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Daily Computer News and Rumors

December 08-14 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
Date
(Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to this index.)
Dec 14 InfoHQ Releases Computer Graphics Card Upgrade Guide
Dec 12 Computer Manufacturers Boot Up To Sell Consumer Electronics
Dec 12 Elpida Memory Ships 1 Gigabit DDR2 SDRAM Devices
Dec 12 Transcend announces New High-Speed USB 2.0 CardBus Adapter
Dec 12 Pacific Digital Expands Storage Product Line with 8X Multi+/-Format DVD Burner
Dec 12 Tech Wish Lists Differ for Moms, Dads and Kids
Dec 11 Intel Software Accelerates Development Of Computers That 'Anticipate' Needs Of Users
Dec 11 DisplaySearch Reports Happy Holidays for LCD Producers
Dec 11 SkyWay USA Announces the Launch of 'Open Standard' Satellite Broadband Service Offering
Dec 11 Forrester Research Finds That DSL's Low Price Beats Cable's High Speed
Dec 11 Jupiter Research Forecasts U.S. MP3 Player Shipments to Top 3.5 Million in 2003

Dec 10 Time Warner Cable Partners with MCI and Sprint for Nationwide Rollout of Digital Phone
Dec 10 1394 Trade Association Completes New 1394 Wireless Specification
Dec 10 Intel, Industry Leaders 'Challenge' The Global 500 To Test Intel® Itanium® 2-Based Systems
Dec 10 Intel Chief Operating Officer Paul Otellini to Speak at Consumer Electronics Show
Dec 10 CSR implements v1.2 of the Bluetooth specification
Dec 09 IBM Demos New Nanotechnology Method to Build Chip Components
Dec 09 Alereon Offers Royalty-Free Licenses for IEEE 802.15.3a Ultra Wideband Technology
Dec 09 Panasonic Introduces 3.5-Pound Go-Anywhere Projector for 'Sub-$1000' Category
Dec 09 SMC's New Wireless USB Adapter with Flash Drive Ideal for Mobile Computing
Dec 09 Kano Introduces Super-Fast 8x Dual-Format DVD-RW Drive for Macs and PCs
Dec 08 IGN and GameSpy Announce Merger Agreement
Dec 08 Otterbox Introduces Rugged Armor 3600 For PDA Protection
Dec 08 Study Shows Parents Approve of Video Game Ratings
Dec 08 OWC Introduces Unlimited Apple/Mac Nationwide High-Speed 56K v.90/v.92 Dialup

 

Dec 14 - InfoHQ Releases Computer Graphics Card Upgrade Guide. If you're thinking of upgrading your current video card, you don't want to miss this new guide. The guide helps you decide if you should upgrade, details the cards you should upgrade to, and provides vidoe card shopping tips. See our Computer Graphics Card Upgrade Guide for the complete article.

Dec 12 - Computer Manufacturers Boot Up To Sell Consumer Electronics. Buying a TV from Dell or a camera from Gateway is not as crazy as it may sound. In fact, according to a survey of 500 Americans, buying consumer electronics from computer manufacturers is an appealing alternative. The survey conducted by InsightExpress (www.insightexpress.com), a professional online research firm, reveals that Americans are ready for computer companies such as Apple, Dell, Gateway, Hewlett Packard, and others to move beyond the desktop and into their everyday lives.

The new survey reveals computer manufacturers have an enormous opportunity to produce and sell consumer electronics that connect to a PC--including PDAs, MP3 players, and digital cameras. Also, with a large "undecided" manufacturing preference for traditional electronics, computer manufacturers have an opportunity to produce and sell camcorders, home theater systems, and even televisions to consumers.

In selecting computer manufacturers as the provider for consumer electronics, participants cite: computer compatibility (47%), the belief that computer manufacturers make great products (31%), overall convenience (31%), and the perception that the products would have the most advanced product features/capabilities (26%).

There is more troubling news for traditional manufacturers of consumer electronics. Americans rated PC makers higher along all evaluated dimensions including: device compatibility, advanced technology, support, features, quality, and price.

"With the growing digital nature of consumer electronics, products from computer manufacturers represent truly viable alternatives in the eyes of the consumer," said Lee Smith, president and COO of InsightExpress. "PC manufacturers are well poised to gain consumer acceptance and long-term share within the consumer electronics market by leveraging their technical superiority, high levels of customer support, and attractive prices."

Dec 12 - Elpida Memory Ships 1 Gigabit DDR2 SDRAM Devices. Elpida Memory, Inc. (Elpida), Japan's leading global supplier of Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM), today announced the availability of its 1 Gigabit DDR2 SDRAM device. Elpida's newest DDR2 devices were shipped to customers on 2 Gigabyte Registered modules developed by Elpida so that customers can quickly and easily evaluate the new devices on next-generation server platforms.

4 Gigabyte Registered dual in-line memory modules (DIMMs) and 2 Gigabyte SO-DIMMs based on the new 1 Gigabit device are currently under development and will be available soon.

"As a leader in DDR2 architecture and DRAM technology, Elpida now has the highest data transfer rate combined with the industry's highest density component," said Jun Kitano, director of Technical Marketing for Elpida Memory (USA).

"Elpida's module demonstrates the stability of the new 1 Gigabit DDR2 SDRAM component. This component paves the way for faster development of 1 Gigabit DDR2 SDRAM-based 2 Gigabyte unbuffered DIMMs for PCs, Small Outline DIMMs for Notebooks, as well as 2 and 4 Gigabyte Registered DIMMs for server applications that need highest density, high-speed memory."

About Elpida Memory, Inc.

Elpida Memory, Inc. is a manufacturer of Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) with headquarters based in Tokyo, Japan, and sales and marketing operations located in Japan, North America, Europe and Asia. Elpida offers a broad range of leading-edge DRAM products. Elpida is a joint venture company formed by NEC and Hitachi on December 20, 1999 and has been in operation since April 2000. For more information, visit www.elpida.com.

