DigitalLife 2007: Gateway One Unveiled Today

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Gateway announced at DigitalLife today its first all-in-one desktop computer, The Gateway One. It could reflect the brand's developing approach toward clutter-free desktop designs very much like Apple's iMac.

Citing market research and reports, Gateway says this unit will function well as the entertainment hub in a digital household, and is especially suited to the consumer who uses his computer itself as his entertainment center. Wireless peripherals, invisible speakers, and most importantly, the CPU and flat screen monitor combo are all present in one sleek package.

What the company touts as its most innovative feature is somewhat...curious. The NXT SoundVU exciters turn the polished front surface into a sort of speaker, vibrating it to create stereo sound. While not like a dynamic speaker where the source of the sound is easily traceable, here sound seems to radiate from the unit itself. Gateway hopes this adds to the elegance and intrigue of the One's design.

Coincidentally, the chassis is designed to be opened without tools to allow easy modification and expansion. The back panel can be removed by simply sliding two latches. Gateway says the One runs almost completely silently thanks to its "smart" power module, but it looks like the vibrating front panel speaker and loosely attached back panel could add up to considerable rattling.

There will be more than one Gateway One, including two retail versions available exclusively through Best Buy, and a third through Gateway Direct. The base model, priced at $1,299.99 USD includes an Intel Core 2 Duo T5250 dual-core processor; Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100; 320 GB SATA II hard drive, and a 1.3 Mp webcam. The $1,799.99 configuration includes an Intel Core 2 Duo T7250 dual-core processor; ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2600 XT graphics; 500 GB SATA II hard drive and a 1.3 Mp webcam. That unit will also include an analog/digital TV tuner supporting almost any source of TV signals: antenna, direct cable, and set top boxes.

Meanwhile, the Gateway One model available direct from Gateway includes an Intel Core 2 Duo T5250 dual-core processor; ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2600 XT graphics; 400 GB Serial ATA II hard drive, and the 1.3 Mp webcam for $1,499.99.

As Gateway prepares to enter the Acer fold, we could be seeing the first signs of brand differentiation, where Acer targets the more traditional commodity customer and Gateway the upscale customer. For the troubled brand once known as Gateway 2000, its future on the US desktop may now come down to just "One."

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