|Toshiba aims to build a channel to drive its Qosmio Media Center notebook into the digital home and is looking for feedback from digital integrators to develop partner initiatives around the product.
The Qosmio, first introduced last July, is a multimedia PC running Windows XP Media Center Edition. The next version, which will come with 15.4-inch and 17-inch displays, will be available in June, says Eric Krondak, product manager for Toshiba's Digital Products Division, Irvine, Calif.
Toshiba plans to lower the price on the 15.4-inch Qosmio, with the cost of the forthcoming G25 starting at about $1,899 vs. the $2,499 price tag for the current 15.4-inch Qosmio G15. However, the new 17-inch model will be priced slightly higher than its predecessor, at about $3,099 vs. the cost of the current 17-inch Qosmio, which starts at $2,829.99, Krondak says.
The new Qosmio G25s will have a sleeker, more contemporary look and feel, according to Krondak. The Qosmio line was co-developed by engineers from Toshiba's PC and consumer-electronics divisions to appeal to customers buying media and entertainment centers rather than the traditional PC consumer base.
"We've designed the next revs of Qosmio to be more consumer-electronics-focused," Krondak says. "The new look is a lot more stylish and [encourages customers] to actually have the Qosmio on display rather than tucked away somewhere."
Toshiba is marketing the Qosmio not simply as a PC, but as a multimedia center that can act as a TV, DVD player, gaming console and audio center in one. The vendor hopes it will penetrate the digital home and also verticals such as financial services and schools, Krondak says.
That's where the channel comes into play, says Darren McGeorge, a senior manager in Toshiba's Digital Products Division. While Toshiba does not have a formal integrator program in place to help deliver the Qosmio into these new markets, the vendor is working with digital integrators and internally to set up a program and should have one in place sometime this month, he says. "Right now we are in the discovery stage of talking to digital VARs," says McGeorge.
One of the VARs Toshiba is tapping for advice on identifying new opportunities for the Qosmio is The Lloyd Group. Adam Eiseman, CEO of the New York-based integrator, says the Qosmio has significant potential to appeal to both the digital home market and to financial services firms.
"With a normal LCD plugged into a TV feed, you can't record or rewind something if you miss it," Eiseman says. "But the Qosmio, being a Windows Media PC, has the ability to broadcast things. On a trading desk where they are watching a lot of screens, [with] the Qosmio you can record and rewind [a broadcast] if you miss something."
Eiseman also outlined a good use of the Qosmio in the digital home. He says his company recently completed a $70,000 digital networking installation for a $2 million home. In the kitchen of the home, The Lloyd Group installed an LCD screen connected to a computer to display the schedule of the family's four children so their parents will know where they are at any given time. If a Qosmio had been installed instead, "they could use that same LCD to play movies, watch TV, as a general PC—a lot of things could have been done," Eiseman says.
The Lloyd Group is integrating the Qosmio in its office, and Eiseman is also leveraging the multimedia notebook in his own home. "We tend to adopt things internally for uses that we think we'll have for them, and then present those solutions to our clients," he says.