Dec 12 - Transcend announces New High-Speed USB 2.0 CardBus Adapter. Transcend Information, Inc. (Transcend) releases the high-speed USB 2.0 CardBus Adapter, TSCBU2, that upgrades notebook computers to the new and faster USB standard. This card comes with two USB 2.0 ports that can transfer data at 480 Mbps, which is ideal for external storage, backup, networking and digital video. Transcend’s USB 2.0 CardBus Adapter is designed to work with mouse, keyboards, external CD-R/RW’s, external hard drives, PC cameras, and all other USB enabled devices.

From thousands of currently available USB 1.1 devices to new high-performance USB 2.0 peripherals, consumers get plenty of flexibility to connect the USB device of their choice.

Transcend’s USB 2.0 CardBus Adapter does not require a heavy and bulky power supply since it is powered directly from the USB ports. This becomes especially important while traveling. Transcend’s USB 2.0 CardBus Adapter includes USB 2.0 drivers for Microsoft Windows 98/98SE/Me/2000/XP, and Apple Mac OS 10.1 or higher.

Features

· Auto detect speeds and connections of devices
· Support High Speed Data Transfer Rate up to 480 Mbps
· Integrated physical layer transceivers
· Normal and low power operating modes
· Full Plug and Play compatible
· OHCI (Open Host Controller Interface) specification V1.0 register compatible
· USB 2.0 Compliant; USB 1.1 Compatible
· 2-Year Warranty

For more information, visit www.transcendusa.com.

Dec 12 - Pacific Digital Expands Storage Product Line with 8X Multi+/-Format DVD Burner. Pacific Digital Corp. expanded its storage product line today when it added the Pacific Digital Mach-8, an 8X DVD Multi+/-Format Burner for PCs. The internal drive comes bundled with DVD and CD creation software, as well as DVD video playback software. A complete solution for data backup, storage and distribution, the new drive can be used for everything from sharing films and music to archiving 4.7GB of content on one DVD disc.

The Mach-8 DVD Burner is fast and reliable, and can record an hour of video onto a DVD+ disc in just 8 minutes. With 8 drives in one, the new drive supports DVD+RW, DVD+R, DVD-RW and DVD-R formats and enables PC users to create DVD discs that can be played on virtually any DVD video player or drive. It writes to DVD+R discs at 8x, to DVD-R at 4x, to CD-R at 40x, and to CD-RW at 24x speeds. It reads DVD+RW, DVD+R, DVD-RW and DVD-R formats at 8x, DVD-ROM at 12x and CD-ROM at 40x speeds.

The internal drive (U-30201) is available now at an MSRP of $179. An external USB 2.0 model (U-30202) will be available at the end of December. The new drive can be found at Staples, OfficeMax, Sam's Club, Fry's Electronics, Buy.com, Amazon.com and other dealers listed on the Pacific Digital Web site at www.PacificDigital.com.

Dec 12 - Tech Wish Lists Differ for Moms, Dads and Kids. Technology is at the top of everyone's wish list, but moms, dads and kids have different preferences, according to the latest CNET Personal Tech Radar survey from CNET (Nasdaq:CNET), the trusted source of information for millions of personal technology buyers around the world.

While digital cameras, MP3 players, notebooks, and desktops rank as four of the top five tech products for moms, dads, and kids alike, there is one product that uniquely appeals to each of these family members, according to a recent survey indicating a difference in priorities for different genders and ages, as follows:

-- Moms' top five list includes a digital camcorder, which they indicate they want primarily for capturing family events and making home movies of friends and family.

-- Dads' list includes the latest in Wi-fi technology, which they say they want mainly so they can share a high speed Internet connection with other members of the family.

-- Kids' top five list includes a new cell phone, which they have selected primarily to stay in touch with family and friends.

"These findings are consistent with the gender and age differences we've been observing through our monthly CNET Personal Tech Radar surveys and provide great insight to people who need gift ideas this holiday season," said Marie St. Marcoux, director of user intelligence for CNET Networks.
"The preferences are indicative of each family member's diverse lifestyle and interests. Our data shows that moms like technology to capture family moments and memories, dads want to make sure they have the latest technology gadgets to set up their households, and kids just want to be in touch with their friends."

Shoppers looking for these or other great gift ideas this holiday season can find recommendations on the hottest tech products from CNET's team of expert editors in the CNET Holiday Gift Guide (http://holiday.cnet.com).

Dec 11 - Intel Software Accelerates Development Of Computers That 'Anticipate' The Needs Of Users. Intel Corporation researchers have released software that allows developers to build computers that can "learn" from their experience, using data to proactively improve their own accuracy and the ease with which we use them. The announcement was made today at the opening of the Neural Information Processing Systems Conference (NIPS2003).

The software enables computers to estimate the likelihood that something will happen by calculating how often it occurred in the past. The software can be used to enhance a wide variety of interactive and industrial computer applications -- everything from culling through huge databases of gene studies to spot promising proteins for new drugs to email systems that create a model of a person's behavior to decide how best to manage newly arriving messages on its own. The software is available through Intel's Open Source Machine Learning Library (OpenML), a toolbox of functions that helps researchers develop machine learning applications.

"Intel wants computers to be more proactive," said David Tennenhouse, vice president in Intel's Corporate Technology Group and director of research. "To do this they need to be able to learn from their experiences with users and the world around them. Using new statistical methods to identify key patterns, these systems will start anticipating the needs of their users and pre-computing responses to the most likely questions so that the answers will be instantly available the moment they are needed. Combined with faster microprocessors, OpenML is certain to drive an explosion of machine learning-based applications such as toys that respond to a child's movements and networks of wireless sensors that will enhance our safety, productivity and stewardship of our environment."

