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Daily Computer News and Rumors

April 24-30 2003

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 Daily Computer News and Rumors is an archived column, so feel free to review previous week's or month's computer news. Previous Daily Computer News articles can also be searched, by using our site search feature found in the top and bottom menu bar.

InfoHQ Daily Computer News and Rumors Article Index
(Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to this index.)
Apr 30 Dell Enters Enthusiast Market with New Dimension Desktop
Apr 30 Steve Jobs Plans to Revolutionize the Music Business
Apr 30 AuthenTec and Microsoft Collaborate on Biometric Authentication
Apr 30 Planar Strengthens Premium Flat-Panel Line with 19-Inch Monitor
Apr 30 Real Software Ships REALbasic 5 for Windows
Apr 29 Fujitsu Ships New LifeBook S6000 Notebook
Apr 29 Brother Introduces New Laser Flatbed Multi-Function Products
Apr 29 Buffalo Technology Introduces Industry's First WPA Enabled 802.11g Products
Apr 29 Worldwide Server Shipments Increased 10 Percent in the First Quarter of 2003
Apr 29 Wireless Subscribers Use Cellphones More Than Home Phones
Apr 29 Socket Enables Digital Photo Transfer for Mobile Phones
Apr 28 PC Connection and HP Organize Webcast on New Microsoft Windows Server 2003
Apr 28 Fujitsu Reports FY2002 Financial Results
Apr 28 VIA Announces Chipset Support for the New AMD Opteron™ Processor
Apr 28 Wi-Fi Alliance Announces Wi-Fi Protected Access Security Certification
Apr 28 EA Announces Lord of the Rings, the Return of the King on Multiple Game Platforms
Apr 27 Sunday Shopping Watch
Apr 25 Dell Readies Customers for Windows Server 2003 Adoption
Apr 25 Amazon.Com Announces 28% Sales Growth Fueled by Lower Prices and Free Shipping
Apr 25 Canon Announces Enhanced Features on Two New MultiPASS Units
Apr 25 Audavi Corporation Announces 80 GB Pocket-Sized Hard Drive
Apr 25 Unexplained Browser Crashes Could be Result of Hidden Browser Helper Objects
Apr 25 2003 Promises to be a Banner Year for U.S. Broadband Adoption
Apr 24 AOL Time Warner Reports First Quarter 2003 Profit
Apr 24 AVERATEC Launches New Energy-Efficient Notebooks
Apr 24 Samsung Announces Industry's Highest Capacity Memory Modules for Intel Centrino Notebooks
Apr 24 American Megatrends' AMIBIOS8 Ready to Run on AMD Opteron Processors
Apr 24 eBay Inc. Announces Record First Quarter 2003 Results
Apr 24 EA Hits the Shores of North Africa with Medal of Honor Allied Assault Breakthrough



Apr 30 - Dell Enters Enthusiast Market with New Dimension Desktop. Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) today introduced the Dimension XPS -- its most powerful and expandable consumer desktop system to date -- a system designed to provide the highest level of performance in 3D gaming, high-end multimedia applications and demanding productivity applications.

The Dimension XPS offers hardware features that deliver uncompromising performance and system expansion. With its standard 460-watt power supply, Creative(R) Audigy(tm) 2 sound card, 128MB ATI Radeon(tm) 9800 and 9800 Pro graphics cards, support for the latest Intel processors, and Serial ATA (SATA) hard drives in a RAID 0 or RAID 1 configuration, the XPS is built to run today's most demanding 3D games and multimedia applications with ease.

"The XPS is a powerful addition to the Dimension family," said Tim Mattox, vice president of Dell's client product marketing group, "Both hard-core gamers and customers who require enhanced expandability will find the Dimension XPS an ideal platform for delivering the highest levels of performance in an innovative and highly serviceable chassis."

The Dimension XPS features a sleek large tower Venice blue chassis with midnight gray and brushed silver accents. For customers interested in future expansion, it offers up to three 5.25-inch drive bays, and also accommodates up to three internal 3.5-inch bays. To accommodate external expansion, the XPS system features two 1394 ports and eight USB 2.0 ports.
It is the first Dimension to have a front-accessible 1394 port, which offers a new level of convenience for digital video enthusiasts. The tower houses a 460-watt power supply at the bottom of the chassis to separate it from the main interior of the system. The innovative chassis design results in a quieter system, and also makes internal components easy to access for maintenance and upgrades.

Expanded Peripheral Options, Dedicated Dimension XPS Support

Because many customers want peripherals optimized for fast-paced 3D games, Dell offers a suite of game controllers, joysticks, mice and speakers within the Dimension XPS configurator on www.dell.com. Additionally, all systems come standard with dedicated XPS Phone Support. Through a unique Express Service Code, Dimension XPS customers dial into a dedicated XPS support queue staffed by advanced technicians who share the same passion for 3D gaming and enthusiast applications.

Pricing Information and Technical Specifications

For $2,199, the Dimension XPS features a 3.0GHz Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 processor with Hyper-Threading technology and 800MHz front side bus, 256MB DDR400 SDRAM memory, Radeon 9800 graphics card, Creative(R) Audigy 2 sound card, a 60GB hard drive, a 16x DVD drive, a 19-inch (18-inch viewable) monitor, and Windows(R) XP Home, one year limited warranty plus one year at-home service, and dedicated Dimension XPS technical phone support.

For more information about this product, go to www.dell.com/dimension.

Apr 30 - Steve Jobs Plans to Revolutionize the Music Business. In an exclusive interview with FORTUNE, Apple CEO Steve Jobs discusses his soon-to-be-launched iTunes Music Store, a new digital service that may be the most promising legal on-line music service on the market.

FORTUNE also discusses the potential for success--and failure--of iTunes Music Store with music industry executives and digital music leaders. The story, "Songs in the Key of Steve," by FORTUNE senior writer Devin Leonard, appears in the May 12 issue, on newsstands May 5, and at www.fortune.com at 3 p.m. on Monday, April 28.

"This will go down in history as a turning point for the music industry," Jobs tells FORTUNE. "This is landmark stuff. I can't overestimate it." Apple's iTunes Music Store will allow Mac users to listen to a 30-second preview of any song and then buy a high-quality audio copy for 99 cents with one click. There's no monthly subscription fee, and consumers have virtually unfettered ownership of the music they download.

According to FORTUNE, Jobs' iTunes Music Store has one clear advantage over other services: a copy protection scheme that has won Apple the ability to offer users songs from all five major music companies--something other digital music services have failed to do, even as the music industry continues to lose staggering dollars to digital piracy. Says Sony CEO Andrew Lack, "I don't think it was more than a 15-second decision in my mind (to license music to Apple) once Steve started talking."

Jobs, however, is a latecomer to the digital music world, and some of his more seasoned competitors dismiss iTunes Music Store as a niche product, and potentially too costly for digital music consumers. Says digital rival RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser, "If you make a really cool playlist of 200 songs on Rhapsody, you pay only $9.95 a month, he tells FORTUNE. "If you use Apple, it's $200. Maybe guys like Steve and me can afford that, but I'm trying to run a service for everyone else too."

The debut iTunes Music Store will include previously unreleased material by artists like Bob Dylan, U2, Missy Elliott, and Sheryl Crow and music from bands like the Eagles, who have never before allowed their songs to be sold by a legal digital music service. And Jobs is personally lobbying other big-name holdouts, like the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, to come on board.

Apple could certainly use the a boost, notes Leonard, "Apple swung back into the black in the first quarter of 2003, after two quarterly losses, but its profits were only $14 million, compared with $40 million a year ago. But success would mean much more than selling more Macs and Ipods, Apple's portable MP3 player. It could also single-handedly make Steve Jobs the savior of the music industry.

Apr 30 - AuthenTec and Microsoft Collaborate on Biometric Authentication. AuthenTec, Inc., the leader in advanced biometric semiconductor technology, announced today that the Company has entered into an agreement with Microsoft Corp., world leader in software solutions, to develop native biometric authentication software support for Windows(R). Both Companies will cooperate to develop a reference driver that will enable Windows users to authenticate to Windows systems using biometric devices.

