AOL’s Optimised PC

AOL have launched the AOL Optimised PC – a cheap PC that gets the AOL brand into homes and under people’s noses.

The base US$300 (€246) cost of the system is subsidised by the AOL subscription purchasers also have to buy with the PC. That adds a further US$23.90 (€19.60) a month for a year to the total cost.

The base unit is built around a 2GHz Celeron processor, 256Mb of memory and a 40 gb hard dirve. The PC comes with a 17” monitor, printer and speakers and AOL Office – which is essentially Open Office. Naturally, the PC is preconfigured with AOL’s suite of tools and applications with parental controls, Computer Check Up and internet access ready to go.

“We’re addressing the needs of the millions of Internet intenders who are first-time PC buyers or novice computer users,” said Kenn Turner, Senior Vice President and General Manager, AOL Key Audiences.

“They’ve told us that affordability and an interest in making one simple buying decision for everything they need to use the computer and get online is important to them. We think the complete AOL Optimized PC solution delivers unprecedented value, while maintaining performance and quality.”

AOL are supplying the computer in with English and Spanish language options, and it can be easily swapped between them.

“Fifty-five percent of English language dominant Hispanic households have Internet access at home, compared with only 20% of Spanish language dominant households, according to the Synovate 2004 Hispanic Report,” said David Wellisch, Vice President and General Manager, AOL Latino.

“The AOL Optimised PC is one of the only widely available PC plus internet solutions that makes it easy to select and switch between language preferences. Combined with an affordable price and a comprehensive PC bundle, we hope to empower these consumers to take advantage of all the resources the Internet has to offer.”

AOL is also hoping that the PC will raise awareness of their brand and get it into more homes, as Disney has demonstrated recently with their mouse-eared Disney PC.

The AOL Optimised PC

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?