NEC launches silver, ultra-thin notebook

NEC Computers, a U.S.-based unit of Japan's NEC, began selling a new, ultra-thin notebook Monday that comes in a lightweight, silver-magnesium casing.

Weighing less than four pounds, the Versa TXi is 1.26 inches high and powered by an Intel Corp. mobile Pentium III processor at 750MHz, NEC said in a statement.

Thin, light computers offered in snazzier "industrial" designs and in a few different colors -- with silver particularly popular -- are proving popular in the workplace. The design, weight and color trends are also trickling down to the consumer market, said Matt Sargent, analyst with La Jolla, California-based Associated Research Services (ARS) Inc.

"On the corporate side, the market is focusing more on industrial design," he said. "While the thin-and light-market is focused on the corporate segment, it is drifting into the consumer market."

The Versa TXi also comes with either a CD-ROM drive or a combination CD-RW (compact disc-rewritable) and DVD (digital versatile disc) drive, and uses an external floppy disk drive.

The notebook has a 12.1-inch screen, three USB (universal serial bus) ports, and an IEEE 1394 port for high-speed digital video transfers. The Versa also has a 20G-byte hard drive, 128M-bytes of RAM and an ethernet and modem combo card.

The standard battery can be replaced with an optional 15-cell battery designed to offer longer life. In addition, a modular 6-cell battery can be inserted into a vacant disk drive bay.

The Versa TXi is available Monday from NEC and its reseller partners. With the CD-RW/DVD combo drive, the system retails for US$3,399, NEC said.

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