Sorry Toshiba, I’m not YABHTU

Thursday, March 17th, 2005
I suddenly need a new computer ... yesterday.  No problem, I thought; I know precisely what I want -- A shiny new Toshiba M200, fully loaded.  I've been thinking about purchasing this wonderful TabletPC for months. I wanted to use it to show clients the latest in pen-enabled applications - impressive programs like MindManager, ResultsManager, and OneNote. Several months ago, my friend, Marc Orchant, of the tabletpcweblog even helped me spec out the system. I thought that all I had left do was to click and order to become YABHTU. (Yet Another Blissfully Happy TabletPC User)  

Not true.

This morning, I called Toshiba Direct to place my order. I wanted to buy an M200 for immediate delivery. I was prepared to pay FedEx overnight fees to get it quickly.  

You can imagine my surprise, therefore, when the very friendly and English-speaking representative at Toshiba Direct quoted me three to four weeks for custom configured M200 TabletPCs.

Three to four weeks to prep a TabletPC? What are they Thinking?


It's not like this unit was just introduced. Now, to be fair, the helpful lady on the phone did offer that I could purchase a "preconfigured" model, that could be shipped much faster. I asked about the preconfigured models and found that they strip built-in Bluetooth (??), built-in a/b/g WiFi (??) and the higher-speed hard drive (??) -- all features I wanted, and was prepared to pay for.

I wonder, how unique am I for wanting an M200 with built-in WiFi, Bluetooth, and a fast 60 Gig 7200 RPM drive? Surely I'm not the only one.

Someone in Toshiba marketing does not get it.
*

Even if they did, how long does it take to pop in a hard drive and two mini-pci cards? 10 minutes? Offer to send me the parts, Toshiba, and I'll do it for you.  If I have to wait 3-4 weeks before the unit I want might even be ready to ship, I might as well wait for the new T4000 Convertible Tablet, by Fujitsu, announced only yesterday.

IBM gets it; they include fully loaded models among their standard ThinkPad configurations so that customers can quickly satisfy their desires (or needs).  And, they're in-stock!. Too bad IBM does not make a TabletPC.
As long as vendors, like Toshiba, prevent me from making an impulse TabletPC purchase whenever I want to (or, as in this case, suddenly need to), they will miss many sales opportunities.
This affects not only me, but my clients, too.

I really wanted this new TabletPC, too. I've been sold on it by Marc Orchant, Michael Hyatt, and Robert Scoble, to name a few. I guess I won't be joining the Toshiba TabletPC customer evangelist club; at least not anytime soon.

Because I need to buy a new laptop quickly, I may have to fulfill my mobile computing needs with another wonderful IBM ThinkPad. I really like the T-42p. That would not be a bad thing at all; but it would not be a TabletPC.  (IBM does not appear to get the TabletPC platform yet, but that's another blog for another day.)

End of rant; it's 2:29 am; time to go to bed.

Sorry for whining; I get a little cranky when the marvels of technology cannot work together to help me purchase what I want in a timely fashion.

I still wish I could get a new Toshiba M200 Tablet PC quickly.

PS. The last time I publicly complained about not being able to easily purchase new computers, the Sr. Manager for IBM North & South American portable computing personally called me to see if she could help. As a result, I immediately placed orders for 15 new top-of-the-line ThinkPads for one of my clients. My client was satisfied, and so was I. I wonder if the executives on the Toshiba TabletPC team read blogs?  I hope they do.  If so, my phone # is 661-242-8410x101.

* If you know this person, Send them a link to this blog.

UPDATE 3/17/2005 12:17 PM PST
-- I just spoke with Gord, a friendly sales rep over at Fujtisu. It looks like the Fujitsu Lifebook T4000 (Model T40910D) TabletPC has most everything I want, except for the fast hard drive (why do they do that??). They do provide a drive bay with Gigabit Ethernet and a DVD burner. I'd like that.  They quoted me one week to build and ship, plus free shipping, plus a free scanner; and, I did not even mention this blog.  Now, I just have to do some more research on the Fujitsu T4000.  Has anyone worked with this TabletPC yet? Thoughts?

