IBM [NYSE:IBM] announced the availability of its new NetVista all-in-one
and legacy-free computers, two new devices designed to simplify the computing
experience. Fewer cables and smaller sizes make them easier to carry and
set up. New drives, keyboards and "Access IBM" buttons make them easier
to use. New networking and security features make them easier to do e-business.
the optional IBM Portable Drive Bay 2000, the NetVista computers allow
users to easily transfer data between computers. This means you can reduce
the number of hard drives or CD-RW drives with a single, swappable drive
that works in both ThinkPad notebook computers and NetVista desktop computers.
Features such as the embedded Security Chip, available on select models
of the legacy-free NetVista S40, provide 256-bit encryption for extremely
secure network and Internet transactions.
This year has seen a trend toward slimmed-down PCs as product offerings.
Hewlett Packard [NYSE:HWP] and Compaq [NYSE:CPQ] already have similar
business appliance PCs; Dell [NASDAQ:DELL] and Gateway [NYSE:GTW] have
pitched their appliances to the consumer market.
Here's where the entry level NetVista stacks up:
iPaq legacy free
has a good mix of features and values. For $200 more than Compaq's offering,
and application suite (Lotus Notes client & Lotus SmartSuite Millennium)
also includes free deployment and migration tools such as the System Migration
Assistant, which collects user settings and data from an old PC and transports
them to a new NetVista. The security features are a plus in highly secure
environments, such as banking, but they do require additional software
to be useful.
minor point - IBM needs to address navigation on its NetVista eCommerce
site. A simpler grid summarizing the differences among all the NetVista
models would be helpful. When a site visitor sees "All in one from $1,799.00",
but the "compare models" link brings up a grid which shows no models priced
below $2,099, it's a little confusing.
Organizations still committed to Lotus SmartSuite, or to a hybrid ASP/Terminal
Server-hosted application paradigm, are going to have a hard time beating
the S40 on price/ performance, particularly for general office workers
who need only a browser, e-mail, word processing and spreadsheets. If
Microsoft Office is a "must-have", the feature gap between the NetVista
S40 and Compaq's iPaq narrows, but not decisively - since the iPaq doesn't
include any application software in its base model.
reiterate our prior points about appliance PCs - they may be cheaper to
build and buy, but it remains to be proven if they are cheaper to deploy
and support. Nevertheless, the NetVista is in the top tier of appliance
PCs debuting this year.