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Gateway readies a business Profile

The PC maker prepares to launch the Profile 5, a business-oriented version of the Profile desktop that incorporates a larger LCD screen and is designed to be easier to repair.

Gateway's all-in-one Profile desktop will take another step in its evolution next month.

The Poway, Calif.-based company is preparing to launch the Profile 5, a business-oriented version of the PC that incorporates a larger liquid crystal display screen and is designed to be easier to repair.

Gateway said it believes that the all-in-one PC market is diverging into distinct segments: one for business and one for consumers. Unlike a typical desktop, an all-in-one PC comes with a built-in display.

Distinct market segments almost always require different features. So the company added the all-in-one Gateway 610 to its stable in September. That desktop comes with Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004 and can play and record television programs, among other things. Gateway is marketing it as a multimedia machine for consumers.

"People treat the 610 as a TV, not a PC," said Mike Stinson, vice president and general manager for Gateway mobile products. "The Profile is popular among businesses."

Gateway designed the Profile 5 to fit the needs of business by making it easier to service than its predecessor, the Profile 4. The Profile 5's motherboard and random access memory are readily accessible via a removable back panel. Its screen can also be replaced by a company information technology staffer, Stinson said.

The Profile 5 will also add an option for a larger, 19-inch LCD screen. The screen is mounted on a short arm that allows it to be lowered or raised a few inches. Like its predecessor, the PC will also include an option for a 15-inch or 17-inch screen and a range of Intel Celeron or Pentium 4 processors.

The new machine, which is slated to come out in early November, will start at $1,199, Gateway said. Its entry-level price will be $100 less than the current Profile 4, which Gateway lists at $1,299 on its Web site.

Gateway said the newer machine's lower price has helped close the gap between it and a stand-alone desktop with a separate flat-panel display. As all-in-one desktops such as the Profile come down in price, Gateway believes that more businesses will adopt them.

"We think it's going to become more mainstream" for businesses, Stinson said.

The all-in-one desktop category, which has seen rocky times in the past, appears to be on the upswing again. In addition to Apple's latest iMac all-in-one models and Gateway's offerings, Sony recently added another all-in-one to its Vaio line of PCs.

The Vaio V100G, launched earlier this month, includes a 15.3-inch wide-angle display and a wireless keyboard. Sony said the $1,599 machine can handle regular computing tasks as well as play and record TV programs with Sony's Giga Pocket personal video recorder.