The South Dakota-based direct seller unveiled its Perfect Scholar line of PCs, which incorporates Pentium and Pentium II systems and 11 titles' (or 47 CDs) worth of educational software covering reading and writing, math, and algebra. The software, once a McGraw-Hill project that's now the property of Bloomington, Minnesota's Learning 2000, is an integrated package designed for students between 4th and 12th grades.
Gateway's bundling of the Lifetime Library software, which the company will also make available with other G series desktops and Solo notebooks, aims to tap a well-defined market niche: home use computers as an educational supplement. According to an International Data Corporation study cited by Gateway, about 45 percent of U.S. households with children and plans to buy a PC will purchase with educational assistance primarily in mind.
There's plenty of educational software in the market, typically selling for between $20 and $30 per title, but Gateway is taking an innovative approach by offering a more expensive, more comprehensive package, said Richard Zwetchkenbaum, an analyst who follows computer education. The Lifetime Library retails for $599, according to the company's Web site.
"Parents want to reinforce what kids learn in schools," Zwetchkenbaum noted. "[But] there's a barrage of software out there. They're at a loss to determine what works well with what, so what Gateway is doing is interesting because it's an integrated approach with no overlap."
Based on build-to-order manufacturing, a scheme in which the customer specifies the configuration of components like memory or hard drive size, the Perfect Scholar systems come from Gateway's G series of desktops. The line comprises a 166-MHz Pentium MMX system that begins at $1,599 and a 233-MHz Pentium II system starting at $2,199.
The Perfect Scholar systems are immediately available.