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Computer News and Rumors

February 16-23 2002

About News and Rumors. InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors is a daily column. It features news coverage of new PC and Mac computer hardware and software, Internet news, and other technical news items.
Every Sunday, News and Rumors features "Sunday Shopping Watch", which is a comparison and analysis of Sunday computer store advertisements.
The 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 top and bottom menu bar.

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 22 EZQuest Ships DVD-RW/CD-RW Drive
Feb 22 Canon Introduces 6.3 Megapixel Camera With Interchangeable Lenses
Feb 22 HP Board Campaigns Against Walter Hewlett
Feb 22 Canon Announces New Card Photo Printer CP-100
Feb 21 AMD Unveils "Hammer" AMD-8000 Chipsets
Feb 21 Intel Pentium 4 picked as Best PC Processor
Feb 21 Bluetooth Wireless Technology to Enhance Mobile Telephony
Feb 21 On2 Releases Preview Version of VP5 Video Compression Technology
Feb 20 Nokia to Drive Openness in Wireless Networking
Feb 20 Symantec Releases Utility Programs Optimized for Mac OS X
Feb 20 Check Point Software Announces FireWall-1 GX for Wireless Networks
Feb 20 Music Videos Coming for Mobile Devices
Feb 19 Universal Studios Brings Movie Content to Nokia Owners
Feb 19 AOL® Instant Messenger™ Service offered in Motorola Wireless Devices
Feb 19 BCL Computers Introduces BCL EasyPDF v.2.0
Feb 19 Philips Semiconductors Develops Next Generation GPRS Chip
Feb 18 BUSlink Introduces Pocket New Portable HD and CD-RW Drives
Feb 18 Broadband's Success Will Require More Than Regulatory Clearance
Feb 18 Sierra Wireless Connects Mobile Users to Global GSM/GPRS Network
Feb 18 TCS First to Integrate Mobile Messaging and Location Services
Feb 17 Sunday Shopping Watch

 
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Feb 22 - EZQuest Ships DVD-RW/CD-RW Drive. EZQuest is now shipping its new external Boa USB 2.0 DVD-RW/CD-RW drive for PCs. This Boa DVD-RW/CD-RW drive with 2x write speed can burn a full DVD (up to 4.7GB) in 30 minutes. It also has an 8x CD-R write speed and reads CDs at 24x. This Boa drive is perfect for backing up large amounts of data, transferring data from one computer to another, making DVD movie and audio CDs, copying CDs, and rewriting CDs or DVDs (using CD-RW or DVD-RW media).

"There is a high level of interest in the Boa DVD-RW/CD-RW drive," said Ebrahim Zmehrir, EZQuest president. "The ability to burn up to 4.7GB in 30 minutes is really exciting. The DVD-RW format is the most widely accepted in the market. Users really like our sleek Pro-Mar packaging, and this drive gives them a lot of capability for a variety of applications."

It comes ready to use and includes a built-in universal auto-switching power supply, a cable and authoring software (Sonic Solutions MyDVD). The Boa is compatible with WIN 98SE, ME, 2000 and XP. It has a one-year warranty and is competitively priced at $499MSRP. A downloadable Boa spec sheet is available at www.ezq.com.

Feb 22 - Canon Introduces 6.3 Megapixel Camera With Interchangeable Lenses. Canon U.S.A., Inc., a subsidiary of Canon Inc. (NYSE: CAJ), continues to answer the needs of professional photographers and enthusiasts with the introduction of the EOS D60 digital SLR.

Developed with the needs of studio and catalog photographers in mind, the new D60, with its 6.3 megapixel (effective) resolution, provides photographers with the high performance, advanced features, and creative flexibility they expect from an EOS SLR camera.

The new EOS D60 replaces the extremely popular EOS D30 digital SLR model and retains many of its advanced features, while adding new and improved features including a 3-point AF system with more responsive performance, especially in low-light conditions; 3 illuminated viewfinder focusing points; and the ability to capture images simultaneously in RAW and JPEG, a valuable feature for photographers who need to transmit images immediately but want to maintain a high-quality archive file for future use. In addition, improvements in the camera's signal processing system allow photographers to make exposures as long as 30 seconds without the assistance of a Noise Reduction feature.

"Studio photographers expressed the need for a digital camera that offers high resolution without sacrificing the functions and flexibility Canon's EOS System cameras provide," said Yukiaki Hashimoto, vice president and general manager, Photographic Products Group, Canon U.S.A. "The camera's 6.3 megapixel CMOS sensor, coupled with the ability to capture images in both RAW and JPEG formats, make the D60 the perfect tool for studio photographers and photo enthusiasts everywhere," added Mr. Hashimoto.

The EOS D60's high resolution and outstanding color reproduction is made possible by a newly developed and proprietary 6.52 megapixel (total)/6.3 megapixel (effective), single-plate CMOS sensor with 3072 x 2048 square pixels, 12-bit analog-to-digital conversion and an on-chip RGB primary color filter array. The sensor is the same size as the EOS D30's at 15.1 x 22.7mm, resulting in a focal length conversion factor of 1.6x compared to the 35mm format.

The EOS D60 can record images in any one of six (6) JPEG settings plus RAW, including 2048 x 1360 pixel and 1536 x 1024 pixel JPEG settings not found in the EOS D30. D60 RAW files contain an embedded 2048 x 1360 JPEG image that can be extracted with the supplied driver software, making them ideal for photographers who need to view or transmit images quickly but need to retain maximum image quality for future editing.

The D60's autofocusing system is three times more sensitive in low light than the EOS D30's (EV 0.5 vs. EV 2). At the same time, the built-in AF assist beam is more effective than it was before. These changes result in significantly improved performance. Additionally, in response to D30 user feedback, active focusing points are now illuminated in red directly on the focusing screen, making it easier to confirm focusing point selection and AF completion.

