IBM’s new ultraportable notebook extends battery life

IBM Corp.’s new ThinkPad X30 family of lightweight notebooks, announced Thursday, represents an overhaul of IBM’s ultraportable notebook design, and boasts extended battery life for mobile workers.

The four ThinkPad X30 machines weigh 3.6 pounds (1.62 kilograms) with a standard battery, and 4.5 pounds with an optional second battery. In an X30 equipped with the optional battery, both batteries work in conjunction to offer 8 hours of battery life, allocating power as needed to specific tasks. The X30’s standard battery delivers 4.5 hours of battery life. The four machines are available in varying models.

Some of the X30 models feature Cisco Systems Inc.’s Aironet 802.11b cards for wireless access. A wireless option for some X30 laptops is Intel Corp.’s PRO/Wireless LAN card, which lets users toggle among five Internet connection technologies, including 802.11b, Bluetooth, and Ethernet cards.

For security, some of the laptops come with IBM’s embedded security chip, which secures wireless connections and also protects the user against unauthorized log-ons. The notebooks also have an optional fingerprint reader.

A base configuration with a 1.06MHz Intel Mobile Pentium III processor, 128M bytes of RAM, a 20G-byte hard drive, two USB (universal serial bus) ports, an IEEE 1394 port, and a 12-inch TFT (thin film transistor) LCD (liquid crystal display) is priced at US$1,999. The X30 notebooks will start shipping on Sept. 3.