By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Logitech has expanded its stable of notebook PC accessories beyond its current product assortment to include the company's first cases, first USB hub, a 2.4GHz wireless number pad for data entry, and two extensions to it line of stands.
Logitech's first foray into the cases and bags category — the Kinetik 15.4 backpack and Kinetik 15.4 briefcase — feature an exo-shell casing for protection and a contoured back panel and padded shoulder straps for comfort. The interior has a fanned compartment design of top-loading notebook and document sleeves as well as a series of cargo bays for accessories and handheld devices. The cases are made from lightweight, black ballistic nylon and polyurethane. They hold "most 15.4-inch notebook models plus the 17-inch Macbook Pro" according to Logitech.
In the productivity category, Logitech's four-port USB hub for notebooks delivers file transfer speeds up to 480Mbps and features port indicator lights. It comes with a carrying case and retails for $29.99.
Logitech's cordless number pad for notebooks features shortcut keys for data entry to Microsoft Excel, calculator and Internet Explorer. A 2.4GHz wireless micro-receiver snaps into the number pad for transport. It has an extended battery life of up to six months, a battery indicator-light and a carrying case. It retails for $39.99.
The USB hub and the number pad are shipping immediately in the United States.
Logitech will also be shipping two extensions to its Alto line of notebook stands. The new Alto Connect and Alto Express are said to improve comfort by raising the notebook's display to a more optimal viewing height and distance, and by creating space for a full-size keyboard and mouse. Because the notebook is elevated, the Alto stands minimize contact with the heat generated by a notebook PC and improve cooling-fan circulation, Logitech said.
The Alto Connect notebook stand is a port replicator with four built-in USB 2.0 high-speed ports, three in back, one in front. It features a collapsible design for storage and is "compatible with virtually any size notebook" according to Logitech. It will ship next month for $79.99.
The Alto Express is a lower-priced alternative. Retailing for $29.99, the sculptured curve designed one-piece stand has a translucent surface but forgoes the USB ports. It also ships next month.
The company's expansion into new categories is a result of a new retail initiative based on a Logitech-sponsored study of more than 1,000 notebook users. The study highlighted four types of notebook users: people who use their notebooks largely around the home; younger professionals and students who use their notebooks at home, in the office and about town; technology enthusiasts who take and use their laptops almost everywhere; and mobile professionals. By identifying and grouping products according to these user profiles, Logitech believes its retail partners make it easy for people to find the notebook products that best fit their needs.
"Although notebooks were originally designed for mobile professionals, today, we know that a broad range of people are buying them instead of traditional desktop PCs," said Charles Seiber, Logitech's marketing director for notebook solutions. "We recognize that each notebook user has a specific set of needs and deserves a shopping experience that's customized to meet those needs."
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