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Gateway gears up for back to school

Twelve new models released to PC retailers as the company embraces AMD's dual-core notebook chips and low prices.

Gateway's retail strategy for the back-to-school season became apparent this week, with its heavy concentration on low-priced multimedia notebooks.

Several new models have already arrived on the shelves of Gateway's retail partners and others will follow during the first weeks of July, a company representative confirmed. They include a revamp of Gateway's midrange notebooks with 14- and 15-inch displays, as well as a new addition to its high-end Platinum line.

Gateway plans to offer Advanced Micro Devices' first dual-core notebook processor to its retail customers, along with Intel's Core Duo and Core Solo processors. AMD had listed Gateway as a vendor supporting the launch of the dual-core Turion X2 chips in May, but the specific systems had yet to be unveiled. Gateway will use the X2 processors in two five-pound notebooks, and will use AMD's single-core Turion 64 processors in two other notebooks.

Of the 12 new notebooks, eight use Intel's chips, mixed between Core Duo, Core Solo and Celeron M processors. Intel plans to launch a new notebook processor code-named Merom in August that will probably form the basis for high-end models in the fourth quarter.

Gateway has hit some nice price points with the new systems, including a $799 notebook with the Windows XP Media Center Edition operating system, said Sam Bhavnani, an analyst at Current Analysis. But the new systems aren't very exciting from a product design standpoint, and it could be hard for Gateway to dent retail rivals such as Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba with the new systems, he said.