APR 12 -Alliance Created for Breakthrough Semiconductor R&D.
Three of the world's top ten semiconductor manufacturers today announced
the signing of a memorandum of understanding proposing to create a
comprehensive alliance dedicated to breakthrough semiconductor technology
development. The unprecedented move redefines the industry model for
such advanced development, with the goal of creating future-generation
technologies and System-on-Chip solutions more quickly and cost-effectively.
The alliance joins together three of the world's leading industry
players in semiconductor research and process development - STMicroelectronics,
Motorola and Philips - and would include the participation for process
development and alignment of the world's largest semiconductor foundry,
TSMC. The joint development program will be based in Crolles, France,
in the new R&D Center called `Crolles2,' and augmented by each
company's existing R&D operations and laboratories. In addition,
to further support the alliance, CEA/LETI will increase its research
efforts in the Grenoble, France, Labs.
Motorola joins Philips and ST in the 300mm wafer Crolles2 project,
significantly enhancing the strength of the existing alliance. This
expands the agreement announced last month by Philips, ST and TSMC
to jointly develop CMOS process technology. The combined resources
of the four companies will be dedicated to development of future generations
of CMOS technology from the 90 nanometer node down to 32 nanometers
over the next five years. Such reduced circuit geometry sizes will
allow the partners to continue to meet customer demand for integrating
more intelligence into smaller packages.
Motorola brings to the alliance its portfolio of leading-edge technologies,
including SOI (Silicon-on-Insulator) and embedded MRAM technologies
as well as its know-how in advanced copper interconnect. This contribution
builds upon the existing Philips and ST cooperation for core CMOS
processes, which includes embedded DRAM, SRAM and analog CMOS.
The expanded commitment and access to 300mm pilot capacity at the
Crolles site will allow for rapid introduction of the partners' new
products. Motorola, Philips and STMicroelectronics will be equal technology
partners in the Crolles2 alliance in terms of capital expenditure,
R&D costs and wafer load for the fab. Their joint investment will
total $1.4 billion by 2005. TSMC will be a valued participant to achieve
alignment of CMOS platform technology between the alliance and TSMC's
commercial foundry process.
"Motorola continues to view the future as bright for semiconductor
opportunities. This investment will ensure that Motorola and its partners
are in leadership positions to supply the highest-value products to
our customers," said Fred Shlapak, president of the Semiconductor
Products Sector at Motorola. "The beauty of this alliance is
that it will dramatically accelerate the development of future technologies,
ensure proliferation of those technologies throughout the industry,
and at the same time result in lower costs for each member of the
joint development project. For Motorola, this kind of teamwork is
a critical element for our asset-light strategy."
"The fact that Motorola has joined with us in the development
of future semiconductor process and manufacturing technologies is
a testament to the level of success that has already been achieved
by Philips, STMicroelectronics and the various research institutes
involved in the Crolles2 project," said Scott McGregor, CEO of
Philips Semiconductors. "Being part of this comprehensive alliance
in breakthrough technology development will put us in an unprecedented
position to deliver the silicon system solutions that help people
effortlessly connect to information, entertainment and services."
"The partnership that we are building around the Crolles Center
with Philips, Motorola and TSMC is unique and again demonstrates ST's
unsurpassed ability to federate leading-edge expertise from all over
the world to fulfill ST's mission to provide customers with strategic
independence. In addition to ensuring that ST's R&D continues
to be world-class, the partnership will also reinforce the position
of Crolles as one of the world's leading centers of excellence for
developing the semiconductor technologies that will drive the market
recovery," said Pasquale Pistorio, President and CEO of STMicroelectronics.
The companies can be found online at www.motorola.com,
www.st.com, and www.semiconductors.philips.com.
Apr 12 - E-commerce's Growth Is Accelerating.
E-commerce as an industry is accelerating, not maturing or decelerating,
according to new quarterly numbers from BizRate.com, the leading comparison-shopping
site and e-commerce research firm.
The just-ended first calendar quarter of 2002 revealed year-over-year
online retail sales gains of 41.1% to $11.60 billion versus Q1 2001's
This first quarter increase of 41% beat the last three quarters:
fourth quarter 2001, which includes the holiday season, grew by 34.5%
year over year; third quarter 2001, which was impacted negatively
for two weeks from the terrorist attacks, grew at a 19.6% rate; and
second quarter 2001 increased by 21.3% versus the prior year. Unmistakably,
the online sales growth is up and accelerating as consumers take a
stronger affinity to the convenience of online sales, both at work
Contributing to the increased sales is both a greater volume of orders
and higher price points per transaction. Online orders grew by 33.9%
this past quarter from 68.29 million purchases in Q1 2001 to 91.47
million in Q1 2002. The average online sale in Q1 2002 was $127 per
purchase, up 5.3% from Q1 2001's $120.
"There is a still a perception that online industries are faltering,
but this is actually the reverse with online retail sales. The trend
shows that consumers love buying online and are shifting their purchases
from offline to online -- and at ever-increasing levels -- even though
their overall spending might not be growing," said Chuck Davis,
President & CEO of BizRate.com.
"While a 35% growth rate for e-commerce during the busy fourth
quarter season was reason to celebrate," Davis said, "it
looks like more champagne needs to be uncorked for this quarter's
41% growth rate. It proves that there is unabated enthusiasm to the
24-by-7 convenience of shopping online, despite the warm winter which
probably let shoppers spend more time away from their computers."
Due to the outstanding performance of Q1 online sales, BizRate.com
is increasing its estimate for 2002 total online retail sales from
26% to 44%. Total online retail sales, which were $28.91 billion in
2000 and grew by 24% to $35.87 billion in 2001, are now forecasted
to be up 44% to $51.48 billion in 2002. BizRate's previous 2002 estimate
announced in October was for a 26% increase to $45.22 billion.
