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InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors

September 01-07 2001

About News and Rumors. InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors is a daily column. It features news coverage of new PC and Mac computer hardware and software, Internet news, and other technical news items.
Every Sunday, News and Rumors features "Sunday Shopping Watch", which is a comparison and analysis of Sunday computer store advertisements.
The Computer News and Rumors is an archived column, so feel free to review previous week's or month's computer news by clicking on the link below. Previous computer news articles can also be searched, by using our site search feature found in the right-hand column.

InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors Article Index
Date
(Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to the Index.)
Sep 07 HP Ships New HP Jornada PDAs with Microsoft Pocket PC 2002 Software
Sep 07 QPS Launches Three New Que! DVDBurners
Sep 07 I/OMagic Launches New Sound Card Line-up
Sep 07 Samsung Introduces SpinPoint V40 Series 40GB/Platter Hard Disk Drives
Sep 06 SanDisk and Sony Agree to Cooperate On Memory Stick
Sep 06 SONICblue Introduces Broadband Digital Video Recorder
Sep 06 General Mills Cereal Boxes to Include Popular Family Software Titles
Sep 06 USB Implementers Forum Announces USB On-The-Go Specification
Sep 05 Fujitsu to Quadruple Hard Drive Capacity in 2 Years
Sep 05 Micron to Demonstrate DDR333 SDRAM Platforms
Sep 05 ALi Introduces Southbridge Supporting Ultra ATA/133 Hard Drive Interface
Sep 05 Epson Introduces New Low Cost Ink Jets
Sep 04 Hewlett-Packard and Compaq Agree to Merge
Sep 04 Nokia confirms GPRS programs are on track, addresses technology outlook
Sep 04 New Sharp Notebook Redefines Ultra-Mobility
Sep 04 31.1 Million U.S. Households Will Have a Broadband Connection by 2005
Sep 04 Free Rabbit Media Player Makes Viewing Online Videos Fast and Easy
Sep 02 Sunday Shopping Watch

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Sep 07 - HP Ships New HP Jornada PDAs with Microsoft Pocket PC 2002 Software. Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HWP) today announced shipment of two new color personal digital assistants -- the first PDAs to feature the robust Microsoft(R) Pocket PC 2002 Premium Edition software. Offering mobile professionals greater power and expandability, the HP Jornada 565 and 568 PDAs will be unveiled publicly for the first time at today's DEMOmobile conference in La Jolla, Calif.
"HP envisions a world in which mobility radically transforms how consumers and business professionals operate and manage their daily lives," said Jean-Luc Meyer, worldwide marketing manager, HP Embedded and Personal Systems Organization. "These new PDAs offer cutting-edge technology to address the needs of mobile professionals."
"The HP Jornada 560 PDA series is one of the best designed yet to come to market," said J. Gerry Purdy, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer, Mobile Insights, Inc., a market research firm based in Mountain View, Calif. "All the desirable and leading technologies have come together beautifully in one lightweight, thin device that optimizes productivity and entertainment capabilities for the most discriminating mobile professional. With the built-in CompactFlash Type 1 extended slot, IT professionals are going to find it easy to adapt it to many enterprise situations."

Expandable and Versatile

The HP Jornada PDAs offer mobile professionals a portable solution to maximize efficiency and provide the freedom to enhance productivity and personal creativity. Users can access critical business information, browse the Internet, check e-mail, communicate with other PDAs, PCs and printers, and capture, share and edit digital images while on the go(1)(2).
(Note: Wireless Internet use requires separately purchased modem and service contract. Check with service provider for coverage and availability in your area. Not all Web content available.)
Featuring a built-in CompactFlash Type 1 extended slot, the HP Jornada PDAs allow users to add memory cards and optional accessories such as wireless network solutions and the HP Pocket Camera. Unlike other PDAs, HP's devices feature a removable/rechargeable 14-hour, lithium-polymer battery and HP Safe Store, which offers an additional 8 MB of FlashROM for backing up vital data and applications(3).
Providing increased versatility for the professional on the go, the HP Jornada PDAs feature a vibrant, 16-bit front-lit TFT reflective color screen for excellent indoor and outdoor viewing and an Intel(R) StrongARM 206 MHz high-performance processor for quick access to information.

Software Solutions

Microsoft's latest Pocket PC operating system, Pocket PC 2002 Premium Edition, provides a robust suite of applications ideal for both mobile professionals and enterprise customers. Applications include: Pocket Outlook, Pocket Word, Pocket Excel, Pocket Internet Explorer, Terminal Services Client, MSN Messenger, Microsoft Reader 2.0 and Microsoft Windows(R) Media Player 8 for Pocket PC.

U.S. Availability, Pricing and Support

The HP Jornada 565 and 568 PDAs are now shipping to retail outlets with expected availability on Oct. 4 in North America. The HP Jornada 565 PDA features 32 MB RAM and has an estimated retail price of $599(4). The HP Jornada 568 PDA features 64 MB RAM and has an estimated retail price of $649(4). A $50 mail-in rebate is planned to be available for both products from Oct. 4 through the end of the year. Both PDAs are backed by a one-year limited warranty.
Additional information about HP Jornada PDAs and handheld PCs is available at www.hp.com/jornada.

