No more than a couple months ago Toshiba showed off the first 32 nanometer NAND flash chips, and soon they’ll be the first company to ship them as well.
According to a press release from Toshiba, they’ll begin mass production of 32Gb (gigabit) NAND flash chips in July 2009, and 16Gb products will begin to ship Q3 of this very year.
So, what does all this mean for you, as a consumer? Sooner rather than later, manufacturers will be able to start packing more memory into smaller places. This translates to bigger SSDs, and even more internal memory for your smartphone and other mobile devices. Ahh, progress!
Looking to raise the stakes in the netbook market, Toshiba's latest ultraportable PC packs a 9-cell battery the company says will provide up to 9 hours of run time. Remarkably, Toshiba also managed to keep the weight down to under 2.5-pounds despite the larger battery, giving the Mini NB200, as it's been dubbed, a leg up on the competition when it comes to battery life and portability.
Other features include a choice between Intel's Atom N270 (1.6GHz) or N280 (1.66GHz) processor, a 160GB had drive, WiFi, Bluetooth, 0.3MP webcam, and Windows XP. The Mini NB200 can also withstand a bit of abuse thanks to its 3D-accelerometer monitoring system. A small chip on the motherboard detects acceleration from all directions and will remove the HHD head from between the HDD platters when the netbook goes into a freefall.
UK residents will get first crack at the NB200 this May starting at £319 ($464USD) and offered in pink, brown, black, or white trim. No word yet on U.S. availability.
Toshiba had last year chosen its Qosmio range of notebooks to lift the curtain on its SpursEngine chip, which is a co-processor based on the Cell Broadband Engine found in the PS3. SpursEngine-powered Qosmios are capable of some impressive graphical feats like real-time graphics processing and video upscaling (SD to HD).
Toshiba’s new Qosmio laptops, which bear the might of its quad-core SpursEngine chip, will arrive in Japanese stores on Friday with the promise of enhancing internet video. Two previous iterations of the Qosmio used the immense power of the SpursEngine at their disposal to upscale DVD video, but left streaming video untouched.
Toshiba recently updated their line of Qosmio and Dynabook laptops with upgraded graphics and processing power.
The Qosmios will come in two flavors, including the 18.4-inch G50 ($3,421) and the 15.4-inch FX ($2,119). Relative newcomer, the 14.1-inch Dynabook SS RX2 (pictured), will come with a 128GB SSD, and cost $2,840. All of these will come with Intel Core 2 Duo processors and Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT graphics processors.
Though, unless you’re currently living in Japan or are willing to import one of these from overseas, you won’t be getting your hands on one of these anytime soon. Currently, they’re only available in the land of the rising sun, with no mention of plans to bring them to these here United States.
Less than a month after Fujitsu announced it would end production of read/write heads for hard drives, the company has sold off its HDD business to Toshiba. The two companies are aiming to have the transfer completed in the first quarter of 2009. Previously, Fujitsu was engaged in takeover talks with Western Digital, but the two couldn't agree on terms.
"Fujitsu will facilitate the transfer by bringing its HDD-related businesses and functions together in a new company," Fujitsu wrote in a press release. "Toshiba will acquire about an 80 percent stake in this company and make it a Toshiba Group subsidiary. In order to promote a smooth transfer, Fujitsu will continue to hold a stake of under 20 percent in the new company for a certain period of time, after which it will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Toshiba."
Toshiba, who is already a player in the 2.5-inch HDD market, looks to reinforce its position, while also moving in on the enterprise HDD market, an area Fujitsu has been very active. Toshiba is also looking at the solid-state drive (SSD) market, "fusing Toshiba's NAND flash memory technology with Fujitsu's enterprise HDD technology." Despite the heavy focus in the past several months, SSDs have been intentionally overlooked by Fujitsu, who has been turned off random write performance.
Toshiba said it will aim to raise its share in the overall HDD market to over 20 percent by 2015.
Toshiba, always one to bolster their numbers, has added the A10-S3511 and M10-S3411 notebooks to their Tecera line of laptops!
Both of these have a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8600, 2GB DDR2 and a 160GB HDD under the hood. And, to help seal the deal they’ve included a built-in webcam, WiFi, Bluetooth, their own EasyGuard technology, a 3-hour battery, and they bring it to you all on Windows Vista Business with a possible downgrade to XP Professional.
