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Umax launches $1,600 notebook

The company launches its first PC notebooks, moving from the Mac market to the Windows world with a full-featured system for $1,600.

Umax launched its first line of notebook computers based on the Windows-Intel platform, as the Taiwanese company continues its transition from the Mac market to the PC world by starting out with a full-featured system for $1,600.

Umax's low-cost ActionBook 300T and 300C and midrange 530T models complement its line of PC desktops, which have been rolling out over the past nine months. As it did in the Mac market, Umax is targeting consumers with lost-cost offerings.

The 300T comes with a 166-MHz Pentium MMX processor, a 2.1GB hard disk, 16MB of memory, a CD-ROM, a 56-kbps PC card modem, and a 12.1-inch active-matrix screen for $1,599. The 300C offers a passive-matrix screen and a slower modem for $1,399.

The debut mirrors Umax's January sales promotion of a loaded 200-MHz Pentium MMX system with monitor for $900. The system sold out in a jiffy.

Umax's license to the Macintosh operating expires in July, though the company will be able to sell its SuperMac systems through the end of the year. Apple allowed it continue selling clone systems after it refused to renew the licenses of cloners Motorola and IBM because Umax said it was trying tap the sub-$1,000 market and also Asia, two segments where Apple doesn't have a strong presence.

Nonetheless, acting CEO Steve Jobs has made it clear he thinks the clone market cannibalized Apple sales instead of expanding the Mac market, and thus Umax is being forced to exit.

The ActionBook 530T comes with a 233-MHz Pentium MMX chip, 32MB of memory, a 3.2GB hard disk, a CD-ROM drive, a 56-kbps PC card modem, and a 13.3-inch active-matrix screen for $2,799.

In June, Umax will announces its higher-end 700 series, which will come with Intel's more recent mobile Pentium II chips.