Feb 06 -Samsung Electronics Develops Satellite DMB
Chip for Mobile Phones. Samsung Electronics has completed development
of the world's first satellite digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB)
chip for mobile phones. The satellite DMB chip for mobile phones requires
ultra-high integration, and Samsung Electronics has paved the way
for localization of satellite DMB components. Satellite DMB is in
the spotlight as the next generation in broadcasting formats. The
service will be accessible anywhere to users on the move via either
receivers in automobiles or handheld terminals.
Samsung has applied system-on-a-chip (SOC) technologies to enable
the satellite DMB chip to select the signals intended for individual
users from a myriad of signals transmitted form the satellite and
convert them into high quality video images. The device also bills
the payment for the service and identifies the user. Samsung has also
designed the device to be extremely power efficient.
A Samsung spokesperson says, "We have completed development
of the world's first satellite DMB chip for mobile phones. This achievement
has paved the way for us to take the lead in core technology for various
handheld products. We expect our work to accelerate the commercialization
of satellite DMB services."
Samsung Electronics aims to launch a mobile phone with its new chip
on board in time for the opening of satellite DMB service. Visit their
web site at www.samsung.com.
Feb 06 - Fujifilm Unveils Sleek New 3.2
and 4.0 Megapixel Cameras. Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. today
added two sleek new entry-level models to its award-winning family
of FinePix digital cameras. The FinePix A330 and the FinePix A340
offer faster operation times and improved power consumption with new,
user-friendly menu navigation. The cameras allow first-time digital
photographers to capture great pictures easily, while keeping the
overall experience simple and fun.
"We're dedicated to best-possible image quality combined with
ease of use and attractive values," said Susan Schaffer, Director
of Consumer Product Marketing, Photo Imaging Division, Fuji Photo
Film U.S.A., Inc. "After all, digital photography should be fun
for everyone! That's why we're pleased to offer slimmer, pocket-friendly
models with extra-friendly features that make point-and-shoot results
The FinePix A330 offers 3.2 million effective pixels and a 3x optical
zoom to capture bright, vivid images, while the FinePix A340 offers
picture-takers 4.0 million effective pixels, combined with a 3x optical
zoom, for printed images that look as real as life. Both cameras offer
streamlined menu navigation, a quick playback mode and a slide-powered
boot-up in sleek metallic bodies.
The cameras offer four scene position modes usually found in more
advanced Fujifilm cameras, including portrait, night, sports and landscape
settings. The macro setting on both cameras allow users to capture
images of items only 4 inches away from the lens. In addition, AVI
movies can be captured at a rate of 10 frames per second.
The FinePix A330 and A340 are compatible with the optional Fujifilm
Picture Cradle, which allows easy optional NH-10 battery recharging,
as well as streamlined image downloads and video playback when connected
to a television set.
The FinePix A330 and A340 will ship with FinePix Viewer, ImageMixer
VCD2 for FinePix, a 16MB xD- Picture Card(TM), two AA alkaline batteries,
USB cable, video out cable, wrist strap, and a Picture Cradle adapter.
The FinePix A330 will be available in March 2004 at a list price of
$199.99, and the FinePix A340 will ship in May 2004 at a list price
Access the Fujifilm USA Web site at www.fujifilm.com.
Feb 06 - NPD Group Reports Overall Decrease
in PC Software Sales for 2003. According to leading marketing
information provider The NPD Group, the strong sales of personal finance,
security and tax software helped negate dwindling sales in the gaming,
operating system and educational software markets for personal computers
Overall PC software retail sales in 2003 decreased 4 percent to $3.68
billion from $3.84 billion in 2002. Unit sales surpassed 102 million
in 2003, falling 9.5 percent from 2002.
Four of the eight software categories tracked by The NPD Group reported
unit and dollar sales increases in 2003. System utilities, business,
finance and personal productivity all experienced gains while education,
operating systems, games and imaging and graphics saw declines in
"While much has been made of the poor security habits of consumers,
the sales figures indicate that retail buyers are very much aware
of their need to provide additional security to their PCs," said
Stephen Baker, director of industry analysis for The NPD Group. "With
two of the top four best-selling titles in 2003 and revenue that topped
$500 million, systems utilities and security products are a key opportunity
Finance software continued to be a key revenue generator, with unit
and dollar volume for finance titles, including tax software, rising
6 percent over 2002. In 2003, five of the top ten best-selling software
titles were tax products. Educational software unit volume fell 26
percent in 2003 on top of a 25 percent decline in 2002. The category
has lost almost one-half of its revenue and more than one half its
unit volume since 2000.
Despite weak PC game sales in 2003, games remained the dominant PC
software product, accounting for one-third of all revenue and more
than one-half of the unit sales. Nevertheless, PC games saw a 14 percent
decline in both unit and dollar volume from 2002. The system utility
category grew 13 percent, based on unit sales buoyed by a growing
demand for Internet security software. Over 9.8 million units of system
utility software were sold in 2003 compared with nearly 8.8 million
units in 2002, a 12.3 percent increase.
"The decline in the retail software market in 2003 was the sharpest
in the last four years," said Baker. "Despite the lackluster
results, primarily caused by the games and education segments, there
remains a strong growth opportunity in the consumer software market.
One look at the best-sellers list shows that retail buyers remain
committed to the PC as the ideal place to manage their money and are
willing to invest in software that provides them with enhanced security
For more information visit www.npd.com.
Feb 06 - America Online Launches Next Generation
Version of AOL Instant Messenger Service. America Online, Inc.,
the world's leading interactive services company, today announced
the launch of the most recent upgrade to the popular AOL(R) Instant
Messenger(TM) (AIM(R)) service with new features including live video
instant messaging compatible with Apple's popular iChat AV video conferencing
application, account linking and online games.
Designed to give users a more expressive instant messaging experience,
AIM's new version offers a number of new advanced instant messaging
capabilities that extend the vibrant social interaction that takes
place within the AIM community. For the first time, users will have
the ability to conduct live video instant messaging conversations,
link up and manage multiple AIM screen names from the same session,
and invite their buddies to play online games through their instant
The new live video instant messaging feature in AIM 5.5 is fully
compatible with iChat AV 2.1, Apple's breakthrough video conferencing
technology. Now AOL users from a PC can tap into the worldwide community
of iChat AV users on Macs.
"With the increased popularity of instant messaging both for
fun and for work, our focus is innovating so that AIM users have new
advanced features that allow them to create more interactive instant
messaging experiences," said Ed Fish, Senior Vice President and
General Manager, AOL Desktop Messaging. "With enhanced new features
including video conferencing with both AIM users and the large community
of Apple's iChat AV users, AIM 5.5 offers additional tools to help
stay in touch, be more productive and be more entertained."
"With the introduction of iChat AV in Mac OS X 'Panther' and
the iSight camera, Apple revolutionized the way people communicate
with each other over the Internet," said Philip Schiller, Apple's
senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "Now iChat
AV users can video conference with their AOL buddies around the world
who use PCs."
The AIM service is at the center of one of the largest and most active
communities online. Touched by more than 50 million active users(1)
each month and supported by a network infrastructure that handles
nearly two billion instant messages each day, the AOL Instant Messenger
network makes it possible for people from around the world to communicate
with each other via text, audio or video all in real time, and to
engage in other shared activities, such as casual gaming.
Key Features of AIM 5.5 include:
-- Live Video Instant Messaging: For the first time, AIM users now
have the ability to engage in live streaming video conversations with
others via their instant messaging connection. With only a web cam,
microphone and one click on the video button in AIM 5.5, users can
start a live video/audio conversation with other AIM users from just
about anywhere in the world.
