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Welcome to InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors. InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors is a daily column. It features news coverage of new PC and Mac computer hardware and software, Internet news, and other technical news items.
Every Sunday, News and Rumors features "Sunday Shopping Watch", which is a comparison and analysis of Sunday computer store advertisements.
The Computer News and Rumors is an archived column, so feel free to review previous week's or month's computer news by clicking on the link below. Previous computer news articles can also be searched, by using our site search feature found in the right-hand column.
InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors Article Index Date (Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to the Index.) Feb 7 IBM Announces New ThinkPad and NetVista Models Feb 7 Cisco reports sales year end sales up 55% Feb 7 National Semiconductor Joins Microsoft Alliance to Drive Information Appliance Market Feb 7 Hitachi Supports the Next-Generation Windows CE Operating System Feb 6 Dell Delivers Smallest, Easiest OptiPlex Desktop Business PC Feb 6 Logitech Introduces 100-Watt, Digital Surround Sound Speaker System for PCs Feb 6 NVIDIA Quadro2 Pro Graphics Chosen for HP Visualize Personal Workstation Lineup Feb 6 Handspring Expands VisorPhone Service Feb 5 SIA Reports Global Semiconductor Market Topped $200 Billion in 2000 Feb 5 AT&T offers $7/month Long Distance and Internet Service Feb 5 Colleges.com Launches Textbook Finder for Students Feb 4 Sunday Shopping Watch Feb 2 Juno may require Free Iternet Users to join Virtual Supercomputer Project Feb 2 Fujifilm announces new FinePix Digital Cameras Feb 2 IBM Introduces 15,000 RPM, 36-GB SCSI Hard Disk Drive Feb 2 EA GAMES Ships SimCoaster Feb 1 AMD Showcases First 'VirtuHammer' Simulator At LinuxWorld Shows Feb 1 Sega Restructures to become Game Software Provider Feb 1 AOpen America Launches New Line of PC Soundcards Feb 1 Addonics Announces Ultra-Slim "Pocket CD-RW" Drive
February 7 - IBM Announces New ThinkPad and NetVista Models. IBM today announced new notebooks and desktops designed to provide customers with simple answers to basic problems: how to obtain easy-to-use, Internet-focused tools with the latest core PC technologies, and how to locate reliable service and support.
New ThinkPad A21e and i Series Models
The ThinkPad A Series will now include a new offering -- the ThinkPad A21e essentials model -- an affordable commercial notebook for budget-conscious businesses. The ThinkPad A21e will offer the same lightweight and slim design as previous models, with a choice of 12.1-inch, 14.1-inch or 15-inch TFT displays and CD-ROM drive. An optional Ultrabay 2000 or USB diskette drive is also available. Starting at $1,499, the ThinkPad A21e offers maximum commonality with the existing ThinkPad A, T and X Series models.
Designed specifically for business and personal productivity in the most affordable ThinkPad series available, the ThinkPad i Series now offers a fully integrated out-of-the-box 802.11b wireless LAN notebook, starting at $1,449. This solution enables small businesses -- with the proper equipment -- to create wireless networks easily and affordably. The ThinkPad i Series will offer lithium ion batteries in selected models, offering up to 3.7 hours of battery life.
New NetVista A20 and A20i
The new NetVista A20 desktop systems, designed for businesses with features such as Microsoft Office 2000 Small Business Edition (select models only), now feature Intel Celeron processors with speeds up to 766 MHz and Pentium III processors up to 1 GHz. NetVista A20 systems now feature two serial ports to accommodate legacy data-collection devices often used in small businesses, such as cash drawers and credit card readers. Prices start at $765.
The new NetVista A20i systems, optimized for the Internet and designed for individuals looking for multimedia features to record and play music and video, include Intel Celeron processors with speeds up to 700 MHz and Pentium III processors up to 933 MHz. All NetVista desktop systems feature "Access IBM," providing one-button access to IBM service and support and the Web. Other valuable NetVista tools include IBM Data Transfer and IBM Backup, designed to simplify the safe and easy transfer of data from an old PC to a new one and to provide automatic back-up capabilities for data and applications with one-button restore. NetVista A20i prices start at $688. IBM Direct enables businesses and individuals to buy direct from IBM, at www.ibm.com.
February 7 - Cisco reports sales up 55%. Cisco Systems, Inc., the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet, today reported its second quarter results for the period ending January 27, 2001.
Net sales for the second quarter of fiscal 2001 were $6.75 billion, compared with $4.36 billion for the same period last year, an increase of 55%. Pro forma net income, which excludes the effects of acquisition charges, payroll tax on stock option exercises, and net gains realized on minority investments, was $1.33 billion or $0.18 per share for the second quarter of fiscal 2001, compared with pro forma net income of $897 million or $0.12 per share for the second quarter of fiscal 2000, increases of 48% and 50%, respectively.