Microsoft plans to build the reference fingerprint device driver based on AuthenTec's TruePrint(TM) based fingerprint software technology. The architecture will support multiple biometric authentication vendors including AuthenTec's TruePrint-based fingerprint sensors. Microsoft will develop a common biometric device driver model and make this available through the use of a Device Driver Kit (DDK).
Application software and hardware developers will also benefit from a common set of biometric operating system interfaces. This technology initiative will ultimately provide users with biometric security and allow industry interoperability between various biometric hardware software application developers.

"Microsoft and AuthenTec are working together to offer the first biometrically-enabled operating system providing convenient and secure user authentication for Windows users," said Michael Stephenson, Lead Product Manager for Microsoft Windows Server. "The integration of biometrics with Windows will extend the authentication beyond what you know or what you have, to who you are."

"This agreement represents the native integration of biometrics directly into the operating system versus simply being ported to it. We believe our agreement with Microsoft validates our TruePrint technology and ongoing commitment to provide the best and most convenient security solutions on the market," said Scott Moody, president and CEO of AuthenTec. "This collaborative effort will accelerate the acceptance and application of biometrics in computing."

AuthenTec's patented TruePrint technology reads beyond the surface layer of the skin to the live layer where the true fingerprint resides. Unlike surface-based optical, thermal, and DC capacitive technologies, TruePrint is not affected by common skin surface conditions such as dry, worn, callused, oily, or dirty skin which can affect the sensor's ability to acquire accurate fingerprint images.
AuthenTec also offers a highly reliable security architecture starting from the anti-spoofing capabilities of TruePrint technology and supported by template encryption and digital signatures throughout the matching process. Uniquely, TruePrint is the only fingerprint technology capable of capturing virtually anyone's fingerprint.

For more information about AuthenTec, visit www.authentec.com.

Apr 30 - Planar Strengthens Premium Flat-Panel Line with 19-Inch Monitor. Planar Systems Inc. (Nasdaq:PLNR), a worldwide leader in the development and marketing of flat-panel display systems, introduces PX191, the top-performing 19-inch LCD monitor with a 700:1 contrast ratio and a brightness of 300 cd/m2, thereby extending its premium PX family of flat-panel desktop monitors. The unparalleled image quality of the PX191 is coupled with the new QuadStand base, which allows for simple height, swivel and pivot adjustment with the touch of a finger.

"Planar, the first company to introduce a 19-inch LCD monitor in the United States, continues to be fastest to market with products that set the mark for top performance, like our QuadStand base and the first 17-inch flat-panel display to offer a super-fast 16 ms response time," said Erick Petersen, general manager of the commercial business for Planar. "We're a recognized leader in 19-inch LCD desktop monitors, and the PX191 is simply the best 19-inch flat-panel display available today."

From sharp text and detailed spreadsheets to large-format photos and high-end video applications, Planar's PX191 supports home, office and entertainment applications with equal ease. Sleek, black or silver bezels, thinner than the diameter of a dime, frame the 2.3-inch deep SXGA (1280 x 1024) display, which provides ultra-wide 170-degree viewing angles both vertically and horizontally. Onboard, the PX191 features an analog input, as well as DVI-D input for crisp, all-digital image reproduction and seamless set-up.

"Nineteen-inch LCD monitors comprise the fastest growing segment of the North American monitor market," said Rhoda Alexander, director of monitor research, iSuppli/Stanford Resources. "Future growth prospects look excellent, with 2004 unit sales expected to exceed 1.9 million units."

Planar's PX191 will be available May 9, 2003, in black or silver for an estimated street price of $849, and comes bundled with Portrait Display's PivotPro software for quick adjustment from landscape to portrait viewing orientation.

Free 2-Day Air Replacement Warranty

All Planar desktop monitors include the industry's leading three-year "Customer First" warranty with free, 2-Day Air advance product replacement for all three years.

For more information please visit www.planar.com.

Apr 30 - Real Software Ships REALbasic 5 for Windows. REAL Software Inc. announced today the immediate availability of REALbasic 5 for Windows, a full-featured, easy-to-use development tool that enables Windows users of all levels to create custom applications and compile them for both Windows and Macintosh.

"REALbasic now gives Windows users the same powerful, yet easy-to-use capabilities that our Macintosh customers have enjoyed for years," said Geoff Perlman, president and CEO of REAL Software. "Our goal is to provide useful tools that help people create their own software, whether on Windows or Macintosh."

"With REALbasic 5 for Windows, my team can now develop an application and deploy that application on Windows or Macintosh from a single set of source code, at the click of a button," said Kent Myhre, software development engineer for Business Ink Co. "That keeps my development costs low and allows me to broaden my markets and sell software to PC users, regardless of the computer they use."

REALbasic 5 for Windows supports Windows-specific features such as ActiveX/COM, Registry access and Win32 API calls. Windows applications created with REALbasic do not require an installer or DLLs, eliminating the common 'DLL hell' problem. In addition, REALbasic 5 for Windows is very similar to Visual Basic(R) (VB) and includes a VB project conversion utility. Similar to Visual Basic in design and syntax, VB users will feel right at home with REALbasic.

REALbasic 5 for Windows is available now starting at US$99.95 direct from REAL Software or through your local computer retailer. REALbasic 5 Professional Edition, required for cross-platform compilation, starts at US$399.95 and includes extended functionality for database and team development. Introductory pricing of US$299.95 expires on May 28, 2003.

For more information visit www.realsoftware.com.

Apr 29 - Fujitsu Ships New LifeBook S6000 Notebook. Fujitsu PC Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702), today announced the availability of the newest LifeBook(R) S Series notebook--the LifeBook(R) S6000 notebook. Featuring Intel(R) Centrino(TM) mobile technology, the LifeBook S6000 notebook delivers groundbreaking performance, yet retains the same impressive design and dimensions users have come to expect from this award-winning series. The company will begin shipping the notebook today with a starting price of $1,549.

The LifeBook S6000 notebook is powered by the Intel(R) Pentium(R) M Processor 1.40GHz and features the Intel(R) PRO/Wireless Network Connection 802.11b and Intel(R) 855GM chipset. This combination of technologies was designed specifically for mobile applications and works in concert to deliver the best mobile experience.

The LifeBook S6000 notebook defies convention, offering impressive functionality in an extremely compact form factor. In addition to Intel(R) Centrino(TM) mobile technology, Fujitsu has managed to incorporate a modular bay, a brilliant 13.3-inch XGA TFT display and a large, comfortable keyboard into the "thin & light" design. The modular bay accommodates a DVD/CD-RW, DVD, CD-ROM, second bay battery or weight saver.

The Fujitsu LifeBook S6000 notebook comes preinstalled with Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, Windows XP Professional or Windows 2000 Professional and a 60GB, 40GB or 30GB hard drive. Users can choose among the recommended configurations or customize their notebook using the Fujitsu Configure To Order (CTO) program. All Fujitsu notebooks can be purchased through the company's retail and reseller channels as well as at www.fujitsupc.com.

Apr 29 - Brother Introduces New Laser Flatbed Multi-Function Products. Brother International Corporation, a leading manufacturer of multifunction devices, today announces a new line of 5-in-1 performance based, flatbed laser Multi-Function Center(R)(MFC) models.

The new models MFC-8420, MFC-8820D and MFC-8820DN, offer plain-paper faxing, laser printing, digital copying, color scanning and PC faxing. Designed with a flatbed scanning area that accommodates single-sheets or bound documents up to legal size, the new series from Brother comes packed with faster print speeds (up to 17ppm), increased memory and a new 5-line back-lit LCD display. In addition to the all of the base features, the MFC-8820D and MFC-8820DN add duplex (two-sided) printing and a 50-sheet multipurpose tray. The top-of-the-line MFC-8820DN further adds built-in networking capability.

The estimated street price for the MFC-8420 is $549.99. The MFC-8820D and MFC-8820DN have estimated street prices of $649.99 and $799.99 respectively. The first shipments, for all three models is expected to begin in mid-May 2003.

