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February 8-15 2001 Computer News and Rumors

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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 15 NVIDIA Reaches Critical Xbox Milestone -- GPU and MCP Processors Released to Fab
Feb 15 Micronpc.com Introduces Student "Dream Machine"
Feb 15 AMD Affirms CEO Succession Plan
Feb 15 Trend Micro Offers Free Virus Protection for Wireless Devices
Feb 14 Olympus and Kodak Agree on Cross Licensing Digital Camera Technologies
Feb 14 Symantec Detects 'AnnaKournikova' Worm
Feb 14 Casio announces new QV3500 Digital Camera
Feb14 More Than 86% Of Couples In Long-Distance Relationships Use The Internet To Keep In Touch
Feb 13 Trend Micro Issues Virus Alert
Feb 13 Sony Introduces New FD Mavica Camera Line
Feb 13 Epson Partners With Leading Camera Manufacturers to Introduce Print Image Matching
Feb 13 Handspring Debuts New Springboard Modules
Feb 12 Micron Introduces New BAT-RAM Family of Low-Power SDRAMs
Feb 12 JVC announces new Digital DualCam Video Cameras
Feb 12 Canon introduces three new Digital Camcorders
Feb 11 Sunday Shopping Watch
Feb 10 KDS Introduces Ultra-Llight ThinNote Laptop
Feb 10 Sears Unveils Connected Home Initiative
Feb 10 Motorola and AMD work with Applied Materials on Third Generation Copper Chip Manufacturing
Feb 9 Sony Brings Added Value and Versatility to Spring 2001 VAIO XG Notebook Line
Feb 9 Broadband Access Soars Nearly 150 Percent At Home
Feb 9 Zoom Telephonics Reports Results for the Fourth Quarter
Feb 9 Internet Use in Asian Pacific Region Will Top 27% of Total Online Population by 2004
Feb 8 Sony Brings CD-RW/DVD-ROM Capabilities to New VAIO FX Notebooks
Feb 8 Hitachi to Release World's First 32-Inch HDTV-Ready Full-Resolution Plasma TV
Feb 8 SuSE Linux Knowledge Portal Debuts
Feb 8 NetZero Introduces New Bannerless ``NZ Platinum'' Pay Service


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February 15 - NVIDIA Reaches Critical Xbox Milestone -- GPU and MCP Processors Released to Fab. NVIDIA(R) Corporation (Nasdaq:NVDA) today reported that two key processors for the Xbox(TM) video game console, the Xbox Graphics Processing Unit (XGPU) and Xbox Media Communications Processor (MCPX), have both been released for fabrication.
The two processors are manufactured in TSMC's advanced 0.15um, 7 layer metal process. The combination of NVIDIA's XGPU and MCPX will produce never-before-experienced 3D graphics, high definition video, audio, and broadband capabilities.
"These are two of the world's most advanced and complex semiconductors in production today," stated Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO at NVIDIA. "We are extremely pleased to have reached this critical milestone and we are excited to be on the leading edge of this revolutionary design."
"The GPU and MCP are key factors in the Xbox experience," stated Robbie Bach, senior vice president and chief Xbox officer at Microsoft(R). "With the XGPU and MCPX in fabrication, and the support from virtually every major developer and publisher in the world, we are absolutely on pace to deliver the world's most advanced gaming platform this fall. These processors will allow game creators and designers to make games shine in ways never before thought possible."
The first processor, the XGPU, a fully programmable 3D processor, contains more than 60 million transistors. This awesome amount of computing horsepower is dedicated to one goal -- create stunning, never-before-seen imagery. The second processor, the MCPX, is based on two powerful DSPs with 4 billion operations per second dedicated to 3D audio and network processing. The MCPX performs the processing for broadband networking functions, high-speed peripherals, and is the most sophisticated audio processor ever built. The MCPX will enable Xbox to process 64 channels of positional 3D audio.
"Our 0.15um process is one of the most advanced in the industry, and is ready to accept the challenge of fabricating two of the worlds most sophisticated semiconductors. We are excited to be the part of the team that helps bring Xbox to life," said FC Tseng, president, TSMC.
Xbox (http://www.xbox.com/) is Microsoft's future-generation video game console that delivers new and unforeseen gameplay experiences. With more than three times the graphics performance of the newest generation of game consoles, Xbox unleashes game designers' creativity to produce games that are challenging, exhilarating, surprising, and fun.
Visit the NVIDIA Web page at http://www.nvidia.com.

February 15 - Micronpc.com Introduces Student "Dream Machine". Knowing one of the primary reasons parents buy PCs is to improve their children's education, Micron Electronics Inc. (Nasdaq:MUEI) and Learning 2000 Inc. are working together to provide computer solutions that are ideal for students.
Micronpc.com's educational solution includes Learning 2000's Lifetime Library -- an interactive multimedia program that allows students to master reading, writing, math, algebra, history, science, and English at their own pace. The DVD-ROM contains more than 450 hours of instruction for grades 4-12.
Learning 2000 is also enthusiastic about the new educational computer offering. "There are more than 50 million parents of school-aged children in the United States, and Learning 2000 is very excited to help micronpc.com create a computing solution that is designed specifically to meet the needs of students," says Ryan Wuerch, Learning 2000's president. "Pairing Micron's PCs with our Lifetime Library software creates an excellent solution for parents whose children need a little extra help in school or are ready to move ahead of the class."
Micronpc.com's first educational system is available at all 412 Best Buy stores through the Best Buy Computer Creation Station. This new micronpc.com Millennia(R)-brand computer -- priced at $1,629 --sports a 1.2-GHz AMD Athlon(TM) processor, 128 MB double-data-rate (DDR) memory, 40-GB hard drive, CD-RW and DVD-ROM drives, 32-MB video card, V.90 high-speed modem, 2-piece speaker system, and 17-inch micronpc.com monitor (16-inch viewable).
From Feb. 18-24, this configuration -- similar to Micron's Millennia MAX XP, also comes with a free copy of the complete Learning 2000 Lifetime Library DVD-ROM -- a $599 value.
Students don't have to buy Micron's educational "dream machine," however, to get a free copy of the Lifetime Library software. During the week-long promotion, customers who purchase any custom-configured micronpc.com Millennia-brand system on a Best Buy Computer Creation Station can order the Learning 2000 DVD for free. This offer is not available on pre-configured, "off-the-shelf" units. Beginning Feb. 25, the Lifetime Library DVD will cost only $99 when purchased with a Micron Millennia-brand system at a Best Buy Computer Creation Station.
Micron can be found on the Web at www.micronpc.com.

