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HP, IBM notebooks due in June

A new Omnibook will troll the bottom of the business notebook market; a new ThinkPad lures bigger fish.

June will be a hot month for new notebook PCs from manufacturers such as Hewlett-Packard (HWP) and IBM (IBM).

Hewlett-Packard next week will announce a new notebook computer aimed at the "cost-conscious corporate buyer," product manager Deborah Giannoni said.

The Omnibook 2000 with a 133-MHz Pentium or MMX Pentium processor will cost between $2,100 and $3,200. That's a category that HP has failed to target to date.

"It is a market we had not played in. Even though this segment is the largest-volume market, we were always focused on the performance segment," Giannoni says.

The new Omnibook will share a basic design with the 5700 and 5500 series notebooks and will be able share components such as CD-ROM, battery, memory, and floppy drives with its high-end siblings.

That will help information systems managers maintain inventory better and lower support costs, Giannoni says. "HP is making a targeted push in trying to manage desktop PCs as well as mobile PCs," she says. The new notebooks can be managed remotely with HP's OpenView network management software.

The estimated street price of an Omnibook 2000 with a 133-MHz Pentium, a 12.1-inch dual scan display, and a 1.4GB hard drive will cost $2,100. An Omnibook 2000 with a 133-MHz MMX Pentium, a 2GB hard drive, and a 12.1-inch active matrix SVGA display will have an estimated street price of $3,100.

In other news, IBM is expected to introduce a new high-end ThinkPad called the 765D before the end of June. As reported previously by CNET's NEWS.COM, the new ThinkPad will feature a 13.3-inch active matrix screen and a 166-MHz MMX Pentium processor. The 765D will also offer a 3GB hard drive and an 8X CD-ROM drive at a street price of $6,200 to $6,400.

IBM is expected to show off this system at Spring Comdex.