The Poway, Calif.-based companyfrom its traditional beige box design in favor of a curvy, metallic look, reminiscent of Apple Computer's PowerBook G4.
Gateway's initial redesign focused on consumer computers--three notebooks and one PC. Now, the second-largest direct PC manufacturer is revamping its line of business desktops with the new platinum scheme.
Gateway isn't alone announcing new summer PC models, some timed to take advantage of the back-to-school buying season and end-of-federal-government-fiscal-year spending rush. Hewlett-Packardnew PCs last week at the trade show. Apple is expected to introduce new computers during Macworld Expo in New York in mid-July.
Just as Gateway and HP launch new designs, some other competitors are ramping down stylish models. IBM, for example, plans toits all-in-one NetVista X PC, which is built around a flat-panel monitor. The Armonk, N.Y.-based company is killing NetVista X after only about on the market.
With this revamp, Gateway is sticking to more traditional desktop configurations. Though the business PCs sport a new look, none uses expensive integrated components, such as flat-panel monitors.
Gateway is introducing three new lines of business PCs: The E-2000, E-4000 and E-6000, which will replace the E-1800, E-3600 and E-4650. Prices start at $849 for E-2000 models, $799 for E-4000 and $1,399 for E-6000. Although Gateway has beefed up PC configurations, some prices also are increasing compared to older models. The entry-level E-1800, for example, started at $799, while the E-3600 started at $699.
These wouldn't be the first quiet price increases. During the past month, Gateway has nudged up the prices on some consumer computers that sport its new industrial design.
The company's high-end Solo 600XL notebook, for example, sold for $2,558 in late May. During the Memorial Day holiday, Gateway raised the price to $2,599 with the change to a 1.8GHz Pentium 4 processor from 1.7GHz. Since moving the 600XL to a 2GHz processor, Gateway has raised the price again, now to $2,899. But the company made no other changes to the high-end notebook, which also features a 15.7-inch display, 64MB ATI Radeon 7500 graphics accelerator, 40GB hard drive, CD-RW/DVD combo drive and Wi-Fi wireless networking.
PC sales crisis
The new models come as Gateway and other PC makers struggle to recover from devastatingly slow second-quarter sales. Most companies close their quarters on Sunday.
PC salesin April, dropping 22.5 percent at retail stores, according to NPDTechworld. Computer makers saw little to no relief in May and June, prompting a wave of profit warnings--from , and Intel, among other companies. Apple, in fact, has seen an inventory of flat-panel , less than three months after battling .
During a June meeting with financial analysts, HP President Michael Capellasthe company had "seen slower-than-anticipated sales?in the consumer market."
PC makers and retailers have responded, in part, to slow sales by wooing customers with.
Despite the sales warnings, IDCits PC shipments for the year, based on a stronger-than-expected first quarter. The analyst firm now expects weak year-over-year growth of between 3 percent and 4.7 percent compared with earlier, paltry projections of 1.8 percent growth. Either projection would exceed 2001, when worldwide PC shipments 5.1 percent, according to IDC.
In an unrelated industry milestone, market researcher Gartner on Sunday said manufacturers hadthe 1 billion-computers-shipped mark, since the PCs introduction in the 1970s.