IBM pumps up its PC product line

TORONTO – IBM Canada Ltd.’s suite of personal computers got a performance boost on Tuesday with the unveiling of several new IBM-exclusive technologies.

The products include four ThinkPad notebook PC models, three NetVista desktop PC models, PC ImageUltra (a desktop image management solution), and the IBM Embedded Security Subsystem.

According to IBM, the new models boast proprietary wireless and security features that virtually automate tasks associated with deploying, managing, and maintaining distributed computing.

The IBM Embedded Security Subsystem represents the industry’s first such feature that automatically encrypts user keys, files and e-mails, IBM said. The entire NetVista and ThinkPad lines will feature integrated Ethernet, Image Ultra, Embedded Security Subsystem, and extended wireless features that integrate 802.11b wireless technology.

The line of NetVista desktops will now be classified as A, X, and the new M series, IBM said. The M series (prices start at $1,449) is designed for users that require maximum performance features; the A series ($789 and up) features affordable leading-edge technologies; and the X series ($2,279 and up) emphasizes space-saving designs with high performance, IBM said.

“We’re bringing in Pentium 4 in a big way . . . (for example) NetVista M Series and A Series feature three different form factors to provide affordable, stable solutions for your office,” said Peter Sturm, national sales manager for the NetVista commercial brand at IBM.

Harry Wttewaall, national ThinkPad sales manager at IBM, said IBM’s ThinkPad line of notebook computers (X, T, A and new R series) have been redefined with technologies that address IT managers’ biggest problems: security, mobility and manageability. ThinkPads will be shipped out with Microsoft Windows XP installed.

The R series (Prices start at $1,999) features an emphasis price point; A Series ($2,999 and up) has been redesigned to include two modular bays, integrated wireless functions, Web navigation and an high-resolution display; the X Series ($3,699 and up) which offers integrated wireless and security features; and the T Series ($5,199 and up) has been refreshed to include integrated wireless capabilities.

Each product meets specific mobile requirements, Wttewaall said. He added that IBM-exclusive ThinkPad technology will reduce the time, cost and complexity of using PCs as part of the e-business infrastructure.

“The new products and services we’re launching today demonstrate that IBM is taking a dramatically different approach to the PC business than our competitors are,” said Jon Judge, general manager for IBM’s personal computing division, during a morning conference call.

“For so long, it’s been a fairly predictable game – offer industry standard components at lower prices and sell lots of systems. But price clearly is no longer the driving force behind corporate PC purchases. Price is no longer a feature, it’s a requirement,” Judge said.

IBM Canada Ltd., in Markham, Ont., is at http://ca.ibm.com.