"The recession neither penetrated as deeply nor lasted as long
as everyone predicted," Davis said. "Furthermore, the growth
of e-commerce bucked the whole downward trend and therefore has already
come out of the gates stronger than most other industries. "BizRate
had forecasted a 27% growth rate for Q1 2002, which instead came in
at 41%. Online sales in 2001 grew by 24% versus 2000, so the new prediction
of 44% is that much more dramatic."
Davis also attributed this growth to the power of information online
and the consumer's desire to research pricing online. "Comparison
shopping becomes addictive for shoppers," he said. "Shoppers
like price shopping, and once they see the power of pricing information
available online, they return to buy more online knowing they can
always get a great deal from a great merchant."
For more information, visit www.bizrate.com.
Apr 12 - Worldwide Wafer Fab Equipment
Market Declined 30 Percent in 2001. Excess inventories, declining
demand and overcapacity issues drove down worldwide wafer fab equipment
revenue in 2001, according to Dataquest Inc., a unit of Gartner, Inc.
(NYSE: IT and ITB).
Worldwide wafer fab equipment revenue in 2001 totaled $23.3 billion,
a 29.8 percent decline from 2000 revenue of $33.1 billion.
"Following the spectacular growth of 2000, capacity shipments
virtually ceased during 2001 and the buying focus was on technology
and productivity-enhancing equipment," said Bob Johnson, principal
analyst of Gartner Dataquest's semiconductor research group. "The
2001 market was kinder to companies in hot technology segments such
as lithography, copper interconnect and process control. On the other
hand, companies more strongly dependent on capacity buys and greenfield
activity were more negatively affected."
All of the regions experienced significant declines in 2001. The
foundry regions were hit the hardest as demand suffered. The Taiwan
region declined 54percent. DRAM heavy-production regions were also
hit hard, with South Korea declining 40 percent. The Asia/Pacific
region held up fairly well, declining only 30 percent and Europe and
the Americas saw 27 percent and 22 percent declines, respectively.
Strengthened by a strong first quarter, Japan saw the least amount
of decline at only 13 percent.
"For 2002, macroeconomic pressures have started to ease. With
it, a broad recovery pattern is expected to emerge for electronic
equipment and semiconductor device demand," said Johnson. "Manufacturing
over-capacity remains an issue, but increasing tightness of leading-edge
capacity should loosen company purse strings."
For more information, visit www.gartner.com.
Apr 12 - Python Software Foundation Announces
Python Version 2.1.3. The Python Software Foundation (PSF) has
announced release of version
2.1.3 of the Python programming language and standard libraries. This
maintenance release confirms the PSF's commitment to supporting older
"We're happy to offer this maintenance release. This is not
and greatest version of Python, but it introduces several important
improvements for people who prefer to continue running Python 2.1,"
said Guido van Rossum, creator of Python and president of the Python
Python is a powerful object oriented programming language that is
developed and maintained by a global community of Open Source
contributors, under the oversight of the Python Software Foundation.
Python's unique blend of simplicity and power excels in a wide range
business and research development tasks, including the construction
web applications, complex business solutions, and large desktop
"NASA is using Python to implement a CAD/CAE/PDM repository
management, integration, and transformation system which will be the
infrastructure for its next generation collaborative engineering
environment. We chose Python because it provides maximum productivity,
code that's clear and easy to maintain, strong and extensive (and
growing!) libraries, and excellent capabilities for integration with
other applications on any platform. All of these characteristics are
essential for building efficient, flexible, scalable, and well-integrated
systems, which is exactly what we need. Python has met or exceeded
requirement we've had," said Steve Waterbury, Software Group
Python significantly increases programmer productivity over languages
such as C, C++, Java, and Visual Basic. The language's global user
is estimated in the hundreds of thousands and is growing rapidly.
Key features of Python include:
* Object orientation, modular name spaces, exceptions, and multi-threading
* High-level dynamic data typing and very late binding
* Tight integration with C, C++, and Java modules
* May be compiled to Java byte code for use in any JVM
* String and regular expression processing
* Extensive XML and web services support
* HTTP, FTP, SMTP, POP, IMAP, NNTP, telnet, and other IP protocols
* HTML, MIME, base64, binhex, uuencode, and other internet data handling
* GUI development and multimedia services
* Unit testing, profiling, and documentation generation
* Restricted execution security option
* Available third party modules for database access, math, 3D modeling,
image processing, LDAP, WebDAV, jabber, MIDI, and much more
Python runs on Microsoft Windows, Macintosh, Linux, Unix, OS/2, WinCE,
and many other operating systems. Full source code is available for
language and associated standard libraries.
About the PSF:
The Python Software Foundation (PSF) is a non-profit organization
to advancing Open Source technology related to the Python programming
language. The PSF holds the intellectual property rights to Python.
Additional information and downloads are available at www.python.org.
Apr 11 -Consumers Adopt Home Networks
to Keep up with the Joneses. As the popularity of home networking
in the United States increases, the demographics of those using the
technology are evolving, according to a recent survey conducted by
The high-tech research firm found evidence of increased interest
in home networking by nearly all segments of the population, refuting
the common perception that their usage is restricted to tech-savvy,
"The surge in wireless networking equipment sales and the availability
of low-cost home routers to enable broadband sharing shows that this
technology is indeed gaining wider acceptance," said Jaclynn
Bumback, an analyst with In-Stat/MDR. In-Stat/MDR believes the total
percentage of owners who would purchase and install a home network
would be higher if they were educated about the benefits."
The vendor community has begun, both individually and collectively
(through such efforts as the Internet Home Alliance), to educate end
users about the benefits of home networking and broadband. "While
we can point to a number of demand drivers, including wider availability
of low-cost and easy-to-use networking gear and increased awareness
of end users, perhaps the best way to understand the increased interest
is to examine what end users are using their home networks for."