-- AIM Games: By clicking on the "games" button within
the AIM Buddy List(R) feature, users can find and invite friends to
compete in online interactive games. Not only can AIM users invite
and play online games with others, but they can also instant message
with those they're playing with, making for a more interactive and
competitive gaming environment.
-- AIM Account Linking: With account linking, users with multiple
screen names can sign onto AIM once, and have all of their screen
names appear online. Users can view multiple buddy lists from a single
location, choose to have all their instant messages from multiple
screen names automatically forwarded to a single AIM account, and
link icons, expressions and other messaging features to these different
names. Users can, for example, maintain work and home personalities,
family and gaming personas, all linked up to their chosen features.
Account linking also works with special screen names for love.com,
a new real-time personals service featuring the AOL Instant Messenger
AIM 5.5 is available today at www.aim.com.
Video functionality is free and available to users using the Microsoft
Windows XP operating system. iChat AV 2.1 Public Beta was released
by Apple today and is available for free download at www.apple.com/ichat.
Feb 06 - Best Buy Simplifies High Definition
Choices For Consumers. Best Buy, the nation's leading specialty
retailer of digital technology and entertainment products and services,
today launched five new High Definition (HD) bundles for customers
to choose from. The new offerings will help take the confusion out
of purchasing HD packages and match the consumer's need with the best
"Our customers are embracing HD technology, but until now, there
hasn't been an easy way for them to find an entire package - TV and
service - that fits their unique needs," said Bill Cody, vice
president of home theater for Best Buy. "We've created customer-friendly
bundles that will enable more people to experience and enjoy the true
benefits of HD."
Customers who currently own, or are buying a high definition television
can easily add one of the bundles to experience HD in the comfort
of their own living rooms. The following HD bundle product and service
packages will be available starting February 8 in all Best Buy stores
in the United States.
-- Diamond Package - $899.99
-- For customers starting from scratch who want all the HD they can
get for the best possible viewing experience.
-- This customer may have DIRECTV but does NOT have a special HD
receiver required for HD viewing, cable, or off-air content.
-- Includes DIRECTV HD receiver, 20-inch TripleSat dish, off-air
antenna and professional installation.
-- Platinum Package - $799.99
-- For customers who want access to all the available local and satellite
HD options to enhance their viewing experience.
-- This customer either has DIRECTV, but who wants both off-air and
DIRECTV HD content.
-- Includes DIRECTV HD receiver, off-air antenna and professional
-- Gold Package - $699.99
-- For customers who want HD movies and sports from DIRECTV.
-- This customer either has DIRECTV or wants DIRECTV content, but
does not want off-air HD content.
-- Includes DIRECTV HD receiver, 20-inch TripleSat dish and professional
-- Silver Package - $599.99
-- For customers who want their local, or free, HD broadcast channels.
-- This customer has either DIRECTV or Digital Cable, and seeks local
-- Includes HD receiver, off-air antenna and professional installation.
-- Bronze Package - $499.99
-- For those customers who are already enjoying HD and want to access
additional HD content and have the option of getting all DIRECTV channels
offered in HD.
-- This customer has DIRECTV and an HD receiver but needs an HD dish
-- Includes 20-inch TripleSat dish and install, off-air antenna and
The packages will be available in stores through February 28, 2004.
For more information about Best Buy, visit www.bestbuy.com.
Feb 05 - Chipmakers Break
Low k Barrier, Drives Next-Generation Electronics. Key semiconductor
designers, manufacturers and Applied Materials, Inc. today mark the
beginning of the Low k Era in chipmaking. Semiconductor companies
Agere Systems, Altera Corp., AMD, ATI Technologies, LSI Logic, NEC
and Toshiba, and semiconductor foundry TSMC, are utilizing Applied
Materials' Black Diamond(R) low k film to manufacture some of the
world's most advanced chips.
To date, more than 40 million chips use the Black Diamond
film to power the latest mobile electronics, high-speed game consoles,
networking systems and computers just entering the market. Breakthrough
products featuring these new low k chips will be showcased at a celebratory
event in San Francisco this afternoon.
New cutting-edge devices use low k dielectrics as an insulation material
that allows smaller, tightly spaced interconnect wires to move electronic
signals through the device at multi-gigahertz speeds. Low k enhances
speed gains and offers the critical advantages of reduced power consumption
with lower crosstalk for heightened performance.
"The transition to low k is a huge breakthrough for the industry,
enabling chipmakers to deliver higher performance, lower power and
innovative features at lower costs," said Mike Splinter, president
and chief executive officer of Applied Materials. "This milestone
achievement has required a new level of collaboration, drawing on
expertise in process, design, and packaging from many world-class
chipmakers to bring this technology to volume production. Applied
Materials is honored to be part of this breakthrough, working together
with customers who have helped to break the low k barrier and extend
Moore's Law. "
Proving that the low k era is now a reality, TSMC has implemented
the material in its 130 nanometer (nm) and 90nm processes, which have
been used to manufacture more than 40 low k chip designs for leading
chipmakers. Among the designs are lightning-fast chips such as LSI
Logic's high-performance ASICs and RapidChip(TM) Platform ASICs designed
with the company's Gflx 110nm process technology, and ATI's RADEON(TM)
9600XT and MOBILITY(TM) RADEON(TM) 9700 graphics accelerators that
deliver best-in-class gaming performance while keeping power consumption
to a minimum.
TSMC-manufactured designs also include Agere's DSP16411 chip that
offers enhanced performance and low power for wireless communications,
and Altera's new Stratix II FPGA family. Low k benefits the Stratix
II family's ability to deliver on performance, while striking a balance
with the power considerations at 90nm. The Stratix II FPGA family
supports high-bandwidth applications including high-end chip rate
processing in cellular base stations, data processing on high performance
line cards used in a broad range of routers and edge switchers, and
Voice over IP (VoIP) solutions gateways, to name a few.
The benefits of low k are also demonstrated in AMD's 64-bit processors,
including the AMD Opteron(TM) and AMD Athlon(TM) 64 microprocessors,
whose advanced performance powers some of the world's fastest and
most demanding servers, supercomputers, and desktop and notebook PCs.
For mobile electronics such as laptop computers, PDAs, digital cameras
and cell phones, low k provides the advantage of reduced power consumption
for extended battery life. Toshiba has achieved up to a 50 percent
reduction in power consumption for its TC300 family of ASICs through
a combination of optimized design and incorporation of low k films,
leading to far longer mobile usage between battery charges. NEC tapped
low k to enable packing 100 million transistors and nine levels of
copper layers into its most advanced UX6 chip family.
Ongoing development and collaboration by chipmakers worldwide have
successfully overcome the daunting challenges of implementing low
k technology. Teamwork, perseverance, and innovation have paid off
as these top semiconductor companies rapidly gain a unique market
advantage--using low k technology in a broad spectrum of products
that have the potential to change the way consumers work, communicate,
Applied Materials (Nasdaq:AMAT) is the largest supplier of products
and services to the global semiconductor industry. Applied Materials'
web site is www.appliedmaterials.com.
Feb 05 - Northgate Innovations Athlon
64 System Priced under $900. Northgate Innovations, Inc. (OTCBB:NGTE),
in conjunction with Staples, Inc., announced the availability of a
fully configured AMD Athlon(TM) 64 processor-based PC.
This PC system, exclusively available at Staples.com, is based on
the AMD Athlon 64 processor 3000+, the world's only Windows(R)-compatible
64-bit PC processor. This computer represents the next generation
of high-powered personal computers. With simultaneous 32- and 64-bit
computing, consumers can confidently make a seamless transition into
the digital future.
"We are so pleased to be able to bring this latest advanced
technology to the market, at such a great price," said Bob Anderson,
Vice President, Business Development at Northgate. "Working with
Staples allows customers a great online buying experience with the
convenience of receiving the product at their home or office."
