NEC Versa[s] All Comers

A major statement of intent from NEC in France this week, as it declared some bold business plans on the back of a revitalised notebook line.

I was in France earlier this week to see what NEC has planned for its notebook range and the strategy is highly ambitious.

Situated in Angers, at the mouth of the Loire, NEC’s notebook, desktop and server factory is the largest in Europe (a small example above). It produces about one million units per year, has the capacity to offer bespoke systems and also sports a pan European service centre. The whole site is buzzing too, because the company is about to make a major push to break into the top five world vendors.

Spearheading this drive will be re-designed corporate, SOHO and consumer product lines. We have already had a good look at the first of these offshoots, the thin and light Versa S940 and we liked it very much. A whole raft of machines will soon follow this and I got a good look at their next business models during my time in this beautiful, sunny region.

NEC Senior VP, Jean Claude Tagger (above) introduced the P550, M350 and C250 (below – left to right, with the S940 at the end) which will join the S940 as part of the revitalised Versa range.

“The focus is on security and connectivity,” said Tagger, “and it is an example of our intent to be in the top five (PC vendors in the world)”.

So what do they offer? Well, Tagger was true to his word, all models have the option of a fingerprint reader (rather cleverly integrated into the touchpad scroll button – below) and a Kensington anti-theft cable, TPM chip and Stoptrack protection label. In addition, NEC’s own Safeboot data protection software is installed as standard.

On the connectivity side of things there’s a wealth of options as well with Bluetooth, Wireless 802.11b/g, 10/1000Mbps Ethernet, V92 modem, TV Out, FireWire, four USB2.0 ports and Infrared. Further expansion is available if you pick up a docking station which adds serial, parallel, PS/2, AC-in and cable lock connections.

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