As previously reported by CNET's NEWS.COM, the ThinkPad 380, a follow-up to the current 365 series, incorporates a CD-ROM drive, hard disk, and floppy drive into the unit, meaning that users don't have to "swap out" one drive module to use another. To fit all of these into the notebook at once, the CD-ROM drive is stacked on top of the floppy drive. IBM is one of the first notebook manufacturers to incorporate this design.
Current notebook designs often incorporate an internal hard disk drive and one bay that accepts either a floppy drive or CD-ROM drive--not both at the same time.
The new ThinkPad series will serve as IBM's midrange offering, priced from $2,199, according to the company. At the high end of the lineup, a 380 will come with a 150-MHz MMX Pentium processor, a 2GB hard disk drive, and a 12.1-inch active-matrix LCD screen. This will be priced at $3,899. Less expensive units will come with "classic" Pentium processors which do not include MMX technology.
IBM is targeting consumers who want to use notebooks as their primary computers, not as "adjuncts" to desktop PCs. IBM cited reports that 70 percent of notebooks purchased this year will be for use as primary machines.
The 380 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 133-MHz Pentium processors, will serve as an entry-level notebook for sales into home and student market segments.
The ThinkPad 380 will launch worldwide 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.