IBM Unveils Industry's First Notebook PCs With Radio Frequency-based Security

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SOMERS, N.Y - 27 Jan 1999: - IBM today solidified its position as the leader in secure computing solutions by introducing the industry's first notebook PCs available with Asset ID, IBM's radio frequency-based security and asset tracking technology.

The new ThinkPad 770Z and 600E notebook PCs available with Asset ID provide companies with unparalleled security protection, while also allowing them to rapidly deploy systems to employees and conveniently track their notebook PC inventory. IBM's Asset ID solution combines a radio frequency (RF) ID tag and a handheld RF scanner to read and store vital information about every Asset ID-enabled ThinkPad 770Z and 600E in a company's inventory -- even if the notebooks are unplugged or still in their cartons. This helps protect valuable mobile computer assets from theft or unauthorized removal from a company premises.

If a system is removed without authorization through a door or passageway protected by an RF sensor, IBM Asset ID will automatically cause the ThinkPad to become password-protected. This prevents the viewing or theft of sensitive company data by unauthorized users.

"IBM is the only company that can provide end-to-end security solutions for both physical assets and data," said Phil Hester, vice president and chief technology officer, IBM Personal Systems Group.

Announced last year for IBM desktop PCs, Asset ID helps security personnel keep close track of computers to combat theft, while reducing security paperwork and time-consuming bag searches at security checkpoints. For systems administrators, Asset ID eliminates many costly, time-consuming manual steps involved in today's system deployment, inventory and tracking processes. Asset ID stores valuable information about each system, including software configuration and information on key components. Asset ID also holds a number of blank fields, so administrators can customize information to fit a company's specific needs, such as the owner of a system and the current versions of loaded software. All of this data can easily be read, recorded and tracked with a handheld RF scanner.

IBM also announced today that it is shipping its new Smart Card Security Kit to customers. With the IBM Smart Card Security Kit, comprised of security software, a smart card and a smart card reader installed in a notebook Type II PCMCIA slot, users simply insert a personalized smart card to authorize access. To disable access, the user simply removes the smart card, which prevents access to the system until it is replaced. An integrated hardware and software security solution, the kit provides password protection, data encryption and decryption technology for e-business transactions and confidential e-mail and Digital Signature to authenticate parties participating in e-business initiatives through the Internet. The Smart Card Security Kit is priced at $199.

"With average annual losses from computer hardware theft rising to nearly $8 billion last year, companies of all sizes are increasingly concerned about security breaches," added Adalio Sanchez, general manager, Mobile Computing, IBM Personal Systems Group. "IBM's new radio frequency and smart card security solutions will help companies arm themselves against computer and data theft, protecting their investments."

In addition to the added security features, the new ThinkPads are equipped for workhorse performance with Intel (R) Mobile Pentium II (R) 366 or 300PE MHz processors (1) , support for Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP), integrated software-enabled DVD support and modular designs for adding functionality through a variety of options including IBM's new 14GB hard disk drive -- the highest capacity mobile hard drive ever -- and a new 10GB drive. (2) Leveraging breakthroughs from IBM developers, the ThinkPad 770Z and 600E models also deliver advanced Windows NT (R) Workstation functionality, including power management provided by IBM ThinkPad utilities, fast infrared and Hot Plug PC Card support.

The ThinkPad 770Z models are designed for users that require the ultimate workstation-level notebook computer. Expanding its reputation as the benchmark for high-end notebook computers, the 770Zs provide power users with stellar performance, multimedia, connectivity and configuration flexibility. The new systems feature large 14.1-inch XGA or 13.7-inch SXGA screens. Developed by IBM researchers, the 13.7-inch active matrix LCD can display images with extremely high clarity and detail at 120 pixels per inch (1280 x 1024) resolution, making it well suited for engineering, financial and other graphics-intensive applications.

The new ThinkPad 770 models can be configured with a maximum of 320MB of memory, and include a DVD drive, 8MB of video RAM and an integrated v.90 56K (3) modem. The 770Zs also facilitate advanced communications with telephony support for speaker phone and answering machine capabilities and high-speed infrared in the front and rear of the system to enable connectivity between the notebook and IBM WorkPad, supported PDA devices or a wireless network. Prices start at $4,799 (4).

The new ThinkPad 770Z models include the popular award-winning features of their predecessors, such as full desktop expandability through docking solutions. Their modular UltraBay II design can accommodate a wide variety of technologies, including a standard floppy disk drive, integrated CD or DVD drive, SuperDisk (R) drive, Zip 100 (R) drive or a second battery.

Building on ThinkPad's rich heritage of design innovation, quality and performance, the new ThinkPad 660E notebooks are designed to achieve the perfect balance of performance and portability in a mobile business tool. The 600 is an ideal solution for mobile professionals who need to take their desktop computing capabilities with them in a trim, highly portable package. The new models feature 13.3-inch active matrix screens, up to 64 MB of standard memory (expandable to 288MB), 4GB-6GB hard drives and integrated V.90 56K modems. For enhanced productivity, the new models support multiple monitors, so users can work on two applications simultaneously. In addition, the ThinkPad 600E includes Access ThinkPad, a one-click interface to the most common tasks facing mobile professionals. The 600Es also incorporate DVD with movie playback support for delivering impactful multimedia presentations. Pricing for the new ThinkPad 600E systems starts at just $2,999 (3).

The new 770Z and 600E ThinkPads are available through authorized IBM resellers. Asset ID-enabled models are available through resellers that participate in IBM's Authorized Assembler Program (AAP), in which ThinkPads are offered in a variety of custom configurations to meet customer needs. The modular design of the new ThinkPads facilitates channel assembly and customization, while simplifying repairs by reducing the amount of time required to diagnose, remove and replace defective components by 35 percent. These efficiencies have enabled IBM to offer 12-hour depot repair service on these systems. A three-year limited warranty is standard.

IBM also unveiled mobile options to expand the functionality of the new 770Z and 600E models and other ThinkPads. Users can now double their hard drive capacity by adding a second 10GB drive to the ThinkPad 600E or a second 14GB drive to the ThinkPad 770Z. These new drives are the largest hard disk drive storage options available to ThinkPad customers. For added convenience, users can choose to configure their ThinkPads with the new drives at point of purchase. The new drives are equipped with S.M.A.R.T Reaction technology, which supports automatic back up data to a server or other device in the event of a possible failure. Another new option, an ultra-slim 56 Watt AC adapter, is 25% smaller and 20% lighter than previous versions and is compatible with most ThinkPad models, including earlier 770 and 600 units. In addition, a new UltraslimBay battery for ThinkPad 600E models ensures continual performance while working remotely.

For more information on IBM Asset ID technology, visit For more information on ThinkPads, visit or call 1-800-426-7255.

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IBM, ThinkPad and Asset ID are registered trademarks of IBM Corporation. Intel and Pentium are registered trademarks of Intel Corporation. Microsoft, Windows and Windows NT are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. Other company, product and service names may be trademarks or service marks of their respective owners. PCs referenced herein ship with an operating system.

1 MHz only measures microprocessor internal clock speed, not application performance. Many

factors affect application performance.

2 GB equals one billion bytes when referring to hard disk drive capacity. Accessible capacity may vary.

3 x2 modems are designed to be capable of receiving data at up to 56Kbps from an x2-compatible service provider, and transmitting data at up to 31.2Kbps. Public networks currently limited maximum download speeds to about 53Kbps. Actual speeds depend on many factors, and are often less than the maximum possible.

4 All prices quoted are estimated reseller prices to end users.