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Toshiba unveils wide range of new notebooks

The company introduces several new Satellite laptops, hoping to retain its status as No. 1 in market share for retail notebooks.

Toshiba introduced several new Satellite notebook computers today, hoping to retain its status as No. 1 in market share for retail notebooks.

Toshiba's new laptops offer a range of processors and options in an attempt to cover many different consumer categories.

As previously reported, Toshiba recently surpassed rival Compaq Computer in market share in the retail arena, partially by competing in the low-end market with aggressively priced systems based on processors from AMD. At the same time, Toshiba is also trying to push into the high-end of the market with the new Satellite 4100XDVD and 4090SDVD.

The Satellite 4100XDVD and 4090SDVD, priced at $2,799 and $2,399 respectively, feature an Intel 400-MHz mobile Pentium II or mobile Celeron processor and offer a DVD drive.

Toshiba today also introduced the lower-end Satellite 2595 series, ranging from $1,599 to $2,299, and the Satellite 2060CDS and 2065CDS for $1,399.

"I think what Toshiba is probably trying to do in this market is look at another competitor, Sony," said Matt Sargent, analyst at ZD Market Intelligence.

Sony deals in high-end notebooks and has "moved up quite aggressively in a very short time frame," Sargent said. "Toshiba is probably thinking, 'We've managed to hold off Compaq, what we also have to do is get the high end,'" he said.

The Satellite 4100XDVD and 4090SDVD each have a 14.1-inch active matrix display, 6.4GB hard drive, 64MB SDRAM, and an integrated 56-kbps modem. These systems also include one-touch connection to printers, monitors, and other desktop peripherals.

DVD drives offer more robust multimedia capabilities such as full-motion video and seven times more storage capacity than a single CD. Although growing in popularity among desktop systems, DVD drives have been slower to appear in notebooks, because they are larger and more expensive than CD-ROM drives.

The new Satellite 2595 series includes three models, each with a 400-MHz Intel Celeron processor, 64MB memory, integrated 56-kbps modem, easy access Internet button, and an all-in-one design integrating the different drives for a slimmer form.

Each of the new notebooks includes Toshiba's Customer Choice Software program, allowing customers to get the Lotus SmartSuite Millennium Edition package or choose five programs from different categories. Toshiba will also provide access to AT&T's WorldNet free for 30 days.

In other notebook news, Hewlett-Packard today announced it will drop prices by up to 17 percent on its OmniBook 4150 and 900 notebooks.