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Armada sails into retail channel

Compaq's new Armada 1585 hopes to find small businesses through retail outlets and mail-order outfits.

Compaq (CPQ) today released a business notebook for the retail channel as part of its never-ending quest to grab market share.

Though it's meant for business users, the new Armada 1585 will be sold through retail outlets and mail-order outfits. The idea, according to Richard Zwetchkenbaum, research director at International Data Corporation, is to saturate every existing market niche. In this case, Compaq is targeting small- to medium-sized businesses.

"There are businesses that shop there," he said of the catalog and mail-order resellers. Because of the retail connotations of Presario, Compaq is likely to keep the "Armada" name rather than adopt the "Presario" name, which usually goes along with products in this channel.

The company is currently No. 2 two in notebook PC market share, as measured by computers shipped, according to Computer Intelligence. Compaq acheived a 27.1 percent market share in all notebook markets during May 1997, according to the company, as compared to 13.5 percent in May 1996. Only Toshiba, with a 32.2 percent share, sells more.

Compaq's Armada 1585DMT is priced at $3,699. It comes with a 150-MHz Pentium with MMX, a 12.1 active-matrix LCD screen, 16MB of memory, and a 2.1GB hard disk drive.

The Armada 1585 will also contain a dual-install version of Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0. It will support Compaq's Intelligent Manageability technology. Together, the features essentially allow the Armada to be centrally managed by the network.

In other news, the company unveiled details for three Presario notebooks: the 1210, 1610, and 1620, designed for the retail market. The Presario notebooks contain Pentium processors and will be available in July or August. Prices range from $2,299 to $2,999.