Big Blue’s latest notebook just got a little slimmer.

Weighing in at 1.23kg (2.7 pounds) – 20 per cent smaller and 25 per cent lighter than its predecessor, the ThinkPad X31, according to IBM Corp. – the redesigned ThinkPad X40 is the newest addition to IBM’s X Series line of ultraportable

notebooks.

The machine, which starts at $2,299, comes with a 12.1-inch display, a full-size keyboard, a powered USB 2.0 port and Intel Low Voltage or Ultra Low Voltage Pentium M processors ranging in speed from 1.0 to 1.2Ghz. All models come with integrated Gigabit Ethernet and WiFi connectivity. However the lightest versions don’t have optical or floppy drives.

“”What we’ve been able to do now is introduce a product that offers a long battery life and at the same time doesn’t sacrifice any of the functionality or usability,”” said Harry Wttewaall, national ThinkPad sales specialist for IBM Canada’s personal computing division.

Depending on the battery, users can get up to 10 hours of optional battery life in a device weighing under four pounds.

The X40 also comes with Rescue and Recovery with Rapid Restore, a suite of self-recovery tools contained in an embedded, pre-boot emergency system at the touch of a button. It’s also available for download on all X Series models.

“”This is an excellent opportunity for the channel to do some customization work with their customers to make sure that the end user is happy with the technology,”” said Wttewaall.

While the X40 won’t be available until Feb. 24, IBM said customers can place orders now.

Todd Irie, director of marketing with NexInnovations Inc. and an IBM reseller, said the company is seeing a significant interest in the mobile category from its customers.

“”They can be productive on the plane, the train with instant wireless connections,”” said Irie. “”You’re getting a lot of the great features without sacrificing the weight.””

Irie sees benefits for resellers at the service end as well.

“”Two areas where resellers have good service opportunity is spare parts replacements, like extra batteries and power cords, for that mobile warrior on the go,”” he said.

Despite the distance technology has come in ultraportables, they are still niche players in the notebook market, said Daniel Reio, product manager of commercial notebooks and Tablet PCs at Hewlett-Packard Canada.

At less than 15 per cent of HP’s notebook sales, Reio doesn’t expect that number to grow anytime in the near future.

“”From an SMB perspective, what customers are looking for is a desktop replacement notebook. The trend you’re seeing is not necessarily to ultraportability but to replicating all the features and performance that you’d find in a desktop PC but in portable technology that they can take with them,”” he said.

In the corporate segment, Reio says users aren’t willing to go below a 14-inch screen.

“”The mainstream user is still looking for a somewhat thin and light form factor notebook, but they’re not willing to sacrifice the internal optical drive and the screen size.””

But with two offerings in this segment, the NC4000 and the Tablet PC, Reio says the tablet is what customers are choosing.

“”We’re certainly seeing a lot of interest from an executive perspective and from a mobile sales force to start adapting tablet technology in place of a regular laptop.””

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