Digital punches up Windows NT line

Digital Equipment Corp. last week revved its Windows NT strategy with new Pentium and Pentium Pro-based models across three product families and positioned itself to be a player on several major upcoming government buys.

Last week's rollout included a Pentium-based notebook with power management and other features designed to make Windows NT a viable solution for the mobile platform Digital said.

Digital also introduced new clients to its Celebris and Venturis product lines with performance ranging from 133 MHz to 200 MHz.

Taken together the company hopes to capitalize on what appears to be a wholesale move to Windows NT throughout the government said Geoffrey Stilley vice president of federal sales and marketing for Digital's federal government region.

"We are seeing a lot of recent large bids that call for Windows NT across the entire enterprise " Stilley said. Numerous agencies have decided on Windows NT "and they are migrating rapidly."

Digital anticipates four major procurements to involve broad use of Windows NT in the near future: the Department of Veterans Affairs' Procurement for Computer Hardware and Software the Defense Department's Support for Hardware and Automation Related Products (SHARP) the Army's PC-2 and the Commerce Department's Census 2000.

As part of its strategy to address enterprisewide requirements Digital has worked with Microsoft Corp. to tailor a mobile solution based on its HiNote Ultra II notebook. The notebook now comes loaded with power management software that extends battery life to more than 2.5 hours up from about 45 minutes. Digital's notebook-based Windows NT also comes with a battery gauge. In addition Digital added plug-and-play functionality that supports all of Digital's peripheral options plus a number of popular Ethernet modem and other cards said Brian Mullins director of notebook marketing worldwide.

"We are the first vendor that will be making NT practical on a notebook " Mullins said. "Up to this point putting NT on a notebook has been somewhat of a joke."

To date Digital has not seen great demand for notebook-based Windows NT from the federal government but that will change Stilley said. DOD has included a test for notebook products as part of SHARP and other agencies are expected to follow suit he said.

Digital's notebook solution solves a problem organizations have been facing throughout all markets said Joe Clabby a research director at the Aberdeen Group a Boston consulting firm.

Firms choosing Windows NT for the desktop were putting Windows 95 on the notebook because of concerns about performance and power Aberdeen found in a recent survey.

But Digital's notebook which ships with 16M of memory standard addresses those concerns Clabby said. "Now those people that wanted to standardize on one operating environment from the laptop to the server can go to one source " he said.

Pricing for the HiNote Ultra II with Windows NT 4.0 available later this month is expected to begin at $4 999.

Digital also introduced new models in its Venturis and Celebris product lines:

* The Venturis GL comes with Pentium Pro 180 MHz and 200 MHz processors S3 Trio 64V+ graphics or Matrox MGA Millennium graphics Universal Serial Bus (USB) support and a 16M EDO memory. Available now prices begin at $2 299.

* The Celebris FX includes Pentium 133 MHz 166 MHz and 200 MHz processors and integrated 10Base-T/2 networking it comes preloaded with Windows NT and Windows 95. The systems are available now with prices beginning at $1 749.

* The Celebris GL now includes models based on 180 MHz and 200 MHz Pentium Pro processors integrated Matrox graphics built-in audio support for USB a 10Base-T/2 network interface and the ability to upgrade to 100Base-TX with a daughter card. Now available pricing begins at $2 609.

All systems come with Digital's ClientWORKS management software while the Celebris line also comes with software for Windows NT clustering.

Based on its growing family of Windows NT products "the systems integrators have felt a lot of confidence building [solutions] with Digital " Stilley said. "They feel we are a major contender on all the large bids."

Stilley estimated that about $3.5 billion in contracts involving Windows NT will be awarded over the next six to eight months. "We are really looking forward to winning some of these opportunities."


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