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Computer News and Rumors

April 21-30 2002

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 top and bottom menu bar.

InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors Article Index
Date
(Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to the Index.)
Apr 30 SOYO Releases VIA KT333 Chipset Motherboards
Apr 30 ATI's MOBILITY RADEON 7500 Ships in Apple's New Titanium PowerBook G4
Apr 30 SOHOware Adopts Intel XScale Technology for Home Networking
Apr 30 AMD Adopts MIPS Technologies' 64-Bit Architecture
Apr 30 Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast Tops PC Sales Charts
Apr 29 AMD Reports First Quarter Loss
Apr 29 Phoenix Technologies Introduces BIOS Crash Recovery Tools
Apr 29 Worldwide Server Market Experienced Flat Growth in First Quarter
Apr 29 EA Unveils SimCity 4
Apr 28 Sunday Shopping Watch
Apr 26 AMD Announces 'AMD Opteron' Next-Generation Processor
Apr 26 Planar Unveils 23.1-Inch Flat-Panel Monitor
Apr 26 Epson Unveils the Industry's First Seven-Color Archival Desktop Photo Printer
APr 26 IBM Looks Airline Security in the Eye
Apr 26 Home of the Future Opens its Doors
Apr 25 New ThinkPad T30 Features Revolutionary Design Change
Apr 25 Addonics Announces CardBus USB 2.0 Adapter and USB 2.0 Hub
Apr 25 Corsair Announces Availability of 512 Megabyte DDR DIMMs
Apr 25 SmartDisk's FireFly Hard Drive for USB 2.0 Now Available
Apr 25 F-Secure Maintains Level 2 Alert on Klez.H Email Worm
Apr 24 Intel Xeon Processors Accelerate to 2.4 Gigahertz
Apr 24 Intel Introduces New Mobile Pentium 4 Processor-Ms
Apr 24 Dell Unveils $1,299 No-Compromise Pentium 4 Notebook
Apr 24 New Toshiba Satellite 1200 Series Has Wireless Feutures
Apr 24 Dell Launches Mobile Pentium 4-M Workstation
Apr 23 ATI Ships Fastest ALL-IN-WONDER RADEON 8500
Apr 23 ATI Launches Trade-In, Trade-Up Program
Apr 23 Intel Reports Results of Laptop Use Survey
Apr 23 Toshiba Introduces New Pocket PC e310 PDA
Apr 23 China Has the World's Second Largest At-Home Internet Population
Apr 22 Intel President Otellini Outlines Future Plans
Apr 22 eBay Inc. Announces Record First Quarter 2002 Profit
Apr 22 Transmeta Corporation Reports Loss For First Quarter 2002
Apr 21 Sunday Shopping Watch

 

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Apr 30 - SOYO Releases VIA KT333 Chipset Motherboards. SOYO Computer, Inc. today announced its fastest motherboard for builders of AMD Socket-A based systems who want both style and function.

SOYO's new SY-KT333 DRAGON Ultra motherboard flies past previous AMD-based boards with its VIA KT333/8233A chipset and many advanced features, however the new board also makes a fashion statement with its platinum finish. SOYO will offer the SY-KT333 in a limited "Platinum Edition," which features a platinum-colored PCB for building a stylish system when the board is mounted in a translucent case.

The SY-KT333 DRAGON Ultra -- Platinum Edition also has a heat dissipation feature for keeping the board cool, and includes a bundled sigma box with two front USB 2.0 ports and a combination Compact Flash Card/Smart Media Reader/Writer, which allows users to easily transfer data from digital cameras, PDAs, MP3 Players, and other mobile electronics devices that use Smart Media. The sigma box occupies a standard 3.5-inch drive bay.

The SY-KT333 DRAGON Ultra will also be offered in a basic black PCB and will be bundled with a sigma box peripheral that includes four front USB 2.0 ports.

SOYO's newest edition to its DRAGON series motherboard line maximizes VIA's KT333/8233A chipset. The KT333 chipset now fully supports DDR memory modules at 333MHz. The enhanced chipset solves bottlenecks created by increasing processor speeds, and accelerates the memory bandwidth by 20% to 2.7 gigabits per second (GB/sec) compared to 2.1 GB/sec with existing 266MHz memory.

In addition to extra memory bandwidth from the VIA chipset, the SY-KT333 DRAGON Ultra also boosts performance with ATA-133 (133Mbytes/sec) support for hard drives, and has USB 2.0 on board.

The SY-KT333 DRAGON Ultra is easily expandable with three 184-pin DDR SDRAM 2.5V DIMM sockets, which support up to 3GB of DDR333 memory. The board has five 32-bit Bus Mastering PCI slots (V2.2 compliant), and one Universal AGP Pro slot, which supports 1x/2x/4x mode.

SOYO has integrated several on-board features to add performance and value. The SY-KT333 features an on board CMI 8738 audio chip to provide 6-channel digital audio. The sound chip eliminates the need for a sound card, and also supports optical output & SPDIF output. SOYO is bundling a SPDIF audio card with both its Platinum and Black Edition boards. The SPDIF card allows digital audio signals to be transferred from one device to another without having to convert them first to an analog. Maintaining the integrity of the digital signal prevents signal degradation when it is converted to analog.

On board 10/100 Mbps Ethernet is a standard feature of the SY-KT333 with its Realtek 8100B controller. SOYO has also embedded a HiPoint IDE-RAID chip to provide ATA133 IDE RAID at Level 0 (data striping), Level 1 (disk mirroring) or Levels 0+1.

The SY-KT333 features an on board Ultra I/O chip, which supports two RS-232 serial ports (16550 UART compatible); one parallel printer port (SPP/EPP/ECP mode); one FDD port (Supports 3 mode, 1.2/1.44/2.88 MB FDD; an IrDA (infrared) port with optional cable for transceiver, and four USB 2.0 ports (2 rear, 2 front). The board also features two PCI bus mastering ATA133 E-IDE ports, and Ultra DMA 66/100/133 IDE ports, which support four independent channels to accommodate eight IDE devices, including two for RAID.

SOYO has integrated many enhanced overclocking, system management, and security features into the SY-KT333 DRAGON Ultra motherboard. Users can customize their boards to specific applications by adjusting the CPU FSB, core voltage & multiplier, AGP Pro voltage through the Award PCI BIOS setup. The FSB can be set in 1Mhz increments through the BIOS setup.

Support is also included for on-board hardware monitoring, and includes SOYO's Hardware Health Utility to streamline PC system management. Among the many hardware monitoring functions are CPU fan speed and temperature monitoring through a thermal sensor; WOL (Wake On LAN) function to simplify network management; software power-off controls and remote and/or alarm power-on control.

SOYO bundles its 8-in-1 Software CD Pack with each board. It includes Norton AntiVirus 2002, Norton Ghost, Adobe Active Share and Acrobat Reader, Vcom AutoSave, WinDVD, eWalla text & voice messaging software, and Imagemore photographic collection.

The MSRP of the SY-KT333 DRAGON Ultra is $179 (U.S.). The Platinum Edition will have a MSRP of $195 (U.S.). For information, visit www.soyousa.com.

Apr 30 - ATI's MOBILITY RADEON 7500 Ships in Apple's New Titanium PowerBook G4. The world's number one notebook graphics vendor, ATI Technologies (TSE:ATY) (NASDAQ:ATYT), today announced today that its MOBILITY(TM) RADEON(TM) 7500 graphics processor now ships in Apple's latest Titanium PowerBook G4 notebook.

The MOBILITY RADEON 7500 graphics processor brings all the features and performance of a desktop PC to the notebook space, including lightning-fast 3D acceleration, superior video editing capability, smooth DVD (digital versatile disc) playback, integrated TV-out, multi-monitor support, and the ability to run the latest high-power video games and the industry's most graphics-intensive applications.

The ultimate mobile studio for creative professionals, Apple's new Titanium PowerBook G4 features ATI's MOBILITY RADEON 7500 graphics processor with AGP 4X support and 32MB DDR (double data rate) video memory and other leading-edge components, including a PowerPC G4 processor with Velocity Engine running up to 800 MHz.
The PowerBook G4 also features a slot-loading Combo drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW), and a Digital Visual Interface (DVI) connector which increases display options by providing a pure digital connection to DVI-enabled projectors and displays, as well as Apple's own lineup of award winning flat panel displays (requires Apple DVI to ADC Adapter). The award-winning PowerBook G4 offers up to 5 hours of battery life and a 15.2-inch TFT XGA display housed in a 1-inch thick, 5.4 pound titanium enclosure.

For more information visit www.ati.com.

Apr 30 - SOHOware Adopts Intel XScale Technology for Home Networking. SOHOware(R) Inc. is developing its next-generation of residential and SOHO networking solutions around the Intel(R) XScale(TM) technology by designing with the Intel(R) IXP425 network processor.

According to Yong Ho Son, SOHOware vice president of technology, "The Intel XScale technology provides SOHOware with the high performance and programming flexibility to approach the design of residential networking and multimedia application solutions from a true system perspective."

SOHOware's current development efforts center on taking today's isolated broadband connectivity products to the next-generation of application-driven networks that support data, voice and multimedia capabilities across a broad range of transport mediums such as Ethernet and IEEE802.11x.

The company expects to launch its family of multimedia gateway systems in 2002 that is compliant with CableLabs(R) CableHome(TM) 1.0 specifications for interfacing home networking equipment to cable operator systems. CableHome specifications define a minimum set of requirements for network management, quality-of-service, service provisioning and security functions.

"The Intel IXP425 network processor is an excellent complement to SOHOware's vision for broadband residential networking systems," said Doug Davis, general manager of Intel's Network Processor Division. "Its XScale core and multiple network processing engines enable the wire speed performance necessary for such robust broadband applications."

A major goal of cable operators is seamless interoperability of home networking equipment with broadband cable services to generate incremental revenues, while reducing life-cycle costs of customer care, according to Son. For more information visit www.sohoware.com.

Apr 30 - AMD Adopts MIPS Technologies' 64-Bit Architecture. MIPS Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq:MIPS)(Nasdaq:MIPSB), a leading provider of industry-standard processor architectures and cores for digital consumer and business applications, and AMD (NYSE:AMD) today announced the MIPS64(TM) Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) has been licensed to AMD. With this license, AMD plans to develop 64-bit processors that implement the MIPS64 architecture standard in addition to its current product line of processors based on the MIPS32(TM) architecture standards.

