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HP, Micron prep new notebook models

HP eyes the small to mid-sized business market, while Micron will try for the high end.

Tech Industry
Hewlett-Packard is honing its notebook lineup for the small to mid-size business market, while Micron Electronics wants to show there's still life in the high end with a new "portable" that comes with a 15.1-inch display.

Hewlett-Packard, working to get out from under the shadow of its formerly staid lineup, is adding Pentium II processors and the option of the Windows NT operating system to the XE2 line of all-in-one notebooks, the company said.

Micron Electronics, meanwhile, is rolling out a top-line model called the Transport NX, which has a 15.1-inch display that's equivalent to a 17-inch desktop monitor. The system also comes with a 366-MHz Pentium II and up to 14GB of hard disk drive storage, according to Micron.

HP's XE2 notebooks, like its XE predecessor, are aimed at the small and medium business market. The company is trying to beef up sales to this market by giving resellers "a template they can use to put together an all-HP solution for the customer" that includes other HP products such as servers and desktop PCs, said Glen Kuo, product manager for Hewlett-Packard.

The XE2 line will feature three notebooks priced under $2,000, including an entry-level model with a 300-MHz Celeron processor and 12.1-inch dual-scan display for an estimated street price of $1,549.

A system that adds 333-MHz Pentium II and active matrix display will be priced at $1,899, while a system with 366-MHz Pentium II, 64MB of memory, and 13.3-inch active-matrix display will be priced at $2,599. All models include a built-in modem.

HP still has an uphill battle in the notebook market, with competitors such as Dell ready to launch its own sub-$2,000 notebooks for the business market later this week, industry sources said.

Micron's newest offering joins Gateway and Dell in upping the ante for desktop-replacement notebooks with its huge display. The NX is expected to be priced starting at $2,899 and goes up to $3,699 for a system with 15.1-inch screen, 128MB of memory, 14GB hard disk drive, and DVD-ROM drive, according to the company.

Micron is also revising its Transport Trek2 notebooks to include a faster graphics subsystem, dual mouse pointer devices, and an optional LS-120 floppy disk drive. Prices for the Trek2's will start at $1,899.

In related news, Micron is aiming to boost its appeal to the small to medium-sized corporate market (that is, businesses with 100 to 2500 employees) by rolling out a technology service program called "Mservices."

Micron will partner with Unisys to offer businesses their own "virtual" IS department. Customers get access to certified consultants and engineers, with both fixed-priced and custom service offerings that range from product installations and on-site server and notebook service to multi-manufacturer support, asset management, and managed Windows NT deployment, Micron said.

"Our goal is to enable mid-size businesses to compete more effectively in the new economy by bringing them technology and services on par with the resources enjoyed by the Fortune 500," said Joel Kocher, chairman of Micron Electronics, in a statement.

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