Discussion/Comments (5):

Consider the M205???

The Standard Toshiba M205 is the retail version of the same machine but also includes the 60G drive and an external DVD/CDRW drive -they all have the 820.11 b/g internal. I'd suspect you'd be hard pressed to find one with internal bluetooth in stock anywhere.

Looks like there's quite a few retailers with it in stock this morning according to cnet shopper...

{ Link }

Happy owner of an M205 and IBM T41... love 'em both!

Posted at 3/17/2005 7:29:28 AM by Ed Carvalho


re: Consider the M205???

Apparently, according to the Toshiba rep, Toshiba no longer makes the M205 units, which were configured as higher end models of the M200. Instead, they now sell the M200 and allow customers to "customize it." I would like all of the features built-in; I'd prefer not to give up the PC Card slot to add Bluetooth or abg wireless, features I would like to have internally. I've been on the forums and noticed that some folkes have internally modified their Tablets to add these. I'd prefer not to do that.

I'll check around. Thanks for the links.

Posted at 3/17/2005 10:29:34 AM by Eric Mack


No wide screen for IBM?

Mr. Mack, I've been looking at notebooks in the local stores lately and your comments prompted me to go have a look at the IBM site you linked to... and to speak with their sales people. I would like to know how you--or others--feel about the wide screen format that's available on many laptops these days (HP, Gateway, Dell, Toshiba, Sony, etc) but evidently not on IBM. My first impression was that these would mostly be attractive to folks who want to watch movies on their laptops, but I've come to the conclusion that it would actually be better than the traditional formats. More columns visible on a spread sheet. The side pop-out menus in MindManager, Photoshop, Illustrator, Corel and other programs would not be so intrusive. All in all an improvement, I'm inclined to believe. Any thoughts?

Posted at 3/17/2005 1:32:46 PM by Doug Smith


Wide screen envy

Doug, you bring up a good point. While I wish IBM made a wide screen laptop, (and a TabletPC, too), there are some nice options. David Allen and I each have the ThinkPad T42p with the 15.1" screen, running at 1600x1200. At that resolution, I can see two full 8.5x11 pages side by side in Word, open MindManager mind maps, and keep other apps open in tandem. When I'm on the road, that's all I need. Back at my office, I have 3 additional monitors at my desk so I have plenty of digital real estate,

Would I buy a wide format Thinkpad, if IBM chose to make one? yes, I would. meanwhile, I'm very content with the current T42 series.

Best regards,

Eric

Posted at 3/17/2005 2:20:51 PM by Eric Mack


On wide screen laptops, and big screens

I have a 17" Toshiba. I purchased it in March 2004 so that when I was at a client's site, a collaborative discussion with a client centered around my screen would give lots of screen real estate. For that it's a dream ... BUT I loath it because it is so heavy to lug around. After a day of carrying it around, I intensely regret the purchase decision ... and will not buy such a device again.

Having said that, I love big screens. I guess my ideal would be a 12" or 14" laptop for being out-and-about, connected to a large screen when in the office.

Eric, I think you oversell 1600x1200 a bit on a 15.1" screen. If you hold "two full 8.5x11 pages side by side" ... the paper variety ... they will demand a screen real estate greater than what a physical 15.1" screen can give you, particularly once you compensate for the inch or so you lose with Word icons and the split between the two pages. Or perhaps you have some trick that I haven't seen yet ... when I'm there for my day in the digital sandbox, perhaps you'll be able to show it to me.

I have a 23" Apple Cinema Display on my desk that does 1920x1200 ... and that almost has the size to display two true sized pages side-by-side to my satisfaction. The 30" would be better ...

Posted at 3/18/2005 1:08:13 AM by Michael Sampson



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