Sep 07 - QPS Launches Three New Que! DVDBurners. QPS, Inc. (www.qps-inc.com) announced that it has launched three Que! DVDBurners to meet the increased demand for its DVD products.
These DVD-R, DVD-RAM drives include the internal IDE/ATAPI Que! DVDBurner, the external QUE! USB 2.0 DVDBurner, and the external QUE! Fire DVDBurner. All are shipped with a complete suite of software including MedioStream's encoding/decoding and authoring software.
"Our new DVDBurners will dramatically change the way users store, share and distribute data and video content. Ours are the only drives that provide true random-access editing power to the digital content on large capacity DVD media. Both DVD-R and DVD-RAM discs can be used with these drives. These drives enable users to create their own DVD movies by writing DVD-R General discs and playing them on most computer DVD-ROMs and Generation 2 players, as well as future set-top players," said Pierre Abboud, vice president of QPS. "The Que! USB 2.0 DVDBurner is the world's first DVD combination drive that features the fast USB 2.0 interface."
Each drive is shipped with MPEG-2 encoding software, which enables the creation of high quality DVD discs with full audio tracks rivaling Hollywood-style DVDs. They can write 4.7GB of data (over two hours of video) on DVD-R General discs. The discs are very affordable and versatile storage media for video authoring, data and image archiving, and other applications. Users can also write and rewrite DVD-RAM discs with a 4.7/9.4GB capacity.
QPS ships a complete software suite, which enables the capture, transcoding, pre-authoring, authoring, pre-mastering and mastering capabilites needed to produce the highest quality data and video DVDs every time. The MedioStream neoDVD authoring software is a complete publishing solution that simplifies DVD burning and allows the consumer to easily create and burn DVD discs. It has an automatic PAL/NTSC conversion feature that allows created discs to be viewed anywhere in the world.
The Internal model is priced at $549 and the External FireWire and USB 2.0 models are priced at $699. All models are available immediately.

Sep 07 - I/OMagic Launches New Sound Card Line-up. I/OMagic Corp. (OTCBB:IOMC), a leading developer and marketer of digital entertainment and peripheral PC products, today announced that it has launched a new line-up of sound cards products into the retail marketplace.
The three new cards -- the "Storm Surge," the "Hurricane Extreme," and the "Typhoon Theatre" -- are based on ESS Technology's (Nasdaq:ESST) Canyon3D(TM)-2(TM) PCI audio accelerator family.
"We're excited about bringing a new line of high quality sound cards into the retail channel," said Tony Andrews, vice president of engineering/product development for I/OMagic Corp. "There is something for everyone in this line-up. Quality of sound, engineering expertise and rich 3D digital audio -- all at extremely affordable prices."
William K. Wong, ESS Technology's vice-president of marketing stated: "We are proud to team with I/OMagic on this fantastic portfolio of home-theater sound cards. Canyon3D-2 based cards deliver the most powerful audio acceleration for PC gaming that is currently available in the market. ESS Technology is focused on providing high-end digital entertainment products and is pleased that I/OMagic is using our solution to offer unrivaled audio performance at price points that everyone can afford."
The I/OMagic "Storm Surge" is an entry level, multi-channel PCI sound card. It is a four-speaker solution and features up to 48 DirectSound3D hardware accelerated streams. Other highlights include front and surround analog outputs, up to 48 kHz playback/record. MSRP is $39.99 for the "Storm Surge."
The I/OMagic "Hurricane Extreme" is a premium audio solution for four-speaker applications and features up to 64 DirectSound3D hardware accelerated streams. It includes award winning PowerDVD playback software with Dolby digital decoding of DVD on four speakers and Dolby headphone technology. The Hurricane Extreme also includes a five-band hardware equalizer, S/PDIF-Out and is bundled with music and games. MSRP is $49.99.
And finally, the "Typhoon Theatre" is a 5.1 Channel PCI sound card that is a first-class audio solution for six-speaker applications such as DVD home theater. This multi-channel card has up to 96 DirectSound3D accelerated streams and also packs the award-winning PowerDVD software, featuring Dolby digital decoding of DVD on six speakers and Dolby headphone technology. The Typhoon Theatre also includes S/PDIF digital output for Dolby digital AC-3 via a universal RCA connector and is bundled with music and games. MSRP is $69.99.
Visit the I/OMagic Web site at www.iomagic.com. ESS Technology's Web site address is: www.esstech.com.