"Brother has always been dedicated to driving the growth trend of multi-function products," says Don Cummins, Brother's Vice President of Marketing. "Our success in this area has always been our ability to make products that create a great value proposition, with specific emphasis on quality, performance and value-added features. We believe that with features like our 5-line back-lit LCD, faster printing speed, and duplex printing capability we will succeed to further drive the market growth."

These new flatbed models address a wide range of customer applications, not the least of which is a need for copying or scanning bound documents. All three models include high-speed USB 2.0 and parallel interfaces, and are compatible with both Windows(R) and Mac(R) operating systems. Each is covered by a one-year limited express exchange warranty from Brother.

Additional information may be obtained by accessing the Brother website at www.brother.com.

Apr 29 - Buffalo Technology Introduces Industry's First WPA Enabled 802.11g Products. Making yet another statement as the global leader in the design, development and manufacturing of wireless networking solutions for home, SOHO and SMBs, Buffalo Technology announced today they will release the industry's first Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) enabled wireless devices.

The latest WPA enabled devices include the AirStation(tm) 54Mbps Wireless Broadband Base Station (WBR-G54) and the AirStation(tm) G54 Wireless Notebook Adapter (WLI-CB-G54A), Buffalo's new client card with an antenna interface.

Based on Broadcom's chipset, Buffalo's WPA access points and client cards are compatible with any 802.11b or draft 802.11g WLAN devices on the market. The products boast the ability to maintain consistent file transfers at the maximum data rate without variance and latency. Buffalo's latest driver is 802.11g Draft 7.1 compliant and features added support for WPA, 802.1x and AES. Customers who currently use Buffalo's G54 products can upgrade those products to support WPA.

"We understand security is one of the biggest issues when it comes to wireless. Security issues have prevented many businesses and consumers from deploying a wireless network," stated Morikazu Sano, vice president of Buffalo Technology. "WPA provides unprecedented levels of security so customers can now overcome any wireless security concerns. We will continue to provide superior customer support and the ability to upgrade to WPA so our customers can experience a powerful, interoperable, standards-based security solution."

"Wi-Fi Protected Access is a revolutionary step forward for wireless LAN security," said Jeff Abramowitz, senior director of marketing for Broadcom's wireless LAN products. "As one of the first WPA CERTIFIED suppliers, Broadcom is working closely with Buffalo to enable businesses and consumers to protect their wireless networks today, and future-proof their investments for tomorrow."

WPA is the next step toward 802.11i, which is an extension to the 802.11 ESN (Enhanced Security Network). Having WPA will be a requirement for Wi-Fi certification to ensure the security feature will integrate between all vendor products.

Backed by a limited two-year warranty, the AirStation G54 Broadband Router Access Point (WBR-G54) is available at $199 MSRP and Wireless Notebook Adapter (WLI-CB-G54A) at $119 MSRP. Buffalo's WPA enabled products will be available mid-May 2003. For more information about Buffalo Technology and their products, please visit their Web site at www.buffalotech.com.

Apr 29 - Worldwide Server Shipments Increased 10 Percent in the First Quarter of 2003. Worldwide server shipments totaled 1.2 million units in the first quarter of 2003, a 10.4 percent increase from the same period last year, according to preliminary statistics from Gartner, Inc. (NYSE:IT and ITB).

"The worldwide server market performed better than expected in the first quarter of 2003, but the threat of a lingering war with Iraq, combined with a weak economy, still had an effect on IT spending during the quarter," said Shahin Naftchi, principal analyst covering servers for Gartner's servers worldwide group. "As a result, the life cycle for existing large systems was extended and corporate buyers delayed purchases of high-end equipment, preferring the quick returns from short-term investments instead."

Hewlett-Packard retained the top spot in the worldwide rankings with 29.1 percent of server shipments. Dell Computer remained in the No. 2 spot with 20.2 percent of the market, followed by IBM with market share of 14.8 percent. Sun Microsystems was the only top-tier vendor to experience a decline in worldwide server shipments in the first quarter of 2003. The top three vendors continued to dominate the market and accounted for more than half of all units shipped during the quarter.

The U.S. server market experienced an increase of 13.2 percent in the first quarter of 2003, with shipments of 499,609 units, up from 441,540 units in the first quarter of 2002 (see Table 2). This is the fifth consecutive quarter in which the United States posted a year-over-year growth rate greater than 10 percent. Dell moved into the No. 1 spot in the U.S. server market with 27 percent of the market.

"Dell led the top-tier U.S. vendors in shipment growth with an increase of 24 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago, and that is in part due to the strengths of its partnerships, ranging from database offerings with Oracle to its storage solutions with EMC," said Jeffrey Hewitt, principal analyst for Gartner's servers worldwide group. "HP's performance in the first quarter of 2003 could have been impacted in part by server seasonality, which is normally weaker in the first quarter of the year following a strong fourth quarter."

"Since the war with Iraq started toward the end of the first quarter of 2003, it didn't have a severe effect during the quarter. The major question remaining is when the economic recovery will start. It is unlikely that the market will experience a strong surge as it has during past economic recoveries, but rather will undergo a gradual uplift as purchasing activity returns to normal," said Joseph Gonzalez, analyst for Gartner's servers worldwide group.

Additional information is available in the Gartner Dataquest Alert "Server Shipments Slip Sequentially, Grow Yearly in 1Q03". This alert examines the current state of the worldwide server industry. It also looks at what trends are developing, and how the top-tier vendors are performing.

For more information, visit www.gartner.com.

Apr 29 - Yankee Group Reports Wireless Subscribers Use Cellphones More Than Home Phones. Wireless telephone subscribers in the United States now spend, on average, more minutes talking on their cellphones than they do on traditional landline phones, according to the Yankee Group's latest quarterly Wireless/Mobile North American Carrier Tracker.

Mobile phone use has been growing rapidly--with the average U.S. subscriber logging 490 minutes of use (MOU) per month--and surpassed residential landline use during 4th quarter of 2002. The Yankee Group estimates average household landline voice usage of 1,250 minutes per month. This is equivalent to 480 minutes per person each month, based on the U.S. Census estimate of an average of 2.6 people per household.

"More than half of us who have cellphones use them as our primary device for private voice communication," says Keith Mallinson, Yankee Group executive vice president of wireless and mobile research. "There's a lot of talk about people giving up their landlines entirely--we estimate 10 percent of young urban adults are doing so--but cord cutters currently only account for a small percentage of the total population. This trend will increase when wireless number portability (WNP) enables landline numbers to be ported to cellphones. Until then, the big issue is the major migration of called minutes from landlines to cellphones."

MOU growth is just one of dozens of key wireless carrier performance indicators measured and analyzed in the tracker. The Yankee Group has been tracking MOU, average revenue per user, churn, and many other metrics for 13 U.S. and 6 Canadian carriers each quarter since 2000.

The Yankee Group can be found online at www.yankeegroup.com.

Apr 29 - Socket Enables Digital Photo Transfer for Mobile Phones. Socket Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:SCKT)(PSE:SOK), the Mobile Connection(TM) Company, today announced that its Bluetooth Connection Kit for Windows CE now makes it possible to transfer digital photographs from Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones to Pocket PCs, which have plenty of memory for viewing, transporting and storing these pictures and frees up the camera to take additional photos.

The enhanced Bluetooth Connection Kit also enables Pocket PC users to exchange business cards, send and receive contact information and files, browse remote devices, and share data. Socket's Bluetooth Connection Kit creates a cable-free link between a Windows CE device and a Bluetooth-enabled phone, allowing users to exchange files and email, browse the Internet, fax, or access the company network by using their mobile phone as a modem.

"Bluetooth technology has opened a new era in interoperability among devices," said Patti Cassalia, senior product marketing manager for Socket. "Our Mobility Friendly(TM) Bluetooth Connection Kit continues to keep pace with the growing demands for low power and high interoperability requirements, the smallest possible form factor, as well as easy setup and information exchange."

