Apple’s iPad has left the traditional PC market in a state of flux and in a painful bit of irony for Apple’s competition, the Cupertino company is also one of the few manufacturers whose traditional PC business managed to grow last quarter. Research firm IDC released its first-quarter figures on Wednesday and detailed bleak times for the bulk of PC makers in the U.S. and globally. Stateside, Apple and Toshiba were the only companies with significant market shares whose shipments grew year-over-year; Apple’s shipments climbed 9.6% to 1.375 million units and Toshiba shipped 1.663 million units for a 10.4% increase. Overall however, the market was down 10.7%, with Dell and Acer having recorded the biggest loses. Dell’s shipments declined 11.8% while Acer’s U.S. PC shipments slid a massive 42.1% year-over-year, from 2.298 million units in the first quarter of 2010 to 1.331 million in the same quarter this year. Globally, Lenovo was the biggest winner as its shipments grew an impressive 16.3% to 8.172 million units. Acer was again the biggest loser, with total shipments dropping 15.8% from 10.733 million units in the first quarter last year to 9.039 million units in the first quarter of 2011. Hit the jump for IDC’s full press release. More →
Intel on Monday officially took the wraps off of its latest Atom Z760 processor, formerly codenamed “Oak Trail.” The Atom Z760 processor promises to provide better performance, specifically with multimedia playback, and it supports 1080p video encoding as well as HDMI-out in a package that’s 60% smaller than previous Atom CPUs. The new processor also supports Windows 7, Android and MeeGo, allowing manufacturers to build tablets that can boot into a variety of operating systems, and Intel says the chip is designed for more portable embedded designs. The Atom Z760 chip — clocked at 1.5GHz – has been shipping to manufacturers for the last few weeks and tablets from OEMs including Lenovo, Toshiba and Fujitsu are expected to hit the market as soon as this May. Intel confirmed with BGR that the “lion’s share” of the Atom Z760 powered tablets will run Windows 7. The chip maker will show devices running the new processor during the Intel Developer Forum, which begins on Tuesday, and it will also tease its next generation “Cedar Trail” chip for netbooks during the forum. Cedar Trail will provide support for Intel Wireless Display, PC Synch, Fast Boot and Intel Wireless Music. Hit the jump for the full release. More →
Best Buy Connect — Best Buy’s mobile broadband arm — on Monday announced that customers can now sign up for 4G service. The 4G data service, which was launched through a wholesale agreement with Clearwire, is an option for customers purchasing one of Best Buy’s 23 supported laptop models from Asus, Samsung, Dell, HP, Sony and Toshiba, and Best Buy Connect provides all the service and support. Unlimited access to the 4G WiMAX network will set you back $45 each month with a two-year contract or on a month-to-month basis. If you sign up for a two-year contract, however, Best Buy Connect will waive the $35 activation fee, and Best Buy will knock $150 off the price of “select hardware devices.” Best Buy says that users can sign up for the 4G service nationwide, however access to the 4G WiMAX network is only available in the 70 U.S. markets where Clearwire offers it. Just last week Best Buy announced a new agreement to sell LightSquared’s 4G LTE service under its Best Buy Connect brand, although it’s unclear when that network will be offered. Hit the jump for the full release. More →
Two of Apple’s component suppliers, Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co and Toshiba, have reportedly shut down some of their operations in Japan in the wake of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami. According to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, this could result in shortages of Apple’s iPad 2 and iPhone 4 in March, through the rest of the first quarter, and into June. Toshiba manufactures 40% of the world’s flash memory, and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co is believed to be Apple’s go-to company for BT resin — which is used on circuit boards. Munster says Apple’s strategy to buy from multiple component suppliers could help soften the blow. “This strategy has proven to be an effective way for Apple to leverage its balance sheet and its position as one of the largest buyers of many of the components it uses; moreover, this strategy may prove particularly helpful if supply is limited and pricing increases,” wrote Munster. “Finally, we believe Apple buys futures on important components, which will help offset near-term pricing swings. Our conclusion is that Apple is well positioned to suffer proportionally less than its competitors.” Apple’s stock traded down sharply yesterday on the news of an analyst downgrade and potential supply shortages. More →
As Netflix continues to barrel into living rooms across the country, the thriving company announced new agreements Tuesday that will enable one-click access to its streaming video services on compatible partner devices. The new deal will place a dedicated Netflix button, complete with the Netflix logo, on remote controls that ship with various consumer electronics including Watch Instantly-enabled televisions, Blu-ray players and set top boxes. Manufacturers on board include Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, Dynex (Best Buy’s in-house brand), Haier, Memorex, Boxee, Iomega and Roku. The deal is big news for Netflix, and it stands to substantially increase brand visibility. Netflix claims that there are currently more than 250 devices on the market compatible with its streaming video service. Hit the break for Netflix’s full press release. More →