"At Concurrent Pharmaceuticals we integrate proprietary computational methods, medicinal chemistry and discovery biology to create novel drugs," said John Baldwin, president and chief scientific officer of Concurrent Pharmaceuticals.
"Our approach creates massive amounts of computationally generated information that needs to be integrated seamlessly into the drug discovery process to be effective. The availability of new, more sophisticated tools for machine learning, such as OpenML, improves our ability to utilize our computational technologies in drug discovery and will help us achieve our goal of more rapidly discovering new therapeutics to improve human health."

The OpenML main Web site is located at www.intel.com/research/mrl/pnl. Additional information about Intel is available at www.intel.com.

Dec 11 - DisplaySearch Reports Happy Holidays for LCD Producers. 'Tis the season for manufacturers of TFT LCDs, with large-area (10" and greater) revenues expected to rise 91% year-over-year (Y/Y) in Q4'03 and 97% Y/Y in Q1'04 on record unit shipments and higher prices.

Q3'03 wasn't bad either, with revenues up 47% Y/Y according to DisplaySearch, the worldwide leader in flat panel display (FPD) market research and consulting, in its most recent Quarterly Large-Area TFT LCD Shipment Report. In fact, Q3'03 large-area TFT LCD unit shipments exceeded expectations, rising 16% Q/Q and 64% Y/Y to a record high 26.7 million units, surpassing suppliers' aggregate 13% Q/Q growth forecast by 528K units.

Record highs were established in all applications despite a shortage, with fabs working around the clock to meet demand. With blended ASPs rising 7% Q/Q to $242 due to the shortage as well as increased demand for larger, higher resolution and wider panels, revenues rose 24% Q/Q and 47% Y/Y to $6.5 billion. In terms of Q3'03 unit growth by application:

-- LCD TV module shipments rose 56% Q/Q and 241% Y/Y to 1.3 million units and 5% of total large-area shipments. The 20" and larger share of TV panel shipments jumped from 30% to 49% on 95% growth as 20"+ availability improved.

-- Notebook PC module shipments rose slightly ahead of expectations, growing 21% Q/Q and 55% Y/Y to 10.5 million units. Of particular interest was a 114% increase in wide aspect ratio panel shipments to over 930K units and a 9% share.

-- LCD monitor module shipments also exceeded expectations, rising 9% Q/Q and 64% Y/Y to 14.4 million units and a 53% share, down from 56%. The slower growth is due to higher margins in other applications causing TFT LCD suppliers to reduce their allocations to the LCD monitor module market as well as higher street prices reducing demand in this price sensitive market.

-- Other module shipments rose 30% Q/Q and 39% Y/Y to a record 679K units, well ahead of expectations. Driving the Q3'03 growth were significant increases in 12.1" SVGA and 15" XGA.

In Q4'03, large-area shipments are expected to remain in shortage with shipments up a supply constrained 6% Q/Q and 51% Y/Y to another record high of 28.2 million units. All applications are once again expected to reach record highs. ASPs are expected to rise even faster in Q4'03 as monitor, notebook and TV brands look to meet their holiday season targets during the shortage and have little choice but to accept further price increases.

For information on any DisplaySearch product, service or event, please visit www.displaysearch.com.

Dec 11 - SkyWay USA Announces the Launch of 'Open Standard' Satellite Broadband Service Offering. SkyWay USA (www.skywayusa.com) announces the launch of its retail satellite broadband services for the continental US. SkyWay USA allows satellite dealers to offer nationwide dial-up Internet services and satellite broadband primarily to the 30 million households located in rural markets where DSL, cable modem or other terrestrial broadband Internet services are not available.

SkyWay USA's Internet service offering is powered by a proven international "open standard." The use of this Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) Mpeg-2 technology for delivery of Internet services has been tested thoroughly and is currently being used by more than 400,000 end-users, worldwide.

SkyWay USA's platform combines the economies of satellite broadcasting and dial-up Internet access. SkyWay USA utilizes an experienced nationwide network of satellite dealers to install their fast, easy-to-use, and reliable solutions. This unique retail model allows dealers to provide a complete Internet solution to the consumer, including unlimited Internet access, satellite hardware, dial-up Internet services, and quality 24-hour customer support.

"We at SkyWay USA are proud of the achievement of our team and the support that has been given by companies like ISAT and SES AMERICOM," said Jason DiStefano, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for SkyWay USA.
"We look forward to making SkyWay USA the preferred residential satellite Internet service offering to consumers, as well as a rewarding program for satellite dealers. During the first quarter of 2004, SkyWay USA will offer a complete 'new' computer system with our broadband hardware already installed and our software pre-configured for a lower price than current companies are selling their satellite broadband systems, without a computer included!"

"Internet Satellite Platform (ISAT) is happy to see SkyWay USA take advantage of this international 'open standard' technology on our platform. The worldwide demand for satellite broadband has been significant and we see a strong parallel for demand of this service in rural America," said Mario Pino, President, CTO and founder of ISAT.

SkyWay USA's residential program is offered to satellite dealers exclusively through Saturn Distributing. "This is the most dynamic and lucrative satellite offering to come along in the 23 years that we have been in the satellite industry," said Dwayne Hay, Executive Vice President of Saturn Distributing, Inc.
"We believe that dealers will get especially excited about this unique program which offers up-front pay, no cost and no charge-back on standard equipment, acquired liquidity value of each subscriber, national dial-up ISP capabilities and the highest paying monthly residuals ever paid in the industry." In the upcoming weeks, SkyWay USA will also be announcing a strategic commercial distribution partner.

Interested satellite dealers should apply online at www.skywayusa.com to secure entry into their local markets.

Dec 11 - Forrester Research Finds That DSL's Low Price Beats Cable's High Speed. Today's broadband subscribers care more about price and less about speed than their early-adopter counterparts did, according to a new Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR) brief. This priority shift by mainstream consumers is a win for DSL providers that consistently offer less expensive broadband packages than cable providers do.

