The strategy bucks the current trend of companies switching from reseller-based sales to direct sales.
The Ultra notebooks, Computer Applications' first mobile offering, use the 200-MHz desktop version of the Intel Pentium with MMX. This places the line at a higher speed than available notebook PCs using mobile Pentium processors, which now top out at 166 MHz. The desktop processor runs hotter and uses more power, reducing the time the laptop can run on battery power.
The company's DesignStation Ultra N2200 features 32MB of memory expandable to 72MB, a 2.1GB hard drive, an 11X CD-ROM drive, and a 12.1-inch active-matrix LCD screen for $3,495. Like other Ultras, the notebook has a TV-out port, touch pad, and video card that supports playback of video based on the MPEG standard.
Devoted mobile users may find the units a bit heavy for carrying on the road, with the notebooks weighing in at about 8 pounds. That weight, combined with the high power consumption of the desktop processor, may make these notebooks better choices for business users making presentations.
Computer Applications also introduced three DesignStation Ultra desktop models. The MMX Pentium-based systems includes 24X CD-ROM drives. Leading the group is the DesignStation Ultra 6233 3D, with a 233-MHz Pentium MMX processor and 6.4GB hard drive. The 6233 also comes with a 17-inch monitor, 3D graphics card, and a sound card for $2,795.