The original ultrathin, ultrasmall notebook PC line pioneered by
Digital Equipment will live on overseas, though it is being phased out in the
Though Compaq Computer notebook executives said in January that
the Armada 6500, the last of Digital Equipment's seminal HiNote models, will be
phased out, this only applies to the U.S. market, according to Compaq.
"Other countries are continuing to sell the Armada 6500, particularly countries
in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa," a Compaq spokesperson said.
Other geographical regions are upgrading the 6500 with either the new 333-MHz
or 366-MHz Pentium II chips or both, Compaq said.
In the U.S., however, the world's leading PC maker believes the portable
doesn't have a place in its already-crowded notebook lineup. Ironically, this
was considered one of the best notebook designs ever and one of the
technological gems that Compaq inherited from Digital Equipment when it
purchased the company.
Back in 1995, Digital introduced its four-pound HiNote Ultra, a considerable
feat since materials technology wasn't quite as far along and components also tended to weigh more. The startlingly slim design won many industry accolades,
just as the Toshiba Portege 7000, Sony Vaio 500, and the Mitsubishi Pedion do
The HiNote evolved into the Ultra II and more recently the Ultra 2000. The
latter design was inherited by Compaq when it purchased Digital last year.
Compaq left the design intact but renamed it the Armada 6500. Though wider and
a bit heavier than the original HiNote--it was made to accommodate a large
14-inch screen, a CD-ROM drive bay, and faster Pentium II chips--today it is
still a unique design.
Compaq will continue to make the Armada 6500
until March or April in the U.S. The Armada, with a 300-MHz Pentium II
processor, a 14.1-inch active-matrix LCD screen, 6.4GB hard drive, 64MB of
memory, and a CD-ROM drive is currently priced at $3,800 at resellers such as
Computer Discount Warehouse and NECX.
But Compaq has not given up on the ultrathin design. It recently introduced
the 1900 series Presario notebook. The highly compact Presario is 1.2 inches
thick and offers a 366-MHz Pentium II, 13.3-inch screen, and 10GB hard drive.
Prices start at $2,499.