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Toshiba has dropped the price of its Satellite Pro S300 laptop notebook
systems—a product line introduced last year to appeal to small commercial
accounts. The entry-level price for the Satellite S300 laptop is now $529.

It’s a move the market has been asking for, particularly as PC makers prepare
for 2009—a year of budget cuts and uncertainty that has OEMs looking to pick up
business in the SMB (small and midsize business) space as enterprise customers
put off purchases for yet another year.

"Prices of notebook computers continue to go down," says Jerry
vice president of Business Channel Sales at Toshiba America Information
Systems. "We’ve seen a dramatic shift to the number of notebooks sold in
the sub-$999 range."

But there’s more to the SMB segment than just price. Customers are looking for
low-maintenance laptops that just do what they are supposed to do.

"Instead of us just taking a notebook that is in retail and offering it to
commercial customers, we completely redesigned the system," says Cindy
Zwerling, B2B product marketing manager at Toshiba America.

Toshiba has targeted its Toshiba Satellite Pro S300 to SMB customers with
features such "Easy Guard" protections that include shock absorption
to protect the hard drive and a spill-proof keyboard, among other benefits.

"Most laptops that are sub-$1,000 are not built to be very durable, but
these Satellite Pros have shock absorption," says Michael Mele of CSS
Laptop Services, a reseller and Toshiba
Authorized Repair
Center. Mele says he’s heard from
customers about how their sales have fallen, but CSS
Laptop Services sales have remained strong, particularly for the low-price-point

"The sub-$600 Satellite Pros are going out the doors fast," he says.

The Toshiba Satellite Pro S300 also is free of preloaded applications that
burden many consumer PCs.

"Instead of having a system that has all different pop-ups and bloatware,
we have designed a very clean load for the Toshiba Satellite Pro S300,"
says Zwerling. And the Satellite Pro S300 also offers a feature that’s very
popular with small-business customers.  All but the entry-level system
offers XP downgrade rights, says Zwerling.

"A lot of business users still want Microsoft Windows XP Pro," she
says. "They are not ready for Microsoft Windows Vista. Most of our volume
is for XP Pro. If we could just load XP on it, we would."

The Satellite Pro S300 series also comes with a two-year warranty, one year
beyond the industry standard.  Plus, users can purchase an additional year
of warranty if they are looking to stretch the lives of their systems.

"Several of our resellers have told us that the warranty has been one of
the determining factors when the notebook is chosen," says Zwerling.

Toshiba sells the Satellite Pro through its 5,500 U.S.
resellers, through direct market resellers such as CDW and direct from the
Toshiba online store. Toshiba’s Preferred Partner program offers three tiers—Platinum,
Gold and Silver—and rebates of 1 to 3 percent, as well as allowing resellers to
purchase products for up to a 40 percent rebate.

The Satellite Pro specs are as follows:

  • The entry-level system, the Toshiba
    Satellite Pro S300-EZ1511 at $529, features an Intel Pentium Processor
    T3400, 1GB DDR SD RAM
    memory, 120GB 5,400-rpm SATA hard drive, a fixed optical disc drive DVD
    SuperMulti, a 15.4-inch TruBrite widescreen WXGA display, a Mobile Intel
    Graphics Media Accelerator 4500M and Atheros 802.11b/g wireless LAN.
  • The Satellite Pro S300-EZ1512
    at $579 features Windows Vista Business with XP Pro downgrade rights, an
    Intel Pentium Processor T3400, plus all the features of the entry-level
  • The Satellite Pro S300-EZ1513
    at $649 features Windows Vista Business with XP Pro downgrade rights,
    Intel Core2 Duo Processor T6400, a 160GB 5,400-rpm SATA hard drive, plus
    all the features of the entry-level model.
  • The Satellite Pro s300-EZ1514
    at $699 offers Windows Vista Business with XP Pro downgrade rights, an
    Intel Core2 Duo Processor T6570, 2GB DDR
    SDRAM memory, a 160GB 5,400-rpm SATA hard drive, an Intel WiFi Link 5100AGN
    (802.11a/g/n) and a built-in Webcam.