Textured NB200Textured NB200Education doesn't often get a mention at technology launches, but when Toshiba presented its new generation of netbooks to the computer press the message was clear: Tosh might be late to the market, but the messages it had received from schools convinced the company to bring its distinctive brand qualities to bear on the new niche market opened up by the likes of Asus, Acer and Samsung.

And the results were shown off to the technology press in an imaginative marketing pairing with another established brand, whose resurrection is about to take it off the scale - Star Trek. The first glimpse of its new NB200s might not have had the impact of the new movie - free of its Disneyesque heritage with a welcome injection of movie stem cells from the likes of Alien, and watched under the supervision of a copyright security person with night-sight glasses - but they are an impressive addition to the first Tosh netbook shown at BETT 2009, the NB100.

The NB200s, weighing around 1.1 kilos, are stylish, sturdy machines with 10.1-inch screens, near full-size keyboards with large touchpads, up to nine hours battery life, integrated webcam, wireless connectivity, 1 Gb of memory and 3D-accelerometers that can sense sudden movement to shut down and protect the 160Gb hard discs. The machines also feature three USB connectors, one of which uses Sleep-and-Charge technology for charging phones and PDAs when the computer is turned off.

Ken Chan, Toshiba's UK product manager, said, "We work closely with the education market and this has been requested." The netbook (mini-notebook) market was moving on, he said, and users were opting for "ideal" 10-inch screens, near full-size keyboards, other features of regular laptops and lifestyle design. He was confident that the NB200s hit the target.

A choice of colours will be available when the machines go on sale in May, and the range has two levels of capability - what differentiates the £369 from the £319 model is a textured finish to the case, improved performance (more powerful Intel® N280 Atom rather than 1.6GHz Atom N270), Bluetooth and nine-hour battery life (four hours is standard). That Windows XP Home is standard on these machines - and many will undoubtedly be adapted for Linux and "Hacintosh" - is a sign of the problems facing Microsoft which has just reported an unprecedented 32 per cent drop in profits (BBC story).


More information

Toshiba Star TrekWarp factor Tosh NB200Toshiba UK has announced an exclusive marketing partnership with Paramount’s anticipated blockbuster, Star Trek (wonderful examples of Vulcan learning spaces - ideal for BSF/PCP schools), out in UK cinemas in May. This will provide point-of-sale materials like limited-edition lapjacks (pictured) and a dedicated microsite containing trailers and clips from the film. There they can enter a competition to win a zero-gravity flight in Las Vegas on a specifically modified aircraft that simulates zero-gravity flights (G-FORCE ONE).


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