"AMD strongly believes in the MIPS architecture, and that the 64-bit MIPS architecture will complement our current 32-bit MIPS32 technology-based products and ultimately, will serve new and different markets," said Dr. Billy Edwards, vice president and general manager of AMD's Personal Connectivity Solutions group.
"Consumer demand for new information appliances that combine computing, Internet access, high quality multimedia and encryption for secure, high-speed transactions, is driving the need for both 32-bit and 64-bit processing. Both 32-bit and 64-bit MIPS architectures deliver the performance, power efficiency, and broad application-based industry support. In addition, they are designed to deliver a level of design flexibility and scalability unavailable from any other processor Intellectual Property (IP) provider."

Processor development work under the license is planned to be performed by AMD's Personal Connectivity Solutions (PCS) group, which was formed in February with the acquisition of Alchemy Semiconductor, Inc. The entire Alchemy design team, which spearheaded the development of high-performance, low-power, MIPS-based(TM) microprocessors for personal connectivity devices, has joined AMD's PCS group. AMD also holds an ISA license for the 32-bit MIPS32 architecture.

"The demand for high-performing Windows(R)-Powered multimedia devices continues to grow, and OEMS need high-performance processors to power these devices," said Scott Horn, director, Embedded and Appliance Platforms Group at Microsoft Corp. "AMD, with the MIPS64 architecture, will be able to offer a very compelling solution that enables OEMS to rapidly develop smart, affordable devices based on the current Windows CE.NET operating system."

"The momentum for 64-bit embedded processors is increasing, and AMD's licensing of the MIPS64 architecture is evidence of that. In the past nine months alone, nearly half of our licensing agreements have been for 64-bit architecture and cores," said John Bourgoin, chairman and CEO of MIPS Technologies. "We are particularly pleased that AMD, with its many years of experience in embedded markets and in microprocessor development, recognizes the value that 64-bit technology is bringing to these markets."

MIPS Technologies is the only company in the embedded processor industry to openly license a 64-bit architecture. It is supported by widely-used operating systems and embedded tool chains, as well as hundreds of applications. Such widespread support makes it a compelling solution for designers who want to quickly get to market with their next-generation products.

About AMD's Personal Connectivity Solutions Group

AMD's PCS Group currently has over 20 design wins for its 32-bit MIPS products and with its recently announced Au1100(TM) processor, claims an industry leading combination of performance, low power consumption and integration. AMD also enjoys support from numerous third-party software providers and an overlapping customer base with its Computational Products Group and Memory Group products.

About 64-Bit MIPS Architecture

MIPS Technologies began developing its 64-bit processor architecture more than 10 years ago, based on the RISC research of MIPS co-founder John Hennessy, currently president of Stanford University. Today, MIPS Technologies is the only company that openly licenses 64-bit architecture. More than a dozen companies, including AMD, Broadcom, IDT, LSI Logic, NEC, PMC-Sierra and Toshiba, have deployed the technology in processors for a variety of applications, including the Sony PlayStation(R) 2 computer entertainment system, Motorola digital cable set-top boxes, and HP laser printers.
For more AMD news and product information, please visit our virtual pressroom at www.amd.com.

Apr 30 - Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast Tops PC Sales Charts. Star Wars(R) Jedi Knight(R) II: Jedi Outcast(TM), from LucasArts Entertainment Company LLC, was the best-selling premium priced PC game in dollars for the month of March, according to NPD Intelect. The first-person action game has remained a top-selling title in North America since its launch on March 28, 2002.

In addition to strong North American retail sales, Jedi Outcast also is topping sales charts in two of the largest European PC game markets, Germany and the United Kingdom. Since its worldwide launch in March, the game has remained the best selling premium-price PC title in Germany, according to Media Control and a top-five selling title in the United Kingdom, according to Chart Track.

"We're very happy with the strong initial sales performance of Jedi Outcast both in the U.S. and around the world," says Mary Bihr, vice president, worldwide sales and marketing for LucasArts. "Raven Software in conjunction with LucasArts, produced a high-quality gaming experience that has been very well received by both consumers and retailers alike. We anticipate that the game will continue to be a strong seller for months to come, carrying on LucasArts' legacy as a top PC game publisher."

Developed by Activision, Inc.'s (Nasdaq:ATVI) premier game studio Raven Software, Jedi Outcast is a dynamic single and multiplayer action experience that continues the saga of the once-powerful Jedi Knight, Kyle Katarn, as he struggles with the power -- and dangers --of the Force. Through a multitude of complex and richly detailed Star Wars environments players face a variety of powerful enemies and once again fight for the Rebel cause. Armed with the power of the Force and an arsenal of weapons, including a Jedi Knight's signature lightsaber, players hold the fate of the Star Wars galaxy and the destiny of Kyle Katarn in their hands.
More information about Activision and its products can be found on the company's World Wide Web site, which is located at www.activision.com.

Apr 29 - AMD Reports First Quarter Loss. AMD today reported sales of $902,073,000 and a net loss of $9,163,000 for the quarter ended March 31, 2002. The net loss amounted to $0.03 per share. The company reported record unit sales of PC processors during the quarter.

Total sales declined by 24 percent from the like period of 2001 and by 5 percent from the fourth quarter of 2001. In the first quarter of 2001, AMD reported total sales of $1,188,747,000 and net income of $124,837,000, which amounted to $0.37 per diluted share. In the fourth quarter of 2001, AMD reported net sales of $951,873,000, and a net loss of $15,842,000, or $0.05 per share.

AMD sold a record 8 million PC processors in the first quarter of 2002. Total PC processor sales of $684 million for the quarter grew by 3 percent compared to $661 million in the like period of 2001. Processor sales declined by 3 percent from the record $703 million reported in the seasonally strong fourth quarter of 2001.

Sales of AMD memory products, principally flash memory devices, continued to be weak, amounting to $160 million, compared to $411 million in the like period a year ago and $196 million in the fourth quarter of 2001.

"The strength of the AMD Athlon(TM) XP processor enabled AMD to achieve record unit sales of PC processors," said W.J. Sanders III, chairman and chief executive officer. "We believe AMD grew unit market share in PC processors, defined as Microsoft(R) Windows(R) compatible processors for mobile, desktop, server, and workstation computing. Sales of mobile processors grew in both units and dollars from the prior quarter. During the quarter, we began shipping our AMD Athlon XP processor produced on 130-nanometer (nm) technology (code-named "Thoroughbred") for mobile applications.

"Shipments of the desktop version of the AMD Athlon XP processor on 130-nm technology will commence this quarter," Sanders said. "Our conversion to 130-nm technology is going extremely well, and we now expect to complete the transition to 100 percent of PC processor production on 130-nm technology ahead of our previously announced year-end timetable.

"We also achieved substantial growth in sales of AMD Athlon MP processors for servers during the quarter. We have focused our initial sales and marketing efforts for AMD Athlon MP processors in the North American market, where we believe we have attained a unit market share of approximately 6 percent.

"While sales of flash memory products once again declined substantially, there are signs that the industry flash crash is now behind us," Sanders said. "For the second consecutive quarter, total shipments in both units and bits increased while pricing remained weak. Bookings for flash memory products improved over the prior quarter, and visibility is improving. Demand was strongest for our higher-density flash memory devices, and we are seeing signs of a recovery in the cellular telephone sector, where we are gaining market share at the market leaders.

"We will begin sampling flash memory products with our proprietary MirrorBit(TM) technology in the current quarter, and expect that these products will contribute to Memory Group revenues in the second half of the year. MirrorBit technology is a breakthrough in memory cell architecture that enables a flash memory cell to store twice as much data as a standard flash memory cell with no compromise in device performance and reliability," Sanders said.

"In January we saw working silicon for our Hammer family of processors. We have commenced sampling to key infrastructure partners. Our early results strengthen our confidence in our plans to begin shipments by the end of 2002," Sanders concluded.

Current Outlook

The company's outlook statements are based on current expectations. The following statements are forward-looking, and actual results could differ materially. Economic and industry conditions remain uncertain, and continue to make it particularly difficult to forecast product demand. The company's current outlook is based on the following projections.

The company expects substantial sequential growth in sales of flash memory devices in the second quarter.

The company expects that unit sales of PC processors in the second quarter will follow seasonal patterns, which generally show a sequential decline in the range of 5 to 10 percent. The company expects to maintain unit market share at current levels in the PC processor market. The company expects to sell substantially increased volumes of AMD Athlon XP processors manufactured on 130-nm technology in the current quarter.

Depending on unpredictable PC processor pricing patterns in a generally weak PC market and the rate of growth in the flash memory market, AMD aggregate sales are expected to be in the range of $820 to $900 million in the second quarter.

AMD will provide an audio broadcast of its investor teleconference on the Investor Relations page of its web site at http://www.amd.com or http://www.StreetEvents.com.

Apr 29 - Phoenix Technologies Introduces BIOS Crash Recovery Tools. Phoenix Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq:PTEC), today announced FirstWare Rescue, an innovative new family of emergency tools engineered into a secure, tamper-resistant "safe zone" in the foundation of the PC.
Even after a major disaster such as an operating system crash, scrambled hard disk, software worm or virus attack, FirstWare Rescue continues to function, so PC users can resolve problems on their own or use the Internet to get help.
Phoenix, best known for the BIOS software built into the core hardware of hundreds of millions of PCs and connected devices worldwide, has engineered FirstWare Rescue into a protected zone in the foundation of the PC. Phoenix patent-pending FirstWare(TM) technology keeps this data under the watchful eye of the FirstBIOS, protected by an encrypted "internal firewall" and impervious to tampering. In this secure, on-board PC "bomb shelter," IT departments and PC users have the tools they need to get up and running after a PC meltdown.
"We believe that the BIOS is the ultimate platform for software that can secure PCs from the inside out, and protect data from corruption in today's world of hackers, virus attacks, worms, and increasingly complex software," said Alan L. McCann, senior vice president & general manager, Phoenix Technologies. "FirstWare Rescue is just the beginning of a new era of PCs that are safer, more stable and above all, easier to use."

An Ultra-Secure "Bomb Shelter" in the Foundation of your PC

The chief causes of PC instability are viruses, hackers, and the sheer growing complexity of PC systems and software. Rather than attacking the problem from the outside (with corporate firewalls, external storage or recovery software layered on top of the operating system, where it won't work after a major crash) Phoenix Technologies is working with PC makers to create a safe, stable area inside the PC.
The first phase of Phoenix's FirstWare initiative, announced today, is FirstWare Rescue, a suite of self-contained emergency recovery tools:

FirstWare Rescue takes a triage approach to resolving problems:

1. FirstWare Check -- About 80% of PCs that are returned to
manufacturers have no actual hardware defect. FirstWare Check
reduces these system returns by quickly testing the hardware
on problem PCs and removing any confusion of whether the
problem is hardware or software related. Check examines the
system board, processor, memory, hard drive and video
hardware.

