Acer Inc., the Taiwanese computer company, will introduce next month an Internet-ready personal computer with a disk drive for less than $500, the first computer at that price with storage capacity and a major boon for Utah-based Iomega Corp.
The inclusion of a storage drive is a major difference from so-called network computers planned by International Business Machines Corp., Apple Computer Inc. and others, which plan to market their computers as inexpensive hookups to larger networks such as the Internet's World Wide Web.The Acer Basic will include Intel Corp.'s Pentium processor, four megabytes of random access memory and Iomega Corp.'s 100 megabyte zip drive, said Jane Chen, an Acer spokeswoman. The computer will be usable with a television or a computer monitor.
It will work on the DOS operating system and will come with Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 3.1, the penultimate generation of Windows software.
"Unlike a pure network computer, the Acer Basic is a fully functional PC," Acer said in a statement. "When not connected to larger computer servers, these pure network computers are essentially useless."
Acer plans to launch the computer, advertised as a fully functional personal computer, this June.
The inclusion of the disk drive is a boon to Iomega, based in Roy and already one of the fastest-growing makers of computer peripherals.
"This is monstrous news" for Iomega, said Joe Besecker, an analyst at Emerald Research in Lancaster, Pa. "They're positioning themselves to be the catcher's mitt of the Internet."
Demand for Iomega's disk drives is growing at a torrid pace as companies beef up their storage capacity to distribute more information to clients linked by networks. Iomega earned $10.1 mil-lion in the first quarter on revenue of $222 million, compared with a loss of $1.5 million on sales of $40 million a year earlier.
Individual computer users are also a hot market for Iomega, as consumers buy drives to store information and graphics culled from the World Wide Web.
Taiwan-based Acer is the world's seventh-largest PC maker.