IBM last week introduced new thinkpad notebook computers that are designed to protect data when their owners drop them or try to run down the hall with them without turning them off first.
The ThinkPad R50 and T41 both include the IBM Active Protection System, which is similar to the technology that tells cars when to deploy air bags.
"These new ThinkPads include an integrated motion sensor that helps decrease damage when accelerated motion is detected," said Joe Doria, worldwide manager for the ThinkPad brand at IBM, in Research Triangle Park, N.C.
A microchip on the motherboard detects when a computer is falling and parks the read/write head on the hard drive so that the platter is protected. This helps prevent data loss when a notebook computer falls off a desk, for example, Doria said.
Business travelers welcome the new feature.
"My laptop is my only computer, so Im always nervous about bringing it on the road," said Vince Bray, strategic research manager at Toyota Financial Services, in Torrance, Calif.
The ThinkPad R50 is available in 14- and 15-inch models and can achieve up to 10 hours of battery life, officials said.
The T41 is a refreshed version of the popular IBM T40 model, with updated processor options as well as the Active Protection System.
Both the R50 and T41 come in versions that feature the IBM Embedded Security Subsystem, consisting of an integrated security chip and downloadable software that provide advanced client security, including advanced cryptography and a repository for storing authentication keys, identity information and confidential data.
For wireless LAN options, customers can choose between Intel Corp.s Centrino chip set, which includes 802.11b wireless LAN support, or an Intel Pentium M processor combined with an 802.11a/b/g chip set from Atheros Communications Inc.
Pricing for the R50 ranges from $1,529 to $2,299. Pricing for the T41 ranges from $1,649 to $3,699.