2. FirstWare Connect -- The Internet has enabled software
companies to freely distribute bug fixes, drivers and software
patches. But what if the problem you're having prevents you
from even logging on to get them? Like a "spare tire" for the
Internet, FirstWare Connect is an "always available" emergency
browser that gets you online even when the OS won't boot. This
streamlined browser can be pre-set by the hardware
manufacturer or IT staff to download updates, request help
from the PC maker's website, or send an S.O.S. message to the
help desk.

3. FirstWare Vault -- Users frequently need access to their CDs
to get drivers for a new printer, make configuration changes,
or to reinstall applications after a serious crash. But in
most cases, users (and sometimes even IT departments) have
lost the original CDs, are miles away from the office, or
can't remember where they put them. With Vault, the essential
factory-installed applications are compressed and stored in an
ultra-safe, protected area where they are always like new and
can never be scrambled or destroyed by viruses. In the event
of a major disaster, Vault re-installs up to 4 times faster
than a CD, significantly shortening the length of a help desk
call.

4. FirstWare Recover -- In 1 out of 6 cases, the only solution to
a crash or attack is to completely reinstall the system
software. But who ever carries around a recovery CD when
they're traveling on the road? FirstWare Recover restores the
PC back to new -- and it's built into the PC so you can't lose
it. A special non-destructive restore option will not
overwrite personal data files.

FirstWare Rescue suite is now available direct from Phoenix Technologies for system builders and PC manufacturers. Consumers will begin seeing FirstWare in the next generation of PC hardware from major manufacturers. For more information about Phoenix Technologies, visit www.phoenix.com.

Apr 29 - Worldwide Server Market Experienced Flat Growth in First Quarter. The tough market conditions experienced by the server industry continued into the first quarter of 2002.
Worldwide server shipments totaled 1.09 million in the first quarter of 2002, an increase of 0.6 percent over the first quarter of 2001, according to preliminary statistics by Dataquest Inc., a unit of Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT and ITB).
"The economic downturn and weak global business environment continue to have a great impact on customer's buying behavior," said Shahin Naftchi, senior analyst covering servers for Gartner Dataquest's Computing Platform Worldwide program. "Businesses are not ready to spend on tech products unless it's absolutely crucial. Customers mostly purchase the least expensive systems to meet their short-term needs and can show a quick return on their IT investment."
Compaq remained in the top spot with 22.8 percent of the worldwide server shipments, followed by Dell and IBM, with 17.8 percent and 14.3 percent, respectively. Dell was the only vendor to record positive double-digit year-over-year growth.
The U.S. performance in the first quarter of 2002 was more positive than expected. The U.S. server market showed a 7.6 percent increase, with shipments of 419,622 units, up from 390,027 units in the first quarter of 2001. Dell increased its lead in the U.S. market with 26 percent of unit shipments, followed by Compaq with 21.4 percent.
"Dell's build-to-order model allows it to rapidly pass along component price reductions to its customers, thereby improving its price competitiveness," said Jeffrey Hewitt, principal analyst for Gartner Dataquest's Servers Worldwide program.
For more information, visit www.gartner.com.

Apr 29 - EA Unveils SimCity 4. Electronic Arts (Nasdaq:ERTS) today announced that the long-awaited 4th generation of the PC game SimCity(TM), SimCity(TM) 4, is in development at the company's Walnut Creek-based Maxis(TM) studio.
Featuring new simulation and graphics engines, new regional game play and the new ability to track the lives of individual Sims as they go about their daily routine, SimCity 4 is the most realistic, powerful and personal SimCity experience ever. SimCity 4 will make its debut to industry insiders on May 22nd at the Electronic Entertainment Exposition in Los Angeles.
"SimCity 4 is the ultimate SimCity experience," according to Lucy Bradshaw, General Manager of Maxis, developers of the #1 selling PC game of all time, The Sims(TM). "We have really lifted up the hood and made amazing improvements to the underlying simulation to give the player the most responsive, personal and satisfying SimCity yet."
Right from the start, players will experience new God-like powers of creation as they lay the groundwork for their cities by molding mountains, carving valleys, seeding forests and laying rivers. With these new landscape creation features, players can now construct the most realistic metropolis imaginable.
Unlike earlier games in the series, SimCity 4 cities do not live in isolation from the world, they are part of an entire region. Each city a player now creates will become part of an ever-growing tapestry of municipalities that, once connected by transportation networks, can share and compete for resources. Depending upon the choices made by a player, this multi-city game play can result in a variety of outcomes within that region.
For the first time ever, players can follow a Sim as they go about their life in the city. Players can personalize their Sim and immediately move him into any area and watch him experience life in the city, first hand. Is he or she enjoying a happy existence in an urban utopia or enduring a futile fight for survival in the inner-city. A player's Sim will provide valuable clues to improving the city.
More information about EA's products can be found on the Internet at www.info.ea.com.

Apr 28 - Sunday Shopping Watch.

Weekly Comparison.
Notebooks
- Prices are pretty dismal on notebooks. This weeks best deal is a 1.1 GHz Duron for $1,099. After seeing the great deal last Sunday, an Athlon 4, 1 GHz laptop advertised below $1,000, this weeks best deal is awful. If you're in the market for a low-cost notebook, wait for lower prices or shop online.
High-end Athlon, Pentium III-M, and Pentium 4-M processor notebook prices appear unchanged.
Desktops - Pentium 4 desktops stayed about the same, however Athlon "+" processor desktops seem to be slowly dropping in price.

This Sunday's Special Discounts and Financing. In addition to sales on specific items, the following store-wide sales are advertised this week. (Note that these ads are for the Dayton,Ohio area. Prices or offerings may be different where you live.)

BestBuy is giving away 6 months of free MSN with any computer purchase. They are also offering 12 months of interest free financing on all notebooks over $598. Additionally, they are giving $100 mail-in rebates on all desktop packages, and all notebooks.
Circuit City is offering 12 months of interest free financing on all desktop packages and notebooks. Additionally, they are offering a $100-$350 mail-in rebates with purchase of any desktop package and $100-$200 mail-in rebates with purchase of any notebook.
Office Depot is offering no interest, no payments, for 6 months on any computer purchase over $298.
CompUSA no ad this Sunday.
Staples no ad this Sunday.

Shopping Alert on Lower Priced Desktops. Many lower priced Celeron desktops made by almost all computer manufacturers should be carefully investigated before purchase.
Most of these low priced desktops have no AGP video expansion slot, no onboard dedicated video RAM, no CD-RW drive, and very few empty PCI expansion slots. These computers will be very difficult to upgrade, and they have poorer performance than other desktops that do not have integrated audio and video chips on the motherboard.
Often by spending $200-$400 more dollars for a Pentium 4 or Athlon XP based system, you can get twice the performance, more features, and you will have an upgradeable computer that will serve you well for another 3 years.
If you choose the $700 Celeron system to save a few bucks, keep in mind that in a year or two you will probably want to replace it.

About Windows XP. It has been a little over 5 months since Windows XP began to be bundled with new computers. Windows XP became available for separate purchase on October 25th. For more information on Windows XP see our Windows XP Upgrade Guide.

Internet Rebates. Most stores are no longer advertising 3 year Internet rebates. Check with your local store before you buy. 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 desktop 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).

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.

* Prices discussed in this article. We report prices after rebates and discounts are subtracted.
Items highlighted in Black are good deals.
Items highlighted in Red means prices have gone up and the system is not a good buy this week.
Items in normal text means prices are about the same as the previous weeks.

Best Deals this Sunday
Category
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Store
Best Celeron Deal
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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 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 make informed buying decisions.

Apr 26 - AMD Announces 'AMD Opteron' as Brand for Next-Generation Server & Workstation Processors. AMD (NYSE:AMD) announced that it has selected "AMD Opteron" as the brand for its 8th-generation enterprise class processor for servers and workstations, formerly code-named "SledgeHammer."

The AMD Opteron™ processor is based on AMD's 8th-generation processor core, which will represent the landmark introduction of the industry's first x86-64 technology. The AMD Opteron processor is designed to provide investment protection, running existing 32-bit applications with unsurpassed performance, and offering customers a seamless transition to 64-bit technology.

The AMD Opteron processor will also incorporate the breakthrough HyperTransport™ technology, which helps to eliminate or reduce system bottlenecks, enable better efficiency, and increase throughput to improve overall system performance. With three HyperTransport interconnects, the AMD Opteron processor will be able to provide up to 19.2 gigabyte/second aggregate bandwidth for server systems, which is up to six times the throughput of the majority of today's server processors.

In another key milestone, AMD announced it is collaborating with Microsoft to incorporate 64-bit support for the future 8th-generation AMD Athlon and AMD Opteron processors into the Windows® operating system. AMD Opteron processors are also planned to be supported by 64-bit operating systems from major Linux vendors.

"The origin of the AMD Opteron brand name means, simply, the best. In choosing this name, AMD is conveying that the processor will give users the option to run either 32-bit or 64-bit applications, with optimal performance on both," said Ed Ellett, vice president of marketing for AMD's Computation Products Group.

The AMD Opteron processor is designed to provide flexibility, scalability and performance for demanding enterprise-class applications. It is planned to effectively compete against the Intel Xeon and Itanium processors. Unlike the proprietary and fractured solutions that currently dominate the 64-bit computing market, AMD's 64-bit solution is based on the industry-standard x86 instruction set, on which the vast majority of the world's PCs run. AMD's 64-bit solution is based on a flexible, commodity infrastructure, allowing enterprises to build smart solutions.

Shipments of the AMD Opteron processor are planned to begin in the first half of 2003.

Building on the established brand equity of the AMD Athlon™ brand, 8th-generation processors for desktops and notebooks are planned to build upon the AMD Athlon brand name. Shipments of AMD's 8th-generation AMD Athlon processor for desktops are slated to begin in the fourth quarter of 2002.

About the AMD Opteron™ Processor

The AMD Opteron processor is based on AMD's eighth-generation processor core which is planned to mark the introduction of the industry's first x86-64 technology implementation. This technology is planned to preserve companies' investments in 32-bit applications while allowing a seamless transition to 64-bit computing as those companies require. The AMD Opteron processor is designed to deliver high-performance server and workstation solutions for today's most demanding enterprise applications. The processor is designed to be scalable, reliable and compatible, which can result in lower total cost of ownership. Key AMD Opteron processor innovations include an integrated memory controller, which reduces memory bottlenecks, and HyperTransport™ technology, which increases overall performance by removing or reducing I/O bottlenecks, increasing bandwidth and reducing latency.

