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Toshiba on Tuesday announced that it had initiated shipments of its Qosmio laptop featuring HD DVD optical drive, which means that the company is shipping the world’s first commercial personal computer with blue-laser optical drive, marking another time-to-market victory over competing Blu-ray standard. The notebook is primarily aimed at digital media and video enthusiasts, therefore, is not particularly suitable for business customers.

“The Qosmio G35-AV650 is a ground-breaking audio-video notebook that not only offers our customers the dramatic visual quality of HD DVD but other display and audio enhancements for a truly immersive entertainment experience,” said Jeff Barney, vice president of marketing for Toshiba’s digital products division.

Toshiba Qosmio G35-AV650 comes with 17” screen with 1920x1200 resolution, is based on Intel Core Duo processor 2500 (2.00GHz), features two 100GB hard disk drives, is equipped with Nvidia’s GeForce Go 7600 256MB graphics accelerator, sports 802.11a/b/g network controller, is equipped with integrated TV tuner, 5-in-1 card reader and so on. The main peculiarity of the laptop is its optical drive that allows to playback and record CDs or DVDs, and most importantly, playback HD DVDs.

With all the advanced functionality built-in, the laptop weighs 10.1 pounds (4.58 kilograms), something, which will hardly allow business or enterprise customers to use it. While business laptops are not used for multimedia generally, quite a lot of customers use them to watch DVD movies during flights or traveling, if there was a thin and light laptop with HD DVD support, this would help the new format to gain popularity quicker.

The Qosmio G35-AV650 includes the QosmioPlayer, allowing users to watch live TV, pause live TV, watch DVDs or listen to audio CDs with a quick touch of a button on the unit or on the remote control without booting up the Windows operating system.

Toshiba’s first laptop with HD DVD support also features HDMI output with up to 1080i resolution support and advanced audio technologies, which allow the laptop to serve as an HD DVD player.

“With its numerous enhanced capabilities for movies, music, gaming, TV and PC performance in a sleek, attractive package, Toshiba has demonstrated its technology leadership once again with the most feature-rich audio-video notebook on the market today,” Mr. Barnet added.

The estimated single unit price of the Qosmio G35-AV650 is $2999. The product is currently available from ToshibaDirect and is shipping to major consumer electronics and computer stores in the USA.

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