Gary Krakow  /  MSNBC
At the New York City launch, neighborhood kids took to the new Disney PCs without much prodding.
By Columnist
msnbc.com
updated 8/5/2004 1:06:20 PM ET 2004-08-05T17:06:20

Stop complaining about that Mickey Mouse computer you have on your desk. There’s now a real Mickey Mouse computer on the market, made by Disney expressly for children.

The mouse, of course, has ears. Even the monitor has ears. What would you expect from something called the Disney Dream Desk PC? It’s actually a complete personal computer designed for kids. That means the keyboard, mouse and even the electronic drawing pen have been designed for little kids’ hands.

The system was designed by frog design and built by Medion, a German firm that makes many private-label computers and will soon be marketing their own line here in the United States. The CPU tower, monitor, keyboard and mouse are designed to fit in small spaces and all the cables and plugs are hidden from view and small fingers.

Inside the cute blue tower is a Celeron D 330 processor (2.66GHz), a 40 GB hard drive, 256 MB of memory, a CD-RW/DVD combo drive, Microsoft Windows XP Home operating system and Works 7.0 productivity suite, ATI Radeon 9100 Pro 3-D graphics accelerator, a multimedia keyboard with digital pen and built-in cradle plus the aforementioned kid-sized mouse with ears. The blue, Mickey-shaped monitor is a 14.1 inch LCD flat-panel with embedded stereo speakers.

Even more compelling than the design is the software included in the package: Disney Flix, a video/movie program; Disney Pix, drawing tools/photo software and Disney Mix, which allows kids to be music conductors.  They also can be used together to, for instance, add music to videos.

Also included: games such as "Disney’s Mahjongg" and "Disney’s Extremely Goofy Skateboarding," Disney’s Adventures in Typing with Timon and Pumba and a two-week free membership to Disney’s ToonTown Online.

The Disney digital camera, video camera, game controller and matching blue printer from Lexmark are available separately.

Best of all are the safety programs included for parents: ContentProtect for Internet filtering and content control, EmailProtect (filtering and spam blocking) and PopupProtect for browsing. A special parents’ key on the Dream Desk keyboard gives adults access to these programs.

Beginning next week, the computer will be available through the Disney catalog and Disneystore.com. CompUSA is the exclusive retail outlet for the Disney Dream Desk PC. You can pre-order one now online and receive a free Disney Digital Camera. CompUSA stores will stock the PC beginning in mid-September. CompUSA is offering Dream Desk buyers free delivery, in-home installation and a one-time training session.

The Dream Desk PC will retail for $599. The matching monitor will retail for $299.  I think $900 is a lot for a computer with a Celeron processor, an average-sized hard drive and the bare minimum amount of memory, but it should be enough for what kids will want to do on their personal computer.

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