Toshiba just unveiled its back-to-school laptop lineup, and while mainstream notebooks are normally a bit of a snooze, there’s at least one detail that makes these worth a second look. Everything in the line, from the $395 entry-level model to the souped-up 4K editions, has a built-in keyboard button to launch Cortana in Windows 10. Just hit what appears to be a search key in the Function row, and you’ll bring up Microsoft’s voice assistant, which can respond to commands like “what’s the weather?”, “tell me a joke” and “sing a song”. (With all due respect to Cortana voice actress Jen Taylor, you might want to skip that last one.) Toshiba is not the only PC maker that’s chosen to add extra features related to Cortana, but the built-in hotkey is still pretty novel.
Other than that Cortana key, these new models are fairly unremarkable. Here’s a summary:
- The Satellite C series. Toshiba’s entry-level notebook comes in 15- and 17-inch sizes, with your choice of Intel or AMD processors. The design is dominated by what Toshiba calls “textured resin,” which is a fancy word for plastic. Specs include up to 8GB of RAM and up to a terabyte of storage (spinning hard drives only). There’s also a touchscreen option, if you’re willing to pay a bit more. Prices start at $395.
- The Satellite L series. This is Toshiba’s mainstream laptop, designed to hit a sweet spot between price and performance. Available in 15- and 17-inch sizes, it steps up to stronger AMD/Intel processors, along with options for faster 802.11ac, 16GB of RAM and a full HD display. For the money, you’ll also get a few extra amenities, including a backlit keyboard, Skullcandy audio, 4K HDMI output and a Sleep and Charge USB port. Prices start at $530 for the 15-inch version and $570 for the 17-incher.
- The Satellite S series. At this point, you can say goodbye to AMD processors; it’s Intel-only for the S series. Depending on how much money you’re willing to spend, you can get optional NVIDIA graphics, along with a Core i7 processor (dual- or quad-core), up to 16GB of RAM and either a 2TB hard drive or a dual HDD-plus-SSD setup. Though the S series starts with 1,600 x 900 resolution, it’s also offered in full HD and 4K. As you’d expect, you get all the same perks as on the L series, except this has a nicer aluminum design, and 802.11ac WiFi is standard. Prices start at $720 for the 15-inch model and $875 for the 17-inch.
- The Fusion series. Toshiba’s new “Fusion” series is kind of what it sounds like: a Yoga-like laptop with a 360-degree hinge that transforms into (excuse me: fuses into) tablet mode. This one’s offered with just a 15-inch screen (no 17-inch option), and the specs are higher-end than what we’ve seen on some of the other models. These include an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, up to 12GB of RAM and a choice between either an HDD or a solid-state drive. It also includes many of the same features mentioned earlier: a Sleep and Charge port, 4K HDMI output, Skullcandy audio and a backlit keyboard. Prices start at $650.
- The Radius series. In terms of the form factor, the Radius is very much like the Fusion. Why’s it called the Radius, then? Because it’s exclusive to Best Buy, whereas the Fusion will be sold in various other retail stores. Toshiba already had an 11-inch Radius laptop, and today it’s adding fresh 14- and 15-inch versions as well. Though they have the same form factor, it’s clear the 15-inch model is the more premium machine, with a 4K screen option and nicer-looking aluminum enclosure (the 14-inch mixes a plastic chassis with a metal palm rest). Also, the 15-inch version is Intel-only, whereas the 14-incher can be configured with Intel or AMD. Prices start at $585 for the Radius 14 and $843 for the Radius 15.
With the exception of the S series and the 17-inch Satellite L, all of these will be available June 21st and will initially ship with Windows 8.1. Like all Windows 8 machines, they’ll be eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 10 once the new OS comes out in July.
Filed under: Laptops
If you happen to be shopping in Japan sometime soon, don’t be surprised if the first offer of help comes from a machine. Toshiba has just installed Aiko Chihira, a humanoid greeter robot, at Tokyo’s Mitsukoshi department store. The kimono-clad automaton will guide you around the shop while it blinks and smiles — at once helpful and, as you can see above, a little creepy. It can’t respond to questions yet (don’t yell at it over a faulty product), but it’s capable of handling both spoken and signed languages. No, Aiko isn’t as interactive or relentlessly adorable as SoftBank’s Pepper, but it’ll be a big time-saver if it prevents you from getting lost in the aisles.
