updated 03:20 pm EDT, Wed October 14, 2009
Toshiba unveils Win 7 PCs with no clutter
Toshiba on Wednesday updated its notebooks with Windows 7 and a rare promise among Windows PC makers. The company promises that all of its systems running the new OS, including its touchscreen models, will go without any icons on the desktop except for the default Recycle Bin. System performance should get a boost as the PCs will run as little software in the background as possible, in many cases only running anti-virus tools.
The gesture is a rare one in the industry and hints at a more pronounced backlash against excessive amounts of preinstalled software on Windows systems. PC vendors have been routinely criticized for loading trial software and unnecessary utilities in a bid to discount the cost of the system through marketing deals. Most opponents point to systems not only running slower but taking longer to boot and often facing intrusive pop-ups. The impression has led even high-profile columnists to describe them as "craplets."
Vendors like Dell and Sony have been some of the first to pare back extra software but have often limited this to certain models, like Dell's XPS line, or to charge extra for the privilege, such as Sony. Apple is so far one of the few larger manufacturers to explicitly forbid icons or pre-installed apps on its computers.
The Toshiba systems themselves include an updated 13.3-inch Satellite U500 and 14-inch M500, each of which will start at $700. The 16-inch A500 will now have the option of a Turion II Ultra or a Core 2 Duo as its main processor with a base price of $590, while the 18.4-inch P500 will act as a desktop replacement at $800.
Toshiba has finally specified the Qosmio X500 as part of its launches and will give the base $1,450 model a 1680x945 display, 4GB of RAM and a 320GB hard drive in addition to the 1.6GHz Core i7 and GeForce GTS 250M graphics. A second model at $1,900 brings a 1080p screen, 6GB of RAM and a 64GB solid-state drive to complement the hard disk.
The firm's true budget notebooks will be headlined by the L500; it has screen sizes ranging between 14 and 18.4 inches, between 250GB and 500GB of storage, and a mix of AMD and Intel processors (including newer Athlon II and Turion II) chips. Its prices will vary from $505 to $580 depending on size. Lastly, the 10-inch NB205 netbook will remain largely unchanged and start from $400.