According to a report in The New York Times Monday morning, Google TV might not be ready for primetime. Google TV is Google’s attempt at a next-generation WebTV service — a combination of television and the Web meant to expand and enhance the viewing experience. But the initial iteration of Google’s service seems just as half-baked as WebTV was in the mid-1990s. Google reportedly wants more time to refine the software, which has not been well received by reviewers or early adopters. Sony and Logitech both have products out to market already, but Toshiba, LG and Sharp were all set to show off new Google TV products at the Consumer Electronics Show next month. Google has apparently asked the companies to hold off so it can “refine the software.” The report does not address whether or not the companies agreed to hold their Google TV offerings, though changing plans would be anything but easy at this point. CES kicks off in less than three weeks on January 6th. More →
According to Deutsche Bank in a note sent out to clients, Apple’s combined iPad and MacBook / MacBook Pro market share puts them right ahead Asus, Toshiba, Dell, and Lenovo globally. Obviously you have to be willing to classify iPad tablet devices in the category as laptops and notebooks, but it isn’t exactly far-fetched. Especially when customers are buying iPads over a new netbook or in some cases laptops. The jump to the #3 spot (again, if you classify iPads as portables) pulls Apple up from the #7 slot globally, and it doesn’t look like Apple’s piece of the pie will be sliding any time soon. “Retail checks suggest this share shift continues in July.” The only two companies in front of Apple in this non-standard market share survey? Acer and Hewlett Packard. Let’s see what a Retina display-equipped, FaceTime-toting new iPad will do the market then, shall we? More →
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, giving the opening keynote at the Worldwide Partner Conference, told his audience to expect Windows 7 slate computers before the end of this year. “We know you really want to know what’s coming,” teased Ballmer. HP is one of several Dell partners who announced a slate-like PC earlier this year, although they did not announce when the new product would be available. Microsoft’s Chief went onto say, “They [the Slate PC's] will come from the people you would expect. From Asus, from Dell, from Samsung, from Toshiba, from Sony.” We say bring on the slates! More →
Several Japanese newspapers are reporting that Fujitsu is working on an Android smartphone. This first Android offering from the Japanese electronics giant is expected to land next year with NTT DoCoMo and will be the first smartphone in Fujitsu’s handset lineup. Details on the device are sparse but with the future merger of Fujitsu’s mobile division with Toshiba’s mobile business unit, we can conjure up images of an Android handset that takes the high-end features of the Toshiba TG01 and mixes it with the innovative, separable design of the F-04B. Sounds like a match made in heaven, no?
[Via Mobile Crunch]
Today, Toshiba announced the release of their new concept PC called the Libretto. The Libretto provides its user with dual 7-inch multitouch displays, Intel Pentium U5400 1.2 GHz processor, 2 GB RAM, 62 GB solid-state HD, 1 megapixel webcam, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1, micro-SD card slot, and Windows 7 Home Premium. This tight little package will weigh in at a mere 1.8 pounds and have an 8-cell Li-ion battery. The Libretto is set to hit the market in the coming months, and will retail for $1,099. The unit is priced several hundred dollars higher than the iPad and netbooks, but then again, it looks like you are getting quite a bit more. We’ve got the full press release for you after the bounce. Let us know what you think? More →
Toshiba and Fujitsu confirmed on Thursday that the two Japanese companies will be merging their mobile phone business units. As part of the merger, Toshiba will spin off its mobile division into a new company with Fujitsu acquiring a majority stake in this newly formed venture. The resulting company will become Japan’s second largest mobile phone maker with an estimated 18.7% market share. Details are expected to be finalized in July with the merged company beginning operations in October of this year. More →
Toshiba has announced the birth of their 128 GB NAND flash memory module. The new flash storage chip “integrates sixteen 64Gbit NAND chips” onto a minuscule 17 x 22 x 1.4mm chip. Toshiba writes: “Demand continues to grow for large density chips that support high-resolution video and deliver enhanced storage, particularly in the area of embedded memories with a controller function that minimize development requirements and ease integration into system designs.” Let’s hope we see these new 128 GB beasts in slates and smartphones in the very near future. We’ve got the full press release for you after the bump.
[Via Slash Gear] More →
Having sold some 1.5 million Windows-based computers, Toshiba saw it’s U.S. PC sales grow an impressive 50% in Q1. The sales, which were greatly aided by a recovering economy, were also accelerated thanks to interest in Windows 7. Toshiba is now the 4th largest mover of PCs in the U.S. As for the future, Toshiba’s GM of digital products has said the company is planning on introducing a series of tablets this year, with some running Microsoft’s Windows 7 and others Google’s Android. Some analysts have predicted that such a move would do nothing but throw a wrench into Toshiba’s netbook sales, but the company is confident that the two categories of devices can be sold side by side with minimal cannibalization. The U.S. market for tablets is expected to swell to 50 million units by 2014. More →