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Toshiba unveils ultraportable notebook

In a bid to popularize its Portege notebook outside of corporate settings, the company introduces an ultraportable version that it says offers near-desktop performance.

Toshiba today introduced a new ultraportable notebook that it says offers near-desktop performance.

The Portege 3440CT is based on a 500-MHz Pentium III processor and includes a 6GB hard drive and 64MB of memory. The laptop weighs 3.4 pounds and is priced at $2,499.

Toshiba is currently the market leader for notebooks, closely competing with rival Compaq Computer for the top spot. The PC maker markets two other notebook brands, the Satellite and the Tecra, in addition to the Portege. Toshiba retained about 17 percent of the overall notebook market last year, according to market research firm International Data Corp.

While tiny in comparison to standard-sized notebooks, the Portege uses Intel's fastest Pentium III processor. Previously, notebooks like the Portege were constrained by their small size and high-speed processors were too hot for the miniature notebooks.

This time around, the company developed what it calls "Super Cooling" technology, which diffuses the heat generated by internal components throughout the system, similar to the cooling methods used by cars.

"It transfers heat from the hot CPU (central processing unit) to the open, ambient parts of the notebook," said Mark Tanguay, product director for portables at Toshiba, asserting that the new cooling technology gave the company the ability to create a higher-end system in a smaller case, which may in turn broaden the user base of these types of ultraportables, he said.

"We've seen in the past that the Portege was used as a secondary or companion notebook," he said, noting that the Portege is used predominately in corporate settings. "The reason why people haven't considered them as a full-time notebook is the CPU. Our feedback is that the Portege 3440 could be a full-time unit."

Toshiba also introduced the Satellite 2210XCDS and 2210CDT, additions to its line of corporate notebooks. Running on Intel's Mobile Celeron processor at 500 MHz, the systems start at $1,399.