Toshiba has finally done what just about everyone expected it would do when it dropped HD DVD last February and applied to the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) for membership, with a view to creating Blu-ray supporting devices.
The official line is that: "In light of recent growth in digital devices supporting the Blu-ray format, combined with market demand from consumers and retailers alike, Toshiba has decided to join the BDA." A more cynical take would be to suggest Toshiba has decided that it should probably look at grabbing itself a share of the Blu-ray player market before consumers stop buying DVD players. I'm not inclined to agree with that, given that the death of DVD looks to be some way off yet, but I'm not surprised in the least that Toshiba would want a slice of the Blu-ray pie for itself.
As we can pretty safely assume the BDA will accept Toshiba's application, we can expect to see both dedicated Blu-ray players and laptops with Blu-ray drives form Toshiba "in the course of this year." Details and specific launch schedules are still under consideration, with further announcements to come "in due course."