Libretto to go the way of the Dodo bird

The mighty Libretto, one of the first mini-notebooks to be introduced to the computer market, will be phased out of production this August after two years, a Toshiba spokesperson has said.

"While the Libretto was a fantastic product, our customers are being transitioned to the Portege 3000 series mini-notes," said Chris Pollitt at Toshiba. "The Libretto will reach end of life in August."

Introduced on June 2, 1997, the first Librettos featured a 7.1in VGA screen and a 166MHz Pentium processor running Windows 95. The latest version, the Libretto 110, includes a Pentium 233MHz processor, a 4GB hard drive and 32MB of RAM running Windows 98.

Despite its many useful features, however, its day has apparently come and gone according to one analyst.

"Manufacturers have learned a few lessons about ultra-portability since the Libretto's introduction," said Gerry Purdy, president of Mobile Insights in California.

According to Purdy, business users no longer want a display less than 10 inches, or a keyboard with less than 17mm or 18mm pitch -- the distance from centre to centre on the main keys. The tiny Libretto had neither.

"Although you can put VGA on a small screen, you can hardly read it," Purdy added. "Rejection of that market is clearly manifest."

However, the Libretto will not fade completely away. On July 17th, Toshiba will introduce to the Japanese market only the Libretto ff 1100 with a 266MHz Pentium processor and a detachable camera for recording still and full motion video for playback and editing.

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Ephraim Schwartz

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