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Toshiba plans more low-cost laptops

Toshiba is looking for a greater share of the low-cost end of the laptop PC market with the development of more machines in the sub-$599 price bracket, its new president said.

Toshiba was later to meet the demand for netbooks and low-cost PCs than some of its rivals but is now committed to delivering products that meet market trends, said Norio Sasaki at a Tokyo press conference.

The biggest trend now in laptop computing is netbook and low-cost machines. A recent survey by DisplaySearch found almost 6 million netbooks were shipped in the first quarter of the year representing around 20% of the market for laptop PCs. That's a big jump from the first quarter of last year when just under a million netbooks were shipped, according to DisplaySearch.

“The shift to lower prices is evident, so our products must match,” Sasaki said.

Toshiba has its netbook and three laptop PCs in its Satellite family available in the sub-$599 price range, but this will be expanded.

“At $599 it's very cheap, but we'd like to increase our products from four to six,” he said, without detailing the two new laptops that will be offered in this price bracket.

The lower-priced models will likely first go on sale in the U.S. and Europe, where price competition is greatest. Netbooks have been particularly successful in the European market, which represented about 455 of global shipments in the first quarter, according to DisplaySearch. North America accounted for about 26% of shipments.

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