IBM has introduced a new family of compact PCs, internet access devices and thin clients that it claims will provide users with fast and easy access to the web.
The systems, developed as part of IBM's Edge of the Network (EoN) initiative, are called Netvista and will go on sale in the second quarter. The aim of the EoN strategy is to produce easy to use internet access devices with compact and modern designs.
David Thomas, senior vice president of IBM's Personal Systems Group, claimed that Big Blue has a habit of changing the rules when it invests in a technology category. "We did it before with Thinkpad and most recently with our Netfinity servers," he said.
He added that the company also planned to introduce related support and service programmes such as a monthly subscription for software, services and hardware, and expected to spend more than $100m on marketing and advertising the new devices.
The Netvista machines are matt black and feature high resolution flatpanel screens. The All-in-One is 75 per cent smaller than a typical home or office PC at just 16in x 16in x 10in.
The Legacy-Free PC includes a docking cradle so users can synchronise data from handheld devices such as IBM Workpads or other palm-sized organisers. It has two slots, three bays and seven USB ports.
The Zero Footprint Thin Client combines an IBM Network Station Series 2200 with an IBM T55 flatpanel monitor. Special brackets attach the thin client to the back of the monitor.
The Internet Appliance is a lightweight device that provides high bandwidth capabilities and quick internet access through a branded local internet browser. The machine will be sold under various brand names and can be configured to display vendor branding, onscreen branding and website links.
Over the last two weeks, IBM said it has signed pilot deals with AT&T, Fidelity Investments, Lycos, SBC and Bell Atlantic to supply the Netvista Internet Appliance to businesses that are trying to reach customers using customised content and services.
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