The AMD Athlon 64 processor 3000+ features 512MB of DDR memory along
with AMD's Cool'n'Quiet(TM) technology, designed to detect when full
power is not needed and automatically adjust system power consumption,
enabling a cooler, quieter system. Northgate's system also gives customers
a 120GB 7200RPM hard drive, and a DVDRW combo drive.
"This system from Northgate Innovations puts the incredible
64-bit power and best-in-class 32-bit performance of the AMD Athlon
64 family of processors at the fingertips of desktop users,"
said Marty Seyer, vice president and general manager, Microprocessor
Business Unit, AMD.
According to Ron Gerace, Vice President of Merchandising for Staples
Business Delivery, "The AMD Athlon 64 processor 3000+ makes it
easy for customers to upgrade their PC at a low cost. With AMD64 technology,
most existing applications run faster, saving customers time. And
it can help protect against obsolescence so customers can stretch
their computer dollars further."
The system sells for $899.99. Further details of the Northgate STCA6430NM
can be seen at www.staples.com.
Feb 05 - BlackBerry Surpasses One Millionth
Subscriber Milestone. Research In Motion (RIM) (Nasdaq:RIMM) (TSX:RIM)
today announced that its BlackBerry(R) wireless platform surpassed
another major milestone with more than one million active subscribers.
RIM continues to lead the market it pioneered with integrated wireless
data solutions for mobile professionals; and this achievement tangibly
illustrates the growing popularity and momentum of BlackBerry.
"This is an important threshold for BlackBerry and even a positive
industry indicator since BlackBerry is now the first integrated wireless
data platform to reach the one million subscriber mark," said
Mike Lazaridis, President, Co-CEO and Founder of Research In Motion.
"We look forward to building on this early success along with
our carrier, developer and licensing partners around the world."
BlackBerry was originally introduced in 1999 and quickly became the
wireless email standard for many enterprise and government organizations.
Since that time, the BlackBerry platform has evolved to also meet
the needs of small/medium businesses as well as individual mobile
professionals. Today, with Blackberry coverage on fifty networks in
over thirty countries, BlackBerry supports a wide range of email,
phone, SMS, organizer, intranet and Internet-based applications.
For individuals and smaller companies, BlackBerry Web Client(TM)
allows users to access multiple corporate and/or personal email accounts
from a single BlackBerry handheld. For larger enterprises with an
IT department, BlackBerry Enterprise Server(TM) software tightly integrates
with Microsoft(R) Exchange or IBM Lotus(R) Domino(TM) and works with
existing enterprise systems to enable push-based, secure, wireless
access to existing email and other corporate data.
RIM also introduced the BlackBerry Connect(TM) licensing program
last year to begin allowing other wireless device manufacturers to
connect their handsets to BlackBerry Enterprise Server(TM) and BlackBerry
Web Client(TM) services. BlackBerry Connect supports Palm OS, Symbian
OS and Windows Mobile; and handset partners currently include HTC,
Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson.
For more information, visit www.rim.com
Feb 05 - America Online Launches the Red
Service Created Exclusively for Teens. As online activity among
today's teens continues to increase, America Online, Inc., the world's
leading interactive services company, today announced the launch of
the RED(TM) service, a radically new, customizable online experience
for teenagers. Based on extensive market research and feedback from
teens across the country, the RED service offers teens their own customized
version of the AOL(R) service, putting them in control of their online
The latest industry research shows that teens are among the fastest
growing online audiences. Jupiter Research reports that 18 million
teens aged 12-17 are online today and that number is projected to
grow to 22 million by 2007.(2) In addition, a new America Online/Digital
Marketing Services, Inc. online survey conducted in Opinion Place
shows that more than half (53%) of teens go online every day and 73%
are online five or more days a week.
The AOL "Teen Wired" survey of more than 2,000 teens and
parents of teens from the 15 largest cities in the U.S. also uncovers
online trends, behaviors and preferences among the teen audience.
Specific findings of the AOL/DMS "Teen Wired" survey include:
-- Fifty-three percent of teens aged 13-19 go online every day and
73% go online five or more days per week.
-- Teens use the Internet to send email (82%), exchange instant messages
(72%), do homework or research for school (71%) and play online games
-- Teen girls are more likely than teen boys to instant message/email
with friends, use the Internet to do research or homework for school
and send and receive pictures from friends and family. Teen boys prefer
to play online games, get sports information and watch short cartoon
or video clips online.
-- Eighty-one percent of teens and parents talk about online safety.
-- If teens had to give up something forever, 25% would miss instant
messaging or emailing with friends and family the most.
-- More than eight in ten teens (84%) listen to online music. Nearly
a quarter of teens (22%) listen to online music every time they go
-- For 21% of teens, the first thing they do when they get home from
school is to go online to check email and IM with friends.
The groundbreaking RED service is designed to respond to the surge
in online activity among today's teens and to empower them by letting
them customize and personalize their desktop and choose content to
highlight based on their specific interests. The RED service gives
teens their own Welcome Experience, toolbar and Buddy List(R) feature
as well as exclusive content and features from leading brands, original
programming and expanded community tools.
It is available at no additional cost to AOL members using AOL(R)
9.0 Optimized, the newest version of the AOL(R) client software. For
more information on the RED service, go to www.aolepk.com/red.
Feb 05 - Youth Market Represents Large
Opportunity for Wireless. With an estimated 25 to 35 million potential
customers, the youth market in the United States could represent an
extremely lucrative opportunity for the wireless industry. High-tech
market research firm In-Stat/MDR (www.instat.com)
reports that opportunities exist not just for wireless carriers, though
they stand to reap the largest share, but for handset manufacturers,
wireless application developers and publishers as well.
"To successfully tap this customer segment, the wireless industry
will need to focus on developing innovative services that appeal to
youth, but that also fit parents' buying habits," said Ken Hyers,
a senior analyst with In-Stat/MDR.
"This will call for a multiphased product and service offering
from carriers. A combination of plans, including a mix of post-paid
and pre-paid, family plans, and youth-oriented sub-brands should all
be considered by carriers interested in this customer segment. Service
offerings, particularly data services, are of interest to younger
wireless customers -- the wireless industry should ensure that their
product mix in this category is wide and complete enough to appeal
to younger users."
Over the last couple of years, this market has not gone unnoticed
by the wireless industry. Carriers, such as the industry giants Verizon
Wireless, AT&T Wireless, and Cingular, have all rolled out pre-paid
services specifically targeted at kids and young adults. Just last
year, Sprint, in partnership with Virgin Mobile of the UK, rolled
out a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), called Virgin Mobile
USA, tailored to appeal to the "MTV Generation."
These services have had varying levels of success in penetrating this
target market and, collectively, have millions of subscribers in this
In a recent survey of both parents and young adults, In-Stat/MDR
found the following:
-- The average age of a child whose parent supplied the mobile phone
was most likely to be 19 or above, indicating that parents provide
their children with their own phones as a safety tool when the children
begin to move out of the house for the first time.
-- Youths were, by a substantial margin, more likely to be customers
of Verizon Wireless, then any other single wireless carrier.
-- Youths, and particularly young adults, were highly likely to use
wireless data services regularly.
Feb 04 - ATI Launches MOBILITY RADEON 9700.
ATI Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATYT)(TSX:ATY), the global leader for
mobile graphics, today set a new industry standard with the introduction
of the first low-k based graphics solution for notebook PCs. The MOBILITY(TM)
RADEON(TM) 9700 was unveiled today at a product launch gala event
in Taipei, Taiwan.
As the first mobile graphics provider to support Microsoft(R) DirectX(R)9.0,
ATI has a proven track record of pushing the envelope in mobile visual
processing. The addition of low-k extends the company's lead in notebook
graphics innovation, providing key enhancements to enable the industry's
highest mobile clock speeds while reducing power consumption. MOBILITY
RADEON 9700 is a robust solution that fully leverages DirectX(R)9.0
capabilities to provide the most powerful mobile graphics solution
on the market today.
