June 28, 2002 10:05 AM PDT

Dell, others tout flat panels

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Looking to cash in on the current popularity of flat-panel displays, Dell Computer, Hitachi and ViewSonic touted their liquid crystal display monitors this week at the annual TechXNY trade show in New York City.

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Monitor makers are pushing their products by selling more sizes and targeting specific types of buyers.

Hitachi added a lightweight 15-inch flat-panel monitor to its lineup. The 6.6-pound CML152 will cost $449 when it begins shipping to retailers in July.

"Fifteen inch still represents the sweet spot of the market for consumers and companies because of the price, but in the U.S. market there is a lot of demand for 17-inch flat panels and larger," said Rhoda Alexander, analyst at market research firm iSuppli/Stanford Resources.

Dell announced that it has begun selling its 18-inch 1800FP flat-panel monitor for $950. Dell started selling 15-, 16- and 17-inch monitors last year and has branched out to 20-, 19- and now 18-inch flat-panel monitors.

"We're also seeing LCD product lines become more extensive," Alexander said.

ViewSonic added to its line of LCD monitors and is targeting different types of customers with specific features. The company debuted four new displays in its VG line aimed at small-business customers, four new monitors in its VX line for designers, and three new screens for its value VE line.

ViewSonic's VE line includes the $419 15-inch VE500, the $699 17-inch VE700, and the $879 18-inch VE800. Monitors in the VG line have higher levels of brightness than the VE line. The four new screens in the VG line include the $499 VG500, $779 VG700, $819 VG750 and the $819 VG800. The VG500 and VG800 are currently available, and the VG700 and VG750 will be available in July and August, respectively. The VX line includes the $829 VX700, the $945 VX800, the $1,129 VX900 and the $1,615 VX2000.

The companies' new units come at a time when demand for LCD panels--the primary and most expensive component in flat-panel monitors--exceeds supply.

"Supply is good on 15-inch panels, but larger sizes will be an issue," Alexander said. "That can change in a quarter, though."


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