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Vizio launches line of drool-worthy bargain-price PCs

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Vizio Thursday unveiled a line of laptops and all-in-one desktop computers, marking the electronics maker’s first push into the personal-computer market with pricing that starts at $898.

The Irvine, Calif., company, which ranks as one of the top sellers of televisions in the U.S., announced five different computers at a New York event. The products will be available this summer in time for the back-to-school selling season.

Vizio shook up the market with inexpensive high-definition televisions, and it is trying to do the same in the PC industry. The closely held company, which also produces Blu-ray players and a tablet, worked on the computer designs for a couple years in an attempt to offer an aesthetic that competes with Apple’s popular products but at a lower price.

The new PCs announced Thursday will start at $898 for a 14-inch, thin-and-light laptop. That compares with $999 for the least-expensive, 11-inch Apple MacBook Air and the approximate $1,000 pricing for most new, thin-and-light notebooks, dubbed ultrabooks by chip company Intel Corp. A 27-inch, all-in-one desktop, Vizio’s highest-end computer, starts at $1,098.

“People don’t need another PC manufacturer giving them a bunch of junk at a low price,” Vizio Chief Executive William Wang said. He stressed that Vizio used high-end components to help it target tech-savvy consumers who can’t afford pricy notebooks.

Vizio isn’t targeting the high end of the PC market, he said in an interview following the event.

“Our target audience is people who can’t afford a $2,000 notebook,” Mr. Wang said.

Vizio is entering the crowded computer market at a time of upheaval. PC makers such as Hewlett-Packard and Dell have faced falling prices and sluggish sales as consumers instead choose to spend their dollars on smartphones and tablets. Computer makers are counting on new designs and Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system to reinvigorate the sector.

Read more on Vizio’s new PC lineup at the Wall Street Journal.

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