Socket's Bluetooth CompactFlash (CF) card is the only one on the market with a fully integrated antenna, eliminating any changes to the form factor of the handheld device. The Bluetooth Connection Kit is compatible with Windows CE 3.x for Pocket 2000, Pocket PC 2002, and Handheld PC 2000 and will operate in any of these devices with a Type I or Type II CompactFlash slot.

Additionally, Socket now offers a Bluetooth SDIO Connection Kit. The Bluetooth SD Card works in the Secure Digital I/O slot of any Pocket PC that includes bSQUARE's SDIO Now! software.

Socket supports connections to Bluetooth-enabled phones from Ericsson, Nokia, Sony, Motorola and NTT DoCoMo and works on CDMA, GSM and GPRS networks. GPRS networks use packet data technology and allow users higher speeds (throughput is 30-40 Kbps) without higher costs.

Pricing and Availability

Socket's enhanced Bluetooth Connection Kit is available now through Socket's website (www.socketcom.com) and via the company's worldwide distribution channels for a suggested retail price of U.S. $129. Current customers can download the updated software free of charge from Socket's website.

Apr 28 - PC Connection and HP Organize Webcast on New Microsoft Windows Server 2003. PC Connection, Inc. (NASDAQ: PCCC), a leading direct marketer of information technology (IT) products and solutions, today announced the addition of Microsoft's newly released Windows Server 2003 operating system to its roster of business software applications. To provide the IT community with expert advice on migrating to Microsoft's new infrastructure platform, PC Connection and HP are sponsoring a national Webcast on Thursday, May 15.

The Webcast, led by Anthony Rauseo, Microsoft's National Technology Manager and an expert in technology evolution and IT strategic business value, will focus on the immediate benefits that Microsoft Windows 2003 offers organizations, from improved functionality to resource savings. To register, visit www.microsoft.com.

Michael Pastore, PC Connection's Vice President of Product Development, said, "This latest version of Microsoft's Windows Server family of software, which incorporates new features to enhance productivity and efficiency in a networked environment, augments PC Connection's ability to deliver a full array of Microsoft products to business, government, and education customers."

Microsoft Windows Server 2003, released on April 24, is significantly more reliable, scalable, and cost-effective than earlier editions of network operating systems.
In internal Microsoft tests, Windows Server 2003 showed dramatic performance gains over Windows NT 4.0; file and Web server performance is two times faster. The Active Directory service of the new product has single-logon capability, acts as a central repository for information for the entire IT infrastructure, and simplifies user and computer management by providing superior access to networked resources. Also, with the introduction of a basic firewall and new network-access security capabilities using IEEE 802.1X (EAP over LAN) for clients, Windows Server 2003 improves securing access and protecting both wired and wireless networks.

Apr 28 - Fujitsu Reports FY2002 Financial Results. Fujitsu Limited, a leader in customer-focused IT and communications solutions for the global marketplace, today reported consolidated net sales of 4.61 trillion yen for fiscal year 2002 (April 1, 2002 - March 31, 2003), a decline of 8% compared with the previous fiscal year. Converted into US dollars, net sales were approximately US$38.4 billion.

A combination of factors resulted in an exceptionally challenging operating environment for Fujitsu in fiscal 2002. Economic conditions in the U.S. continued to deteriorate two years after the bursting of the IT bubble, and against the backdrop of a global-scale deflationary trend, stock values weakened, personal consumption flagged and corporations continued to limit their investment in IT. Conditions in the IT sector itself became increasingly severe as markets for IT products underwent rapid structural change, such as heightened competition from Chinese vendors and other low-cost producers who expanded their production capacity.

On the positive side, there were continued benefits from the spread of activities relating to the e-Japan (e-government) initiative and in the second half of the year signs of recovery in China and some other Asian markets, as well as indications that investment by telecommunications carriers in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere may have bottomed out. Toward the end of the fiscal year, however, such developments as the outbreak of war in Iraq and concern about the possible spread of the SARS epidemic heightened uncertainty regarding the global economy going forward.

Amid such market conditions, and despite a significant decline in sales, Fujitsu achieved a consolidated operating profit of 100.4 billion yen (US$837 million) for the fiscal year, marking a major turnaround in profitability from the operating loss of 74.4 billion yen recorded in fiscal 2001.
However, due to extraordinary losses, including 151.4 billion yen (US$1.2 billion) in restructuring costs required to cope with structural changes in the IT industry and deflationary trends, a 30.6 billion yen (US$255 million) charge to cover corrective measures for certain small form-factor hard disk drives, and stock valuation losses arising from the stock market slump, the company recorded a consolidated net loss of 122.0 billion yen (US$1.0 billion), a narrowing of 260.4 billion yen compared with the net loss of 382.5 billion yen the previous year.

Earnings Projections for FY2003

Since the end of fiscal 2002, such developments as the war in Iraq and concerns over the global spread of the SARS epidemic have increased uncertainty regarding the future of the global economy. In particular, there are questions about the post-Iraq War consequences for the US economy, which plays a pivotal role in the global economy. There is also concern about the stock market slump, which is still showing the effects of the collapse of the IT bubble, as well as weak consumer demand and poor prospects for a sharp recovery in corporate IT investment.
Nevertheless, while the situation differs according to sector and market, there are some encouraging signs pointing to a recovery beginning to take shape from the middle of 2003. These include the broad effects of the e-Japan initiative on IT investment in Japan, the emergence of a new global market with the rise of China, the strong global expansion of leading corporations (including Japanese players), and more active investment in mobile business by telecommunications carriers.

The business environment in which Fujitsu operates is expected to remain difficult and uncertain in fiscal 2003. However, by mobilizing its comprehensive range of capabilities - from cutting-edge technologies to services - the company will actively promote the expansion of broadband network infrastructure and the growth of services and software as drivers of the IT industry, making particular efforts to provide the most efficient solutions to help customers cope with deflationary pressures.
As one of the few groups with the ability to support customers worldwide in both hardware and software, Fujitsu will redouble its efforts to deepen relationships of trust with its entire range of customers.

Further, the company will continue to aggressively carry out measures to boost operational efficiency, reduce costs and improve cost effectiveness, as well as to strengthen the global competitiveness of its platform products and services in order to secure the recovery of growth and profitability for its main businesses.

Finally, in order to rapidly achieve a fundamental improvement in its financial position that will enable it to strengthen shareholders' equity, Fujitsu will accelerate measures to boost the efficient use of the company's assets.

For more information, please see: www.fujitsu.com.

Apr 28 - VIA Announces Chipset Support for the New AMD Opteron™ Processor. VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator and developer of silicon chip technologies and PC platform solutions, today announced chipset support for the new AMD Opteron™ processor for server and workstation systems.

The VIA Apollo K8T400M Chipset, built around a high speed, low latency HyperTransport™ link to the AMD Opteron™ processor, is designed to enable a new generation of powerful server solutions suitable for firewall, cache and load balancing applications, as well as Web hosting. The K8T400M is also suitable for workstation applications with the North Bridge integrating an AGP 8X controller allowing the AMD Opteron processor based system to interface with the latest professional class 3D graphics processors.

The K8T400M North Bridge connects to the VT8237 South Bridge through the new VIA Ultra V-Link connection offering over 1GB/s of bandwidth and keeping the CPU supplied with a constant stream of data. The VT8237 South Bridge features the industry's first integrated dual channel Serial-ATA RAID controller supporting RAID levels 0, 1, 0+1 and JBOD, as well as dual channel Parallel ATA-133 for backwards compatibility, giving system designers unparalleled power and flexibility in designing storage configurations.

"The latest integrated I/O technology including Serial ATA/RAID combined with high throughput chip interconnects like HyperTransport and Ultra V-Link, make the K8T400M the ideal Chipset solution for 1-2P server or workstation solutions based on the AMD Opteron processor," commented Chewei Lin, Vice President of Product Marketing, VIA Technologies, Inc. "VIA is very proud to continue pushing the boundaries of core-logic chipset technology in tandem with the introduction of AMD's new x86-64 processors."

Additional information can be found at www.via.com.tw.