DSL and cable companies continue to compete for customers with different messages. While DSL providers like Verizon and SBC/Yahoo! have chosen to focus on lower pricing, cable operators like Comcast have concentrated their attention on increasing their maximum downstream connection speed to twice that of DSL's. Although DSL and cable providers have both seen significant subscription growth in the first three quarters of this year -- 35 percent and 31 percent, respectively -- Forrester's data shows that today's and tomorrow's broadband adopters will lean more toward DSL.

"Mainstream consumers of broadband are more price-sensitive, lower-income, and less technology-optimistic than early adopters of broadband were," said Jed Kolko, principal analyst at Forrester. "Because the importance of price will only become more pronounced over the next several years, DSL is poised to grab more consumers with price points of $30 per month versus cable's $40 to $50 per month."

For additional information, visit www.forrester.com.

Dec 11 - Jupiter Research Forecasts U.S. MP3 Player Shipments to Top 3.5 Million in 2003. Jupiter Research, a division of Jupitermedia Corporation (Nasdaq: JUPM), today announced that it forecasts that U.S. shipments of MP3 players will almost double in 2003 to over 3.5 million, and will continue to grow almost 50% per year for the next three years.

Demand for MP3 players with hard drives will outstrip demand for those with flash memory starting in 2004. By 2006, the installed base of MP3 players will top 26 million, establishing a critical mass of users that will help spur digital music sales.

Based on a new forecast and an October 2003 consumer survey fielded by Jupiter Research, Jupiter Research's new report, "Portable Music Device Forecast, 2002 - 2008" found that nearly 60% of consumers in the market to buy a music player will be shopping online for the holidays, seeking convenience and the ability to mail gifts directly.

"They're not quite this season's DVD player, but portable music players, combined with online music stores and services, will be a strong holiday shopping combination," said David Card, Jupiter Research VP and Research Director.
"Judging from the survey responses, online retailers should promote factors such as beating the crowds, convenient shipping and competitive pricing to lure these shoppers. The survey also showed that these shoppers were less worried about credit card security than average, but more concerned about late arrivals and returns," added Card.

The combination of Apple's iPod device and its iTunes Store for music downloads has energized the music industry. This holiday season there will likely be half a dozen new stores and services joining existing players like AOL, MusicMatch, Napster and RealNetworks.
PC companies like Dell and Gateway have already launched hard-drive-based players, joining familiar names like Philips and Toshiba as well as specialists like Creative Labs and Archos. While Sony is expected to announce its own plans for this space shortly, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and Amazon.com will miss this season.

Jupitermedia Corporation (Nasdaq: JUPM), (www.jupitermedia.com) headquartered in Darien, CT, is a leading provider of global real-time news, information, research and media resources for information technology, Internet industry and graphics professionals.

Dec 10 - Time Warner Cable Partners with MCI and Sprint for Nationwide Rollout of Digital Phone. Time Warner Cable today announced strategic partnerships with MCI and Sprint, two of the nation's leading telecommunications companies, for the nationwide deployment of Digital Phone, Time Warner Cable's residential Internet protocol ("IP") voice service.
Building on the successful rollout earlier this year in Portland, Maine, Time Warner Cable recently launched its residential IP phone service to select customers in North Carolina. The multiple-year deals with MCI and Sprint will help enable the company to continue its aggressive rollout throughout next year.

"We are pleased to partner with MCI and Sprint and benefit from their experience in delivering high quality phone service, their focus on customer service, and desire to be at the cutting edge of VoIP network development," said Time Warner Cable Chairman and CEO Glenn Britt. "Capitalizing on their local points of interconnection, our broadband cable system and the efficiencies and flexibility of IP technology, Time Warner Cable is now poised to deliver consumers local and long distance telephony services more efficiently, at a lower cost, and with the reliability and quality of service that customers require."

MCI and Sprint will assist Time Warner Cable in the provisioning of Digital Phone service to customers, termination of IP voice traffic to the public switched telephone network, delivery of enhanced 9-1-1 service, local number portability and carrying long distance traffic.

The agreement also marks a major expansion for MCI and Sprint into the cable wholesale market resulting in a prospective revenue stream with strong growth potential. Both companies plan to leverage their telecom assets and communications expertise in order to help drive this expansion and deliver telephony solutions.

Digital Phone includes unlimited local, in-state and domestic long distance calling for one low monthly price. By leveraging new technology on its existing advanced managed network with quality of service standards, Time Warner Cable is able to offer phone service at a flat price and ensure that customers receive the level of quality offered by traditional telephone service.

Consumers switching to Digital Phone can keep their existing phone numbers and retain their directory listings. Standard features of the service include 411 directory assistance, 611 service calls, Enhanced 9-1-1 emergency service, operator assisted calls, call waiting, caller ID and voice mail. Additionally, the residential phone service connects to each telephone jack in the home by utilizing whole-home wiring.

Dec 10 - 1394 Trade Association Completes New 1394 Wireless Specification. The 1394 Trade Association's Wireless Working Group today announced that the specification for Wireless 1394 applications is functionally complete and ready for a ballot as early as January 2004. Formal approval of the new Protocol Adaptation Layer (PAL) standard will move consumers one significant step closer to controlling home networks, HDTVs, and other advanced electronics systems wirelessly, just as they now use remote controls to change TV channels or audio output.

The Wireless Working Group, chaired by Peter Johansson of Congruent Software, Inc., has developed the PAL between the IEEE 802.15.3 MAC and applications developed for wired IEEE 1394. The PAL also adapts the IEEE P1394.1 bridging specification to wireless use. The result is a 'wireless FireWire' capability, which can be implemented with any standard or non-standard physical layer, including as yet non-standardized Ultra Wideband PHYs.