[Image credit: AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi]
Filed under: Robots
Source: Toshiba (translated)
For a large group of people, Netflix has become the primary platform for watching TV shows and movies on a big screen TV. Digging into a menu and launching the app every day can be a pain though. The solution? TV remotes that offer a dedicated Netflix button, of course. They’ve been available in the US for years, but finally they’re coming to Europe too. For starters, Netflix is partnering with Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, Philips and Vestel to offer the new remotes with several of their smart TVs, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes. The company says the move is part of its larger mission to work more closely with hardware manufacturers and optimize its service for subscribers. If that leads to a reduction in the time spent between switching on the TV and watching Bloodline, count us in.
[Image Credit: AP Photo/Neflix Inc.]
Filed under: Home Entertainment
Today, Toshiba announced that it has begun commercial production of its new T4K82 CMOS image sensor for smartphones and tablets. The sensor packs in high-end features which could give a boost to next-generation products.
The T4K82 is a 13 megapixel BSI (back-illuminated) CMOS image sensor, which is a match for most modern high-end smartphones. However, the big talking point is that Toshiba’s new chip is capable of 240fps interlaced slow-motion video capture with a full 1080p resolution, which, on paper, is the highest frame rate available in the industry. It can also scale down its resolution to QVGA (320×240) for 900fps equivalent video capture.
To accomplish this, Toshiba makes use of its own “Bright Mode” technology to boost frame brightness by up to four times. This is achieved through “charge binning”, which adds the charges of two pixels and outputs the sum as one pixel with double brightness. Typically, high speed frame capture suffers from underexposure due to the shortness of time available to capture light. Toshiba provides an interlaced video output when using Bright Mode, effectively doubling the perceived frame rate of the video.
However, you won’t be able to view interlaced playback on a typical smartphone display. Instead, Toshiba provides its own interlacing-progressive conversion program to output high-speed capture to a progressive format. Depending on the quality of the conversion and how well charge binning works, the motion may or may not be quite as polished as a normal progressive capture could be at this frame rate and resolution. Even so, this technology should still offer additional smoothness and clarity over existing slow-motion implementations in the mobile space.
Slow motion video capture has become an increasingly popular feature in high-end smartphones. The new Galaxy S6, HTC One M9, Xperia Z3, and OnePlus One, among others, all support 120fps slow-motion video capture at resolutions of 720p. Toshiba’s sensor will double the equivalent frame rate and increase image clarity over current smartphones capable of slow-motion recordings.
While no products fitted with the T4K82 sensor have been announced yet, entering mass production means that we could well see 240fps, full HD video capable smartphones available later in the year.
Toshiba Canvio AeroCast; The portable wireless hard drive with Chromecast supportBuild QualityEase of UseBattery lifeSoftware / AppPacks plenty of storage1 TB of storage space Includes cable and wall charger connects to multiple devicesApp ruins the esperiencePoorly designed appHard to navigate UISlower than expected speeds3.5Overall ScoreReader Rating: (0 Votes) I am a self proclaimed storage junkie. […]
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News on Google’s Project Ara modular smartphone has been picking up steam as of later, and we’re starting to see the first developmental modules for the device.
Today, we have pictures and information regarding Toshiba’s camera module for the device, which is still in development.
In these pictures,we can see a 2MP front shooter, as well as a 5MP and 13MP rear cameras. Development is set to be complete in 2016. Hit the break for more.
The modular device is expected to launch in Puerto Rico by the end of 2015, so we’ll be getting a ton of more information in the coming months about Project Ara.