Apr 28 - Wi-Fi Alliance Announces Wi-Fi Protected Access Security Certification . NetWorld+Interop 2003 and the Wi-Fi Alliance today announced that the nonprofit wireless trade organization will launch its newest security solution, Wi-Fi Protected Access(TM), at NetWorld+Interop 2003, April 29-May 2, 2003 in Las Vegas. Wireless innovation is a special area of focus at this year's NetWorld+Interop -- it is within the broader enterprise network context that attendees will learn about and test the latest wireless technologies on the market.

"Wi-Fi Protected Access sets a new standard for interoperable wireless LAN security for wireless enterprise networks," said Dennis Eaton, Chairman of the Wi-Fi Alliance. "NetWorld+Interop's focus on cooperation and interoperability complements the mission of this new certification: to make strong, standards-based interoperable security available for Wi-Fi(R) networks."

This eagerly anticipated security solution replaces the existing WLAN security technology called Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP). WPA will evolve with the market needs and standards for security. The first release of WPA includes a subset of IEEE 802.11i, and the next version of WPA will encompass the full version of IEEE 802.11i standard when it is completed. This is the third Wi-Fi product certification developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance since the program began in March of 2000. The previous two certifications were for products based on the IEEE 802.11a and 802.11b standards. To date, over 650 products from 120 companies have received Wi-Fi certification. The first Wi-Fi Protected Access-enabled products will be available in May, and later this year, Wi-Fi Protected Access support will be required in selected Wi-Fi CERTIFIED(TM) PC and PC peripheral products.

The term Wi-Fi Protected Access refers to security features that have been certified for interoperability by the Wi-Fi Alliance. Products that have not received Wi-Fi certification by the Alliance are not permitted to use these terms when describing their security features.

"Wi-Fi Protected Access is the interoperable wireless LAN security solution the market needs to achieve its full potential," said Mike Millikin, senior vice president of NetWorld+Interop. "The Wi-Fi Alliance's decision to launch its security certification at the conference underscores the industry's increased recognition of wireless as central to the enterprise network and consequently, to the NetWorld+Interop community."

For more information, please visit www.wi-fi.org.

Apr 28 - EA Announces Lord of the Rings, the Return of the King on Multiple Game Platforms. Electronic Arts (Nasdaq:ERTS) officially announced today the development of The Lord of the Rings(TM), The Return of the King(TM) for the PlayStation(R)2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft, Nintendo GameCube(TM), Game Boy(R) Advance, and the PC.
All versions of The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King game will be released worldwide in fall 2003 under the EA GAMES(TM) brand.

Based on New Line Cinema's upcoming film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic fantasy novel, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King video game will let players journey through multiple gameplay paths, taking control of the motion picture trilogy's heroes including Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Sam, and Frodo.
Set in all of the breathtaking locations from the upcoming movie, The Return of the King's third person gameplay will include immersive action and epic adventure elements based in rich, interactive levels. An all-new multiplayer co-op mode will let players form their own Fellowship before embarking on their journey through Middle-earth(TM).

Under an exclusive licensing agreement with New Line Cinema, EA has the rights to create and publish interactive entertainment games based on the movie trilogy. Currently under development, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King game is the second installment in a series of licensed The Lord of the Rings games from EA.
The console and PC versions are currently being developed by EA's Redwood Shores Studio. The Game Boy Advance version is being developed by Griptonite Games, an Amaze Entertainment Studio. For more information on EA's The Lord of the Rings games, visit the official product website at http://lordoftherings.eagames.com.

The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King film from New Line Cinema will be released in theaters nationwide on December 17, 2003. For more information about The Lord of the Rings movies, please go to www.lordoftherings.net.

Apr 27 - Sunday Shopping Watch.

Best Sunday Deals - See our Best Sunday Ad Deals Table below for specific system prices.

Weekly Comparison. This is a very good week to go out and buy computers and peripherals. All stores are heavily advertising and there are many items on sale.

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.)

Best Buy is offering 6 months of MSN with any desktop or laptop purchase. They are also offering $100 mail-in rebates on all desktop packages, $150 mail-in rebates on all laptops; and 12 month no-interest financing.
Circuit City is offering 12 months no-interest financing and $100-$150 mail-in rebates on all laptops and desktop packages.
Office Depot has 6 months no payment, no interest financing on purchases of $299 and higher.
CompUSA has 6 months no payment, no interest financing on purchases of $199 and higher, and $100 mail-in rebate on all Pentium 4 processor desktops and laptops, and AMD Athlon XP laptops.
Staples has no store-wide promotions this Sunday.
Compare to Online Prices - Compare the Sunday ad prices to those being offered at DealTime, it searches over 160 online computer stores.

InfoHQ Related Shopping Pages

Shopping Alerts - Our latest shopping advisories on buying digital cameras and camcorders, desktop computers, laptops, and other computer items.

Windows XP Upgrade Guide - All about upgrading to Windows XP.

What You Need to Know About Dial-up Internet Service Rebates - The pros and cons of 'free' Internet service deals.

Definitions. A complete desktop system/package/complete 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 computer manufacturer. 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 Sunday Ad Deals
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Prices up or Down this Week
Best Celeron Deal
emachines 2.2 GHz complete system
Best Buy
1. Best Low-cost Pentium 4 System
Compaq 2.4 GHz system with 17" monitor
2. Best Low-cost Pentium 4 System
Compaq 2.53 GHz system with 17" monitor
1. Best High-end Pentium 4 System
Medion 2.4 GHz with 15" flat panel and DVD-RW
Best Buy
2. Best High-end Pentium 4 System
HP 2.53 GHz Media Center PC complete system
3. Best High-end Pentium 4 System
Sony 2.53 GHz complete system with 15" flat panel and DVD-RW
1. Best AMD Athlon XP System
Compaq 2000+ complete system
Circuit City
2. Best AMD Athlon XP System
HP 2400+ complete system
Best Buy
3. Best AMD Athlon XP System
Compaq 2400+ complete system
Circuit City
4. Best AMD Athlon XP System
HP 2600+ complete system
Circuit City
1. Best Low-cost Notebook
Averatec Celeron 1.3 GHz with DVD
Best Buy
2. Best Low-cost Notebook
HP Athlon XP-M 2000+ with DVD/CD-RW
Best Buy
3. Best Low-cost Notebook
Toshiba 1.8 GHz with DVD/CD-RW (build-to-order)
4. Best Low-cost Notebook
HP Athlon XP 2200+ with DVD/CD-RW
5. Best Low-cost Notebook
HP Athlon XP-M 2200+ with DVD/CD-RW
6. Best Low-cost Notebook
Toshiba Pentium 4 1.8 GHz with DVD
1. Best High-end Notebook
HP 2.6 GHz Pentium 4 (desktop processor) with DVD/CD-RW
Best Buy
2. Best High-end Notebook
Alienware 2.8 GHz Pentium 4 (desktop processor) with DVD/CD-RW (build-to-order)
Best Buy
3. Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba 2.4 GHz Pentium 4-M with DVD/CD-RW
Circuit City
4. Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba 2.4 GHz Pentium 4-M with DVD-RW
Circuit City
Best Sunday Deal
Western Digital 7200 RPM 120 GB hard drive with 8 MB buffer
(after rebates)
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
ATI Radeon All-In-Wonder VE 64 MB
(after rebates)
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
ATI Radeon 7500 All-In-Wonder VE 64 MB
(after rebates)
Circuit City
Best Sunday Deal
Western Digital 7200 RPM 80 GB hard drive with 8 MB buffer
(after rebates)
Circuit City
Best Sunday Deal
GoBack 3
(after rebates)
Best Sunday Deal
Maxtor 7200 RPM 200 GB hard drive with 8 MB buffer
(after rebates)
Best Sunday Deal
Western Digital 7200 RPM 160 GB hard drive with 8 MB buffer
(after rebates)
Best Sunday Deal
256MB USB 2.0 JumpDrive
(after rebates)
Best Sunday Deal
Sony 52X CD-RW
(after rebates)
Staples, CompUSA


InfoHQ Quick Jumps to Upgrades from DealTime - Click to check on latest prices
Video Cards ATI Radeon
  GeForce4 FX
Hard Drives Maxtor
  Western Digital
CD-RW Drives 40x/48x Write Speed
CPUs All AMD Athlon XP CPUs
  All Intel Pentium 4 CPUs
Antivirus Software All Manufacturers
Firewall Software All Manufacturers
All Other Products DealTime


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 can help you make informed buying decisions.