February 15 - AMD Affirms CEO Succession Plan. AMD (NYSE:AMD) announced today that its board of directors and W.J. Sanders III, chairman and chief executive officer, have agreed that Mr. Sanders will serve as CEO until the annual shareholder meeting in April of 2002. At that time, the board expects that Dr. Hector de J. Ruiz, president, chief operating officer, and a member of the board of directors, will succeed Mr. Sanders as CEO. Under his amended agreement, Mr. Sanders will serve as chairman of the board through 2003.
"We are extremely pleased with our plan for a seamless leadership transition," said Charles M. Blalack, chairman of the compensation committee of the board of directors. "Jerry Sanders is one of the true visionary leaders of the semiconductor industry, and of course the driving force of AMD since its founding over 30 years ago. While Jerry will step down as chief executive officer in April of 2002, our agreement assures that AMD will continue to have the benefit of his active involvement in vision, strategy and key industry relationships."
"Since coming to AMD in January of 2000 as president and chief operating officer, Hector Ruiz has taken charge of day-to-day operations and launched a number of initiatives to improve our operational performance and efficiency," said Mr. Sanders.
"We have a great working relationship across the waterfront of strategic and planning issues. Most important, he is an outstanding leader and semiconductor industry veteran who shares and embodies the customer- and employee-focused values that define the AMD culture," Mr. Sanders concluded.
AMD can be found on the Web at www.amd.com.

February 15 - Trend Micro Offers Free Virus Protection for Wireless Devices. Trend Micro Inc. (Nasdaq:TMIC), a leading provider of network antivirus and content security for the Internet age, today announced the availability of free antivirus software for the most popular handheld mobile and wireless device platforms, including Palm OS, Windows CE, and Symbian EPOC.
Based on Trend Micro's award-winning PC-cillin(R) desktop antivirus software, PC-cillin for Wireless resides on Palm OS, Pocket PC (Windows CE), and EPOC handheld devices to protect users from potentially malicious code including viruses, scripts, Trojan horses, and worms. Devices are susceptible to these threats whenever users receive email, browse the Web, or receive information via beaming and synching.
Device users can easily download, install and use PC-cillin for Wireless to help ensure that their devices are protected from all known wireless malicious code threats. In addition, corporations with employees using these wireless devices should encourage their employees to download and use PC-cillin for Wireless. PC-cillin for Wireless provides organizations with an extra layer of protection to defend their networks against this latest potential virus entry-point.
The popularity of handheld wireless devices has already resulted in several "proof of concept" attacks on these devices. The world press covered these localized incidents including "Phage", "911", "Vapor" and Palm.Liberty.A -- the first known Trojan horse designed to erase the memory of Palm devices. While these events were not widespread or particularly successful, they prove that hackers are looking to exploit security weaknesses in these increasingly popular platforms.
For a limited time, Trend Micro is offering PC-cillin for Wireless as a free download to the general public through its Web site at www.antivirus.com/wireless.

February 14 (Valentine's Day) - Olympus and Kodak Agree on Cross Licensing Digital Camera Technologies. Eastman Kodak Company and Olympus Optical Company, Ltd. today announced a cross licensing agreement designed to expand the market for digital photography. The agreement includes the mutual cross licensing of patented digital camera technologies. Financial terms of the cross-licensing agreement have not been disclosed.
In addition, both parties have agreed to work together to promote improved digital printing of images so that consumers will be able to find better ways of storing and printing pictures. This service is expected to utilize Kodak Internet capabilities, including the Print@Kodak Internet photofinishing service and Kodak PhotoNet Online. Olympus Optical Co., Ltd. is one of the leading manufacturers of digital cameras, and will be broadening the consumer digital camera market using high-resolution CCDs.
Kodak and Olympus are working together to define and develop these high-resolution CCDs, which Kodak will manufacture and Olympus intends to purchase."We look forward to working with Olympus, to evangelize the ease and fun of digital technologies to consumers," said Willy Shih, president, Digital & Applied Imaging and senior vice president, Eastman Kodak Company. "Kodak has made substantial investments in the development of digital cameras, image sensors and online photo services for almost twenty-five years, and by licensing the fruits of these investments, we can work with the industry worldwide to deliver better products and services to market."
Kodak and Olympus have each pioneered the development of digital cameras, and are recognized throughout the industry as leaders in digital imaging technology. Kodak was issued its first patents on digital cameras and single-sensor color imagers nearly 25 years ago. Olympus launched an 810,000 pixel CCD digital camera in 1996, which captured consumers' attention to the promise of high-quality digital imaging. More recently, Olympus developed the first 4 megapixel camera for the consumer and pro-sumer markets.
For more information about Kodak products and services, visit www.kodak.com.

February 14 (Valentine's Day) - Symantec Detects 'AnnaKournikova' Worm. Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq:SYMC), a world leader in Internet security technology, today announced protection for the VBS.SST@mm worm, also known as the AnnaKournikova worm.
Symantec recommends customers utilize the LiveUpdate feature built into Symantec's Norton AntiVirus software to protect their computers. Updates are also available at Symantec AntiVirus Research Center Web site: www.sarc.com.
VBS.SST@mm or "AnnaKournikova" worm is a mass-mailing worm that spreads via e-mail with the following subject lines "Here you have, ;o)" and text that reads "Hi: Check This!" The attachment name is "AnnaKournikova.jpg.vbs" or a similar abbreviation.
Upon execution this Internet worm copies itself to the Windows directory and then sends the file as an attachment to every address listed in the infected user's Microsoft Outlook address book. The overriding results could potentially create an effect similar to a Denial of Service attack (DoS) due to the high volume of e-mails created.
For more information, please visit our Web site at www.symantec.com.