About HyperTransport™ Technology

HyperTransport technology is a high-speed, high-performance, point-to-point link for integrated circuits, and is designed to meet the bandwidth needs of tomorrow's computing and communications platforms. HyperTransport technology helps reduce the number of buses while providing a high-performance link for PCs, workstations, and servers, as well as numerous embedded applications and highly scalable multiprocessing systems. It is designed to allow chips inside of PCs, networking and communications devices to communicate with each other up to 48 times faster than with some existing bus technologies.

About AMD's x86-64 Technology

AMD's straightforward approach to 64-bit computing builds upon the x86 instruction set, one of the industry's most proven and widely supported technologies. AMD's x86-64 technology is designed to support applications that address large amounts of physical and virtual memory, such as high performance servers, database management systems, and CAD tools. AMD's x86-64 technology seamlessly integrates into the current computing and support environment, and is designed to enable enterprises to deploy high performance 64-bit capable systems that build upon the billions of dollars already invested in 32-bit software.

For more information about the AMD Opteron processor, please visit: www.amd.com/8thgenerationnews.

Apr 26 - Planar Unveils 23.1-Inch Flat-Panel Monitor. Planar Systems Inc. (NASDAQ:PLNR) is launching a new flat-panel monitor featuring a viewing area measuring 23.1 inches diagonally. Ideal for financial professionals, engineers, architects, desktop publishers, video editors and other creative professionals, Planar's slim-profile, big-screen flat-panel monitor displays two standard pages of text side-by-side, allowing users to work with much more information at once.

Planar has built into the new product 1600 x 1200 (UXGA) resolution, top-performing image clarity, ultra-wide 160-degree viewing angle, both analog and digital (DVI) inputs, a USB hub and intuitive set-up and on-screen controls -- and all within a compact and appealing industrial design. The manufacturer's list price for the product is $3,600.

"Planar's two decades of flat-panel display experience are clearly evident in this flagship product," said Erick Petersen, director of the desktop monitor business at Planar. "All Planar desktop displays give users top visual performance and the most complete feature set in the industry. Our latest offering gives our customers more of what they've come to expect from us -- brilliant displays that deliver a compelling value."

Planar's 23.1-inch display comes bundled with the award-winning Benwin GX-6A multimedia speaker system, featuring two flat-panel satellite speakers and a powered subwoofer. For more information, visit www.planar.com.

Apr 26 - Epson Unveils the Industry's First Seven-Color Archival Desktop Photo Printer. Epson America Inc. is introducing its fastest, sleekest and most impressive desktop photo printer yet -- the EPSON Stylus(R) Photo 2200.
This printer is ideal for anyone who is serious about photography, ranging from amateurs to professional portrait, commercial and fine art photographers. It replaces the award-winning EPSON Stylus Photo 2000P and is loaded with features that will set a new standard for desktop photographic printing.

By using Epson's new seven-color UltraChrome inks, the EPSON Stylus Photo 2200 is able to print images at fast speeds with a larger color gamut than the previous generation. These unique pigment-based archival inks reproduce the color range, density and saturation of dye-based inks more than ever before, making this printer the best in its class with its photo and color quality, and superior fade-resistance.

"Epson has achieved another significant milestone with the introduction of the EPSON Stylus Photo 2200. With incredible advances in ink and printing technology, this printer provides the ultimate in wide-gamut color, durability and flexibility," said Parker Plaisted, product manager, photo imaging, Epson. "This printer is sure to inspire photographers of all levels, especially with a price that is $200 less than its predecessor."

By listening to photographers and what they want in the ultimate photo printer, Epson developed UltraChrome ink, a brand new generation of pigment ink. Building on the technology developed for the EPSON Archival(TM) Ink and the EPSON DuraBright(TM) Ink, this new UltraChrome Ink retains the advantages of high resistance to water and light, plus the largest color range for pigment inks.
The EPSON Stylus Photo 2200 is the first printer to utilize UltraChrome inks, providing a wide color gamut that is now extremely close to the gamut of the popular six-color, dye-based Epson inks with more vibrant and saturated reds, oranges and yellows. This printer also can print stunning black and white photographs with the addition of a new lower density black ink -- Light Black -- which helps produce more neutral grays.
The UltraChrome ink has faster printing and drying times enabling the printer to achieve a print speed of four minutes for an 8" x 10" photograph on glossy paper, which is three times faster than the EPSON Stylus Photo 2000P.

The EPSON Stylus Photo 2200 offers impressive lightfastness(a) ratings with prints lasting up to 80 years on EPSON Watercolor Paper and black and white prints lasting up to 100 years on various fine art papers.

The EPSON Stylus Photo 2200 has a sleek, modern, attractive case design and black and silver case color, as well as quiet operation. The printer offers a resolution of up to 2880 x 1440 dpi using ultra small four-picoliter droplets, which produces an equivalent dot size to a two-picoliter dye-based droplet. The printer uses Epson's exclusive Micro Piezo(TM) ink jet technology for creating incredible detail, beautiful skin tones and an ultra-wide color range that is ideal for photography.

Compatible with both Windows and Macintosh platforms, the printer features built-in parallel, high speed USB 2.0 and IEEE 1394 FireWire ports.

Pricing, Support and Availability

The EPSON Stylus Photo 2200 will be available in July for an estimated street price of $699 through mail order, computer superstores, specialty camera and art stores and at Epson's retail Web site (www.epsonstore.com).

Apr 26 - IBM Looks Airline Security in the Eye. IBM is joining with Schiphol Group of Amsterdam to offer airlines and airports around the world a quick security access system that uses biometric iris scanning technology.

The new offering will be based on the existing Automatic Border Passage (ABP) system Schiphol Group has deployed at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. This system identifies and verifies travelers by cross referencing a real-time iris scan with the travelers' pre-registered iris data -- which is stored on an encrypted smart card. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol was the world's first airport to employ a new automatic border passage system using iris recognition for passengers in a high-security environment.

The ABP system, which has been in operation since October 2001, is currently used for identity verification and border passage functions, supplementary to manual passport control by the Dutch border police. It runs on IBM eServer xSeries and uses an IBM DB2 database to access non-biometric related passenger data.
IBM will work with Schiphol Group to extend a subset of the biometric security features in this system so it can be used by airlines and airports for passenger identification and tracking in functions such as ticketing, check in, screening and boarding. Additionally, the companies plan to develop components of the technology to provide secure employee and staff access to restricted areas of travel and transportation facilities.

"The system's ability to process four-to-five people per minute and provide highly reliable, machine-made decisions on whether the person actually is who he or she claims to be, will go a long way towards meeting travelers' demands for security, convenience and speed, " said Mike Hulley, general manager, IBM Global Travel & Transportation Industry group.

The security procedure for this solution involves two phases. In the first phase, the traveler is qualified and registered. This process, which includes a passport review, background check, and iris scan that is encrypted and embedded on a smart card, usually takes about 15 minutes. Currently the solution at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is offered to members of Privium, the airport's new service programme open to holders of European Economic Area passports (EU countries plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) that is independent of airline frequent flier programs. Currently, some 2,500 people are using the Privium service programme. IBM and Schiphol Group have indicated that this model can be varied at new installations as the customer and circumstances demand.

The second phase identifies and verifies the registered traveler at the border passage checkpoint. This is done when the traveler approaches a gated kiosk and inserts a smart card in the kiosk card reader. The system reads the smart card and allows valid registered travelers to enter an isolated area. The traveler then looks into an iris scan camera so that the iris can be matched with the data on the smartcard. If a successful match is obtained, the passenger can continue to the gate. If the biometric analysis fails, or the traveler's passage is not authorized by any external system link, the automatic gate directs the traveler to the front of the queue for the standard manual passport check. The entire automatic border passage procedure is typically completed in about 10-15 seconds.

By adding dedicated software to the iris scanner's standard software, Schiphol Group has designed the system so that it does not use a database but can receive data from a smartcard chip, which means there is no sharing of the iris information. The use of individual smart cards to hold the biometric data rather than a biometrics database, coupled with the fact that program enrollment is voluntary, has eased concerns about privacy. Due to a strict separation of data on the chip, the card reader is also able to read the Dutch Border Police data independently from the biometric information, further easing privacy concerns.

"We chose iris biometric technology because of its security and reliability as well as the fact that it is a non-contact system," said Verboom. The core iris scanning technology has been enhanced by Johan Enschede Security Solutions to ensure high performance and accuracy. Consequently the verification process has been drastically improved and currently is about 50 percent faster than the standard software. Additionally since the system involves no physical contact, such as fingerprint or hand geometry biometrics, there are no concerns regarding hygienics and no extra time is required for cleaning and maintenance of the unit.

For more information on IBM's offerings for the travel and transportation industries, visit www.ibm.com/industries/travel. For more information on the Schiphol Group, visit www.schiphol.nl.

Apr 26 - Home of the Future Opens its Doors. Would you like sit in your armchair and select your favourite tune by humming it? Can you imagine dimming the room's lights by just saying the command? Would you believe that your bathroom mirror will be able tell you that you are ill?

From today, these dreams will take a big step on the road to reality as Philips officially opens HomeLab, a real house filled with state-of-the-art technology that will be tested by normal people in an everyday environment.

Unlike traditional product testing facilities, HomeLab is a live-in "home" (with living room, kitchen, two bedrooms, bathroom and study) that is linked through hidden cameras, microphones and one-way mirrors to sophisticated observations rooms. This allows Philips' researchers to "live" with the occupants 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week to better understand their needs and motivations, and bring the best products to market as quickly as possible.
HomeLab features a range of Ambient Intelligent prototypes-technologies that are sensitive, personalized, adaptive and responsive to people. It includes home entertainment systems that can respond to human voice commands or create digital fantasy environments for virtual reality games; biofeedback technology embedded into everyday household objects such as a bathroom mirror; and an interactive user interface that consolidates multiple home devices into a single system for managing typical digital activities such as recording a voicemail, watching a video or listening to music from any room in the home.

Most connections are wireless, with systems controlled by handheld devices as well as large-area flat-panel displays, and the HomeLab's wireless LAN (Local Area Network) has access to the outside world via broadband internet. Chunky black boxes housing televisions or stereo apparatus will be a thing of the past. TV pictures can be projected onto blank walls. Music will come from MP3s stored on the HomeLab computer jukebox, which can even recognise and play a hummed tune.

