IBM shaves weight off ThinkPad line

Big Blue unveils the ThinkPad X40, which weighs in at just 2.7 pounds. Until now, the market has been slow to take up such featherweight machines.

IBM is thinking small with its latest ThinkPad notebook computer.

The ThinkPad X40 debuted Tuesday. As expected, it weighs just 2.7 pounds--almost a pound less than its predecessor, the X31--and comes with a 12.1-inch display, a full-size keyboard and an Intel Pentium M processor.

The notebook also includes an application IBM calls Rescue and Recovery with Rapid Restore, which exists outside the machine's Windows operating system. It's designed to let consumers handle PC problems such as viruses, missing system files and corrupted software drivers--even if Windows does not start.

Notebooks are getting lighter and slimmer, while adding new features such as wireless connectivity and longer batter lives. Sony has said it will update its Vaio PCG-V505 and PCG-TR3A notebook offerings this month.

But small notebooks account for only a minor percentage of the overall notebook market. They've been popular with executives but have been a tough sell among the average consumer.

The new ThinkPad features wireless connections via both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology. Combined with an optional X4 UltraBase Dock, its weight reaches 4 pounds.

IBM also announced new models of the X31 that weigh about 3.6 pounds and feature Pentium M processors running up to 1.7GHz.

The new notebooks will be available Feb. 24 through IBM's Web site. The price of the X40 starts at $1,499, while the X31 will start at $1,349.