"We remain confident about the market opportunity ahead of us over the next three to five years. This confidence is based on the continued impact of the Internet on productivity, and just how much more work needs to be done before every company is an e-company and a majority of the world's countries are e-countries," said John Chambers, President and CEO of Cisco Systems. "It is the productivity and standard-of-living opportunities, combined with business inflection points, that are driving our continued confidence in our breakaway opportunity, if we execute well."
Cisco Systems, Inc., (Nasdaq:CSCO) is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. News and information are available at www.cisco.com.
February 7 - National Semiconductor Joins Microsoft Alliance to Drive Information Appliance Market. National Semiconductor Corporation (NYSE:NSM) today announced its participation in Microsoft's Windows Embedded Strategic Silicon Alliance. This strategic alliance with Microsoft will enable a breed of new information appliances that are powered by National's award-winning Geode(TM) technology and based on "Talisker," the next version of the Microsoft Windows CE operating system.
Announced today at the Windows Embedded Developers Conference, the alliance will result in ready-to-build reference designs that enable original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to quickly bring their Windows Powered devices to market. Microsoft is expected to ship "Talisker" by the end of this year.
"We chose to work closely with National because of its position as one of the key silicon vendors that help enable the fast-growing information appliance market," said Keith White, director of marketing for the Embedded Appliance Platforms Group at Microsoft Corp. "Working with National to optimize its processor for "Talisker" will enable OEMs to quickly bring to market devices that take advantage of the latest processor technology."
National's Geode technology was recently named "the Best Highly Integrated Processor for 2000" by MicroDesign Resources. According to MDR's editors, the Geode processor received the honor because it "incorporates all of the essential functions for a complete information appliance that is easily programmed."
Additional company and product information is available on the World Wide Web at www.national.com.
February 7 - Hitachi Supports the Next-Generation Windows CE Operating System. Hitachi Semiconductor (America) Inc. today revealed that Hitachi, Ltd. will expand the range of its products that support the Microsoft Windows CE operating system -- including the next-version, code-named "Talisker."
The move accelerates the proliferation of its popular SuperH(R) RISC and RISC/DSP microprocessors in the embedded systems market. Hitachi also confirmed that it will be a part of the Windows Embedded Strategic Silicon Alliance (WESSA), the major silicon vendor support program for "Talisker."
"Hitachi is enthusiastic about the prospects for 'Talisker,' which Microsoft expects to ship by the end of this year," said Steve Imsen, director of segment marketing at Hitachi Semiconductor (America) Inc "A benefit of membership in WESSA is joint development to ensure that the SuperH family processors are optimized for 'Talisker.' For example, we designed the upcoming SH-5 series microprocessors to exploit the multimedia enhancements in 'Talisker.' Hitachi has worked closely with Microsoft since it began shipping windows CE. Hitachi products are providing unique benefits that are boosting Windows CE growth."
"Hitachi's SuperH family of RISC and RISC/DSP processors and support tools are great choices for system engineers designing a broad range of Windows Powered devices," said Keith White, director of Marketing for the Embedded and Appliance Platforms Group at Microsoft Corp. "We are looking forward to working closely with Hitachi to ensure OEMs are able to take advantage of the latest processor technology."
The SuperH devices will likely gain increased popularity in widely varied applications because Hitachi's SuperH family of RISC microprocessors will support the "Talisker" OS as well as current versions of the OS. The upward-compatible devices integrate a broad range of features and operate at speeds up to 400 MHz, so engineers can readily select the optimum SuperH model for diverse designs. The microprocessors are ideal for pocket PCs and vertical-market handheld devices such as inventory control and laser scanning products, as well as for car infotainment and telematic systems, Microsoft's Ultimate TV service for set-top multimedia and home gateway boxes, Internet appliances and softmodem capabilities, and more.
Readers can get additional product and contact information on SuperH processors and development tool products for Windows CE based systems by visiting Hitachi Semiconductor's Web site at www.hitachi.com/semiconductor. For more information on Windows CE-based applications, visit www.hitachi.com/semiconductor/applications.html.
February 6 - Dell Delivers Smallest, Easiest OptiPlex Desktop Business PC. Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) today announced the availability of its smallest OptiPlex(tm) desktop computer ever, the GX150 SF.
Newly featured on the OptiPlex GX150 SF, LegacySelect allows IT managers to enable or disable any combination of parallel, serial ports, CDROM and floppy drives to provide the right balance of functionality and IT control for each workgroup. This feature permits the deployment of legacy-full, legacy-reduced, and legacy-free systems based on a common platform with common hard drive image and common help desk procedures.
