IBM to join ultraslim notebook market

IBM this week will join the ultraslim notebook market with a high-powered ThinkPad 560 that weighs just under 2kg and is 3cm thick, sources says.

The notebooks will have 12.1in thin-film transistor screens and will be powered with 100MHz, 120MHz and 133MHz Pentium chips, the sources say. Pricing isn't available, but sources say the notebooks will be aggressively priced and could start as low as US$2600.

The notebooks will have 810Mb of hard disk space and up to 40Mb of memory, according to sources close to the company.

Digital Equipment was the first out of the block in mid-March with the HiNote Ultra portable line, highly modular laptops that weigh less than 2kg.

Compaq is expected to release a line of ultraportables in the coming months. Vendors including Dell, NEC Technologies and Texas Instruments also are expected to enter the growing ultraslim market.

Some industry analysts are questioning whether the components of the lightweight notebooks are too fragile and if there is a market for the new designs.

But others predict that the ultraslim trend will catch on this year and will attract users eager for powerful, lighter notebooks.

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