IBM targets large enterprises with NetVista

IBM has announced a new series of the company's NetVista line of desktop business PCs, the A Series, designed for large and medium-sized enterprises such as health care, banking, and retail.

Missing from last week's announcement, however, was IBM's removable Microdrive, a 1Gbyte removable disk drive the company touted publicly late last year during the introduction of its EON (Edge of Network) initiative.

An IBM spokesman, Caspian Smith, said the Microdrive would begin shipping as an option on the NetVista line at the end of the third quarter.

He said the NetVista A40 PC will ship with Intel Pentium III processors ranging in speed from 667MHz to 933MHz, with a 133MHz front-side bus, 128 or 64Mbytes of SDRAM, and the new Intel 815E chip set.

The NetVista A40p will ship with the same features as the A40, but with six added security features - including the IBM Embedded Security Chip, a system keylock that secures the system contents physically, and a security switch that alerts an administrator when the system cover is removed.

IBM will offer the NetVista A20 with Intel's value-priced Celeron processor ranging in speed from 533 to 600MHz, with a 66MHz front side bus.

An optional Pentium III processor is also available on the A20, running at speeds ranging from 667 to 733MHz.

Pricing for the NetVista A40 will start at $2075. The NetVista A40p will start at $2250 and the base price for the NetVista A20 will be $1180, according to IBM.

Besides serving as a PC component, IBM's Microdrive is expected to play a substantial role in the development of IBM's wearable PC, a venture recently advanced by a partnership announced last May between IBM and Xybernaut.

Xybernaut holds patents on "removable core technology", which lets users remove the main computing component of a device and transfer it into another device, even to an object such as a belt buckle, or a shoe, according to Xybernaut officials.

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