In-Stat/MDR's survey found the following:
-- Forty-two percent of those with home networks pointed to
broadband as the primary application. With the number of
broadband users in the United States growing to approximately
13 million by the end of 2001, the home networking industry
has benefited greatly. This is indicative in the strong
end-use demand for affordable broadband sharing devices from
the likes of vendors such as Linksys and NetGear. These two
vendors alone shipped over 2 million cable/DSL routers in
-- The 45-54 age bracket has become the largest segment of the
home network owner population as they react to the needs of
their tech-savvy late-teen children and home networking
products become easier to install and manage. The segment
accounts for 28 percent of all home-networked households in
the United States.
-- Of the respondents planning to purchase a home network, 41
percent plan to purchase from a retailer. This is a key
opportunity for vendors such as Linksys, D-Link, and NetGear
with strong retail presence. Thirty-seven percent do not know
where they plan to purchase their home network. This
indecisiveness indicates a lack of loyalty to any particular
channel other than retail.
Apr 11 - Rambus Reports March Quarter Earnings
Per Share of 7 Cents. Rambus Inc. (Nasdaq:RMBS) today reported
financial results for its second fiscal quarter ended March 31, 2002.
Net income for the March quarter was $6.7 million (29% of revenues),
compared to $6.2 million in the previous quarter and $8.0 million
in the same period last year. Revenue for the quarter was $23.5 million,
down 25% over the same period last year and down 5% from the previous
March quarter results include $21.8 million in royalties, essentially
flat with the previous quarter. RDRAM memory and controller royalties
were up 23% sequentially. Royalties from other memory and controllers
declined sequentially by about 9%.
Operating expenses in the March quarter declined $2.5 million from
last quarter as a result of a significant reduction in litigation
costs. Costs associated with litigation were down to $1.6 million
in the March quarter versus $4.5 million in the prior quarter. Overall,
operating expenses were $14.8 million versus $17.3 million last quarter
and $20.4 million in the same period last year.
Rambus Inc. designs, develops and licenses high bandwidth chip-connection
technology and provides the comprehensive engineering support necessary
for a complete system solution. Rambus' technology and intellectual
property are licensed to leading semiconductor suppliers including
DRAM, controller and microprocessor manufacturers, ASIC developers,
and foundries for use in computer, consumer and networking systems
such as personal computers, workstations, servers, game consoles,
set top boxes, digital HDTVs, printers, high-speed switches and routers.
Among the reasons which could cause actual results to differ materially
are the possibility of inadequate shipments of Rambus RDRAM memory
devices and controllers for the Sony PlayStation2 and the PC main
memory market, the market response to these products, the continued
deterioration in the DRAM market, any delay in the development of
Rambus-based products by licensees, any delay in the development and
shipment of new Rambus products, any delay in the development and
shipment of products compatible with Rambus products, a strong response
of the market to competing technology, a lack of progress on price
and cost reduction by RDRAM suppliers, a failure to sign new contracts
or maintain existing contracts for RDRAM, Yellowstone, RaSer or SDRAM-compatible
and DDR-compatible ICs, adverse litigation decisions and other factors
that are described in our SEC filings including our 10-K and 10-Qs.
Rambus can be found on the Web at www.rambus.com.
Apr 11 - Apple Users Like Burning DVDs.
Apple announced today that it has shipped nearly half a million SuperDrive-equipped
Macintosh® computers and more than 2 million DVD-R media discs
Apple first introduced its SuperDrive, the industry's first high-volume
CD- and DVD-burning drive, and its revolutionary iDVD and DVD Studio
Pro software applications in January 2001.
"Apple is leading the desktop DVD revolution," said Greg
Joswiak, Apple's senior director of Hardware Product Marketing. "SuperDrives
are now in iMacs, Apple's recordable DVD media is now priced under
$5 US (£3.50 UK) per disc, and our iDVD software makes it easy
for anyone to create their own DVDs.
All SuperDrive-equipped Macs include iDVD 2 software, the world's
easiest-to-use application for creating DVDs that play in consumer
DVD players, and the only consumer DVD authoring application that
can create professional-looking DVDs with full-motion menu buttons
Apple's DVD Studio Pro is a full-featured DVD creation tool offering
professional-quality encoding, authoring and output, and is the perfect
complement to Apple's Final Cut Pro 3, the world's leading video editing,
effects and compositing software. Together, iMovie 2, Final
Cut Pro 3, iDVD 2 and DVD Studio Pro offer both professionals and
consumers a comprehensive, integrated solution for pro-quality DVD
Apple can be found online at www.apple.com.
Apr 11 - Belkin Announces Security Locks
for Notebooks. Belkin, the leading manufacturer of computer peripherals
and accessories, today introduced its lineup of security products
for notebook computers, dock stations, flat-screen monitors, and other
expensive computer devices.
The patented SafeTech(TM) line features two locks that offer the
ultimate protection from theft. A keyless version, the SafeTech C100
Combo Security Lock (F8E503 - ESP $24.95) and a keyed version, the
SafeTech K100 Security Lock (F8E504 - ESP $29.95) will begin shipping
in North America on April 15, 2002.
First, Belkin offers its "keyless" combo security lock,
which features a user-resettable combination lock and a press-to-lock
mechanism. The SafeTech C100 Combo Security Lock is constructed of
a rugged zinc alloy and an attractive yet durable nickel-plated finish.
The exclusive "press-to-lock" feature makes installation
easy and simple. Next, Belkin offers users its "keyed" security
lock, the SafeTech K100 Security Lock. Unlike other security locks,
the SafeTech press-to-lock feature does not require two hands or a
key to secure any notebook, docking station, or flat-screen monitor
with a security slot.
In addition, both security locks feature a 6-foot, galvanized, aircraft-grade
cable that easily loops around any immovable object. All users need
to do is press the lock into the security slot found on their notebook
computer, docking station, or flat-screen monitor. An anchor plate
with screws for additional locking options and a carrying case are
"Unbelievably, nearly 390,000 notebook computers were stolen
in 2000," said Steve Bellow, VP sales and marketing at Belkin.
