Featuring one model with a 266-MHz Pentium MMX processor, Intel's top-of-the-line mobile chip, the VisionBook Pro notebooks are designed for a corporate, networked environment. Hitachi's newest portables come equipped with a US Robotics 56-kbps cellular-ready modem and 10/100 BaseT LAN support.
Hitachi currently claims about 2.7 percent of the notebook market, with most of its customers coming from the retail sector, according to Mike McGuire, notebook analyst for Dataquest. Shipping products like the VisionBook Pro that are aimed at the corporate market is necessary if Hitachi wants to break into the upper echelon of notebook manufacturers, McGuire thinks.
"They have to move way beyond their retail strategies," McGuire said. "They have to greatly enlarge their corporate direct sales."
The new VisionBook Pros come with either a 200-MHz, 233-MHz, or 266-MHz mobile Pentium MMX chips. The high-end notebooks are targeted at users of multimedia applications, offering stereo speakers and a removable 20X CD-ROM drive.
The notebooks also feature a removable 3.2GB or 4GB hard drive and a Universal Serial Bus interface. The VisionBook Pros come with either a 12.1-inch SVGA or 13.3-inch XGA color display.
The 200-MHz VisionBook Pro starts at an estimated $3,199, the 233-MHz version goes for $4,199, and the speediest model sells for $4,799. All are available through retail outlets.