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SJ Mercury: PCs get dolled up by Mattel

Aug 04, 1999, 16:21 (7 Talkback[s])

"Cheap, fast computers to be built on Barbie, Hot Wheels themes"

"But what might seem like child's play underscores several important trends in the computer and toy industries. New waves of computer buyers are looking for machines that reflect their personalities. And toymakers are anxious to expand their reach into interactive entertainment."

"To build the new PCs, Mattel partnered with Patriot Computers of Markham, Ontario. The computers will be sold directly through Patriot or on the Web, beginning Sept. 15, for $599 or a $14.98 monthly payment."

"But for a device touted as a children's PC, the adaptations are largely superficial. Not much has been done to make using the computer more friendly to little hands or young minds. Both computers use the Microsoft Windows 98 operating system, but only the icons -- like a cursor turned into a racecar -- have been changed to match the toy theme.

Mattel used a similar strategy in July when it introduced the Barbie printer..."

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