Sep 07 - Samsung Introduces SpinPoint V40 Series 40GB/Platter Hard Disk Drives. Samsung Information Systems America, Inc. today announced the availability of its SpinPoint V40 Series of hard disk drives.
Featuring 40GB per platter technology, 2.9 bel acoustic noise, 8.9ms average seek time, 2MB buffer DRAM, and Ultra ATA-100 interface, this new addition to Samsung's 5400 RPM SpinPoint family is a leading edge hard disk drive solution for the desktop PC and consumer electronics market.
"SpinPoint V40 Series provides spacious storage capacity of up to 80GB -- suitable for the handling of massive multimedia content such as movies and MP3 songs, and offering itself as an optimal storage solution to a variety of blooming digital consumer electronics devices as well as desktop PC systems," said No-Kyung Park, vice president of strategic marketing at Samsung Storage Division. "SpinPoint V20 (20GB/Platter) and V30 (30GB/Platter) Series have been very successful products. The recognition on the quality of those products enabled Samsung to engage with new strategic OEM customers. Accordingly, our financial performance this year has been also improved a lot despite of the sluggish market situation. We expect the V40 Series to provide us with the opportunity to further expand our OEM customer base and improve our market position."
With the introduction of the V40 Series, Samsung continues to demonstrate the quality and reliability of its SpinPoint hard disk drive products. Incorporating an advanced mechanical platform designed to minimize the intensity of external shock transmitted to the most critical components, the V40 Series improves on its already competitive shock protection capability to industry leading 350G. In addition, the V40 Series also maintains the top-of-the-class acoustic performance both during idle and seek conditions with Samsung's NoiseGuard(TM) and SilentSeek(TM) technologies.
"SilentSeek(TM) technology is distinguished from other noise suppression technologies in that it is designed to minimize the generation of acoustic noise, rather than suppress the emission of it," said Dr. Debasis Baral, vice president of R&D at Samsung Storage Division. "We've been putting considerable resources into the development of technologies that will improve acoustic quality and mechanical robustness. The positive customer responses we have been receiving on reliability and quietness of SpinPoint products are the result of teamwork between the hard disk drive R & D center and Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology."
Volume shipments of the V40 Series products have begun -- offering 20GB, 40GB, 60GB, and 80GB capacity points. OEM qualifications are in progress with major PC manufacturers.
Visit the company's Web site at www.samsunghdd.com.

Sep 06 - SanDisk and Sony Agree to Cooperate On Memory Stick. SanDisk Corporation (Nasdaq:SNDK) and Sony Corporation today announced they have signed a cooperation agreement involving the Memory Stick.
Under the agreement, Sony will supply SanDisk with Memory Stick media that SanDisk will resell under its own brand through its retail channel. SanDisk will also supply under market-competitive terms a portion of Sony's NAND flash memory requirements.
The two companies also agreed to jointly develop, separately manufacture and sell the next generation of Memory Stick that will incorporate advanced features such as significantly higher performance and storage capacities. Suehiro Nakamura, executive deputy president of Sony Corporation said "We are very pleased to announce the collaboration with SanDisk on Memory Stick. Our partnership with SanDisk, a world leader in memory cards, will allow us to increase Memory Stick market share and build a strong position to make Memory Stick as the standard of digital recording media in the world."
Eli Harari, SanDisk president and CEO, hailed the agreement as "a significant milestone for SanDisk. Sony and SanDisk share a common vision for exciting new digital audio/video applications that will require the next generation Memory Stick. We are very pleased that Sony has invited us to contribute our expertise and intellectual property in flash memory cards to jointly develop the next generation of Memory Stick. This agreement enables SanDisk to sell every major flash memory card form factor so we can truly be a one-stop shop to our retail customers. We are also encouraged by Sony's plan to purchase our NAND flash components because Sony is one of the largest consumers of NAND Flash Memory components today."
SanDisk plans to commence worldwide shipments of Memory Stick and accessories to its more than 29,000 retail outlets over the next two quarters. Sales of NAND components to Sony are expected to begin towards the end of the year.
The companies can be found on the Web at www.sandisk.com and http://www.world.sony.com.

Sep 06 - SONICblue Introduces Broadband Digital Video Recorder. ReplayTV changed home entertainment forever with the introduction of the first digital video recorder (DVR) in 1998, allowing consumers to pause live television. Now, SONICblue(TM) (Nasdaq:SBLU) is giving consumers even more control. The company is launching the first home-networked DVR, a revolutionary product with broadband connectivity that lets consumers store up to 320 hours of television or other media, share video clips between rooms in the home or with friends outside the home, as well as playback recorded programs without commercials. The world's first home video server, the ReplayTV 4000, can also be used to store photos and home movies.
SONICblue's new ReplayTV 4000 models connect to a cable modem or DSL for fast and easy transferring of video over broadband and can share video throughout the house via a home network.
"Families can now create their own video library, collecting their favorite movies and programs without commercial interruption, along with family videos and photos that can be easily retrieved for viewing at anytime," Ken Potashner, CEO and chairman, SONICblue, explained. "These products are just the tip of the iceberg, in terms of what's coming from SONICblue. We plan to introduce a series of exciting products and services for the connected, digital home that will bring enjoyment to the consumer."
SONICblue, a leader in the converging Internet, digital media, entertainment and consumer electronics markets, acquired ReplayTV just weeks ago in a move designed to further advance its lead in the digital entertainment market.
"ReplayTV has been a great innovator in digital video, and we believe that the launch of the ReplayTV 4000 bolsters SONICblue's leadership position in the digital video space," Potashner said. "This product is yet another offering from SONICblue that changes the way people think about entertainment and productivity."
SONICblue's new ReplayTV series is available in four models: ReplayTV 4040 with up to 40 hours of storage for $699; ReplayTV 4080 with up to 80 hours of storage for $999; ReplayTV 4160 with up to 160 hours of storage for $1,499; and the ReplayTV 4320 with up to 320 hours of storage for $1,999.
The ReplayTV 4040, 4080, 4160 and 4320 can be ordered from www.SONICblue.com or www.replaytv.com.