Traditional testing has relied upon volunteers testing a new product for a limited time before giving their opinion, often only after a matter of hours. Although this provides good initial feedback, it does not identify whether consumers will become bored, frustrated, or even angry with a product over time. With HomeLab, "residents" will be staying for between 24 hours and two months, depending on the type of research being conducted.

"To achieve a world in which Ambient Intelligence is pervasive, we need to teach technology to react to humans rather than forcing humans to 'program' technology," said Erkki Liikanen, the Commissioner responsible for the European Union's investment in Philips HomeLab. "We also need to create technology that understands cultural differences, closes gaps in technology standards and is affordable for businesses to bring to market. Studying these human needs at a facility like Philips HomeLab brings us closer to understanding how technology can really make a difference."

Philips can be found online at www.philips.com.

Apr 25 - New ThinkPad T30 Features Revolutionary Design Change. IBM today introduced a new ThinkPad notebook computer, the T30 -- a thin and light mobile computing powerhouse with a blend of new features that makes the machine appealing to individual users as well as companies of all sizes.

The flagship ThinkPad T30 offers customers a revolutionary, programmable multi-pointing system that allows users to quickly and easily choose the way they want to work, along with a unique solution that makes it easier to manage and restore PC systems and reduce IT support costs, and wireless connectivity that offers levels of security equal to a local area network connection.

"The wireless user interface on the ThinkPad is the best I have experienced with a wide range of encryption options as well as the operational displays for signal strength, signal quality and active channel," said John McCrea, senior vice president of marketing at Radiance Technologies, an emerging, 60-employee company and a leader in enterprise digital delivery management software. "By far, ThinkPad is the easiest notebook to set up and use, and its security capabilities are the most extensive in the industry."

ThinkPad T30 New Features

The ThinkPad T30, which boasts a total of 55 patents and others pending, is the first computer to offer UltraNav, a multi-pointing system that combines the latest full-function TrackPoint device with a new programmable touch pad. The UltraNav includes expertly designed wrap-around buttons that have the same touch and feel as the IBM TrackPoint for maximum usability; the touch pad corners can be used as "hot buttons" to launch up to four software applications or Web sites for customers who have Internet access; and the entire touch pad can be used as a scrolling device. UltraNav's customized set-up software wizard allows users to quickly choose how they want to navigate.

The T30 also offers IBM's patent-pending HDD shock absorber, a one-of-a-kind feature which provides a cushion of air to help protect memory and prevent loss of data when a notebook in use is placed on a hard surface.

"Our customers have told us they want secure, mobile PCs that are easier to use and allow them to work anytime, anywhere," said Fran O'Sullivan, general manager, PC products and services, IBM Personal Computing Division. "We take that feedback and leverage our research and technology to provide users with a better mobile experience. For example, the new pointing system is ergonomically designed based on customer research. The PC industry revolves around timely innovation, and with our latest mobile offerings we've raised the bar once again."

Wireless: Optimized for connectivity, select models of the new ThinkPad T30 offer leading-edge integrated wireless solutions, including for the first time built-in Cisco Aironet 350 Series Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11b) technology and out-of-the-box wireless networking support for IEEE 802.1x /Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) security standard.

In addition to the Cisco models, IBM has also integrated Intel PRO/Wireless 2011b LAN technology as a feature on select T30 models.

The new T30 utilizes IBM's in-display dual antenna system for strong signal performance(1) with a wide variety of built-in communications capabilities, including Bluetooth and Wi-Fi2 wireless on select models, as well as Ethernet and integrated modem. In addition, IBM Access Connections software enables users to easily manage connectivity options, allowing them to save preferred settings and switch between various communications capabilities.

Models of the ThinkPad T30 will be generally available May 8, with prices ranging from $2,499 to $3,499.

IBM today also announced its newest ultraportable for highly mobile users, the ThinkPad X24, weighing 3.6 pounds and featuring up to 4.1 hours battery life and 256 MB memory standard. The ThinkPad A31, with new Intel Pentium 4 processors, CDRW and a number of other options, was also introduced.
Prices for the ThinkPad X24 range from $2,499 to $2,674; prices for the A31 range from $2,199 to $2,374.

All IBM PCs can be purchased direct through www.ibm.com.

Apr 25 - Addonics Announces CardBus USB 2.0 Adapter and USB 2.0 Hub. Addonics Technologies today announced a pair of solutions, which can upgrade older notebook PCs to USB 2.0 or add additional USB 2.0 ports to existing systems.

The Addonics CardBus USB 2.0 Adapter provides USB 2.0 capability to any CardBus-equipped computer. The adapter plugs into the CardBus slot of any computer to give users two USB 2.0 slots. It is the best solution to gain the performance advantage of 480 Mbits/sec throughput that USB 2.0 provides for external CDRWs, hard drives, DVD players, cameras and other high-speed peripherals.

The Addonics Card Bus USB 2.0 Adapter is total plug-and-play under Windows 98SE, Me, 2000 and XP. The adapter supports both USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 peripheral devices. It also supports Mac OS X or greater (at USB 1.1 speed).

List price of the Addonics CardBus USB 2.0 Adapter is $55. Price includes AC/DC adapter to provide the needed power to USB powered devices.

USB 2.0 Hub - Add Four High-Speed Ports To Any USB-Ready Computer

The Addonics USB 2.0 Hub is perfect for users who need additional USB ports on their systems or want to connect a USB 2.0 device that is up to 15 feet away. The hub adds four high-speed USB 2.0 ports to any computer with one USB connection (it operates at USB 1.1 speed when connected to a USB 1.1 port).

The hub is fully USB 2.0 Hi-Speed compliant and is compatible with any USB 1.1 or USB 2.0 device. It will auto adjust the data transfer rate from 12 Mbits/sec to full 480 Mbits/sec when connected to a USB 2.0 port.

The Addonics USB 2.0 hub is an ideal accessory for mobile users because it weighs just 5.29 ounces and measures 3.5 x 2.7 x 0.8 inches. Users can also power the device, and all peripherals connected to it, from the external AC/DC power adapter. It has also been designed to provide sufficient power through the USB bus to many common USB peripherals such as the Addonics Pocket CDRW, DVD, CD-ROM, DVD/CDRW, ExDrive, Floppy, the SuperDisk 240, or the Pocket DigiDrive. The hub features an auto switch to USB bus power or self-power (with AC/DC adapter connected) mode.

List price of the Addonics USB 2.0 Hub is $55 with external power adapter and USB 2.0 cable.

Visit Addonics at www.addonics.com.

Apr 25 - Corsair Announces Availability of 512 Megabyte DDR DIMMs. Corsair Memory, Inc., an industry leader in ultra-performance DDR DRAM modules for gaming and overclocking applications, has announced that it is now offering two new 512 megabyte modules tailored specifically for overclocking applications.

The first part, Corsair part number CMX512-3200, is guaranteed to operate at 400 MHz. The second part, part number CMX512-3000C2, is guaranteed to operate at 370 MHz, but with a column access strobe latency ("CAS latency") of only two clock cycles.

"Most users of Corsair's memory like to put at least 512 megabytes of memory into their systems," stated Don Lieberman, Corsair's Vice President of Engineering. "We believe that these modules offer our customers the ability to hit the highest speeds possible. One 512 megabyte module will outperform two 256 megabyte modules built with the same type of components in nearly any given performance-oriented system."

Corsair's 512 MByte XMS3200 and XMS3000 modules utilize 32Mx8 RAMs which have been carefully screened to meet these demanding performance requirements. The modules have been extensively qualified in motherboards based on chip sets from Via Technologies and Silicon Integrated Systems (SiS) that are capable of supporting the required high-speed memory bus. The modules are shipped with a pre-installed aluminum heat spreader.

Further information and specifications on this product and other XMS products can be found at Corsair's web site (www.corsairmemory.com).

Apr 25 - SmartDisk's FireFly Hard Drive for USB 2.0 Now Available. SmartDisk Corporation (Nasdaq:SMDK) today announced a 20 Gigabyte (GB) model of its portable Universal Serial Bus (USB) 2.0 hard drive, FireFly(TM) for USB. Approximately the size of a deck of playing cards, the new FireFly drive stores up to 20 hours of superior quality video, more than 5,000 MP3 songs or more than 15,000 high-quality digital photographs.

FireFly is ideal for a variety of digital video, audio, data backup and multimedia applications used by consumers and professionals. It stores and rapidly transfers large volumes of music, video, photos and data to and from desktops and laptops. FireFly's small, durable magnesium casing -- just 2.5" (W) x 4" (D) x .6" (H) --and weight of approximately four ounces make it easy to carry in a purse, a briefcase or pocket. The new model supports both USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 host systems, which means that users in transition between the two versions can use FireFly on any USB machine.

Because FireFly is powered by the computer itself, it doesn't require its own power adapter. The drive is also "Mass Storage Class" compliant, which means users don't have to install software drivers before using FireFly for most Windows or MacOS releases. Its rapid read and write speeds let users work on data and applications -- even digital video applications -- directly on the drive.

FireFly was first introduced with FireWire(TM) connectivity at the Macworld Expo New York, 2001, where it was given a "Best of Show" award.

Pricing and Availability

FireFly for USB is priced at $399.95 SRP for the 20 GB model. It will be available in early May. A 5 GB model, shipping now, is priced at $199.95 SRP. The drives can be purchased through retailers and distributors, as well as through the company's Web site at www.smartdisk.com.

Apr 25 - F-Secure Maintains Level 2 Alert on Klez.H Email Worm. -Secure Corporation (HEX:FSC) is maintaining a "Level 2" alert status for the Klez.H virus, which has been spreading around the world for a week. Klez.H is a mass-mailing Windows worm, which can generate massive amounts of e-mail traffic. Found in the wild on April 17 in various countries in Asia, the worm has been spreading globally, with infections reported especially heavily in the USA, UK and Central Europe.

"It looks like Klez.H is going to be around for a while, probably months," commented Mikko Hypponen, Manager of Anti-Virus Research at F-Secure. "It hasn't shown much sign of slowing down over the past few days, although all major antivirus programs detect it already, proving that there are lots of users out there without up-to-date anti-virus protection".

Klez.H is the eighth in a series of viruses written by an individual, operating most likely from mainland China or Hong Kong. The first virus in this family was found in October 2001. Most of the viruses in the Klez family have spread worldwide. Klez.H, like other Klez viruses, spreads as an e-mail attachment. On some systems the attachment can execute automatically when the e-mail is read.

Although it uses a long list of different e-mail subjects, Klez.H even sometimes puts random text as the e-mail subject. The worm can generate different types of e-mails that look like they have been sent by people or by companies. The name of the attachment is random, but always has the extension BAT, PIF, SCR or EXE.