February 14 (Valentine's Day) - Casio announces new QV3500 Digital Camera. Casio Computer Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan is pleased to announce the launch of the QV-3500EX, a new 3.34 megapixel CCD digital camera with built-in “Best-Shot” mode for perfect pictures every time.
Two bundles are available - the QV-3500EX with 16 MB memory card and the QV-3500EXplus (which will sell for under $900) with the 340 MB (245 images in fine resolution) IBM Microdrive. Both cameras will be at retail in April.
Casio also announced that it has partnered with Epson America, Inc. to incorporate PRINT Image Matching Technology in the QV-3500EX and in future digital camera models as well. PRINT Image Matching Technology ensures that digital cameras and printers work together to produce photographs that print truer-to-life than ever before. Epson will also include PRINT Image Matching in all future photo printers as well.
The most prestigious digital camera in Casio’s range, the QV-3500EX employs a F2.0 Canon 3x optical zoom lens in conjunction with a true 3.34 megapixel CCD.
For the more experienced photographer, it comes fully equipped with practical photographic functions which enable manual adjustment of exposure, light metering and white balance settings. For the beginner, the built-in “Best-Shot” mode offers the chance to capture amazing images at the touch of a button – simply choose from a selection of sample images and the camera set-up automatically switches to the photographic settings, including shutter speed, aperture and focus, required to shoot the chosen scene.
Bundled with Photo Loader software for automatic image transfer and offering IBM Microdrive support, the QV-3500EX works in perfect harmony with your personal computer.
More information on Casio can be found at www.casio.com.

February 14 (Valentine's Day) - More Than 86% Of Couples In Long-Distance Relationships Use The Internet To Keep In Touch. When it comes to long-distance relationships, connecting is often a point-and-click away. According to a recent search conducted by Telocity, Inc. (Nasdaq:TLCT), a leading nationwide provider of broadband services to the home, 86% of couples in long-distance relationships responding to an online questionnaire use the Internet to keep in touch.
Through the online search, Telocity found that over 50% of couples in long-distance relationships see each other twice a month or less, but spend up to 10 hours a week online chatting and emailing. Additionally, almost 75% of couples in long-distance relationships spend up to 10 hours on the phone with one another each week, ensuring that slightly more than one-third of all respondents will regularly spend over $100 on telephone bills each month.

 

February 13 - Trend Micro Issues Virus Alert. Trend Micro Inc. (Nasdaq:TMIC)(TSE:4704), is warning computer users of a fast spreading virus known as "Anna Kournikova" or VBS_Kalamar.A. This virus is a mass-mailer, using Outlook to email itself as an attachment, and is spreading rapidly in the wild. The virus spreads in an email with:

subject line: "Here you have, :o)"

message text: "Hi: Check this!"

attachment: "AnnaKournikova.jpg.vbs".

Trend Micro products detect this virus as VBS_Kalamar.A

Trend Micro Virus detection and reporting tools:
-- Desktop users can scan their computers for free for suspected viruses with Trend Micro's HouseCall a free online scanning service, found at http://housecall.antivirus.com.
-- To monitor activity and travel patterns of viruses worldwide, in real-time, visit Trend Micro's World Virus Tracking Center (WVTC) at http://wtc.trendmicro.com
. -- To submit suspected virus files to Trend Micro for analysis, please email the Virus Team at virus_doctor@trendmicro.com . Tracking occurrences or new variants will allow Trend Micro to better serve the IT community.

February 13 - Sony Introduces New FD Mavica Camera Line. Sony announced today the four latest additions to its industry leading FD Mavica(R) camera line. The new models include the MVC-FD75, MVC-FD87, MVC-FD92 and the top-of-the-line MVC-FD97. These cameras boast enhanced features, expanded file formats and value.
The new MVC-FD92 and MVC-FD97 represent the industry's first truly "dual media" cameras, featuring direct compatibility with both disk and flash storage media. For the first time, users can enjoy both the universality and ease-of-use of the floppy disk as well as the speed and capacity of Memory Stick(R) media, directly in the same camera.
Highlighted by a 10X Optical Zoom (39-390mm in a 35mm camera), Sony's Optical Steady-shot(TM) Image Stabilization and 2.1 Mega-pixel resolution, the MVC-FD97 represents one of the most powerful lens/CCD combinations available, allowing users unusual control over composition and framing, especially at long distances. With extensive exposure control, eye-level TTL LCD viewfinder and manual focusing option, the MVC-FD97 brings the look and feel of a professional SLR to the world consumer digital cameras. By adding the advantage of dual-media, the MVC-FD97 creates a unique combination of digital camera flexibility and will be available in March for about $900.
The new MVC-FD92 combines a powerful 8x optical/16x digital zoom, 1.3 megapixel resolution (with 1.6 megapixel interpolated mode), with direct floppy disk and direct Memory Stick media capability and will be available in March for about $600.
The MVC-FD75 and MVC-FD87 continue the Digital Mavica tradition of offering convenient floppy disk storage, making both products extremely easy to use. Simply remove the floppy disk from the Mavica and insert it into the disk drive of any personal computer. There are no additional wires or adapters to connect, and no drivers to install on the PC.
The MVC-FD75 also offers a 10x optical zoom, not available on any other camera at that price, combined with VGA resolution that is perfect for e-mailing images to friends and family, posting to a web site, or for business uses like online brochures and real estate services. Available in February, the MVC-FD87 and MVC-FD75 cost about $400 and $500, respectively.
More product information can be found at www.sony.com.

February 13 - Epson Partners With Leading Camera Manufacturers to Introduce Print Image Matching. Epson America Inc. today unveiled its revolutionary PRINT Image Matching technology that ensures digital cameras and printers work together perfectly to produce photographs that print truer-to-life than ever before.
Several leading digital camera manufacturers -- Casio Computer Co. Ltd., Konica Corp., Kyocera Corp., Minolta Co. Ltd., Olympus Optical Co. Ltd., Ricoh Co. Ltd., Sony Corp. and Toshiba Corp. -- have partnered with Epson to incorporate PRINT Image Matching technology in their upcoming digital camera models. Epson will include PRINT Image Matching in all future photo printers.
Until now, it has been challenging to get the most accurate prints on a consistent basis when printing the same digital camera image from different software programs. This has occurred because software programs set their own unique print commands. Furthermore, while digital cameras can capture images in a wider color space, printers haven't been able to access the data because the digital camera image files were optimized for the limited computer monitor color space. Now, PRINT Image Matching-compatible printers seamlessly utilize the precise print quality instructions and color space embedded in the digital camera file, resulting in a printed image that accurately reflects the image captured through the camera lens.
"PRINT Image Matching will undoubtedly revolutionize the consumer photographic market by making it more enticing for average households to use digital as an alternative to traditional film," said Keith Kratzberg, director of photo imaging, Epson. "This technology makes it easier to get consistent digital photographic prints of incredible quality. Because the technology works by putting more control of the photographic process in the camera than ever before, PRINT Image Matching creates new opportunities for both digital camera developers and photographers."
PRINT Image Matching-enabled digital cameras and EPSON Stylus Photo printers will be available by Spring 2001. Visit the company's Web site at www.epson.com.

