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AOL Offers Low Cost Bilingual PC

America Online, Inc. today announced the introduction of the AOL Optimized PC, an affordable computer system that includes the hardware and software needed to get consumers up and running andonline.

Available for $299.99 with a 12-month AOL membership commitment of $23.90 a month, the AOL Optimized PC will be available this month in Office Depot stores, and soon in other major retail locationsnationwide.

For the 27% of U.S. households who have yet to purchase their first computer*, the AOL Optimized PC offers an affordable, complete system that’s easy to set up and easy to use, and offers language preferences for both English and Spanish.

“We’re addressing the needs of the millions of Internet intenders who are first-time PC buyers or novice computer users,” said Kenn Turner, Senior Vice President and General Manager, AOL Key Audiences. “They’ve told us that affordability and an interest in making one simple buying decision for everything they need to use the computer and get online is important to them. We think the complete AOL Optimized PC solution delivers unprecedented value, while maintaining performance and quality.”

The AOL Optimized PC includes all of the hardware consumers need to get started: a PC with an Intel processor, a monitor, a printer, speakers, a mouse and a keyboard. Color-coded cords, a large 4-color instructional poster and even an instructional video have been included to help make it simple to connect and set up the various components right out of the box.

The AOL Optimized PC is also pre-loaded with the software consumers need to enjoy their PC experience, including Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition and AOL 9.0 Optimized, the latest version of the AOL service. For Spanish-speaking consumers, this PC also includes a version of AOL 9.0 Optimized for the AOL Latino service, the leading Spanish language Internet service for U.S. Hispanics. AOL 9.0 Optimized offers built-in online safety and security features, including Parental Controls, spyware protection, Web pop-up controls, enhanced spam fighting tools, and AOL Computer Check Up, which can automatically diagnose and repair common computing ailments. Other features include AOL Mail, Instant Messenger and the Buddy List feature, AOL Address Book, AOL Calendar, AOL Search, and on-demand and exclusive programming from news to entertainment.

The AOL Optimized PC also comes bundled with the AOL Office suite, which is powered by Sun. This suite of productivity applications consists of:

— AOL Office Writer, a word processing program.

— AOL Office Calc, a spreadsheet application.

— AOL Office Impress, which provides tools to create presentations and slide shows.

Available in both English and Spanish, AOL Office allows consumers to open, edit, and save documents in a variety of popular formats.

For bilingual households, the AOL Optimized PC makes it easy to select and switch between a language preference – either English or Spanish – for the AOL Office applications, the AOL and AOL Latino services, as well as the AOL Desktop.

The AOL Desktop feature provides one-click access to the programs consumers will use most on their new PC and allows each family member to customize their PC experience with the language preference that’s most appropriate for them. The AOL Desktop also lets consumers personalize online experiences that are appropriate for everyone in the family, including the ability to set Parental Controls for their child’s use on both the PC and the AOL and AOL Latino services.

“Fifty-five percent of English language dominant Hispanic households have Internet access at home, compared with only 20% of Spanish language dominant households, according to the Synovate 2004 Hispanic Report,” said David Wellisch, Vice President and General Manager, AOL Latino. “The AOL Optimized PC is one of the only widely available PC plus Internet solutions that makes it easy to select and switch between language preferences. Combined with an affordable price and a comprehensive PC bundle, we hope to empower these consumers to take advantage of all the resources the Internet has to offer.”

This fall, America Online will be combining three of its powerhouse brands – Black Focus, Black Voices and Africana.com – into one new online destination, called Black Voices, to provide the African American community with special programming, content and resources.

The AOL Optimized PC manufactured by Systemax will be available in August 2004 in Office Depot stores across the U.S. AOL Optimized PC’s from other manufacturers will be available at additional retail locations later this fall.

Specifications of the AOL Optimized PC manufactured by Systemax include:

Processor: Intel Celeron Processor 2 GHz
Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition (pre-installed)
Memory: 256MB RAM
Hard Drive: 40GB, ATA 100, 5400 rpm
Optical Drive: 52x CD-ROM
Network: 10/100MB Ethernet
Modem: 56K v.92
Ports: Four USB 2.0 Ports (two front, two back)
Monitor: 17″ CRT monitor (minimum 15.7″ viewable)
Printer: Lexmark Color Inkjet Printer
Peripherals: Standard Multimedia Keyboard, Two-button Wheel Mouse, Speakers
Additional Pre-Installed Software: AOL Office suite of spreadsheet, word processing and presentation software; AOL 9.0 Optimized Internet service, the latest version of the AOL and AOL Latino services

Price: $299.99 plus tax with a 12-month AOL membership commitment of $23.90 a month; see www.AOLOPTIMIZEDPC.com for more details

Warranty: 1 Year Limited Warranty; additional warranty coverage may be obtained through retail partners

In addition, AOL offers differentiated and personalized services to meet the distinct needs of other key online audiences including the KOL service for kids and ‘tweens, and the RED service, an online experience for teenagers.

For more information or to order by phone, consumers can call 1-866-MYAOLPC (1-866-692-6572). AOL members can also visit AOL Keyword: AOL Optimized PC or www.AOLOPTIMIZEDPC.com.