Toshiba TG01 Smartphone Offers Multimedia-Friendly Features

Designed as an Apple iPhone competitor, Toshiba's new TG01 smartphone features Qualcomm's Snapdragon platform and a 4.1-inch touchscreen display. Toshiba is now one of several PC vendors to jump into the smartphone market. At the 2009 Mobile World Congress, Acer also released a number of new smartphone designs - that company's first foray into the mobile phone space - and Dell is still rumored to have its own smartphone in the works.

Acer isn't the only PC maker rolling out a Microsoft Windows Mobile-enabled smartphone this week: In a bid to compete in a market dominated by BlackBerry and Apple's iPhone, Toshiba has announced a multimedia-friendly smartphone, the TG01.

Due to roll out in Europe this summer, the Toshiba TG01 features a 4.1-inch-wide VGA touchscreen display, and will be one of the first mobile devices to utilize Qualcomm's Snapdragon platform, providing users with a 1GHz Scorpion processor, as well as Wi-Fi technology and 3G connectivity.

The Toshiba handset will run Windows Mobile 6.1. Its 0.38-inch thickness makes it a sleek touchscreen-centric competitor to both the Apple iPhone 3G and RIM's BlackBerry Storm.

Adding an additional 32 GB of storage to the Toshiba TG01 smartphone will be possible via an AmicroSD memory card slot.

PC makers have recently been making aggressive moves into the smartphone arena. At the 2009 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Acer announced that it expected smartphones to provide up to 10 percent of the company's revenue by 2012.

"We are extremely serious entering this space," Aymar de Lencquesaing, the head of Acer's smartphone business, told a news conference in Barcelona, according to Reuters. "We genuinely believe that we can be actually one of the top five. Over time I hope we can be better than top five."

Dell, along with Garmin and Asus, have either rolled out their own smartphones, or are heavily rumored to do so during the Mobile World Congress, which began on Feb. 16.

Leaping into the smartphone market with both feet could also play into these companies' enterprise strategy.

"If you're Dell and approaching an enterprise customer, and they ask, -What do you have in phones?' - then they'll have that in order to complete that bid," said Roger Kay, an analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates. "It becomes an extension of their overall computing platform, and that might justify their entry into the smartphone market."

Experts believe that the mobile-device market will become an increasingly valuable one for PC makers, as more people use their handhelds to perform functions traditionally reserved for desktops or laptops.

"I think there may be a defensive aspect to this," added Kay. "If you expected people to do more computing on a small device, you would want to enter that market. The comfort and ease of input, and amount of screen real estate on output, may be limiting factors for some, but for a lot of people it's not limiting."

No pricing for the TG01 has been released as yet. Toshiba also did not announce when and if the new smartphone would land in the North American market.