February 13 - Handspring Debuts New Springboard Modules. Today at Demo 2001, Handspring, Inc. (Nasdaq:HAND) showcased the newest Springboard modules from developers MARGI Systems, Inc. and IDEO's Blocks Products Division.
MARGI, a leading provider of multimedia products for mobile computing, introduced Presenter-to-Go, which allows people to transfer PowerPoint presentations so that they can be projected through the use of a Handspring Visor handheld computer.
IDEO unveiled the eyemodule2, a full-color, full-VGA digital camera for the Handspring Visor. Handspring founder, chairman, and chief product officer, Jeff Hawkins will demonstrate both products tomorrow at Demo 2001, an annual conference that is one of the industry's most important venues for showcasing new technology.
MARGI's Presenter-to-Go Springboard module brings PowerPoint presentation capabilities to the Handspring Visor. Presenter-to-Go with a Handspring Visor connect directly to a digital projector or other VGA display to transfer and present Microsoft PowerPoint, Excel, Word and HTML documents in color. Users transfer presentations from a PC to a Visor handheld via the simple HotSync process. After connecting the Visor to a projector, users simply tap on the Presenter-to-Go icon on the Visor handheld and begin. A remote control is included, so that presenters can operate Presenter-to-Go without holding the Visor itself. Slides can be rearranged and hidden, slide notes reviewed, and manual, automatic, or continuous looping modes may be selected.
The new eyemodule2 digital camera offers full color and full VGA resolution of digital images and short video clips that are easily captured and viewed with the Handspring Visor in color or black and white. The new "eyedrop" feature provides the capability to upload images stored on a PC to the Visor handheld. Included with the eyemodule2 are the eyecontact address book software that attaches images to address book entries, a high-quality image browser from ACD Systems, and ClubPhoto's album making and Internet sharing software. The viewing and editing features of the eyemodule2 include a timer, thumbnail views, sorting, batch editing, slideshows, and sizing in capture modes. The eyemodule2 requires no batteries.
The eyemodule2 is available immediately for $199.95, and Presenter-to-Go is scheduled to ship later this quarter for $299. Consumers will be able to purchase both products through www.palmgear.com.

February 12 - Micron Introduces New BAT-RAM Family of Low-Power SDRAMs. Micron Technology, Inc. (NYSE:MU), today introduced the first devices in its new BAT-RAM(TM) family of low-power synchronous DRAMs (SDRAMs). Micron's new BAT-RAMs are designed to consume less power than standard SDRAMs, and extend the battery life in many mobile and wireless applications. Micron is currently sampling 2.5 and 3.3 Volt 2 Meg x 32 64Mb BAT-RAM devices and will introduce next generation devices later this year.
"BAT-RAM provides all of the advantages of the DRAM commodity model -- wider availability, lower cost, faster design improvements, and multiple densities in a smaller standard package -- and is designed to consume less power," said Phil Martin, Micron's DRAM Market Development Manager. "Because BAT-RAM is specifically designed for mobile and wireless applications, it will consistently provide the smaller form factor, low-power specs, and features these products need."
Micron's BAT-RAM devices include a new feature, temperature compensated self refresh (TCSR). When enabled and programmed by the system, this feature allows the part to adjust refresh rate and power consumption based on temperature. At normal room temperatures, this feature allows the devices to consume even less power.
Samples of 2.5V 2 Meg x 32 BAT-RAM SDRAM devices (MT48V2M32LFFC) and 3.3V 2 Meg x 32 BAT-RAM SDRAM devices (MT48LC2M32LFFC) are available now. For more detailed information on component specifications, datasheets may be obtained from Micron's Web site, www.micron.com.

Feb 12 - JVC announces new Digital DualCam Video Cameras. JVC, a leading innovator in digital video and personal multimedia systems, introduces two new digital video cameras, the GR-DVM90 and GR-DVM80. These two additions join JVC’s amazing fleet of world’s smallest digital camcorders – weighing under 1 pound (approx. 435g), and loaded with special video, snapshot and sound effects, 2.5” color LCD monitor, and DV input/output (i.Link/Firewire, IEEE1394 compliant) for digital multimedia system integration.
The GR-DVM90 “Digital DualCam” offers the best of both worlds – high resolution DV moving images, and excellent quality digital stills on memory card – plus valuable extras like downloadable digital sound effects, built-in Auto Flash with red-eye reduction, and a pocket-sized, featherweight package.
Built for versatility, the pocket-sized camcorders are both equipped with removable MultiMedia card for digital still shooting and a DV in/out terminal (i.LINK: IEEE1394compliant) is provided for fast, lossless DV signal transfer to a computer, as well as for dubbing to and from another DV unit in native DV. There’s also a serial terminal for direct connection to PCs with serial ports (RS-232C) enabling shooters to take advantage of computer-controlled still image capture and linear video editing functions.
The GR-DVM90, like predecessor DualCams by JVC, lets users shoot motion video and still pictures simultaneously. Simply push the “Snapshot” button and a still picture is recorded on the MultiMedia Card while motion video continues to record on tape. These HG Pro-Snapshots can be taken in a wide variety of styles such as Full-screen, Pin-up, 4- and 9-frame multi-picture, and rapid Motor Drive shooting of consecutive shots – stored on the MultiMedia Card and recorded on video tape simultaneously. When recorded on tape, a shutter-like “click” sound effect is added to the recording, spicing up any scene both visually and aurally.
Download digital stills with the HG Pro-Snapshot function on a DV cassette or on a removable MultiMedia Card, which in turn can be used to simply upload those stills to a PC (via PC Card Adapter to be made available at a later date). One 8MB MultiMedia Card comes supplied with the unit, and anywhere from 60 to 200 shots (depending on the resolution setting that’s chosen) can be stored on it.
An added advantage of the Digital DualCam’s 2-in-1 (video + still) design is the -ability to internally copy HG Pro-Snapshots from the MultiMedia card to a DV tape, or from a DV tape onto the MultiMedia Card. This versatility and simplicity makes the GR-DVM90 an ideal partner for mobile computing and image acquisition.
Visit JVC's Web site at www.jvc.com.