MOBILITY RADEON 9700 will power notebooks from such industry leaders
as Acer, Alienware, Fujitsu-Siemens, Gericom, LG, Medion, Packard
Bell, rockdirect, Samsung, Targa and VoodooPC. In addition, leading
original design manufacturers such as Asus, Clevo, Compal, ECS, FIC,
Quanta, Uniwill and Wistron will offer notebooks including the MOBILITY
"With recent advances in mobile graphics technology, consumers
can now enjoy a rich visual experience from their notebook PC that
rivals that of the desktop," said Phil Eisler, Vice President
and General Manager. Mobile and Integrated Products Group, ATI Technologies
Inc. "ATI is extending its market leadership in notebook graphics
by pioneering the use of low-k technology to offer new levels of performance
and power efficiency with the introduction of MOBILITY RADEON 9700."
ATI worked closely with TSMC, to develop and implement a low-k technology
for the MOBILITY RADEON 9700. TSMC's low-k technology reduces device
capacitance at the interconnect level to enhance the performance of
ATI's proprietary technologies that are built into the MOBILITY RADEON
"The emergence of low-k products such as the MOBILITY RADEON
9700 is a prime indicator of a fundamental shift in semiconductor
process technologies," said F.C. Tseng, deputy chief executive
officer at TSMC. "TSMC is the only foundry with two generations
of production-proven low-k based semiconductor processes, enabling
companies like ATI to make great strides in device performance and
optimization. The introduction of MOBILITY RADEON 9700, brings low-k
technology into the mainstream, fully harnessing these new capabilities
for mobile users around the globe."
Valve software, the award winning software house responsible for
the smash hit Half-Life and the forthcoming Half-Life 2, recently
had the opportunity to experience the MOBILITY RADEON 9700 first hand.
"ATI has earned its leadership position in the desktop GPU market
by consistently delivering top performing products," said Gabe
Newell, Managing Director, Valve. "With its latest mobile products,
ATI is extending its line of superior product offerings to new markets.
If you're going to play games on a mobile PC, play it on a MOBILITY
Key features of the MOBILITY RADEON 9700 include:
-- Introduces low-k technology for the fastest mobile performance
and longest battery life;
-- Most advanced mobile technology to drive over 100 of the top DirectX(R)
9.0 game titles;
-- Four powerful rendering pipelines that deliver the ultimate cinematic
-- Features POWERPLAY(TM) 4.0 so you can get the most life out of
your notebook battery - without sacrificing performance;
-- First in the industry to deliver SMARTSHADER(TM) Effects which
delivers a unique visual experience to the look of games; and
-- Features ATI's VPU RECOVER for the industry's most stable 3D acceleration
Visit their Web site at www.ati.com.
Feb 04 - TSMC's Low-K Technology
Goes Mainstream With Volume Production. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing
Company (TSE:2330) (NYSE:TSM), today announced that its industry-leading
low-k technology has entered mainstream production following the introduction
today of ATI's MOBILITY RADEON 9700. The introduction of the low-k
graphics processor to the notebook PC market reaffirms the arrival
of the low-k technology era.
"TSMC is the only semiconductor foundry with two
generations of proven low-k technology in production, including both
the 0.13-micron and 90nm nodes," said Genda Hu, vice president
of marketing for TSMC. "The volume production of ATI's MOBILITY
RADEON 9700 vividly demonstrates the growing trend toward low-k based
Low-k technology improves device performance while reducing power
consumption, making it an ideal choice for both high-performance and
low-power applications. TSMC's low-k technology also offers design
ease, which reduces overall design time due to a better power delay
trade-off than that of FSG counterpart. This combination allows designers
to take immediate advantage of TSMC's 0.13-micron and 90nm Nexsys(SM)
Technology for SoC design. The 90nm Nexsys technology is the first
process technology based entirely on low-k dielectrics, and is ramping
to production this quarter."
While many semiconductor companies struggle to qualify low-k manufacturing,
TSMC has delivered dozens of low-k customer products into volume production.
The company manufactured over 10,000 production wafers using this
technology in 2003, and expects to ramp its low-k technology in both
0.13-micron and 90-nm nodes significantly in the coming years. TSMC
is expected to deliver over 100,000 low-k wafers in 2004.
TSMC has led the advancement of low-k dielectrics for the past three
years. TSMC was the first company to announce its intention to use
CVD-based low-k dielectrics in January 2001, and became the first
company to production-qualify its 0.13-micron low-k process in August
of 2002. TSMC's 0.13-micron copper/low-k yields now rival those of
wafers using traditional FSG dielectrics. More important, TSMC's proven
low-k film, combined with copper interconnects, drives higher device
performance and lower power consumption, irrespective of other design
enhancements. This means low-k technology will amplify any new semiconductor
Moreover, TSMC, in collaboration with leading package service providers,
has resolved the package issues that in many cases continue to plague
the adoption of low-k technology by other semiconductor companies.
Packaging solutions for mainstream package types have been established
and are already available from multiple vendors.
ATI's MOBILITY RADEON 9700 is the first notebook PC 3D graphics processor
to be built on a low-k process. The MOBILITY RADEON 9700 provides
the industry's fastest mobile clock speeds while reducing power consumption,
two key elements for success in the notebook graphics market.
For more information about TSMC see www.tsmc.com.
Feb 04 - Philips Launches Semiconductor
Industry's First Single Chip For LCD TV. Royal Philips Electronics
(NYSE:PHG)(AEX:PHI) today announced the launch of its TDA15500 single
chip solution for low-end LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) TV sets. The
TDA15500 is the first single system chip solution that provides manufacturers
of LCD TV sets features such as video decoding, picture improvement,
de-interlacing and scaling, sound entertainment and a microcontroller
The technology behind the TDA15500 is derived from Philips' Ultimate-One-Chip
(UOC) third generation solution and Philips' scaler expertise. The
high integration level of the single chip and the solution's resulting
lower cost enable manufacturers, with the help of a reference design,
to compete effectively and offer affordable LCD television sets to
the Connected Consumer.
With the booming flat panel display and LCD TV market, we are witnessing
unprecedented changes in the world of television. According to Strategy
Analytics, the LCD market is likely to reach 32 million units by 2008
on a quantum basis, approximately 7 times the figure expected for
2003. Small and medium sized displays currently dominate the market,
but the 30"+ segment will grow rapidly from 2005 onwards. Due
to Philips' commitment to developing state-of-the-art chip technology
for the LCD TV market, Philips is ahead of the industry in developing
single chip solutions such as the TDA15500 which will help drive the
adoption of LCD TV.
"With Philips' proven and extensive knowledge in the television
arena, its semiconductor division is a leader in developing single
chip technology," said David Mercer, VP and Principal Analyst
at Strategy Analytics. "Single chip solutions such as Philips'
TDA15500 will help drive growth in the low-end LCD market as the technology
will allow more manufacturers to bring affordable LCD TV sets to market."
"Our latest single chip system solution revolutionizes the LCD
TV industry and we are the first to the market with such a single
chip," said Jos Klippert, marketing director for LCD TV solutions
at Philips Semiconductors. "The TDA15500 is a low cost, single
chip implementation in an easy to use reference design that gives
our customers the possibility to build competitive LCD TVs with fast
time to market in a highly competitive marketplace -- whilst also
providing our customers with the flexibility to differentiate themselves
from other market players."
Containing the field proven and truly global video decoding from
Philips' UOC family, the TDA15500 offers customers a way for a smooth
implementation of LCD TV solution. The single chip also contains an
on-chip microcontroller that permits the full implementation of LCD
TV systems with a minimum number of external components. Integrating
the video decoding capabilities developed in the UOC family with advanced
de-interlacing features allows for this easy implementation of the
LCD-TV solution and gives customers rapid time to market.
