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Thursday, July 15, 2004
TV laptop from Toshiba

TOSHIBA plans to announce a new laptop model next week that allows users to watch TV on it without having to boot up the computer's Windows operating system ? the first in what analysts say will be a new crop of multimedia notebooks to come.

Called Qosmio, (koss-me-oh) it will be Toshiba's first laptop to fully integrate audio and video features, including a bright, near TV-quality display, DVD drive, TV tuner and enhanced speakers. A user could click on the TV with the laptop's remote control or watch a DVD movie without having to go through the all-too-familiar process of starting the accompanying Windows Media Center operating system. If users want to pause live TV or record TV shows onto the 80-gigabyte hard disk, however, they'll need to do so with the Windows software.

A 15-inch model will be available in the US in August and will be priced between $US2,299 and $US2,399, said Terry Cronin, a product management director at Toshiba. Wide-screen models are planned for later.

In recent years, a growing number of desktop computers and displays have adopted more multimedia and TV-watching capabilities, and some laptops already allow for DVD-movie playing without booting up.

But Toshiba's Qosmio promises to be the first with a built-in, no-waiting TV mode and "arguably the best laptop display currently on the market", said Rob Enderle, an independent industry analyst with The Enderle Group. "They've just moved the bar and are further defining this multimedia class of products."

Toshiba, the world's third largest manufacturer of laptops, is working to buoy its computer business. In April, the Japanese electronics giant partly blamed slower computer sales for a $US15 billion, or 4 per cent, decrease in revenue in the first quarter, compared to the same period last year.

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