back to article Toshiba formally and finally exits laptop business

Toshiba has finally and formally exited the laptop business Toshiba has made laptops since 1985 and claims to have been the first to make a mass-market computer in the now-familiar clamshell form factor. By the 1990s the company was producing solid workhorses in the Satellite range and started to make meaningful stretches of …

  1. EvaQ

    Toshiba commercial

    I remember, from the late 80's early 90's, the Toshiba laptop commercial "Stop al je zorgen in je Toshiba" (Dutch for "Put all your sorrows into your Toshiba"), with happy people in a sunny park happily working on their Toshiba laptops.

    1. Chris Miller

      Re: Toshiba commercial

      In the UK they were advertised with "Ullo Tosh! Gotta Toshiba?", an adaptation of Alexei Sayle's greatest hit: "Ullo Joihn! Gotta new motor?".

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Toshiba commercial

        Now it's "Bye Tosh, don't got a Toshiba!"

  2. clriis

    Aww. The Toshiba T1200 was my very first laptop back in 1988. A monster with an Intel 8086 CPU, 1 MB RAM and a 20 MB HD. With DOS 3.1 You really had to closely read the manual to gain acces to the extra RAM above the 640 KB DOS limit via EMS. But delivered with the Lotus Symphony (office) package it really was a wonder in productivity. I get tears running.

    1. Dylan Fahey

      I remember those days

      I have a 20MB HD in my XT monochrome monitor with 2 each 5 1/4 in floppy drives! I didn't even know what a file system was. That 20MB hard drive was very expensive and I got it off the 'home market' as it was very hard to find available where I was stationed.

  3. Uk_Gadget

    Amazed with their packaging, corrigated cardboard edges gauranteed to cut anything that goes near it... Good laptops though..

  4. petef

    As it happens I ordered a replacement for a 7 year old Satellite yesterday. It still just about runs but Windows 10 makes heavy demands. The 2004 update took 10 hours.

    1. nautica
      Boffin

      Not to put TOO fine a point on this comment, but...

      That problem belongs SOLELY to Microsoft, and not to Toshiba, my friend.

      Old Chinese saying--

      "Man who lies down with dogs gets up with fleas."

      1. petef

        Re: Not to put TOO fine a point on this comment, but...

        Yes but as the saying goes it is not Toshiba's fault but it is its problem.

        I could eke out more life by installing SSD. I did that with my old MacBook Pro as Apple were ahead of Microsoft on heavy disk I/O. But the keyboard is flaky and the battery needs replacing again.

        On my personal laptop I happily run Arch Linux + LXQt on what is now venerable hardware.

    2. Danny 14 Silver badge

      We have a few old second gen i5 toshibas. They seem to be flimsy having a lot of flex in the cases but they are fairly bulletproof. They have lasted daily use with kids so cannot be too bad.

      An SSD and a few more GB of RAM got them over the 1809 hump, they are running on 1909 at the moment and wont get 2004 rather the next update - that will decide their fate.

  5. Torben Mogensen

    Libretto

    I remember Toshiba best for their ultra-tiny laptops -- the Libretto range. I had a Libretto 50CT -- 210×115×34 mm with a screen smaller than many modern smart phones. A curiosity was that it had a mouse "nub" besides the screen and mouse buttons on the back of the lid. So you would use your thumb to move the cursor and index and middle fingers to operate the buttons. It was great for taking along when travelling.

    See more at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HQt6EwA0JE

  6. Richard Crossley
    Unhappy

    Variable quality

    I remember the excellent Toshiba Satellite laptops of yesterday year. Dad had one for taking on site. In around 2010, I bought an NB200 netbook, which I still have. Lovely quality, if a little slow now.

    In 2012, I bought a Satellite p875-102, oh dear. Within a week it was having the back space key repaired and over the years; the USB ports have corroded, the hinges broken and the speakers disintegrated. Despite being an i7 with 16Gb of RAM it surfs the web at 90C (Tjunction) and has been stood on bricks to keep the underside cool for years.

    I guess the accountants were involved in the design.

    1. Chronos

      Re: Variable quality

      Satellites were Compal rebadges. If you want a proper Tosh, they're all powered with a 15V adaptor. If it's 19V, it's a Compal generic which, as you noticed, are crap.

      1. Richard Crossley

        Re: Variable quality

        19V, it probably is. Thanks.

  7. Chronos
    Meh

    Great.

    First IBM's excellent ThinkPads, now Tosh and the Tecra line. We're left with HP's "Elite" books which are, to put it bluntly, crap.

    Do they still make Panasonic Toughbooks?

