Japanese PC makers parade latest notebooks

Japan's major personal computer makers will be unveiling their latest notebook computers at this week's World PC Expo show, which...

Japan's major personal computer makers will be unveiling their latest notebook computers at this week's World PC Expo show, which begins tomorrow (Wednesday) in Tokyo. The latest products range from sub 1-kilogram ultra portable notebooks to A4-size machines intended to replace desktop machines for power users.

Among products at the small end, Matsushita Electric Industrial's Let's Note Light R1 machines weigh 960 grams. The machines measure 240mm by 183mm, and are 23.5mm thick at the front and 37.2mm thick at the back.

They are based on Intel 's Pentium III-M processor running at 866MHz and include a 10.4-inch TFT LCD with 1,024 pixel by 768 pixel (XGA) resolution, 128Mbytes of SDRAM (synchronous DRAM), 20Gbyte hard disk drive, SD (Secure Digital) memory card slot and two USB 2.0 ports. They are expected to cost around ¥200,000 (£1,027).

Coming in slightly lighter is Sharp's latest addition to its Muramasa range of thin notebooks, the PC-MM1-H1W, or Sharp Kitty, at 950 grams. The slim machine is 13.7mm in depth at the front and 19.6mm at the back. Equipped with a Transmeta Crusoe TM5800 processor running at 867MHz, the computer has a 10.4-inch LCD with XGA resolution, 256Mbytes of DDR (double data rate) DRAM, a 15Gbyte hard disk drive, internal wireless LAN and two USB 2.0 ports.

The machine also comes with a distinctive charging cradle into which the machine is inserted on its end. It will go on sale in Japan later this month and will cost around ¥170,000 (£879).

Fujitsu also announced Transmeta-powered notebooks, choosing the 933MHz version of the TM5800. The machine, the latest member of its Loox T series, has a 10.6-inch widescreen TFT LCD, 256Mbytes of memory, 30Gbyte hard disk drive, CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive, wireless LAN module, IEEE1394 port and two USB 2.0 ports. It will cost around ¥210,000 (£1,086).

Fujitsu's FMV-Biblo NB18, a multimedia computer, includes a built-in TV tuner and DVD-R/RW drive. Based on an Intel Pentium 4-M processor running at 1.8GHz, its features include a 15-inch TFT LCD with XGA resolution, 256Mbytes of memory, 60Gbyte hard disk drive, four USB 2.0 ports and slots for both SD and MemoryStick memory cards. It will cost around ¥290,000 (£1,500).

Toshiba has also built a TV tuner into its G6/U18PDEW notebook along with wireless LAN, Bluetooth, a DVD-R/RW/RAM drive and 512Mbytes of memory. The machine has a 15-inch TFT LCD and 1.8GHz Pentium 4-M processor and will cost around ¥360,000 (£1,862).

NEC announced a wide range of computers including the high-end Lavie C. With a 2.0GHz version of the Pentium 4-M processor, the computer otherwise has similar screen, memory, hard disk and port specifications to those listed above for Fujitsu's Biblo NB18, but without the memory card slots. It will cost around ¥400,000 (£2,069).

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