SHARP TO BACK ITS LAPTOPS

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Sharp Electronics Corp. this summer will kick off a major push for its notebook computers.

Though one of the biggest producers of flat screen panels used in notebooks and a U.S. seller of its own notebooks as of last year, Sharp hasn't advertised computers much, preferring to focus instead on its camcorders, pocket organizers and fax machines.

PRINT, MAYBE TV

Sharp plans print advertising and, perhaps, TV commercials for its computer line.

Dan Infanti, general manager-corporate communications and marketing, said his company understands the ad commitment necessary to be a player in the notebook market and intends to make it. That could mean a budget of $15 million or more, via Griffin Bacal, New York.

Sharp is expected to promote the large size of its flat screen's display and its brightness.

Industry experts point to Sharp's entrance as another indication of the growing competitiveness among laptops, a segment where computers still sell for a premium over desktops.

LAPTOP COMPETITION

Michael McGuire, mobile products analyst at Dataquest, said the recent increased availability of supplies of chips, previously difficult to obtain, together with the pricing situation, has prompted the competitiveness.

"They have to deliver quality products and deliver support," Mr. McGuire said. "Laptops are the most personal of personal computers." He cited as an advantage for Sharp its reputation in faxes and Wizard personal organizers.

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