The system inherits the software environment already established
in fifty percent of TV sets produced worldwide based on the Philips
GTV reference software. In addition, by integrating this single chip
into LCD television sets, manufacturers will gain a serious competitive
advantage in the low-end market, drive costs down in the LCD TV market
in general and ultimately provide end consumers with LCD TV sets that
they can afford, hence paving the way for mass adoption of LCD television.
Pricing and Availability
The TDA15500 solution is priced starting at under US $12 for volume
quantities. Product sampling will begin in Q2 2004 with mass production
expected to commence in Q4 2004.
Philips is located at: www.semiconductors.philips.com.
Feb 05 - Salton Pioneers Kitchen of the
Future. Salton Europe, a leading marketer and distributor of branded,
high-quality small appliances, today introduced its Beyond Connected
Home product line, a group of networked home products designed to
make life simpler, more convenient and fun.
"People today face increasingly demanding schedules and these
new products are designed with that in mind," said Bob Lamson,
managing director of Beyond. "They keep up with the pace of life
so families can enjoy those few precious moments they get without
In a connected home, networking creates communication between appliances,
electronics, security and HVAC systems so the home instinctively knows
what needs to be done and when to do it. Salton's initial focus with
the Beyond line is connectivity in the most popular room of the house
the kitchen. While excellent everyday products on their own,
Beyond products really come alive when networked together, sharing
vital information and delivering the convenience of a truly connected
A new version of Beyond's flagship kitchen entertainment centers,
the iCEBOX, CounterTop, is designed for the counter rather than mounting
under kitchen cabinetry. And for those who prefer overseeing their
Beyond products from the comfort of their bedroom, the Home Hub provides
that freedom. Both the new iCEBOX CounterTop and the Home Hub can
be used as command centers for Beyond appliances, each of which communicates
wirelessly with the other Beyond products. In the near future they
will communicate with products of other manufacturers as well.
With broadband or dial-up Internet access, television, a DVD and
CD player, FM radio and home security monitoring capabilities, the
Microsoft CE .NET based iCEBOX both the new CounterTop and
FlipScreen models bring information, communication and entertainment
to busy families, making life in the kitchen more convenient and exciting.
The washable keyboard and remote means even spills can't stop the
The Beyond Microwave cooks perfectly and evenly every time with the
simple swipe of the barcode on a package of food. It comes programmed
with up to 4,000 barcode settings in memory and updates itself with
thousands more when networked with the Home Hub or iCEBOX CounterTop.
Users can even add their own barcodes and program cooking times so
favourite meals are heated to perfection time and time again.
Perfect, no fuss baking is easier than ever with the Beyond Bread
Maker. The Bread Maker is preprogrammed with hundreds of barcodes
from bread and cake mixes so flawless baking is as simple as a scan
and a beep. New barcodes are automatically added when networked and
are easily programmed.
The Beyond Coffee Maker conforms to busy schedules with flexible
seven-day-a-week programming. 6 a.m. Monday, 7:30 a.m. Friday, 10:00
a.m. Saturday: each day of the week can be programmed with unique
brew and shut-off times so coffee is ready right when the user wakes
up, or as they head out the door. And if someone forgets to add water
for brewing the next day, their Home Hub or CounterTop iCEBOX will
Besides being a control centre for the Connected Home, the Beyond
Home Hub doubles as a high-quality clock radio and CD player that's
perfect for the bedroom. Leveraging Microsoft Windows CE .NET technology,
the Home Hub delivers personalised news, weather, stocks, and more
all the critical information needed to start the day. It is
the first tool that connects the bedroom to the rest of the home,
adding convenience and control without having to run around the house.
"Contemporary families want life at home to be less complicated
so they can focus on the people and things that really matter,"
added Lamson. "Beyond products are making that possible."
In addition to their practicality, Beyond Connected Home products
are designed to complement today's contemporary kitchen. The connected
small appliances have a sleek stainless steel and black design and
LCD screens with bright blue backlights.
Primarily focused in the kitchen, Beyond Connected Products
the Beyond iCEBOX CounterTop, Beyond Microwave, Beyond Bread Maker,
Beyond Coffee Maker, and Beyond Home Hub will be available
at retailers in the second quarter of this year. The 2004 Beyond iCEBOX
FlipScreen is available from more than 100 retailers throughout Europe.
To learn more about Salton's Beyond Connected Home product line,
visit the Beyond stand at Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2004, located
in Stand 6434 February 3 5, 2004. More information about Salton
can be found at www.saltoneurope.com.
Feb 04 - Toshiba's Satellite P15 Series
Delivers Power and Performance. Toshiba's Digital Products Division
(DPD) today introduced the newest members of its Satellite(R) P15
notebook series, the P15-S470 and P15-S420. Designed for students,
families and consumers, the Satellite P15 Series combines Toshiba's
expertise in mobile computing, hardware design and digital convergence.
With eye-popping graphics and built-in stereo speakers, the Satellite
P15 Series provides a theater-quality experience whether watching
DVDs or playing computer games.
Both new members of the Satellite P15 Series feature a brilliant
15.4-inch diagonal widescreen display. Not only perfect for viewing
movies, but the 15.4-inch widescreen display is ideal for editing
digital images, working on multiple applications side by side or viewing
spreadsheets without having to change windows.
The Satellite P15 Series is also a serious productivity tool including
an Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 processor with Hyper-Threading Technology
that enables better system responsiveness and performance when performing
two or more applications simultaneously, as well as integrated wireless
technology, a massive hard drive and plenty of memory (512 MB).
Additionally, the Satellite P15-S420 includes a built-in DVD +-R/+-RW
drive to easily view and record DVDs without the worry of compatibility
issues, and the Satellite P15-S470 comes standard with a DVD Multi
drive that can be used as a second hard drive, for recording digital
content, or burning CDs and DVDs. The Satellite P15-S470 also includes
Microsoft(R) Windows(R) XP Media Center Edition, which enhances home
entertainment by enabling users to watch or record their favorite
television programs for later viewing right on their notebook.
The Satellite P15 Series is now available at www.toshibadirect.com
and retail distribution channels including computer superstores and
consumer electronics stores.
Feb 03 - Intel Introduces Intel® Pentium®
4 Processors On High-Volume 90-Nanometer Technology. Intel Corporation
is delivering four new processors (formerly codenamed Prescott) that
are built on the company's industry-leading, high-volume 90-nanometer
(nm) manufacturing technology. These processors are among six new
offerings in Intel's line of desktop chips, bringing new features
and high performance to a wide range of PC users, from mainstream
consumers and businesspeople to gaming enthusiasts and computer power
"This new manufacturing technology, along with numerous architectural
enhancements, enable us to continue delivering products that allow
end users to interact with a wide variety of digital devices,"
said Bill Siu, vice president and general manager, Intel Desktop Platforms
Group. "These processors provide improved responsiveness for
today's corporate and home applications, and offer headroom for the
next wave of technologies."
Intel's 90 nm (a nanometer is one-billionth of a meter) process technology
is the most advanced semiconductor manufacturing process in the industry,
built exclusively on 300 mm wafers. This new process combines high
performance, low-power transistors, strained silicon, high-speed copper
interconnects and a new low-k dielectric material. This is the first
time all of these technologies have been integrated into a single
Intel® Pentium® 4 processors built on the 90-nm process retain
the multitasking capabilities of Hyper-Threading (HT) Technology,
and include new features such as enhanced Intel® NetBurst? microarchitecture,
a larger, 1 MB Level 2 (L2) cache and 13 new instructions.
