Toshiba preps Centrino price cut

Wireless connectivity is becoming a must-have for laptops, helping to drive down the cost of embracing Wi-Fi

Toshiba is gearing up to cut the cost of its Centrino-based laptops as Wi-Fi becomes an essential feature rather than an optional extra.

"There are plans in place for us to offer Centrino notebooks at a lower price-point in the near future," said Neil Bramley, Toshiba's small and medium-sized business manager. Bramley was speaking to journalists at the Institute of Directors.

Currently the cheapest Centrino-based Toshiba laptop costs just under £1,000. Bramley agreed with the suggestion that wireless connectivity will probably soon come as standard even on entry-level laptops. He pointed out that quite recently a CD-Rom drive was the mark of a relatively high-end laptop.

"We don't even do a laptop with a CD-Rom drive any more. We start with a DVD drive," said Bramley.

Toshiba and the IoD published details of a survey into the UK market for wireless services on Thursday, and warned that many firms have failed to create and implement a decent strategy for their wireless investments.

The research found that companies understand that significant benefits are possible through embracing technologies such as 802.11b -- but aren't making proper plans for how to implement these services.

According to Clive Longbottom, head of research at Quocirca, this is typical of the way many firms approach new technology. "It's analogous to when modems first launched. People bought one and plugged it into a phone socket without realising that phreakers were out there calling number after number until they heard a modem tone," said Longbottom. "This attitude isn't new, but it's more important than ever before."

Toshiba and the IoD's research claimed that a poorly executed wireless deployment can result in employees overworking -- actually harming productivity in the long term. There's also a serious danger of data loss if wireless access points are not secure.