Toshiba netbooks and laptops go back to school

Just in time for the back to school shopping season, Toshiba of Canada Information Systems Group, a subsidiary of Toshiba Corp., has launched new Satellite PC netbooks and laptops with new designs, form factors and colours.

Mini Saluja, product manager at Toshiba, said the new PCs are designed for students to carry out their scholastic and professional needs. All laptops are now available through Toshiba resellers, retailers and through Toshiba’s Web site.

“More and more, laptops are becoming more of a fashion accessory,” Saluja said. “We want something that looks nice and matches our personalities. We have PC computers ranging from $499 to $1,899, so we have something for any budget, without having to compromise on power and performance.”

Toshiba’s new NB200 netbooks has 10.1-inch screens and features an Intel Atom N280 processor with a 160GB HDD. Along with a full size keyboard, wireless and Bluetooth capabilities and an integrated Webcam, the netbook also comes with either a three-cell or six-cell battery. The three-cell battery can last up to five hours, whereas the six-cell battery can last up to nine, Saluja said. The higher-end model of the NB200 netbook comes with the six-cell battery and with a colour choice of brown or white. The entry level model comes in black only.

Also new to Toshiba’s laptops is what the company’s calling its 3D Accelerometer, a feature-set integrated into the PC. If the computer senses it’s being dropped, it will park the hard drive to protect the data. These netbooks will appeal to students and consumers because of their portability, weighing only 2.5 pounds.

As with most netbooks, the NB200 doesn’t come with an optical drive. Instead, Toshiba has an external DVD super-multi drive product that connects via USB, retailing for $149.

The Satellite L500 series of notebooks come in either a 16-inch or a 17.3-inch screen size. Both notebooks have an integrated Webcam and a numeric keypad. The laptops also feature an eSATA port, which allows for faster file transfers, and an HDMI CEC port, which allows users to hook the notebook up to a TV so the computer can be controlled via a TV remote.

For the more advanced user, Toshiba has launched its Satellite A500 series of notebooks, which feature a light-up keyboard and a USB Sleep and Charge port, which lets users plug in devices to charge even if the laptop is turned off. There’s also an Eco button and power-saving mode that provides users with a graphical interface so they can see how much power they’re using. Prices for these notebooks start at $899 and go as high as $1,249, depending on the model and configuration.

For users who prefer a slightly smaller screen, Toshiba’s Satellite L510 series feature a 14-inch screen. The models come with either 3GB or 4GB of memory and a 250GB or 320GB hard drive.

Because the design and overall aesthetics of portable devices are becoming more popular now, Toshiba has designed two new notebooks with a special focus on design.

The Satellite M500 is a special edition notebook that’s exclusive to Best Buy stores, Saluja said.

“The M500 has a nice gold pattern with a nice black gloss finish on the casing,” Saluja said. “The gold and black pattern also continues on the inside. It’s a 14-inch screen and also has the HDMI CEC port and the 3D Accelerometer, USB Sleep and Charge port, 4GB of memory and a 320GB HDD. The suggested list price of this notebook is $979.”

Lastly, the Satellite U500 notebook is a 13.3-inch notebook with a textured finish on both the outside and inside of the PC casing.

“It doesn’t have the glossy finish like a lot of the other computers you see out in the market,” Saluja said. “The textured feel, combined with a silver design around it makes it a very stylish machine. It’s only 4.5 pounds and has a 320GB HDD, 4GB of memory, wireless, a 5-in-1 memory card reader and an integrated Webcam.”

All of the back-to-school notebooks also come with Toshiba’s facial recognition software, which lets users log onto their computers by looking at the integrated Webcam.

In other Toshiba news, Patrick Costello, the general manager of Toshiba CEG, is retiring at the end of this month. Taking his place will be Ralph Hyatt, general manager of Toshiba of Canada’s Information Systems Group. Hyatt will move into the role of general manager for Toshiba’s new digital products organization group, which includes Toshiba’s Information Systems Group and the Consumer Electronics Group. Hyatt will move into his new role effective on July 1.

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