Desktop Processor Family Fuels Office and Digital Home Usage Models
Intel's family of Intel Pentium 4 processors supporting HT Technology
provide home and business users a great computing experience by keeping
the PC responsive while processing other tasks in the background.
For example, a home user can play an immersive game while encoding
audio or video, compressing images or compositing special effects.
An IT department can run background applications such as continuous
virus scanning, encryption or compression simultaneously, while minimizing
disruption for other business users in the same computing environment.
In addition to the four processors manufactured on the 90-nm process,
Intel added a 3.40 GHz version of the Intel Pentium 4 processor supporting
HT Technology based on Intel's 0.13-micron process technology to its
desktop processor family.
Updated, Extreme Performance for Gaming
Intel has also revved up the speed of its Pentium® 4 processor
Extreme Edition supporting HT Technology to 3.40 GHz. This processor
is built on Intel's 0.13-micron process technology, and is targeted
specifically for high-end gamers and computer power users with its
2MB of on-die Level 3 (L3) cache. These users can now expect an even
better experience when pushing their PCs to the edge of performance.
The Intel Pentium 4 processor with HT Technology Extreme Edition
at 3.40 GHz delivers the highest Microsoft Windows XP* desktop processor
performance as measured by SPEC CPU 2000 (compared to other Microsoft
Windows desktop processor results published at http://www.specbench.org/cpu2000/results/
as of Feb. 1) with a SPECint*_base2000 score of 1666 and a SPECfp*_base2000
score of 1546.
Specifications, Pricing and Availability
Intel is shipping boxed versions of these processors to Intel authorized
distributors for system integrators worldwide. Availability of OEM
systems based on Intel Pentium 4 processors with HT Technology at
3.40 GHz and built on 90-nm process technology is expected later in
the first quarter of 2004.
Side Bus (FSB)
in 1,000-Unit Quantities
4 processor Supporting HT Technology
||1 MB L2
and Intel®865 Chipset families
4 processor Supporting HT Technology
and 865 Chipset families
4 processor Supporting HT Technology
||1 MB L2
and 865 Chipset families
4 processor Supporting HT Technology
||1 MB L2
and 865 Chipset families
4 processor Supporting HT Technology Extreme Edition
||512 KB L2,2
4 processor Supporting HT Technology
||512 KB L2
and 865 Chipset families
Intel, the world's largest chip maker, is
also a leading manufacturer of computer, networking and communications
products. Additional information about Intel is available at www.intel.com.
Feb 03 - Dell Expands Value Desktop Line
Aimed at Small Business. Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) today introduced a
value-priced desktop system aimed to meet the network computing needs
of budget-conscious small businesses.
The OptiPlex(tm) 170L, starting at $449, is ideal for small business
customers that scrutinize purchase price yet require such network
capabilities as systems management to enable the remote update of
system software. Replacing the OptiPlex 160L, the 170L can help increase
office productivity using faster Intel(R) Celeron(R) (up to 2.6 GHz)
and Pentium(R) 4 (up to 3.2 GHz) processors with 800MHz front side
bus, optional Hyper-Threading Technology capability, improved memory
performance and an updated graphics solution.
"Many of Dell's small business customers are so focused on the
purchase price of desktop systems that they may sacrifice business
critical attributes such as network optimization and systems management,"
said Indraj Gill, worldwide marketing director for Dell(tm) OptiPlex.
"With the OptiPlex 170L, small businesses get a product that
addresses their budget concerns and offers the performance and functionality
used by larger companies."
Technical Features of the OptiPlex 170L include:
-- Intel Pentium 4 processors up to 3.2GHz or Intel Celeron up to
-- Integrated 10/100Mbps Ethernet with Remote Wake-up and PXE Support
-- Up to 2 GB of DDR333(a) or DDR400 shared(b) SDRAM
-- Six 2.0 USB ports, two front and four rear
-- 40GB 7200 RPM, 60GB 7200 RPM and 120GB 7200 RPM IDE SATA hard
-- Three PCI expansion slots, one 3.5-inch external diskette bay,
two 5.25-inch external diskette bays and two internal drive bays
-- CD-ROM, CD-RW, DVD-ROM and CD-RW/DVD-ROM combo drives available
-- Integrated ADI AC97 audio
-- Intel Extreme(R) Graphics 2
-- One year Next Business Day On Site service(c), optional upgrade
to 3 years and/or Gold Technical Support
Complete product details can be found at www.dell.com/optiplex.
Dell supports small businesses with products and services targeted
for their needs. Complete information on Dell Services is available
Feb 03 - PENTAX Anounces Optio S4i Digital
Camera. PENTAX USA packs a hefty 1.8 inch LCD monitor for larger
viewing and focusing on the tiny, new Optio S4i digital camera. With
4.0 megapixels and a 3X optical zoom, this latest Optio digital camera
also features the first PENTAX digital cradle-style lithium ion recharge
base unit. The rechargeable unit design makes it so easy to recharge
the Optio S4i. Simply set the camera in the recharge base until it
ready to use again.
Featuring the legendary smc PENTAX lens and the unique PENTAX Sliding
Lens system that allows the lens to retract fully when the camera
is off lens, the Optio S4i is sleek and compact enough to carry everywhere.
With the optional, acrylic waterproof housing that is newly-designed
for the Optio S4i, everywhere may well include the exciting world
of underwater digital photography. For optimal results, the Optio
S4i now features both Marine Picture and Marine Movie modes to capture
drama of blue underwater hues.
The PENTAX digital advantage doesn't stop there. Equipped with PictBridge,
a new direct-print standard released by the CIPA (Camera and Imaging
Products Association), the Optio S4i connects directly to your printer
so you may print images without the need for a personal computer.
For more convenience, the PENTAX Optio S4i includes an ACDSee(TM)
software package that is designed exclusively for PENTAX digital cameras.
Valued at $150, the package includes ACDSee(TM) 5.1, FotoSlate(TM),
FotoCanvas(TM) and Photostitcher. ACDSee(TM) digital camera software
makes it easy to retrieve, view, manage, print, enhance and share
your digital photos.
PENTAX U.S.A., Inc. will preview the Optio S4i on February 11 at
the PMA Sneak Peek and the PEPCOM DigitalFocus media events in advance
of the 2004 Photo Marketing Association (PMA) Trade Show from February
12-15 in Las Vegas. The camera will ship to retailers in April 2004.
For more information, visit www.pentaxusa.com.
Feb 03 - SIA Reports Global Semiconductor
Sales Up 18.3% in 2003. Worldwide sales of semiconductors rose
to $166.4 billion in 2003, up 18.3% from the $140.8 billion in global
revenue recorded in 2002, the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA)
The industry's second half 2003 performance was one of the strongest
on record, supported by U.S. GDP growth of 8.2% in the third quarter
and 4.0% in the fourth quarter, and the satisfying of pent-up demand
dampened in the run-up to the Iraq war. The industry recorded an 11%
sequential revenue increase to $48.1 billion in the fourth quarter
from $43.3 billion in the third quarter, and a 28% rise in year-over-year
revenue in December of 2003.
"The industry's broad, upward momentum across all product sectors
and geographic markets is driving us toward another year of strong,
double-digit growth, which is now expected to exceed 19% in 2004,"
stated SIA President George Scalise. "The wireless sector continues
to spearhead growth, but PC shipments also recovered in 2003 to an
11% unit volume increase. We are experiencing a virtual revolution
in global consumer markets as consumers adopt new technology and multi-functional
smart devices such as camera phones, PDA's and DVD's.
PC sales were a major contributor to growth in the year's fourth
quarter, with DRAM revenue up 10.6%, and Microprocessors up 7.9% in
the December quarter over the September quarter. The global wireless
market was also very strong, growing 16% in 2003, double initial forecasts.
