IBM unleashes new ThinkPad machines

International Business Machines (IBM) announced the immediate availability this week of two new lines of products in its ThinkPad family of portable computers. The ThinkPad A and T lines replaces the vast majority of IBM's previous lineup, including the 390, 600 and 779 models. The A (desktop alternative) line will be full-sized "all-in-one" laptops with many built in features and powerful Celeron or Pentium III microprocessors. The T (thin) line offers a thinner, lighter form factor. Both model lines feature strong titanium-composite covers, an UltraPort connector in the cover for USB-based video cameras and wireless solutions, and compatible add-on products such as CD-ROMs, CD-Rs, and DVD drives. And all of IBM's new ThinkPad models include single button access to online help, backlit function buttons, and easier-to-use volume controls.

The goal, IBM says, is to make mobile computers faster, lighter, and easier to use. "As people are becoming more mobile, it has become clear that it's not just about the biggest screen or fastest processor," says ThinkPad general manager Adalio Sanchez. "We have to go beyond just integrating the core technology and slapping (parts) together. We have a responsibility to continue to improve the satisfaction of our customers."

The new ThinkPads utilize fast Celeron and Pentium III CPUs, including the new 700 MHz Pentium III. The T series weighs 4.6 pounds with a 14" display and is only 1.3 inches thick. The A series offers bigger displays, more video RAM, and better expansion possibilities. For the short term, IBM will continue to sell its existing 240 and 570 models, though the company expects to roll those into the new lines by the end of the year. The ThinkPad "i" series, which is aimed at individual users, is unaffected by the launch of the new models

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