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NEWS: Toshiba launches portable laptop/projector training twinset

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Laptop manufacturer Toshiba has set a new standard for portable learning tools with a new "mini-notebook" and projector combination weighing less than 2kg. John Stokdyk reports.

Taken separately, neither the 10-in NB200 PC nor the TDP-F10 LED projector are at the absolute cutting edge, but together they strike a pleasing balance between portability and quality. If you've ever dreamed of being able to fit your presentation equipment into a briefcase and still have room for a spare shirt, socks and underwear, that day has arrived.

The 10-in NB200 shows Toshiba is taking the big surge in small size "mini-netbooks" increasingly seriously. The laptop features an Intel Atom processor with hard disk capacities up to 160GB, 1-2GB of memory, 9-hour battery life, with built-in WiFi and 3G mobile broadband connections. The design features nuances such as a shock-detecting sensor to protect the hard disk and a good size keyboard. Early reports on the net suggest the new machine will cost from around £320 when it hits the streets in May.

Figures from market analyst IDC showed that since the run-up to last Christmas, mini-notebooks have accounted for one out of five PCs sold. Toshiba's own research shows that these devices are often purchased as secondary machines by people who want to use them to surf, email and access media while on the move.

Homewood School in Teneterden, Kent, however, already uses 2,000 laptops, including the NB200's predecessor (the NB100) and an onsite wireless network as an elearning platform for pupils.

Just as desirable for training professionals is the TDP-F10 LED projector. Expected to cost in the region of £600 so the combined package with the NB200 may come out at less than £1,000. The TDP-FD produces clear images of up to 60in and would be useful for small seminars and informal training sessions. The projector has VGA and video in sockets, with both USB 2.0 and SSD cartridge slots, so you can even play presentations without needing a PC.

With no fan at the back, Toshiba pointed out that you can also stand the TDP-F10 on a table and project an image on to the ceiling - for example to watch instructional videos at bedtime.

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