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IBM to unveil new NetVistas, ThinkPads

Big Blue is set to announce its latest lineup of NetVista desktop PCs, featuring a new security subsystem, and new ThinkPad notebook models, sources say.

IBM is making security and wireless communications key design elements in its PC fall fashions.

On Tuesday, Big Blue will officially announce its newest lineup of NetVista desktop PCs and take the wraps off several new ThinkPad notebook models, according to sources familiar with the company's plans.

The lines, including the A, M and X models in the NetVista family, will offer faster processors, but IBM is putting greater emphasis on new security and management features. For the ThinkPads, IBM will tout wireless capabilities.

The systems make their debut as the PC market tries to find its footing in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks and as the broader economy continues to give off signs of trouble.

The NetVista PCs, as previously reported, will include a new embedded security subsystem, with the aim of better protecting data. The subsystem includes IBM's latest security chip as well as encryption and identification software.

At the low end of the scale, the NetVista A series offers Intel's 1.5GHz Pentium 4 chip, 128MB of SDRAM and a CD-ROM for $879. The three model lines have been quietly available since late September.

The ThinkPads will incorporate Intel's newest Pentium III-M processors. The company will, for example, introduce a new ThinkPad X Series ultra-portable notebook using a low-power Pentium III-M, launched on Oct. 1.

The new X Series ThinkPad, along with its new counterparts, will include integrated wireless capabilities, including 802.11b wireless LAN support, among other things.

IBM introduced the NetVista in May 2000 as part of a plan to revitalize its Personal Systems Group PC business. Shortly after that, the company made NetVista the focus of its desktop PC offerings.