Toshiba announces netbook with 2-watt Harman Kardon speakers

toshiba announces netbook with 2 watt harman kardon speakers zdnet nb520 netbooksToshiba has announced plans to bring the noise to netbooks in the form of Harman Kardon speakers. The speakers will be offered in Toshiba’s forthcoming NB520 netbook and, according to Toshiba, will be the smallest embedded laptop speakers made by Harman Kardon. The speakers will be 2-watts apiece “giving sound volume and quality not normally associated with netbooks.”

The NB520 will also come with an Atom N550 processor, 2GB of DDR3 memory, Bluetooth 2.1 support, a 250GB HDD,  and ten hours of battery life with a 6-cell battery.

Why try to up sound volume and quality on a netbook? Well, because Toshiba thinks that there is a demand. The company says that over two thirds of netbook users rely on speakers to watch movies or listen to music. That figure might continue to rise as online video and music streaming continue to grow in popularity.

For those strictly interested in the business side of netbooks, Toshiba will also be offering the NB500, a stripped down version of the NB520. The NB500 does away with the Harman Kardon speakers, axes the Bluetooth, and offers an Intel Intel Atom N455 processor. The battery life expectancy is also a bit lower in this model — up to eight hours with a 6-cell battery.

Both models will have 10.1-inch LED-backlit displays with 1,024 x 600 resolution, three USB 2.0 ports, up to 250GB of disk space, Windows 7 Starter, and a host of other standard features.

No announcement on prices yet, but expect to find out before they ship sometime in the first quarter of 2011. We’ll wait to see if audio-minded consumers will choose Toshiba’s option over, say, an iPad.