Other feature improvements include an illuminated LCD data panel on top of the camera, making it simpler to view and change camera settings in low light; a brighter LCD monitor for easier viewing of menus and recorded images in bright light; new custom functions to tailor the camera's operation for individual preferences; and a new in-camera setting that allows photographers to store up to 3 sets of Shooting Parameters including contrast, saturation, sharpness and color tone.

Because it is based on the EOS D30, the EOS D60 inherits many of that camera's advanced features including a built-in E-TTL flash, 11 shooting modes, 3 AF modes, 3 metering patterns, and shutter speeds ranging from 1/4000 to 30 seconds plus Bulb. The D60's burst mode can capture up to 8 consecutive images at 3 frames per second at all image quality settings including RAW mode. The D60 is equipped with USB 1.1 and NTSC/PAL video out ports as well as an N3-series remote control socket, a dedicated hot shoe for EX-series Speedlites and a PC terminal for external flash units.

Image data is stored on CompactFlash cards including CompactFlash Type I and II, enabling users to take advantage of the IBM Microdrive and other high-capacity storage media. The lithium-ion Battery Pack BP-511, which is included with the camera, provides enough power to take approximately 490 images at normal temperatures.

The EOS D60 is bundled with an upgraded software package featuring powerful drivers based on those supplied with the professional EOS-1D camera, but newly upgraded for compatibility with Windows XP. Canon is also cooperating with Apple Computer to ensure that the D60 will soon be supported by the Image Capture function of OS X. Additional Canon utilities such as ZoomBrowser EX, PhotoRecord, ImageBrowser, USB Mounter, RAW Image Converter, PhotoStitch and RemoteCapture are also supplied, together with complimentary copies of Apple QuickTime 5.0 and Adobe Photoshop 5.0 LE.

EOS D60 optional accessories include Battery Grip BG-ED3, Compact Power Adapter CA-PS400, DC Coupler DR-400, Interface Cable IFC-200PCU, Video Cable VC-100, and Neckstrap EW-100DB.

The EOS D60 measures 5.9 x 4.2 x 3.0-inches and weighs a mere 27.5 ounces (body only). It will be available at authorized retailers in April and has a suggested retail price of $2,999. Visit the Canon U.S.A. Web site at www.usa.canon.com.

Feb 22 - HP Board Campaigns Against Walter Hewlett. Members of the Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HWP) Board of Directors today sent the following letter to shareowners, which points out the inconsistencies from Walter Hewlett and states that the board does not believe shareowners can trust their investments to Hewlett's constantly changing "plans."

February 22, 2002

Dear HP Shareowner:

You may have read that Walter Hewlett has a "plan" for HP. Or perhaps you read that he does not have a plan. Maybe you read both, depending upon which day of the week it was, or what Walter Hewlett thought was expedient to say at the time.
HP was not built in a day. It was built upon decades of innovative thinking and careful planning by dedicated employees, executives and directors. Common sense dictates that Walter Hewlett cannot cobble together a "so called" strategic plan for HP in a day, or in a week or in a month. Developing a strategic plan designed to create a stronger, more competitive HP that delivers increased value to shareowners takes time and a great deal of expertise.
So when Walter Hewlett tells you he has no plan and then says he really has one, and then vehemently denies he has a plan and then says he has a new plan -- all in a matter of two weeks -- only one thing is entirely clear: this is a man who has no plan for the future of your company or your investments in HP shares.

Walter Hewlett's So-Called "Plan": Now You See It, Now You Don't

Let's take a close look at the public record:

-- Wednesday, February 6: In his regular Wall Street Journal op-ed column, Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. writes: "Mr. Hewlett is a man without a plan" and encourages retail investors to "send in their proxies to save Hewlett-Packard from the Hewletts and the Packards."
-- Friday, February 8: Evidently stung by Mr. Jenkins' very accurate criticism, Walter Hewlett grants a lengthy interview to the Wall Street Journal leading the Journal to conclude that Walter Hewlett has a plan.
-- Monday, February 11: The Wall Street Journal publishes an article captioned "Walter Hewlett's Counterplan" and writes "until now, (Mr. Hewlett) hadn't offered an alternative game plan."
-- Tuesday, February 12: Apparently in response to the widespread negative reaction to his so-called "plan," Walter Hewlett quickly retreats and vehemently denies that he has a plan at all. He is quoted by Reuters as stating: "I want this very clearly understood that I am not presenting a plan."
-- Tuesday, February 19, 9:45 a.m. EST: As momentum for the pending merger with Compaq increases daily, Walter Hewlett presumably concludes that he should, in fact, have a plan. So he quickly announces a new plan he calls "Focus and Execute" and issues a press release in which he states he is setting forth "the details of the plan."
-- Tuesday, February 19, 3 p.m. EST: In response to HP's statement that HP shareowners deserve a carefully considered, comprehensive plan -- not last minute propositions that change weekly, Walter Hewlett issues his second press release for the day saying, "What I have been presenting to stockholders is a set of guidelines that offers a framework ..."
-- Wednesday, February 20: The Wall Street Journal correctly points out that Walter Hewlett's new plan "comes as Mr. Hewlett responds to criticisms that he hasn't offered a viable `Plan B' to the proposed Compaq acquisition."

The fact is Walter Hewlett has never had a viable plan and he has none now. All he continues to do is say "no" to the pending Compaq merger, but he offers nothing meaningful in its place. We do not believe you can trust your investment to Walter Hewlett's constantly changing "plans." Your investment and your money are real -- Walter Hewlett's plan is not. Don't risk HP's future and your investment on his platitudes.

The HP/Compaq Merger: A Real Plan Based on Real Numbers That Will Deliver Real Value to Shareowners

In stark contrast to Walter Hewlett's plans, the HP/Compaq merger is the culmination of 2 1/2 years of strategic planning and will catapult the new HP into a leadership position in every major segment of the information technology industry. The benefits of the merger are clear. We will:

-- Create a stronger competitor and more strategic partner for our customers.
-- Become profitable in businesses that employ 36,000 people and are currently losing money.
-- Accelerate earnings growth through $2.5 billion in annual cost savings using conservative assumptions.
-- Achieve $5-$9 in net present value per share of the combined company as a result of these cost savings (as described in detail in HP's proxy statement prospectus).
-- Deliver compelling value to shareowners.

