Toshiba Targets Channel with Low-Price NotebooksBy Pedro Pereira | Print
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The notebook maker is offering a pair of sub-$1,000 notebooks executively to the reseller channel. However, some resellers say the effort may be too little too late.
Toshiba has introduced a new line of Tecra notebooks in an effort to make it easier for businesses and the resellers that serve them to buy its products.
The computer arm of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., this week, rolled out the Tecra L2, a new line of business notebooks, which includes two pre-built models with set configurations that sell for less than $1,000 each and a special EasyBuy reseller channel program that allows resellers to offer the machines exclusively. Toshiba will not offer the machines for sale direct to customers.
Together, the new machines and the channel program are designed to help make Toshiba's hardware more attractive and streamline the process buying and selling it via the channel.
The move, in turn, helps Toshiba compete with rivals such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and Lenovo Group Ltd., who also sell via the channel, as well as direct-sellers such as Dell Inc., and others such as Acer Corp., which has been mounting a major effort to increase its presence in the United States of late.
"We're trying to simplify and streamline the whole process. We're excited because it delivers Toshiba quality at aggressive prices," said Craig Marking, a product manager in Toshiba America Information Systems' Digital Products Division in Irvine, Calif. "One of the keys here is not only is it easy to buy, it can be on your doorstep the next day."
The program, which includes standard practices such as price protection, also gives resellers the option to market some add-onsmainly memory upgradeswhich help boost their margins, Marking added.
"This underscores our commitment to our channel partnersto our business partners," he said.
The Tecra L2 Series will offer two models at first. Both offer Intel Corp. processors, 15-inch screens and Microsoft Corp.'s Windows XP Professional operating system.
Both machines will sell for less than $1,000, Marking said. However, Toshiba did not provide suggested street prices.
The Tecra L2-S022 model offers a 1.73GHz Intel Pentium M 7402 processor, 512MB of RAM, a 60GB hard drive, a built-in combination CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive and an Intel Wi-Fi 802.11b/g module.
The Tecra L2-S011 offers a 1.5GHz Intel Celeron 3702, 256MB of RAM, a 40GB hard drive, the combination CD-burner/DVD drive and a Wi-Fi module capable of 802.11b and 802.11g from Atheros Corp.
Despite the gesture and its aim to underscore the importance of Toshiba reseller partners, a sampling of several channel executives who once carried Toshiba hardware found initial disappointment with the way the company outfitted the Tecra L2 models.
Right now, a sub-$1,000 notebook has little value to channel partners, said David Hudgins, president of VAR PC Products & Service, Greensboro, N.C.
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