Tosh fires 13.3-inch TFT, MMX salvo; mulls tiny PC

Toshiba today showed off new mobile PCs, from a full-size 13.3-inch screen unit to a the world's smallest Windows 95 PC, by way of a an ultra-notebook.

The most eye-catching product was the Libretto, a system that packs PC functionality into a case little larger than that of a Windows CE-based handheld computer. Already available in Japan, where it sells for the equivalent of £1,500, the Libretto is currently on trial with a half a dozen corporate customers although Toshiba is at pains to stress that a UK release for the product is by no means certain.

Based on a 100MHz DX4 processor, the Libretto packs 8Mb RAM, 520Mb hard disk, 6.1-inch 640 x 480 TFT, Type II PC Card slot, fast infra-red and lithium ion battery into a 1.5lb clamshell design. A port replicator with serial and parallel interfaces is optional.

Almost as exciting - and actually available now - are the high-spec Tecra 730XCDT and 740CDT. The top-end 740CDT (£4,995 + VAT) includes a 166MHz MMX Pentium processor, 16Mb EDO RAM, 2.16Mb hard drive, ten-speed CD-ROM drive, 28,800bps modem, two CardBus slots with Zoomed Video (ZV Port)support and, most significantly, a huge 13.3-inch 1,280 x 1,024 TFT panel that Toshiba claims has the viewing area of a 15-inch CRT monitor. Toshiba product marketing manager Murray McKerlie said that larger screens were possible on mobile PCs but they would likely be for specialist applications only.

The other significant news is the release of the Portege 660CDT (£3,995) ultra-notebook. The 150MHz Pentium-based unit comes with 16Mb RAM, 1.4Gb hard drive, 11.3-inch TFT, ten-speed CD-ROM drive, 28,800bps modem and two CardBus slots with ZV Port support.

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