Multimedia notebook launched

Panasonic, until now a fairly minor player in the laptop computer industry, has promoted itself to the big leagues with its release of the world's first true multimedia notebook computer.This month, Panasonic Canada is releasing the CF-41, which along with most...

Panasonic, until now a fairly minor player in the laptop computer industry, has promoted itself to the big leagues with its release of the world’s first true multimedia notebook computer.

This month, Panasonic Canada is releasing the CF-41, which along with most of the fairly standard notebook computer features, will include a full-size, internal cd-rom drive under a liftable keyboard.

It will also have built-in stereo speakers and a 10.4-inch Active matrix VRII screen with a 262,000 color palette.

A previous Panasonic model was called multimedia-capable, but it did not accept full-size cds.

Donna Brownrigg, of the ad agency Campaign House, says the product, at this point, is being marketed directly towards a certain type of business user for whom appropriate cd-rom products already exist.

Brownrigg says, at this point, the product, alone in its class, ‘will almost sell itself,’ but that privileged position will probably not last long.

‘We’re expecting some pretty quick competitive response,’ she says.

Panasonic will be advertising the product almost exclusively in print, distributing a folding insert through The Globe and Mail Oct. 25 and The Financial Post Nov. 7, as well as through specific trade magazines.

The promotional campaign, including sales and co-op initiatives, is expected to cost about $250,000.

Panasonic has taken the product on a six-city cross-country launch tour.

It was expecting this to be the world launch of the CF-41, but was pre-empted by an unexpected u.s. launch about three weeks ago.

Panasonic has been in the portable computer market since the early Eighties, but has never been seen as a significant player.

‘Its our job to make sure people know they’re in the market,’ Brownrigg says.

‘Not only that this product is available, but that Panasonic is in this category, and they’re going to be a contender,’ she says. AB