Wednesday, Aug 26, 2020, 15:09 Hardware

The disappearance of a Pioneer: Toshiba ceases Notebook production

Toshiba wasn’t just any notebook manufacturer, the company was a bonafide pioneer in their own right. Even before Apple entered the market and launched the first (not so portable) “Macintosh Portable,” Toshiba had already introduced the T1100, which relied on floppy disks in 3.5" format, unlike other PCs which used the 5.25" design. The decision wasn’t the most obvious at the time and almost “too” innovative. There was no hard drive present in the 1,899$ device possessing 256kb of space, a monochrome LCD with a resolution of 640x200 (CGA), and 4.77 MHz (Intel 80C88).

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Toshiba’s Notebooks—a massive success
Although Toshiba had technically exited the market after the release of the T1100, they decided to reestablish themselves worldwide after its success in Europe. With this impressive corporate strategy, Toshiba managed to solidify themselves as one of the most important notebook manufacturers for a greater period of time. Model series like the “Satellite” were considered a permanent fixture in the computer world of the 90s, during which Toshiba was considered one of the largest manufacturers of personal computers. However, growing competition caused by the production of notebooks from other companies wasn’t met with favor by Toshiba—as they gradually transitioned to a manufacturer of standard and interchangeable notebooks, lacking many of the unique features offered by their competition.


The Great-Grandfather of the modern Notebook


The Transition into Insignificance
In 2017, Toshiba sold only 1.4 million notebooks—a strong contrast from the 17.7 million sales figure of 2011. The company decided to sell the division to Sharp, resulting in a rebranding to “Dynabook” (the name of one of the early PC/Tablet concepts conceived in the late 60s). The end of an era was marked 35 years after the first Toshiba notebook was launched, with Toshiba selling the remainder of their shares. With Sharp now overtaking the remaining 20%, the disappearance of the former pioneer has been made official.

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