For most students, school isn’t even over yet. But that isn’t stopping Toshiba from talking about back-to-school laptops and tablets. And this season, the Japanese company is doing its best to make it so you can’t really tell the difference between laptops and tablets, with laptops whose screens swivel or detach to make them work like tablets.
“We still see a lot of growth potential in the detachable market,” said Carrie Cowan, senior product marketing manager with Toshiba America, in an interview with VentureBeat. “Retail has a lot of enthusiasm for this category.”
Among the new designs is the Satellite Radius, a “multimode” laptop with a screen that you can spin around and fold down so that it becomes a tablet with a 15.6-inch screen. The hybrid laptop-tablet features a two-axis swivel hinge that lets you use the screen in multiple ways. You can fold it part way and stand it on its edges so that you can watch a movie on it while it is propped up. Or you can use it to make presentations to a group.
Other laptop makers have also recently experimented with laptops whose screens swivel in various configurations, such as Lenovo’s Yoga and Ultrabook series, HP’s Revolve series, Dell’s XPS 12 series, and some Sony Vaio notebooks.
Toshiba is aiming the Satellite Radius at consumers and mobile professionals. The screen is a full high-definition touchscreen with a 135-degree viewing angle. The laptop has a brushed aluminum case and frameless light-emitting diode backlit keyboard. It comes with 8 gigabytes of main memory and can use either an Intel fourth-generation Core i5 or i7 processor. It has Harmon Kardon speakers and DTS Sound audio processing. The built-in features include 802.11ac Wi-Fi, WiDi5 wireless display, HDMI port for 4K output, and a terabyte of hard drive storage. It has an HD webcam, three universal serial bus (USB) 3.0 ports, and dual-array microphones. Toshiba includes Dragon Assistant voice control technology.
The Satellite Radius will sell for $926 starting in early July at Best Buy and Toshiba.com/us.
“This will provide more choice for buyers at retail than we’ve seen before,” Cowan said.
Toshiba also has a new line of Satellite Click 2-in-1 detachable laptops, which can be used as laptops or tablets. New models include the Satellite Click 2 and the Satellite Click 2 pro. Each has a 13.3-inch removable display. They run Windows 8.1 and feature a quad-core Intel Pentium processor and a 500-gigabyte hard drive. The resolution is 1,366 x 768 pixels, and you can detach the screen by snapping a latching mechanism. So it’s easy to take off the screen. The hard drive is in the screen, and it now has a lock feature that protects the hard drive from rough and tumble.
The Satellite Click 2 has a Skullcandy sound system and DTS audio processing. It is 0.9-inches thick, and you can charge a smartphone via a USB port even when the power is off. The Satellite Click 2 Pro is for power users who want more from their devices, like a full HD display, dual cameras, and a premium Harmon Kardon sound system with a different kind of push-pull hinge. That means you can detach the screen with one hand.
The Pro version has a brushed aluminum case and it is 0.78 inches thick. It uses a fourth-generation Intel Core processor.
The Satellite Click 2 sells for $587, while the Satellite Click 2 sells for $1,029. Both are available in late June at Best Buy stores, BestBuy.com, and Toshiba.com. If you add a keyboard base with additional battery and more hard drive space, the price is $1,280.
On the tablet side, Toshiba is launching two Encore 2 Windows tablets. Toshiba will have an eight-inch model and a 10.1-inch version. It comes preloaded with apps like Xbox Music and Video, Kindle Reader, and Skype. It has a one-year subscription to Office 365.
The eight-inch version will sell for $200 and the 10-inch version will sell for $270. They have a satin gold matte finish and have rounded edges. The eight-inch weighs less than a pound. The 10.1-inch Encore 2 is 0.4 inches thick and it weighs 1.2 pounds. Both tablets have 1280 x 800 multitouch displays. They feature Intel Atom processors. They can run video for eight hours and run general apps for 10 hours. They can be configured for up to 64 gigabytes of flash memory, and they have multiple ports. The machines will be available in early July.
“We’re all-in on Windows with so many millions of users out there,” Cowan said. “Office on a tablet makes a whole lot of sense. You can edit on the fly.”
On the other hand, Toshiba is hedging its bets at the low end. Toshiba is also unveiling a 7-inch Android-based Excite Go tablet using version 4.4 KitKat of Google’s Android operating system. It is coming out at the surprisingly low price of $110. It weighs just 12.5 ounces and can be held comfortably with a single hand. The screen resolution is 1,024 x 600, or good enough for web browsing and playing casual games.
The device has an Intel Atom processor, 16 gigabytes of flash memory, and comes preloaded with a full version of OfficeSuite Pro, a $15 value. It has wireless display support, so you can stream copy-protected video from the tablet to a TV screen. It can operate for eight hours on a battery charge with general use, or 6.5 hours of video usage. The Excite Go will be available in early July at select retailers and at Toshiba’s site. It has ports to support USB, microSD, and SDXC cards.