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IBM demos wearable ThinkPad

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IBM's Wearable PC is only a prototype, but it was demonstrated by IBM in Tokyo this week. It has a three-inch screen in a head-mounted display, invented at the IBM TJ Watson Research Center, and can have a microphone for speech commands using IBM's ViaVoice. The screen has 320x640 pixels, with a 256 grey scale, although SVGA colour is under development. The processor is a 233 MHz MMX Pentium, with 64 MB of RAM, a one-inch IBM MicroDrive with 340 MB, an infrared port with up to 4 Mbps, and a Li-Ion battery giving 1.5 to 2.0 hours. At present it uses Windows 98 for demonstration purposes, but IBM said rather pointedly that W98 may or may not be the operating system used if it is manufactured. It is essentially a ThinkPad 560X that weighs around 300 grams, with the headset weighing 50 grams and a hand-held mouse weighing 20 grams. IBM envisages that it could have applications in maintenance work, equipment repairs, and even when checking-in airline passengers at the gate. Depending on price, we see it as an ultimate fashion accessory, and for nerds who believe they need email while mobile. Meanwhile, for grown ups, IBM announced yesterday that its IntelliStation M Pro with a 450 MHz Pentium II had beaten an HP Kyak XU Pentium II 400 MHz in the BAPCo benchmark (435 to 412). IBM's point was to say that it was really serious about selling NT workstations. ®

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