In 2003's final quarter, year-over-year volumes were up 20%, with
Digital Signal Processors rising 11.6% in the quarter and Flash up
a hefty 29.3%. The wireline communications market turned in a positive
performance in 2003's final quarter for the first time since 2000,
with Programmable Logic Devices up 32.5%.
Global consumer electronics markets, driven by seasonality and buoyant
worldwide consumer demand, also grew briskly during 2003's final quarter.
Optoelectronics rose 11.6% and Application Specific Products for consumer
were up 21%. Semiconductors are increasingly pervasive in automobiles,
with the automotive market now 8.1% of end demand for semiconductors
and dedicated chips up 10.3% in the fourth quarter of 2003.
Capacity utilization exceeded 95% in the fourth quarter, propelled
by strong seasonal demand, and should trend modestly down in this
year's first quarter, reflecting historical industry patterns.
All geographic markets recorded rising chip sales in the final quarter
of 2004, with sales in Europe up 14.5% sequentially, Japan up 10.5%
percent in the quarter, sales in the Americas up 10.2% percent, and
Asia Pacific revenue up 10.0 percent.
More information about the SIA can be found at www.sia-online.org.
Feb 03 - At year-end, nearly one-quarter
of wireless users were between 11 and 24 years old. According
to the Yankee Group, although select carriers are showing increasing
levels of sophistication in their customer segmentation models and
their approaches to better understand current customers and reach
new segments, others have just started to prioritize these efforts.
The risks are high for carriers that do not execute well in 2004.
The Yankee Group report, "2003 Mobile User Survey Results: A
Closer Look at the Youth Market Opportunity," shows that, for
obvious reasons, the youth market is a priority for many carriers.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the youth market reached 56.8 million
people, or 20 percent of the total population, in 2003.
"The youth market has a great deal of disposable income, is
technology savvy and open to trying and using communications technologies
in new ways," says Linda Barrabee, Yankee Group Wireless/Mobile
Services senior analyst. "In fact, young adults are proving to
be trailblazers in landline displacement and cutting the cord and
also are proving ripe for the adoption and use of advanced services.
"Contrary to popular belief, the youth market may not be as
underserved as originally thought. However, it offers solid growth
opportunities, particularly within younger segments (i.e., teens),
as well as incremental revenue opportunities in wireless data and
a greater share of communications spend," says Barrabee.
The Yankee Group can be found online at www.yankeegroup.com.
Feb 02 - Januarys
Top Selling Notebooks Driven by Promotions and Consumer Incentives.
The top three selling notebooks of the holiday season are continuing
to outperform their competitors in the New Year due to successful
promotions and reduced pricing, according to a recent retail study
conducted by ARS.
Data amassed from ARS panel participants (from December 6, 2003 to
January 17, 2004) found the Compaq Presario 2190US and the Toshiba
Satellite A15-S129 (InfoHQ reviewed
the Toshiba Satellite A15-S127 in July 2003) were the top two
models within the US retail market. The Compaq Presario led with a
12.4% unit share and the Toshiba Satellite A15-S129 a 7.4% unit share.
The Toshibas Satellite A35-S159 was the third best selling notebook,
following closely with a 6.4% unit share.
In the last two weeks of December, the Compaq Presario 2190US and
Toshiba A15-S219 received prominent Sunday circular placement with
the top retailers which promoted these systems by offering significant
consumer incentives of up to $350 in rebates and instant savings,
with advertised price points as low as $649! Such successful
holiday promotions have positioned Compaq and Toshiba as the best
selling notebooks so far this year, asserts Sam Bhavnani, a
Mobile Computing Analyst with ARS.
Among these findings, ARS reports the following promotions as successful
catalysts in increasing notebook sales:
The Compaq Presario 2190US was featured in holiday flyers
from Best Buy, Circuit City and Staples, all of which offered manufacturer
rebates, instant savings and retail rebates. Most notable was the
promotional ad located on the back page of Best Buys weekly
flyer (valid 12/14-12/20) for $649; the lowest price offered by any
major retailer on this model.
The Toshiba Satellite A15-S129 was featured in both Circuit
City and CompUSA promotion materials throughout the holiday season
which featured mail-in manufacturer rebates, instant savings and retail
rebates. Noteworthy was Circuit Citys advertisement of Toshibas
A15-S129 in its weekly flyer (valid 12/14-12/20) for $699; the final
price included over $300 in manufacturer mail-in rebates, retailer
rebates and instant savings.
The Toshiba Satellite A35-S159 was also featured in the national
sales circulars of major retailers, including a front-page placement
on CompUSAs last-minute gifts Christmas flyer in
addition to featuring mail-in rebates and instant savings (valid 12/21-12/24)
for $1149; urging consumers to buy now with its last-minute
message and front page product ad placement.
In a product by product comparison, Compaqs Presario 2190US
and Toshibas A15-S219 share similar, consumer desirable hardware
features; a 15-inch display, an Intel Celeron 2.4GHz processor, a
40 GB hard drive, DVD/CD-RW technology and 256 MB of RAM, but lack
integrated WiFi (wireless) technology.
Toshibas A35-S159 also incorporates similar product specifications,
but costs slightly more than Compaqs Presario 2190 and the Toshiba
A15-S219. The contributing factor to this price difference is the
models larger hard drive at 60 GB, expanded memory at 512MB
and the must-have feature that tech-savvy consumers are
clamoring for, integrated WiFi technology.
Concerning the retail success of these top three products, Bhavnani
states, In todays retail world, product specifications
and new technologies are not always enough to drive consumer interest
and in turn, sales. Retailers and manufacturers are at a pivotal point
of continuing to successfully promote products, while understanding
what incentives consumers are responding to, on a week-by-week basis.
As this study demonstrates consumer incentives, successful promotions
as well as desirable hardware are the keys to retail success.
ARS is a competitive market intelligence company that analyzes daily
market, channel, and product changes and informs clients what is happening
and why, analyzes relevant impacts, and predicts what to expect in
the near term. For more information on ARS, please visit www.ars1.com.
Feb 02 - MyDoom Worm Attacks More Frequent
than Spam. BorderWare Technologies Inc., The Security Appliances
Company(TM), today confirmed that no MXtreme Mail Firewall customers
have been affected by the MyDoom outbreak or any of its variants and
According to report logs generated by an MXtreme customer - one of
the largest corporations in Scandinavia - and sent to BorderWare technicians,
MyDoom and its variants have attacked the customer more than 30,000
times in the past 24 hours, more than twice the number of spam messages
in the same period. Reports volunteered to BorderWare from other customers
around the globe indicate a similar pattern.
The MXtreme Mail Firewall installs at the network edge to deliver
the most comprehensive perimeter security for email systems. MXtreme
prevents any number of threats to email systems from spam, viruses,
Trojans and worms, to malformed messages and denial-of-service attacks,
while enabling overall email server functionality with sophisticated
routing and delivery. MXtreme also provides secure remote access for
Web Mail, and secure authenticated session proxies for Outlook Web
Access (OWA) and iNotes.
To combat viruses, MXtreme integrates Kaspersky Anti-Virus (KAV),
which recently added a "Best Buy" from SC Magazine to its
growing number of awards and accolades. An unlimited license of KAV
is included with each MXtreme, making it very cost effect for enterprises
to build a layered defense against virus attacks at the perimeter.
"In larger enterprises, there may be several email servers sitting
inside the network that would have to be updated with the latest anti-virus
protection at the same time. One key advantage of protecting messaging
systems at the perimeter, is that you can protect all of those backend
mail servers simultaneously," said John Alsop, President and
CEO, BorderWare Technologies.
For more information visit www.borderware.com.
