Boombox meets Boombooks

Toshiba and BenQ are challenging the notion that convergence is based around the office and lounge room, releasing a range of audio-visual notebooks.

Toshiba's Qosmio F10 and G10 are fully equipped for digital media, with built-in TV tuners, high quality audio systems, Windows XP Media Center Edition and wide-angle TFT screens.

According to general manager of the information systems division of Toshiba, Mark Whittard, the new Qosmios will fit into a market hungry for options that bring digital audio-visual offerings into medium-density and apartment living.

"It's primarily for the home consumer market, because it can replace a new hi-fi stereo system, TV, DVD player and desktop PC," Whittard said. "This system is not a notebook with the AV features added on, it's not a compromise. If customers are looking at two or three home entertainment units, then the Qosmio offers them the same quality, more features and is more cost effective."

In a similar vein, BenQ is coming to market with the latest version of its Joybook series, also designed with a range of audio visual features including dual speakers, a subwoofer, 60GB hard drive for heavy-set media files and a DVD recorder.

"The Joybook A32 offers affordability to any customer irrespective of market segment but more importantly delivers excellent margin to the dealer," managing director of BenQ Australia, Philip Newton, said. "The product is great for the education, desktop replacement, SME and general consumer use."

Both vendors are talking up the quality of the components, which underpin these new audio-visual notebook offerings, as well as options that enable wireless connectivity to the Internet as well as remote control.

However, while BenQ's Joybooks are widely distributed through Westan, Ingram and BluechipIT, the Toshiba's Qosmios are only sold through mass merchants and home ware stores.

"We really need to be working with a specialist channel that understands the market for convergent products - we're talking about retailers that understand the market for PCs and AV equipment," Whittard said. "It's a very different sell and they need to get it right."

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