Sharp crams CD-R/RW drive into slim notebook

Sharp Corp. has crammed a CD-R/RW (CD Recordable/Rewritable) drive into the latest model of what it claims is the world's lightest and thinnest portable PC with a 12.1-inch screen, the Mebius Muramasa series.

To make the notebook PC thinner and lighter, the company did away with the usual supporting frame for the LCD (liquid crystal display) screen, and used a metallic case for rigidity instead. The company named the product after a Muramasa sword, a famous weapon from Japan's Muromachi age, reflecting Sharp's hopes that the PC will be at the cutting edge of technology.

The resulting Mebius Muramasa PC-MT1-H1R model is 16.6 millimeters thick, and weighs 1.31 kilograms, making it the thinnest and the lightest 12.1-inch screen laptop in the world, as of June 2001, according to Sharp. By comparison, Sony's Vaio PCG-R505R/GK, with a 12.1-inch screen, is 23.0 millimeters thick and weighs 1.7 kilograms.

The Sharp PC-MT1-H1R model has a Pentium III 500 MHz processor, two USB (Universal Serial Bus) ports, a PC Card slot, a Compact Flash card slot, a 20G-byte hard drive, a low-temperature black reflective 12.1-inch TFT (thin film transistor) screen and 128M bytes of memory. The battery lasts up to 3.3 hours, according to Sharp.

The model equipped with a CD-R/RW drive went on sale on Aug. 4, priced around 240,000 yen (US$1,959) in Tokyo stores. Sharp did not have information about plans for overseas distribution.

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Kuriko Miyake

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