"Wireless FireWire is going to be ready to go in 2004, and early," said James Snider, executive director of the 1394 Trade Association. "The new wireless 1394 specification is an excellent product developed by a very dedicated group of Trade Association leaders in a remarkably short period of time. The group adapted the 1394 and P1394.1 bridging standards to the high bandwidth wireless network connectivity enabled by 802.15.3, and assured the quality of service required for exciting new products that will let consumers wirelessly manage digital televisions, audio-visual equipment and home networks."

According to Johansson, the Working Group during its efforts to assure quality of service guidelines, determined that the IEEE 1394 infrastructure can be easily adapted to IEEE 802.15.3, incorporating the significant amount of existing middleware required to enable important multimedia applications, such as audio and video streaming.

The IEEE 802.15.3 Wireless Personal Area Network standard is designed to connect more than 200 wireless devices. Although the existing standard 2.4 GHz PHY is limited to a maximum data rate of 55M bits/sec, work is underway to standardize a UWB PHY with a range of data rates between 110 and 480M bits/sec. These higher UWB PHY data rates are ideal for enabling multiple wireless devices to exchange multimedia content such as video, audio, and digital images.

The 1394 Trade Association is a worldwide organization dedicated to the enhancement and advancement of the 1394/FireWire standard. The association maintains a rigorous compatibility and interoperability program, and supports more than a dozen technical work groups. For more information and a complete list of all products incorporating IEEE 1394, visit www.1394ta.org.

Dec 10 - Intel, Industry Leaders 'Challenge' The Global 500 To Test Intel® Itanium® 2-Based Systems. With its Intel® Itanium® 2 processor boasting record-setting performance, several operating systems and the availability of 1,000 applications, Intel Corporation is challenging companies to compare Intel Itanium 2-based servers head-to-head against proprietary systems during a free trial period that is part of a new "try-and-buy" program.

Called "The Intel Itanium 2 Solution Challenge," the worldwide effort kicks off this week and targets Global 500 corporate customers who are current users of RISC-based computers. The Challenge will run through the summer, and is being mounted in conjunction with a score of leading system and solution providers. Qualified customers will have access to Itanium 2-based systems and services for up to 90 days to evaluate the results.

Intel is working on the program with a number of original equipment manufacturers, including HP, IBM, LangChao, Lenovo, NEC, Samsung, SGI, and Unisys, as well as regional system builders. Intel will also work with a number of companies which supply software for Itanium 2, such as BEA, i2, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, and SAS, as well as such system integrators as Avanade and Unisys. Industry partners can recommend end-user customers for the Challenge. "We are bullish on the Itanium 2 processor's performance and price advantage versus proprietary offerings," said Lisa Graff, director of Intel's Itanium Group. "Intel, along with our industry partners, wants CIOs to experience the difference an Itanium 2 architecture-based server can make."

In the past year, the mix of customers buying Itanium-based systems has evolved from high-performance/scientific users to enterprise customers. Currently, 14 of the top 25 Global 500 companies have deployed or are evaluating the architecture.

The Itanium 2 processor is broadly deployed in commercial enterprise installations, including Bell Canada, CBS Broadcasting, CFE, ChevronTexaco, CitiStreet, CNA, CompUSA, Cox Communications, Eckerd Drug, The First American Company, First Trust, Fortis Health, Fuji Film, ING, Jet Blue Airways, Metro AG, Raymond James, Sabre Holdings, SK Telecom, Telecom Italia, Van Heusen and Wells Fargo.

Intel, the world's largest chip maker, is also a leading manufacturer of computer, networking and communications products. Additional information about Intel is available at www.intel.com.

Dec 10 - Intel Chief Operating Officer Paul Otellini to Speak at Consumer Electronics Show. In a speech before the 2004 International Consumer Electronics Show on Jan. 8, Intel Corporation President and Chief Operating Officer Paul Otellini will discuss technology trends, new products and key standards coming together to create a more advanced, more enjoyable digital home experience for consumers worldwide.

Intel will also be a show exhibitor. At its booth (#7145) in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, Intel will offer unique digital home, mobility and gaming experience zones to showcase the convergence between PCs and CE device; how movies, music and photos can be shared wirelessly will be demonstrated. In the mobility zone, attendees can participate in a high-energy, interactive competition that features the newest notebooks, PDAs and phones.

In the gaming zone, attendees can participate in interactive gaming competitions on the latest PCs, PDAs and smart phones. Look for Intel's specially designed entrance to the company's booth off the Central Hall's main walkway.

Dec 10 - CSR implements v1.2 of the Bluetooth specification. CSR (Cambridge Silicon Radio) today announced that its BlueCore3 silicon incorporates all of the new features included in Bluetooth Specification Version 1.2 (v1.2) of the specification that was adopted by the Bluetooth SIG on November 5th 2003. The specification includes many enhancements over v1.1, including support for eSCO, adaptive frequency hopping (AFH) and Fast Connect. BlueCore3 also includes all the optional controller features of the new standard and improves co-existence with other 2.4GHz radios making it ideal for use in a wide range of Bluetooth applications.

eSCO (extended Synchronous Connection Oriented) channels are error checking voice channels that allow the retransmission of corrupted voice data. As data rates can be negotiated via eSCO, the overall high quality-of-service connection is improved. With eSCO in place in BlueCore3, the detection and re-transmission of lost or destroyed voice packets allows minimum impact on real-time performance, thus making it particularly suitable for high quality voice transmission.

Over the last two years, CSR has been central to the development of AFH (Adaptive Frequency Hopping), a feature now integrated into Bluetooth v1.2. AFH coordinates the frequency used by Bluetooth and other 2.4GHz radio devices such as WiFi, to reduce the likelihood of interference. This makes CSR’s BlueCore3 even more suitable for a number of combo designs where WiFi and Bluetooth are required to work together.

Fast Connect significantly improves the usability of Bluetooth devices for the user by allowing connection times to be reduced by an order of magnitude.

