Gateway 2000 unveils Destination presentation system at FOSE

Gateway 2000 this week will show federal customers its new Destination multimedia presentation system at FOSE.

Destination is a 120 MHz PC that is packaged to serve groups of users instead of a single user. It comes with a Mitsubishi 31-inch monitor, TV tuner, wireless keyboard and mouse, a six-speed CD-ROM drive, 28.8 kilobit/sec modem, 16M of RAM and 1.2G hard disk drive.

The product is an example of reverse technology transfer, in that government agencies will be able to purchase a product initially developed for the home market.

Indeed, Destination looks more like a home entertainment system than a business computer. Because the design was intended to serve groups in the home, Gateway realized that it is also well-suited to serve groups in conference rooms at federal agencies, said Jim Connal, Gateway's managing director of federal sales.

"The early signs are very good, especially in conference rooms and for training," he said. "We think that we will get a very good response."

Gateway will show several of the systems in its FOSE booth and will begin including Destination in its regular sales pitch to agencies.

"The Destination multimedia theater system is an ideal corporate product for both training and in the boardroom," said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, a market research firm.

Because Destination includes a TV tuner and National Television Standards Committee-specification video input, the product is ideal for videoconferencing as well as collaborative computing and presentations, Connal said.

Destination uses two wireless input devices that use radio frequencies rather than infrared technology, the former providing better range and omnidirectionality. The keyboard is a standard PC keyboard with a touchpad pointing device built in. The Field Mouse remote is a combination trackball and TV-style remote control.

Having wireless input devices means that groups can share Destination in a conference room by passing around the devices. It also means that presenters can run presentations on Destination without being tied to the PC.

Destination uses a special 31-inch computer monitor instead of a TV monitor because of the low resolution and interlaced picture on TV sets.

However, Destination's huge display is not a high-resolution, computer-aided design-type display, said Stacy Hand, product marketing manager for Destination. The monitor's intended resolution is 640-by-480 dots per inch and it will run at 800-by-600 dpi, according to Hand.

"We are not going after the crowd that would be doing CAD." Hand said. While 800 by 600 dpi resolution might seem desirable, especially in such a large screen, focus groups who tested the product preferred the 640-by-480 dpi resolution, he said.

"As the resolution goes up, everything gets smaller," Connal said.

The other obvious benefit is that the lower resolution gives Gateway a lower cost for the display, so Destination is more affordable.

Destination has high-fidelity audio built into the computer, but for better sound Gateway has a deal with the renowned home-and-commercial audio company Harman Kardon to provide an optional surround-sound system.

The PC upon which Destination is based is a fairly typical Pentium computer that is contained in a black cabinet designed to match the decor of conference rooms and living rooms. The PC has three PCI local bus expansion slots, a pair of ISA bus slots and one shared slot. It also has a 256K secondary cache and the usual parallel and serial ports on the back of the system.

The PC runs Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 95, and the multimedia configuration includes Microsoft Office 95 instead of the array of games and entertainment software the consumer versions include.

Destination's commercial price will be $3,799 when the product begins shipping in May.

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