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?