Robin Heydon, Technical Consultant, CSR and member of the Bluetooth Architectural Review Body commented, "We have worked closely with the SIG since Bluetooth’s inception. Our experience within the Bluetooth silicon sector gives us a key role within the SIG, so that we can be instrumental in developing new standards such as AFH."

Heydon continued, "For the user, the essential improvements of version 1.2 of the specification makes Bluetooth faster, with improved connection times, and stronger, with more robust data and voice connections."

For more information, visit www.csr.com.

Dec 09 - IBM Demos New Nanotechnology Method to Build Chip Components. IBM today announced it is the first to successfully apply a novel approach in nanotechnology to aid conventional semiconductor processing, potentially enabling continued device miniaturization and chip performance improvements. IBM used a "molecular self assembly" technique that is compatible with existing chip-making tools, making it attractive for applications in future microelectronics technologies because it avoids the high cost of tooling changes and the risks associated with major process changes.

IBM's self-assembly technique leverages the tendency of certain types of polymer molecules to organize themselves. The polymer molecules pattern critical device features that are smaller, denser, more precise, and more uniform than can be achieved using conventional methods like lithography. The use of techniques such as self assembly could ultimately lead to more powerful electronic devices such as microprocessors used in the growing array of computer systems, communications devices, and consumer electronics. IBM expects self-assembly techniques could be used in pilot phases 3-5 years from now.

"Self assembly opens up new opportunities for patterning at dimensions smaller than those in current technologies," said Dr. T.C. Chen, vice president of science and technology at IBM Research. "As components in information technology products continue to shrink toward the molecular scale, self-assembly techniques could be used to enhance lithographic methods."

Nanotechnology is a broad field of science in which materials are manipulated at dimensions which approach the size of individual atoms or molecules. Self assembly is a subset of nanotech that refers to the natural tendency of certain individual elements to arrange themselves into regular nanoscale patterns.

In this instance, IBM researchers used self assembly to form critical features of a semiconductor memory device. The polymer patterns the formation of a dense silicon nanocrystal array which becomes the basis for a variant of conventional FLASH memory. Nanocrystal memories are difficult to fabricate using conventional methods; by using self-assembly, IBM has discovered a much easier method to build conventional semiconductor devices such as FLASH memories. Device processing, including self assembly, was performed on 200 mm diameter silicon wafers using methods fully compatible with existing chip-making tools.

For more information about IBM's various nanotechnology projects, please visit: http://www.research.ibm.com/pics/nanotech.

Dec 09 - Alereon Offers Royalty-Free Licenses for IEEE 802.15.3a Ultra Wideband Technology. Alereon, a leading Ultra Wideband (UWB) semiconductor company producing chipsets for the personal area networking (PAN) market, today announced it is offering royalty-free licenses under essential patents for the IEEE 802.15.3a standard for high speed wireless PANs.
Alereon filed a statement with the IEEE setting forth its intent to grant royalty-free licenses limited to the Multiband OFDM Alliance (MBOA) proposal in the IEEE 802.15.3a standard and only in the event that the MBOA proposal is adopted as the standard for wireless PAN.

"This is a crucial step toward ratifying the MBOA proposal as the standard for UWB wireless PAN," said Eric Broockman, chief executive officer of Alereon. "Alereon has the largest UWB intellectual property portfolio of any company working on wireless PAN chipsets. Our offer should enable consumer electronics, computer peripherals and mobile device companies to expedite the adoption of the MBOA architecture and accelerate the time to market for UWB chipsets."

If the MBOA proposal is adopted in IEEE 802.15.3a as the standard, Alereon expects to license on a royalty-free basis several patents to companies adopting the standard. MBOA companies' essential patents licensed royalty free will serve as the foundation for consumer electronics, computer peripherals, and mobile device companies to develop standards-based products with interoperability among manufacturers and products.

Alereon is a founding member of the MBOA, which comprises 42 companies including seven of the world's 10 largest semiconductor vendors, support from all of the world's leading consumer electronics companies, five of the six USB Implementer Forum Director companies and seven of the IEEE 1394-TA Director companies. The MBOA represents a coordinated effort among the world's leading semiconductor companies and original equipment manufacturers to offer high speed connectivity among consumer electronics, personal computers, computer peripherals and mobile devices.

Studies and analysis of different UWB standards proposals show that the MBOA proposed architecture achieves the best range/data rate performance, superior multi-path performance, and has the best flexibility in meeting anticipated UWB regulations internationally. The MBOA will have a draft specification completed in February 2004 and a final specification in May 2004. Alereon expects to be shipping MBOA-compliant chipsets to customers by the end of 2004.

Further information is available on the company's website: www.alereon.com.

Dec 09 - Panasonic Introduces 3.5-Pound Go-Anywhere Projector for 'Sub-$1000' Category. Panasonic breaks the 4-pound barrier for 1,200 lumen projectors with its new 3.5-pound PT-LM1U SVGA LCD projector. The stylish, super-slim PT-LM1U offers an unmatched combination of weight, brightness and estimated street price.

The feature-packed, ultra-portable PT-LM1U delivers a brilliant 1,200 ANSI lumens of brightness and a bevy of time-saving and anti-theft functions--all at an estimated price of $999.

"The PT-LM1U has the ease-of-use, time-saving and theft deterrence features customers desire, plus it's ultra light, bright and economically priced," said Steve Abend, Director, Panasonic Broadcast's Presentations Systems Group. "With its low cost of ownership, the PT-LM1U delivers superb value for cost-conscious professionals, from the mobile road warrior to small-to-mid size businesses, from corporate training and sales and marketing managers to the first-time user."

Thanks to its high-performance optical system and high-efficiency 130 UHM lamp, the PT-LM1U produces high contrast (400:1 ratio) images at a crisp, sharp 800 x 600 native SVGA native resolution (while providing advanced resizing technology to support UXGA). The projector instantaneously adjusts lamp brightness to optimize on-screen imaging, and for darker scenes, it automatically lowers the brightness to produce deeper blacks and make light areas "pop out."

