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Toshiba upgrades mini-notebook

The company releases a new Libretto model which features a wider screen than previous versions of the mini-notebook.

Following the release of the product in Asia and Europe, Toshiba released a new Libretto model which features a wider screen than previous versions of the mini-notebook.

The high-end Libretto 100CT features a larger 7.1-inch active-matrix display, as well as a faster microprocessor, more memory, and a larger hard drive. Toshiba is targeting the updated Libretto towards the needs of "vertical" market applications such as the health care industry, where the device can be used to display and monitor information from medical equipment, or for reviewing patient records.

The news comes as a number of other vendors have recently released handheld computers with 8-inch screens from Hitachi, NEC Electronics, and LG Electronics. Of late, there has been an explosion of mini-notebook offerings, all with different combinations of processors and screen sizes and operating systems as vendors target ever smaller segments of the market for ultra-portable computers.

Mini-notebooks like the Libretto blur the line between handheld computers using Microsoft's Windows CE operating system and full-sized notebooks incorporating Windows 95. Unlike CE devices, however, the Libretto and other mini-notebooks offer full computing applications rather than slimmed-down versions.

Toshiba's Libretto 100CT comes with a 166-MHz Pentium MMX, 32MB of memory, and a 2.0GB hard disc drive. Two PC card slots allow for usage of peripherals such as a modem.

The Japanese version of the Libretto 100CT hit the shelves in Japan this month, while its European equivalent has been available since February.

The Libretto 100CT will be available in the United States in April for an estimated street price of $2,499.

Older versions of the Libretto with a smaller screen are still available from the company. The Libretto 50CT with 75-MHz Pentium processor is priced at $1,299. The Libretto 70CT with a 120-MHz Pentium MMX processor is currently priced at $1,999.

Reporter Jim Davis contributed to this report.