Round Rock, Tex.-based Dell Computer waited a little to unveil its last new line of the year, a curvy break from its lines of competent but somewhat dullish computers. Dell's "Tahoe Blue"-colored WebPC, priced at $999 and up, is "legacy-free"--the computer industry's way of saying that, like Apple's iMac, this computer has no floppy drive and comes with USB ports instead of the confusing array of ports that have previously been standard issue. It also offers a button to connect users directly to Dell's technical support. In its low-end configuration, the WebPC includes a 433-MHz Intel Celeron processor, a 15-inch monitor, a year's worth of free Internet service and a Hewlett-Packard printer; other, pricier configurations offer such upgrades as a flat-panel display. As with the iMac, color is part of the pitch for the WebPC; customers can accessorize it with four other "optional color accents."


The announcement of a merger between Free-PC and low-cost computer manufacturer eMachines this week means the end of Free-PC's ad-subsidized computer offer. Stephen Dukker, president and CEO of eMachines, said that his company will be using Free-PC's technology to create "a media network out of the installed base of PCs we sell." What this means to you: Dukker said to look for such features as ads and icons downloaded directly to a customer's desktop from the company and its retail partners. Dukker said that price cuts weren't likely to happen soon, although they might be possible later on.

-- Compiled by Mike Musgrove

Top-selling electronics at

1. 3Com Palm V Connected Organizer

2. Sony D-E441 Discman

3. Garmin GPS III Plus Personal Navigator

4. 3Com Palm IIIx Connected Organizer

5. Diamond Rio PMP 300 MP3 player

6. VTech VT9115 White Analog 900-Mhz cordless phone

7. JVC RC-QN1 compact portable CD boom box

8. Aiwa XP-779 portable CD player

9. Xircom Rex-3 DS organizer with docking station

10. GPX C3915 portable CD player with car kit


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