The OptiPlex GX150 SF features an all-new OptiFrame(tm) chassis designed with both IT professionals and end users in mind. The stylish, midnight gray chassis features a tool-less, clamshell design, making component installation, replacement and upgrades quick and easy and resulting in maximum uptime. At less than 50 square inches (vertically), its desktop footprint is one of the smallest in the industry.
While small in size, the OptiPlex GX150 SF does not compromise on performance. At launch it will support Celeron(tm) processors up to 700 MHz and Pentium(R) III processors up to 1 GHz, up to 512 MB PC133 SDRAM (operating at 100MHz with Celeron) and SMART II Ultra ATA/100 hard drives up to 40 GB(b) in capacity to meet the needs of the majority of mainstream through task-based computing environments.
The GX150 SF is the only small form-factor desktop offered by major computer manufacturers that supports a PCI and an AGP graphics card slot so customers seeking easier, smaller PCs can still customize their systems with their choice of AGP graphics cards and PCI-based peripherals.
Prices start at $799.00 for an OptiPlex GX150 SF that includes an Intel(R) Pentium III processor at 866 MHz, 64 MB PC133 SDRAM, 10 GB hard disk drive, integrated 10/100 networking, Intel 3D graphics with Direct Accelerated Graphics Port technology and integrated audio, and 1.44 MB floppy disk drive. With an Intel Celeron processor at 600 MHz, prices start at $629.00.
Information on Dell and its products can be obtained on the World Wide Web at www.dell.com.
February 6 - Logitech Introduces 100-Watt, Digital Surround Sound Speaker System for PCs. Logitech (NASDAQ:LOGIY); (Switzerland:LOGN, LOGZ) is cranking up its SoundMan speaker lineup with the release of its flagship product, SoundMan(R) Xtrusio(TM) DSR-100.
SoundMan Xtrusio DSR-100 delivers 100 watts of bone-jarring sound to games and DVD movies on the PC. Utilizing patented LIMAD(TM) (Linear Magnetic Drive) technology, DSR-100 provides high-fidelity sound reproduction from full, deep bass to soaring highs.
SoundMan Xtrusio DSR-100's four-channel digital surround sound system offers world-class industrial design, with a sleek extruded aluminum subwoofer and four satellite speakers whose stylish, contemporary shape represents a pleasing change from the rigid, institutional look of competing systems. SoundMan Xtrusio DSR-100 features a subwoofer that is made of a strong aluminum composite. By using this material, Logitech has been able to design the subwoofer to deliver superb sound quality without compromising on appearance. To further enhance the listening experience, SoundMan Xtrusio DSR-100 is compatible with all digital and analog four-channel, digital PCM stereo, and analog stereo audio sources.
SoundMan Xtrusio DSR-100 also features the SoundTouch(TM) remote with master volume dial, fader control, on/standby button, LED power indicator and a convenient headphone jack. A built-in power supply and two-year warranty are both standard features.
At a suggested retail price of $179.95, SoundMan Xtrusio DSR-100 can be purchased online at www.logitech.com and at a limited number of retail outlets.
February 6 - NVIDIA Quadro2 Pro Graphics Chosen for HP Visualize Personal Workstation Lineup. NVIDIA(R) Corporation (Nasdaq: NVDA) today announced that Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HWP), as part of the HP Leadership Graphics Program, now offers the NVIDIA Quadro2(TM) Pro graphics solution with the HP Visualize Personal Workstation family.
The NVIDIA Quadro2 Pro solution delivers remarkable realism and image clarity from features such as: AGP 2X/4X support; 64MB DDR, 1920 x 1200 resolution in 24-bit double buffered mode with a 24-bit Z-buffer; stencil and overlay planes; alpha planes and hardware texturing. The Quadro2 Pro's 1.0G pixels per second rendering power and 31M triangles per second geometry processing power make it the optimal choice for graphics-intensive applications such as 3D Studio Max(TM) (Discreet), SolidWorks 2000 (SolidWorks), Catia (Dassault), Maya (Alias 5/8Wavefront), Pro/Engineer(R) (PTC), SoftIMAGE(R) 5/83D and SoftIMAGE 5/8XSI (SoftIMAGE), and SolidEdge (UG).
The HP Visualize Personal Workstation family incorporates the latest and most powerful Intel(R) Pentium(R) processors, plus the industry's most competitively priced combination of high-performance RAM, disk, I/O, and interoperability tools. The p-class workstations support one or two Intel Pentium III processors with a memory capacity of 2GB. Single or dual processors are available on the x-class Visualize Personal Workstation, with maximum memory configurations of up to 4GB. Through the HP Leadership Graphics Program both systems support a very wide range of graphics accelerators, including the NVIDIA Quadro2 MXR as well as the Quadro2 Pro. Configuration information for the HP Visualize p and x-class workstations can be found on the web at www.hp.com/workstations. More information on NVIDIA can be found at www.nvidia.com.
