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BARBIE, HOT WHEELS PCS TO BE MARKETED BY MATTEL.

Byline: Rachel Beck Associated Press

Mattel Inc. will launch a line of computers tied to its popular Barbie and Hot Wheel brands, the latest move by the world's largest toy maker to expand its high-tech offerings.

Mattel announced Tuesday it has signed a licensing agreement with Patriot Computers to produce brightly colored PCs for $599 - including the central processing unit, monitor and 20 software titles.

The new computers will go on sale Sept. 15.

``The whole toy industry is moving toward technology, and this is just the latest example of that,'' said Chris Byrne, a toy consultant.

Mattel's entrance into the computer market comes as the El Segundo-based company aggressively pursues opportunities outside traditional toys, like CD-ROMs and high-tech gadgets - which children today seem more interested in playing with than dolls and action figures.

With its low prices, Mattel is targeting not only those families buying their first computer but also those looking to buy a second home PC. According to ZD InfoBeads, a research firm in La Jolla, 65 percent of U.S. households with children own a computer.

Each full-size computer will include a 333 MHz Intel Celeron processor, 15-inch monitor, 56K modem, a 3-gigabyte hard drive and a Windows 98 operating system.

The Barbie PC comes in silver with pink and purple flowers. It features 20 entertainment and educational software titles, as well as the popular Barbie digital camera and mouse.

The blue and gold Hot Wheels PC comes with 20 titles such as Hot Wheels Stunt Track Driver and Compton's 3D World Atlas. The package also includes a Hot Wheels steering wheel.
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Title Annotation:BUSINESS
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 4, 1999
Words:266
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