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IBM Introduces "Big Mini" Mainframe-Based Laptop
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WHITE PLAINS, New York - IBM has dipped a toe back in the consumer market with its latest offering, the "Big Mini". Mini is a laptop based on IBM's proven zSeries mainframe line. "We're trying to dispel the preconception people have of a room-sized machine, bolted to the floor, humming and whirring to itself," said IBM Marketing Director Steve Rosenberg, "The Mini has the power and speed of a full-size mainframe, but fits comfortably in your lap."

Despite its compact size, the Mini's price is anything but compact. "Yes, it's pricey," admitted Rosenberg, "but it's a mainframe. And you're carrying it around in your hand. How cool is that?" The Mini will be sold exclusively online from IBM's web site starting at $375,000.

The purchase price may not be consumers' only problem with the Mini. The only operating system it can run is the OS/390 system from IBM, so familiar Windows programs will be out of reach. Linux can be booted within a virtual machine under a mainframe session and Lindows or another Linux Windows emulator can then be run under that, but point-and-click consumers are unlikely to be willing to leap through so many technical hoops.

"We knew this was more of a boutique item from the very beginning," explained Rosenberg, "We don't have aspirations of putting one of these on every lap. But for the privileged few that can demand the very best, the Big Mini stands out from the crowd."

IBM is offering a $35,000 mail-in rebate until the end of March. See the IBM web site for details.
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