Toshiba to roll out Bluetooth notebooks

Toshiba America Information Systems is set for a Thursday roll-out of two notebooks with integrated Bluetooth capabilities aimed...

Toshiba America Information Systems is set for a Thursday roll-out of two notebooks with integrated Bluetooth capabilities aimed at travelling business users.

The Tecra 9000 series and Portégé 4000 series will be the first notebooks to have both 802.11b and Bluetooth antennas embedded in the lid of the notebook, eliminating the need for a PC card, said Marc Tanguay, director of marketing for Toshiba America. The 802.11b wireless standard, also known as Wi-Fi, offers an 11Mbps data rate in the 2.4GHz band.

"It gives the user the best of both worlds - they can connect to corporate sites and access the Internet in airports," Tanguay said. "Then they can use Bluetooth to (synchronise) to PDAs and not have to travel with any cables."

Bluetooth is a wireless standard for short-distance communications that connects devices at speeds of up to 1Mbps (bits per second) at distances of up to 10 metres.

The notebooks are also the first aimed at the corporate market to incorporate a Secure Digital (SD) Media slot, which enables users to slide a Toshiba SD Memory card directly into the notebook, Tanguay said. SD cards are used in PDAs, digital cameras and MP3 players. A 128M-byte card can store up to four hours of music or 40 minutes of video.

Weighing 5.3 pounds, the Tecra 9000 series of notebooks has a 14-inch screen, and DVD player in the bay. The bay can also use six other Toshiba devices, including an extra battery, hard drive and a re-writeable CD-ROM drive. The Tecra also has an integrated 10/100 Ethernet port, infrared and an i.Link port. The i.Link interface, is used to connect PCs to digital audio and video equipment.

The Portégé 4000 series is the latest in Toshiba's line of slim notebooks. The two-spindle Portégé weighs 4.4 pounds and features a 12-inch display. In the extra bay, the notebook can share the same components as the Tecra, including an extra hard drive or CD-ROM drive.

In addition to sharing components, both notebooks also share the same port replicator, which features a DVI (digital video interface) port and an i.Link port.

The notebooks will be available in the US from 20 September with worldwide availability to follow two or three weeks later, Tanguay said.

Toshiba will offer the models "built to order," along with several standard specifications. The Tecra 9000, with a 1.13GHz Pentium III processor-M (formerly know as Tualatin) from Intel, 256Mbytes of RAM a 30Gbyte hard drive and a DVD/CD-RW drive is priced at $3,229 (£2,196).

The Tecra 9000 with a 1GHz Pentium III processor-M, a 20G-byte hard drive and a DVD drive is priced at $2,729 (£1,856).

The Tecra 9000 with a 933MHz Pentium III processor-M, 128Mbytes of RAM, a 10Gbyte hard drive and a CD-ROM drive is priced at $2,424 (£1,649).

The Portégé 4000 will be offered built to order, and in two standard specifications. Both versions feature Intel's 750MHz Mobile Pentium III processor. One version has 256Mbytes of RAM and a 30Gbyte hard drive and will be priced at $2,429 (£1,615), while the second offering, which includes 128Mbytes of memory and a 20Gbyte hard drive, will be priced at $2,199 (£1,495).

The port replicator, which works with both notebooks, will be priced at $199 (£135), the company said.

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