Wednesday, 27 May 2015 18:14

Toshiba - first notebook 30 years old -still working!


The T1100 was the world’s first mass-market notebook released in 1985. It was billed as ‘So small, it will virtually fit in a briefcase, yet it gives you all the features of a powerful desktop machine …’

In those days, around A$4,000 got you a state of the art 80 character, 25-line mono LCD display, 16-bit Intel 80C88 CPU, and a huge 720K floppy disk fitted into the 4.1kg luggable running MS-DOS. Battery life was about 8 hours. There is a video here  and an advertisement for it at the end of this article.

Let’s just say that Toshiba has shipped 175 million notebooks since and a Hybrid Tablet like the amazing Portege Z20t costs about half that, has several hundred times the power and weights 1.5kg with the keyboard dock!

Toshiba released a new range of consumer notebooks – sold under the Satellite name via major retailers like Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, Dick Smith and many more. I was not aware that they had the following series:

  • C ‘Classic’ series – 40, 50, 70 from A$499 to $1399
  • L ‘Life’ series – 30, 50, 70 – from $849 to $1899
  • L ‘Life’ series – 10 - Radius hinge for a five in one 360 degree hinge
  • P “Prestige” series – 50, 70 – from $1599 to $1999
  • Kira “Luxury” series from $1599 to $2599
  • Qosmio “gamers’ – being reintroduced for games and heavy duty desktop replacement

I do not want to confuse consumers but there is a commercial range sold via specialist computer dealers including the Satellite Pro, Portege, Tecra, and Chromebook.

The occasion was to mark Toshiba’s 30 years in the notebook business.

It is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Tokyo, Japan that has six groups making: air conditioners; consumer electronics (including televisions and DVD and Blu-ray players); control systems (including air-traffic control systems, railway systems, security systems and traffic control systems); electronic point of sale equipment; elevators and escalators; home appliances (including refrigerators and washing machines); IT services; lighting; materials and electronic components; medical equipment (including CT and MRI scanners, ultrasound equipment and X-ray equipment); office equipment; business telecommunication equipment; notebook computers; semiconductors; power systems (including electricity turbines, fuel cells, batteries and nuclear reactors); power transmission and distribution systems; and TFT displays.

In the IT area it bought Fujitsu’s hard disk business and is one of three remaining spinning platter manufacturers, it has substantial flash NAND memory manufacturing (including eMMC, SSD and hybrid drives) and a new Wireless (Wi-Fi) Flash Air that is all about ‘shoot and share’.

I spoke at length with Mark Whittard, MD of Toshiba Australia about some of the differences in servicing the consumer market over the commercial market that has hundreds, if not thousands of dealers supporting their business clients.

“We have had to set up a very comprehensive consumer support system. Retailers want to ‘sell and forget’ and it nd its up to us to make sure the product works.alers s)ing platter manufacturers, it has substantial flash memoryis up to us to make sure the product works. That includes a large number of approved repairers in capital cities and rural areas,” he said.

Mark also said that all new Toshiba notebooks will have a free upgrade to Windows 10.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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