Comdex: Mitsubishi portables look strong for '98

Mitsubishi looks like it could be a real contender in 1998 portable computing judging by the Japanese giant's booth at Comdex in Las Vegas this week.

Pulling in most attention was the firm's Pedion, a wonderfully elegant 1.5cm-thick, 3.1-pound notebook packing a 233MHz Pentium MMX, 64Mb RAM, 1Gb hard drive, 12.1-inch TFT screen, NeoMagic NeoGraph 128 graphics, PC Card slots and audio into a case that makes ultra-thin notebooks such as those from IBM, Digital and Fujitsu seem positively Sumo.

The catch with the Pedion is not only that its keyboard feels short of travel but also that you'll need Mitsubishi's Media Pack docking station to get access to a floppy drive and CD-ROM drive.

Mitsubishi prefers to see it as answering a specific market need. "A lot of companies these days are saying that they just need a machine to carry their PowerPoint presentations and not much more," said Chris Buckham, marketing director. "Everyone we've shown the Pedion to just says: 'I want one. I don't care how much it costs, I just want one!'"

Also on show at the booth was the MonAMI, a pen-based wireless Java tablet based on an AMD 5x86 chip; the MonAMI/ES NC; and pen- and keyboard-based versions of the AMiTY mini-notebook, a format that has been in vogue this week and fits into the same category as Toshiba's Libretto.

Mitsubishi will likely ship the Pedion in the UK but there is no announcement on the other products.

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