Toshiba Revamps Qosmio Series For Smaller Budgets

The Irvine, Calif.-based IT products unit of the global computer and electronics giant said the Qosmio G35-AV650 is the first notebook on the market shipping with an HD DVD-ROM drive. The systems are backward-compatible with previous DVD formats, the company said.

The systems are billed as high-end audio/video notebooks, which include Dolby sound, as well as the vendor’s proprietary QosmioEngine, which is digital video processing technology.

At a weight of 10.1 pounds, the systems are heavier than thin-and-light notebooks and are based on Intel Core Duo T2500 processors. They are built with 17-inch widescreen displays.

Toshiba has been aiming to position itself at the high end of the margin scale in the channel since earlier this year when it revamped its Preferred Partner Program to provide greater margins to its partners. And the latest systems stand in stark contrast to aggressively priced, dual-core offerings from Dell, Round Rock, Texas, and HP, Palo Alto, Calif., which have offered sub-$750 dual-core notebooks over the past month.

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The new HD DVD technology, which is now exclusively Toshiba’s, should be a help to the brand, according to one solution provider.

“In the past, Toshiba has been leaders in developing technology,” said Dan Hogan, vice president of DSR, an Elkridge, Md.-based solution provider and Toshiba dealer.

However, while Toshiba may have been eager to license that new technology to other manufacturers, “I think now they are trying to hold on to these innovative ideas and have them exclusively in Toshiba systems before they hand them out to other manufacturers,” Hogan said.

He said Toshiba has shown some traction among his company’s customer base. “We’ve got a lot of customers who have standardized on Toshiba,” he said.

The new Qosmio systems, which began shipping earlier this month, have a street price of $2,999. Hogan said he believes that despite that price tag, “they’ll have success with it, as more and more manufacturers ship commodity machines.”