Klez.H sometimes picks data files (such as Word documents or JPG pictures) from the infected machine and attaches them to the messages it sends out. This results in confidential information being disclosed to third parties. This means that Klez.H might sometimes spread other viruses unintentionally. For example, if a user has DOC files infected with a macro virus, Klez might send them to third parties, spreading the macro virus even further.

F-Secure Corporation continues to monitor Klez.H, maintaining the status as a Level 2 alert under the F-Secure Radar alerting system. Level 1 is the highest level of alert.
F-Secure is distributing a free tool to disinfect Klez. This program, as well as technical description and screenshots of the Klez virus is available at www.F-Secure.com/v-descs/klez_h.shtml.

InfoHQ Note: We have recieved several Emails with this virus. All Emails were over 100 KB in size and had various subjects and senders. One Email subject was made to appear as an update to a Microsoft program.
You can also use the HouseCall free online virus scanner to detect and clean this virus.

Apr 24 - Intel Xeon Processors Accelerate to 2.4 Gigahertz. Intel Corporation has accelerated the Intel(R) Xeon(TM) processor for two-way server and workstation platforms to 2.4 gigahertz (GHz).
Featuring 512 kilobyte (KB) of level two cache and built on Intel's industry-leading 0.13-micron process technology, the Intel Xeon processor is the first dual-capable processor to be produced on 300 mm wafers. The combination of larger wafers and smaller die size will lower manufacturing costs and raise output.

"Intel Xeon processor-based platforms offer customers the top of the line in terms of scalability, performance and value," said Mike Fister, senior vice president and general manager for Intel's Enterprise Platforms Group. "By continuously accelerating processor frequencies and boosting system performance of the Intel Xeon processor, Intel will continue to widen the performance gap with RISC-based platforms."

Front-end or general-purpose Internet servers, featuring one or two processors, are increasingly popular for companies conducting e-Business functions such as Web hosting, data caching, search engines, security and streaming media applications. These cost-effective Intel-based servers address the infrastructure trend of "scaling out," where companies and service providers quickly deploy more servers to accommodate growth in server workloads and allow for redundant workloads for additional reliability and availability.

The Intel Xeon processor for dual-processing servers is based on the Intel(R) NetBurst(TM) microarchitecture. It offers industry-leading performance and is one of the first Intel processors to feature Intel's Hyper-Threading Technology. The Intel(R) E7500 chipset is available for dual processing servers and the Intel(R) 860 chipset is available for dual processing workstations.

A number of manufacturers worldwide, including Compaq Computer Corporation, Dell Computer Corporation, Gateway Inc., Hewlett-Packard Company, IBM Corporation, and SuperMicro Inc., are expected to ship platforms based on the new processor in the next few months.

The Intel E7500 chipset enables twice the memory bandwidth over legacy SDRAM platforms. The new chipset accelerates memory access to increase platform performance and delivers new levels of performance for I/O intensive server applications.

In addition, Intel is expected to introduce an array of server platform building blocks in the next few months supporting the Intel Xeon processor and Intel E7500 chipset. Included in this suite of new products will be new server boards and associated chassis featuring dual Intel Xeon processors, PCI-X I/O, and DDR memory.

Pricing and Availability

The Intel Xeon processor with 512 KB level two Advanced Transfer Cache is priced at $615 in 1,000-unit quantities for 2.4 GHz.

Additional information about Intel is available at www.intel.com.

Apr 24 - Intel Introduces New Mobile Pentium 4 Processor-Ms. Intel(R) Corporation today introduced three new mobile processors for laptop computers that provide consumers the performance to take advantage of the latest computing trends -- such as digital music, wireless gaming, photography, movies, and graphic-intensive applications -- and the flexibility to enjoy them anytime, anywhere.

Today's introduction will bring a wider range of Mobile Intel Pentium(R) 4 Processor-M-based laptop designs and greater affordability to the mobile PC market segment worldwide. Available at speeds of 1.8, 1.5 and 1.4 GHz, the Mobile Intel Pentium 4 Processor-M will help to usher in more than 30 new laptops, from full-size to sleek thin-and-light models for both consumers and business users. Systems will be available from leading PC makers at prices starting at $1,300.

While laptops have been essential business productivity tools for more than decade, their increased utility and affordability have made consumer laptops the fastest growing segment in the PC marketplace. According to industry analyst firm IDC, laptop shipments will total approximately 30 million this year. The laptop's growing performance capabilities -- coupled with consumer enthusiasm to connect, share and retrieve information and be entertained anywhere, anytime -- have helped fuel demand.

"It's not just a laptop, it's a lifestyle," said Ann Lewnes, vice president, Intel Sales and Marketing Group, and director of Consumer Marketing. "Intel mobile processor-based laptops provide consumers with more choices to fit their lifestyles, along with the freedom and flexibility to do what they want, where they want, when they want."

Desktop Performance Without the Desk

The Mobile Intel Pentium 4 Processor-M brings desktop performance to the laptop PC. With systems based on the new mobile processor, consumers can listen to their favorite digital music on a long road trip, watch DVD movies on an airplane or from the rear seat of a minivan, and send vacation photos in e-mail while poolside. Parents can use a digital camcorder to film a child's birthday party and burn it to a CD or DVD to share with family. Students can collaborate on school projects from the campus library or all-night pizza joint. Internet fans can surf the Web from any room of the house and play head-to-head PC games at wireless LAN parties.

Several laptops using the Mobile Intel Pentium 4 Processor-M include built-in wireless capabilities such as 802.11b and Bluetooth radios. As wireless features become common in laptops, consumers will experience a new level of mobility. Many airports, hotels and coffee shops have created "hot spots" where these laptops can be connected to the Internet wirelessly. Additionally, wireless support features built into the Microsoft Windows XP operating system makes connecting to wireless easier and more secure.

"The combination of Windows XP Professional and the Mobile Intel Pentium 4 Processor-M offer enhanced power management and wireless support features, allowing users to enjoy a new level of mobile freedom and enabling access to information on the go," said Rogers Weed, corporate vice president at Microsoft Corp. "Windows XP Professional is designed to make mobile computing easy, reliable and secure."

Laptops based on the Mobile Intel Pentium 4 Processor-M will be available directly from PC manufacturers, resellers, online and at worldwide retail outlets from industry-leading computer makers including: Acer America Corporation, Chem USA Corporation, Compaq Computer Corporation, Dell Computer Corporation, Fujitsu PC Corporation, Gateway Inc., Hewlett-Packard Company, IBM Corporation, MicronPC, LLC, NEC Corporation, Sony Electronics Corporation, Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., TTX Canada and WinBook Computer Corporation.

Mobile Intel Pentium 4 Processor-M -- Designed For Laptops

The Mobile Intel Pentium 4 Processor-M is the highest performing processor optimized for laptops. The "M" signifies that the processor has been designed for use in laptops and includes advanced performance and power management features especially suited for the mobile computer user. The processor includes support for the Enhanced Intel SpeedStep(TM) technology, which provides the best balance of performance and low power operation to help extend battery life. Maximum performance is provided when multitasking between processor-intensive applications, such as playing the latest wireless game, looking at digital pictures of your family vacation, or downloading video from the Internet. During simpler tasks such as writing an e-mail, the processor speed and power is reduced to help prolong battery life.

The Mobile Intel Pentium 4 Processor-M family is available at speeds of 1.8, 1.7, 1.6, 1.5 and 1.4 GHz. In 1,000-unit quantities, the Mobile Intel Pentium 4 Processor-M at 1.8, 1.5 and 1.4 GHz are priced at $637, $268, and $198 respectively.

Additional information about Intel is available at www.intel.com.

Apr 24 - Dell Unveils $1,299 No-Compromise Pentium 4 Notebook. For budget-conscious customers who demand the most mobile computing power for their money, Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) today expanded its value notebook family with the introduction of the Inspiron(tm) 2650.

The new notebook features Intel's new Mobile Pentium(tm) 4-M processor combined with NVIDIA graphics and is priced starting at $1,299.

"The Inspiron 2650 is a no-compromise notebook optimized for mobility and brings all the latest technologies to customers on a budget," said John Medica, vice president of Dell's client product group. "We understand the desire to stay connected and be productive whether at home, school, the office or a local coffee shop. Like most Dell notebooks, our Inspiron 2650 can be custom-configured to meet a customer's specific needs."

The Inspiron 2650 offers the performance needed for productivity applications, digital photo editing, music management, DVD viewing or computer gaming applications. Taking advantage of new power management technology, the Inspiron 2650 can offer up to three hours of battery life, allowing users the flexibility of true mobility wherever it takes them.

For fast e-mail access and Internet connections, the Inspiron 2650 includes an integrated modem, 10/100 Ethernet port and an optional Dell TrueMobile(tm) 1150 wireless networking PC card.

All Inspiron 2650s can be configured with up to 512 MB SDRAM, up to 40GB hard drive, and a choice of bright 14- or 15-inch display that minimizes the need for an external monitor. Choices for the permanent integrated optical drive include CD-ROM, DVD, CD-RW and a multifunction DVD/CD-RW combination drive that allows users to burn their own CDs and watch all their DVDs.

To meet a range of home productivity and entertainment needs, the Inspiron 2650 comes with Microsoft's Windows(R) XP Home Edition operating system with Works Suite 2002, Music Match software for listening to digital music and Dell Picture Studio for processing and sharing digital photos and six months of America Online or DellNet by MSN membership (new members only).

Information on Dell and its products can be obtained at www.dell.com.

Apr 24 - New Toshiba Satellite 1200 Series Has Wireless Feutures. Toshiba's Computer Systems Group today announced the new Satellite(R) 1200 Series.

Priced at only $1,399, the Satellite 1200 is designed for budget-conscious consumers, small/home office users and small businesses looking for a feature-rich notebook with built-in Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11b) wireless capabilities.

With integrated wireless connectivity, the Satellite 1200 allows students, teachers, small businesses and other consumers to enhance their productivity without breaking their budget. The product's lightweight design makes it perfect for sliding into a backpack, providing students with the tools for an enhanced learning experience in the classroom and beyond.

Packed with an Intel(R) Celeron(R) 1.20GHz processor, 256MB of RAM and an array of useful features, the Satellite 1200 Series is the perfect choice for computer users searching for affordability, performance and the freedom from wired connections.

For additional information about Toshiba's Satellite 1200, visit www.shoptoshiba.com.

Apr 24 -Dell Launches Mobile Pentium 4-M Workstation. Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) today announced U.S. availability of the Dell Precision(tm) Workstation M50, designed specifically for professionals who require mobility and the performance to do complex, high-end computing.