Sep 06 - General Mills Cereal Boxes to Include Popular Family Software Titles. The next generation of cereal box prizes is coming to a store near you. Now through September, 14 million General Mills cereal boxes each feature full-version, top-selling Hasbro family game software titles including Monopoly Jr. and Boggle.
Each CD-ROM features the interactive version of one of five popular Hasbro family games - Monopoly Jr., Chutes and Ladders, Boggle, Operation, or Ultimate Yahtzee published by Infogrames Interactive, Inc. and distributed by Infogrames, Inc. (Nasdaq:IFGM).
Through the years, cereal box prizes have often reflected major cultural trends and interests. For instance, a 1930s cereal bowl offer featured an innovative new substance called plastic and, as millions of families purchased their first automobiles in the 1950s, kids clamored to get their hands on miniature license plates, making them one of the most popular cereal giveaways ever.
Now, the trend is technology. In fact, parents are eager for their children to become computer whiz kids. A nationwide survey of 1,000 adults shows that that the majority of parents (51 percent) would rather their child have the talent to master computers like Bill Gates than play sports like Michael Jordan (20 percent), sing like Whitney Houston (8 percent), or act like Susan Sarandon (4 percent).
The same survey, conducted by General Mills, shows that 90 percent think computer games can be good educational tools for kids. But quality software often comes with a high price tag. Most adults (53 percent) say they expect to pay at least $25 for a desirable children's software title. But with this new promotion, the software's free with a box of cereal.
"We've taken cereal premiums to a whole new level," said General Mills promotion manager Pam Kermisch. "We've always tried to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to providing the most innovative cereal prizes out there and I think families will be thrilled with our latest offering."
"These are games everyone can enjoy, and this is an original and fun way to bring them directly to our target audience of kids and families," said Heather Fineman, manager of OEM and Licensing, Infogrames Interactive Inc.
The CD-ROMs are attached to specially marked boxes of Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Golden Grahams and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Since each CD-ROM is visible on the front of the cereal box, consumers can easily collect all five games.
General Mills can be found on the Internet at www.genmills.com.

Seo 06 - USB Implementers Forum Announces USB On-The-Go Specification. The Universal Serial Bus (USB) Implementers Forum today announced the release for public comment of the proposed On-The-Go Supplement to the USB 2.0 Specification. This supplement defines a method for portable devices to expand upon their basic personal computer (PC) connectivity by communicating directly with selected peripherals.
The USB standard was initially designed to provide a common interface between a PC and its peripherals. Today many peripherals such as MP3 players, digital cameras, personal data assistants (PDAs) and cell phones are taking advantage of USB's low cost, high speed and widespread host port availability.
As portable devices increase in popularity, there is a growing need for them to communicate directly with each other when a PC is not available. The On-The-Go Supplement addresses this need for mobile interconnectivity by allowing a USB peripheral to have the following enhancements:


-- Limited host capability to communicate with selected other USB peripherals
-- A small USB connector to fit the mobile form factor
-- Low power features to preserve battery life

A device with the above features is referred to as a dual-role device and can take on the role of either host or peripheral when connected to other USB devices. Unlike a PC, a dual-role device is not required to support all possible types of USB peripherals. However, each USB On-The-Go product must operate as a peripheral with existing PCs in accordance with the USB specification.
Once adopted, the On-The-Go Supplement will allow manufacturers to develop devices with exciting new capabilities. An MP3 player could be connected to another MP3 player to transfer music files. A camera could be connected directly to a printer to print out a picture. A PDA could be connected to a cell phone to enable mobile web surfing.
"USB brought great ease-of-use and performance to PC connected devices, resulting in USB devices shipping in the hundreds of millions of units. This proliferation has created a demand for connection between non-PC devices," said Martin Reynolds, vice president at Gartner Dataquest. "USB On-The-Go delivers host capability to any device that can usefully attach to a USB peripheral, and will further the adoption of USB as a standard for simple high-performance connectivity."
Publication of the 0.9 revision of the supplement, available at www.usb.org/developers/onthego, is viewed by the industry as a signal to manufacturers that the essential technical content is complete. Ratification of the 1.0 revision of the supplement is expected by the end of this year, after a public review period. The first product shipments based on the specification are anticipated in 2002.

Sep 05 - Fujitsu to Quadruple Hard Drive Capacity in 2 Years. Fujitsu Ltd., one of the leading suppliers of hard drives and computer peripherals, today announced its intention to aggressively leverage a major hard disk drive technology breakthrough from Fujitsu Laboratories, as it implements its recently announced push for market leadership in the fast-growing enterprise and mobile HDD markets.
Fujitsu Laboratories recently announced the achievement of a world record breaking recording density of 106.4Gigabits per square inch, which gives hard disk drives about three times the recording density of the latest models currently available.
Hard disk drives integrating this increased areal density of 106.4Gigabits per square inch will become available within two years. The benefits will be apparent in PCs, laptop computers and consumer electronics devices with a 2.5" hard disk drive that will have a storage capacity of more than 110GBytes, enough to record 20 DVD-quality movies -- a capability that Fujitsu believes will eventually mean the end of the 3.5" desktop drive market.
The technology announcement comes just weeks after Fujitsu Limited announced an aggressive plan to capitalize on exploding demand for enterprise HDD products for servers and storage devices, growth in the mobile HDD segment, and emerging markets for smaller hard drives in consumer-oriented household appliances, audio-visual products and other non-PC applications. To accommodate the new push, Fujitsu Limited will shift development, manufacturing and sales resources away from the 3.5" IDE desktop drive market that recorded negative growth in the first half of 2001.
This breakthrough further extends Fujitsu Limited's hard disk drive technology leadership, breaking the previous world record of 56Gbits per square inch announced last year by Fujitsu Limited.
"This is yet another example of Fujitsu's technological leadership, and we are excited about the prospect of bringing to market hard disk drives with this technology," said Mike Chenery, vice president, advanced product engineering at Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc. "This breakthrough underscores our quest for hard disk drive leadership, particularly in the laptop and consumer electronic appliances markets, as it will make our 2.5" drive the logical choice for personal video recorders and other non-PC applications."
Details of the new technology were announced by Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. at the Magnetic Recording Conference in Minneapolis, Minn., on August 20. The press release can be found at www.fujitsu.com.

