Laptops News

Who is Dynabook? And what the hell happened to Toshiba?

Toshiba Dynabook
The Dynabook brand has reappeared after a 30-year break

I had to check the date on the press release was 2 April rather than 1 April, but this is no joke: Toshiba has rebranded as Dynabook. To be precise, what were Toshiba laptops will in the future be Dynabook laptops.

If you need any help understanding this shift, I urge you, please, to watch this video:

It’s not short on hyperbole. My favourite line is “we live and breathe our brand… we turn imagination into reality with quality, reliability and security at our core”. Just to hammer it home, there’s a lovely image of a white, planet-like sphere representing that core, with swishy lines all around it.

But seriously…

But enough fun, because Dynabook is a serious name change. It stems from the fact that Sharp bought 80.1% of Toshiba Client Solutions (essentially Toshiba’s laptop business) in October last year. With Toshiba no longer the primary owner, it made sense to change the company name.

So why Dynabook? Because it harks back to Toshiba’s first notebook computer, the Dynabook J-3100 SS001, launched in 1989. I guess we should all be grateful Sharp decided not to opt for SS001 as the new brand.

Toshiba Dynabook - used under license from Wikimedia
The first Toshiba Dynabook, released way back in 1989

What does this change mean for the British customer? Simply that the Toshiba brand will fade from usage, with new laptops being released under the Dynabook brand, much like IBM became Lenovo.

Indeed, PC World has already started selling Dynabooks. Confusingly, though, they’re called Toshiba Dynabooks. PC World clearly didn’t get the memo…

Toshiba Dynabook

You can buy a Toshiba Dynabook through PC World today

So we can expect to see Dynabook Portégé laptops and Dynabook Satellite Pro machines in the coming months. As ever with such transitions, though, it will be a slow burn. Don’t expect to see the Toshiba brand disappear from your local PC World for a while.

But do keep on enjoying that video.

UPDATE Paul Ockenden has pointed out that this is the real Dynabook. Although never built, Xerox did create a prototype of Alan Kay’s vision of a “personal computer for children of all ages”.

Below, hear Alan talking about how he came up with the idea and showing a cardboard mock-up of the world’s first true Dynabook.

READ NEXT Toshiba Portégé X30-T review: more than a Surface Pro clone?

About the author

Tim Danton

Tim Danton is editor-in-chief of PC Pro magazine and has written about technology since 1999. He enjoys playing with gadgets, playing with words and playing tennis. Email tim@bigtechquestion.com

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  • I think I preferred the name Toshiba to be honest! While it’s likely that the PC World “Toshiba Dynabook” thing is a typo, it might be there for a purpose, Toshiba is a trustworthy brand while most people have never heard of the manufacturer Dynabook. To be honest I would prefer a laptop from a known brand rather than an unknown brand but that’s just me!

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