In what we see as a very calculated effort to mask the inadequacies of his latest "plan," Walter Hewlett has escalated his attacks on HP, Compaq and the merger, as well as his increasingly personal attacks on HP's CEO, Carly Fiorina. Let's be very clear: the HP Board hired Carly Fiorina to return HP to leadership and has been unequivocal in its confidence in Carly and its support for her performance as CEO. The issues before HP shareowners are far too important to be overshadowed by these tactics. HP will continue to address the merger on its merits, with our positions supported by careful and conservative financial analysis. We ask Walter Hewlett to do the same.
The March 19 special meeting of shareowners is rapidly approaching. The time to vote is now. We urge you to support the merger by signing, dating and returning the enclosed WHITE proxy card or voting instruction form today. A pre-addressed, postage-paid envelope is enclosed for your convenience.
If you previously voted against the merger, either on Walter Hewlett's green card or HP's white card, you have every right to change your vote. Submission of a properly executed WHITE proxy card or voter instruction form will revoke any prior proxy card or voter instruction form you may have submitted.
If you have questions or need assistance voting your shares, please call Innisfree M&A Inc., toll-free at (877) 750-5836 or Georgeson Shareholder toll-free at (888) 921-5724. For more information about the merger, visit www.VotetheHPway.com.
Once again, we thank you for your continued support.

Feb 22 - Canon Announces New Card Photo Printer CP-100. Canon U.S.A., Inc., a subsidiary of Canon Inc. (NYSE: CAJ), provides consumers with a convenient way to make high-quality color prints from digital cameras with the introduction of the new Card Photo Printer CP-100.

The new CP-100 offers users a fast and simple way to make prints up to postcard size (approx. 4 x 6 inches) directly from several Canon PowerShot digital cameras including the newly introduced PowerShot A40, A30 and A100 models. All print settings are made directly from the camera's LCD, completely bypassing the need for a computer and making the process of obtaining high-quality color prints fast and convenient. Additionally, by using the printer's optional battery pack, prints can be made literally anywhere without the need for AC power, making the new printer truly portable.

Based on advancements in dye-sub print technology, the CP-100 printer can make credit card-size prints in only 40 seconds and full color postcard-size prints in 81 seconds. Other features include the ability to produce card-size labels and mini-labels (photo stickers) for added imaging fun. A clear UV overcoat is applied to each print for extended longevity. Users also have a choice of bordered or borderless prints and the CP-100 is compatible with DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) to facilitate batch printing, e-mail transfers, and print ordering through online photo labs.

"Canon continues to make photography fun, convenient, easy and creative, while providing the highest-quality products available in the marketplace," said Yukiaki Hashimoto, vice president and general manager, Photographic Products Group, Canon U.S.A. "The new CP-100 printer, combined with a Canon PowerShot camera, makes taking digital photographs simple and a lot of fun."

The new Canon Card Photo Printer CP-100 stands out from other products not only because of speed, quality, and ease of use, but also because of its elegant design and ultra-compact size. Measuring just 6.7 (W) x 7.0 (D) x 2.4 (H)-inches and weighing only 34 ounces, the CP-100 is one of the smallest and lightest digital printers available. A translucent blue case with stainless steel accents makes the CP-100 attractive as well as functional.

Optional accessories for the Canon CP-100 printer include a Dedicated Battery, Computer Connection Kit, and Car Battery Adapter.

The Card Photo Printer CP-100 will be available at authorized retailers in May and have an estimated street price of $249. Ink/paper sets will be available in 36-sheet packages (or 18-sheet card-size or miniature ink/label sets). Visit the Canon U.S.A. Web site at www.usa.canon.com.

Feb 21 - AMD Unveils "Hammer" AMD-8000 Chipsets. AMD (NYSE:AMD) today disclosed details of the AMD-8000(TM) series of chipsets, which in conjunction with AMD's next generation processor architecture --codenamed "Hammer" -- is expected to provide a groundbreaking advancement to dramatically improve the overall performance of future computing platforms.

The AMD-8000 series of chipsets is designed to be flexible and modular in order to deliver building blocks for PC manufacturers to produce advanced, high-performance desktop and mobile PCs, servers, and workstations. The chipsets will incorporate HyperTransport(TM) technology, which helps to diminish system bottlenecks, enable better efficiency, and increase throughput to improve overall system performance.

"We believe the AMD-8000 series of chipsets will represent a major breakthrough in system chipset design, and will fundamentally alter the way computers are made in the future," said Ed Ellett, vice president of Marketing for AMD's Computation Products Group. "To meet the high-bandwidth demands of current and future graphics and other I/O devices, computer architecture will need to evolve from the existing platform infrastructure. These chipsets are designed to be compatible with today's hardware components, and allow for a seamless transition to tomorrow's far more advanced, higher performance platforms."

When introduced, the AMD-8000 series of chipsets will include the AMD-8111(TM) HyperTransport I/O hub, the AMD-8131(TM) HyperTransport PCI-X tunnel, and the AMD-8151(TM) HyperTransport AGP3.0 graphics tunnel. These chipsets for the "Hammer" processors are planned to be available in the fourth quarter of 2002, and are designed to provide the basis for AMD processor-based systems to serve the PC, workstation, and server markets.

The AMD-8000 series of chipsets is another example of AMD driving beneficial new technologies into the market. Chipset vendors Ali, SiS, NVIDIA, and VIA are also working closely with AMD, and are expected to design and produce chipsets for AMD's "Hammer" processor.

About "Hammer" Processor Architecture

Industry leaders understand the need to anticipate and plan for future computing needs while meeting today's challenges. The "Hammer" processor architecture is designed to provide unparalleled PC performance on 32-bit applications while allowing a migration path to 64-bit applications. The "Hammer" architecture is designed to allow a seamless execution of both 32-bit and 64-bit code and allows applications to meet the need for memory-intensive programs. The "Hammer" family of microprocessors features a high-performance integrated memory controller and a high-speed scalable system bus using HyperTransport technology.

