No change for Packard Bell after NEC buyout

Home PC giant Packard Bell (PB) last night pushed its new range of PB-branded PCs into the limelight, signalling business as usual after its recent acquisition by NEC.

PB is following the trend towards hi-fi controls, incorporating CD, phone, fax and the Internet access into one external console that sits below the monitor, called MediaSelect. Also featured are a remote control and FastKey, a hotkey which accelerates access to the scanner, fax and other software.

PB's Navigator front-end for novice users employs a house metaphor and gives direct access to useful utilities. Internet access is available through CompuServe, AOL and MSN, and Planet Oasis, an extension to the Navigator interface, leads new users to popular US-based Web sites. A UK version will follow shortly. 35 software packages are bundled including Corel WordPerfect Suite 7 and Sega titles.

The entry-level Executive 923D (£1,299 including VAT) has a 100MHz Pentium, 8Mb RAM, 1Gb hard drive, 4x CD-ROM drive and 14-inch monitor. At the top end, the Executive 9007E (£2,499) comes in a Designer Tower and has a 200MHz Pentium, 24Mb Ram, 2Gb hard drive, an 8x CD-Rom drive and 15-inch monitor. Products are available from next week.

PB will release separate peripherals over the next few months including a scanner and printer for around £150 each, and a TV tuner for under £100.

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