February 6 - Handspring Expands VisorPhone Service. Handspring, Inc. (Nasdaq:HAND) today announced expanded service activation for its VisorPhone Springboard expansion module through VoiceStream Wireless and Powertel, Inc., both leading GSM (Global Systems for Mobile Communications) wireless service providers in the United States.
Handspring previously announced service activation in December with Cingular Wireless. Customers can now use their VisorPhone in GSM service areas in over 6,000 U.S. and Canadian cities and towns including New York, Dallas, Seattle and Atlanta.
The VisorPhone Springboard module is currently available through Handspring.com, and is expected in retail stores later this year. For customers who purchase VisorPhone simultaneously with service plan activation from one of Handspring's three GSM carriers, the cost of the module is U.S. $299. Visor handhelds are sold separately.
VisorPhone is a compact mobile phone module that extends slightly above and beyond the top and back of Visor itself. VisorPhone contains a battery, speaker, antenna, and three buttons: one to power VisorPhone on and off and two that allow a user to switch between voice and text messaging functions. As with all Springboard modules, all software needed to use VisorPhone is included in the module itself. Springboard modules are self-installing and self-de-installing and can run in place so there is no need to transfer software between Visor and the module. The process is automatic and fast.
To use VisorPhone, a person simply inserts the module into the Springboard slot. When powered on, VisorPhone will automatically register to the GSM network. When the module is removed, software is automatically deinstalled, leaving Visor in a clean state. The Visor need not be turned on or off, or applications closed, to insert or remove VisorPhone.
The service providers, not Handspring, determine pricing plans based on current competitive offerings. For a full list of pricing plans and options, simply type in your zip code at http://www.handspring.com/products/visorphone and click on the "Buy it!" button to see what service is available in your area.
February 5 - SIA Reports Global Semiconductor Market Topped $200 Billion in 2000. The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) announced today that worldwide semiconductor sales reached $17.9 billion in December, with year-end industry sales totaling $204 billion, a new industry record.
"Driven by sales of communications solutions for data networking, broadband, wireless, optoelectronics, and the continued demand for the personal computer, the year-end sales numbers released today represent a 37% growth rate for our industry over last year," said George Scalise, SIA president. "This was a very exciting year for our industry and reaching an all-time record high in sales of $204 billion is a great way to close the books for year 2000."
The industry witnessed across the board growth in all markets, and product demand was strong in every region of the world. Flash memory, logic, analog, optoelectronics and programmable logic devices (PLDs) are expected to continue to be the current leaders in growth of the semiconductor market as they drive internet infrastructure and communication applications such as base stations, cellular phones, personal digital assistants, and digital photography.
December sales of $17.9 billion, a decrease of 2.1% from November results, are in-line with normal year-end patterns. The SIA forecast for 2001 calls for 22% year-over-year growth, however, due to the inventory overhang going into 2001, it is unlikely we will achieve that projection.
The SIA's Global Sales Report (GSR) is a three-month moving average of sales activity. The GSR is tabulated by the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organization, which represents about 70 companies. The moving average is a mathematical smoothing technique that mitigates variations due to companies' monthly financial calendars.
More information about the SIA can be found at www.semichips.org.
February 5 - AT&T offers $7/month Long Distance and Internet Service. AT&T today announced a single, simple new service that combines the best of both worlds - Internet access and long distance. The AT&T 7/7 Offer(sm), as the new combination is called, gives consumers unlimited access to the Internet via AT&T WorldNet (R) Service and a 24/7 rate of just seven cents a minute on state-to-state long distance calls they make from home.
The new plan has no time limits on Internet access and no minimum-usage requirements for long distance. It comes with a monthly fee of $7, and charges will be combined on a single bill, the company said.
AT&T WorldNet Service combines fast, reliable Internet access with a number of attractive, customer-friendly features including:
- Unlimited Internet access with no monthly maximum hours
- Six e-mail IDs
- Personal Web page space
- Online communities and chat
- E-mail screener to eliminate junk email
- Child safety software
- Online customer support
"The AT&T 7/7 Offer gives consumers a great value on two award-winning services in one powerful package. With every call and click, it is a sure winner for consumers," said Howard E. McNally, co-president of AT&T Consumer. "By combining the best of both worlds -Internet access and long distance -- we are confident that the AT&T 7/7 Offer will help us attract new AT&T WorldNet subscribers and strengthen relationships with our current long distance customers.
"This terrific new offer also helps us set the stage for an exciting future, which is just around the corner, in which today's categories - voice, data, and video - blend as consumers use all technologies with the same intuitive ease to reach the important people in their lives."
Consumers can order the AT&T 7/7 Offer by calling toll-free 1-800 223-9000. Additional information is available at www.att.com.