About AMD's x86-64 Technology

AMD's straightforward approach to 64-bit computing builds upon the x86 instruction set, one of the industry's most proven and widely supported technologies. AMD's x86-64 technology is designed to support applications that address large amounts of physical and virtual memory, such as high performance servers, database management systems, and CAD tools. The x86-64 technology seamlessly integrates into the current computing and support environment, and is designed to enable enterprises to deploy high performance 64-bit capable systems that build upon the billions of dollars already invested in 32-bit software.

About HyperTransport(TM) Technology

HyperTransport technology is a high-speed, high-performance, point-to-point link for integrated circuits, and is designed to meet the bandwidth needs of tomorrow's computing and communications platforms. HyperTransport technology helps reduce the number of buses while providing a high-performance link for PCs, workstations, and servers, as well as numerous embedded applications and highly scalable multiprocessing systems. It is designed to allow chips inside of PCs, networking and communications devices to communicate with each other up to 48 times faster than with some existing bus technologies.

For more information about AMD's future products, visit: www.amd.com/us.

Feb 21 - Intel Pentium 4 picked as Best PC Processor. Cahners In-Stat/MDR (MicroDesign Resources), publisher of the Microprocessor Report, Wednesday announced category winners of its fourth annual Analysts' Choice Awards, honoring the best new microprocessor chips and most promising new microprocessor technology unveiled in 2001.

Of the PC processors to ship in 2001, Intel's Pentium 4/Northwood has top scores on a large number of benchmarks, including SPEC; the highest clock frequency; more bus bandwidth; has chip set support for three memory types; and was fabricated in advanced 0.13-micron semiconductor process a quarter ahead of its closest competitor.

For these reasons, we give Intel's Pentium 4/Northwood the Microprocessor Report Analysts' Choice Award for Best PC Processor of 2001. This award for Northwood also recognizes the significant contributions of the Pentium 4 in 2001: the first 2GHz processor, SSE2 instructions, and accessible pricing.

Each year, Microprocessor Report analysts review and evaluate more than 100 microprocessors, digital-signal processors, and application-specific digital machines. To view a complete listing of the year's nominees in each of the 10 categories visit the MDR Web site at www.mdronline.com.

Feb 21 - Bluetooth Wireless Technology to Enhance Mobile Telephony. Bluetooth(TM) Special Interest Group (SIG), Inc. has announced two new wireless advancements from their working groups that address the needs of mobile phone users.

The Bluetooth SIG Car working group has announced that their Hands-Free profile has been adopted by the Bluetooth SIG membership. The Hands-Free profile is a definition for how Bluetooth wireless technology will enable hands-free use of mobile phones in automobiles. Additionally, the Imaging working group announced the introduction of the new Imaging profile for use in wirelessly transmitting digital images.

"The mobile phone industry is expected to be an important volume driver for the adoption of Bluetooth wireless technology in the European market and both of these profiles will play a contributing role in continuing the technology's rapid success," said Michael McCamon, chairman of the Bluetooth SIG marketing committee. "The adoption of our Hands-Free profile signifies increased interest from the automotive industry in bringing Bluetooth wireless products to market while the Imaging profile will further the ability of mobile phones and other mobile devices to interact and share content."

The Bluetooth SIG provides a forum for companies to work together using short-range wireless technologies to solve customer problems. In response to interest by the automotive industry, the Bluetooth SIG formed the Car working group in December of 1999. The Hands-Free profile was the first of several application level specifications expected from the working group.

Using the new Hands-Free profile, products that implement the Bluetooth specification can facilitate automatic establishment of a connection between the car's hands-free system (typically part of its audio system) and a mobile phone the driver brings into the car. Bluetooth wireless products that incorporate these new enhancements will enable a seamless, virtually automatic interface between the car and wireless products.

The Imaging profile allows digital images to be shared among mobile devices. For example, a digital camera can share content with a mobile phone, personal computer or handheld, all using Bluetooth wireless technology. The Imaging profile will also allow images from a digital camera to be sent directly to a printer equipped with Bluetooth wireless technology. As next-generation wide area telephone networks evolve and digital content becomes more prevalent among mobile devices, Bluetooth wireless technology is expected to play a major role in driving use and adoption of new services.

To learn more about Bluetooth, visit www.bluetooth.com.

Feb 21 - On2 Releases Preview Version of VP5 Video Compression Technology. On2 Technologies Inc. (AMEX: ONT), The Duck Corporation, the industry leader in compression technology, today released the preview version of VP5, their newest advancement in video compression.
VP4, the Company's current flagship product is still the only video compression technology to break the 1-megabit barrier for full resolution, 60 field-per-second digital video delivery. The Company claims VP5 is up to a 50% improvement over VP4. Additional features offered by VP5 include real-time encoding and the ability to handle interlaced content.
"With VP5, we've raised the bar again", said Dan Miller, founder & CTO of On2 Technologies. "This will be the first codec on the market to offer true broadcast-quality, real-time compression of difficult live material such as sports and action footage at sub-megabit data rates. I am truly proud of my team for once again surpassing our highest expectations."
In tests across a broad spectrum of content, competitive codecs typically require data rates 50% higher than VP5 to achieve comparable quality. VP5 also outperforms the proposed H.26L standard (even with all of its advanced options enabled) in quality, data rate and performance while maintaining lower decode and encode complexity. VP5 is particularly suited for handling interlaced material such as live television broadcasts.
"VP5 can do at 340k what VP4 does at 500k and other proprietary codecs do at 600k," stated Douglas A. McIntyre, On2 Technologies President and CEO. "This codec delivers a similar performance advantage over other codecs from 30kbps to multiple megabit encoding. This advance means that On2 compression no longer has any direct competitors for higher-quality video at lower data rates, not Windows Media Player, not Real 8, not Sorenson and not Divx. This codec is in a class by itself."
The completed version of VP5 is expected to be available on multiple platforms, such as the Internet, set-top boxes and Digital Signal Processors by the middle of Q2.
The download and streaming versions are available, through the RealPlayer, at www.on2.com.

