Toshiba evolves the tablet PC

Toshiba last week claimed to be ‘defining the mobile avante-garde’ through the launch at CES, Las Vegas, of what it termed the ‘world’s first notebook with Microsoft Active Notifications for automatic e-mail synchronisation’, the Portege R400 tablet PC. The product is being unveiled in this region today.

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By  Matthew Wade Published  January 14, 2007

Toshiba last week claimed to be ‘defining the mobile avante-garde’ through the launch at CES, Las Vegas, of what it termed the ‘world’s first notebook with Microsoft Active Notifications for automatic e-mail synchronisation’, the Portege R400 tablet PC. The product is being unveiled in this region today. Designed, according to the firm’s executive VP of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Alan Thompson, “to realise the connected experience”, this machine is targeted at IT-literate information (or ‘i’) workers and is a 3G ready tablet PC with an external notification display for showing e-mail and calendar events. This effectively means that not only can owners continuously access their e-mail and the internet via their 3G operator subscription (the SIM card for which slots inside the notebook itself via an embedded module), but they can be notified of new mails via Microsoft Active Notifications and calendar events – including the text within these messages – without having to open the machine at all, thanks to its front-placed scrolling LCD display. Besides this functionality, the Portege is also packed with additional innovations, as Thomas Teckentrup, the GM of Toshiba’s EMEA Computer Systems Division, explained: “We’re looking at the Windows notebook as the user’s primary PC. To this end, we consider four areas: them being always connected, instant use, the ability to carry and use the machine anywhere, and its having a sexy, industrial design. As far as its connectivity is concerned, in addition to the Portege’s 3G capabilities, it includes Bluetooth and WLAN (including support for the latest security protocols such as WPA2), whilst from a component standpoint its 12.1-inch display monitor connects via wireless DVI to the laptop’s base unit. Speed-wise, the R400 turns on from sleep mode in a Toshiba-quoted two seconds flat, plus this Vista product features Windows SuperFetch for improved PC responsiveness. From a portability standpoint, the machine weighs just 1.72kg and is fully protected from accidental damage via Toshiba’s Windows Middle East-acclaimed hard disk protection system, EasyGuard, and an anti-scratch cover. Data security is then assured by the R400’s fingerprint reader and TPM1.2 (Trusted Platform Module), which works together with Vista Ultimate’s BitLocker feature. Interestingly, this machine will also be available with a Wireless Port Replicator. This USB hub and Ethernet product will allow a R400 user to start working and accessing their office network as soon as they enter their workspace (i.e. arrive within a metre or two of their desk), rather than having to spend time connecting up various cables. The estimated retail price of the R400 is approximately US $3878. The price of the R400’s Port Replicator has yet to be confirmed.

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