"With that in mind, we created our line of SafeTech Security
products, which offer effective physical and visual theft deterrence
Visit the company's website at www.belkin.com.
Apr 11 -NovaStor Improves Disaster Recovery
With New InstantRecovery 3.0. NovaStor Corporation announces the
release of InstantRecovery 3.0, a simple and cost-effective disaster
recovery program for all versions of Windows, Linux and other Intel-based
New support for USB, FireWire and PCMCIA removable storage devices
gives users the broadest compatibility for disaster recovery.
InstantRecovery is a self contained disaster recovery program that
runs directly from CD to create backups of any physical hard drive
or partition. Since InstantRecovery does not require installation,
it does not interfere with the performance of your day-to-day activities.
Backups of hard drives made with InstantRecovery can be restored
on the original hard drive or loaded onto a new hard drive to return
the users' computer to its exact state when the backup was run. This
allows users to recover from several types of problems like virus
attacks, system corruption and hardware failure.
New support for USB, FireWire and PCMCIA removable storage devices
provides users with a wide array of device selections for performing
their routine backups. In addition to the existing support for SCSI
and IDE attached hard drives, tape drives and CD-RW drives, InstantRecovery
3.0 adds support for USB, FireWire and PCMCIA-connected tape drives
and CD-RW drives. Now, backup images of almost any system can be conveniently
made and stored safely in an alternate location.
InstantRecovery can also be used as a convenient way for users to
upgrade to a new, larger hard drive. Users can copy the entire contents
of their original hard drive to their new, larger hard drive to maintain
their exact working environment while gaining the additional free
InstantRecovery 3.0 is included free with every purchase of NovaStor's
NovaBACKUP software or can be purchased separately for an introductory
price of $39.95 from NovaStor's web site. Existing InstantRecovery
users can upgrade to version 3.0 for only $19.95.
Users can download a demo of InstantRecovery 3.0 from NovaStor's
web site at www.novastor.com.
Apr 11 - WFX Launches Official Britney
Spears Wireless Fan Club.
InfoHQ Editorial Comment: This story thrown in as a, "What
will they think of next?" thing. Best effort I've seen yet to
turn wireless into addictive entertainment.
Wireless Fan Access, an innovative network bringing wireless phone
entertainment to retail, announced today the launch of the official
Britney Spears wireless fan club.
In conjunction with marketing and technology partner Samsung, Britney
WFX debuts May 5th exclusively in approximately 500 Best Buy stores
and provides fans with a "virtual backstage pass" to Britney's
world. Fan club members will receive surprise voice and text messages
from Britney Spears herself, lifestyle and fashion tips, exclusive
logos and picture messages, horoscopes, fan polls and monthly contests
and prizes right on their wireless phones.
"WFX is an exciting new way for me to stay connected with my
fans," said Britney Spears.
The complete retail WFX package features collectible Britney merchandise,
including a unique membership card, which grants access to Britney's
exclusive messages, a replica tour laminate card with lanyard and
an exclusive static cling decal. Britney WFX has a suggested retail
price of $19.99 and includes a three-month, pre-paid subscription.
WFX's wireless fan club is compatible with all major digital phones
and carriers that support text messaging.
"WFX is first to market with the most powerful application for
wireless entertainment we've seen to date," said Dave Sprosty,
vice president of personal solutions for Best Buy Co., Inc. "Given
our position in the wireless marketplace, combined with Britney Spears,
the biggest star of her generation, we're excited to offer this new
technology exclusively to our customers."
Apr 10 - Infineon Technologies Celebrates
50th Anniversary. In just a few lines, Ernst von Siemens announced
in early April 1952 the intention to build a separate plant for the
production of semiconductors.
At that time it was unforeseeable what developments he would trigger
off. It was the start of the semiconductor industry in Germany. Today
- half a century later - this sector can look back on incomparable
developments in both economic and technical terms. And the plant constructed
50 years ago continues to play a part in this development process
as one of its pioneers. But today, it is called Infineon. And the
original total of 30 employees has become 30,000, one in six of whom,
at 29 locations worldwide, is involved in the areas of research and
In the relational triangle of miniaturization, increasing productivity
and reducing prices
Between 1954 and 2000, worldwide sales of the entire industry increased
40,000 times over from five million US Dollars to 200 billion US Dollars.
In the meantime, an average of 60 million transistors is produced
per capita and year. In achieving this growth, right from start the
semiconductor industry has functioned according to its own rules.
Its best-known and, simultaneously, most far-reaching was already
formulated by Gordon Moore in 1965. He observed that the number of
transistors in an integrated circuit, doubled about every 18 months.
In other words, that means nothing else than that the performance
of quite normal PCs also doubles in the same period. In line with
this trend, the entire computing volume for the first moon landing
in 1969 could now be handled by a conventional laptop. That also involves
the continuous miniaturization of the components. 1 GByte of memory,
today occupies a module the size of two credit cards, 30 years ago
it would have required space of 700 m2 and the electricity supply
of an entire village.
Whether for traffic control, telecommunications, information processing
or in the programmable coffee machine, the ever smaller and faster
components have now become an indispensable part of our everyday life.
But that is only possible because prices have not increased analogously
to performance - on the contrary. No other sector is characterized
by a price erosion comparable to that which the semi-conductor industry
has experienced since its start. Whereas in 1972, for the equivalent
of around 80,000 Euro, you had the choice between a detached house
or 1Mbit of memory, the equivalent value of this memory volume today
of just a few cents corresponds to a single piece of chewing gum.
Future factor - research and development
According to Ulrich Schumacher, Chief Executive Officer of Infineon
Technologies, companies involved in the market can only absorb a continuous
decline in prices on this scale through continuous increases in productivity.