Feb 02 - Worldwide PDA Industry Suffers
5 Percent Shipment Decline in 2003. PDA vendors are beginning
to feel the impact that smartphones and enhanced mobile phones are
having on the industry, as worldwide PDA shipments totaled 11.5 million
units in 2003, a 5.3 percent decline from 2002, according to preliminary
results from Gartner, Inc.
"Through the end of 2004, smartphones will generally have a negative
impact on the low end of the PDA market, as many individual users
will find the personal information management (PIM) and e-mail capabilities
of smartphones acceptable," said Todd Kort, principal analyst
in Gartner's Computing Platforms Worldwide group. "These users
will tend to become less interested in low-end PDAs that have provided
"This will primarily impact the Palm OS because a relatively
high percentage of Palm OS users rely on these devices solely for
their PIM capabilities. Smartphones will become more important in
the enterprise market in 2005, at which point we expect to see increasing
erosion of the Microsoft side of the market," said Kort.
Research in Motion (RIM) thrived in the fourth quarter of 2003, as
shipments totaled, 259,000 units, nearly equaling the total it shipped
in all of 2002. RIM posted the strongest growth rate among top-tier
vendors in 2003, as shipments increased 121 percent from 2002. Approximately
35 to 40 percent of recent RIM shipments were upgrades of older RIM
devices. RIM's subscriber base is now close to one million users worldwide.
Gartner analysts said Hewlett-Packard was the most aggressive vendor
in the second half of 2003, as it released seven new PDA models that
hit price points ranging from $199 to $599. palmOne did well with
the Tungsten T3 for the midrange PDA market, but palmOne, Sony, Dell,
and Toshiba found the majority of demand for their products in the
fourth quarter of 2003 was for sub-$250 models.
In the U.S. PDA market, palmOne was still the No. 1 vendor based
on shipments in 2003; however, it suffered a double-digit decline.
In 2002, the company accounted for more than half of all PDA shipments,
but in 2003, its market share slipped to 43.3 percent.
"The U.S. market continues to consume just over half of all
PDA shipments, and the U.S. PDA market is the key segment for overall
growth," Kort said. "However, a weakening U.S. dollar is
forcing U.S. PDA prices up because most PDAs and their components
are manufactured in Asian markets, particularly Taiwan. Therefore,
we expect good results in Europe, but mediocre sales in North America
For more information, visit www.gartner.com.
Feb 02 - Ahead Software's Nero Recode 2
Exceeds 20 Million Downloads. Ahead Software, leaders in digital
media technology, today announced that the latest addition to its
Nero product, Nero Recode 2, has already surpassed 20 million downloads
within the first four weeks of release. Nero Recode 2 which includes
Nero Digital, the world's fastest MPEG-4 video and audio codec, are
part of last month's update of Nero 6.3.
Nero Recode 2 is the first application to take full advantage of
Nero Digital's power. In addition to its capabilities to re-author,
copy, recode and reduce MPEG-2 streams (DVD-9 to DVD-5), Nero Recode
2 can transcode 'non-protected' DVD movies to Nero Digital, preserving
chapters, sub-titles, multi-channel audio and above all else, quality
- all at lightening speed. No other application today offers these
"The worldwide success of Nero Digital is extraordinary,"
said Richard Lesser, CEO of Ahead Software AG. "Nero Digital
will soon be the number 1 brand in MPEG-4 with many CE devices to
support this new standard."
The Nero 6.3 update including Nero Recode 2 with Nero Digital technology
is available online at www.nero.com.
Feb 01 - Sunday Shopping Watch
Best Sunday Deals - See our Best Sunday
Ad Deals Table below for specific system prices.
Weekly Comparison. Not as many good deals as
last week, but still some good sale prices to be found.
This Sunday's Special Discounts and Financing.
In addition to sales on specific items, the following store-wide sales
are advertised this week. (Note that these
ads are for the Dayton, Ohio area. Prices or offerings may be different
where you live.)
Best Buy is offering 12 month no-interest financing on all desktop
and laptop purchases, and $100 mail-in rebates on advertised laptops
and up to $100 mail-in rebates on advertised desktop packages.
Circuit City is offering
12 months no interest financing, and up to $150 mail-in rebates, on
advertised desktop packages and notebooks.
is offering $150 mail-in rebates on advertised desktops and notebooks.
CompUSA has an Unadvertised
Specials ad that you need to print out and take to your nearest
store to receive discounts..
Staples has no store-wide promotions
to Online Prices - Compare the Sunday ad prices to
those being offered at DealTime, it searches over 160 online computer
InfoHQ Related Shopping Pages
- Our latest shopping advisories on buying digital cameras and camcorders,
desktop computers, laptops, and other computer items.
Upgrade Guide - All about upgrading to Windows XP.
What You Need to Know
About Dial-up Internet Service Rebates - The pros and cons of
'free' Internet service deals. Also see our latest InfoHQ Tech Watch
PC and Free Internet Deals.
Definitions. A complete desktop system/package/complete
package is defined as a computer with monitor and printer
A build-to-order system is customized at the retailer
and then ordered from a computer manufacturer. In addition to the
computer's stated price, you still pay sales tax and shipping charges
(if you order direct from the vendor without going through the chain
store, you may not have to pay sales tax and you could get a better
Caution about advertised prices.
When reading advertisements, read the fine print of the ad to make
sure you know what is being advertised and what it cost. For example,
many advertisers will show a complete system with computer, monitor,
and printer but advertise a price for the computer only.
* Prices discussed in this article. We report
prices after rebates and discounts are subtracted.
Items highlighted in Black are good deals.
Items highlighted in Red means prices have
gone up and the system is not a good buy this week.
Items in normal text means prices are about the same as the previous
Best Sunday Ad Deals
Price* (see above)
Prices up or Down this Week
1. Best Celeron Deal
eMachines 2.6 GHz complete system with
Office Depot, Circuit City $389, Best
2. Best Celeron Deal
HP 2.8 GHz system with 17" monitor
Best Pentium 4 System
Sony 2.8 GHz Pentium 4 complete system
with HT Technology, 15 inch flat panel, and DVD-RW
1. Best AMD Athlon XP System
eMachines Athlon 3000+ complete system
with 17 inch monitor
2. Best AMD Athlon XP System
eMachines Athlon 3200+ complete system
with 17 inch monitor
3. Best AMD Athlon XP System
HP Athlon 3000+ complete system with
17 inch monitor
4. Best AMD Athlon XP System
HP Athlon 3200+ complete system with
17 inch monitor and DVD-RW
1. Best Low-cost Laptop
Compaq 2.6 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW
2. Best Low-cost Laptop
HP Athlon 2500+ with DVD/CD-RW
Circuit City, Office Depot $899
3. Best Low-cost Laptop
eMachines widescreen Athlon 2500+ with
1. Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba Centrino 1.4 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
2. Best High-end Notebook
Gateway Centrino 1.4 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
3. Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba widescreen 2.8 GHz Pentium 4
with HT Technology and DVD/-RW
Peripherals and Software
Best Sunday Deal
Western Digital 120 GB 7200 RPM Hard
Drive with 8 MB buffer
Best Sunday Deal
Maxtor 120 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive with
8 MB buffer
Best Sunday Deal
Maxtor 200 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive with
8 MB buffer
Best Sunday Deal
ATI 9600 XT 128 MB
Best Sunday Deal
ATI All-In-Wonder 9600 PRO 128 MB
Additional Information. For additional technical
information, advice on how to buy a laptop or desktop, and vendor
and manufacturer links, please see our Computer
Buying Advice page.
About Sunday Shopping Watch. Sunday Shopping
Watch appears every Sunday (except some holidays like Easter and Christmas)
in our News and Rumors column. It is a review of local (Dayton, Ohio)
computer chain store advertisements. While we can not guarantee your
local chain store has the same items, this article can help you make
informed buying decisions.