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First ultraportable from JVC

Electronics specialist dips its toe into European PC market

JVC is no stranger to the Japanese notebook market; today it announced plans to make a name for itself on the UK portable computing scene.

The company will start shipping two ultraportable PCs, christened MiniNote, in mid September, with specs matching those of their Japanese counterparts. The high-end model will sport an 800MHz Mobile Pentium III processor twinned with 256MB of RAM and a 30GB hard drive. The lower end unit will have a 650MHz Mobile Celeron with 128MB of RAM and a 20GB hard drive.

Both JVC machines will run Windows XP, feature an 8.9in widescreen TFT display and measure a diminutive 225x152x28mm. The low-end model will weigh 880g, while the more powerful MiniNote will be 5g heavier. Connectivity options will include FireWire and USB, plus built in ethernet and Secure Digital slots.

Pricing has yet to be announced but JVC says that it should start at approximately £1,000 for the Celeron-based MiniNote, with the Pentium version costing around £200 more.

It might seem like an odd time to branch out into the PC market as worldwide desktop sales continue to disappoint, but JVC says that it anticipates huge growth in the ultraportable market. "Ultraportables are a booming market and more and more people want a fully specified mobile PC for work or home", explained JVC's Lucy Jakes.

"We have the technology, which is tried and tested in Japan, and we have the market knowledge, so we decided now was the time to give [the ultraportable market] a go in Europe," says Jakes.

Jakes says a further advantage of addressing the ultraportable market is the lack of competition. Currently, the only real rival is Sony's Vaio C1 which, at over £1,600, is a lot more expensive than even the top of the range MiniNote.

Though it is launching only two MiniNote models this autumn, JVC is already planning further launches for next year. Jakes says the company will stick to ultraportables and has no plans to launch further PC-based products in the UK, such as standard notebooks or desktops.

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