"The only way to achieve this is through scientific-technological
progress", said Schumacher. "In 2001 alone, therefore, we
spent 1.2 billion Euro on research and development. That corresponds
roughly to the budgets of two large German universities. That clearly
shows how seriously we approach the securing of our company's future.
And I believe that our average of 12 patent applications per day is
impressive proof of success."
For the future too, semiconductor research is preparing revolutionary
developments for practically all areas of life. Whether it be medicine,
where appropriately programmed microchips, for example, contribute
to the early detection of cancer, or in the area of security solutions,
where microprocessors offer it possible to produce secure identification
documents - the diversity and chances of the practical applications
are just as unforeseeable today as they were 50 years ago.
Infineon Technologies AG, Munich, Germany, offers semiconductor and
system solutions for applications in the wired and wireless communications
markets, for security systems and smartcards, for the automotive and
industrial sectors, as well as memory products. With a global presence,
Infineon operates in the US from San Jose, CA, in the Asia-Pacific
region from Singapore and in Japan from Tokyo. In the fiscal year
2001 (ending September), the company achieved sales of Euro 5.67 billion
with about 33,800 employees worldwide. Infineon is listed on the DAX
index of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and on the New York Stock Exchange
(ticker symbol:IFX). Further information is available at www.infineon.com.
Apr 10 - Belkin Offers USB 2.0 Upgrade
Kit. Belkin, the leading manufacturer of computer peripherals
and accessories, today introduced its Hi-Speed Universal Serial Bus
(USB) 2.0 Upgrade Kit (F5U900 -- ESP $79.95).
Perfect for connecting new hi-speed and older low-speed USB devices,
it includes everything users will need to instantly upgrade their
desktop computers to the lightning-fast speed of USB 2.0 -- 480Mbps!
Included in the kit are the Belkin Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Dual-Port PCI
Card (F5U219), the Belkin Hi-Speed USB 2.0 4-Port Hub (F5U224), and
the Belkin Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Gold Series Device Cable (F3U133-06-GLD).
Ideal for transferring extremely large amounts of data such as real-time
video cameras, scanners, portable drives, and others, the Belkin Hi-Speed
USB 2.0 Upgrade Kit allows users to take advantage of their USB 2.0-enabled
devices without delay. Backward-compatible with the USB 1.1 specification,
the Belkin Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Upgrade Kit allows users to economically
upgrade their computers at their own pace.
For more information, visit the company's website at www.belkin.com.
Apr 10 - Find and Patch All Security Holes
on a Single Machine. Software Shelf International, Inc. today
releases at Tech Ed 2002 in New Orleans STAT Scanner Single User Edition
to detect and patch all security holes on a single computer. Through
a strategic alliance between Harris Corporation (NYSE:HRS) and Software
Shelf, individual small business owners and consumers now have access
to vulnerability assessment and correction software that was originally
developed for the federal government and defense agencies.
STAT(R) (Security Threat Avoidance Technology) Scanner, developed
by Harris, is now available at Software Shelf(R) online store in a
single-PC version -- the first time such a high-level security assessment
tool has been made available for a single computer. Users can purchase
the product for $99.00 online at http://www.softwareshelf.com/products/display.asp?p=91
Users can download the free trial version and get an immediate list
of every security hole on their computer. The free download is at
"This is a big step forward for the small business owner or
single user who needs to protect vital information on a single computer,"
said Dan Feeley, president, Software Shelf International, Inc. "Unlike
anti-virus software, STAT Scanner finds -- and automatically fixes
--critical vulnerabilities on a computer. Such a comprehensive vulnerability
scanner has never been available for a single computer."
"For the first time, an individual user can now purchase a high-level
security scanning tool that meets the rigorous security requirements
of the federal government," said Lilo Newberry, director of operations
for Harris STAT. "Through this strategic alliance, individuals
can now download the solution as easily as they would any other type
of consumer software."
Apr 10 - TROY Wireless Announces WindConnect
Bluetooth Print Adapter for Palms. TROY Wireless, a division of
TROY Group Inc. (Nasdaq:TROY) and a leader in short-range wireless
connectivity, today announced the TROY Wireless WindConnect Bluetooth(TM)
print adapter for use with select Palm(TM) handheld computers -- enabling
wireless, "walk-up" printing for the rapidly growing population
of mobile Palm handheld users.
Now users can also print from Palm handhelds that feature the Palm
Expansion Card Slot, using the WindConnect with the Palm Bluetooth
Card (sold separately). Simply insert the Palm Bluetooth Card, which
is based on the SDIO specification, into the Palm Expansion Card Slot
of your Palm handheld. Install the TROY Wireless Palm Bluetooth printer
software, and you can immediately begin printing. Bluetooth printing
is designed for ease-of-use with minimal "set-up" hassles,
providing the convenience of on-the-spot printing. The Bluetooth wireless
technology also uses very little electrical power and conserves batteries.
TROY Wireless' WindConnect print adapter is designed to meet the
needs of a wide range of mobile users. The compact device connects
to most popular printers, allowing Bluetooth wireless connectivity
capabilities within 10 meters (33 feet).
Information about the TROY Wireless WindConnect Bluetooth print adapter
can be found at http://wireless.troygroup.com.
Apr 10 - BuddyPhone Launches New Version
4.08. Making calls from PC to PC with the popular BuddyPhone is
free, even if you're calling the other end of the world.
And now the telephony software has some extra functions: The more
than two million BuddyPhone users can see each other during their
calls. All it takes is a webcam (if you want to use video conferencing)
and a headset to transform your PC into a (video) phone. And if you
want to call someone who isn't at a computer, you can dial any telephone
or cell phone number, worldwide, at the lowest rates, like two cents
a minute for calls anywhere in the United States.
"The clear transmission and easy operation give us our lead
in the competitive market. We are now offering the exciting extra
functions of video and data transfer using BuddyPhone," said
Nikolai Manek, CEO of BuddyPhone Inc. "The video quality is also
superior to everything that's already on the market."
