While many of their contemporaries have been pushing up daisies, eMachines has emerged from the freePC/econo box hell stronger than a lot of the established companies who have been doing this thing for a while.
eMachines started in November 1998 with it's first sub-$400 PC to the U.S. retail market, and has sold over three million PCs. eMachines sold the third largest number of desktop PCs through U.S. retailers in 1999, according to PC Data. In 1999, eMachines products won prestigious awards in the low-priced PC desktop category, including PC Computing's Most Valuable Product, number one on Windows Magazine's "WinList 100" and CNET.com's Editors' Choice award. Building on this consumer success, eMachines is now looking to gain a foothold in the business market.
This past Thursday, eMachines made a trio of announcements regarding PC's with Windows 2000 pre-installed. Hoping to move into the small business arena, eMacines announced the Network-Ready eTower 700net and eMonster 800net. These machines will be available January 1, 2001 and come equipped with a network card and Windows 2000 (Service Pack 1).
Packaged in eMachines' newly-styled gray toned mini tower chassis, the aggressively priced eTower 700net entry-level task station is powered by an Intel Celeron 700 MHz processor with 128KB L2 cache, 64MB memory, a 48x CD-ROM, 10GB hard drive, floppy drive, a 56K ITU V.90 modem, Intel DirectAGP 3D (810 shared) graphics, Intel 82801 AC'97 audio, a 10/100M Ethernet card, 2 USB ports (one is conveniently located in front), audio in and out, microphone in and a head phone jack, keyboard, mouse and stereo speakers.
The eMonster 800net performance workstation features Windows 2000 Professional pre-installed, an Intel Pentium III 800 MHz processor with 256KB L2 cache, 64MB memory, a 48x CD-ROM, 30GB hard drive, floppy drive, a 56K ITU V.90 modem, Intel DirectAGP 3D (810 shared) graphics, Intel 82801 AC'97 audio, a 10/100M Ethernet card, 2 USB ports (one is conveniently located in front), audio in and out, microphone in and a head phone jack, keyboard, mouse and stereo speakers.
[Note: In order to keep the price down, they have elected to provide only 64MB of RAM. With the current price of RAM, no Windows 2000 workstation should come with less than 128MB of RAM - get the extra memory]
eMachines also announced the new 'e3' compact PC. It's a small form factor PC that plays DVDs and has a built-in TV tuner. It's designed primarily with students in mind. the 'e3' Series is a small footprint entertainment system that includes the functionality of a desktop PC in a notebook-like configuration.
Attractively packaged in a highly-styled, colorful portable all-in-one 'transportable' PC form factor weighing under 12 pounds and featuring a 12.1 inch TFT LCD display, the new eMachines e3 combines a full function personal computer powered by an Intel Celeron or Pentium III processor, with Windows 2000 Professional, optional TV reception with a built-in tuner, a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM for movies, FM radio, and very high quality stereo sound. Pricing will range from $1,000 to $1,400 depending on configuration.
Finally, eMachines is entering the mobile computing market with the announcement of a new series of notebook computers.
Featuring pre-installed Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional with SP1, the eSlate Series notebook models will be powered by Intel processors ranging from the mobile Celeron 700 MHz to Pentium III 850 MHz. Priced from $999 to $1,999, the new eSlates will be equipped with TFT screens ranging from 12.1 to 15 inches, and include key business computing elements such as a 10/100M NIC port and a 56K V.90 fax/modem.
The eSlate notebooks will be offered in the following configurations:
The 'S' family will be a sub-3 pound single spindle family featuring a 12.1 inch TFT display;
The 'N' units will be sub-5 pound dual spindles with 14.1 to 15 inch TFT displays;
The 'W' family is an "all-in-one" design with floppy, optical and hard drive storage in a 7 pound package with 14.1 to 15 inch TFT displays.
Look for these products early next year.
Is eMachines stretching too far? Will business users except a company known for its econo boxes? That remains to be seen. However, their strong business model gives them hope for the future.
Note: None of these products appear on the eMachine website yet.
UPDATE (12/2003): eMachines is now selling an Athlon64 powered computer.