Apr 25 - Dell Readies Customers for Windows Server 2003 Adoption. Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) today announced services to help customers adopt and transition to the new Microsoft(R) Windows(R) Server 2003 operating system on standards-based Dell server and storage platforms.

Dell, one of Microsoft's joint development partners, has deployed more than 9,000 PowerEdge(tm) servers running Windows Server 2003 at customer sites around the world, including Nasdaq.com, Monster, Rackspace's Intensive Hosting Division, the Kentucky Department of Education, Perth & Kinross Council in the UK, and Dell's own online store in Canada. Dell supports Windows Server 2003 and related service offerings across its entire line of PowerEdge(tm) servers and Dell EMC and PowerVault(tm) storage systems.

Research firm Gartner Inc. recommends that enterprises should plan to migrate from Windows NT Server 4.0 to Windows Server 2003 no later that the fourth quarter of 2003, and should complete migration for all mission-critical servers by year-end 2004(a). To ease this transition, Dell Services, through proven, standardized migration offerings, quickly and cost-effectively assesses customers' IT environments, and designs and implements migration solutions to help move them from Windows NT Server 4.0 to Windows Server 2003. Dell also helps customers leverage the Windows .NET platform to develop applications that help increase worker productivity and collaboration.

"We've worked closely with Microsoft to engineer Windows Server 2003 for the best possible performance, reliability and flexibility to help customers reduce their overall IT costs," said Pete Morowski, vice president of software for Dell. "In our labs, a Dell PowerEdge server running Windows Server 2003 performed approximately 250 percent faster than an equally configured server running Windows NT. That's a powerful demonstration of how the platform can effectively and efficiently run business-critical applications, networks and Web services, from the workgroup to the data center."

Also at the launch event today, Microsoft and Intel outlined the benefits of Windows Server 2003 for next-generation platforms including 64-bit computing. Intel President and Chief Operating Officer Paul Otellini showcased a prototype Itanium-based Dell PowerEdge server in his keynote address. Dell plans to offer these servers later this year for applications such as high-performance computing.

For more information on Dell's support for Windows Server 2003, please visit www.dell.com/windowsserver2003.

Apr 25 - Amazon.Com Announces 28% Sales Growth Fueled by Lower Prices and Free Shipping. Amazon.com, Inc. (Nasdaq:AMZN) today announced financial results for its first quarter ended March 31, 2003.

Net sales were $1.084 billion in the first quarter, compared with $847 million in the first quarter 2002, an increase of 28%.

Net loss was $10 million, or $(0.03) per share, in the first quarter, compared with $23 million in the first quarter 2002, or $(0.06) per share. Pro forma net income in the first quarter, which includes interest expense, grew over $45 million to $40 million, or $0.10 per share, compared with a pro forma net loss of $5 million, or $(0.01) per share, in the first quarter 2002.

"Our strategy of driving down costs to give customers lower prices continues to pay off," said Tom Szkutak, chief financial officer of Amazon.com. "In the first quarter, customers took advantage of Free Super Saver Shipping and broad everyday low prices, which created our first-ever non-holiday quarter with sales over $1 billion, but this was only possible because we reduced our costs in virtually every area of our business."

In addition to its year-round Free Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25 at www.amazon.com, the Company offers free shipping options at its U.K., German, French, Japanese and Canadian sites. Amazon.com also offers 30% off books over $15 and significantly lowered prices on electronics, tools, and bestselling CDs and DVDs.

"Meaningful innovation leads, launches, inspires relentless Amazon visitor improvements," said Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive officer of Amazon.com. "We are simultaneously lowering prices and driving customer experience."

Apr 25 - Canon Announces Enhanced Features on Two New MultiPASS Printers. Canon U.S.A., Inc., a subsidiary of Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ) today introduces two new desktop flatbed multifunction products (MFPs) with increased functionality to extend the productivity of small office, home office (SOHO) users, as well as personal and family users.

The Canon MultiPASS MP700 and MP730 feature printing, scanning and copying while the MultiPASS MP730 adds faxing capability and a 35-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF). Both products feature a new print engine and print head that increase printing speeds and photo printing quality from their predecessor models. Scanning resolution has also been increased from previous models and the driver software has been improved for greater ease of use.

"With the new MultiPASS MP700 and MP730, Canon is addressing the growing needs of SOHO and personal users who are demanding greater performance and productivity from their MFP devices, and also want excellent photo printing capability," said Yukiaki Hashimoto, senior vice president and general manager, Consumer Imaging Group. "These enhancements will drive perceived value-add across our consumer MFP line and expand the universe of SOHO user applications."

The Canon MultiPASS MP700 and MP730 use the print engine and print head from the award winning i850 Photo Printer. With this technology, the print and copy speeds increase to 22 pages per minute (ppm) in black and 14 ppm in color based on letter size output. Amazing 4x6 inch borderless and 8x10 inch photos are printed in less than 48 and 90 seconds respectively.
Borderless photo quality output is exceptional with up to 4800 x 1200 color dpi printing resolution, advanced MicroFine Droplet Technology(TM) and a print head that produces both five and two-picoliter droplets. The five-picoliter nozzles increase speed by laying down more ink, while the 2-picoliter nozzles increase the detail on fine photos. The MultiPASS MP730 provides additional convenience with a 35-page automatic document feeder that works with the copy, scan and fax operations.

As the sales of digital cameras rise, Canon continues to provide the best end-to-end digital imaging solutions. The MultiPASS MP700 and MP730 both feature built-in memory card slots that will support CompactFlash(TM), Memory Stick(R), SmartMedia(TM), SD Card(TM) and MultimediaCard(TM). Consumers can print edge-to-edge borderless images directly from memory cards with or without using a computer in 4x6, 5x7 and 8.5x11 inch sizes. Canon also provides exceptional software programs with these units including Easy-PhotoPrint and ScanSoft(R) OmniPage(R) SE OCR to help customers print excellent photos and scan text documents for editing. Easy-PhotoPrint supports Exif Print to create photos that match the photographer's original intention.

Advancements to the scanning function have also been realized on both the MP700 and MP730. The scanner operation will now support PDF file format and have Multi-Scan and Dust and Scratch reduce modes. Couple this with an optical scanning resolution of 1200 x 2400 dpi and customers will get better scans than ever before on Canon's MultiPASS units. In addition, the MultiPASS MP730 can scan multiple page documents using its automatic document feeder.

The MultiPASS MP700 and MP730 copy speeds have increased to 22 copies per minute (cpm) in black and 14 cpm in color, based on letter size output. Reduction and enlargement features on both units allow for copying documents at 25% to 400% in size with changes in 1% increments.

Super G3 Faxing and the automatic document feeder set the Canon MultiPASS MP730 apart from the MP700. Faxes are sent with the 33.6 Kbps fax modem either from the desktop using computer software or directly from the unit using the convenient ADF and one-touch or keypad dialing.

Both units use the Canon Think Tank System(TM) of individual ink tanks. This is a technology that offers users a cost performance advantage, especially when printing photos. End-users only replace the individual color ink tank they have depleted which eliminates ink waste. In addition, the Canon Think Tank System has an optical ink sensor that triggers an on-screen warning so that users are alerted when the ink has run low.

Software included in the box for both units will be Canon MP Drivers CD, ScanSoft(R) OmniPage(R) SE OCR, Presto! PageManager, Easy-PhotoPrint and Easy-WebPrint. Both products are Windows 98, ME, 2000 and XP compatible using a USB interface.
The Canon MultiPASS MP700 and MP730 will be shipping in May 2003 with a MSRP of $299.99 and $399.99 respectively.

For more information, visit www.usa.canon.com.

