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IBM cuts flat panel prices

Big Blue releases three new panel displays priced as low as $1,499 and cuts prices up to 35 percent on existing models.

IBM (IBM) today released three new flat panel displays priced as low as $1,499 and cut prices up to 35 percent on existing models, offering yet more evidence that the cost of space-age monitors is coming down to earth--or at least closer.

Liquid crystal display (LCD) flat panels weigh less, take up much less space, and consume about one-third the power of conventional CRT (cathode ray tube) monitors commonly found on desktops today. LCDs are used in notebook PCs, but are not often found on desktops because of their price.

IBM is offering three new monitors, including a 14.1-inch display for $1,499 and a 16.1-inch display for $3,799. All new models can automatically switch between different screen resolutions depending on a user's preference. The monitors can display screen resolutions up to 1280 by 1024 pixels, according to IBM.

Five months ago at the launch of IBM's new panel displays, a 14.5-inch display was priced at $2,795; now it?s available for $1,799, after a price cut of 35 percent.

Older 16.1-inch displays with the ability to display multiple screen resolutions were priced at $4,599 and are now priced at $3,799, a reduction of 17 percent.

Analysts expect 14-inch flat panel prices could drop as low as $1,100 this year, which is still too pricey to challenge CRTs but enough to increase growth in niche markets such as financial services firms and health care organizations.

Observers believe flat panels will not be priced to compete with CRTs by the end of 1998. Analysts at Stanford Resources, a display industry research firm, said flat panel displays will need to cost no more than 25 percent more than a standard CRT monitors in order to appeal to a wider range of users.