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Makers slot new notebooks into niches

Dell, Toshiba and MPC each launch a laptop, but with different business and government customers in mind.

Dell, Toshiba and MPC Computers on Monday each launched a notebook, but with different customer targets in mind.

Dell's Latitude 100L, which starts at $899, is aimed at small businesses and at price-sensitive institutional customers. Toshiba is positioning its new $1,449 Tecra M2V as a low-priced product in its high-end Tecra M2 series. And through its TransPort X3000, MPC Computers is trying to consolidate its place in the government market, which is keen on legacy support.

The Dell laptop is designed to appeal to those who want to replace a desktop. Weighing slightly more than seven pounds, the 100L can be configured with a Celeron or Mobile Pentium 4 processor from Intel. Other choices include a 14.1- or 15-inch display, 20GB to 60GB hard drives and a variety of fixed optical drives. Optional integrated wireless capability is available for $29 for 802.11b/g support or $49 for 802.11a/b/g support. A USB port replicator is available for $119.

Toshiba's M2V weighs in at less than five pounds. It has an optional battery life of up to 12 hours and built-in support for either 802.11g or 802.11a/b/g wireless connectivity. It has an Intel 1.5GHz Pentium M processor, a 40GB hard disk drive, a 14.1 inch display, two USB 2.0 ports and a Secure Digital card slot.

MPC's latest hardware product costs $2,652. To suit the requirements of its major clients in the government sector, the Transport X3000 has combined Intel's Centrino mobile technology with legacy ports and bays. It also has security features such as an integrated smart-card reader and a biometric fingerprint scanner. The system also allows the hard drive to be removed without tools, for customers who need to protect sensitive data. It comes with a 60 GB hard disk and up to 2GB SDRAM memory.