Using BuddyPhone is as easy as using a cell phone. To dial, use the
mouse to click on buttons on your monitor. There are also buttons
to "pick up" and "hang up," and it keeps a record
of every call. To call a telephone, simply type in the usual number
on the monitor of your PC. The virtual telephone costs less than a
regular telephone, and there are no monthly service charges, hook-up,
or cancellation fees. The charges for calls to a regular telephone
can be seen online immediately. And, in addition to voice and video,
data transfer is as easy as a simple drag and drop.
The telephony program BuddyPhone, is already being used worldwide
by over two million internet surfers. All you need is an Internet
connection, a sound card, a headset, and, of course, the software
that anyone can download for free at www.buddyphone.com.
Apr 9 -Tyan Announces Dual CPU Platform
for AMD Athlon MP Processor. Tyan(R) Computer Corporation today
announced that they have initiated shipments of their next-generation
dual-processor DDR-based platform for AMD's Athlon(TM) MP processors.
The Tyan Thunder K7X follows in the footsteps of its highly successful
predecessor, Tyan's Thunder K7 --the world's first multi-processing
platform for AMD processors.
Tyan, a leading designer and manufacturer of Internet infrastructure
products and system board solutions, is the world's leading developer
of dual Socket A technology, manufacturing the widest variety of system
boards for the AMD Athlon MP processor, including the Thunder K7,
Tiger MP and Tiger MPX.
Designed around the AMD-760(TM) MPX chipset, the Thunder K7X includes
all of the performance benefits of its predecessor, and provides new
levels of throughput for I/O-bound applications. With its 66MHz 64-bit
PCI bus, the Thunder K7X can support up to two high-speed PCI devices
such as Fibre Channel storage or Gigabit Ethernet controllers. With
over 1 gigabyte per second of I/O headroom, the Thunder K7X is ideally
suited for today's I/O-intensive server and workstation applications.
The Thunder K7X also features design implementations that enable
installation in both pedestal and rackmount chassis. Integrated features
such as dual LAN ports, VGA graphics, and 25 degree angled memory
sockets are necessary for OEMs and System Integrators that require
enhanced functionality in a low-profile form factor.
"Continuing the success of our popular dual AMD platforms, the
Thunder K7X delivers improved I/O throughput to customers utilizing
66MHz PCI peripherals," stated Don Clegg, Vice President of Marketing
and OEM Sales for Tyan. "This increased I/O headroom, combined
with Tyan's unique, rack-optimized server features, make the Thunder
K7X an ideal platform for integrators demanding optimum price/performance
servers and workstations."
Currently, the Thunder K7X is available in two versions: one with
integrated Ultra160 SCSI, and one without SCSI. Volume production
is expected in early Q2.
For more information, visit the company's World Wide Web site at
April 9 - Mitsubishi Announces New ``Totally
Digital'' Television Product Line-Up. At its national news conference
and dealer line show, Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America (MDEA)
announced its "Totally Digital" television product line-up,
which eliminates all analog (NTSC only) televisions from its product
This revolutionary line-up of digital televisions consists of 17
projection televisions, ranging in size from 42-inches to 73-inches
(diagonal), including a breakthrough 42-inch true-tabletop high-performance
model, as well as an enhanced DLP(TM) projection television.
About half of these models include Integrated Digital Tuners, IEEE
1394 Interfaces, and Mitsubishi's unique NetCommand(TM) icon-based
onscreen home theater control system. In addition, the company also
announced a full line-up of home theater components including DVD
players, D-VHS High-Definition VCRs, and conventional VCRs. In a separate
announcement, the company introduced its HD-Upgradeable plasma display
with separate receiver.
"Once again MDEA is announcing a breakthrough slate of products
to meet the needs of consumers and retailers as our country completes
its transition to digital broadcasting," said Max Wasinger, senior
vice president of sales and marketing at MDEA.
"We truly believe the consumer benefits of the new digital world
-- stunning pictures, life-like surround sound coupled with easy digital
control -- creates new excitement in home theater."
MDEA also announced the addition of a second D-VHS High-Definition
VCR at a record-breaking suggested value price of $749, and three
DVD players and three analog VCRs.
"As the 2006 deadline for the termination of analog television
broadcasting comes closer, consumers who buy televisions, which are
long-term purchases, are even more interested in purchasing digital
televisions with integrated digital receivers.
"This deadline, combined with consumer realization that televisions
and home theater products will be transitioning to digital interfaces
such as IEEE 1394 that support content protection, home recording
and networking is creating tremendous interest in the new digital
connections as well," said Robert A. Perry, vice president of
marketing for MDEA.
"In the initial years of the digital television transition,
consumers were thrilled by great pictures and sound. Now they are
interested in recording the increasing amount of HD programming and
sharing it throughout the home. This trend is driving farsighted retailers
to demonstrate home theater products in a networked environment, so
consumers can actually experience these new capabilities.
"And with the IEEE 1394 capability of the Microsoft Windows
XP operating system, computers can be simultaneously networked on
the same infrastructure," Perry added.
Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America Inc. manufactures and markets
a comprehensive line of premium quality high-definition projection
televisions, plasma displays, satellite receivers, DVD players, and
digital and analog VCRs for consumer home theater use.
For additional information about MDEA, visit: http://www.mitsubishi-tv.com.
April 9 - Pioneer Launches Professional
Video And Audio Products At NAB. Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc.
is launching a series of newly developed products including DVD recorders
and plasma displays designed to help professional video and audio
users transition from analog to pure digital technology.
New products, which will be showcased at this week's National Association
of Broadcasters conference at booth S3320 in the Sands Expo and Convention
Center in Las Vegas, offer the flexibility, reliability and compatibility
to transition to the digital realm.
Product highlights include:
Professional DVD Recorder (PRV-9000) - Utilizing DVD-R/RW technology,
PRV-9000 records discs with the highest level of compatibility of
any DVD recording format.