Feb 20 - Nokia to Drive Openness in Wireless Networking. Nokia announced today at the 3GSM World Congress in Cannes, France, the strategy to drive openness in all critical future product designs across the communications networking industry.
Openness will further improve R&D efficiency, speed up time-to-market and help the entire industry to offer consumers and business users new mobile services in the most cost-efficient manner.
On-going standardization activities (e.g., 3GPP, IETF) are complemented with a number of de facto standardization initiatives to specify the internal interfaces of the key network elements. The aim is to create an open, competitive network-element module industry. To support this development, Nokia also will share its core module technologies with other network vendors on an equal basis to its own systems business. One of the pivotal activities of this strategy is the Open IP Base Station Architecture initiative announced today.
"New exciting mobile data services will enable operators to increase their revenues dramatically," says Dr. JT Bergqvist, Senior Vice President, Nokia Networks. "The challenge for network equipment vendors is that these new services require up to ten-fold increases in mobile bandwidth compared to current service offerings. This calls for a new level of efficiency in the communication networking infrastructure industry. IP technologies will enable new services, faster product development and lower cost, but IP alone will not be enough. Openness of internal interfaces is needed to realize the full potential of IP."
Nokia is the world leader in mobile communications. Backed by its experience, innovation, user-friendliness and secure solutions, the company has become the leading supplier of mobile phones and a leading supplier of mobile, fixed broadband and IP networks. By adding mobility to the Internet, Nokia creates new opportunities for companies and further enriches the daily lives of people. Nokia is one of the most broadly held companies in the world with listings on six major exchanges.
Nokia can be found online at www.nokia.com.

Feb 20 - Symantec Releases Utility Programs Optimized for Mac OS X. Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq:SYMC), the world leader in Internet security, today announced the industry's first complete line of Internet security and problem solving products designed specifically for Mac OS X. The product line will offer users new, easy-to-use Internet security features and complete problem solving capabilities for the Macintosh platform.

Norton Internet Security for Macintosh 2.0 will improve Mac users' online productivity, safety and privacy with the addition of a stealth protection mode, confidential information controls and Internet ad blocking features. Norton SystemWorks for Macintosh 2.0 is the world's first product to allow users to fix disk errors and recover lost files or applications natively on Mac OS X.

"The increased demand for advanced Internet security solutions for Mac OS X has been one of the driving forces behind Symantec's efforts to create this new line of products," said Steve Cullen, senior vice president of Symantec Consumer and Client Product Delivery. "We are adding important new features that appropriately address Mac users' concerns about online security and privacy issues, while also continuing to provide the most comprehensive and reliable problem-solving solutions."

"Apple takes a proactive approach towards security within Mac OS X in a variety of ways," said Ron Okamoto, Apple's vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations. "Symantec's new product line for Mac OS X builds on Apple's commitment towards security by helping to protect computers and networks at multiple entry points, and we're excited to receive their support."

Norton Internet Security for Macintosh 2.0 and Norton SystemWorks for Macintosh 2.0 are available now for pre-order at www.SymantecStore.com for an estimated retail price of $99.95 and $129.95, respectively. Current users of Symantec's Macintosh products, as well as users of select competitive products, can take advantage of an upgrade mail-in-rebate of $30 and $50, respectively. In March, Symantec's new Macintosh products will be available for purchase at various retail locations.

Feb 20 - Check Point Software Announces FireWall-1 GX for Wireless Networks. Check Point Software Technologies (Nasdaq:CHKP), the world leader in securing the Internet, today announced at the 3GSM World Congress its new wireless security product family specifically designed and developed to protect General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) 2.5G and emerging 3G networks.
The first product in the family, FireWall-1 GX provides additional security capabilities, further ensuring secure communications, transactions and roaming between mobile operators by protecting the gateway between operators' networks. Based on Check Point's patented Stateful Inspection technology and its Secure Virtual Network (SVN) architecture, FireWall-1 GX provides extended security complying with full GPRS standards. Check Point's FireWall-1 GX is the first of its kind to provide this additional type of security for 2.5G and 3G wireless networks.

The solution uniquely addresses:

-- Protection: prevents non-compliant packets from entering the mobile operators IP infrastructure

-- Integrity: enforces the integrity of "hand over" connections between roaming networks

-- Administration: monitors traffic and provides integrated tracking for troubleshooting and tracing of intrusion attempts

"The wireless telecommunications industry is in the process of a radical transformation, moving from primarily voice communications to enabling an increasing number of packet switched data services for the mobile user," said Carol Stone, vice president of worldwide marketing for Check Point Software Technologies.
"The continued success of the industry requires effective security solutions that will provide a secure environment in which wireless networks, application providers and subscribers can confidently conduct their transactions. Check Point is addressing the critical security requirements for 2.5G and emerging 3G wireless networks and delivering the first end-to-end advanced security solution for GPRS infrastructures."

"In the transition from GSM to GPRS and 3G networks which rely on an IP core network for data transport, wireless operators require robust security solutions to confidently offer services and conduct business," said Bob Brace, vice president of Mobile Solutions for Nokia Internet Communications. "As a leading supplier of GPRS, 3G networks and IP security systems, Nokia has always been focused on ensuring robust levels of security in all networks. Nokia will feature Firewall-1 GX as an integrated part of its security appliance family, representing an ideal solution for mobile operators."
For more information, visit www.checkpoint.com.

Feb 20 - Music Videos Coming for Mobile Devices. Alcatel (NYSE:ALA), Compaq Computer Corporation (NYSE:CPQ) and Packet Video, leaders in the delivery of mobile multimedia services, are demonstrating at the 3GSM World Congress the instant delivery of music video charts and clips over GPRS (General Packet Radio Services)-enabled pocket PCs.

