Toshiba dishes on 'corridor cruisers'

Targeting workers who require wireless mobility within the confines of an office environment, Toshiba Corp. representatives will be discussing a new type of mobile, wireless computer at next week's TechXNY trade show in New York.

Nicknamed "corridor cruisers," the ultra-light, ultra-thin wireless notebooks from Toshiba will be based on the company's Portege 2000 series notebooks which launched in January, said Oscar Koenders, the vice president of product development for Toshiba, based in Irving, Calif.

Expected to arrive in the fourth quarter 2002, corridor cruisers will also give Toshiba a product that fits snugly between the company's notebook computers and future Tablet PCs, said Koenders.

"People are now wireless, not just outside the office, but also inside the office," said Koenders, who defined corridor cruisers as "people who just normally went into a meeting and just took notes and then went back to their PC on the desk and typed in their notes."

Corridor cruisers will utilize wireless 802.11 and Bluetooth technologies and leverage Toshiba's Portege technology, such as the product's smaller 1.8-inch hard drive, magnesium casing, and lithium polymer battery technology, in an effort to arrive ultra-small, said Koenders. "We're going to use all technologies we've used to make the Portege 2000 a very thin machine, to make sure we have a very strong offering when we introduce the Tablet PC, and that's going to happen somewhere in Q4 of this year," he said.

Toshiba has a concept Tablet PC called the Paperback Tablet, which runs Transmeta's Crusoe processor, the Linux OS, and offers a 6.5-inch color touch screen.

At the trade show Toshiba will also demonstrate an appliance server for home networks that provides a "jukebox" for digital music, digital photos, and video, said Koenders. A VPN that ships standard with the Toshiba appliance server will allow users to connect to and download files from the product over the Internet, according to Koenders.

Next-generation mobile devices such as corridor cruisers and Tablet PCs from vendors such as Toshiba, Hewlett-Packard Co., and Microsoft Corp. will be one of the high points of the trade show, according to Rob Enderle, an analyst at Giga Information Group Inc., based in Cambridge, Mass.

"As far as the new technology at the show, a lot of it will have to do with Tablets PCs," said Enderle.

In line with this, Jeff Raikes, the group vice president for Microsoft Corp.'s productivity and business services, will kick off the trade show with a demonstration of new applications for Tablet PC devices during his Tuesday morning keynote address.

The TechXNY trade show takes place at New York's Javits Convention Center, June 25 through June 27.

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Dan Neel

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