Big Blue is ready for Mars Red Metallic, Andromeda Green and Lunar Gray. IBM next month will launch its ThinkPad notebook in seven bright colours, the company said today.

Like Apple’s groundbreaking, fruit-coloured iMac desktop computers, IBM's i Series 1400 models will cater to the individuality in consumers.

In addition to the traditional black covers (and those listed above), the new ThinkPads will come in bold hues that include Terra Green Metallic, Eclipse Blue Metallic, Sirius Red, and Polaris Blue. Each coloured cover will cost $29.99.

IBM surveys found that consumers wanted to be able to personalize their notebooks, Bill Holthouser, IBM consumer mobile product marketing program director, said today. "We found out that personalization is important to consumers. ... They want to express their own personality through the product."

Such personalized products will grow in popularity as the staid world of personal computing evolves, said Robert Enderle, an analyst for Giga Information Group, a Santa Clara, California-based industry research firm. "Apple took the lead and woke up the individual for the first time to the idea that beige is boring," he said.

The ThinkPads will also be lighter and thinner than previous models, Holthouser said.

Other features include a "ThinkLight" in the two higher-priced versions that will illuminate the keyboard and palm rest. The two higher-priced versions also include DVD (Digital Video Disc) and large 14-inch TFT (thin-film transistor) displays.

Prices for the new ThinkPads start at $1,499.