This paves the way to an end-to-end mobile streaming solution delivered over UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System)-enabled devices, with data transmission rates up to two megabits per second. This is a massive growth market, as music downloads are considered one of the fastest-growing, highest-demand services for personal devices.

In the demo, the user browses a GPRS-enabled Compaq iPAQ Pocket PC, a tiny handheld computer, to view a list of the current music charts. Once users select a music video, they can choose the most appropriate means of payment and stream the video clip. A 25-second clip is free, or the full-length video is available for a small fee. For service providers, on the other hand, real-time billing of streaming allows them to adapt their billing to the ratio of the service provided. Visitors can take a first glance at this joint demonstration at the 3GSM World Congress, held at Cannes from February 19 through 22.

"By combining our IT and telecom strengths, Compaq and Alcatel are able to provide profitable audio/video streaming solutions for the high potential 2.5/3G market," said Jenny Newton, EMEA vice president of Compaq's Telecom Division. "Compaq is already a leader with its rich product and services portfolio for the IT infrastructure industry, management of audio and video content, and personal access devices such as the iPAQ. This represents the next step in meeting the needs of this dynamic and rapidly growing market."

For more information, visit www.alcatel.com.

Feb 19 - Universal Studios Brings Movie Content to Nokia Owners. World-class movie content is now available to Nokia phone owners in Club Nokia, through a long-term, licensing agreement between Universal Studios Consumer Products Group and Starcut, Nokia's content aggregator for mobile movie entertainment services.
During 2002, Universal's movie titles will also roll out across most Asia-Pacific countries and the US.Club Nokia members will be able to download display graphics, ringing tones, text messages (SMS), picture messages, multimedia messages (MMS) and mobile games related to more than 100 of Universal's top film and television titles and franchises, including The Mummy Returns, The Mummy, The Jurassic Park Trilogy, Back to the Future and Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Upcoming promotional film and television titles and access to Universal's vast library of film and television properties will provide consumers with a wide selection of compelling entertainment content for their Nokia mobile phones.
Currently available to Club Nokia members in 23 European countries and Australia, the service is accessible from www.club.nokia.com.

Feb 19 - AOL® Instant Messenger™ Service offered in Motorola Wireless Devices. America Online, Inc., the world's leading interactive services company, and Motorola, Inc., a global leader in providing integrated communications and embedded electronic solutions, announced today that the companies are working together to integrate a built-in version of the AOL® Instant Messenger™ service (AIM®) into a wide range of Motorola wireless handsets. By including the AIM service as an embedded feature on its wireless devices, Motorola and AOL will make it even easier for mobile operators to offer consumers a fun, mobile instant messaging solution without requiring consumers to install or set up any software on their wireless device.

Motorola and AOL will be conducting demonstrations of the built-in AIM service on Motorola wireless devices in AOL Time Warner’s stand at this week’s 3GSM World Congress and exhibition in Cannes, France (Palais des Festivals, Stand L19 in Hall 4).

“With the built-in version of the AIM service on Motorola wireless devices any consumer with an AOL Screen Name and a password can be up and running and exchanging instant messages in no time,” said Lisa Hook, President of AOL Anywhere for America Online. “Already, AOL audiences send more than one billion instant messages a day to their friends and loved ones and for carriers, offering the AIM service on Motorola’s wireless devices presents a great opportunity to increase the use of text-based services.”

With "mobile" instant messaging, people have a whole new way to use their phone or wireless device by sending and receiving private text messages with others in real time. This makes it possible to reach people wherever they are – on their mobile phone, at home or work on their computer, or using a mobile device – with the added benefit of seeing when friends, family and other contacts are online and "chatting without talking" when discretion during a personal conversation is needed.

Feb 19 - BCL Computers Introduces BCL EasyPDF v.2.0. BCL Computers, Inc., a leader in document management and web publishing software, today announced the launch of its BCL EasyPDF v.2.0 -- PDF creation software. The product is an easy to use, low cost PDF creation tool enabling corporations and individuals to create and share PDF files without the hassle of having to learn and purchase complex and highly priced software programs.
BCL EasyPDF v.2.0 converts any type of printable Windows(R) document including DOC, XLS, PPT, HTML and TXT to the universally accepted Portable Document Format (PDF) with the click of a button. BCL EasyPDF v.2.0 installs as a printer driver, making the creation of PDF documents as easy as printing. This gives users a simple way to share any type of Windows(R) document through this standard, universal document format.
BCL EasyPDF v.2.0 key features include: TrueType font support that includes optional font embedding capabilities, direct PDF output functions, and options to subset fonts in order to dramatically reduce file sizes. Other features are Asian and western languages support, as well as scaling and character positioning capabilities. BCL EasyPDF v.2.0 is Windows 2000/XP compatible.
BCL EasyPDF v.2.0 provides an easy to implement low-cost rapid PDF creation solution for corporations and individuals. BCL EasyPDF v.2.0 eliminates the high-costs of complex and labor-intensive software programs. It also brings an end to reservations about security issues associated with online PDF conversion services.
Free demos of the program can be downloaded from www.bclcomputers.com.

Feb 19 - Philips Semiconductors Develops Next Generation GPRS Chip. Philips Semiconductors, a division of Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE:PHG), (AEX:PHI), today announced the launch of the OneC(TM)-GPRS++ baseband chip, designed to enable the development of highly integrated silicon solutions for 2.5G GSM/GPRS handset manufacturers.

The OneC(TM)-GPRS++ -- the industry's most highly integrated 2.5G baseband solution -- will allow the development of a wide range of improved functionality including Java development, melody generation, TeleTYpe (TTY) and location-based services. Philips Semiconductors has also optimised the hardware and software enabling the increased speed and performance necessary to execute advanced applications.

"We have taken the OneC(TM) family of products a step further with the GPRS++," said Mary Curtis, 2.5G Cellular baseband marketing manager at Philips Semiconductors. "By combining advanced processes with high integration and design flexibility, the OneC(TM)-GPRS++ offers a cost-effective, high performance GPRS solution. The development of low cost, but feature-rich 2.5G technology is essential as the industry makes the move from 2.5 to 3G."

