Big Blue's new NetVista A20 desktop computers are the latest small computers from major manufacturers. Like Compaq Computer's successful iPaq and Hewlett-Packard's e-PC line, the NetVista is more stylish and streamlined than standard beige corporate computers. About the same size as a pan of brownies, the machines come in basic black, like IBM's successful ThinkPad line.
But the real selling point for these machines is lower costs. Because the machines are smaller than regular PCs, they cost less to manufacture and ship. The most basic version of the NetVista A20, which contains an Intel Celeron processor, starts at $640.
"The amount of space a computer demands is more and more important to nearly all businesses," Brian Dalgetty, director of marketing for IBM NetVista desktop systems, said in a statement.
Refreshing its business-PC line also comes at a crucial time for IBM. The company has seen its share of the PC market plunge in recent quarters.
In the third quarter, for instance, the number of combined PCs, notebooks and PC servers shipped by IBM in the United States shrank by 18.8 percent from the third quarter of 1999, according to a Gartner Dataquest report.
The A20 features either a Pentium III or a Celeron processor and contains up to 128MB of SDRAM memory.
The A20 computers announced today will begin shipping in two weeks, the company said. While geared to business buyers, the NetVista line will effectively be targeted at both business and consumer markets.