    1. John McCallum

      Re: Great.

      https://na.panasonic.com/us/computers-tablets-handhelds/computers/ For your viewing pleasure

    2. K Cartlidge

      Re: "Great. First IBM's excellent ThinkPads..."

      Opinions vary on these things, obviously, but whilst the ThinkPads are no longer IBM I personally still find them (mostly) excellent. To be fair to Lenovo, they've not broken them like I expected them to.

      I have three Lenovos, an ancient T420, a two year old ThinkPad 13, and an 8th gen i7 Yoga S730 (I know, not a ThinkPad) and there isn't one I have any regrets about (unlike the Surface Pro 6 I sold on, the 2020 MacBook Air I'm about to sell, and the work HP ProBook which is good but has a really strange keyboard with phantom keystrokes).

      If you haven't tried a recent ThinkPad because they are now Lenovo not IBM, perhaps give them a look.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Great. First IBM's excellent ThinkPads..."

        Lenovo Thinkpads may be good, but they still have the sodding Fn key where the Ctrl key should be. For many people it may be a minor thing, but I just can't get used to it. Work issued me a Dell instead.

        Don't mess with the keyboard layout. Just... don't.

      2. Stuart Castle Silver badge

        Re: "Great. First IBM's excellent ThinkPads..."

        I haven't used a ThinkPad for years, so I may be wrong here, but my understanding is that Lenovo was (at least, have no idea if it still is) essentially IBM's PC division in pretty much everything except name. I know they outsourced manufacturing, but IBM did have a good reputation for reliable engineering. Indeed, I used to use an IBM AT, and at the time, I though if I threw it at the wall (and being a computer, there were times I was sorely tempted to do so), the wall would break before the AT. My understanding is that Lenovo have worked to keep that reputation.

        IBM weren't perfect, and some ThinkPads arguably had faults, but generally they were excellent.

        1. Snake Silver badge

          Re: Lenovo = ThinkPad

          That is correct, Lenovo was the contact manufacturer for IBM ThinkPads before IBM simply sold the rights to Lenovo outright. So nothing really changed except the supporting corporation on your warranty card.

          I had a 390, 701 Butterfly and 755c, back in the day. Then I went HP (major mistake), then Dell for quite a while. Throughout those later years I remembered my ThinkPads fondly, great machines.

          Came back to ThinkPad recently with an almost ridiculously maxed-out P71. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, it's as good as it used to be (maybe too good, it's somewhat overbuilt and a bit of a bear to disassemble as compared to a Dell Precision). Still, good to be back, you get used to the Fn key soon enough.

    3. J. Cook Silver badge

      Re: Great.

      Yes, Panasonic still makes toughbooks. There's a company called Getac that also makes rugged laptops, and charges about the same as Panasonic.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Great.

        toughbooks always had decent screens. Dell used those oil filled ones for years, they bubbled badly if they met sunlight in any capacity so we kept using toughbooks.

  8. 0laf Silver badge

    I remember them being very well regarded laptops back in the day.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nostalgia

    My very first proper* laptop was a Toshiba. I can't remember the model number but it has a single 3.5" floppy, 1MB RAM and (if my hazy memory isn't totally wrong) some secondary RAM storage. I used to run WordPerfect 5.1 on it, installing the program files to the extra RAM - ISTR it was something akin to the BBC's sideways RAM. A great happy in its day, though it's main flaw was with its battery. I had two that I could swap around to get an hour or two use but it couldn't run if no battery was in place. Hence no ability to hot-swap, nor (when working at my desk) not to be ruining battery life by leaving them out. And these were NiCd with the dreaded memory issue. After buying a couple of more and seeing their life start to ebb, I sold it on.

    *My first ever portable was a Tandy 100 - a great machine for preparing short reports. Not a lot of memory, nor a big screen, but a set of AA batteries would last me a month. Instant boot and a built-in modem (300baud - but enough for sending my brief visit reports back to the office). It was the fact that I needed to use a proper word processor on my next job that meant it was swapped out for the Tosh.

  10. Kev99

    I had a Toshiba laptop I bought around 2007. It only recently started to have problems, and then only with two keys on the keyboard. I connected a USB external keyboard and all is well. It runs Win10 as well as Win10 can be run and is still quite useful. I doubt seriously my 2 year old HP laptoop will be able to make the same claim.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At first

    Toshiba were the first choice. A bit more expensive, but worth it because superior hardware, great reliability.

    But as the years went on, higher cost, less compliant with windows, less reliability, shorter lifetime.

    Eventually I stopped ordering them, and switched to a budget brand. When you pay less, you expect less, but they delivered more.

  12. IGotOut Silver badge

    Laptops pretty good.

    Desktops bloody appaling.

