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Tosh kicks out Bluetooth/802 notebooks

New Tecras, Porteges with Bluetooth, WiFi

Toshiba is set for a Thursday launch of two notebooks with integrated Bluetooth capabilities aimed at travelling business users.

The Tecra 9000 series and Portege 4000 series will be the first notebooks to have both 802.11b and Bluetooth antennae embedded in the lid of the notebook, eliminating the need for a PC Card, said Marc Tanguay, director of marketing for Toshiba America.

The IEEE 802.11b standard for wireless LANs, also known as WiFi, is a wireless standard offering an 11Mbps (megabits per second) data rate in the 2.4GHz band.

The built-in 802.11b functionality the systems include is Cisco's Aironet 350 series technology.

Bluetooth is a wireless standard for short-distance communications, or a wireless PAN (personal area network), which connects devices at speeds of up to 1Mbps at distances of up to 10 metres or 100 metres at higher power.

The notebooks are also the first aimed at the corporate market to incorporate a SD (Secure Digital) Media slot. SD cards are used in some PDAs (personal digital assistants), digital cameras and MP3 players.

Tecra's weight is 2.4kg with the Tecra 9000 series getting a 14in screen and a DVD player in the bay. The Tecra also has an integrated 10/100 Ethernet port, infrared and an i-Link port. The i-Link interface, also known as IEEE 1394 and FireWire, is used to connect PCs to digital audio and video equipment.

The Portege 4000 series is the latest in Toshiba's line of slim notebooks. The two-spindle Portege weighs just under 2kg and features a 12in display. In the extra bay, the notebook can share the same components as the Tecra, including an extra hard drive or CD-ROM drive.

In addition to sharing components, both notebooks share the same port replicator, which features a DVI (digital video interface) port and an i-Link port. By sharing components, IT departments can purchase a certain number of DVD drives and have employees use them when they're necessary, Tanguay said.

The notebooks will be available in the US from Thursday with worldwide availability to follow within the next two to three weeks.

A Tecra 9000 with a 1.13GHz Intel Mobile Pentium III processor (formerly know as Tualatin), 256MB of RAM, a 30GB hard drive and a DVD/CD-RW drive is priced at around £2,200. A Portege 4000 will also be offered built to order, as well as in two standard specifications. Both versions feature Intel's 750MHz Mobile Pentium III processor. The beefier version will come with 256MB of RAM and a 30GB hard drive and will be priced at around £1,660. Prices listed here are conversions from US dollars.


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