New Notebook Releases

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Notebook makers are releasing a ton of new products in anticipation of the Christmas season.  Sony, Toshiba and HP are the latest manufacturers to announce new notebooks.

New Vaio FRV37 Notebook from Sony

These three manufacturers are getting ready for what they hope will be a strong 4th quarter, thanks to high demand for notebooks from consumers and improving sales to businesses.

Notebook sales have been strong at retail in the United States this year. Notebooks have helped boost overall PC shipments worldwide. Market researcher IDC recently raised its PC shipment forecast for 2003, citing stronger notebook sales.

Toshiba is aiming for consumers purchasing at retail with two of its Satellite notebooks. Its Satellite A15-S129 offers a 2.4GHz Intel Celeron chip with a 15-inch screen, 256MB of RAM, a 40GB hard drive and a combination CD burner/DVD-ROM drive. It will sell for $1,049, according to Toshiba.

The notebook targests the bulk of the retail notebook market–the lower price bands. Almost half of notebooks sold at retail cost less than $1,000, according to NPD. But there, Toshiba will find fierce competition from the likes of HP.

For instance HP’s Pavilion ze4540US offers the same hardware for a price of $1,099. With $250 in mail-in rebates from HP and retailer Circuit City, the machine was advertised for $849 in a Circuit City flier earlier this week.

Toshiba’s new Satellite A25-S279 offers a 2.8GHz Intel Pentium 4, along with a 15-inch display, 512MB of RAM and a 60GB hard drive. This notebook, which comes with a combination CD burner/DVD-ROM and built-in wireless, will sell for $1,549. It is designed for consumers who are looking for a notebook to replace a desktop PC.

Toshiba, which is releasing two similarly configured Satellites for small and medium-size businesses, will compete with newly revised models from Sony as well.

Sony’s latest Vaio notebooks announced Monday, including its GRT200G, offer new processors and other upgraded features. The Pentium 4-based GRT200G notebooks will come with several screen sizes and include Sony’s Giga Pocket digital video recorder to pause and record live TV onto the hard drive for future playback. The notebook starts at about $2,100, according to Sony.

The company will also refresh its lightweight Vaio V505DX notebook, shifting the machine from a Pentium 4 to Intel’s new Pentium M processor. The new version, which will come with wireless, will start at about $1,750, Sony said.

Sony also added the Vaio TR2A, a version of its lightweight, camera-equipped laptop that will come with a 1GHz Pentium M processor.

Sony Vaio TR2A

Sony also added Bluetooth to its Vaio PCG-Z1VA notebook. The machine comes with a 1.6GHz Pentium M, a 14.1-inch display and starts at about $2,200, Sony said.

Sony has started taking orders for these notebooks via their website www.sonystyle.com.

The models will come up against some of HP’s latest products, including its 17-inch screen zd7000, which debuted last week and features Microsoft’s Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 operating system.

HP also introduced a  Pavilion zt3000, which comes with a Pentium M processor and a 15.4-inch wide-viewing screen for a starting price of $1,299. HP said the machine will hit stories Oct. 19.

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