February 12 - Canon introduces three new Digital Camcorders. Three new digital camcorders with advanced features and lower prices have been added to the popular ZR series by Canon U.S.A., Inc., a subsidiary of Canon, Inc. (NYSE: CAJ). The new feature-rich models are priced attractively for consumers just entering the digital video revolution, or for anyone seeking greater versatility with the latest digital video technology in a compact design.
The three new models – ZR20, ZR25 MC and ZR30 MC – create a progression of prices and features, helping consumers to choose the best model that meets their needs and budget. The ZR30 MC boasts the most unique features and accessories, but all three models have capabilities that, until now, were found only in more expensive digital camcorders.
Weighing only 19 ounces, measuring just 2 Ľ x 4 x 5 Ľ inches and featuring, eye-catching translucent accents and detailing, each ZR model rests comfortably in any hand. It can be carried in a travel bag, jacket pocket, or briefcase with room to spare.
Features Of All Three Models
10x Optical Zoom Lens and 200x Digital Zoom – The Canon zoom lens transforms distant subjects into dramatic close-ups without loss in image quality. The focal length of the optical zoom is 4.2-42mm f/1.8, which is the 35mm photo lens equivalent of 48mm to 480mm. The digital zoom extends the magnification to 200x, revealing details too distant to be seen with the eye. Together, they provide an exceptional scope from wide panorama to super telephoto.

Image Stabilizer – Leave your tripod home with Canon’s high quality image stabilization system that corrects camera shake instantly, providing smooth, stable pictures. Shake-free images can be recorded even on long telephoto shots. Unlike competitive models, the image stabilizer functions in both video and photo shooting modes.
Shooting Modes – Video mode: captures smooth, full motion video for playback on the television. Digital photo mode: Serving as both a video and still camera, the ZR20 captures over 700 still video pictures on a single MiniDV cassette by pressing the photo button. It can combine video and still pictures, and each still photo is recorded for approximately six seconds along with narration or surrounding sounds. The ZR25 MC and ZR30 MC capture still photos on a MultiMediaCard, or an SD (Secure Digital) Memory Card that is discussed in the next section.
Flexible LCD Viewscreen and Color Viewfinder – The 2.5-inch viewscreen permits easy composition of sensational shots from any angle. The screen swivels and flips for maximum handling comfort and flexibility, tucking neatly away when bright conditions make the eyecup viewfinder the preferred way to shoot.
Extended Battery Performance – Enhanced power, attributed to higher capacity batteries and reduction of energy consumption, allows for longer usage and uninterrupted recording time. More than five hours can be recorded continuously with the optional BP-522 battery pack. When powered with the optional BP-535, more than eight hours of recording time is available.
Programmed Auto Exposure – Outstanding video results are possible even during challenging conditions. By selecting the program that matches the scene, each ZR model adjusts internal controls to create perfect video each time. Mode choices are Sports, Portrait, Spotlight, Sand and Snow, and Low Light. AE Shift is another feature that gives the shooter control over how light or dark the camcorder sets the auto exposure level. The models have enhanced low light capability with a 2 lux minimum illumination. For point-and-shoot simplicity, each ZR model also includes Canon’s fully automatic Easy Green Mode suitable for most indoor/outdoor situations.
Digital Effects – A choice of digital effects provides a more appealing look and greater imaging variety for stills and video. A variety of four fade effects (fade trigger, vertical wipe, horizontal wipe and mosaic fades) can begin and end scenes with a fade to and from black. Additional choices include adding art, black and white, sepia and a mosaic effect.
Digital Stereo Sound – Two digital audio modes are the16 bit mode that produces higher, CD-equivalent, two-channel sound quality and the 12 bit mode that leaves two channels free to dub extra sound at a later time.
IEEE 1394/Firewire® DV Terminal – Equipped with a DV IN/OUT terminal that conforms to IEEE 1394/Firewire, just a single digital cable is needed to copy video to another Canon DV camcorder, or transfer to a DV-ready computer for editing or use on the Internet.
Manual Controls – While fully automatic, the ZR series offers manual control over focus, exposure, white balance and shutter speed.
A/V Insert and Audio Dubbing – Insert new video scenes from a VCR or other camcorder into an original recording. When using a recording made in the 12 bit audio mode, stereo sound can be added from another audio source, or the internal or external microphone.
Analog Line-In Recording – An analog video signal from a television, VCR, or another camcorder can be sent into the ZR series to record images digitally onto a Mini DV cassette. Appropriate for making copies or preserving precious originals.
The ZR series will be available at authorized Canon dealers. The ZR30 MC will be available in March with the suggested list price of $999. The ZR25 MC will be available in April with the suggested list price of $899. The ZR20 will be available in May with the suggested list price of $799. More information on Canon and its products can be found at www.usa.canon.com.

February 11 - Sunday Shopping Watch.
Special Discounts and Financing.
Best Buy
has a $100 mail-in rebate on all in-store Intel processor computer packages and notebook. They are also offering no interest for 12 months on build-to-order systems.
Circuit City has a $100 mail-in rebate on all in-store Intel Celeron computer packages and notebooks. They are also offering no interest for 12 months on build-to-order systems.
Office Depot has no interest or payments for 6 months on computer purchases of $299 or more.

CompUSA has no ad this Sunday.

