As expected, the Japanese company introduced the new low-cost Pentium II Satellite 4000 series as part of a wider-ranging notebook announcement. The one-time PC market leader also debuted an ultraslim portable and a new, highly configurable corporate notebook.
Last quarter, Toshiba lost its No. 1 position in the notebook arena to Compaq. Its strategy of introducing a low-cost Pentium II system as well as the attention-getting Portege may be the right one-two punch, analysts say.
Toshiba is "back in the race,"
Toshiba Portege 7000CT
"The market share numbers showed them losing significant market share over the last 18 months to companies like IBM and Compaq, upstarts like Fujitsu, and recent success from Dell," Purdy said. "They recognized that their products were not in tune with today's business and consumer mobile buyer."
The new Satellite 4005CDS features a 233-MHz Pentium II processor, a dual-scan 12.1-inch display, a 4.1GB hard drive, a 56-kbps modem, and an integrated CD-ROM drive. "The new Satellite 4000 series is an aggressive value line that will meet the needs of buyers looking for mobile products under $2,000," Purdy observed.
The Satellite 4000 series is Toshiba's first notebook with Intel's top-line chip dip under $2,000, and the move is expected to drive all of Toshiba's previous-generation Pentium MMX notebooks down in price as well. For example, last week Toshiba announced a sub-$1,400 Satellite notebook, the 2505CDS with a 233-MHz Pentium MMX, a 2GB hard drive, and a 12.1-inch display for $1,399.
The Tecra 8000, a corporate notebook, features a 300-MHz Pentium II processor, a 14.1-inch active-matrix LCD screen, 8.1GB hard drive, and DVD-ROM drive.
"The Tecra 8000 line attempts to go after the [IBM] Thinkpad 600 with its more advanced architecture," Purdy said of the new notebook. "It's scaleable, but its not as thin and light [as the ThinkPad 600]."
The new addition to the Portege line, the 7000CT, features a revamped look. The one-inch, four-pound subnotebook features a 266-MHz Pentium II mobile processor, a 12.1-inch active-matrix display, a 4.3GB hard drive, 56-kbps modem, and full-size keyboard.
This new design differs significantly with the long-standing Portege which was a very compact--somewhat cramped--subnotebook which had not kept up with the thin-and-wide designs from leading vendors such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Sony.
"Toshiba had to do something major," Purdy said of the new Portege. "The Portege 7000 is definitely the 'jewel in the crown' of their offering."
"They are back in the race, but they have not yet blown away the competition," Purdy concluded.