The memory architecture of the OneC(TM)-GPRS++ has been adapted to support Java -- offering users improved real-time operation of GSM/GPRS handsets -- by converting part of the SRAM to cache memory giving faster access to stored data. The chip will also offer High Speed Circuit Switched Data (HSCSD) functionality needed for text-messaging and fast data transmission.

By increasing the level of integration, Philips Semiconductors is the first manufacturer capable of offering melody generation -- the functionality that creates the wide range of ring tones now available -- on a single chip. In addition, the OneC(TM)-GPRS++ will offer TTY, the automatic voice to data translation function designed for people who are hard of hearing, which is essential for mobile handsets designed for the U.S. market.

Samples are currently available and volume production will begin in Q3 2002. For more information: www.semiconductors.philips.com.

Feb 18 - BUSlink Introduces Pocket New Portable HD and CD-RW Drives. Fueled by the ever-increasing demand for portability, BUSlink has introduced two lines of portable storage. The "Disk-on-the-Go" portable hard drives literally fit into a shirt pocket and weigh less than one-half pound. "Disk-on-the-go" pocket drives are available in 20, 30 and 40GB capacities with interfaces for USB 1.1, USB 2.0, Firewire and combination USB 2.0 and Firewire units. Models are available for PC or Mac. The pocket drives are Bus powered but include an AC adapter for optional use.

All BUSlink hard drives include the popular Retrospect back up software program, a $50 retail value. In addition, all BUSlink drives are formatted at the factory, so they are ready to go out of the box. The formatting procedure assures the user that every BUSlink drive is 100 percent quality checked. A company spokesman said, "BUSlink is the only external drive manufacturer that offers both free back up software and pre-formatted hard drives."

"CD-RW-on-the-Go" models are available in 4X, 8X and 16X and a combination DVD-CD-RW drive. Nero CD creation software is included with each unit.

According to Edward O'Brien, Sales Director, BUSlink, increased sales of notebook computers have prompted the demand of portable CD-RW drives. He further stated that a portable CD-RW drive provides an ideal way to move files between computers but also is a good way to back up files.

BUSlink has also updated its Desktop line of CD-RW drives. "BUSlink was the first to ship 32X drives in December of 2001," stated Mr. O'Brien. The BUSlink line includes USB 2.0 and Firewire external drives in 16x10x40, 24x10x40 and 32x12x40 configurations and internal IDE drives in 32x12x40. BUSlink's 40X internal and external CD-RW units will be released in February. All BUSlink drives incorporate "Smart Burn" technology to prevent buffer under run. This feature is particularly important when trying to multi-task while burning a CD.

Michael Wu, president of BUSlink, stated that in just three years BUSlink has become the leading supplier at retail for CD-RW and external hard drive products.

BUSlink products are currently available at leading catalog and Internet companies, office superstores, mass merchandisers, computer superstores, and are distributed by Ingram Micro. BUSlink can be found online at www.buslink.com.

Feb 18 - Broadband's Success Will Require More Than Regulatory Clearance. The cost of broadband to the home for Americans will be a leading challenge for the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), designed to promote greater deployment of broadband services, according to new research from the University of Southern California (USC).
In a significant national high-tech policy announcement on Thursday, the FCC set a regulation-loosening agenda to encourage universal high-speed access, promote investment and spur competition for a market plagued by slow adoption and numerous technical and political obstacles.

"Our research suggests consumers will not pay more than $25 per month for high-speed access, which helps to explain why less than 5% of U.S. households currently have high-speed access," says Professor Elizabeth Fife, PhD, senior researcher at USC's Center for Telecommunications Management (CTM).

CTM, part of the Marshall School of Business, recently released a comprehensive industry-wide telecom study. Edited by Dr. Fife, the "Telecom Outlook Report: Millennial Edition" (TOR) surveyed senior level executives in communications firms and organizations, government authorities, and analysts in the U.S., Asia and Europe on the challenges facing telecom markets. The study cites high prices and a lack of availability, as the main reasons U.S. households did not subscribe to broadband services.

The FCC tentatively proposed yesterday to minimize regulatory costs to lower pricing and speed deployment of new services to the public.

According to 60% of TOR experts, performance limitations and infrastructure costs remain serious impediments to broadband's success in the U.S.

"Content that provides a sense of community will drive increased Internet usage," says Morley Winograd, CTM Director and formerly Vice President Al Gore's Senior Policy Advisor in the National Partnership for Reinventing Government.

"If TOR experts are correct in that high-quality video, online movies, music and games will drive broadband usage, this will bring capacity and performance issues to the forefront," commented Winograd.

Beyond the regulatory issues cited by the FCC, a real boom in broadband deployment will only occur if the following issues identified by TOR experts are addressed. They vary by type of broadband access as follows:

-- Reducing installation delays and infrastructure costs for xDSL,

-- Upgrading infrastructure and eliminating costly and time-consuming cable-laying bottlenecks for broadband access through cable,

-- Improving performance and service pricing for broadband access through satellite, and

-- Resolving protocol standards and issues of spectrum for wireless access.

The Center for Telecommunications Management, at USC's Marshall School of Business, can be found at www.marshall.usc.edu.

Feb 18 - Sierra Wireless Connects Mobile Users to Global GSM/GPRS Network. Sierra Wireless (NASDAQ: SWIR)(TSE: SW) is pleased to announce the Sierra Wireless AirCard(R) 750 GPRS/GSM wireless network card. This new product will enable mobile users to stay connected to essential information, anytime, anywhere in the world.

The AirCard 750 enables mobile users to increase productivity and efficiency with reliable, wireless access to the Internet, e-mail, and corporate applications. The product will become a valuable tool for mobile users who travel or work outside the office and require wireless access from laptops, PDAs, and other handheld devices.
For added convenience, the AirCard 750 will allow mobile users to receive SMS (Short Message Service) messages or voice calls while exchanging emails or browsing the Internet. The AirCard 750 is one device designed to keep mobile users connected to all of their important business and personal information.

