Toshiba reveals 2010 roadmap

By Chris Nicholls

TOKYO: Toshiba has revealed its plans for the next two to three years, following its restructure from losing the next-gen format war, focusing on NAND flash, small-size OLEDs and increased staff numbers both in Japan and overseas.

The directions, announced at a press conference yesterday by company president Atsutoshi Nishida, were the first indication of where Toshiba wants to take its business after losing the high definition disc format war to Blu-ray.

In his presentation, while he did not mention OLED televisions, Nishida said Toshiba would develop an OLED notebook within the next two years, as the company moved further into small to medium-sized displays for mobile phones and other portable applications.

Despite earlier hints that Toshiba would look to expand into other high definition content media, including IPTV, after the loss of its HD DVD division, Toshiba made no mention of such technology at the presentation, referring to television technology only in terms of inserting their Cell processor, used in the PS3, to improve picture quality, and including hard discs in its HDTVs.

Toshiba would also continue its push into its key NAND flash market, Nishida said, with drives of up to 512GB possible by 2010, as the company shrunk its circuit sizes from the current 43nm down to almost half that by 2010.

Nishida said he expected 2010 to be the turning point for NAND flash in laptop computers, as percentages of laptops fitted with NAND flash drives going from an estimated 10 per cent in that year to 25 per cent by 2011.

Nishida also said he expected a 313 per cent rise in laptop NAND flash sales by 2011, while portable devices demand would rise 105 per cent.

In an insight into how far small device memory could go, Nishida also revealed Toshiba had developed a 1.8-inch NAND flash drive (the same size used in an iPod) with 128GB capacity.

As overseas business expanded to more than 50 per cent of Toshiba’s global sales, the company would hire 16,000 more overseas staff, Nishida said, while adding 40 per cent more research and development staff within Japan.

Nishida said while he believed there was a limit to overseas market expansion, he foresaw it reaching 60 per cent of the company’s overall sales by 2010.

Toshiba will also invest in its two factories in Japan as it pushes to improve production efficiency, Nishida said.

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