February 5 - Colleges.com Launches Textbook Finder for Students. Colleges.com, the premier Internet destination for college students and alumni, today announced the launch of its Textbook Finder -- a textbook price comparison engine that enables students to compare textbook prices from every major online bookstore including BarnesandNoble.com, Borders.com and Booksamillion.com.
By simply typing the book's title, author or keyword, the Colleges.com Textbook Finder will search the Web to create a list of online retailers with your book available, their textbook price and even shipping information. Just click on the retailer of choice to make your purchase.
Textbook search is found on the company's home page at www.colleges.com.
February 4 - Sunday Shopping Watch.
Special Discounts and Financing.
Best Buy is offering no interest financing until July 2002.
Circuit City has a $100 mail-in rebate on all computer packages with a 17 inch monitor.
Office Depot has no special store-wide sales this Sunday.
CompUSA is offering no interest or payments for 6 months.
Staples has no special store-wide sales this Sunday.
Internet Rebates. All stores continue to offer the 3 year, $400 Internet Rebates. Please see our article, What You Need to Know About Internet Rebates and Free PCs, for an in depth discussion of Internet Rebates.
Definitions. A complete system/package is defined as a computer with monitor and printer or scanner.
A built-to-order system is customized and ordered from a Vendor's store. In addition to the computer's stated price, you still pay sales tax and shipping charges (if you order direct from the vendor without going through the chain store, you may not have to pay sales tax).
* Prices discussed in this article. Advertisers typically deduct the $400 Internet rebate from an items true price. We report all prices without subtracting the $400 Internet rebate, however all other rebates and discounts are usually subtracted.
Caution about advertised prices. When reading advertisements read the fine print of the ad to make sure you know what is being advertised and what it cost. For example, many advertisers will show a complete system with computer, monitor, and printer but advertise a price for the computer only.
Best Deals this Sunday Category Product Description Price* (see above) Store Best Celeron Deal HP 700 MHz complete system $800 Office Depot, Staples Best Low Cost Pentium III System HP 933 MHz complete system $1229 CompUSA Best High End Pentium III System HP 1 GHz complete system $1529 CompUSA Best Pentium 4 System Hp 1.3 GHz complete system $2000 Circuit City Best Duron System Compaq 750 MHz Duron complete system $849 Best Buy, CompUSA Best High End Athlon System Compaq 1.1 GHz complete system $1400 Staples Best Low Cost Notebook Compaq 700 MHz Celeron $1199 Best Buy Best High End Notebook Compaq or HP 700 MHz Pentium III with DVD $1699 Best Buy, Office Depot, CompUSA
Additional Information. For additional technical information, advice on how to buy a laptop or desktop, and vendor and manufacturer links, please see our Computer Buying Advice page.
About Sunday Shopping Watch. Sunday Shopping Watch appears every Sunday (except some holidays like Easter and Christmas) in our News and Rumors column. It is a review of the highlights of local (Dayton, Ohio) computer chain store advertisements. While we can not guarantee your local chain store have the same items, this article should help you to make informed buying decisions.
February 2 - Juno may require Free Iternet Users to join Virtual Supercomputer Project. Juno Online Services, Inc. (Nasdaq: JWEB) today announced the establishment of the Juno Virtual Supercomputer Project, a distributed computing effort of unprecedented scope that aims to harness unused processing power associated with the free portion of its subscriber base in order to execute computationally intensive biomedical and other applications on behalf of commercial clients and research institutions.
While the personal computers owned by different Juno subscribers have different performance characteristics, preliminary studies recently completed by the company suggest that if the computers of all of Juno's active free subscriber base were simultaneously working on a single computational problem, they would together represent the world's fastest supercomputer (measured in terms of aggregate instructions per second), and might approach or break the "petahertz barrier" (with a hypothetical effective processor speed on the order of a billion megahertz).
Although the achievable effective computing power (and the level of any associated revenues) are likely to be significantly lower in practice for a variety of reasons, Juno's management believes that the unused computing power of its free subscriber base represents a potentially valuable asset from the viewpoint of both potential revenue generation and potential contribution to society.
Initially, Juno expects to recruit volunteers from among its millions of subscribers to provide the computing power required for its early virtual supercomputing activities. Subscribers to Juno's free basic service may ultimately be required to make their unused computing power available to the project as a condition for using that service.
While the company's billable subscribers may be offered the opportunity to participate on a strictly optional basis in order to advance biomedical research and/or other forms of scientific and technical progress, the company does not currently expect to require the participation of such subscribers.
The Juno Virtual Supercomputer Project will make use of patented technology Juno currently employs in connection with its display of advertising to download computational tasks to subscribers' computers for processing offline during time when such subscribers are not using their computers. The results of such offline computations will then be uploaded to Juno's central computers during a subsequent connection, in much the same way that Juno currently collects responses to the advertisements it shows offline. Applications will run as "screen savers" on the computers of participating subscribers when their machines would otherwise be idle, performing calculations when the computer is on but not in use. Neither the download nor the operation of these applications are expected to have any significant impact on the user experience or on the connection speeds subscribers experience while using Juno.