Sep 05 - Micron to Demonstrate DDR333 SDRAM Platforms. Micron Technology, Inc., today announced that it will demonstrate multiple DDR333 SDRAM platforms at the VIA Technology Forum, held in Taipei, Taiwan (September 4-5), Tokyo, Japan (September 7), Beijing, China (September 11), and Munich, Germany (September 13). These platforms will feature Micron's DDR333 SDRAM.
Micron will demonstrate a Micron chipset and system, which utilizes DDR333 SDRAM memory modules and features a PCI-X bus, as well as a 64-bit PCI 2.2 bus. Micron designed this as a development chipset to enable system developers and designed the chipset, motherboard, and DDR SDRAM components and modules. With DRAM technology becoming increasingly complex, Micron is focusing on ways to help its customers implement new high-performance DRAM products. "We developed our DDR SDRAM platforms as reference designs that our customers can use in designing DDR SDRAM systems," said Mike Seibert, Micron's Strategic Marketing Manager. "Micron is the only memory company conducting system technology development to help enable our customers. We are providing customers with the various tools and resources they need to develop system-level products using cutting-edge memory technology. We are also working with customers on design guidelines for DDR333 technology." Micron was the first company to demonstrate a DDR266 system and continues to collaborate closely with key suppliers to drive leading-edge system technology. The company worked with multiple motherboard suppliers to develop DDR333 systems. Micron recently demonstrated its DDR333 platform at the Intel Developers Forum. ALI is also demonstrating platforms using Micron DDR333 SDRAMs.
To learn more about Micron Technology, Inc., visit its Web site at www.micron.com.

Sep 05 - ALi Introduces Southbridge Supporting Ultra ATA/133 Hard Drive Interface. Acer Laboratories Inc. (ALi), one of the world's leading integrated circuit solutions provider, today announced the southbridge M1535D+ supporting Maxtor(R)'s (NYSE:MXO) Fast Drive ATA/133 hard drive interface technology. Overpowering potential IDE bottlenecks while providing superior system performance, ALi's new southbridge M1535D+ expeditiously transfers data between the hard drive and the main system up to 1.3 times faster than current technology.
"ALi's heritage has long been recognized for exceeding customer's demands by aggressively pushing out the industry's most innovative technology in the shortest time frame. Once again, today's announcement of the M1535D+ accentuates our commitment to develop the most cost effective and energy efficient southbridge technology available on the market," said Dr. Chin Wu, president of ALi. "The technological breakthrough of the new Ultra ATA/133 interface is crucial in providing swift and even data transfer between memory and hard drive. Through working closely with Maxtor, ALi is optimistic the Ultra ATA/133 will be deemed the de facto standard of the PC industry."
"We are thrilled to have an industry leader, such as ALi, integrating the Ultra ATA/133 interface into their next generation portfolio of products. ALi's new southbridge M1535D+ is an ideal solution that allows PC systems to perform at their finest -- without the menace of data bottlenecks," said Ted Deffenbaugh, vice president of product strategy at Maxtor.
Ultra ATA/133 is a new hard drive interface technology that utilizes the current IDE interface transmission. The new interface, which is 1.3 times faster than earlier Ultra ATA/100 technology, is also backward compatible to ATA/66 and /100. For more information on Maxtor's Ultra ATA/133 Fast drive technology, visit www.maxtor.com/fastdrive.
ALi's M1535D+ is equipped with ATA 66/100/133, super I/O, audio processing, software modem, keyboard controller, fast infra-red (FIR), hot key power on, SPDIF, and 6 USB port. In addition to support for X86 architectures for Intel, AMD, Transmeta and RISE, ALi's M1535D+ can be used with a wide array of platforms, including most major CISC and RISC CPUs, as well as Information Appliance products, set top boxes, web pads, blade servers and work stations.
ALi is available on the web at www.ali.com.tw.

Sep 05 - Epson Introduces New Low Cost Ink Jets. Epson America today announced two new four-color, desktop color ink jet printers targeted specifically for value-driven customers and PC bundlers.
The EPSON Stylus C60 (priced at $79, following a $20 mail-in rebate) is designed to give customers the maximum combination of quality and affordability, while the Stylus C40UX provides a substantial added value to PC manufacturers' and computer dealers' bundle packages.
Both printers incorporate Epson's award-winning Micro Piezo(R) ink jet technology in addition to several new features that enhance image quality. Special algorithms are now used to automatically detect and smooth the edges of low-resolution graphics often found in Web pages and low-resolution digital photos.
Variable sized droplets -- a feature that previously was available only on higher-end Epson printers -- are now being used with these models to achieve greater detail, brighter colors and sharper images. Additional algorithms have also been developed to achieve greater color accuracy and more lifelike skin tones in photographs.

