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New IBM monitor is detail-oriented

Big Blue launches a new monitor with a resolution of more than 9 million pixels, which will allow people to view data in great detail.

IBM plans to launch on Wednesday a monitor that can display images in far greater detail than current screens do.

The T220, which offers more than 9 million pixels on a 22.2-inch screen, will give people the ability to view large amounts of data in detail, according to IBM. In fact, the company said, the T220 displays 12 times more detail than current monitors.

Physicians, for instance, will be able to use the new monitor to view digitally photographed mammograms or other X-ray images in greater detail than is currently possible. And meteorologists will be able to view weather patterns on large satellite maps in extremely fine detail.

But such resolution doesn't come cheap. The monitor's price tag: $22,000.

The announcement is the latest sign that IBM is aiming to capture the high-resolution display market. While the new technology is geared toward specialized fields, such as medicine, finance, design and engineering, analysts expect it will eventually take off in the mainstream monitor market.

"What we're seeing is the first entry into the market with this kind of technology," Gartner analyst Martin Reynolds said. "I do expect this class of resolution coming into the mainstream over the next few years, and what it's going to bring for us is a new user interface, new ways to look at data, and new ways to work with information."

Reynolds said, however, that the company faces other technological challenges before its new monitor can become widely used.

He said the new monitor is "a little beyond the capabilities of a Windows system" because with such a high resolution, items such as the icons will be too small to view normally. He added that since the monitor displays 9 million pixels, it also needs a special computer to handle so much data.

Despite such technological challenges, IBM expects to revolutionize the way people view large volumes of complex data.

"It really opens up whole new horizons of application opportunities," said Bob Artemenko, director of marketing and strategy for IBM's Display Business unit. "It sets a new standard in high resolution."

The T220 comes with a display adapter that can be connected to various computers, but specifically to IBM's IntelliStation, a workstation with higher performance than the average PC.

The monitor, which was developed at IBM's Research Labs in New York and Japan, will be available in limited quantities this month.