Compaq launches Armada

In its first major portables announcement in several years, Compaq has launched Armada, a new range of notebook computers. Industry watchers say the move will help Compaq, over time, regain ground in the notebook market that the manufacturer has ignored in favour of its desktop and multimedia business.

Compaq says the Armada range will include an LTE 5000-based flagship family that provides desktop functionality for power users (priced around $7,000 RRP); the Armada 4100 (priced from $3,965 RRP), a medium-functionality unit designed to provide maximum mobility; and the Armada 1100 (priced from $3,497 RRP), a low-functionality notebook.

All units will ship in Australia in July, although Compaq business unit director Paul Brandling told Australian Reseller News quantities will be fairly limited in the early part of the month. "The demand for the products has been incredible, so we'll have a limited number to begin with. However, by the end of the month they should be available in much greater numbers," he said.

Aimed at, among others, the education market and home users, the Armada 1100 will replace Compaq's Contura range. It comes with 75 to 100MHz Pentium processors, a 64-bit architecture, 8Mb of RAM and an 810Mb hard drive.

Moving higher up the line, the Armada 4100 is aimed at mobile users who want maximum flexibility. Users can swap the floppy drive for a second battery and can add a mobile CD-ROM. The 4100 comes with 75 to 133MHz Pentium processors, a 64-bit architecture and a 32-bit PCI local bus architecture. It is available with 8Mb or 16Mb of RAM and a 1Gb hard drive.

On the desktop front, Compaq MD Ian Penman says the manufacturer wants is bringing down the entry point for computers. "The sweet spot for desktops is $2,000Ð$2,500 and we don't have anything in that price range," he said. "However, we do have a 37 per cent market share. When we bring on a product in that price range - and that is going to happen - the game will be over."