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Toshiba HD-DVD laptop hits Japan in May

Precise launch plans still not finalised

Toshiba plans to put on sale in Japan in May its first laptop computer with a built-in HD-DVD drive, the company said today. The Qosmio G30 is expected to be the first computer available from any vendor with an HD-DVD drive.

HD-DVD is one of two formats competing to replace DVD for high-definition movies. The format was launched just over a week ago in Japan when Toshiba began selling an HD-DVD player. Similar players are due on sale in Europe and the US later this month. The first players for the rival format, Blu-ray Disc, are not expected in shops until at least June.

The laptop is based on a 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo processor and will have a 17in widescreen LCD (liquid crystal display) panel with 1,920x1,200 pixel (WUXGA) resolution.

Like other computers in Toshiba's Qosmio range, the system is designed for multimedia use, thus the relatively large display and features such as digital and analogue TV tuners, Harman Kardon speakers and an HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) output.

The HD-DVD drive will be 12.7mm high and able to play HD-DVD-ROM discs and read and write CDs and DVDs, including DVD+/-R DL (dual-layer) and DVD-RAM, Toshiba said. It will be available in Japan in mid-May for around ¥400,000 (about £1,950).

The computer was first shown in January at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and then again at CeBit in Germany in March. At CeBit, a Toshiba spokesman said the G30 would be available in Europe, the US and Japan at the end of April. The later launch date in Japan suggests it could be delayed in other markets as well. Toshiba said today that precise launch plans for Europe and the US had not yet been decided.

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