Staples has no ad 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 $650 Best Buy
Best Low Cost Pentium III System HP 933 MHz complete system $1199 Best Buy
Best High End Pentium III System Compaq 1 GHz build-to -order complete system $1369 Circuit City
Best Pentium 4 System HP 1.4 GHz build-to-order with 17 inch monitor $1939 Best Buy
Best Duron System Compaq 800 MHz Duron complete system $849 Office Depot
Best High End Athlon System HP 1.2 GHz build-to-order with 17 inch monitor $1599 Best Buy
Best Low Cost Notebook Toshiba 700 MHz Celeron $1099 Best Buy
Best High End Notebook Compaq or HP 700 MHz Pentium III with DVD $1699 Best Buy, Circuit City

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 10 - KDS Introduces Ultra-Llight ThinNote Laptop. KDS Computers Inc., a subsidiary of KDS, today introduced the ultra-light ThinNote 2000 Series laptop and FlexBase docking bay as a complete affordable solution for mobile PC users.
The performance and power of the ThinNote 2000 Series is delivered using the 700MHz (low voltage) Intel(R) Pentium(R) III processor with battery-saving Intel(R) SpeedStep(TM) technology, 128 MB RAM, 10 GB hard disk drive, Lithium Ion Battery, External 24X CD-ROM and External 1.44 MB Floppy Drive.
The 4.3-pound notebook with dimensions of 11.9-inch wide by 9.5-inch deep by 1.1-inch high features a visually appealing 13.3-inch TFT XGA display screen accented by ATI RAGE(TM) MOBILITY-M video, AGP 2x and 4MB of dedicated RAM. The ThinNote also has an integrated 56K data/fax modem, integrated 10/100 LAN and comes with Microsoft(R) Windows(R) Millennium and Microsoft(R) Windows(R)2000 software installed.
The FlexBase features two modular bays to support a variety of media devices including CD-ROM, CD-R/CD-RW, DVD-ROM, secondary HDD, floppy drive, ZIP drive and a compartment for a secondary battery. It also includes 4-pin and 6-pin IEEE 1394 connectors and USB as well as other standard notebook ports.
Prices are estimated at $1,899 for the ThinNote 2000 Series, and $285 for the FlexBase. Additional information on the ThinNote Series and FlexBase dock is available at www.kdscomputers.com.

February 10 - Sears Unveils Connected Home Initiative. Today at the International Builder's Show, Sears, Roebuck and Co. unveiled Sears Connected Home, an integrated home networking solution that is designed to enhance the overall quality of life for today's Internet-age families. Sears has created a comprehensive package of interoperable home networking products and services, which it is offering to new homebuilders in the high-growth Atlanta and Denver markets. This solution is scheduled to be available nationwide.
Also today, Sears Connected Home announced a partnership with Home Director, a national home networking hardware and software technology company. Through their partnership, the companies will provide end-to-end solutions including the design, installation, service and support for home networks based on Home Director's Network Connection Center, the backbone of Sears Connected Home's technology infrastructure.
Home Director's networks enable families to equip their homes with a wide range of technology solutions including integrated whole-house audio and video entertainment, home theaters, computer networks, home security and home control systems. Home Director's structured wiring packages, providing the technology infrastructure for the home, are based on bundles of data and video cabling, which are run from a central connection box (Network Connection Center) to multiple wall outlets located throughout the house.
Some examples of structured wiring solutions include:
-- Share a single dial-up or high-speed broadband Internet connection throughout a home with multiple computers and "intelligent" Web-enabled devices and appliances
-- Distribute cable or satellite television signals from one source to every TV in the home
-- Play a DVD or VCR movie in one room, and watch it on any other TV in the house
-- Listen to your stereo in any room of the house
-- Place video cameras at the front door, in the back yard and in the baby's room and watch the pictures on any TV
-- Share devices such as computer printers and fax machines
-- Control your lighting, appliances, and heating/cooling systems all from your television or computer
-- Subscribe to over a dozen different phone lines.
To learn more about Home Director and its products, visit www.homedirector.com Visit Sear at www.sears.com.

February 10 - Motorola and AMD work with Applied Materials on Third Generation Copper Chip Manufacturing. Motorola's Semiconductor Products Sector and Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD), industry leaders in copper/low k interconnect technology, have chosen Applied Materials, Inc.'s Black Diamond(TM) low k dielectric film for manufacturing high-performance 0.13 micron logic chips.
Gregg Bartlett, Director of Motorola's Advanced Products Research and Development Laboratory, said, "Our joint development program with AMD has been focused on bringing a low k dielectric solution beyond FSG (fluorinated silicate glass) to full manufacturing readiness for our third generation of copper interconnect technology. This will enable both Motorola and AMD to fully exploit the benefits of this technology in our products. Motorola is pleased with our success in delivering what we believe is the industry's most robust, reliable and cost-effective copper/low k interconnect solutions."
Craig Sander, Vice President of Technology Development for AMD, said, "The results of this low k joint development program with Motorola and Applied Materials, combined with our experience with high volume production of microprocessors using copper interconnect technology, will make it possible for AMD to continue to pursue the aggressive performance goals for our microprocessors. The low interconnect capacitance enabled by the use of Black Diamond material is an important part of our 0.13 micron technology implementation."
"The powerful combination of Motorola's and AMD's experience and process expertise has been of tremendous value in our development of this low k film for real-world, production-type environments," noted Dr. Farhad Moghadam, Vice President and General Manager of Applied Materials' Dielectric Systems and Modules Product Business Group. "Together we've proven the value of Black Diamond's evolutionary approach to low k integration in copper devices, and demonstrated its ability to operate with high productivity and low cost of ownership."
The companies' web sites can be found at www.amd.com, www.motorola.com, and www.appliedmaterials.com.

February 9 - Sony Brings Added Value and Versatility to Spring 2001 VAIO XG Notebook Line. Cost-conscious consumers who've coveted the performance, versatility and appealing audio-video attributes of Sony Electronics' award-winning VAIO(R) XG notebook PCs now have a reason to buy one. Sony is including a free CD-RW drive on high-end models and bundling a docking station loaded with ports with its entire Spring VAIO XG product line-up.
The hot-swappable multi-bay on the VAIO PCG-XG700 notebook model accommodates two drives at once (one of them optical), either the included floppy disk drive, DVD-ROM drive or CD-RW drive (perfect for data back-up and for recording customized CDs and graphics-intensive presentations), or an optional second hard drive or second battery. When access to an additional drive or battery is unnecessary, consumers can simply insert the system's handy weight-saving device for enhanced portability.
The PCG-XG700 houses a 20 GB hard drive, provides 128 MB of SD-RAM and features an Intel(R) 750 MHz Pentium(R) III processor with SpeedStep(TM) technology. Its generous 14.1 inch XGA TFT screen provides ample room for viewing flow charts or DVD. The unit is just 1.77 inches thin and weighs about six pounds.
Featuring a Windows(R) Millennium Edition operating system, the PCG-XG700 is priced at around $3,100. Its Windows(R) 2000 counterpart, the PCG-XG700K, will sell for about $3,200, and a $100 mail-in rebate is available on both models.

