Toshiba refreshing product line for SMB

TORONTO – Toshiba of Canada Ltd., made a name for itself in the Canadian marketplace by focusing solely on notebooks. At the company’s technology product launch event today, the notebook vendor revealed many surprises that position the company as small-to-mid-size business player.

The company released six new portable computing devices, along with a cloud-connected display, an eco-friendly MFP that can erase ink, and a scalable IP telecommunications system.

The six new devices address three classes of computing: ultrabook, hybrid and workstation. According to Yuji Wakabayashi, product manager for the B2B notebook computers group at Toshiba Canada, the company made a conscious effort to separate its business line from its consumer line.

“Many small businesses bought consumer-grade notebooks only to find them hard to navigate,” Wakabayashi said. This is one of the reasons for a new feature called Accupoint, which looks similar to an IBM TrackPoint except that it’s blue instead of red. Another business features is that all the ports on Toshiba hardware are full-size.

The models, including the hybrid Portege Z10t, Portege Z30, Tecra Z40, Z50 and Tecra W50 mobile workstation, have been designed for the business user. All these notebooks can be docked on any Toshiba-branded docking station. Toshiba has made improvements in the durability and security of these machines, Wakabayashi said.

For example, the Tecra W50 is AutoCAD certified with a 15.6-inch, 1920×1080 resolution HD screen. The Toshiba EasyGuard technology protects the systems from bumps and spills and these computers can also come with near-field communications on a build to order plan.

The Tecra W50 is priced at $2,300, but entry-level systems are priced at $429.

Toshiba is also going to try an address the smaller boardroom with a cloud-connected display featuring Intel WiDi technology.

Tony Mooc, a product trainer at Toshiba Canada, told CDN that many small businesses are going away from projectors to LCD displays because of boardroom size. Toshiba has released a 58-inch L73500UC Edge LED Smart display that is equipped with a wireless keyboard, touchpad, a Wi-Fi and WiDi connections.

“This cloud-connected TV is also a 3D TV for CAD drawings and other 3D designs. With WiDi, it eliminates cables and it’s perfect as a wall-mounted unit. It has one-to-one mirroring and it’s great for big screen presentations and can enable collaboration from many users in the boardroom,” Mooc said.

Another technology Toshiba is not known for is its IP telephone systems and telecoms systems. The company has introduced the IPedge specifically for B2B.

Jim Wessinger, regional sales manager – Telecommunications Office Products Group, for Toshiba Canada, said Bell Canada has chosen the IPedge as its replacement product for Nortel systems.

The IPedge is scalable from 40 users systems all the way up to 1,000 user offices. “Our focus is on the SMB and we want to be flexible. Our systems do not force the SMB to change to a full IP because it then becomes a fully managed environment,” Wessinger said.

One market that Toshiba is interested in are customers migrating from old systems to IP who are looking to add features such as softphone and inter-office networking. The IPedge starts at just under $2,000 for the 40 users system.

Eco-friendly multi-function printers rounded out the new technology launch for Toshiba Canada.

Called the e-Studio306LP, it’s the first product from Toshiba to have a sidekick unit that erases toner enabling users to reuse the paper up to five times.

The sidekick unit is branded the e-StudioRD30. The RD stands for “reusing device” and it can sort printing paper even paper with hand-written annotations, digitize them, save them and file them away in an archive. This MFP also has a proprietary chip so that the data drive is encrypted.

Kim Luces, Toshiba Canada’s environmental and corporate social responsibility manager, said that the company’s eco-friendly strategy started 20 years ago and what the vision is today is to harmonize the digital lifestyle to the social responsibility and the green movement.

Luces added that Toshiba’s plan is to increase the eco-efficiency of products along with the processes involved in manufacturing these products.

She acknowledges that the future customer will want environmentally conscious products over the buyers in today’s marketplace. “Future generations will support environmental causes. So we need to keep in touch with future customers.”

The e-Studio306LP and the RD30 can reduce paper by 80 per cent and the C02 emissions drop by 55 per cent.

Al Perkins, pre-sales support for Toshiba Office Products, told CDN that the marketplace will not get rid of paper altogether, especially in North American. But there are markets in Japan, and Europe where the concept of social responsibility and sustainability is important.

The e-Studio306LP with RD30 starts at $15,000.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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