EPSON Stylus C60

The EPSON Stylus C60 is optimized to deliver the best possible combination of image quality and speed available among any sub-$100 printer on the market.
In addition to using 2,880 x 720 dots-per-inch (dpi) hardware resolution and ink droplets as small as four picoliters, the printer can quickly output up to 12 pages per minute (ppm) of black text and up to eight ppm of color graphics and text. Furthermore, the Stylus C60 can print an 8" x 10" photo on a variety of media using its "Photo" mode in as little as 3 minutes, 11 seconds and offers both USB and parallel connections.

EPSON Stylus C40UX -- Best Value in Bundle Printers

Offering a maximum resolution of 1440 x 720 dpi hardware resolution along with six picoliter droplets, the EPSON Stylus C40UX is designed to add significant value to any PC bundle system. This printer can output black text at speeds of up to eight ppm and color graphics up to 3.5 ppm. Additionally, the Stylus C40UX features a built-in USB interface and an innovative, space-saving design -- ideal for the home user with limited desk space.
"Beyond just speed and print quality, a huge advantage with all of our printers is that there are no hidden ink costs associated with achieving better performance," said Rodrigo Catalan, product manager, consumer ink jet printers, Epson. "Whereas some manufacturers don't include the special ink cartridges that are sometimes required to achieve their rated print speeds or peak levels of performance, our printers ship with all of the necessary items in their original boxes to produce peak-performance output, without the hassle of making another trip to the store to spend more money on other ink cartridges."
The EPSON Stylus C60 is currently being sold through computer superstores and specialty retail stores nationwide, mail order, PC manufacturers, the Internet and Epson's own site www.epsonstore.com. The EPSON Stylus C40UX is being bundled with various computer packages from numerous manufacturers and resellers.

Sep 04 - Hewlett-Packard and Compaq Agree to Merge. Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE: HWP) and Compaq Computer Corporation (NYSE: CPQ) announced today a definitive merger agreement to create an $87 billion global technology leader. The new HP will offer the industry's most complete set of IT products and services for both businesses and consumers, with a commitment to serving customers with open systems and architectures. The combined company will have No. 1 worldwide revenue positions in servers, access devices (PCs & hand-helds), and imaging & printing, as well as leading revenue positions in IT services, storage, and management software.
The merger is expected to generate cost synergies reaching approximately $2.5 billion annually and drive a significantly improved cost structure. Based on both companies' last four reported fiscal quarters, the new HP would have approximate pro forma assets of $56.4 billion, annual revenues of $87.4 billion and annual operating earnings of $3.9 billion. It would also have operations in more than 160 countries and over 145,000 employees.
Carly Fiorina, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of HP, will be Chairman and CEO of the new HP. Michael Capellas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Compaq, will be President. Capellas and four other members of Compaq's current Board of Directors will join HP's Board upon closing.
"This is a decisive move that accelerates our strategy and positions us to win by offering even greater value to our customers and partners," said Fiorina. "In addition to the clear strategic benefits of combining two highly complementary organizations and product families, we can create substantial shareowner value through significant cost structure improvements and access to new growth opportunities. At a particularly challenging time for the IT industry, this combination vaults us into a leadership role with customers and partners -- together we will shape the industry for years to come."
Capellas said, "We are creating a new kind of industry leader -- one founded on customer success, world-class engineering, and best of breed products and services. In sharp contrast to our competitors, we are committed to leading the industry to open, market-unifying architectures and interoperability, which reduce complexity and cost for our customers. With this move, we will change the basis of competition in the industry."
More information cna be found at www.hp.com or www.compaq.com.