Priced starting at $3,599, the Dell Precision M50 comes with the NVIDIA(R) Quadro(tm)4 500 Go GL graphics processing unit and a single Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4-M processor at 1.8GHz, both of which fuel performance for high-end 3-D graphic operations like OpenGL(R) and DirectX(R) professional applications.
It is designed for customers who need workstation hardware certification with independent software vendors in the computer-aided design (CAD), engineering, digital content creation, geographic information systems, computer animation, software development and financial analysis markets.

Bryan Lamkin, senior vice president of Adobe's graphics business unit, said his company's customers will benefit from the improved performance of the workstation. "With an Intel Pentium 4-M platform, additional memory support and integrated IEEE-1394, the new workstation and Adobe Premiere software provide an excellent professional, mobile digital video editing solution."

The Dell Precision M50 complements Dell's line of Precision workstations by providing the same certification and support as the company's desktop workstations with the added benefit of mobility, Tim Mattox, Dell vice president of relationship client marketing, said. "This new product delivers the outstanding performance, high-end graphics, and flexibility our customers have come to expect from the world's preferred provider of workstation products," he said.

Information on Dell and its products can be obtained at www.dell.com.

Apr 23 - ATI Ships Fastest ALL-IN-WONDER RADEON 8500. ATI Technologies Inc. (TSE:ATY, NASDAQ:ATYT) today announced that the retail version of the new ALL-IN-WONDER(R) RADEON(TM) 8500 128MB is now shipping.
As the fastest performing addition to the ALL-IN-WONDER(R) family, this new multimedia video card redefines computer-based state-of-the-art home entertainment and incredible video creation for North American customers.

"We chose ATI's industry leading ALL-IN-WONDER(R) solution for our Presario home and home office PCs because it bridges the gap between PC and pure entertainment technology for our customers," said Ken Willett, vice president, Desktop Marketing, in Compaq's Access Business Group. "Whether users require a super high-quality graphics solution for gaming or a digital VCR capability, the ALL-IN-WONDER(R) solution will exceed their speed and performance needs."

As an all-in-one television, video and graphics solution, ALL-IN-WONDER RADEON 8500 128MB allows users to view television programs by way of an integrated program guide, save and edit recorded video content, play games, enjoy DVDs, VCDs, CDs, and much more - all powered by the REMOTE WONDER(TM).

"With ATI's fastest ALL-IN-WONDER(R) RADEON(TM) solution, more consumers can experience the exciting features of the REMOTE WONDER and 128 MB of memory for amazingly fast 3D graphics all combined with the industry leading functionality of the ALL-IN-WONDER family," said Godfrey Cheng, Director of Marketing, Multimedia Products, ATI Technologies Inc. "It's an amazing video card that delivers even more amazing performance that just can't be beat. ALL-IN-WONDER RADEON 8500 128MB users are going to be astounded by the performance and quality of this video card."

ATI offers an extraordinary ALL-IN-WONDER line-up to satisfy the needs of any multimedia video card buyer. Priced at US$399, the newly introduced ALL-IN-WONDER RADEON 8500 128 MB is the fastest multimedia graphics cards for gamers. ALL-IN-WONDER RADEON 7500 delivers top-notch multimedia capabilities at a value price of US$199.
Now at a newly reduced price of US$299, ALL-IN-WONDER RADEON 8500DV is a great solution for digital video editing enthusiasts. The ALL-IN-WONDER family of video cards has something for everyone. Visit ATI'sWeb site at www.ati.com.

Apr 23 - ATI Launches Trade-In, Trade-Up Program. ATI Technologies Inc. (TSE:ATY, NASDAQ:ATYT) is now offering North American consumers the opportunity to trade-in an older ATI video card or any competitive video card and get one of ATI's newest video cards, including ALL-IN-WONDER(R) RADEON(TM) 8500 128 MB.

"This trade-in, trade-up program is a great opportunity for consumers to dispose of their older video cards or inferior competitive cards and install the best video card from ATI for their personal computers," said Godfrey Cheng, Director of Marketing, Multimedia Products, ATI Technologies Inc. "ALL-IN-WONDER RADEON 8500 128MB is the best purchase decision for multimedia entertainment on the PC."

For a limited one month time period, as part of its total lifespan, the Trade-In, Trade-Up Program offers ALL-IN-WONDER RADEON 8500 128 MB customers a US $50 instant rebate at time of purchase and a US $100 mail-in rebate when their previously purchased graphics card is received by ATI Technologies. Additional upgrade video cards available in the program include RADEON 8500 64MB and RADEON 8500 128MB.

For more details visit ATI's Web site www.ati.com.

Apr 23 - Intel Reports Results of Laptop Use Survey. Americans have an unlimited imagination for unusual and creative ways to use their laptop PCs, according to the "Laptops & Lifestyles" survey released today by Intel Corporation.

The survey of more than 2,400 computer users found that people have used their laptop PCs at weddings and funerals, in coal mines and on top of grain towers, from a Grand Canyon hiking trail to a "dodgy youth hostel in Amsterdam," while riding a horse, milking a cow and building a chicken coop.

Americans use their laptops to be kind (helping a deaf man understand a church service), joyful (sharing thoughts from a wedding with those who could not attend), heroic (remotely shutting down an off-shore oil rig while escaping a hurricane), adventurous (with a GPS device to navigate a sailboat), heartless (breaking off a relationship), and funny (using speech stimulation software "to say silly things to my kids over the phone").

They tend to use them just about anywhere, and often while doing other things. Eighty-one percent reported using their laptops in front of the TV, 60 percent in bed, 54 percent while eating and 48 percent while undressed or in their underwear.

Forty-one percent of respondents used their laptops while riding as a passenger in a car, 39 percent while outdoors, 20 percent while on a train or bus, and 18 percent in a foreign country. The top two ways people feel when they have their laptop PCs with them are "organized" and "connected."

"The laptop PC has become an extension of ourselves, offering an unprecedented level of freedom while still helping people to feel organized, connected and in-touch with the world," said Ann Lewnes, vice president, Sales & Marketing Group and director of Consumer Marketing for Intel Corporation. "No matter where our lives, jobs and experiences take us, consumers are increasingly turning to this one powerful device with which they can create, communicate, share and be entertained -- anytime and anywhere."

Other Results

Among Americans who now use a laptop PC, the necessity to have their laptops by their side is strong. Sixty-five percent feel "it is too much of a risk to store their laptop at a coat check or as luggage." More than one in four laptop owners (28 percent) claimed that their laptop was one of their "most prized possessions." More than half (54 percent) regretted leaving it behind on at least one occasion, and 29 percent turned around to retrieve it.

The survey also revealed that computer users have a strong curiosity about other people's laptops. Almost half (46 percent) of all respondents admitted glancing at someone else's machine. It was a more common practice among frequent travelers (57 percent), men (53 percent) and people under 35 (54 percent). While the majority (71 percent) looked to see the style or design of the machine, 31 percent were interested in the kind of work a person does, the person (19 percent) or the games they play (19 percent).

The Ideal Laptop PC

Looking ahead, consumers overwhelmingly believe that a laptop PC will remain an essential ingredient in their lives. Ninety-one percent said that laptop PCs would remain "as important or become even more important" to them over the next two years. Their "ideal laptop PC" would allow them to "surf the Internet wherever they are" (84 percent), weigh less (79 percent), provide better battery life (57 percent), offer the digital music capabilities (57 percent) or digital movie capabilities (56 percent) that desktop PCs now have, and enable them to play games with maximum speed and rich graphics (49 percent).

Additional information about Intel is available at www.intel.com.

Apr 23 - Toshiba Introduces New Pocket PC e310 PDA. Spearheading Toshiba to the forefront of the Pocket PC industry and extending its mobile and wireless strategy one step further, Toshiba's Computer Systems Group (CSG) today announced the expansion of its successful PDA product line with the new Toshiba Pocket PC e310.

Value-priced at $399, the newly designed color PDA is enabled by the Microsoft Windows Powered Pocket PC 2002 operating system and a host of expansion capabilities, surpassing the needs and expectations of the customer.

Easily transportable and weighing less than five ounces, the sleek Toshiba Pocket PC e310 is best suited for first-time PDA buyers, or second-time, price conscious buyers looking for enhanced capabilities beyond simple calendar and address book functionality to help organize their valuable data.

"The Toshiba Pocket PC e310 is the perfect companion to manage work-life requirements," said Oscar Koenders, vice president of product marketing, Toshiba CSG. "Its price appeal coupled with rich functionality empower users to manage their working and personal lives."

Easy to use right out of the box, the Toshiba Pocket PC e310 uses a simple and familiar user interface and comes fully equipped with a 3.5-inch diameter high-resolution 64K color display; Microsoft Windows Powered Pocket PC 2002 operating system including Pocket Word, Pocket Excel, Pocket Internet Explorer, Microsoft ActiveSync, Microsoft Pocket Media Player for Pocket PC 2002; USB cradle and an integrated Secure Digital(TM) (SD) expansion slot.

Indoors or outdoors, the new PDA displays brilliant images using thousands of colors. Multimedia enthusiasts will enjoy its ability to play audio and video files, or simply organize and view digital photography and images.

The Toshiba Pocket PC e310 also offers flexible expansion options via the SD card slot, perfect for adding extensive data storage, transferring digital and audio files, or for adding Bluetooth(TM) wireless connectivity for the exchange of information between other Bluetooth-enabled devices.

Pricing, Warranty and Availability

The Toshiba Pocket PC e310 is competitively priced at $399 with a one-year standard limited parts and labor warranty and is available at computer superstores, consumer electronic stores and mass merchandisers and at www.shoptoshiba.com.

Apr 23 - China Has the World's Second Largest At-Home Internet Population. China has taken second place in the race for the world's largest at-home Internet population, according to Nielsen//NetRatings, the global standard in Internet audience measurement and analysis.

"Our enumeration survey found 56.6 million people living in households with Internet connections, amounting to just over five per cent of homes in China. Consider the Internet market potential when Internet household penetration rates in China start to more closely resemble those in other markets such as the US, South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong, where penetration currently sits above 50 per cent," said Hugh Bloch, managing director, Nielsen//NetRatings North Asia.

"A 25 per cent penetration rate in China would amount to a potential 257 million people in China with access to the Internet at home. The potential is staggering, and it's a not-too-distant reality. According to the Chinese Ministry of Information, new Internet subscription rates in China are growing 5 - 6 per cent monthly. At these kinds of growth rates, 25 per cent Internet penetration in China is only three or four years off," added Bloch.

