Think eBooks are just for dedicated readers like the Kindle and handheld tablets? Think again. Everyone seems to want to get into the eBook software game, including Toshiba, which just introduced its Book Place platform designed specifically with laptops in mind.
"Toshiba Book Place is the type of entertainment option that out customers are looking for from their laptops," said Terry Cronin, vice president of Business Development and Channel Marketing, Toshiba. "What sets Toshiba Book Place apart is that it takes advantage of the PC experience and offer an immersive reading environment for the consumer."
Toshiba said it's partnered with some of the world's largest publishers to deliver more than a million free public domain titles and thousands of non-free eBooks. More than just an ordinary reader app, however, Book Place comes with a few notable extras, including a read-aloud feature for fans of audio books. And for those with small children, synchronized word highlighting will follow along as the book is read.
Books are preserved in their original layout, including fonts and images in full color. Integrated Web search is part of the package, and publishers can even embed author commentary and background music.
Don't let the lack of 3D content get you down. For those of you suffering from the 3D Blu-ray blues with your Toshiba Satellite A665-3DV laptop, the latest software update adds a 2D to 3D conversion application so you can pretend that all your existing 2D content is really three-dimensional.
There's also new firmware available that promises to shuttle stereoscopic games and video over the integrated HDMI port, as well as tweak the Blu-ray drive so that it can play 3D movies, because apparently it didn't already do that.
Otherwise, everything else is as you remember it. The $1,600 laptop comes with an Intel Core i7 740QM processor, 4GB of DDR3 memory, GeForce GTS 350M graphics, a 15.6-inch widescreen display, 640GB hard drive spinning at 5400RPM, Blu-ray burner, and of course Nvidia's 3D Vision Kit.
Toshiba is now recalling thousands of T130 series laptops owing to overheating concerns, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced Thursday. The models covered under the voluntary recall program are the Satellite T135, Satellite T135D and Satellite ProT130. The company issued the recall after being inundated with reports of the said “notebook computers overheating and deforming the plastic casing area around the AC adapter plug.” While Toshiba has received 129 complaints in all, there have been only two instances each of minor burns and minor property damage.
“The defective harness may, in some circumstances, overheat to the point of melting the computer's base at the location where the AC adaptor plugs into the unit. To date there have been no reports of serious injury, but the temperature is sufficient to pose a burn hazard if specific parts of the DC-In Jack or plug are touched when they are overheated,” reads a support bulletin on Toshiba's website.
Owners of the affected units (see full list of SKUs) are advised to update to the latest version of the BIOS either through the Toshiba Service Station Application installed on their computers or by downloading the appropriate version from the company's website. “Should the BIOS determine that a harness failure is occurring, external power will immediately be disabled eliminating the possibility of the over heating. You will then need to contact the Toshiba call center to set up a warranty repair.”
Toshiba today announced it has begun mass producing NAND flash chips using a 24nm CMOS manufacturing process, representing the smallest geometry and highest density yet in NAND flash, the company said.
The announcement steals a bit of thunder from IM Flash -- a joint venture between Intel and Micron -- which said it would begin churning out 25nm-based NAND chips by the end of 2010.
"Toshiba leads the industry in fabricating high density, small die size NAND flash memory chips," Toshiba said in a statement. "Application of the 24nm generation process technology will further shrink chip size, allowing Toshiba to boost productivity and bring further enhancements to the high density, small sized products. The 24nm process products are also equipped with Toggle DDR, which enhances data transfer speed."
Toshiba says its latest technology has already been applied to 2 bit-per-cell 64Gb chips that are the world's smallest on a single chip (8GB), and will also add 32Gb and 3 bit-per-cell products fabricated on a 24nm process soon.
While a spokesperson for the company declined to comment on the report, she acknowledged that glasses-free 3D was part of its plans. Toshiba had showcased a similar display earlier this year. That particular glasses-free display featured a multi-parallax design. Such an approach allows for a wide viewing angle as images are adjusted depending on the viewer's position.
From the looks of things, Toshiba has no problem borrowing heavily from Apple's iPad design. Around the touchscreen sits a relatively thick black border, and around that is a thin silver bezel. All that's missing is the Apple logo on the back.
From a hardware standpoint, the SmartPad will be more than just an iPad clone. According to reports, the SmartPad will come built around Nvidia's Tegra 2 platform and Google's Android operating system. Whether or not Windows 7 is in the SmartPad's cards remains to be seen.
Also visible in the preview images are a handful of ports, including HDMI, USB, a memory card reader.
If you were hoping to snag one of Toshiba's new Libretto W100 ultra mobile PCs (UMPCs), well, here's us hoping you pulled the trigger while it was still able to fire. Less than 48 hours after the U.S. version -- Libretto W105-L251 -- went on sale, eager customers snatched up every last unit, and it doesn't look like Toshiba is planning to replenish its supply.
This dual-screen UMPC was available both direct from Toshiba and through Amazon, but now shows as being sold out on both portals. Neither site makes any mention of more units to come.
The limited run Libretto enticed users with its two 7-inch multi-touch touchscreens that work horizontally or vertically. Inside sat an Intel 1.2GHz Pentium U5400 processor, 2GB of DDR3 memory, and a 62GB SATA drive. An 8-cell battery powered the device, and Windows 7 Home Premium brought it all together.
How awesome would it be if your hard drive securely erased sensitive data whenever it's powered down, or when it was removed from your system? Not only would that be rad, but it's now a reality thanks to Toshiba's new Wipe technology for its line of Self-Encrypting Drive (SED) models.
There are a number of scenarios where something like this could prove useful, including obvious ones like your notebook becoming lost or stolen. But that isn't all Wipe is good for.
"Many organizations are now realizing the critical importance of maintaining the security of document image data stored within copier and printer systems," Toshiba explains. "Wipe is a technology that can automatically invalidate an HDD security key when its power supply is turned off, instantly making all data in the drive indecipherable. Toshiba's innovative new Wipe Technology adds advanced storage security features to enable system makers to transparently and automatically secure private data."
On the pedestrian side, Toshiba's Wipe technology can also come in handy when returning a leased system, disposing of a system and/or hard drive, or re-purposing a drive, Toshiba says.
For those of you who watched the World Cup, you got to see some of the worst officiating in the history of sports with lots of blown calls and questionable judgment. So is it really any surprise that Toshiba's World Cup promotion would be equally controversial?
Here's the deal. Toshiba, riding the wave of the World Cup frenzy, ran a promotion that essentially encouraged consumers to buy a Core i5 laptop or Toshiba TV, and if your country wins the World Cup Final, Toshiba promised to refund your money. The promotion was run in Germany, England, Portugal, Italy, and Spain, and as everyone knows by now, Spain went on to actually win the thing.
Ready for the gotcha? A bit of small print on the ad instructed consumers to see Toshiba's site for more details, and it's there that Toshiba listed a requirement that all claimants must register their product by June 17th. As you might expect, a whole bunch of Spaniards are pretty pissed off over Toshiba's red card move.
The questions is, should Toshiba honor the rebates even if buyers didn't register their product? Spanish consumer advocate site Facua.org argues that such a major requirement shouldn't have been tucked away online, but included with the ads.
Do you agree, or this is a case where consumers simply failed to perform their due diligence?
"Construction of the new fab reflects expectations for increasing demand for NAND flash memory for existing and emerging applications, such as smartphones and solid-state drives," the companies said in a statement. Fab 5 will be ready for action midway through next year.
The facility is part of a Toshiba plan to spend 500 billion Japanese yen (US$5.65 billion) on new factories and equipment during the next three years.