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Can Toshiba Crack Tab Market?

By Oonagh Reidy | Thursday | 17/10/2013

It's thrown its hat into the tablet race, unveiling one of the first Windows 8.1 tabs, but can Toshiba crack it?

The PC maker's new 8" Encore "tablet on steroids", revealed yesterday, is good for work, play, school and works as a full on desktop PC when hooked up to a monitor, says Justin White, Toshiba  Product Marketing Manager. 

"It's everything you get in a Pc only smaller", and with a very attractive RRP $399 for 32GB and $469 for 64GB memory running the new Windows upgrade. 

White says Toshiba has the edge of being the first to launch a Windows 8.1 tablet in the 8" market running Intel's new quad-core Bay Trail (along with Dell earlier this week). 

At under $400 for a Windows 8.1 tablet, it is very competitive with Android devices, with excellent specs including 1280 x 800  LCD display, two Full HD cameras, and InstantGo, 10 hr battery, Tosh could be on the right track to tap into demand.

The Windows touch tab is also kitted out with a slew of productivity apps: Office 2013, newest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and of course touch based 8.1 tiles, and a fantastic Skype app made in conjunction with its owners, Microsoft .

However, 8" inch Encore has a "limited release" to Harvey's, Dick Smith and JB Hi-Fi. 

In relation to availability to additional retailers bar the Big 3, White told CN: "we are always reviewing our retail strategy". 

Encore may also hit specialist retailers, in the future.

He said Toshiba will leverage its position as one of the largest suppliers of notebooks to kickstart consumer interest in its tablets - a space it has yet to conquer in any major way, dominated by iPad and Samsung's Androids. 

IT managers hate the iPad, due to lack of security and networking issues, he said. Tosh has also developed an 11.6" Windows tab priced higher at $1,699, with the business user in mind. 

Toshiba are also targeting the Windows tab in the education market and are already in talks with several companies, with a lot of interest already from this segment, says White.

Its pricing strategy will differ, and Encore will have "different flavours for different retail channels". 

The Wi-Fi only tablet lacks 4G/3G capabilities as most people are tethering and using Wi-Fi anyway, says White. 

The PC makers unveiled a B2B lineup of PC's at HQ yesterday including several workstations and new Protege, Tecra, P Series and L Series models. 

These include: Toshiba NB 10 with Intel CPU, which is an entry level touchscreen PC, thin and light but not quite an Ultrabook. No RRP yet. 

Protege Z30 - a 13.3" Ultrabook with Intel Haswell chip, 16GB RAM. 

The PC giant also unveiled a long with a slew of accessories to go on sale locally: including hard drives in flashy colours - blue, red and white - to SDcards,  and 'world slimmest' portable USB hardrive.  

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