Source: GSM Dome
Come comment on this article: Check out Toshiba’s first camera modules for the Project Ara smartphone
Project Ara, Google’s fancy little modular phone of the future, keeps gaining more and more momentum as time progresses. The basic principles behind the device involves making all your phones components interchangeable. Think of it like a desktop PC of sorts. Want better photos, then just buy a higher resolution camera module. Basically allowing you […]
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It’s been known for a while that the NSA will intercept and bug equipment to spy on its soon-to-be owners, but the intellgency agency’s techniques are apparently more clever than first thought. Security researchers at Kaspersky Lab have discovered apparently state-created spyware buried in the firmware of hard drives from big names like Seagate, Toshiba and Western Digital. When present, the code lets snoops collect data and map networks that would otherwise be inaccessible — all they need to retrieve info is for an unwitting user to insert infected storage (such as a CD or USB drive) into an internet-connected PC. The malware also isn’t sitting in regular storage, so you can’t easily get rid of it or even detect it.
Kaspersky isn’t explicitly naming the culprits, but it also isn’t shy about pointing a finger in the US government’s direction. The company notes that the developers had access to unpatched exploits before they showed up in American cyberwarfare viruses like Stuxnet, and in some cases directly borrowed code modules. Also, most of the infections have occurred in countries that are frequently US spying targets, such as China, Iran, Pakistan and Russia. Reuters sources back this up with claims that the NSA has developed espionage techniques on this level.
The NSA isn’t commenting on the findings. However, they don’t bode well for the US’ attempts to preserve the eroding trust of other countries. If the US can plant surveillance tools in hard disks, why would you buy a hard drive (or an entire computer) from an American source to safeguard your big secrets? You probably won’t have to worry about these bugged drives at home, but they’re likely to be major concerns abroad.
[Image credit: Getty Images]
Source: Kaspersky Lab
Project Ara is inching closer to its commercial début in Puerto Rico later this year, so it is only natural that we begin to hear word of modules that third part developers have in mind for the build-it-yourself smartphone. Last week, Toshiba showed off some of its own reference design camera modules for Ara.
Toshiba discussed three swappable modules for Ara: a 2 megapixel front facing camera bar, as well as 5MP and 13MP rear camera options. The company will also be opening up its reference designs to third party developers, to bring a wider range of camera options, and other modules, to Project Ara.
“Also we took some of Toshiba technologies and our chips, and developed some module reference designs. We can open these designs out for everybody, so people can use it for their own technology and developing modules.”
The 5MP module fits in the standard 2×1 module size for Ara and comes with its own ISP chip to handle the processing, while the 2MP front facing bar contains an extra audio codec and can communicate with other processors through common I2S and I2C interface standards. Toshiba’s 13MP camera option is based on the company’s T4K82 mobile sensor, which allows for 30fps video recording at 4K and 2K resolutions and has 120fps 1080p recording capabilities.
In addition to these sensors, Toshiba also talked about its 8MP T4KA3 and 20MP T4KA7 products for mobile devices, both of which could also be worked into future camera module designs.
Here’s a quick video of the 5MP camera module being plugged in and used to capture video in real time.
These three camera modules are just the first stage in Toshiba’s plan for modular products. The company is also developing wireless charger, TransferJet, NFC and external memory reference designs for Project Ara this year, leading into an unspecified “unique module” in 2016.
Although still far from a finished product, Toshiba’s little range of camera sensor options are an exciting prospect for Project Ara and discriminating smartphone photographers alike.
Toshiba has undertaken many attempts to reshape its TV segment over the years with “Cloud Portal” and Cell TV, but none have hit the mark and now it’s getting out of the business entirely in North America. Following other Japanese manufacturers that have axed (Pioneer), scaled back (Panasonic), or reorganized (Sony) their TV operations, Toshiba will license its name to Taiwan’s Compal. New TVs from the venture will be on shelves in March, so don’t be surprised if they’re a bit different. It already switched to more outsourcing after axing jobs in 2013, so the shift may turn out to be subtle. Toshiba has always been willing to bring some unique — if not always appreciated — aspects to the game, and we’ll be sad to see them go. The plan now is to “develop new technologies and services” while it works on securing a stable profit.
Source: Toshiba (PDF)