Juno is one of the nation's largest Internet access providers, with 14.2 million total registered subscribers and 4.0 million active subscribers in December 2000.
Juno also announced today that it has hired Yury Rozenman, formerly of Applied Biosystems, to spearhead the Juno Virtual Supercomputer Project. Mr. Rozenman, who joined Juno earlier this month as a vice president, comes to the company with more than 13 years of scientific and bioinformatics experience, predominantly in protein and DNA analysis and its application to understanding biological processes.
"Pharmaceutical firms spend many years, and an estimated $400 million dollars, for every drug that is eventually brought to market," commented Rozenman. "To the extent that groundbreaking new applications software running on Juno's Virtual Supercomputer is able to bring lifesaving new drugs to market in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost, this could be enormously valuable from both an economic and a human perspective."
For more information about Juno, visit www.juno.com/corp. To get a copy of the Juno software, go to www.juno.com
February 2 - Fujifilm announces new FinePix Digital Cameras. Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. today unveiled the two newest models in its signature series of digital cameras, the FinePix 6800 Zoom and the FinePix 4800 Zoom.
The FinePix 6800 Zoom -- equipped with a new Fujifilm Super CCD sensor and image processors -- and FinePix 4800 Zoom produce crystal-clear pictures with rich, true-to-life colors. In addition to their imaging abilities, the cameras offer a host of useful features that will appeal to a wide range of consumers and business people, such as videoconferencing, image voice annotation, the ability to capture either up to 160/80 seconds (FinePix 6800/4800 Zoom) of AVI video with sound or record up to 60/30 minutes of audio.
The cameras' sleek and stylish look -- which is based on the compact, vertical form of Fujifilm's 700 series cameras -- was conceived by F.A. Porsche, the same designer that brought the world the distinctive and timeless look of the classic Porsche(R) 911(TM) sports car.
With these added features, users can now attach 30-second voice notes to each picture and create business trip-travelogues or narrated family albums. Also, the cameras can be used as PC-cams for videoconferencing, permitting users to communicate, live, with loved ones, friends and business associates online. And because they can record up to 160 seconds and 80 seconds, respectively, of AVI video with QVGA motion JPEG at 10 frames-per-second, FinePix 6800 Zoom and FinePix 4800 Zoom owners can capture and then forward special moments over the Internet to others around the world. Finally, with audio recording capabilities of 60 minutes and 30 minutes, respectively, the FinePix 6800 Zoom and FinePix 4800 Zoom can be used for dictation.
With its new image processor, the FinePix 6800 Zoom is able to deliver images with greater edge detail while retaining the outstanding color for which the Fujifilm Super CCD has become renowned. The FinePix 6800 Zoom is built with a 3.3-million-sensor Super CCD that can produce a 2832 x 2128 pixel image file. The FinePix 4800 Zoom has the highly acclaimed 2.4 million-sensor Super CCD found in the FinePix 4900 Zoom, which is capable of producing a file image as large as 2400 x 1800.
The FinePix 6800 Zoom will be available in April at a suggested list price of $899. The FinePix 4800 Zoom will be available in May at a suggested list price of $699. Visit the Fujifilm web site at www.fujifilm.com.
February 2 - IBM Introduces 15,000 RPM, 36-GB SCSI Hard Disk Drive. IBM today unveiled the Ultrastar 36Z15 -- the first high-performance 15,000 RPM hard disk drive to achieve 36 gigabytes (GB) of storage capacity.
The new drive, with its peak performance, is ideal for Web hosting, e-commerce applications, data mining and transaction processing. The new Ultrastar is offered in both 36 and 18 GB models and will be available this quarter.
In addition to a new capacity point and shorter latency, the new Ultrastar also achieves a media transfer rate of up to 647 Megabits (Mb) per second and seek time as low as 3.4 milliseconds (ms). Faster seek times and data transfer rates speed up information retrieval, and contribute to the overall performance of the drive.
The new Ultrastar drives utilize IBM-unique technologies such as Drive Fitness Test which enables self-testing and analysis, as well as glass-substrate disks for enhanced reliability and load/unload features which help prolong drive life span. Ultrastar 36Z15 is designed for ease of integration, allowing extraordinary performance with acoustics and power consumption comparable to 10K RPM drives.
For more information about the IBM Ultrastar Hard Disk Drive, visit: http://www.ibm.com/harddrive.
February 2 - EA GAMES Ships SimCoaster. Electronic Arts(TM) (Nasdaq:ERTS), the world's largest interactive entertainment software company, today announced the release of SimCoaster(TM), the ultimate sequel to the popular EA GAMES(TM) PC title Sim Theme Park(TM). ).
