Hardware

Lightweight laptop headed for standard configuration list

room of computers

The three agencies charged with wrangling federal desktop and laptop computer purchases are closing in on a new lightweight laptop configuration for the current list of baseline computer models.

Last October, U.S. CIO Tony Scott and Anne Rung, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, put an end to uncoordinated, localized laptop and desktop acquisition practices by directing agencies to use three existing best-value governmentwide acquisition vehicles rather than creating their own contracts.

Also last year, the General Services Administration, NASA and the National Institutes of Health specified five models developed with federal buyers in mind under the Government-wide Strategic Solutions for Laptops and Desktops initiative. Those solutions are available through GSA's Schedule 70, NASA's Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP) V and the NIH Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center's CIO-CS.

The agencies are in the process of refreshing the initial list of two laptops and three desktops, and the plan is to finalize the specifications for the lightweight laptop by the end of February, said Joanne Woytek, SEWP program manager at NASA.

The agencies have posted a draft of the plan on SEWP V's website, but Woytek said the comment period has closed and the document should be viewed as an outline of what to expect. When completed, the lightweight laptop model will likely weigh 3.5 pounds, compared to the 5 or 6.5 pounds of the other two laptop models.

Woytek said the new model is only one of the results of the lessons learned since the initial laptop and desktop configurations were released last fall. GSA, NASA and NIH have solicited government and industry input and have incorporated that input into the specifications, she said.

The three agencies have also updated and clarified some technical capabilities in the other five models to keep them aligned with federal needs, she added.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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