NEWS & NOTES
Home Again Home Again
Maybe you can go home again. IBM's trying with the release of its new PS/1, a personal computer designed to appeal to the home and small-business market. The PS/1 is a full-fledged PS/2-compatible PC, powered by an Intel 80286 microprocessor, with either 512K or 1MB of RAM. Various models offer a choice of a single 1.44MB floppy disk drive or one floppy disk drive and a 30MB hard disk. The system also boasts a Photo Graphic high-resolution VGA display in either black-and-white or color.
The PS/1 can also be expanded up to 7MB of memory. It doesn't have any available internal expansion card slots, but an optional adapter card unit can be purchased that allows further expansion.
Most interesting is IBM's design of the PS/1: When the unit is plugged in and turned on, users can point to Windows-like on-screen icons to run the machine. The computer is even shipped with the owner's manual open to the right page. The system also comes with Microsoft Works, a built-in 2400-baud modem, and subscriptions to Prodigy (the Sears/IBM online information service) and Promenade, an education-and-entertainment online service for PS/1 users.
Four different PS/1 models are available, including monochrome display and 512K of RAM for $999; color display and 512K of RAM for $1,449; monochrome display, 30MB hard drive, and 1MB of RAM for $1,649; and color monitor, 30MB hard drive, and 1MB of RAM for $1,999. The PS/1 is available through a variety of department stores and through Sears stores throughout the country.
This could be the right move at the right time. Research firm BIS CAP International says the low end of the personal computer market, defined as firms with under 100 employees and people who work at home, is about to shift into high gear. According to BIS CAP, total shipments of personal computers are now growing by only 7 percent annually, but shipments to the small business and home office segment are growing almost twice as fast. BIS CAP also expects a 23-percent increase in placement of PCs in residences between 1989 and 1990. According to the survey, only about 46 percent of companies with fewer than ten employees and only 31 percent of households with income-generating home offices have a PC at this time.