Late this Spring, Brighthand was the first to bring word that Toshiba is planning to drop handhelds from its product line, although the Japanese company denies it. Now, further evidence has emerged that this really is Toshiba’s plan.
While Handheld Industry insiders indicated to Brighthand earlier this year that Toshiba appears be pulling out of the U.S. market, it wasn’t clear if it would continue sales in other parts of the world. New signs now indicate that Toshiba will stop offering its handhelds in Europe as well.
msmobiles.com is reporting that enterprise customers who attempt to order Pocket PCs from Toshiba Belgium are being told that this company will exit the market by the end of this year.
In addition, according to Windows Mobile.ch, Toshiba Switzerland is telling potential customers that it has stopped production on the e800 and will make no more PDAs.
One Last Model?
A rumor surfaced months ago in France that Toshiba is developing the e830. This will supposedly be essentially the same as the e800, except that it will include a next-generation PXA270 XScale processor running at 520 MHz and Bluetooth short-range wireless networking.
Like its predecessor, the e830 is expected to include a VGA screen and Wi-Fi wireless networking. It will reportedly run Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition and have 128 MB of RAM. It will also have dual memory card slots: CompactFlash Type II and SD/MMC.
However, there has been no further mention of the e830 in several months. It is supposed to come out sometime this summer.
Handheld Market Consolidating
If Toshiba does pull out of the worldwide handheld market, it won’t be alone. Sony surprised many people by announcing in June that it was going to stop offering its Clie line anywhere but Japan, its home country.
This could be an example of marketing guru Al Ries’ eighth immutable law of marketing, the Law of Duality. Mr. Ries claims that all markets eventually get down to two players fighting for most of the market, with a handful of smaller companies grabbing what’s left over.
Toshiba may be planning to leave this fight, leaving the worldwide market to be dominated by HP and palmOne.
Thanks to Pocket PC Thoughts for the Toshiba Switzerland tip.