Toshiba Giving Up Consumer Handhelds

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Over the last several months, there have been conflicting reports about Toshiba’s plans for the handheld market.

Sources have told Brighthand that this Japanese company will pull out of this market in the coming months. Also, customers in Europe have reported being told by Toshiba employees that this company is leaving the handheld market.

Recently, however, some Toshiba executives in France told 01net that their company is going to focus entirely on the professional market and not create any more handhelds for the general public. These executives said nothing about completely leaving the handheld market.

Didier Halbique, who does marketing for Toshiba France, said that his company is dropping the e400 because demand for low-end handhelds is being cut into by sales of smartphones.

How Does this Fit?

There are several possible ways to reconcile this news with the previous reports that said Toshiba will leave the handheld market later this year.

The most obvious one is that the earlier reports could simply be wrong. It’s possible that news of the plan to abandon the low-end of the handheld market has been garbled as it traveled from person to person, and grew to the point where it indicated a much larger change than Toshiba actually intends.

Another possibility is that this new strategy is a very short-term one. Toshiba is expected to introduce a new high-end model, the e830, in the near future. Sales of this model could easily be hurt by reports that it will be Toshiba’s last handheld. Therefore, company executives are doing their best to combat the rumors. The company strategy of targeting the professional market could last only as long as the e830 does, at which point Toshiba will announce that it is leaving the market.

Whether either of these possibilities is the correct one will only become clear in the future.

Thanks to DanielTS for the tip.

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