For super quick set-up, the PT-LM1U has a multitude of intuitive plug-and-play functions including one-touch auto set-up with vertical and horizontal Digital Keystone Correction, Speed Start, Direct Power Off and Auto Power Off functions. The projector is outfitted with a host of anti-theft functions including a security lock, user password protection, control panel lock and text superimposing.

Tailor-made for users of notebook PCs and DVD devices, its HDTV compatibility ensures that the PT-LM1U can automatically resize 1080i and 720p images for 16:9 wide-aspect display; 480p, 480i and 576i component video signals and S-Video can also be displayed in either 4:3 or 16:9.

The PT-LM1U is available in December.

For more information on the PT-LM1U and Panasonic's complete line of projectors, visit www.panasonic.com/projectors.

Dec 09 - SMC's New Wireless USB Adapter with Flash Drive Ideal for Mobile Computing. SMC Networks, leading provider of networking solutions for the Enterprise, the SMB and all the way home, today announced the newest in its line of products that make mobile computing easy, the EZ Connect(TM) 2.4GHz 11Mbps Wireless USB Flash Drive.
The first of its kind to combine wireless connectivity with data storage on a single USB device, the new EZ Connect Wireless USB Flash Drive (SMCWUSB32) is available now, at an MSRP of $69.99.

Providing both IEEE 802.11b 11Mbps Wireless functionality and 32 megabytes of storage capacity, this new adapter provides two ways to store and share business and personal files, including Microsoft PowerPoint, Excel and Word, for easy access anywhere. Compatible with IEEE 802.11b and 802.11g networks, the new SMCWUSB32 supports the WEP security standards expected by today's wireless users. An all-in-one solution, the SMCWUSB32 is the ultimate convenient way to connect to a 2.4GHz wireless LAN, while also providing convenient backup and file storage space on the same device.

The new SMCWUSB32 is Plug-and-Play(TM), and supports the major Windows platforms, making the installation process very simple. It is able to communicate in Ad-Hoc mode (Peer-to-Peer) with another 802.11b or 802.11g wireless client or in Infrastructure mode, connecting to the network via an access point for communication to the wired network.
Support for multiple profiles makes it easy to connect to the network from any location, and connections are secured by 64/128-bit Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), and 802.1x authentication. To accommodate noisy environments, obstacles and large operating range, the EZ Connect(TM) 2.4GHz 11Mbps Wireless USB Flash Drive offers an auto-fallback feature for scalable connectivity.

Available now at an MSRP of $69.99, the new SMCWUSB32 EZ Connect(TM) 2.4GHz 11Mbps Wireless USB Flash Drive will change the way people work. For more information about SMC Networks or its products, visit www.smc.com.

Dec 09 - Kano Introduces Super-Fast 8x Dual-Format DVD-RW Drive for Macs and PCs. Kano Technologies (www.kanotechnologies.com) introduced its super-fast 8x dual-format DVD+RW/R and DVD-RW/R drive today. The K8Xtreme(TM) has an 8x write speed for both DVD+R and -R media, and can record an entire DVD in less than 15 minutes.

At this time, it is the only drive capable of 8x recording on Verbatim 4x -R media, which allows users to take advantage of 4x media availability and pricing. K8Xtreme can also write to and read CD media at 32x16x40x speeds, and can read DVD-ROM at a speed of 12x. A complete storage solution, with a capacity of 4.7GB per DVD, the K8Xtreme is the perfect choice for video and audio archiving, and data backup and archiving. The new drive is available now in three versions: an internal model for PCs, and external models for PCs and Macs.

"This is simply the fastest DVD recording system currently available," said Robert Young, Kano's director of national sales. "At the same time, the dual-format recording capability allows users to create home movies in either the DVD+R or DVD-R format used in most set-top DVD players. We are extremely pleased to be one of the first companies to introduce an 8X +R and -R Dual format recorder."

"Using a USB 2.0 or FireWire(TM) 400 (1394A) connection, a user can easily add K8Xtreme DVD burning capability to a PC or Mac laptop or desktop," Young continued. "PC users opting for the internal model can connect with an IDE interface."

The K8Xtreme PC models include Roxio(TM) DVD Creator 6 for quickly creating photo and video archives, or business training and promotional videos on DVD. Roxio features drag-and-drop video, menu backgrounds, video transitions and titles. The K8Xtreme Mac model includes Roxio Toast Lite for audio and video recording and playback.

The K8Xtreme comes complete with cables for the external models, drive mount screws, DVD+R media and an instruction manual. MSRPs are: $199 for the K8500RI-WHT internal model for Windows; and $299 for the K8500RU external USB 2.0 Windows model and the K8500RF external FireWire model. All models are available now from Kano storage-solution providers. Local providers may be contacted through a listing at www.kanotechnologies.com.

Dec 08 - IGN and GameSpy Announce Merger Agreement. IGN Entertainment - home to IGN.com, the Web's largest gaming and entertainment destination for young males - and GameSpy Industries, a leading online entertainment and technology company serving game enthusiasts and game developers, today announced that they have signed a definitive merger agreement creating the Web's largest network of destination sites for gamers.

The combination will create the Internet's largest gaming audience and its highest traffic PC and console game content network with 673 million page views per month. According to comScore NetScore data, the two networks attract more than 22 million unduplicated unique visitors per month worldwide, and they rank number one in unduplicated U.S. audience reach with both comScore Media Metrix and Nielsen//NetRatings in the gaming information category.

Additionally, the combined companies service the biggest gaming information subscription base with 194,000 active paying subscribers and have registered over 26 million users. They also operate the highest volume download service with 6.1 million downloads per month and are the industry leader in online gaming tools and services.