Sep 04 - Nokia confirms GPRS programs are on track, addresses technology outlook. Matti Alahuhta, President, Nokia Mobile Phones, today in New York reiterates Nokia's intention to release its GPRS products according to its announced plan.
The first units of the Nokia 8310 will become available in September, while the Nokia 6310 will start selling in the 4th quarter, and the Nokia 8390 at the end of 2001. Alahuhta, speaking at an investor conference, also gives updates on various mobile phone industry related topics. His presentation will be available as a live WebCast on www.nokia.com/investor from 12.50 to 1.30 pm EST and will also be archived for later viewing at the same site. Extracts of Alahuhta's speech have been highlighted below.
"With the GPRS business system, our industry is moving to a new level of complexity, which means that careful attention has had to been paid to the smooth functioning of all elements of the entire system before the volume roll-out of terminals and services. This year we estimate the GPRS terminal market volume to be about 10 million units but expect its share of the GSM handset market to rise to over 50% in two years' time. Our GPRS phone tests give us confidence that our products will perform to high expectations when they are released to the market.
"A key element in the overall success of GPRS is the ability of multiple vendors to consistently test GPRS features between infrastructure and terminals in order to deploy interoperable products in the market. I am happy to say that all leading manufacturers are unanimous on the importance of moving GPRS forward as a joint effort, following a commonly agreed process of interoperability testing in relation to new features. This kind of broad industry consensus is essential for the successful rollout of the new mobile services.
"GPRS technology is an important shift in our industry because of packet switching. For the consumer, this means being 'always connected' to services. But the fundamental transformation in our industry comes through a combination of several additional evolving technologies. WAP/XHTML, Java and Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) will all contribute to the creation of a new growth wave, which is rapidly approaching. Within 12 months Nokia will introduce a wide array of new mobile phones, including new product concepts, based on these technologies.
"The expansion of personal messaging over MMS will follow the phenomenal success of SMS based transactions. According to external estimates, over 200 billion SMS messages will be transmitted in GSM networks this year. We will start delivering MMS in our products during the first half of next year. Our first dual-mode GSM/WCDMA 3rd Generation (3G) terminal will also be an MMS-enabled imaging phone.
"As a natural evolution of the 2G and 2.5G technologies, 3G will further enhance the mass market proliferation of mobile services. For the consumer, this transition will be a seamless process, becoming visible in the rising quality of the services. Much of what we envisage of the 3G services and applications is already possible today with the Nokia 9210 Communicator, which we are delivering at full capacity. But similar features are rapidly cascading to several other product categories. For example, Web access is quickly becoming a standard feature in mobile phones: we estimate the market volume of browser phones to be over 200 million this year, while 90% of all phones sold in 2005 will be Web-enabled.
"Our 3G product programs are proceeding very well. A couple of weeks ago we completed the world's first 3GPP Release 99 December 00 version standard compliant end-to-end WCDMA call in Finland, using our actual commercial terminal prototypes in GSM and WCDMA modes. We have now reached the target density in the chipset integration, allowing us to implement both GSM and WCDMA protocols into the same chipset. The following week we completed the first international WCDMA call between Finland and NTT DoCoMo's FOMA network in Japan. These steps give us the confidence to reiterate that the first Nokia 3G terminals will start shipping in the 3rd quarter, 2002 with volumes rising into the millions during the 4th quarter. As further evidence of Nokia's capabilities across all mobile technologies, we have today announced the successful completion of a CDMA2000 high-speed packet data call on a Nokia prototype handset powered by a Nokia CDMA chipset.
Nokia can be found on the Web at www.nokia.com.

Sep 04 - New Sharp Notebook Redefines Ultra-Mobility. Sharp Systems of America, a U.S. unit of Sharp Corporation, the recognized world leader of LCD technology, today announced a significant new notebook computer, the Sharp PC-UM10, demonstrating an engineering breakthrough in notebook design.
Sharp's PC-UM10 defines "Ultra-Mobile" for the industry, weighing in at under three pounds and only 0.65" thick. Powered by an Intel(R) Pentium(R) III 600 MHz ULV processor, configured with 128MB RAM and a 20GB hard drive, running the Windows 2000 operating system and offering up to nine hours of battery life the PC-UM10 is a perfect balance of performance and weight, ideally suited for today's business travelers.
In June, Sharp Systems announced its entry into the U.S. notebook computer market with the high-performance PC-AR50 with its industry leading SXGA+ high-resolution screen. Now, extending that line with the next-generation PC-UM10, Sharp has given notice of its position as a serious contender in the battle for notebook market share.
Sharp's PC-UM10 features a magnesium casing for lightweight durability, with an advanced keyboard that provides a full 3 mm key stroke and retracts when the screen is closed, as well as Sharp's unique frameless LCD display, all in a breathtaking new design.
Sharp's superior screen quality is legendary and this notebook features a 12.1" XGA (1024 x 768) display with proprietary AGLR technology (anti-glare, low reflection) to deliver crisp, clear images, fully saturated blacks, and a color range of 16 million colors.
"The new PC-UM10 combines ultra-mobility with full-functionality," said Craig Rittenhouse, vice president of marketing and product planning for Sharp Systems of America. "With all of the features required by those who need to conduct their business outside of the office, the PC-UM10 is enough PC for even the most demanding business traveler."
To ensure that the highly mobile PC-UM10 is also extremely capable, an optional port bar, CD-ROM drive, floppy drive and extended life battery will be offered.
Available at the end of September, the Sharp PC-UM10 is competitively priced with an estimated street price of $1,999.
More information can be found at www.sharp-business.com.

Sep 04 - Free Rabbit Media Player Makes Viewing Online Videos Fast and Easy. Rabbit Media, Inc. (www.getrabbit.com) today released Rabbit(TM), a free media player that lets users view online videos easily and instantly. With Rabbit, movie previews, short films, amateur videos, humorous clips, etc. may be seen on Windows PCs without searching, broken links or browsers. After downloading and installing Rabbit, type the name of a clip, or pick one from a drop-down list and see it.
"We created Rabbit to make the best online video content available to almost everyone," said Shep Bostin, executive vice president at Rabbit Media, Inc. "Our Rabbit player and Web site at getrabbit.com are the fastest ways to see the latest movie previews. Rabbit will change the way teenagers and young adults choose movies they wish to see. Rabbit lets viewers play previews, chat about them with buddies, and check out current local show times - all with a few mouse clicks. Rabbit is a moviegoer's best friend."
Rabbit plays QuickTime and Windows Media Player files. It eliminates the need to understand file formats, or adjust connection speeds and player settings, and it has thousands of movie previews and clips, and adds new ones daily. Users can tell their 'buddies' about cool videos with Rabbit's built-in AOL Instant Messenger(TM) support.

