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Toshiba brings multitouch to laptop range

Touch screen Satellite U500-1EX heads up new laptop range for 2010 as Toshiba announces 2010 plans at its annual press conference.

Toshiba Satellite U500

Toshiba today announced the Satellite U500-1EX, a multitouch enabled laptop for the UK, in addition to a range of other new business portables.

The ultra-portable U500-1EX model features a 13.3in touch screen with 1,280 x 800 resolution, which makes it very suitable for road warriors and the education market, according to Toshiba.

It's powered by an Intel Core i3-330 processor, differentiating it from Atom-based netbooks, while Windows 7 Home Premium with the Microsoft Touch Pack enables the interactive element.

Other core specifications are 4GB of DDR3 RAM and a 320GB hard disk, while a widescreen aspect ratio webcam with facial recognition is there to differentiate it from the crowd.

The laptop weighs in a 2.15Kg and has a starting price of 649.

The Satellite Pro S500 is aimed specifically at business users, and features a 15.6in display, weighs 2.5Kg and has a claimed seven hours battery life. It's again based on an Intel Core i3 backed with 4GB of RAM and hard disks up to 320GBs. To guard its data, the machine offers freefall sensors that protect it at up to 70cm.

Toshiba Satellite Pro S500

Finally there's the Tecra A11 and M11, again aimed at the business user. These have 14in and 15.4in displays respectively and are intended at everyday business workhorses. As such they will be available with either Core i3, Core i5 or Core i7 processors.

While no new netbooks were announced, Ken Chan senior product manager for the UK commented that it was an area that has been an area of significant growth for Toshiba. "The netbook market is here to stay. The form factor is here. The 10in display seems OK, that seems to be doing the job quite well," Chan said.

However, he said that the 15in laptop was still dominant. In terms of predictions for 2010, Chan seemed reluctant to jump on the tablet bandwagon. "There might not be one thing out there" indicating that Toshiba would be hedging its bets."

Andy Bass, Toshiba's UK managing director, added that Toshiba was one of only a few companies that successfully straddled both computer and consumer electronics, this giving it a competitive advantage.

"Toshiba is playing both PC and CE and we feel that will give us a comp advantage going forward," Bass said. "There is a consolidation going on the fight for the living room is real and vibrant."

Bass highlighted DLNA tech as an example of this in action. "There's a lot of connectivity going on with Windows 7 and DLNA. When you put them together most consumers don't know that there is something magical that happens."

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