A raft of new notebooks using Intel's 400MHz Celeron and Mobile Pentium II processors were introduced last week by Toshiba.
At the very top of the Satellite line, sporting integrated DVD drives, is the Satellite 4100 XDVD for $5400 (ex tax). The machine uses the Mobile Pentium II, comes with 64MB of SDRAM, a 14.1 inch TFT display, 6.4GB hard drive and V.90/K56flex modem.
The Satellite 2590 XDVD comes in at $4300 (ex tax). Toshiba equips this notebook PC with the same 400MHz Celeron, 64MB of SDRAM, a 14.1 inch TFT display and 6.4GB hard drive; the modem is a 56Kbps Integrated ITU device with V.90 support.
Replace the DVD drive on the Satellite 2590 XDVD with a 24x CD, and swap a 12.1 inch TFT for the 14.1 inch display, and one has the Satellite 2590 CDT, priced at $3650 (ex tax). It carries 400MHz Celeron, 64MB of SDRAM, 6.4GB hard drive, 56Kbps Integrated ITU modem with V.90 support as well as the CD drive. For the cost-sensitive customer, the 2590 is also available in the CDS model, which has all the same specs as the CDT except for a 4.3GB hard drive and a 13 inch DSTN display for $3000 (ex tax). The 2590 series machines include a built-in diskette drive and Toshiba's 3D sound system.
The fashion-conscious customer can also take a look at the sleek 1.4kg Portege 3110 priced at $4300 (ex tax), using 300MHz Pentium II with ESS Technologies' ES 1978 Sound Processor. It offers 64MB of SDRAM, 10.4 inch TFT display, 6GB Enhanced IDE hard disk drive and 56K/V.90 integrated modem.
The less cost-sensitive or corporate user might also want to explore the new Tecra 8000 with a choice of 333MHz or 400MHz and 13.3 inch or 14.1 inch TFT display. Both notebooks have NeoMagic NM2200 256-bit display controller and Yamaha OPL3SA3 Sound Processor.
All of the new Toshiba notebooks will be available in Australia this month, according to the company.
"Toshiba can be counted on to be aggressive on pricing, and its announcement brings DVD into the notebook market at a low price point," noted Randy Giusto, director of mobile and display research at International Data Corp (IDC).
Meanwhile, Hewlett-Packard in the US has cut prices on some of its OmniBook notebook PCs.
The OmniBook 4150, with 300MHz Intel Pentium II processor, 10GB hard drive, 128MB of RAM, 4x DVD drive and 14.1 inch display will now sell for $3899. For $2699, customers can buy the OmniBook 4150, with a 300MHz Pentium II, 6.4GB hard drive, 64MB of RAM, 24x CD-ROM drive and 14.1 inch display. The OmniBook 900 has been cut to $2349 and offers a 366MHz Pentium II, 6GB hard drive, 32MB of RAM, and 12.1 inch display.
Of Hewlett-Packard's price cuts, Giusto said that the company has not been particularly price-competitive in the past, but is trying to get more aggressive. It stated that it planned to lead in pricing last year, but didn't act on that, he said.