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Retro-PCs styled for consumers

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Compaq is to launch an easy-to-use Internet range of Presario PCs from $999. The Houston vendor is today unveiling plans for its desktop Presario EZ2000 series, with one-touch Web access, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The two models, aimed at home users, will be based on either the Intel Celeron or Pentium III chips. Both will be available in the US from the end of this month. The PCs will try to lever some of Apple’s success, sporting a navy blue colouring and what Compaq described as a "retro" design – in actual fact, more like a bread bin. They will offer USB and FireWire, as well as a "digital dashboard" which promises to provide feedback to the user like a car dashboard. "No longer will the consumer need to wait for a connection to be established to check their e-mail - the Digital Dashboard will automatically ‘wake up’ the PC by dialling out to the consumer's e-mail account to notify household members (up to ten) that e-mail is waiting for them," Compaq gushed. The EZ2200 is based on a 500MHz Celeron, with 64MB RAM, 20GB hard drive, two USB and FireWire ports and CD-RW and CD-ROM drives. The EZ2700 will be available direct from Compaq on a build-to-order basis. It uses a 500MHz Pentium III chip, comes with a 17-inch monitor, and will cost $1,499. Mike Larson, Compaq senior VP and general manager, consumer business unit, said: "Today's announcement is the first in a series of innovative products that help consumers maximise their connected e-lifestyle." The company is also adding seven new desktop and three portable models to its Presario range, as well as a multifunction device for printing, faxing, copying and scanning.®

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