It’s a good week for corporations looking for the latest in desktop computers, with two major manufacturers introducing new lines of equipment they say are tailored to their needs.

IBM Canada introduced its ThinkCentre line to the press on Tuesday, while Hewlett-Packard Canada rolled out a new

strategy and products Wednesday.

Of the two, HP’s is more comprehensive, involving not only a desktop and thin client PC but also a set of services and software to help companies assess their needs.

For example, HP is offering a free Web-based PC assessment tool, and, for an additional fee, an assessment service. There’s also a fee-based Security Healthcheck service, which evaluates customers’ security vulnerabilities.In terms of hardware, the new $1,279 HP d530 business desktop series includes a lock, port controls, keyboard smart card readers and a smart cover lock or hood sensor.

For those looking for a thin client, the $849 HP Compaq t5700 runs on a Transmetta TM5800 processor and the Windows XP Embeded operating system.

With what it says are easier to maintain hardware, IBM believes the ThinkCentre will be a boon to resellers and system integrators.

“”It’s a service opportunity for them to work with their customers to enhance their environment,”” Harry Wttewaall, a national desktop sales specialist for IBM Canada, said at a news conference announcing the first three machines in the line.

The slim S-line, the full-featured M-line and the price-sensitive A-line use hardware designs and software which it hopes appeal to large enterprises.

For example, the Pentium 4-powered units feature a tool-free access chassis design, aimed at making it easier for technicians to open and swap or upgrade parts. Cable routing is bundled to aid access, while the hard drive is surrounded by a protective caddy which can be opened without a screwdriver.

For security, however, the machines can be locked down.

Select models offer what the company calls Rapid Restore Ultra, a one-button backup and recovery application to protect PCs from their users.

Some models will also be able to use IBM’s ImageUltra management software, which the company says will reduce the number of software images managed by IT departments. Images on the S50 and M50 are compatible, enabling a single image to be deployed across multiple platforms.

Finally, select models will include an IBM security subsystem chip and software for those wanting high-level encrypted files.

To appeal to small businesses, all three new PCs also have a special Access IBM button for one-touch Internet access to resources and diagnostic tools.

IBM also brought out new flat panel monitors.

The first three in the line are the S50 and M50 (which supports SuSe and Red Hat Linux), which start at $1,649, and the A50p, which starts at $1,249. The A50p will be available next month.</

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