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Thin is in for new Toshiba notebook

The Portege 2000, due on Monday, measures just over a half-inch thick and weighs about 2.6 pounds. Can the new laptop jazz up the company's product line?

Toshiba will ship its skinniest notebook to date on Monday.

The new notebook, the Portege 2000, measures just over a half-inch thick and weighs about 2.6 pounds.

Toshiba designed the new model to dazzle buyers with technology. It employs the company's new 1.8-inch, 20GB hard drive and a lithium-ion polymer battery. But it's also part of an overall effort by Toshiba to jazz up its product line and return to a more competitive position in the notebook market. Toshiba was once the No. 1 notebook maker, but was displaced at the top by Dell Computer.

The Portege's combination of the new high-tech components--including the drive, which measures only 8 millimeters thick--allowed Toshiba to make the notebook thinner than previous offerings. To that end, Toshiba also employs a lithium-ion polymer battery, which uses technology that is both thinner and flatter than that of standard lithium-ion batteries.

The Portege 2000, at 0.6 inch, is half as thick as Toshiba's next most portable offering, the Portege 4000. That machine uses the same 12.1-inch screen and processor as the 2000, but weighs in at 4.3 pounds and measures 1.2 inches thick, allowing it to include a built-in drive bay for a CD-rewritable or other optical drive. The Portege 2000, on the other hand, includes no drive bay and uses external disk drives only.

Toshiba also fitted the new Portege with Intel's 750MHz ultralow voltage Pentium III-M processor, 256MB of RAM, and built-in 802.11b wireless LAN hardware. The machine comes with a spare, external battery. Its price is $2,199.