IDI gears up Portable-3

Hoping to catch the peak of the summer buying season as well as an opportunity to provide systems to U.S. forces slated for deployment to the Balkans, Intelligent Decisions Inc. plans to jump-start its Army Portable-3 contract as quickly as possible.

Although the Army Small Computer Program Office will allow vendors up to 60 days to crank up ordering and delivery on a contract, Intelligent Decisions plans to cut that in half, according to Jim Bruning, director of sales at the company. "The Army wants us to start as soon as possible," he said, "and we can do that within 30 days of receiving notice to proceed from the contracting officer."

Bruning expects to receive that notice by next week, after the protest period expires, which means Intelligent Decisions should open up its Portable-3 store for business in mid-July, Bruning said.

GTSI and Intelligent Decisions won the Portable-3 contract last month, and GTSI, which also holds the Portable-2 contract, already has taken a "substantial" inventory in laptop computers, according to Joel Lipkin, GTSI's vice president for business development.

Karen Swenson, Intelligent Decisions' Army business development manager, said the company will offer Armada notebooks and subnotebooks from Compaq Computer Corp. and rugged notebooks from the GTAC division of Mitac International Inc.

Intelligent Decisions plans to offer an entry-level Compaq notebook with a 300 MHz Pentium II chip, 64M of memory, a 6G hard drive and a CD-ROM drive. The company also will offer a higher-powered system running a 366 MHz processor with a 10G hard drive and 96M of memory, Swenson said. She declined to provide pricing until the protest period expires.

Intelligent Decisions also will provide Army users with a 4.5-pound Compaq subnotebook powered by a Pentium II 300 chip, while the "fully rugged" machine from GTAC will feature a 266 MHz Pentium. The GTAC system "is far beyond just a notebook with a magnesium case," Swenson said. "It's shock-resistant and sand-resistant, and you can drop it from a height of 36 inches" and still have the PC work.

Bruning did not estimate how much of the $90 million Portable-3 contract Intelligent Decisions expects to capture in competition with GTSI, saying, "It depends on marketing and user preference."

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