"Over the past months, we have established distribution agreements and received purchase orders for our upcoming products. We are very pleased to offer the new AirCard 750 to our customers in North America, Europe and other international GSM markets," said Derek Evans, Vice President of European Distribution, Sierra Wireless. "For mobile users the latest Sierra Wireless AirCard offers simplicity to stay connected and clear advantages of performance and reliability. Working with our strategic partners, we look forward to bringing our next generation GSM/GPRS AirCard to new international markets."

"We are pleased to work with Sierra Wireless and view them as a key strategic partner as we continue our wireless initiatives with the introduction of the AirCard 750," said Laura Sweetlove, Business Manager, Hugh Symons Mobile Data. "Sierra Wireless's experience and knowledge in the wireless industry as well as their extensive product line continues to fulfill a growing mobile demand. Hugh Symons Mobile Data are uniquely positioned to meet the growing demand for wireless access to e-mail, personal, and corporate information from mobile users by providing and supporting them with innovative and reliable products from Sierra Wireless."

The AirCard 750 operates as a Tri-Band wide area network interface card (NIC) on the GSM (Global System for Mobile communication) and GPRS (General Packet Radio Services) networks. It is a Type II PC card that functions on the 900, 1800, and 1900 MHz bands.
The AirCard 750 provides seamless access to corporate and personal applications, and superior power management allowing users to work wirelessly without the need for backup batteries or frequent recharging.
The Sierra Wireless AirCard 750 will also improve communication and speed up response times for mobile users on the road or in the field at speeds up to 56 kbps.
For more information about the Sierra Wireless AirCard 750 visit: www.sierrawireless.com.

Feb 18 - TCS First to Integrate Mobile Messaging and Location Services. TeleCommunication Systems, Inc. (TCS) (Nasdaq:TSYS), a key architect of wireless messaging and location software, today introduced its Multimedia Message Service Center (MMSC).

TCS' MMSC manages the much-anticipated delivery of rich text e-mail, sound, fax, color photos, animation, video, Internet and location services to multiple device types. It is the first and only MMSC to fully integrate multimedia messaging and mobile location services.

"The combination of location and multimedia messaging, for instance, will enable a mobile subscriber to receive a photo from a loved one who just had a baby, reply with an animated e-greeting card, download a map of the nearest florist, receive a discount florist coupon, and show up at the hospital with a beautiful bouquet," said Timothy Lorello, chief marketing officer and senior vice president of TCS.

TCS' MMSC supports both the GSM and CDMA air interfaces and requires MMS capable handsets with 2.5 or 3G data access. The MMSC is compliant with the latest versions of the 3G Partnership Project (3GPP), MMS and WAP specifications.
Visit the TCS web site at www.telecomsys.com.

Feb 17 - Sunday Shopping Watch. This Sunday prices climbed back up on 1 GHz notebooks. Prices went up $200 from $899 to $1099.
Pentium 4 desktops are still being nicely discounted, low-priced Celeron desktops are again being advertised, however no Athlon XP desktops are advertised this Sunday.

This Sunday's Special Discounts and Financing. In addition to sales on specific items, the following store-wide sales are advertised this week. (Note that these ads are for the Dayton,Ohio area. Prices or offerings may be different where you live.)

BestBuy.com is giving away 1 year of free MSN with any computer purchase. They are also offering 12 months of interest free financing on all desktop computer purchases over $598. Additionally, they are giving; $200 mail-in rebates on all Pentium 4 desktop complete package, $100 mail-in rebates on all Celeron and Athlon desktop complete packages, $100 mail-in rebates on all Intel Processor notebooks, and $100 instant rebates on advertised HP notebooks.
Circuit City is advertising $100 mail-in rebates on all notebooks and desktop complete packages, and 12 month no interest financing. They are also giving away 1 year of free CompuServe with all notebooks and desktop complete package purchases.
has no ad this Sunday.
CompUSA is offering 3 months of free AOL with any desktop or notebook computer purchase. They also claim you will get a free airline companion ticket with any desktop or notebook purchase (details were sparse).
Office Depot has no ad this Sunday.
Staples
is giving $100 instant rebates on any new computer when you trade in your old computer.

Shopping Alert on Lower Priced Desktops. Many lower priced Celeron desktops made by almost all computer manufacturers should be carefully investigated before purchase.
Most of these low priced desktops have no AGP video expansion slot, no onboard dedicated video RAM, no CD-RW drive, and very few empty PCI expansion slots. These computers will be very difficult to upgrade, and they have poorer performance than other desktops that do not have integrated audio and video chips on the motherboard.
Often by spending $200-$400 more dollars for a Pentium 4 or Athlon XP based system, you can get twice the performance, more features, and you will have an upgradeable computer that will serve you well for another 3 years.
If you choose the $700 Celeron system to save a few bucks, keep in mind that in a year or two you will probably want to replace it.

About Windows XP. It has been a little over 4 months since Windows XP began to be bundled with new computers. Windows XP became available for separate purchase on October 25th. For more information on Windows XP visit Microsoft's Windows XP home page.

Internet Rebates. Most stores are no longer advertising 3 year Internet rebates. Check with your local store before you buy. 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 build-to-order system is customized at the retailer and then 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 and you could get a better warranty).

* 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 1.1 GHz complete system
$599
Best Buy, Circuit City
Best Low-cost Pentium 4
HP 1.6 GHz complete system
$1099
Best Buy
Best High-end Pentium 4 System
Sony 1.8 GHz complete system
$1299
Best Buy
Best Low-cost Athlon XP System
None Advertised
   
Best High-end Athlon XP System
None Advertised
   
Best Low-cost Notebook
Compaq 1 GHz Duron with DVD
$1099
CompUSA
Best High-end Notebook
Sony AMD Athlon 4, 1 GHz with combo DVD/CD-RW
$1299
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 local (Dayton, Ohio) computer chain store advertisements. While we can not guarantee your local chain store has the same items, this article should help you make informed buying decisions.

 

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