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Toshiba, HP offer new slim notebooks

Toshiba introduces new corporate notebooks that feature the latest and greatest in mobile processors.

Toshiba introduced new corporate notebooks today, featuring the latest and greatest in mobile processors.

Toshiba's new Tecra and Portege models run the latest Intel mobile Pentium IIIs and are designed for business users, the company said.

In introducing the new systems, Toshiba is in step with the rest of PC makers, as most major manufacturers ready new Pentium III notebooks with larger displays and thinner cases. The new models reflect the industry's recent obsession with eye-catching designs achieved with silver magnesium cases and enlarged displays, as well as business buyers' love for consistent components for easy deployment across large companies.

Along with Toshiba, Hewlett-Packard today introduced a redesigned version of its slim OmniBook 900 with a 500-MHz Pentium III processor. The portable will also come with a 13-inch screen for the first time.

The new Portege 7140CT is 4.4-pounds and one-inch thick. Running on the Intel Pentium III at speeds up to 500MHz, the notebook also includes a 13.3-inch display. Offering options such as a 6 GB hard drive, 64 MB of memory and Windows NT, the $3,399 mini-notebook is targeted at image-conscious executives, according to Craig Marking, product manager at Toshiba.

"It reflects on who they are--it says 'I'm successful,'" Marking said, noting that the new Portege also has been updated with a better screen and longer battery life.

The new Tecra 8100 series is designed to appeal more to corporate budgets. The new notebook is based on the same design and components as previous versions, so that companies can easily integrate newer Tecras within existing networks of Toshiba computers.

"It's evolutionary and revolutionary," Marking said of the new Tecra. "It's an island of stability in a sea of constant change," he said.

The Tecra 8100, priced on a build-to-order basis, includes the Intel Pentium III processor, up to 256MBof memory, a 1.4-inch thick design, up to a 14.1-inch display and a DVD-ROM drive as an option.

The Tecra 8100 also features a new leather grip on the case, for easy handling, Marking said.

These notebooks are running on the fastest processors available until Intel releases new Pentium III notebook chips with "SpeedStep" technology on January 18. SpeedStep will allow a processor to run faster when plugged in than when running on battery power.

A 600-MHz notebook Pentium III, coming in January, will run at close to 500 MHz when unplugged. The change is important because it will allow notebook makers to incorporate faster chips without compromising battery life, Intel executives and analysts have said.