updated 09:15 am EDT, Tue June 17, 2008
Toshiba Qosmio G55 More
Toshiba this morning revealed a near-total overhaul of its Qosmio notebooks with three new models, all of which are the first with new features. The Qosmio G55 is the first-ever notebook to build in a variant of the Cell processor from Sony's PlayStation 3. In the portable, the chip is set to use just four cores but uses them to transcode video far faster than would be possible using the main processor. A 10-minute video that would take an hour to process takes just one minute to handle on the G55, the company says. It also upscales DVDs to 1080p to minimize the low-resolution artifacts that creep up on an HD-capable screen.
The display itself is also a first for Toshiba: the G55 is only the second notebook after the Acer Gemstone Blue series to use an 18.4-inch LCD with a 16:9 aspect ratio, letting it output at the same 1080p resolution as many full HD movies and allegedly presenting a better view for editing those clips.
Most specifications are unavailable for the G55, which is believed to use a Centrino 2-era Core 2 Duo processor; however, the system holds up to a 500GB hard disk and is the first of many to adapt the new Fusion design of the new Satellite line to the Qosmios with a flush-mounted trackpad and touch-sensitive media controls. The G55 and the other Qosmios launched today also get a 2.1-channel Harman Kardon sound system, an eSATA jack for faster external storage, and an HDMI port which supports CEC technology that automatically switches to the right input on a supporting HDTV.
A very different model, the Qosmio X305, serves as a desktop replacement for gamers. The 17-inch notebook is the first known to use an as-yet unnannounced GeForce 9800M GTX that gives it more desktop-like 3D performance for games. It also carries dual hard drives for a total of 400GB of space. The X305 is also expected to use Centrino 2-level processors and brandishes a "flame" color scheme that includes lighting around the case edges and speakers.
The announcements wrap up with the Qosmio F55, a 15.4-inch system aimed at both mid-range gamers and navigators. It revolves around the also unannounced GeForce 9700M GTS for its video performance but is also the first Toshiba notebook anywhere to build in a GPS receiver; preloaded Garmin software helps owners map out their routes. Other specifications for the F55 are unknown.
All three notebooks are slated to ship during the summer and haven't been given exact release dates, though Intel's delay of Centrino 2 until early August likely points to their release in approximately two months' time.