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Toshiba Aims to Replace Desktop With a Notebook : Computers: The company hopes its new 5 1/2-pound T2200SX model will put it back into the technological forefront.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Toshiba America Information Systems Inc. plans to introduce a 5 1/2-pound notebook computer today that is aimed at replacing desktop computers and putting the company back into the technological forefront.

The company’s T2200SX computer will include an optional adapter called a “docking station” that allows the computer to be hooked up to a network of office computers and peripheral equipment such as printers, said Jeffrey R. Greenberg, a manager at Toshiba’s Computer Systems Division in Irvine.

The docking station makes the notebook computer more practical because it can eliminate the common practice of using a desktop computer in the office and a notebook computer, which fits inside a briefcase, on the road, Greenberg said.

The notebook computer is also smaller and lighter than previous Toshiba models because its case is made of a lightweight composite material used in jet fighters instead of standard plastic, Greenberg said. The fiber-reinforced plastic is 20% to 50% lighter than regular plastic and just as strong, he said.

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“It’s a strategic product that puts them in the technology forefront,” said Tim Bajarin, executive vice president of the consulting firm Creative Strategies Research International in Santa Clara.

Bajarin said the computer industry has had docking stations since 1983, but notebook computers have only recently become sufficiently powerful or fast enough to seriously rival the performance of a desktop computer.

The T2200SX is available for $4,499 with a 40-megabyte hard disk drive and $4,799 with a 60-megabyte hard disk drive. Greenberg said an 80-megabyte version would be available in the fourth quarter. The docking station, called Desk Station IV, will sell for an additional $999.

Those prices are higher than for similar machines sold by competitors such as AST Research Inc. in Irvine, but Toshiba believes the additional features will make it worth the price, Greenberg said. Compaq Computer Corp. in Houston also sells a docking station for its notebook computers, but Toshiba has never marketed a notebook computer with a docking station as a replacement for a desktop computer before, said Toshiba spokesman Robert Maples.

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Maples denied recent trade journal reports that the company would introduce a color notebook computer or a computer based on a fast new microprocessor, or main brain, from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. at Comdex, the computer industry’s biggest trade show, to be held in Las Vegas in October.

But Maples said the company would continue to introduce new computers every 90 days and would demonstrate color technology that could eventually be used in its future products at the Comdex show. He also said the company would announce another product at Comdex, but he declined to elaborate.


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