Rabbit Benefits:

-- Rabbit is free. Unlike RealPlayer and QuickTime, users don't have to upgrade to paid software versions to get all of Rabbit's features.
-- Movie previews, popular short online films, the latest clips of your favorite bands or TV shows, and other cool clips are now available on Rabbit.
-- Just type the name of a video clip in the Rabbit slot and click Play. There is no wading through search engine results, answering questions about connection speeds and file formats, or searching movie sites for videos.
-- Rabbit is compatible with the most popular file formats, including QuickTime, MPEG, AVI and ASF video.
-- As with popular MP3 players, users can choose the look-and-feel of their Rabbit player by selecting a 'skin' with a customized background and buttons to give it the look they like. Skins can be created with a simple program like Windows Paint and the Rabbit Skin Editor(TM) (available by September 1st).
-- By using its built-in integration with AOL Instant Messenger(TM) (AIM), Rabbit users may share video clips with friends who can view them immediately. No more searching, cutting and pasting, or worrying about what media players friends use.
-- Users can click Rabbit's 'Tickets' button to find theatre locations and showtimes for current movies.
-- Rabbit is available now at www.getrabbit.com.

Sep 04 - 31.1 Million U.S. Households Will Have a Broadband Connection by 2005. According to a recently published Report, "Cable Modem Providers Continue to Lead the High-Speed Internet Charge: The Yankee Group's Predictions on Consumer Broadband Services," cable will continue to dominate the U.S. residential broadband market over the next four years. Cable operators are uniquely placed to drive broadband penetration, resulting from greater availability, lower prices, and quicker provisioning. Competing technologies such as satellite and fixed wireless, however, will slowly gain market share. By year-end 2005, approximately 15.7 million households in the United States will subscribe to cable modem service. In comparison, DSL will grow to 10.5 million households; satellite, 4.5 million households; and multichannel multipoint distribution system (MMDS)-based and other fixed wireless access, approximately 359,000 households. This comprehensive study incorporates research conducted by analysts from the Yankee Group's Consumer Market Convergence, Internet Market Strategies, Media & Entertainment Strategies, and E-Networks & Broadband Access research and consulting practices.
Among the factors outlined in the Report as having an impact on the growth of high-speed access are the widespread availability of broadband cable to U.S. homes, continued slow DSL provisioning times, tiered pricing, and bundled content packages, in addition to bundled voice, video, and data packages offered by satellite and other providers. The Report points out that as service and price packages are standardized across multiple platforms, the type of broadband access will become secondary to the value-added services and content that the provider offers its customers.
The Yankee Group can be found on the Web at www.yankeegroup.com.

Sep 02 - Sunday Shopping Watch.
Special Discounts and Financing. In addition to sales on specific items, the following store-wide sales are advertised this week. Some stores are also having special Monday Labor Day sales.
Best Buy
is giving away 1 year of free MSN with any computer purchase. They are also offering $100 mail-in rebates on all advertised desktop packages and notebooks, and 12 month no interest financing on all computer purchases over $598.
Circuit City is offering $100 instant rebates on all Intel processor desktop packages and notebooks.
Office Depot has no store-wide sales this Sunday (individual items may be on sale).
CompUSA is offering free home installation and Windows XP upgrade for desktops and laptops..
Staples is giving away 1 year of free MSN with any computer purchase. They are also offering no payments or interest for 6 months on purchases over $498 and

Internet Rebates. All stores continue to offer 3 year, $400 Internet Rebates. Please see our article, What You Need to Know About Internet Rebates and Free PCs, for an in-depth discussion of Internet Rebates.

Definitions. A complete system/package is defined as a computer with monitor and printer or scanner.
A build-to-order system is customized at the retailer and then ordered from a vendor's store. In addition to the computer's stated price, you still pay sales tax and shipping charges (if you order direct from the vendor without going through the chain store, you may not have to pay sales tax and you could get a better warranty).

* Prices discussed in this article. Advertisers typically deduct the $400 Internet rebate from an items true price. We report all prices without subtracting the $400 Internet rebate, however all other rebates and discounts are usually subtracted.
Caution about advertised prices. When reading advertisements, read the fine print of the ad to make sure you know what is being advertised and what it cost. For example, many advertisers will show a complete system with computer, monitor, and printer but advertise a price for the computer only.

Best Deals this Sunday
Category
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Store
Best Celeron Deal
HP 900 MHz complete system
$799
Best Buy, Circuit City
Best Pentium III System
HP 1 GHz complete system
$949
Circuit City
Best Pentium 4 System
Compaq 2 GHz build-to-order complete system
$1697
Office Depot
Best Duron System
Compaq 900 MHz complete system
$999
Office Depot
Best High End Athlon System
Compaq 1.2 GHz complete system
$1099
Best Buy
1. Best Low Cost Notebook
Toshiba 800 MHz Celeron with DVD
$999
Best Buy
2. Best Low Cost Notebook
Compaq Duron 850 MHz with DVD
$1199
Best Buy
Best High-end Notebook
Compaq AMD Athlon 1 GHz with DVD
$1599
Best Buy

Additional Information. For additional technical information, advice on how to buy a laptop or desktop, and vendor and manufacturer links, please see our Computer Buying Advice page.
About Sunday Shopping Watch. Sunday Shopping Watch appears every Sunday (except some holidays like Easter and Christmas) in our News and Rumors column. It is a review of the highlights of local (Dayton, Ohio) computer chain store advertisements. While we can not guarantee your local chain store has the same items, this article should help you to make informed buying decisions.

[ Previous Weeks Computer News and Rumors ]

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