Bloch noted that the potential Internet universe could be even higher if more Chinese people gain access to fixed telephone lines. "Currently, only 35.6% of homes in China have a fixed telephone line, and even out of that comparatively small percentage there are nearly 57 million people with Internet access today, again underscoring the vast opportunities in this market," he said.

The Nielsen//NetRatings survey also found Chinese men aged 16 to 34 dominate Internet access and usage at home, and more than 80 per cent of those users 16 and over used it twice a week or more.

Among those with home Internet connections who also surf elsewhere, home was found to be the preferred venue for Internet surfing, accounting for 53 per cent, followed by Internet Cafes (27 per cent) and work (24 per cent).

Table 1: Internet Population: Global Q1 2002

Rank Country Total Internet
Population
(millions)
---------- -------- ----------------
1 USA 166.0
---------- -------- ----------------
2 China 56.6
---------- -------- ----------------
3 Japan 51.3
---------- -------- ----------------
4 Germany 32.2
---------- -------- ----------------
5 UK 29.0
---------- -------- ----------------
Source: Nielsen//NetRatings

For more information, visit www.nielsen-netratings.com.

Apr 22 - Intel President Otellini Outlines Future Plans. Intel Corporation President and Chief Operating Officer Paul Otellini today outlined Intel's plans to drive the convergence of computing and communications and create new classes of devices through technology integration.

"In the future, all computers will communicate and all communication devices will compute," said Otellini. "To support this environment and enhance the user experience, we need to deliver innovative technologies for performance, communications and more secure platforms. Our ultimate goal is to bring computing to everyone -- any time and any place in the world."

Speaking to developers at the Microsoft Windows Hardware Engineering Conference here, Otellini noted that laptops with integrated 802.11 wireless communications capabilities and upcoming desktop PCs with Intel's Hyper-Threading Technology represent a new way of defining system performance.

Otellini highlighted Intel's future mobile platform, codenamed Banias, as representative of the notion that performance and innovations should extend beyond sheer processing power. Banias systems are designed specifically for the mobile market and most will ship with optimizations for 802.11 wireless technologies.

Demonstrated publicly for the first time today, the Banias mobile platform is due in the first half of 2003. It is expected to bring users the best mobile experience by delivering on key vectors of mobility including mobile-optimized performance, longer battery life, thinner and lighter form factors and seamless wireless connectivity.

Otellini also demonstrated Hyper-Threading Technology on a desktop PC for the first time. It will improve performance for users who are doing increasingly complex and interrelated tasks on their computers, such as rendering photos, printing documents, surfing the Web and running virus scans simultaneously. Hyper-Threading Technology is now shipping on Intel(R) Xeon(TM) processor-based servers and enables operating systems and applications to take advantage of a single physical processor as though it were two processors. It is expected to appear in desktop PCs in 2003.

Otellini said that more robust hardware with specific security features is fundamental to building greater levels of protection for businesses as software-based attacks increase. He called for increased industry cooperation to accelerate the delivery of systems that offer a safer computing environment for users.

Finally, Otellini encouraged developers to consider the unique needs of emerging markets when designing products, and said that opportunities exist to tailor computers specifically for those regions. Emerging markets are expected to constitute approximately 40 percent of the overall world PC market by 2006.

Additional information about Intel is available at www.intel.com.

Apr 22 - eBay Inc. Announces Record First Quarter 2002 Profit. eBay Inc. (Nasdaq:EBAY), the world's online marketplace(TM), reported financial results for its first quarter ended March 31, 2002.
During Q1-02, the company reported record net revenues of $245.1 million, representing 12% sequential and 59% year-over-year increases.
The sequential increase was driven largely by better-than-expected results in the U.S. transaction business combined with continued strong performance internationally. Revenues from third party advertisers represented approximately 8% of net revenues, down from 13% of net revenues in Q4-01 and consistent with the 8% of net revenues reported in Q1-01. The sequential decrease in advertising revenues was attributed primarily to the current industry-wide weakness in the online advertising market. Overall, the company's core online transaction performance more than offset the sequential decrease in advertising revenues.

Gross profit as a percentage of net revenues increased to 83% as compared with 82% in both Q4-01 and Q1-01. The sequential margin improvement resulted from a combination of strong revenue growth, relatively fixed costs in customer support and site operations, and efficiencies gained from migrating the former iBazar sites to the eBay platform.

eBay reported a consolidated tax provision of $29.4 million, reflecting a 38% effective tax rate.

eBay's balance sheet remains strong. At the end of Q1-02, the company had consolidated assets totaling $1.79 billion, including $1.20 billion in aggregate cash and investments.

Business Outlook

Q2-02 Outlook - eBay now believes that net revenues for Q2-02 will range between $260 and $265 million, bringing its first half 2002 net revenue guidance to between $505 and $510 million, representing the high end of previous guidance. This net revenue outlook reflects the company's expectation that a sequential decrease in advertising revenues will be fully offset by higher than previously anticipated transaction revenues, from both the U.S. and international markets.

The company remains committed to making important strategic investments to build its marketplace for the long term. In Q2-02, eBay will increase marketing expenditures both domestically and internationally and continue to roll out its next-generation technology infrastructure. In addition, as previously disclosed, eBay expects to absorb approximately $4 million for the first full quarter of operating losses from its NeoCom subsidiary.

Accordingly, eBay believes that Q2-02 pro forma earnings per diluted share will approximate $0.17, bringing its first half 2002 guidance to approximately $0.35. This earnings level represents an increase of $0.03 to $0.04 from the company's previous guidance of $0.31 to $0.32 per diluted share.

eBay can be found online at www.ebay.com.

Apr 22 - Transmeta Corporation Reports Loss For First Quarter 2002. Transmeta Corporation (Nasdaq:TMTA) today reported actual net loss for the first quarter of fiscal 2002 was $30.9 million, or $0.23 per share, compared with actual net loss of $22.7 million, or $0.18 per share, for the same period last year.
Actual net loss for the first quarter of fiscal 2002 decreased by $18.8 million compared to actual net loss of $49.7 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2001. Actual net loss for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2001 included a $16.6 million charge to write off certain long-lived assets.

"During this quarter, we continued to define and execute on our recovery plan, and we were able to begin making volume shipments of our Crusoe TM5800 products to our customers," said Murray Goldman, Chairman of Transmeta Corporation. "We look forward to continuing our rebuilding efforts and are pleased that our customers have been able to offer TM5800 based notebooks to the marketplace in both Japan and the United States since February."

Current Financial Outlook for Second Quarter 2002

The following outlook statements are based upon current expectations. These statements are forward looking, and our actual results could differ materially.

1. Transmeta expects revenue for the second quarter of fiscal

2002 to increase between 55%-65% over its revenue for the

first quarter of fiscal 2002.

2. Transmeta expects gross margin percentage for the second

quarter of fiscal 2002 to be approximately 25%.

3. Transmeta expects total dollar spending in operating expenses

for the second quarter of fiscal 2002 to be $28.5 million.

About Transmeta Corporation

Transmeta is a publicly traded company located in Santa Clara, California. Transmeta develops and sells software-based microprocessors and develops additional hardware and software technologies that enable computer manufacturers to build computers that simultaneously offer long battery life, high performance and x86 compatibility. Transmeta's family of Crusoe microprocessors is targeted at the notebook, Tablet PC and Internet appliance segments of the mobile Internet computer market, as well as a range of embedded applications.

To learn more about Transmeta, visit www.transmeta.com.

Apr 21 - Sunday Shopping Watch.

Weekly Comparison.
Notebooks
- Prices continue to go down on 1 GHz notebooks. This Sunday, for the first time, an Athlon 4 1 GHz laptop is advertised below $1000 (see price chart below). Pentium III-M and Pentium 4-M processor notebook prices appear unchanged.
Desktops - Pentium 4 desktops stayed about the same, however Athlon "+" processor desktops seem to be dropping in price.

This Sunday's Special Discounts and Financing. In addition to sales on specific items, the following store-wide sales are advertised this week. (Note that these ads are for the Dayton,Ohio area. Prices or offerings may be different where you live.)

BestBuy is giving away 6 months of free MSN with any computer purchase. They are also offering 12 months of interest free financing on all Pentium 4 desktops and on all notebooks over $598. Additionally, they are giving $100 mail-in rebates on all desktop packages, and all notebooks.
Circuit City is offering 12 months of interest free financing on all Intel processor desktops and notebooks. Additionally, they are offering a $100 instant merchandise card with purchase of any Intel Pentium 4 desktop package or Intel processor notebook.
Office Depot is offering no interest, no payments, for 6 months on any computer purchase over $298.
CompUSA is giving away $200 gift cards (by mail) with purchase of an advertised Compaq complete system.
Staples no ad this Sunday.

Shopping Alert on Lower Priced Desktops. Many lower priced Celeron desktops made by almost all computer manufacturers should be carefully investigated before purchase.
Most of these low priced desktops have no AGP video expansion slot, no onboard dedicated video RAM, no CD-RW drive, and very few empty PCI expansion slots. These computers will be very difficult to upgrade, and they have poorer performance than other desktops that do not have integrated audio and video chips on the motherboard.
Often by spending $200-$400 more dollars for a Pentium 4 or Athlon XP based system, you can get twice the performance, more features, and you will have an upgradeable computer that will serve you well for another 3 years.
If you choose the $700 Celeron system to save a few bucks, keep in mind that in a year or two you will probably want to replace it.

About Windows XP. It has been a little over 5 months since Windows XP began to be bundled with new computers. Windows XP became available for separate purchase on October 25th. For more information on Windows XP see our Windows XP Upgrade Guide.

Internet Rebates. Most stores are no longer advertising 3 year Internet rebates. Check with your local store before you buy. 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 desktop 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).

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.

* Prices discussed in this article. We report prices after rebates and discounts are subtracted.

Best Deals this Sunday
Category
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Store
Best Celeron Deal
HP 1.3 GHz complete system
$849
Circuit City
Best Low-cost Pentium 4
Sony 1.6 GHz complete system
$1199
Best buy
Best High-end Pentium 4 System
HP 2.0 GHz complete system
$1599
Best Buy
Best Low-cost Athlon XP System
HP 1600+ complete system
$999
Best Buy
Best High-end Athlon XP System
Compaq 1900+ complete system
$1149
Best Buy
Best Low-cost Notebook
HP Athlon 4
1.1 GHz with combo drive (build-to-order)
$999
Best Buy
Best High-end Notebook
Compaq AMD 1600+ Athlon 4 with DVD/CD-RW
$1499
Office Depot
Best High-end Notebook
Sony Pentium 4-M 1.6 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$2099
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 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 make informed buying decisions.

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