IBM Unwraps Lighter, Less Pricey ThinkPads

BOSTON (06/05/2000) - IBM Corp. today announced new ThinkPad i Series notebook computers, the lightest and least expensive of the family, weighing 6 pounds (2.72 kg) and costing US$1,199, or comparable to a low-end desktop machine.

Portability, connectivity and affordability were the focus when it came to designing the new ThinkPad, said Chris Mantin, worldwide product manager for the IBM ThinkPad i Series. The lowest price for a ThinkPad had been $1,499.

The new ThinkPads are "thinner and lighter than anything on the market," Mantin said in a telephone interview. Some of the new machines feature Ethernet connectivity through miniature PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) cards in the system and an RJ-45 port in the back, which also enables broadband access through DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) or a cable modem.

"I really feel (these machines) are geared for students, small businesses and entrepreneurs looking for the most value," Mantin said.

The new ThinkPad i Series 1200 and 1300 models all feature mobile Intel Corp.

Celeron processors, a standard 56K-bps (bits per second) v.90 modem, a 6G-byte hard drive, NiMH (Nickel-Metal Hydride) batteries and two USB (Universal Serial Bus) ports.

Displays range from 12.1-inch HPA (High-Performance Addressing) SVGAs (super video graphics arrays) to 13.3-inch TFT (thin-film transistor) XGAs (extended graphics arrays). The ThinkPad i Series also incorporates keyboard-based audio controls for volume adjustment and basic CD player functions for the audiophile. Programmable easy launch buttons are standard and can be customized to launch favorite Web sites or software applications.

The four i Series 1200 models are the "all-around product available to all segments," Mantin said. The small business 1330 and 1370 models, targeted at the small-business entrepreneur, are pre-loaded with Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 2000 Professional and Office 2000 Small Business, which Mantin noted are the most popular programs for that segment, and include integrated Ethernet. Four educational models, part of the 1300 i Series, include Microsoft AnyTime, AnyWhere Learning initiative developed as part of an IBM partnership with Microsoft.

"The ThinkPad has been an extremely successful brand (since its launch in late 1998), with unprecedented success and growth rate," Mantin said. The current offering "exemplifies the IBM commitment to leadership, design and innovative ease-of-use features."

Available immediately through IBM's business partners and its Web site, pricing for the new i Series models starts at $1,199 for the 1210 and rises to $2,199 for the 1370. The educational models (1310, 1320 and 1340) are offered through Authorized Education Resellers to qualified kindergarten through 12th grade accredited schools, qualified students or their parents or legal guardians.

Mantin said that IBM also plans to work on affinity relationships for corporations looking for deals through employee purchase programs or leasing.

IBM, in Armonk, New York, can be reached at +1-914-765-1900 or http://www.ibm.com.

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