Toshiba's launch of its latest notebooks featured a bunch of Intel Centrino Duo notebooks. But of course: Asus, HP, Sony and others have also delivered mobile dual core systems to PC World's Auckland Test Centre. Check out Scott Bartley's benchmarks in our coming April issue for more (an early heads up: they are very, very fast). Of more unique interest was talk of an upcoming model that will feature a detachable screen, connecting to the AWOL body of the notebook using Ultra Wideband (a US miliary wireless technology that's much faster than WiFi, or even WiMax, and which was recently cleared for civilian use by erstwhile FCC Chairman Michael Powell (son of the more famous Colin).
In a world of lookalike PCs, Tosh also gets some points for putting a fingerprint reader on every model. The idea is that you don’t need to remember all your passwords; a swipe of the finger will suffice to log-on or enter any site (naturally, Murphy’s Law dictated that it failed in the demo).
Tosh NZ also revealed that, like Lenovo, it’s in negotiations with Vodafone and Telecom to release notebooks with 3G chips onboard - handy if you want to ditch your PC Card modem, or tiresome exercise in logging on via your cellphone. I can see those going well.
Other new products in the line-up will be a harder sell. The Qosmio media centre laptop is still only going to appeal to the two or three people who want to attach their notebook to their TV each time they record something. And while Tosh’s new Gigabeat digital music players boast FM receivers (missing from Apple’s iPod), they don’t have the looks.
Lastly, for people who bemoan there’s no Moore’s Law for notebook batteries, Tosh is still promising ethanol-powered models, sometime next year. Although a little bulky, they promise to keep your laptop juiced for half a day. Me, I’d take that trade-off (just tell me where to buy the ethanol).