America Online Inc. (AOL) is introducing a budget PC to the U.S. market bundled with its Internet access software in both Spanish and English, as it looks to lasso novices and Spanish speakers alike with the offering.
The AOL Optimized PC will go on sale in Office Depot Inc. retail stores across the U.S. later this month, offering novice users an easy way to get online, AOL said Thursday.
The entry-level PC system, including a monitor, keyboard, mouse and printer, is selling for $299.99 with a 12-month membership commitment to the AOL service for $23.90 a month, bringing the total to $586.79.
In addition to the Internet access software, AOL is including its Office suite, which includes a word processing program, spreadsheet application and presentation program.
According to the Dulles, Virginia-based company, over one-fourth of U.S. households have yet to buy their first computer and fewer Spanish-language dominant households have Internet access when compared to English-language households.
AOL's Latino Spanish-language Internet service has already proven successful, expanding to over 2 million members, according to an AOL spokeswoman.
Now it's also targeting bilingual households by giving them the ability to switch between Spanish and English preferences for both the Internet access service and the AOL applications.
Systemax Inc. will manufacture the PC, which features an Intel Corp. Celeron 2GHz processor, 256MB of memory, a 40GB hard drive, a CD-ROM drive and a 56Kbps modem. It has a 17-inch screen and comes with a color ink-jet printer from Lexmark International Inc.
Expecting strong demand for the PC, AOL plans to partner with other manufacturers in coming months, and add more retail distributors, the spokeswoman said. The company currently has no plans to extend the offering outside of the U.S., however.