The ThinkPad 380, a follow-on to the current 365 series, will incorporate a CD-ROM drive, hard disk, and floppy drive into the unit, meaning that users don't have to swap out one of the drive modules to use the other, according to sources close to the company. To fit all of these into the notebook at once, the CD-ROM drive will be stacked on top of the floppy drive. IBM is one of the first notebook manufacturers to do this.
Current notebook designs often incorporate an internal hard disk drive and one bay that accepts either a floppy drive or CD-ROM drive, but not both at the same time.
The new ThinkPad series will effectively serve as IBM's midrange offering, meaning that the product will be priced from $2,000 to $4,000, sources said.
It will come in several configurations, with retail and commercial resellers getting different software packages bundled on the notebook. The current ThinkPad 365, which features 120- and 130-MHz Pentium processors, will serve as an entry-level notebook for sales into home and student market segments.
The ThinkPad 380 will launched worldwide simultaneously on a special Web site as a part of an effort to distribute product information more effectively. IBM will have a number of pages with content tailored for different countries.