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Micron unveils its lightest notebook

The PC maker announces a new laptop as it looks to gain more market share and take advantage of features in Windows 2000.

Micron today unveiled its lightest notebook computer as it looks to gain more market share and take advantage of new features in Windows 2000.

The company until now had not sold a sub-6-pound notebook, putting it at a disadvantage compared to Dell Computer, IBM and others.

"There are a lot of bid opportunities we were missing out on because of weight requirements," said Micron spokesman Ken Knotts.

Micron also is hoping to take advantage of Windows 2000 support for USB connections. Windows NT did not offer native USB support, forcing PC makers to develop work-around software drivers with limited functionality.

The TransPort LT is a 4.8-pound portable packing an external USB floppy drive. Many lighter notebooks--from Micron and its competitors--tend to offer floppy drives that attach externally rather than as part of the unit. But this can force users to reboot when attaching the floppy drive.

Micron is also introducing an optional mini-PCI 56K modem and network card with the model, following the lead of Compaq Computer, IBM and others.

The TransPort LT is a two-spindle notebook designed to compete against the Dell Latitude LS and CS and IBM ThinkPad 600. The new model is enclosed in magnesium alloy, which is more rugged than standard plastic encasings and dissipates heat more efficiently.

The new model is important for bringing Micron on par with competitors, analysts said.

"Micron has had a missing link in its mobile strategy without a thin-and-light model," said Technology Business Research analyst Lindy Lesperance. "You can't go to small-and-medium business and government customers without a complete product line."

The TransPort LT will be available with Intel Mobile Celeron and Pentium III chips, including those with the SpeedStep technology. The base model comes with a 500-MHz Celeron processor, 64 MB of RAM expandable to 192 MB, 4GB hard drive, 8 MB graphics accelerator, 24X CD-ROM and Windows 98 for $1,999. With Windows 2000, the TransPort LT costs $100 more.

The TransPort LT will initially come with a 12.1-inch TFT display, with Micron introducing a 13.3-inch option next month.

Knotts said that most customers are excited about Windows 2000 on portables. Windows 2000, which will be launched later this week, offers better power management, PCMCIA and docking station support than does Windows NT.

"Our customers are looking forward to these things and the improved crash protection over Windows 98 and NT," Knotts said.