This spring's line-up offers one additional XG configuration, the PCG-XG500. It features a 10 GB hard drive, 128 MB of SD-RAM and an Intel 700 MHz Pentium(R) III processor with SpeedStep(TM) technology. Priced at about $2,600, it also qualifies for the $100 mail-in rebate, has a 13.3 inch XGA TFT screen, is 1.77 inches thin and weighs about six pounds.
Sony is also currently offering all new VAIO PC owners a free wireless modem that enables new VAIO PC notebook owners to access business-critical information, browse Web sites, read and send e-mail, obtain stock quotes and check movie listings on their notebook PCs from just about anywhere in the U.S.
For additional information about Sony products, visit Sony's Web site at www.sony.com.

February 9 - Broadband Access Soars Nearly 150 Percent At Home. Nielsen//NetRatings, the world's fastest growing Internet audience measurement service from Nielsen Media Research, ACNielsen eRatings.com and NetRatings, Inc. (Nasdaq:NTRT), today revealed that high speed Internet access, including ISDN, LAN, cable modems and DSL connections, jumped 148 percent among home users in December 2000 as compared to the same period in 1999. Nearly 12 million home Web users accessed the Internet with a high-speed connection in December 2000, as compared to five million people a year ago.
"Streaming media is one of the chief incentives prompting users to switch to high-speed Web access, which is fast becoming the must-have service in the home," said T.S. Kelly, director of Internet Media Strategies, NetRatings. "That said, improvements in quality, ease-of-use, and accessibility must continue if streaming consumption is to become as commonplace as broadcast or cable television."
More people currently connect at 56 Kbps than any other Web speed, jumping 87 percent in the past year. In comparison, a year ago, most people accessed the Internet with a connection speed of 28.8/33.6 Kbps. The number of users with slower modem speeds of 14.4 Kbps and 28.8/33.6 Kbps has declined, while those with a 56 Kbps and higher connection speed increased their overall group share to 12 percent from six percent a year ago.
"Despite the current attention focused on broadband, nearly two-thirds of the home Web audience log online via a 56 Kbps modem," said Kelly. "Modems connecting at 56 Kbps are still in growth mode, partly propelled by the free ISP movement."
Visit the company at www.nielsen-netratings.com.

February 9 - Zoom Telephonics Reports Results for the Fourth Quarter. Zoom Telephonics, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZOOM), a leading manufacturer of modems and other data communications products, today reported sales of $16.3 million for its fourth quarter ending December 31, 2000, down 7% from $17.4 million in the fourth quarter of 1999. Sales for the full year 2000 were $59.8 million, down 7% from $64.1 million in 1999.
Zoom reported a net loss of $1.15 million or $.15 per share for the fourth quarter of 2000, versus a net loss of $95 thousand or $.01 per share for the fourth quarter of 1999. For the full year 2000, Zoom reported a net loss of $3.1 million or $.40 per share, versus a net loss of $1.4 million or $.19 per share for 1999.
"Over 95% of Zoom's sales during the quarter came from dial-up modems," said Frank Manning, Zoom's President and CEO. "PC Data's research shows that Zoom made large share gains at USA retailers throughout 2000 including the fourth quarter. The revenue share of our Zoom, Hayes, and private label brands rose from 10.4% to 15.4% from December 1999 to December 2000, by far the largest share gain of any modem manufacturer. However, when PC Data looked at total modem sales by all manufacturers at the same retailers, units declined 14% and revenues declined 28% from Q4 1999 to Q4 2000.
The new V.92 standard should drive sales growth at retail as V.92 becomes popular. Zoom was the first company to ship V.92 products, and is the leader in the category. As major central site equipment manufacturers begin V.92 shipments beginning in March, and as Internet Service Providers start to offer V.92 later in the year, we expect to see a significant increase in sales in the modem category. If this occurs, we are very well-positioned."
"Zoom has made a major commitment to cable modems, ADSL modems, and advanced networking products," said Mr. Manning. "By the end of 2000 we had three cable modem designs that were CableLabs approved, a very significant accomplishment, and we also had our first two ADSL modems and a new generation of wireless network products ready to ship in volume.
We are finding high interest in our broadband and wireless networking products. Although supply has caught up with demand for many broadband product types, we remain optimistic that broadband and advanced networking products can generate significant revenues for Zoom in the months and years to come. We are not counting on our high-volume retailer channels to sell these products, but we do believe that our position in these channels will give us a powerful advantage. Meanwhile we continue to make significant investments in the people, technology, and infrastructure needed to compete in these major growth markets."
Visit Zoom's website at www.zoom.com.

February 9 - Internet Use in Asian Pacific Region Will Top 27% of Total Online Population by 2004. The number of active internet users in the Asian-Pacific Region will increase dramatically accounting for more than 27% of the world's total online population by 2004, according to a new report from eMarketer.
The eAsia Report reveals that the active internet population in the region will rise from 49 million users last year to 173 million net users in 2004, a 38% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).
"Currently, the internet penetration in Asia is still relatively low compared with the rest of the world, accounting for only 21% of the world's online population," said Eddie Cheung, analyst at eMarketer. "By the end of 2004, however, Asia will see internet population rise to slightly more than a quarter of the world's total," he added.
The report shows Japanese internet users currently account for more than 36% of the total Asian internet population. This high percentage will quickly dissipate as internet development in China continues to gain strength. By the end of 2004, eMarketer estimates that China's internet users will account for 17.4% of Asia's total internet population. Japan's user base will shrink to 18.5%.
eMarketer can be found on the Web at www.emarketer.com.

