IDP refreshes Justice Notebook, Army Portable-1

International Data Products Corp. has replaced its venerable 486 notebook computer offerings on the Justice Department's Notebook and the Army's Portable-1 contracts with all-new Pentium PCI bus multimedia systems.

The company's strategy has been to stick with the same basic unit for as long as possible so that customers can tap a single spare-parts supply for all its IDP notebooks, according to George Fuster, president of IDP. But the time came when the old model could no longer keep up with competing designs.

"We tried to keep [the old model] as long as we could," Fuster said. "This is another class of notebook. It competes with the Toshiba Tecra and IBM ThinkPad."

IDP's previous workman-like models had the virtue of upgradability, but they were not on the cutting edge of technology. The new IDP 530XD Series is a 75 MHz Pentium notebook with a 32-bit PCI local bus video, 8M of RAM, built-in 16-bit audio with microphone and speakers, an infrared communications port and a 10.4-inch dual-scan, passive-matrix color display. It uses a GlidePoint touchpad pointing device.

On Portable-1, the 530XD has a standard 510M hard disk drive and the same $2,047 price as the 100 MHz 486 machine it replaces. On the Justice Notebook contract, the 530XD has an 800M hard disk drive and a price of $2,019. The optional internal quad-speed CD-ROM drive costs $249, and the 10.4-inch active-matrix color display costs $279 on Portable-1. Justice Notebook pricing for these options was not available.

Another model available on Justice Notebook is the 500CD Series, which has a 100 MHz Pentium chip, a quad-speed CD-ROM drive, 16M of RAM, an 11.4-inch Super VGA passive-matrix display, a 256K secondary cache, PCI local bus video, built-in audio capability and an infrared port. This model costs $3,418, and the model with a 10.4-inch active-matrix SVGA display costs $3,796.

Common Parts, Upgradability

IDP said these machines are notable because they offer common parts and upgradability. For example, the processor is upgradable to 133 MHz, and the cabinet will accept a 12.1-inch display when it becomes available. The memory-expansion socket accepts standard chips rather than proprietary ones, and the notebooks will use standard Duracell S-36 batteries, Fuster said.

Pentium technology is a requirement for federal notebook buyers these days, said Jan Morgan, PC analyst for International Data Corp. Government Market Services. The multimedia capabilities might not be necessary but, combined with the CD-ROM drive, they help make the notebooks viable alternatives to desktop systems, she said. "More and more people are upgrading to a portable instead of a desktop," Morgan said.

The industry-standard batteries and memory will be an advantage for Army users, Morgan said. IDP's Portable-1 notebooks are being used in the Bosnia peace-keeping mission, so those soldiers will appreciate the ease of sharing parts because they are far from PC suppliers. "You have got real mobility needs in the Army," Morgan said.

IDP said it is the largest supplier of notebook computers on federal indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts. The new models are available immediately.


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