Dell, HP introduce new business notebooks

The top two PC vendors worldwide, Dell and Hewlett-Packard (HP), released this week new notebooks designed to be attractive for mobile users such as business travelers and students, as the vendors compete for the attention of buyers heading into the most important selling seasons of the year for PC companies.

Dell unveiled the Inspiron 700m notebook, its first to come with a 12.1-inch display. Meanwhile, HP introduced three new Compaq Business notebooks for its small and medium-size business customers that are more concerned about price than mobility.

The Inspiron 700m is designed to deliver the computing power required for everyday business applications to executives that have no desire to lug a heavy notebook through airport waiting lounges and hotel lobbies. The new HP models are less expensive and almost as powerful as Dell's new system, but at the expense of mobility due to their added weight.

August is usually seen as an important selling season by vendors and analysts as students and parents gear up for the reopening of schools in many parts of the world. This time of year is also important in the market share competition between the two companies. HP tends to outsell Dell in the more consumer-oriented quarters in the second half of the year while Dell usually cleans up in the first half when sales are led by corporations, and so far this year has followed that script.

Dell's new Inspiron 700m weighs four pounds (1.8 kilograms). This is the lightest notebook in the Inspiron series, according to a Dell spokesman. If that is still too heavy for potential business customers, Dell has already introduced the Latitude D400 and X300 notebooks, which both weigh less than four pounds.

Intel's Centrino technology is included with the 700m. The basic Centrino platform includes the Pentium M processor, a mobile chipset and an integrated 802.11b wireless chip. The 700m is available with either the Pentium M 725 at 1.6GHz or the Pentium M 745 at 1.8GHz, and customers can upgrade the 802.11b wireless chip to an 802.11g chip.

A base configuration of the 700m costs US$1,499 with the Pentium M 725, 256M bytes of memory, a 30G-byte hard drive, a DVD-ROM/CD-RW (CD-rewritable) drive and the 802.11b wireless chip. It is available immediately on Dell's Web site.

The three new HP notebooks fall into the company's Compaq Business notebook category. They are available with either Pentium M or Celeron M processors and with either 14.1-inch or 15-inch displays.

The nx9030 and the nx9040 feature the Intel Centrino technology. The nx9030 is the middle of the road model, with Intel's Pentium M 705 processor at 1.5GHz. It costs $1,199 with the 705 processor, 256M bytes of memory, a 40G-byte hard drive, a 15-inch display, a DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive and an integrated 802.11b/802.11g chip. HP didn't provide a base configuration pricing for the nx9040.

This model weighs 7.28 pounds, which is a little heavier than most frequent business travelers would prefer. HP plans to sell this notebook to users with mobile offices, such as real estate agents or insurance adjusters, it said in a statement.

The nx9020 comes with Intel's Celeron M processors, which have many of the same power management features found in the Pentium M but feature less cache for storing frequently used data close to the processor. Specific configuration information was not available.

The nx9020 and nx9030 are available in the U.S. and in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The nx9040 is available in Asia-Pacific and Japan only. All models are available immediately from HP's Web site or through local resellers.

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