Tosh says little Libretto grabbing big UK sales

Toshiba's tiny Libretto PC may be flying but the Japanese giant could soon be getting some competition in the sub-sub-notebook patch it currently monopolises.

Tosh product marketing manager Murray McKerlie claims that the UK subsidiary is selling more than 1,000 Libretto units per month after just over four months of availability.

"In July, the Libretto outsold any Compaq Armada and it's ramping reasonably fast," McKerlie said. "To be honest, we under-called the demand. It was a new category and people seem to love or hate the concept. We thought long and hard about releasing it."

McKerlie added the Libretto was selling particularly well in vertical market and retail sectors. One large sale was to an ATM company supplying the devices to field engineers. The PC World superstore chain was also shifting units to individual users, he added.

Toshiba will later this month rev the Libretto with faster CPU and larger hard dive options.

Competition for the Libretto is likely to come from a new breed of Windows CE-based devices that are too big and rich in features to be properly called handhelds but too small to be subnotebooks. Hewlett-Packard's 620LX, to be released next month, is a 500g device about the size of a pencil case that runs CE 2.0 but has a colour VGA screen as well as a reasonable keyboard.

Mitsubishi Electric is considering a UK release for its Amity, an unorthodox design that offers both pen and keyboard input and runs Windows 95.

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