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Shrinking hardware no small affair

roundup At this fall's Comdex, thin is definitely in.

roundup LAS VEGAS--At Fall Comdex '97, thin is definitely in.

Demand for lighter and less intrusive hardware has produced a spate of sleek products ranging from new ultraslim notebooks and flat panel displays to even desktop computers. Technology breakthroughs are behind the manufacturers' ability to deliver these devices.

In notebooks, a chipmaking process that results in processors which are faster yet consume less power has allowed Intel to round out the low end of its processor line with the 120-MHz Pentium MMX. Now, a number of companies are coming out with notebooks weighing under three pounds. Meanwhile, already small handheld PC companion devices are getting upgraded features because the recent introduction of Windows CE 2.0 operating system has allowed vendors the option of including color screens in the diminutive devices.

Flat panel displays are abundant on the show floor. With increased manufacturing efficiency resulting in lower prices on the sleek but costly monitors, more corporate users are adding flat panel displays where space is at a premium. For the home, one company is showing an "all-in-one" design with the computer incorporated behind a large flat panel display, to help folks reclaim space from the morass of cables and devices hanging off their computers.

Panasonic aims at notebook niche
Panasonic will aim to make a splash in the U.S. notebook market with two undersized models that could arrive between February and April.

Flat panels bigger, better
Flat-panel monitors from IBM, Samung, and others are sleek, appealing, and pricey--but the latter will change.

Sony previews mini-notebook
Look closely at the company's Comdex booth and you still might not see its newest offering--a mini-notebook less than an inch thick and under three pounds.

Mitsubishi unveils notebook
Previewed in September, the magnesium-encased ultrathin Pedion makes its official debut, and will hit the market in the first quarter of 1998.

Flat panel key to sleek PC design
Major Taiwanese PC manufacturer Mitac is showing a prototype of what could become a future desktop PC design.

Color handhelds come to the fore
Hewlett-Packard, Compaq, NEC each announce Windows CE-based handheld devices featuring larger screens with color displays.