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Toshiba Tackles U.S. Wireless Revolution

Toshiba Corp. Monday unveiled its U.S. wireless initiative to be executed by its Computer Systems Group within Toshiba America Information Systems Inc.

Designed to tap into the growing mobile Internet lifestyle, Toshiba's global initiatives involve a strategic consortium of hardware, software and service partners to develop a wide range of new portable products.

Toshiba created a wireless business development group in Tokyo to coordinate research and development of wireless products across different divisions of the company. For U.S. deployment, Toshiba established a wireless network solutions group in Irvine, CA.

Jeffrey Friederichs, Toshiba American vice president and general manager of marketing, said its global initiatives are designed to change the way businesses and people work in a wireless future.

"We are working with companies that complement our industry-leading strengths in mobility to make different technologies work together more efficiently," Friederichs said. "By improving the way information is exchanged and providing the tools necessary for wireless connectivity, our customer's can truly live the mobile lifestyle."

According to the high-tech research firm Gartner Group Inc. , the wireless data market is poised for explosive growth and is expected to increase from three million subscribers in 1999 to 36 million subscribers in 2003.

Friederichs said the firm recognizes that as the mobile workforce grows, real time remote access to critical corporate information will no longer remain a luxury; it will become a necessity.

"You will see wireless capabilities throughout all of Toshiba's products and solutions," Friederichs said. "From products such as notebooks, desktops, servers and projectors to services based on wireless technologies."

Toshiba intends to develop its wireless products and services in three distinct market segments including Wide Area Networks, Local Area Networks, and Personal Area Networks.

In the WAN market segment Toshiba is building alliances with infrastructure providers to create a seamless environment for simple and fast communications between notebooks and mobile phones. Ericsson phone customers using Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones and notebooks can enjoy secure, wireless Internet access via cellular carriers from any location.

Toshiba initiated the first phase of its entry into the LAN environment in April when it partnered with Wayport Inc., a Texas-based high-speed wireless service provider that targets the mobile market segment in airports.

Toshiba intends to ship its first LAN standard PC cards by November this year. The PC Card is designed for use in portable computers with a PC Card slot.

Toshiba also established working deals with 3Com Corp. , IBM Corp. , Lucent Technologies, Inc. , Microsoft Corp. , and other leading global technology companies.

Toshiba continues to be one of the world's leading vendors of portable computers with a 16.2 percent market share in global computing according to International Data Corp., an independent research firm.

With annual sales of approximately $2.5 billion, Toshiba America Information Systems Inc. is comprised of six divisions, organized into two business groups, which manufacture, market and service a wide range of business and information-oriented products in the