade, country manager of Toshiba’s information system division.
This model has also been a success in Australia where Qosmio accounted for 8% of unit sales in the last quarter after six months in the market.
“The impact has been huge and we expect similar figures here,” adds Eade.
However, says Eade, Qosmio can create opportunities for the IT channel, who can provide complementary technologies such as wireless networks, digital cameras and convergence services.
“It is just another reason to talk to end-users about technology that surrounds Qosmio. It is not a plug-and-play product, so resellers can provide the service and support to create the environment around it.”
Although the product is available through a restricted channel, Eade says it has led communication between Toshiba and other resellers.
Eade says Qosmio translates to “my cosmos” as it provides all of the user’s IT and AV requirements, as well as mobility.
Two new Qosmio models are launched in New Zealand this month.
A previous version was not released here, as Microsoft does not yet support its Media Centre digital content management software, which Qosmio ships with internationally.
To counter this, Toshiba has developed its own version of the software that provides the interface through which users store and navigate digital files.
Toshiba ANZ product manager Matt Codrington says while Qosmio is a high-performance notebook, the vendor is highlighting its digital entertainment capabilities.
Qosmio combines the vendor’s expertise in mobile computing with the latest display, video and audio technologies, with all its AV capabilities delivered by components developed for this purpose, adds Codrington.
Qosmio includes a television tuner, video encoder, a SuperMulti double-layer optical drive for DVD and CD playback and recording and on-board Harmon/Kardon speakers. It features an array of IT and AV connectivity options and comes with an AV-styled remote control.
The television and DVD/CD playback components can also be accessed without booting the computer. Toshiba expects the largest buyers for the product to be single urban males, those living in high-density housing and frequent corporate travellers.
In spite of its impressive array of features, price may be a barrier to Qosmio adoption.
The Qosmio F10 featuring a 15.4-inch XGA widescreen display, 80GB hard drive and Intel Pentium M 755 processor will retail at $4,999 and the 17-inch G20, which has two 80GB hard drives and a 760 processor, at $5,999.