    We rolled out a load of P4s that ended up being slower than the P2 compaqs they replaced, despite having more RAM.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Typed on my Satellite L50T-A-145 - which I've had since 2015.

    Have upgraded it to 16Gb RAM which has made it better than it was with 8...

    The only thought is that it hasn't offered Win10 2004 yet - so I wonder if there's a driver issue brewing...

    Oh and Zoom doesn't like it enough to do backgrounds - but I can have a halo :)

  14. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    I always hated them after the mid-2000s

    I found them generally slower than equivalent models made by the likes of Acer, HP, Lenovo etc. It was their outrageous number of ‘helper’ programs they bundled with XP. And as for their WiFi connection wizard, it was truly appalling. I seem to recall that the software would try and draw a sort of ‘radar map’ of all the wireless access points it could see, and it would be a horrible sort of point and click game to click on the right one. Amazingly unusable bit of software that had no real purpose to it.

    I didn’t come across many business laptops in that time, but I certainly saw a lot of really crappy home machines.

    Shame because back in the 90s, they were pretty much the pinnacle, especially their smaller than normal Portege range.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: I always hated them after the mid-2000s

      I'd forgotten about that WiFi helper...thanks for the nightmares I'll no doubt start having again.

  15. Ghostman

    Around 2015

    You could put one on display, come back a few weeks later and pick it up, and all the case screws would fall out. Saw quite a few where the hinges just came loose.

  16. sad_loser

    portege 7200

    what a machine. had 2 - one W2k one linux for developing, this was in the days before good VM software and the power to run them.

    they were beautifully built with magnesium cases and good screens, and they played nicely with linux

  17. fredesmite2

    good riddance

    They were cheap and poorly manufactured.

  18. Davegoody

    Sad, end of an era.

    I was a Toshiba qualified Service Engineer back in the day. They were amazing at the time (we are talking Orange Plasma Screens, so the word "Laptop" was rarely uttered unless you had a lap the size of an elephant, and mains-borne too if I remember. GREAT kit though, genuinely bullet-proof.

    I did a three-day residential course down at their training / HQ down south. Then the TECRA range came out a good few years later, and they were world-beating. Things started to slip with the Satellite / Satellite pro. I like some of the other commentators here had a couple of Libretto machines, which were amazing for their time. Sad end to a world-beater. Same as Nokia though, you can't rest on what you did before, it's all based on what's current and next.

  19. da39a3ee5e6b4b0d3255bfef95601890afd80709
    Happy

    1992 Toshiba Satellite P90 4MB first colour TFT with W98 and Eddie Brickell

    Oh the memories. I bought for £4k, yes ... £4k in Sterling one of the first available colour TFT screened Satellite laptops. Had it imported to EU from US, and spent a mortgage like wod on it. Took it with me on a ski season to stay online and developing while in the snow. The Eddie Brickell song "Good Times" from the W98 Plus CDROM still takes me back to those crazy crazy times ...

  20. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  21. Grunchy

    From Sharp minds come Toshiba products.

  22. chuBb. Silver badge

    Always was a fan of them as solid midrangers

    and i still semi reguarly use my old portege tablet laptop (the one where you could rotate the screen 180 degrees and fold back on its self), as the stylus just works with it, and is great for virtual whiteboarding (yes usb graphics tablet would do same thing, but i like the lack of pressure sensitivity on my portege), and was one of the reasons i heavily got into using onenote with office 2k3....

  23. David Woodhead
    Unhappy

    So sad

    I find it very sad that the demise of such a major player in the laptop world is marked by a whimper rather than a bang.

  24. Rich 2 Silver badge

    Another one bites the dust

    I've still got a very small (10"? I think) Satellite laptop sitting in a box in the garage somewhere - it was my very first laptop that I must have bought in the late 80s or early 90s.

    As far as I know it, it's still in perfect working order and there's hardly a mark on it - they were built properly back then; very solid - not the flimsy crap that you get now (actually I can testify that Dell at least have improved in that area).

    Ho-hum....

  25. Flywheel Silver badge

    Won't be missed

    Bought a Toshiba Satellite when they first came out. It was slow, ran hot and didn't seem to be able to retain the key tops for some reason. Bah!

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Brief choice for IBM

    A bit of irony; after IBM sold off the PC division to Lenovo, they had an arrangement with Lenovo for buying ThinkPads for employee workstations for a few years (I presume it involved some pricing discounts, etc). When that ended they started buying Toshiba laptops instead. I gather that didn't last long, as the next time I was back at IBM as a contractor, it was all back to ThinkPads again. These days they're just as likely to provide you with a MacBook (yeah, I'd be avoiding *that* option if I were there, just as I avoided it for my current job).

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