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Toshiba Kira New Ultimate PC Technology

By David Richards | Tuesday | 14/05/2013

What is the difference between the new Toshiba Kira offering and an Apple Mac?

A lot, if you listen to what Toshiba is doing to revolutionise their line-up of portable devices, which includes a new range of slick looking Ultrabooks which have press forged, AZ61 magnesium alloy chassis and a brand new honeycomb-base structure that strips weight out of the device without compromising rigidity.

Toshiba is the Japanese company that invented the first notebook. Now they are shifting portable devices such as tablets, Ultrabooks and notebooks in a new direction and the key to their success is a new generation of quality components and slick new designs that don't compromise the performance even when packed into a slim design.

For decades Toshiba has been a master of miniaturisation, they have packed drives into extremely small spaces while producing unique audio systems that deliver a big sound experience from a wafer thin notebook. When it came to protecting a display screen, which is one of the most common components to fail due to the constant handling and pressure when packed into a bag, Toshiba developed casings that flexed. This significantly cut down any impact on a screen.

Last month Toshiba launched the first of their new Kira branded products in the form of a 13.3" Ultrabook that comes with a screen resolution of 2560x1440 and a pixel density of 221 pixels per inch. This new Toshiba Pure Pixel technology has been packed into an Ultrabook that weighs only 1.21kg or 1.35kg with an all new touch screen.

Click to enlarge
Back in 1985 Toshiba launched the T1100 which was described as "the world's first mass-market laptop computer". It did not have a hard drive, and ran entirely from floppy disks. The CPU was a 4.77 MHz Intel 80C88, a variation of the popular Intel 8088, and the display was a monochrome, text-only 640x200 LCD. It was followed in 1987 by the T1000 which weighed 2.9kgs - more than double the weight of the new Kira Ultrabook.

This was followed by the T1200. These Toshiba models were small and light enough to be carried in a backpack, and could be run from lead-acid batteries. They also introduced the now-standard "resume" feature to DOS-based machines: the computer could be paused between sessions without having to be restarted each time and Toshiba's World firsts continue with consistency including  the World's first wireless notebook in 2001 and  the World's first ultraportable notebook with a 512GB SSD in 2009.

How the world has changed. Today Toshiba is again pushing the design envelope with the all new Kira models which also have touch capability as an option. If you opt for the 10-point touch panel you will be able to use Windows 8 as a touch screen OS. And because Toshiba use the all new Corning Concore Glass the touchscreen is fingerprint resistant.

According to Toshiba management the market will be 50% touch devices by the end of 2013. Toshiba said that a decline in notebook sales was one of the key reasons why the Japanese Company is pushing into the premium space, with their new range of Ultrabooks. The company claims that consumers today own three devices or more and that while the smartphone was an essential tech device it was the notebook and the Ultrabook that were the "workhorses" for many consumers.

Click to enlarge
Unveiled at a launch event in Sydney by Toshiba Australia's Managing Director Mark Whittard, the Toshiba Kira range - Japanese for 'shining light' - is perfect for aspirational purchasers who want "quality and great design".

"Kira is positioned at the most discerning user," he said. "It's uniquely crafted from high grade materials, engineered with the latest technologies and it embodies Toshiba's entire heritage. We went to our engineers and said, 'If you could build the best notebook computing platform, what would you do?'"

According to Whittard, those engineers came back with features such as Harman Kardon sound systems and a 2,560 x 1,140 Pixel Pure HD display, as well as 256GB storage and 8GB memory across the range. The four models in the range vary in weight, processing power and touchscreen capabilities, though all feature a brushed magnesium alloy body with an internal honeycomb structure designed for durability without excess weight.

"It's all about the end-to-end experience when [consumers] buy this product - they see it on the shelf, it inspires desire," said Whittard. "It's inspirational just in its packaging. You have to market things differently, it's a dog eat dog world out there, so little things sometimes make a big difference."

Toshiba will also be offering a premium warranty that aims to build a high-end experience for "discerning" customers and thereby building brand loyalty.  These services include

2 years express warranty

?        Onsite service in major metro areas

?         Express courier in regional areas

?         2 years hotline support

"Our intention is to keep Kira customers for life, and to give them the next inspirational product when they're ready to change over," said Whittard.

The Kira is available now from selected retailers, starting at RRP $1,799 for the entry-level model and going up to $2,199 for the top-of-the-line Ultrabook.

Other features that have been stated so far by Toshiba include AirFlow II, which is a multi-phase fan cooling system that will be needed to vent the warm air from the thin chassis; a frameless, LED-backlit keyboard; a Li-Polymer battery with a life of six hours; 8GB of DDR3 SDRAM and a 256GB solid state drive.

Toshiba already makes one of the lightest and slickest Android tablets and now they are planning to have point of sale and smart product stands in some retail stores in Australia and New Zealand,"  according to Toshiba Marcom Manager Mariana Thomas.

Click to enlarge
"We are working with retailers to deliver a better in-store experience so consumers can clearly see the difference between a Toshiba product and other brands.   We pride ourselves on producing notebooks that are made from superior components and stylish designs whilst a lot of other brands are in the race to see who can produce the cheapest notebook." 

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