In SimCoaster(TM) players build, ride, and run the most gut-wrenching, face-twisting, pulse-pounding roller coasters of all time in the theme park of their dreams. Players create their dream parks with 100 rides, roller coasters, sideshows, and shops in three new and distinct themes: Arabian Nights, Land of Invention, and Polar Zone.
"SimCoaster is a return to our roots. Although we have stayed in the same visual style of our previous efforts, we have added much more depth to the game via challenges, objectives and a simple-to-master coastAs players build their dream theme park, they will research new rides, hire a staff and avoid bankruptcy.
New features include an easy-to-use roller coaster design kit and a brand new storyline that challenges players to progress through fifteen challenging levels of play. Like Sim Theme Park, SimCoaster presents the parks in stunning 3D, supporting Direct3D(R)(TM) hardware acceleration as well as non-accelerated PCs. The 3D engine has been vastly improved and now allows players to view a far greater area of their park. er design kit," said Stuart Whyte, the game's producer. "All this adds up to the ultimate theme park experience."
SimCoaster carries an ESRB rating of "E" for everyone. It is available in stores now for a suggested retail price of US$39.99. More information on SimCoaster can be found on the Internet at www.simcoaster.com.
February 1 - AMD Showcases First 'VirtuHammer' Simulator At LinuxWorld Shows. AMD announced today at LinuxWorld events in New York and Paris the first public demonstration of "VirtuHammer," the recently announced high-performance tool developed by AMD and Virtutech that allows software developers to write and test 64-bit programs for AMD's next-generation "Hammer" family of processors.
Additionally, AMD is showing a dozen AMD Athlon(TM) processor-based servers and workstations running on the Linux operating system at LinuxWorld Conference & Expo shows in New York City and Paris. LinuxWorld is the premiere tradeshow for developers, supporter and end users of the Linux operating system.
AMD is approaching both LinuxWorld events with great optimism as the company, along with Linux operating system vendor SuSE (www.suse.com), reports the achievement of significant milestones in the open-source community's efforts to port Linux to AMD's x86-64 technology. The x86-64 technology extends the x86 instruction set to enable 64-bit computing and is the backbone behind AMD's planned 64-bit processor family, code-named "Hammer." AMD's "Hammer" family is planned for commercial introduction in the first half of 2002.
AMD first publicly introduced the x86-64 technology specification at LinuxWorld San Jose in August 2000. In just five months, the open source community has succeeded in making software development tools, including the GNU C compiler and Binary Build Tools, comply with the x86-64 standard for software, e.g. the Application Binary Interface (ABI). All development activities for this port are taking place in public forums on the www.x86-64.org web site. "VirtuHammer" is a high-powered tool featuring Virtutech's Simics software and a 1.1GHz AMD Athlon processor. The Simics software program enables a computer featuring the 32-bit AMD Athlon processor to simulate the operations of a 64-bit "Hammer" processor-based computer, allowing developers to use currently available technology to quickly and accurately test and debug their 64-bit software for AMD's next-generation processors. (For more information about the Virtutech "VirtuHammer" simulator, please go to www.virtutech.com).
"Hammer" processors will be the first AMD processors capable of 64-bit operation, and are being designed to deliver leading-edge performance on both the 64-bit software used by high-end workstations and servers and the 32-bit software used by the majority of desktop computers. AMD has already begun delivering "VirtuHammer" simulators to targeted software partners, helping ensure they have the resources, time, and support required to develop 64-bit operating systems, tools and applications for the "Hammer" family of processors.
AMD can be found on the Web at www.amd.com.
February 1 - Sega Restructures to become Game Software Provider. Sega(R) today announced it would restructure the company to capitalize on its game content -- an area that has been Sega's biggest strength for more than 40 years. In turn, Sega will unveil a three-pronged approach -- becoming a platform-agnostic third party videogame publisher for game consoles, focusing on its advantage in the networked gaming arena, and becoming an architecture provider of the powerful Dreamcast chip-set technology to a range of devices including the Pace Micro Technology set-top-box.
By embracing technologies including Java, Sega will also be taking advantage of different publishing channels and will deliver Sega games to Palm(TM) handheld computers and Motorola cellular phones. With this new strategy, Sega will be significantly broadening its accessibility to consumers and dramatically expanding its revenue possibilities, leading the company to a path of profitability.
Sega will continue to sell through and market the Dreamcast console and its games at retail for the next year. To help accelerate the transition of Sega from a hardware to a software company, the company has announced a new MSRP of $99.95 for Dreamcast. The new price point becomes effective on February 4, 2001 throughout the United States and Canada ($149 CND). In addition, Sega of America will be undergoing a company restructuring as they transform into a third party publisher.
