The first products from IBM's new Edge of the Network (EoN) range will be available in the UK from next month.
Most of the NetVista X40 and S40, aimed at small businesses and consumers, will be sold direct. Big Blue announced its EoN initiative aimed at "simplifying computing for businesses and individuals" two months ago (CRN, 15 March).
IBM said the X40 is 75 per cent smaller than the typical home or office PC and its CD/DVD-Rom and floppy drive folds neatly underneath the monitor to save space. Both boxes have Pentium III processors, with 64Mb or 128Mb of SDRam as standard and a 10Gb or 20Gb hard disk. Preloaded software includes Windows 2000, Lotus SmartSuite and Notes.
The X40 model will be sold from about £1,608 and will be available next month. The S40 will retail from £1,036 and will be available in July.
John Yengo, vice-president of IBM, said NetVista will mark a renewed effort by IBM to sell direct to customers and reverse the slide of its PC division.
Yenger said that even though the turnover of the personal systems group declined by $550m (£363m) in the first quarter, the company was no longer losing money on each PC it sells.
However, analysts remained sceptical.
"They're not getting the traffic that Gateway or Dell PCs are getting, not even a Compaq," said retail computer analyst Stephen Baker, at PC Data.
Roger Kay, an analyst at IDC, said the first EoN products would have to be compelling. "IBM has the dice rolling on NetVista. Depending on how it's priced, it could be a really hot product," he said.
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