Computer DVD Writer (DVR-A04) - Just-launched, fourth generation
DVD burner supports DVD-R, DVD-RW, CD-R and CD-RW for maximum compatibility
FlexLibrary Storage System (DRM-7000) - Enhanced DVD media archival
system provides double the capacity of previous models for storing
up to six terabytes of video material. Disc-flipping mechanism and
double-sided media enable increased storage capacity.
PureVision Plasma Displays (PDP-433CMX and PDP-503CMX) - Pioneer's
new 43-inch and 50-inch true high definition PureVision plasma displays
offer unrivaled image quality in their respective size categories,
with open architecture for maximum connectivity today and in the future.
First expansion board product for open architecture expansion slot
to be unveiled at NAB.
Digital Vinyl Turntable (CDJ-1000) - World's first digital turntable
enables users to manipulate a CD in the same way they would a vinyl
album, providing reliable digital copies and eliminating the need
for expensive dub plates.
Cinema Series Speakers (TSC-3415, TSC-3215, TSC-1118SW) - State-of-the-art
exhibition cinema three-way and subwoofer speaker systems using TAD
reference quality speaker components.
"Pioneer understands the professional video and audio markets
and has created a range of products that help save time, space and
money, while maintaining the highest level of reliability," said
Paul Dempsey, president of the Business Solutions Division of Pioneer
Electronics (USA) Inc.
Pioneer Electronics' headquarters is located in Long Beach, Calif.,
and its U.S. Web address is www.pioneerelectronics.com.
Aptil 9 - Digital AM & FM Broadcasting
Launches at NAB. iBiquity Digital Corporation today announced
the beginning of a new era for radio with the introduction of its
technology enabling AM and FM stations to begin broadcasting digitally.
Leading broadcast transmission equipment manufacturers Harris, Broadcast
Electronics (BE), and Nautel are introducing IBOC exciters (the equipment
needed at the radio station to generate the digital signals) at this
weeks annual National Association of Broadcasters (NAB)
convention in Las Vegas, NV.
With todays commercial introduction of IBOC broadcasting technology,
stations can begin the transition to digital that will allow them
to offer significantly enhanced audio quality CD quality on
the FM band with AM transmissions matching todays FM standard
and new wireless data services.
Today marks an historic milestone in the history of radio as
stations can now begin their transition to digital broadcasting,
said Edward Fritts, president and CEO, National Association of Broadcasters.
In this new era, listeners will enjoy unsurpassed sound quality
on both the AM and FM dials as well as the availability of information
like song title, artist name, local traffic, weather, news and more.
Radios universal reach and local appeal make it one of our most
dynamic and important media; the addition of digital technology will
allow broadcasters to make this beloved resource even better.
Radio was the first mass media to bring our country together
as one, and throughout its history, broadcasters have used the airwaves
to educate, entertain and inform our audiences, said Bob Struble,
chairman and CEO of iBiquity Digital Corporation. IBOCs
significant promise rests in its ability to go beyond radios
previous contributions to our everyday life. With the enhanced audio
quality and new datacasting capabilities that IBOC delivers, broadcasters
will have the opportunity to create innovative new programming integrating
text with audio. No longer will radio be defined as just a mass media.
Today it charts a new course toward becoming a multimedia format.
iBiquitys IBOC technology provides the foundation for the radio
industrys transition to digital broadcasting. Through the integration
of the digital exciters being introduced today into their existing
operations, stations can begin offering the appreciably higher audio
quality and enhanced reception made possible by digital technology.
In addition, IBOC has been designed to occur simultaneously with the
stations existing analog transmission and within the existing
spectrum allocation. As a result, existing radios will continue to
receive analog signals while new IBOC-based receivers will have the
ability to receive both analog and digital signals with stations continuing
to be found at their current locations on the dial.
IBOC-equipped receivers, which will be commercially launched at the
Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2003, will enable listeners
to enjoy superior audio quality and new wireless data services offered
by broadcasters. Stations will be able to use these services to transmit
programming notes like artist and song identification and local and
station information for display within screens embedded in radios.
iBiquity Digital can be found online at www.ibiquity.com.
April 8 - Hitachi Introduces ``superAND''
Flash Memory for Mobile Devices. Hitachi Semiconductor (America)
Inc. today announced a new data storage product, the "superAND"
They are the industry's first devices to combine single-voltage programmable
flash cells with built-in memory management function. The chips are
designed to lower overall system cost and allow easier integration
to small mobile products such as cellular phones, PDAs and digital
To ease system design, the flash devices have the popular NAND-type
interface. Customers can gain benefits by applying them in designs
that previously used NAND-type flash chips, without the memory management
overhead burden that standard NAND flash memory imposes on the CPU.
The superAND flash products have pin assignment and command-signal
compatibility with NAND flash memory. In addition, the new flash products
support a power-on read function that allows a system to boot directly
from the superAND memory without the need for an external ROM.
According to Victor Tsai, product marketing manager for flash memory
products at Hitachi Semiconductor (America), "System designers
always look for reduced chip counts, lower system cost, and improved
performance and packaging of portable devices. We addressed these
needs with the new superAND products by implementing power-on read
and on-chip memory management functions with only a marginal increase
in die size. The added features make design integration easier and
dramatically improve system performance and reliability while reducing
"The compelling design advantages our new flash devices offer
will make them the de facto standard for embedded data storage memory
for portable devices," Tsai says.
Readers can find additional product and contact information on Hitachi
Semiconductor's Web site at www.hitachi.com/semiconductor.
April 8 - New Company to Deliver MPEG-4
Entertainment to the U.S. Cable Industry. Seven leading consumer
electronics and technology companies today announced the formation
of a new company in Japan, e-BOX Corporation, that will enable cable
television system operators to deliver enhanced video on demand and
interactive TV services to subscribers.
