IBM aims new ThinkPads at consumers

IBM aims new ThinkPads at consumers

IBM this week announced a line of ThinkPad notebook computers aimed at consumers.

Called the ThinkPad i series, the notebooks are offered with Intel Pentium II 266MHz, or Pentium 266MHz chips with MMX processors.

ThinkPad i series notebooks also come with up to 2.5MB of video DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory), an integrated 56Kbps modem, and active matrix displays of up to 13.3 inches.

The ThinkPad i series will be available in November or through, IBM said.

Traditionally, ThinkPads have been seen as business PCs, and the decision to focus on consumers is IBM's first attempt to break into the consumer market with a notebook PC, according to IBM.

The ThinkPad i series represents a shift for IBM, which in the past has not favoured consumers with newly designed products, according to Randy Giusto, an IDC analyst.

"They've traditionally gone after that market with older, end-of-life product," Giusto said.

"It looks like a very good system and it extends the market down to IBM that they may not have been able to aggressively court in the past," Giusto said. "The perception is that ThinkPads are expensive and the i series helps break that perception."

The ThinkPad i series is expected to go head to head with other PC makers in the consumer market, including Compaq, which last year launched its consumer-oriented Presario line of multimedia notebooks.

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