Olivetti Introduces A Palmtop With A Punch

Italian design has struck the PC world. Olivetti just introduced a sleek, 2.2-pound personal computer that it says does everything a 6-pound notebook can--and more. Called the Quaderno--Italian for notebook--the pint-size wonder comes with a 20-megabyte hard disk and a voice recorder for taking notes. The company claims the Quaderno is vastly more powerful and versatile than existing palmtops such as the Sharp Wizard or Hewlett Packard 95LX. And this is just the start, says Elserino Piol, Olivetti's managing director for operations. Upgraded Quaderno models will be launched later this year.

The introduction is a sign that struggling Olivetti, which lost $371 million last year, is trying to get back in the game. While the Quaderno will not add significantly to the company's bottom line, Olivetti can now boast one of the broadest PC lineups of any top maker. Other computer makers are set to come out with tiny machines similar to the $1,100 Quaderno later in the year, but Olivetti says it can grab 20% of the market in Europe, projected at 300,000 units this year. Americans, though, will have to travel to Europe to pick up a Quaderno. For the moment, Olivetti won't be selling them stateside.

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