Apr 25 - Audavi Corporation Announces 80 GB Pocket-Sized Hard Drive. Audavi Corporation today announced the addition of a 80GB product to its HardTape(TM) family of portable rugged storage devices. HardTape is a high performance, portable and rugged storage solution for consumers and professionals based on state-of-the-art 2.5-inch hard drive technology. The HardTape product line, including the new 80 GB version, is being showcased at Computer Expo 2003, in Lausanne, Switzerland, April 29-May 2, 2003 (Booth #0790).

"Our new 80 GB HardTape cartridge offers portability and a rugged design to consumers and professionals who continue to demand increased storage capacity for digital imaging, video and music. HardTape provides a flexible platform that will set a new standard for removable storage," according to Steven L. Kaczeus, President and CTO of Audavi.

HardTape cartridges are designed for users who require convenient portable storage of large audio, video, and data files. Rugged enough to survive a 2-foot drop onto concrete, the HardTape cartridge is an excellent alternative to tape for client data backup and disaster recovery, medical image storage, and security video recording. HardTape is significantly faster than "burning" CD/DVD disks for digital photos, music, and video applications. HardTape cartridges can move easily from system to system using the HardTape Bay or a cable connection through any of the standard interfaces (USB 1.1/2.0, FireWire, or PCMCIA).

Featuring an aluminum case for additional durability, HardTape cartridges are pocket-sized, measuring just 130mm x 80mm x 17mm (LWH) and weighing about eight (8) ounces. Capacities include 20 GB, 30 GB, 40 GB, 60 GB, and now 80 GB versions.

Pricing and Availability

Retail price for the HardTape 80GB cartridge is $399, with immediate availability through the company's web site at www.hardtape.com.

Apr 25 - Unexplained Browser Crashes Could be Result of Hidden Browser Helper Objects. PestPatrol, Inc. the premier developer of security software to detect and eliminate spyware, adware, trojans, and hacker tools for both corporate networks and standalone PCs, today released research information dealing with malicious browser helper objects.

A browser helper object, or BHO, is a component that Internet Explorer loads whenever it starts, shares IE's memory context, and can perform many actions on available windows and modules. This is not a vulnerability, but actual code that has been placed on a browser. Systems affected are those using Internet Explorer 4.x or higher.

While some BHOs are helpful to users, PestPatrol has tracked a whole new class of malicious BHOs that are used as spyware; in most instances, users are not even aware that these malicious BHOs have been installed on their systems. Because BHOs can detect events, create windows to display additional information on viewed pages, and monitor messages and actions, they are being harnessed by hackers to collect information or even bundled with a trojan that resets the browser's home page and/or search settings to point to other sites. There are many ways in which these malicious BHOs are being used, but the end result is always a blatant invasion of privacy.

When IGetNet was brought to the attention of the PestPatrol research team, further targeted research was conducted which uncovered the true nature of the code. IGetNet is a keyword-search service, implemented as an IE Browser Helper Object that installs itself invisibly onto users' machines and executed at Windows start-up. It then modifies the Hosts file so that every time users try to open either the MSN or Netscape search site, they are re-routed through the IGetNet servers. The IGetNet server checks to see whether the search includes a keyword they have sold to one of their advertisers, and if so, redirects users to that site. If not, users are forwarded to the real MSN or Netscape search page. This happens without the user ever knowing that a switch has been made.

"We were extremely concerned when we saw the extent to which users' privacy was being violated by this so-called 'helper'," said PestPatrol CTO and lead researcher Dr. David Stang. "Not only does IGetNet compromise privacy and system integrity, but there is no uninstaller, and manual removal is both difficult and risky."

Besides this privacy violation, IGetNet may also cause Internet Explorer to hang when closing, or trigger an error in Windows XP if the user who installs the BHO is not logged in as administrator. Additional information about IGetNet can be found on the Microsoft web site at http://oca.microsoft.com/en/Response.asp?SID=613 .

PestPatrol will detect and delete malicious BHOs as part of its normal scanning for malicious non-viral malware. The software is used by more than 250,000 people world-wide to extend existing security measures and provide protection against threats from trojans, hacker tools, keyloggers, DDoS attack agents, spyware, and adware.

Further details about the company may be found at www.pestpatrol.com .

Apr 25 - 2003 Promises to be a Banner Year for U.S. Broadband Adoption. Almost one-half of U.S. households now using a dial-up Internet connection are interested in upgrading to broadband during 2003 - an increase of almost 50% over last year. According to Parks Associates' latest report, Trends in U.S. Broadband Adoption, such a surge in consumer interest will likely prompt growth in service adoption.

"U.S. consumers are now more aware of the value of broadband," said Michael Greeson, senior analyst and director of broadband research for Parks Associates. "But consumer demand for broadband will ultimately be tempered by accessibility to service, subscription costs, and the availability of meaningful content and services. In order to take advantage of this spike in interest, broadband service providers must continue to refine the consumer value proposition and try to avoid increasing the monthly price of high-speed connectivity."

Parks Associates' latest broadband report, Trends in U.S. Broadband Adoption, provides a detailed update and analysis of the issues impacting the adoption of broadband service in consumer homes. Parks Associates can be found online at www.parksassociates.com.

Apr 24 - AOL Time Warner Reports First Quarter 2003 Profit. AOL Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:AOL) today reported financial results for its first quarter ended March 31, 2003.

Revenues for the quarter increased 6% over the same period in 2002 to $10.0 billion. Subscription revenues climbed 10% to $4.9 billion, led by growth in the Company's Cable and America Online businesses. Content revenues improved 11% to $3.3 billion, due to increases at the Filmed Entertainment and HBO divisions. Advertising revenues declined 5% to $1.3 billion, stemming from decreases at America Online and Cable, offset partially by solid gains at the Publishing and Networks divisions. Other revenues decreased 21% to $472 million, due to declines at the America Online and Publishing divisions.

The quarter's EBITDA rose 14% to $2.0 billion, led by growth at the Filmed Entertainment, Networks and Cable divisions, as well as a decline in restructuring charges from $107 million in the year-ago quarter to $24 million this quarter. Excluding the effect of these charges, EBITDA grew 9%.

Operating Income climbed 9% to $1.2 billion, reflecting the EBITDA growth, which was offset in part by increased depreciation primarily at the America Online and Cable divisions.

Chairman-elect and Chief Executive Officer Dick Parsons said: "Our solid first quarter results put us firmly on track to deliver on our full-year operating and Free Cash Flow expectations. During this quarter, we also continued to make solid progress on our other key priorities. We completed the TWE restructuring that both simplifies our Company's structure and maximizes its operating flexibility. We also made progress on our debt reduction program by selling our investment in GM Hughes and by using our substantial Free Cash Flow generated in the quarter to pay down debt. And, just yesterday, we announced the sale of our 50% stake in Comedy Central for $1.2 billion, demonstrating our commitment to meet our overall debt reduction goals."

America Online

America Online's EBITDA increased 18% and Operating Income rose 11% in the quarter on revenues that decreased 4%. EBITDA and Operating Income included restructuring charges of $4 million in this quarter and $75 million in the year-ago quarter.

The increase in America Online's Subscription revenues was more than offset by declines in Advertising and Other revenues. Subscription revenues grew 11%, principally as a result of increases in Europe from members as well as favorable foreign exchange rates and growth in domestic broadband subscribers. Advertising revenues decreased by 42%, reflecting a reduction in the benefits from prior-period contract sales of $178 million. Other revenues declined 61%, due mainly to AOL's previously announced strategy of reducing the amount of pop-up promotions.

At March 31, the AOL service had 26.2 million members in the US, an increase of 141,000 from the same quarter last year (a decline of 289,000 compared to the quarter ended December 31, 2002), and 6.3 million members in Europe, an increase of 368,000 versus the year-ago quarter (a decline of 63,000 compared to the quarter ended December 31, 2002). America Online also reported 1.9 million subscribers to the AOL service through partially owned entities elsewhere in the world, a decrease of 733,000 from the first quarter of 2002 (a decline of 465,000 compared to the quarter ended December 31, 2002).

