Compaq has been busy unleashing a host of consumer products onto the market as well as a suite of Internet business solutions.
The company has just revamped its Presario range in a marketing move designed to garner market share by providing bundled packages to the consumer including desktops, notebooks and, for the first time, a colour inkjet printer. The range also comes with free installation and training to get consumers onto the Internet.
"There are lots of characteristics that are attractive to secondary markets such as small business, but these products are unashamedly marketed at consumers," said the director of Compaq's consumer division, Rob Balmer.
Looking at the new range, it is difficult not to draw comparisons with Apple's iMac. But Balmer says the company is not trying to trade on the commercial success of the design.
"The iMac was very successful in recapturing a niche market," Balmer said. "But this is the first time colours have been widely introduced into the PC brand. It makes the home PC less of a necessary evil to be hidden away in the study."
The Presario 5000 and 7000 series of PCs come in six colours that can be chopped and changed to suit the customer. Retail prices start at $1999.
The introduction of the IJ600 colour inkjet printer is Compaq's first entry into the mainstream inkjet market in Australia.
"Eighteen months ago we introduced printers into the US market, and we now hold the number three and five positions in sales. I think that pays homage to how critical the three-piece solution is - consumers want one solution."
Compaq is offering a free snap-on colour kit on the Presario range, consisting of two front panels, keyboard insert and speaker covers, to consumers who register on the Internet.
The new PCs are designed to be easy to access and upgrade, with the 5000 series featuring Celeron or Pentium III processors, internal model and 40-speed CD-ROM or CDRW. The higher level 7000 series also includes DVD drive and two firewire ports with a nVidia TNT2 M64 Pro 16MB Video Card, Sound Blaster PCI audio card and digital video editing software. The range will be sold through retailers and at Compaq connect stores.
"Retailers are our primary focus market for this product, because people still want to come into stores and touch the merchandise," Balmer said. "Australia is very like the US market in terms of the retail channel and buying habits; large shopping malls and mass merchants are still the number one [areas] for consumers [to shop] whereas our Compaq Connect stores will target the experienced user and the SME market."
Compaq has also released the Presario series in notebooks as well as four new models of monitors which feature an integrated Telex microphone.
In the business space, the vendor announced desktop solutions that integrate traditional computing with the Internet and wireless capable mobile devices. The range includes Compaq's newly released iPAQ desktop and Pocket PC, its Armada notebook range and portable projection units.