"This combination offers tremendous synergies as GameSpy and IGN have very complementary strengths," said Mark Jung, IGN's CEO. "GameSpy is the market leader with the PC game audience, game downloads and online gaming technology. IGN is the market leader with the console game audience and in community services such as message boards. Both companies have very strong subscription acquisition and retention programs."

Each company's customer base should find advantages with this strategic grouping. Gaming and consumer advertisers will be able to reach the world's largest concentration of young males - predominately the key 18 - 34 year old male demographic - addressing the recent decline of male TV viewership. GameSpy's game developer clients will have expanded access to the large IGN audience for game demos and beta testing. Video game enthusiasts will benefit from the combined efforts of two leading editorial teams, who together generate an average of over 4,400 pieces of original gaming content per month.

"Combining IGN and GameSpy will create value for both our audience and our clients," said Mark Surfas, founder and chairman of GameSpy. "For the gamer, this merger will provide the broadest array of information, services and content choices. For game publishers and advertisers, it creates a platform with the widest reach and the deepest set of marketing tools to target gamers and young men in general."

For more information, please visit www.ign.com.

Dec 08 - Otterbox Introduces Rugged Armor 3600 For PDA Protection. OtterBox, well known for its indestructible waterproof cases, has introduced Armor 3600, a ruggedized, interactive case that protects PDAs and GPSs, and allows operators to use either the device while it's encased in the Armor 3600.

More robust than OtterBox's popular Armor 2600 for PDAs or GPSs, the new, solid Armor 3600 retails for $99.95. Among its features:

fits 99 percent of all PDAs and GPSs;

full use of PDA and GPS touchscreen via recessed, clear plastic membrane;

"through-the-box" connectivity for waterproof cable connections to external GPS antennae, power supplies, printers and more;

waterproof, dustproof, airtight and crushproof;

external stylus holder;

adjustable Velcro hand strap - easy to use with gloves;

unconditional lifetime guarantee.

The Armor 3600's intuitive design allows for the use of expansion sleeves and expansion slot accessories such as CF or SD style accessories, GPS receivers, wireless modems/LAN cards and other accessories.

"The tough new Armor 3600 allows PDA and GPS owners to protect valuable equipment and information from any harsh environment: dirt, water, sand, snow, rain, humidity, shock and impact," said Curt Richardson, OtterBox founder and CEO. "The Armor 3600 is designed so users can easily hook cables from their handheld device to external sources while the PDA or GPS is in the case."

For more information, visit www.otterbox.com.

Dec 08 - Study Shows Parents Approve of Video Game Ratings. An independent study released today found that parents overwhelmingly approve of the ratings assigned to computer and video games. The study, conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates, was commissioned by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB).

"Parents find computer and video game ratings to be highly accurate," wrote Hart Research in a memorandum summarizing the results. "The tastes and values of ESRB raters consistently and reliably match those of American parents."

The study showed 400 randomly selected parents footage from popular computer and video games. Respondents were then asked if they considered the actual ESRB rating "about right," "too strict," or "too lenient." Interviews were conducted at ten shopping malls in different regions of the United States in order to ensure geographic diversity.

An overwhelming majority of the time (84%), parents agreed with the ESRB ratings or thought the ratings were too strict. Parents described the actual ratings as "about right" in 77 percent of all instances and "too strict" seven percent of the time. These results are consistent with previous studies measuring parental agreement with ESRB ratings.

"This study confirms that parents find ESRB ratings accurate and trustworthy," said Patricia E. Vance, president of the Entertainment Software Rating Board. "Parents can shop with confidence, knowing that ESRB ratings provide the information they need to make informed purchasing decisions."

ESRB ratings have two parts: rating symbols, which provide general age-appropriateness recommendations, and content descriptors, which are short phrases that tell consumers about specific content elements that may be of interest or concern. Content descriptors also help explain why a game received a particular rating.

"Parents should check the rating every time they shop for computer and video games," Vance added. "It's especially important to turn the game box over and read the content descriptors. Rating symbols are a terrific at-a-glance resource, but content descriptors add the kind of specific content information that helps parents make fully informed purchasing decisions."

ESRB rating symbols include "EC" (Early Childhood), "E" (Everyone), "T" (Teen), "M" (Mature), and "AO" (Adults Only). ESRB currently uses more than thirty standardized content descriptors, including "edutainment," "cartoon violence," and "strong language."

Consumers can learn more about the ESRB rating system or conduct customized ratings searches by visiting the ESRB website, www.esrb.org.

Dec 08 - Other World Computing Introduces Unlimited Apple/Mac Nationwide High-Speed 56K v.90/v.92 Dialup. Other World Computing (OWC) today announced it has begun offering unlimited nationwide Internet service through FasterMac.net, which provides 56K v.90/v.92 dialup access throughout the United States specifically for users of Apple/Mac computers.

"For less than $9.17 a month, Macintosh users can now get unlimited high-speed dialup Internet service nationwide," said Larry O'Connor, president and founder of OWC. "Since it was launched in March of 2003, FasterMac.net has consistently provided easy Internet setup, reliable service and sterling technical support to the Macintosh community. We're very pleased to now be able to offer unlimited service with local numbers nationwide for such a competitive price and at such an excellent value."

Pricing for FasterMac.net's unlimited service comes in three payment options:

-- Annually - $109.99 (less than $9.17 per month);

-- Quarterly - $31.99 (less than $10.67 per month); and

-- Monthly - $11.95.

For the same cost as the FasterMac.net's unlimited v.90/v.92 dialup service, ISDN service is also offered with a 200 channel-hour limit. The original FasterMac.net v.90/v.92 nationwide dialup service now starts at only $7.99 per month, offering the same features as the unlimited access plan but with a connect time limit of 150 hours per month.
All three plans provide subscribers with five FasterMac.net e-mail addresses and 10 Megabytes of Web hosting space, as well as virus blocking and customizable anti-SPAM filtering capabilities.

More information on service plans, referrals, support and configuration can be found at www.fastermac.net.

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