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MicronPC puts finger in security pie

The PC maker takes the wraps off the TransPort T100, a lightweight machine that incorporates a fingerprint-recognition sensor and a Pentium 4-M processor.

MicronPC is putting its fingerprint-recognition imprint on a new notebook PC.

The PC maker on Monday announced the TransPort T1000, a 4.9-pound portable machine that incorporates a fingerprint-recognition sensor and a Pentium 4-M processor from Intel.

MicronPC previously offered the fingerprint sensor, which uses an image of a person's fingerprint instead of passwords for logging on to the computer and various Web sites, only on its flagship TransPort GX2 and GX3 notebooks.

The fingerprint sensor, which is intended to help make a notebook more secure by preventing access by unauthorized users, has been a hit for Nampa, Idaho-based MicronPC, whose customers include the U.S. government.

The additional sales are a boon for the PC maker, which refocused its efforts last year on the government as well as small and medium-sized businesses.

"It's been huge. We've gotten a lot of positive feedback from our customers," said Jay White, manager of MicronPC's Portable Products Group.

The new T1000 puts the sensor into a more portable package. The machine uses a new magnesium case, helping it to shave a little more than half a pound off its 5.5-pound predecessor, the TransPort XT2. The TransPort GX3 weighs about 6.5 pounds.

The T1000 comes with a 14.1-inch screen and offers buyers a choice of Pentium 4-M chips running at speeds from 1.6GHz to 2GHz. Prices start at about $2,000 for a machine configured with a 1.6GHz Pentium 4-M, 256MB of RAM and a 20GB hard drive, according to MicronPC.

The new machine also includes wireless networking using the 802.11b standard and an auxiliary battery that powers the machine for 3 minutes, while the owner swaps batteries.