The main differences are aesthetic, though the hard drives are different speeds. The A10 has a 15.4-inch WSXGA+ screen, Nvidia Quadro NVS and a 7200rpm drive and costs $1,249. The M10 has a slightly smaller 14.1-inch TFT LCD, integrated Intel GM45 graphics and a 5400rpm drive and costs only $1,100.
Many a hardware-encrypted disk has crossed the path of the consumer market lately, but they’ve universally been a questionable investment. All the encryption systems have been proprietary, and you’d be hard pressed to find someone that’s looking to store all their valuable data on a system that can’t be read in a few years down the line.
Thankfully, the Trusted Computing Group has just announced that (almost) every drive maker has agreed on 128-bit encryption for all SSDs and HDDs. The major vendors, such as Fujitsu, Hitachi, Seagate, Samsung, Toshiba, Western Digital, IBM, Wave Systems, LSI and Ulink Technology have all hopped on board.
With any luck we in the consumer market will be looking at simpler disk encryption sometime very soon.
Toshiba sees a future in which Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC) power technology steps into the limelight to prevent scenarios in which "a busy business person making a presentation to clients" runs out of battery power, or "a woman talking on her mobile phone while walking around town" being forced to cut her conversation short (see these and other scenarios laid out in humorous fashion here). With DMFC technology, these and other devices can be quickly recharged without having to swap out the batteries or cut off power.
More than just a concept technology, Toshiba was touting a new DMFC internet viewer device at CES. Using a dual-methanol power source, Toshiba says its internet viewer can run for about a week of normal usage before having to replace the methanol. The wireless prototype was shown running Windows, but no information was given on what hardware it was using.
Intrigued? Get the full scoop, as Toshiba sees it, on DFMC technology here.
Toshiba has expanded its Qosmio and Satellite laptop families. Up first is the new Qosmio X305-Q725 that has been designed keeping the gamer in mind. The notebook has a 17-inch display and derives all its muscle from an Intel Core 2 Quad processor and its NVIDIA GeForce 9800M GTX GPU. As for storage, it has a 64GB SSD. The design is unpalatable and nearly every sensible man can be expected to bristle at its very sight. The ugly Qosmio can be yours for $2,699.99 only.
Toshiba has also unveiled a 15-inch budget notebook under its Satellite sub-brand with a price tag of $549. The Satellite L305-S5921 is a no-frills notebook with a T3400 Pentium processor, 2GB of DDR2 SDRAM, a 160GB HDD and 128MB of Intel integrated graphics.
The Satellite E105-S1402 is the third notebook to have been launched. It has a 14-inch display, an Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 processor, 320GB HDD, 4GB memory and 320GB HDD. It is available now for 1,199.
Lastly, Toshiba has also rolled out customized color lids for many of its Protégé family of notebooks.
Most of the talk surrounding solid state storage tends to revolve around the performance numbers, or lack thereof. Sluggish write speeds have hampered the hype on all but a select few models, and while more attention is being paid to the performance numbers, speed isn't the only thing increasing; SSDs are getting bigger.
Toshiba said it will have on display a 512GB solid state drive next month at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), with shipments expected in the second quarter of 2009. At 512GB, Toshiba's SSD would rival mobile hard disk drives and qualify as one of the largest capacity SSDs for use in notebooks.
Alongside the 2.5-inch 512GB SSD, Toshiba also plans to release 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB models in both 1.8 an 2.5.-inch drive enclosures or as SSD flash modules. The new drives will be part of Toshiba's upcoming lineup of "fast read/write SSDs" built on a 43nm manufacturing process using multi-level cell (MLC) technology.
"The solid state drive market is evolving rapidly, with higher performance drives to meet market requirements, and differentiated product families targeted for appropriate applications,” said Mr. Kiyoshi Kobayashi, Vice President of Toshiba Corporation's Semiconductor Company. "This new 43nm SSD family balances value/performance characteristics for its targeted consumer applications, through use of MLC NAND and an advanced controller architecture."
Performance for the new drives look promising, with rated read and write speeds up to 250MB/s and 200MB/s respectively.