Based in Tokyo, the joint venture includes five publicly traded companies:
Pioneer Corporation (NYSE:PIO), Sharp Corporation (6753.JP), National
Semiconductor Corporation (NYSE:NSM), Sigma Designs (NASDAQ:SIGM),
and CMC Magnetics (2323.TW); and two privately held companies, iVAST,
Inc. and Modern VideoFilm Inc.
Comcast Cable Communications, Inc., the third largest cable company
in the U.S., is advising the joint venture partners on the technical
requirements of the system and intends to conduct field trials of
the new services early next year.
Targeting North American and Asia-Pacific cable operators, the joint
venture partners will deliver a complete infrastructure that includes
head-end equipment, system software, content-protection systems and
digital set-top boxes to provide scheduled and on-demand MPEG-4-encoded
content and interactive services.
The joint venture has developed a new digital cable solution, based
on MPEG-4 technology, that enables exciting new services for consumers.
These new services include video-on-demand with the look and feel
of interactive DVD, e-commerce, bandwidth-efficient delivery of high
definition television, and high-capacity personal video recording
The consortium's technology also provides stand-alone benefits for
cable operators seeking an economical transition to next-generation
entertainment services. Most importantly, cable companies will not
have to replace their existing digital cable infrastructure to take
advantage of the compression efficiency, content protection and other
enhanced capabilities of the consortium's new MPEG-4 system architecture.
Each member of the joint venture will provide products and services
reflecting their area of expertise.
Pioneer and Sharp will contribute their knowledge of cable infrastructures,
head-end equipment and digital set-top boxes to support the new system.
National Semiconductor will provide silicon processors for the advanced
set-top boxes based on its Geode technology.
Sigma Designs will provide MPEG-4 decoder and video processing technologies
for the advanced set-top boxes.
CMC Magnetics will provide manufacturing expertise for the design
and development of head-end equipment and set-top boxes.
iVAST will provide the encoding, authoring, distribution, playback
and system software for MPEG-4 based movie and video entertainment
content with embedded interactive features.
Modern VideoFilm will provide post-production services and MPEG-4
compression and authoring. In addition, the company will provide the
hub for the various "Movie on Demand" and other MPEG-4 encoded
entertainment content that will be offered by the new platform.
Comcast will provide technical support to define the architectural
requirements and conduct field trials on the initial production systems
early next year.
Members of the joint venture will provide additional information
about these and other initiatives at the National Cable and Telecommunications
Association conference, May 5-8, 2002, in New Orleans.
April 8 - QPS Ships Three New High-Speed
40x CD-RW Drives. QPS Inc. today announced it is shipping three
high-speed models of its new Que! 40x CD-RW drive: an external Firewire,
a USB 2.0 for PC plus an internal ATAPI IDE model.
The newest blazing fast Que! CD Burner (40x CD-R, 12x CD-RW, 48x
CD-ROM) maintains the highest quality and stability while burning
a 700MB disc in approximately 3.3 minutes for an 80 minute CD. CD
rewriting is a quick 12x, and the 48x max read qualifies the new Que!
product line as a full-time replacement for existing CD-ROM or CD-R
The burners can also read/write data and/or record music on CD-R
and CD-RW media, which can be played on virtually any CD-ROM drive
or CD player.
Que! CD Burners feature BURNProof or a comparable buffer technology
that eliminates wasteful buffer underrun errors in fast write modes
that can render CDs useless. A minimum of 4MB of buffer RAM supports
application flexibility and is ideal for MP3 recording, desktop publishing
and data archiving. Plug-and-play compatibility allows users to quickly
install the drives and start using them right out of the box.
Bundled software includes Nero CD mastering and In-CD packet writing
packages from Ahead Software and Charismac Software's Discribe CD
mastering tool for Mac (Firewire model only). MSRP is $299.99 for
Firewire, $249.99 for USB 2.0 and $179.99 for the IDE model.
The QPS Web site is located at www.qps-inc.com.
Apr 8 - Public Ethernet Market Will Top
$4 Billion by 2005. Public Ethernet services in North America
will grow rapidly in the next few years, with revenue reaching more
than $1 billion in 2002 and increasing to more than $4 billion by
2005, according to Dataquest Inc., a unit of Gartner, Inc. (NYSE:
IT and ITB).
"Public Ethernet is gaining popularity from its low cost, simplicity
and the widespread comfort commercial customers already have with
Ethernet in the LAN, where it has long been the dominant technology,"
said Steve Koppman, senior analyst for Gartner Dataquest's Worldwide
Public Network Services program.
"Carrier Public Ethernet services allow this same technology,
with which most larger businesses are already familiar, to effectively
extend their LANs out into a larger metropolitan area or, increasingly
in coming years, into long-haul networks as well."
Newly emerging varieties of "Gigabit" Ethernet, which promises
bandwidth-on-demand-like capabilities, were championed by small players,
the most prominent of which - such as Yipes and Telseon - have already
filed for bankruptcy.
The new Public Ethernet will end up extending itself largely through
the efforts of major carriers who initially adopted the service to
defend themselves against the new competitors, according to Gartner
"The major carriers, building on existing legacy services, will
seek to blunt challengers' competitive appeal while preventing undue
pressure on incumbent services and prices," said Koppman. "They
will also try to lead the market increasingly toward service interworking,
a direction that will tend to protect their bases and benefit carriers
such as themselves with a diverse service repertoire."
"Growth will be limited below the potential demand, however,
by constraints on fiber connectivity and resulting service availability,
though this situation will improve over the forecast period,"
added Koppman. "Partnerships and joint arrangements will emerge
over the next few years, both to deliver public Ethernet more widely
and better share last-mile Ethernet fiber access to buildings."
Public Ethernet refers to any Layer 2 public network carrier service,
whether legacy or emergent, that extends Ethernet beyond the LAN and
is marketed as Transparent or Native LAN, Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet
or Metro Ethernet service.
For more information, visit www.gartner.com.
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