Toshiba releases Linux netbook

As we tipped two months back Toshiba has stepped into the netbook ring. But this is no heroic vaulting over the ropes – the company’s NB100 released overnight in Europe is a carefully-placed ginger step onto the canvas.

While local Toshiba chief Mark Whittard initially told that the goal was to see if Toshiba could produce a ‘premium’ mini-note rather than just another $500 machine the NB100 appears to bring almost nothing new – or deserving of a ramped-up RRP – to the table.

Most netbook enthusiasts could recite the specs sight unseen based on the most popular spec of the 9 inch netbook market. The powerplant is Intel’s 1.6GHz Atom N270 with 512MB of RAM in the Linux model (running Ubuntu 8.04 with OpenOffice 2.4) and 1GB in the Windows XP version and a hard drive up to 120GB. Then there’s a LAN socket 802.11g Wi-Fi three USB ports (which can charge connected devices such as an iPod even while the netbook is asleep) a low-res (0.3 megapixel) webcam and memory card reader.……  sorry did we nod off at the keyboard for a moment there?

Of course it comes in a range of colours although nothing too wild for Toshiba and its intended corporate clientele – black silver and ‘champagne gold’ are as racy as this gets. At least the NB100 gets a decent six-cell battery pack which Toshiba rates as being good for four hours between refills.

The NB100’s looks belie its 1kg weight – at first glance it seems to have inherited some long-recessive ‘boxy notebook’ gene passed down from ancestors two decades ago. But ‘solid’ is undoubtedly the hidden message which Toshiba wants to convey to its business buyers to whom the NB100 will be positioned as a go-anywhere ‘utility’ notebook for those who don’t qualify for a true ultra-portable Portege laptop.

Toshiba Australia has yet to advise on local availability and price. The NB100 lands in Europe next month from £260 which is as near as dammit to $600 although that doesn’t take into account the GST and other markups.