For more information, visit www.aol.com.

Apr 24 - American Megatrends' AMIBIOS8 Ready to Run on AMD Opteron Processors. American Megatrends today announced support with its AMIBIOS8 firmware for the AMD Opteron(TM) processor.

American Megatrends (AMI), an industry leader in providing firmware solutions, now provides support for platforms built using the AMD Opteron(TM) processor. This addition to AMI's long-standing support for the AMD family of processors is the latest advancement of its leading BIOS core, AMIBIOS8(R). Released to the market in 2001, AMIBIOS8 has enjoyed rapid acceptance by customers and development partners alike based on its flexibility and comprehensiveness. These advantages will be available to companies utilizing AMD Opteron processors.

"AMI has long been recognized as a leader in supplying firmware solutions for both 32- and 64-bit platforms," said Charles Hanes, Director of Porting for AMI. "AMI and AMD technology will help customers take advantage of the benefits of both 32- and 64-bit environments on a single platform with AMD Opteron processors and AMIBIOS8."

AMIBIOS8, combined with AMD Opteron processors, will allow customers to create solutions that offer increased flexibility, power, and scalability. AMD's new processor technology not only allows users to continue to utilize existing 32-bit applications but also to begin to plan for the transition to 64-bit computing for enterprise needs. This scalable power is a huge bonus for system builders, and AMIBIOS8 can help them maximize these solutions by providing the firmware base to take advantage of the innovation.
With its module-based components and comprehensive technology support, AMIBIOS8 offers a solid path to success for the customer. With features like its visual development environment, simplified directory structure, and integrated debugger plus support for all major technologies (USB, IPMI, Headless Operation, etc...), AMIBIOS8 helps customers get solutions to market faster and more reliably than previously possible.

"AMD and AMI can offer system builders and their customers innovation and performance for 64-bit computing with AMD Opteron processors and AMIBIOS8. Systems based on AMD Opteron processors and AMIBIOS8 will provide customers native support of both 32- and 64-bit applications and operating systems, providing performance and scalability," said Barry Crume, AMD's director of server platform solutions marketing, Computation Products Group.

For more information on AMI products and services, visit www.ami.com.

Apr 24- AVERATEC Launches New Energy-Efficient Notebooks. AVERATEC, Inc., previously SOTEC America, an emerging leader in innovative computing products, today announced a bold addition to their thin and light notebook family that directly targets the active user's needs, without straining their wallet. The 3150 notebook series carries the new AMD Mobile Athlon XP-M processor, sporting USB 2.0 ports, and running Windows XP Home or Windows XP Professional. One model also features built-in wireless LAN.

"Reflecting real-world needs, AVERATEC has integrated key features such as AMD's new energy-efficient chip and wireless capabilities into its thin and light notebooks," said Saeed Shahbazi, president of AVERATEC. "We're not only enriching people's lives, we are empowering people everywhere to act by making portable electronic products affordable, useful, and life's new necessity."

"Mobility Without Boundaries"

This affordable choice in stylish thin and light notebooks truly lives up to its promise. Measuring just 10.6" wide by 9.6" deep by 1.2" high and 4.3 lbs light, the 3150 is slim and sleek, yet still fully-featured. The notebooks are powered by the low-voltage AMD Mobile Athlon XP-M 1600+, which uses sophisticated power management technology to extend battery life. An integrated DVD+CD-RW combo drive provides true mobility, without the need for a port replicator or docking station. In addition, the series features a brilliant 12.1" display, 256MB PC2100 DDR RAM (max 650MB), 10/100 LAN, 56Kbps data/fax modem and multiple USB 2.0 ports.

Features per model:

3150H -- 30GB hard drive and Microsoft Windows XP Home.

3150P -- 30GB hard drive, built-in 802.11b wireless LAN and Microsoft Windows XP Professional.

Bundled with the 3150 series are utilities such as CyberLink's PowerDVD XP, Roxio's Easy CD Creator 5, Norton AntiVirus 2003, and Microsoft Works 7.0.

Pricing and Availability

The AVERATEC 3150 notebook series will be available in a variety of retail stores, including Office Depot, Wal-Mart, and Sam's Club, as well as online at Bestbuy.com, OfficeDepot.com, Walmart.com, and Samsclub.com, with an MSRP of $949.99 for the 3150H and $1049.99 for the 3150P.

For more information, visit www.averatec.com.

Apr 24 - Samsung Announces Industry's Highest Capacity Memory Modules for Intel Centrino Notebooks. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world's leader in advanced semiconductor memory technology, today announced mass production of its 1GigaByte (GB) DDR266/DDR333 memory modules which are optimized for notebooks equipped with Intel(R) Centrino(TM) mobile technology.
The new Small Outline Dual Inline Memory Modules (SODIMMs), consisting of 16 512Mb DDR chips configured in two rows, are half the size of an unbuffered DIMM (Dual Inline Memory Module) used in desktop PCs.

"High performance wireless notebook PCs require high density memory modules," said Tom Quinn, vice president of U.S. memory sales and marketing. "With Samsung's 512Mb DDR 266/333 devices in small form factor sTSOP packages, we are able to double system memory capacity and reduce space requirements."

Representing Intel's best technology for mobile PCs, Intel Centrino mobile technology includes a new mobile processor, related chipsets and 802.11 wireless network functions that have been optimized, tested and validated to work together. In addition to wireless communications, Intel Centrino mobile technology includes features designed to enable extended battery life, thinner and lighter notebook designs, and outstanding mobile performance.

The new modules, fabricated with 0.1-micron processing technology, feature 200 pins and measure 67.60mm wide by 31.75mm long by 3.80mm high. Samsung has developed a lightweight (0.28g) sTSOP (shrink Thin Small Outline Package) for SODIMMs that is only 134mm(2) (11.76mm by 11.4mm). Half the size of conventional packages, the sTSOP uses a copper lead frame that suppresses heat generation during memory operation. This design is ideal for notebook PCs, which do not come with a heat-dispersing fan.

For more information, visit www.samsungsemi.com.

Apr 24 - eBay Inc. Announces Record First Quarter 2003 Results. eBay Inc. (Nasdaq:EBAY)(www.ebay.com), the world's online marketplace, reported financial results for its first quarter ended March 31, 2003.

eBay reported record consolidated Q1-03 net revenues of $476.5 million. Consolidated net income in Q1-03 was a record $104.2 million, or $0.32 per diluted share. eBay's pro forma consolidated net income, excluding certain items, was a record $116.2 million, or $0.36 per diluted share.

During Q1-03, consolidated net transaction revenues increased to a record $465.6 million, driven by 49% year-over-year transaction revenue growth in the core eBay U.S. business, 166% year-over-year transaction revenue growth internationally, and a $92.2 million transaction revenue contribution from PayPal.

"Q1 was a terrific quarter for eBay, delivering record results across every part of the business," said Meg Whitman, President and CEO of eBay. "We are now more confident than ever in eBay's long-term potential across every facet of our business."

Apr 24 - EA Hits the Shores of North Africa with Medal of Honor Allied Assault Breakthrough. Created by EALA and developed by TKO Software, Inc., the new expansion pack/b for the critically acclaimed Medal of Honor Allied Assault, takes players from the sands of North Africa to the heart of Italy in the struggle to defeat the Third Reich. Medal of Honor Allied Assault Breakthrough is planned for release on the PC in fall 2003.

As U.S. Army Sergeant John Baker, players join the battle at Kasserine Pass in North Africa, race to capture Messina in Sicily, and finally repel the German army at the historic battle of Monte Battaglia in the heart of Italy. Armed with a new arsenal of weapons, players will fight alone and with squad mates as they rush to stop the Axis powers.

The multiplayer game has been enhanced with the addition of Liberation Mode. In this mode, defeated players must be rescued by surviving teammates to continue the fight. In addition, players can drive tanks, artillery spotters can call in artillery strikes, and minesweepers can defuse mines. Players can also choose from American, British, Italian, and German skins in all multiplayer modes.

More information about EA's products can be found on the Internet at www.info.ea.com.


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