IBM launches new desktop and notebook machines

IBM has announced the US release of four new ThinkPad notebook and three new NetVista desktop PCs.

IBM has announced the US release of four new ThinkPad notebook and three new NetVista desktop PCs.

The company has expanded and reorganised its catalogue of branded PC series, and has targeted its new machines at corporate users. A new "M" series of desktops, with prices ranging from $999 (£688) to $1,999 (£1376), has been introduced certain PCs, offering stability and advanced security features.

The "X" series of desktops, featuring a hard drive and processor integrated with a flat-panel monitor, has been overhauled for a more streamlined appearance. Prices for the line range from $1,499 (£1,032) to $2,549 (£1,754).

In the ThinkPad portfolio, IBM has created a new line - the "R" series of entry-level-priced notebooks, and added new models to three of its other lines.

All of the NetVista and three of the ThinkPad models are available in the US now, with the "R30" ThinkPad due out on 30 October.

IBM left the retail PC sector 18 months ago, according Jon Judge, general manager of IBM Personal Computing. Instead of vying for overall market share, the company hopes to win customers in select, high-margin areas, including the enterprise sector, by delivering "complete IT solutions", he added.

"We believe the PC industry is at a crossroads," Judge said. Companies that previously treated PCs as a commodity are now trying to reposition themselves as innovators. "These are companies that are spending most of their time today on merger and acquisition activities," he said, in a thinly veiled reference to the planned merger between Hewlett-Packard and Compaq.

One of IBM's new offerings is ImageUltra, a software tool that lets companies create a single "super-image" of all necessary applications and operating systems for PCs in a corporate network. IBM can burn the image on to a batch of PCs at the point of manufacture, allowing companies to later customise the image for each end-user. IBM claims ImageUltra and other related advances can save companies $100 per PC, per year.

Optional security features are available for the new machines, including a new embedded security subsystem with a security chip that handles data encryption and user authentication. The new PCs are also better suited to wireless technologies. Some notebook models feature Bluetooth capabilities and a dual-antenna design.

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