February 8 - Sony Brings CD-RW/DVD-ROM Capabilities to New VAIO FX Notebooks. Sony Electronics is bringing the powerful entertainment and storage capabilities of CD-RW and DVD-ROM to its VAIO notebook PC line.
"While others are talking about it, we're making it happen," said Mark Hanson, Sony Electronics' vice president and general manager for VAIO PC products. "The introduction of CD-RW/DVD-ROM capabilities in a single, versatile drive gives multimedia oriented executives and digital video enthusiasts alike the opportunity to create and rewrite CDs, watch DVD movies and utilize their PCs to their ultimate capacity."
Sony's new combination drive is featured on four FX models. The PCG-FX190 and the PCG-FX170 feature a Windows Me operating system, while the PCG-FX190K and the PCG-FX170K offer the Windows 2000 operating system.
The star of the VAIO FX show is the top-of-the-line PCG-FX190, which gives consumers a powerful combination of features in an all-in-one desktop replacement with built-in Ethernet port; a 30 GB hard drive; 128 MB of SD-RAM (expandable to 512 MB); built-in CD-RW/DVD and diskette drives; and the fastest mobile processor on the market -- Intel's 850 MHz Pentium(R) III processor with SpeedStep(TM) technology.
Contributing to the "wow factor" of this notebook PC is its impressive, 15-inch SXGA+ TFT screen, which shows incredible attention to detail and an 87 percent higher pixel count than a regular XGA TFT screen that makes DVD playback as brilliant as a living postcard.
Designed for PC enthusiasts with a penchant for multimedia features and large, crisp displays, the PCG-FX190 is loaded with a healthy complement of business and digital video editing software.
Sony is currently offering a free wireless modem that enables new VAIO notebook owners to access business-critical information, browse Web sites, read and send e-mail, obtain stock quotes and check movie listings on their notebook PCs from just about anywhere in the U.S.
For additional information about Sony computer products, visit www.SonyStyle.com.

February 8 - Hitachi to Release World's First 32-Inch HDTV-Ready Full-Resolution Plasma TV. Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE:HIT) today announced that on April 10 it will release the world's first 32-inch plasma TV, the High Definition Digital TV (HDTV), W32-PD2100 in Japan. On June 11, this will be followed by the release of the W32-PDH2100, a HDTV plasma TV with built-in BS (Broadcast Satellite) digital receiver.
This will make Hitachi the first company to market a 32-inch plasma TV. The HDTV-compatible plasma display panel (PDP) has a visual size of 32 inches (82 centimeters diagonally) and employs ALIS (Alternate Lighting of Surface Method) technology. Image resolution is 852 pixels horizontally and 1024 pixels vertically. This PDP overcomes the problem that previous plasma display panels.
The TV is provided as two separate units: the monitor section, and the audio-visual control (AVC) station unit, which includes the tuner and picture processing circuitry. This enables the monitor and AVC station to be flexibly positioned to match various room layouts, helping to utilize the full merits of the slim design (just 9 centimeters deep) that is the feature of a plasma-screen TV. had with respect to the ability to display high-resolution HDTV images within a compact configuration.
With 32 inches having become the mainstream size for wide-screen TVs, PDPs are offering what CRT TVs cannot: thin screen size. This is likely to stimulate the move to large-screen home TVs. The ability to display BS digital HDTV pictures in the original high resolution mode means that HDTV PDPs with ALIS technology provide a level of performance befitting a new generation of TVs.
Hitachi is also planning to introduce a 37-inch (95 centimeters diagonal) HDTV plasma TV. Hitachi will continue to expand its lineup of PDP-based TV products to meet the needs of the new era of digital HDTV broadcasting.
Visit Hitachi's Web site at http://global.hitachi.com.

February 8 - SuSE Linux Knowledge Portal Debuts. Today, SuSE Linux, the international technology leader and solutions provider in Open Source operating system, announced the new SuSE Linux Knowledge Portal, offering extensive first-hand information about Linux. The new Internet service, available February 7, can be accessed on the Web at http://portal.suse.de and http://portal.suse.com.
With a wide range of topics, from application descriptions to firewall implementation or installing high availability solutions, the Portal provides useful information to Linux desktop newcomers as well as experienced system administrators.
"Info channels" highlight reports on Linux and Open Source from different news providers. Personal preferences, such as theme and news delivery, are determined and saved by the user and allow a unique viewing experience. The full text search engine finds any keyword in a vast array of articles. The editorial desk welcomes suggestions regarding subjects users would like to read about. Articles can also be submitted for publication.
The SuSE Linux Knowledge Portal addresses company independent Linux issues and is a perfect complement to SuSE's up-to-date Support Database and the unique Component Database.
Additional information about SuSE can be found at http://www.suse.com.

February 8 - NetZero Introduces New Bannerless ``NZ Platinum'' Pay Service. NetZero, Inc. (Nasdaq: NZRO), a leading provider of free and pay Internet access services and targeted marketing solutions with more than 8.4 million registered users, today announced the launch of "NZ Platinum," a new bannerless pay ISP service. The company intends to launch "NZ Platinum" before the end of the March quarter.
Users who choose the "NZ Platinum" service will pay $9.95 per month for unlimited NetZero Internet service that will feature a razor-thin toolbar without the advertising banners currently included in the ZeroPort on the free service. Users will continue to receive the same high-quality, direct access to the Internet that they have come to rely on with NetZero's service, including free e-mail accounts, fast, reliable connections, compatibility with popular instant messaging programs and thousands of access numbers.
Once launched, NZ Platinum users will have an opportunity to receive a special introductory offer. If users pre-pay the first five months, they will receive the sixth month free, giving them six months of bannerless Internet service for under $50.
NetZero users were already able to choose from two plans. The NetZero Free service offers free access to the Internet for up to 40 hours. After 40 hours, users have the option to sign up for the "NetZero Professional" Extended Access Pass, which allows users to pay $9.95 for unlimited access for the remainder of that month, however, the user will still continue to see banner ads in the ZeroPort. Many of these users may choose to sign up for the "NZ Platinum" service so that they will be able to enjoy unlimited access with no ZeroPort ads for the entire month.
"As `Defenders of the Free World,' NetZero will continue our commitment to keep free Internet available for everyone, but we also believe in the freedom of choice," Goldston added. Our users will now have three NetZero plans to choose from to best meet their Internet needs and preferences. Regardless of the NetZero plan our users choose, we want them to know that we are constantly striving to give them the best value and the highest quality Internet experience possible."
Visit NetZero at www.netzero.net.

 

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