Amstrad Plc will change the economics of owning an MS-DOS portable in January when its PPC range, unveiled in London yesterday, becomes available. There will be four PPC models, with an entry price that at UKP399 plus VAT is roughly half the cheapest competition. For that money, customers get an 8MHz 80C86 processor, 512Kb RAM, one 3.5 720K floppy drive, full AT-enhanced keyboard, MDA and CGA compatible graphics, 80 by 25 line 640 by 200 resolution black-on-green Supertwist LCD with six tilt positi ons, serial and parallel ports, a further port to attach an, as yet unpriced, four-slot expansion box with 20Mb hard disk, 8 hours life from alkaline batteries, MS-DOS 3.3, and a carrying case. For just UKP100 more, they get either an extra 3.5 drive or 640Kb RAM and a 2,400 bps auto-dial, auto-answer Hayes-compatible internal modem with Softklone Distributing Corp’s Mirror II communications coftware, and for UKP200 more – UKP599 – they get the extra drive, 640Kb RAM and the modem. As can be seen from the picture, unusually for an LCD, the screen has the aspect ratio of a CRT: it folds back and then the keyboard folds over it to create a long narrow package with the han-dle at the side. The 17.8 by 9 by 4 PPCs weigh a touch under 12lbs and will be delivered after the Which Computer? Show in mid-January. They will be shown at Comdex in Las Vegas next week. Prices in overseas markets excluding local sales taxes will be similar to those in the UK. After coming a cropper on his estimates for first year sales of the PC1512, Amstrad boss Alan Sugar said he would never again talk about expected volumes but he did admit he hoped to look back in five years time having sold several hundred thousand of the PPCs. He also hin-ted that Amstrad was considering a portable version of its PCW word processor. The UK unveiling of the PPC is avoid criticism of its products being launched overseas first.
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