While major content providers continue to shun the Google TV platform, at least getting hardware vendors lined up doesn't seem to be a problem. According to a Bloomberg report, both Toshiba and Vizio plan to unveil Google TV products at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, 2011.
"We are very happy with the launch of Google TV with our initial partners Sony, Logitech, and Intel," Google said. "Our long-term goal is to collaborate with a broad community of consumer electronics manufacturers to help drive the next generation, TV-watching experience."
There's also talk of Samsung joining the fray, thought that's still up in the air. And technically, so are the plans of Toshiba and Vizio -- Bloomberg's information comes courtesy of "people familiar with the matter" rather than talking heads from each respective company.
No other company shipped more LCD TVs in the U.S. in the third quarter than Vizio, while Toshiba was the sixth most active, according to iSuppli.
In honor of the 25 years Toshiba has been making laptops—starting with the T1100 in 1985—Toshiba is dubbing its new R700 an “anniversary” system. The laptop is the newest addition to Toshiba’s venerable Portégé line of business ultraportables. It follows on the heels of last year’s R600, which received a 9/Kick Ass in our August 2009 issue, and the R500 before that.
But the R700 differs from those two models in some pretty significant ways—Toshiba says this represents a new direction that will be mimicked in all of its laptops going forward. For one thing, the R700 isn’t as wafer-thin as the R500/600, although it still sports a very slim profile at just a tad over one inch thick, and weighs a mere three pounds. The chassis is reinforced with an internal honeycomb design and features a magnesium-alloy top with an attractive anodized black finish. Even when held by one corner, the laptop feels sturdy and rigid.
When Apple recently updated its MacBook Air family of ultraportables, it switched the range entirely to solid-state storage for the speed boost flash memory provides. But it went against the grain by opting for an onboard storage solution, as opposed to the conventional way of wedging it all into an SSD enclosure. This was done in order to make the Air even more ethereal than before.
In fact, the Blade X-gale ultra-thin SSD modules are reportedly same as the ones inside Apple’s ultraportable notebook. According to MacRumors, not only do both come in identical capacities (64GB, 128GB, and 256GB), but also have the same part numbers. The Blade X-gale drives are capable of a maximum sequential read speed of 220MB/s and a maximum sequential write speed of 180MB/s.
"Delivering a product that enables superior user experience in a smaller footprint is the ultimate goal," noted Scott Nelson, vice president, Memory Business Unit, Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. "The density of MLC NAND enables the creation of smaller form factor high density storage solutions, and Toshiba, as the technology leader for NAND storage solutions, will continue to innovate in this space."
Lest we forget, Samsung's Galaxy Tab isn't the only Android tablet looking to chip away at the iPad's 95 percent market share. Just ask Toshiba, which has begun shipping its Folio 100 to UK shops, Pocket-Lint.com reports.
The Folio 100 is a 10.1-inch tablet built around Android 2.2, otherwise known as Froyo. Notable features include 16GB of built-in storage, an SD card slot, HDMI port, Wi-Fi, 1.3MP webcam, and of course native Flash 10.1 support. But perhaps the most compelling bullet point is Nvidia's Tegra 2 chipset, which should give the Folio 100 a fair bit of computing muscle, particularly on the mobile gaming front.
Like the Galaxy Tab, the Folio 100 comes priced a little higher than some were probably hoping. It sells for around $530, and even higher in Germany and Italy.
Intel, the world's No. 1 chip maker, is teaming with Samsung and Toshiba, the two biggest players in the NAND-type memory market, to form a consortium tasked with developing technologies that could halve semiconductor line widths to around 10nm by 2016, Reuters reports.
These three best friends that anybody could have will invite about 10 other companies to join in the fun. In addition, Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry is planning to infuse the venture with around $61 million of the $120 million in initial funds for R&D. The rest will come from various members of the consortium.
Meanwhile, Intel earlier this month announced plans to spend at least $6 billion and as much as $8 billion upgrading its fabs for 22nm, part of which includes building a new fab in Oregon.
The 4G wireless technology is currently available in 54 U.S. cities, with Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Minneapolis, New York and Pittsburgh expected to take the plunge before the end of 2010.
According to the press release: “The Portégé R700-S1332W features the Intel Core i7 processor6 and a 128GB solid state drive7, while the Portégé R700-S1322W features the Intel Core i5 processor and a 320GB high-speed 7200 RPM hard drive8. Both include 4GB of DDR3 memory.”
Toshiba's already talking the tablet talk, and come 2011, the company promises to walk the walk. Toshiba says it will aggressively target the U.S., Japan, and other territories with several tablet devices next year.
"The market for tablets is very hot right now," said Hideo Kasuya, an engineer involved in the development of tablet PCs.
By waiting until next year, Toshiba won't just be going up against the iPad, but a flurry of devices from potentially dozens of companies.
"Players in the tablet market are not limited to traditional PC makers," said Mr. Kasuya. "The general trend is that Android-based tablets are becoming more and more widespread."
It's expected that Toshiba's tablets will also run Android, though Mr. Kasuya said specifics are still being hammered out.
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.”