Packard Bell NEC gets a make-over

Packard Bell NEC gets a make-over

Packard Bell NEC (PB NEC) last week released a raft of new products for its traditional marketplace, the home and small business sectors.

The Year 2000 range includes the Zuma small footprint PC, the entry-level PC Club 500, the MultiMedia 550, the Platinum 600 and two new notebooks, EasyMate and EasyLite, that add to PB NEC's initial offering, the EasyNote.

Currently occupying approximately 18 per cent of the mass retail PC market, Farley Bartholemeusz, director of marketing at PB NEC, believes the new product ranges will grow that share to 30 per cent. "PB differentiates itself through the software it includes, at least $1000 worth, targeted at the first-time user and SOHO market," said Bartholemeusz.

The Club series includes 20 pre-loaded software titles, other ranges offer 25 titles, including Windows 2000 and Windows 98, Norton Antivirus 5.0, PB Navigator, Photo Express, Microsoft Internet Explorer and a selection of games.

Tim Falinski, PB's sales manager, rates the entire Year 2000 series on its ability to be upgraded across both the front and back end. "We drag the back end of the system to keep up with the front-end changes. So we include extra power supply for when you do want to upgrade. It's not just about processor speeds either, we change the video and sound cards as well." The Zuma even has a detachable flat-screen monitor so it is easily up-sized.

The new products represent a shift in attitude from PB, previously an exclusive consumer PC manufacturer. According to Falinski, the affiliation with NEC has encouraged the vendor to produce corporate PCs, file servers and mobile computers in the last 12 months. "The PB and NEC divisions in Australia are still separate but that will change over the next six to 12 months," said Falinski.

Yet the diversity will not encroach upon PB's traditional retail channel. "We are still aiming at the SOHO and consumer market. People who want to buy notebooks in retail might be buying it for corporates but only ones with five people or less. Resellers like BCA don't have time to sell only a couple of products."

Club 500

Intel Celeron 500MHz


Two USB slots

15 inch monitor

Multimedia keyboard


4MB video RAM

Yamaha 744

$1999 RRP

Multimedia 550

Intel Pentium 550MHz


Two USB slots

17 inch monitor

Multimedia keyboard

3Dfx Voodoo 3 2000 graphics

DVD 6x with TV out

8MGB video RAM

Creative 64 voice sound

$2999 RRP

Zuma 550

Intel Pentium III 550MHz


Four USB slots

15 inch TFT LCD screen

Infrared keyboard

S3 Savage4 graphics

Creative 3D PCI AC'97 sound

DVD 4x

8MB video RAM

$4999 RRP


Intel Pentium 300MHz


12.1 inch TFT LCD screen

24x CD (external)

S3 Savage4 graphics

ESS Maestro sound

84 key keyboard

$3999 RRP

Available from Harvey Norman, Harris Scarf, Myer/Grace Bros, Retravision and Bing Lee by November 1.

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