Sega will leverage its powerful Dreamcast technology and other technologies such as Java to further the objective of putting Sega games virtually everywhere. To that end, Sega today announced it will bring its legendary videogame content to Palm handheld computers, and announced a relationship with Pace, a leading set-top box company. Under the relationship with Palm, Sega will provide both on and offline games for Palm Powered(TM) handhelds sometime this year. Sega has licensed the Dreamcast technology to Pace, which is creating a set-top box that will play Dreamcast games. Additionally, Sega also announced late last year that the company would bring Java-based games to Motorola phones this year.
Sega plans to ship more than 30 games for Dreamcast in the U.S. this year and a number for other platforms. The first Sega games to be available on other game consoles this year will include "Virtua Fighter(TM) 4," the "Space Channel 5(TM)" series, the popular "Sakura Wars" series and two titles from the "Let's Make a Sports Team" series (which has been highly successful in Japan) for Sony PlayStation(R)2. "Sonic the Hedgehog Advance(TM)," "ChuChu Rocket!(TM)" and "Puyo Puyo(TM)" will ship for Nintendo's Game Boy Advance(R). Further details on availability of these titles will be announced shortly.
With this new company strategy, Sega will not only be focusing on content, but also the company's networked gaming strengths. Utilizing Sega.com's SegaNet(TM) network, Sega will be able to bring network gaming to virtually any platform from other videogame consoles to other Internet devices. SegaNet delivers additional revenue streams to the company via subscriptions, commerce and advertising.
Sega can be found on the Web at www.sega.com.
February 1 - AOpen America Launches New Line of PC Soundcards. AOpen America, Inc. today announced the successful introduction of two new soundcards, the AW744 using the new Yamaha YMF744 PCI audio accelerator chipset and the AW320 incorporating Crystal's CS4614 Audio Processor.
These cards now offer very high performance audio for the Gamer and Home User markets where audiophile level performance is sought after. The AW744 and the AW320 directly support Microsoft DirectSound and DirectMusic Hardware acceleration and internal modem connector.
The AW744 series runs on any of the Windows OS environments including Windows 2000. The AW744 also is compatible with OPL3, MP3, Sound Blaster Pro and Windows Sound systems. With 64 instrument hardware wavetables, the richness of sound is unparalleled. Standard software drivers allow for up to 73 concurrent audio streams using the Bus Master DMA engine. The AW744 supports up to 4 speaker channels (on Win9.x and NT4.0). A variety of audio connections make the AW744 a versatile unit for many applications. S/PDIF Input, stereo inputs for Line-in, CD-audio, Auxiliary-in, MPEG-in and a mono microphone-in.
The AW744's UAR/T mode using the MPU-401 interface allows wavetable synthesizers and MIDI devices to easily integrate. An integrated dual Game port interface is targeted specifically at gamers who will find this soundcard a key component of their systems. The Music Center software bundle is included with the AW744. This bundle provides full functionality for WAV, MIDI, audio CD and Mixer capability plus a user-friendly player interface.
The AW320 includes a 10-band Audio Equalizer, Fat Labs approved 64 Voice Hardware wavetable synthesizer, 128 Voice Software wavetable synthesizer and the Sensura positional 3D supporting games with A3D interface. The Crystal CS4614 Audio Processor now has the CrystalClear(TM) Stream Processor DSP at its core. The AW320 supports all popular Windows OS environments including Windows 2000 and Windows Me.
The AW744 and the AW320 are now available through AOpen's reseller partners. Pricing is $70.00 USD for the AW744 and $40.00 for the AW320.
More information about AOpen, AOpen Products, services, and business partners is available on the World Wide Web at: www.AOpenUSA.com.
February 1 - Addonics Announces Ultra-Slim "Pocket CD-RW" Drive. Addonics Technologies today announced a sleek new 8x4x24 CD-RW storage solution for PCs or Apple Macintosh users that's barely larger than a standard Compact Disc case.
Addonics Pocket CD-RW enables users to record their own drive CDROM data at 8x speed as well as read CD-R, CD-RW disc, video CDs, music CDs, and Photo CDs at 24x speed. The recorded CD-RW media can also be played in a DVD player or multimedia CD-ROM player.
The Pocket CD-RW is available with a choice of one interface cable (USB, Firewire, or CardBus) with each version. Designed with the Addonics Universal Storage Interface Bus (USIB standard), the drive will be upgradeable to USB 2.0 when the interface is released later this year. The Firewire version can be powered from the Firewire port, making the drive a true portable device and ideal for PC notebook or Mac PowerBook users.
List price of the Pocket CD-RW is $459 for the USB or CardBus version or $499 for the Firewire model. Each drive includes Adaptec's Easy CD Creator and Deluxe CD mastering software.
Visit Addonics at www.addonics.com.