Following a wave of business PC upgrades from competitors like Compaq and Toshiba, IBM last week announced a new series of the company's NetVista line of desktop business PCs, the NetVista A Series.
Designed for large- and medium-sized enterprises such as health care, banking, and retail, IBM officials said the A Series will be a stable platform for the purpose of security and ease of management for IT staff faced with large scale deployments of the new PCs.
Missing from the announcement, however, was IBM's removable Microdrive, a 1GB removable disk drive that the US-based company touted publicly late last year during the introduction of its Edge of Network (EON) initiative.
A source close to IBM said the Microdrive would begin shipping as an option on the NetVista line sometime before October.
Until then, 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 64 MB of SDRAM, and the new Intel 815E chip set, according to IBM.
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 66MHx front-side bus. An optional Pentium III processor is also available on the A20, running at speeds ranging from 667 to 733MHz.
Besides serving as a PC component, IBM's Microdrive is expected to play a major role in the development of IBM's wearable PC, a venture recently advanced by a partnership announced last May between IBM and Xybernaut.
US-based Xybernaut holds patents on "removable core technology," which allows users to 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.