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Daily Computer News and Rumors

February 2004 08-15

About News and Rumors. InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors is a daily column. It features news coverage of new PC and Mac computer hardware and software, Internet news, and other technical news items.
Every Sunday, News and Rumors features "Sunday Shopping Watch", which is a comparison and analysis of Sunday computer store advertisements.
The Daily Computer News and Rumors is an archived column, so feel free to review previous week's or month's computer news. Previous Daily Computer News articles can also be searched, by using our site search feature found in the top and bottom menu bar.

InfoHQ Daily Computer News and Rumors Article Index
Date
(Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to this index.)
Feb 15 Sunday Shopping Watch
Feb 13 AMD64 Architecture Achieves Significant Milestone
Feb 13 New EPSON Stylus Photo RX600 Scan-Print-Copy Device
Feb 13 New VoIP Technology Makes Communication More Personal Than Ever
Feb 13 VoIP Key to Boosting Broadband Adoption
Feb 13 eEye Digital Security Uncovers Dangerous Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows
Feb 12 New IBM ThinkPad X40: Thinnest, Lightest ThinkPad Ever
Feb 12 America Online and AT&T Wireless Launch Simplified Mobile Instant Messaging Services
Feb 12 Intel Software Products To Simplify Application Development
Feb 12 CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 12 Ships
Feb 12 Internet Home Alliance Launches Mobile Worker Pilot
Feb 11 Samsung Introduces Industry's Fastest GDDR3 Graphics Memory Device
Feb 11 XMPP the First Complete IM and Presence Protocol to be IETF-Approved
Feb 11 2004 to be Key Year for GigE
Feb 11 Keeping Pace With Consumer Applications Vital to GPS Market Expansion
Feb 10 HyperTransport Consortium Announces High-speed Release 2.0 Specification
Feb 10 Canon's New 'PowerShot S1 IS' Camera Brings Digital Photos and Digital Video Together
Feb 10 Cypress's TetraHub Technology Lets Users Operate Multiple Full-Speed USB Devices
Feb 10 Survey Indicates that U.S. Cable TV Operators are Capitalizing on Expanded Digital Services
Feb 09 Gateway and eMachines, The New Frontier?
Feb 09 Nextel Testing Wireless Broadband Service
Feb 09 Clearswift's MIMEsweeper Products Stop Employees from Downloading Junk
Feb 08 Sunday Shopping Watch

 

Feb 15 - Sunday Shopping Watch

Best Sunday Deals - See our Best Sunday Ad Deals Table below for specific system prices.

Weekly Comparison. President's Day, another good computer shopping holiday. A very good weekend to buy new computers and peripherals.

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 24 month no-interest financing on all desktop and laptop purchases, and $150 mail-in rebates on advertised laptops and desktop packages and an additional $150 rebate on Celeron notebooks.
Circuit City is offering 12 months no interest financing, and up to $150 mail-in rebates, on advertised desktop packages and notebooks.
Office Depot is offering no payments, no interest, for 6 months on advertised notebooks.
CompUSA is offering 18 month no payment, no interest financing on laptops and desktop packages.
Staples has no store-wide promotions this Sunday.
Compare to Online Prices - Compare the Sunday ad prices to those being offered at DealTime, it searches over 160 online computer stores.

InfoHQ Related Shopping Pages

Shopping Alerts - Our latest shopping advisories on buying digital cameras and camcorders, desktop computers, laptops, and other computer items.

Windows XP 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 Newsletter; Free PC and Free Internet Deals.     

Definitions. A complete desktop system/package/complete 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 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 warranty).

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 weeks.

Best Sunday Ad Deals
Category
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Prices up or Down this Week
Store
1. Best Celeron Deal
eMachines 2.6 GHz complete system with 17" monitor
$389
-
Best Buy, Circuit City
2. Best Celeron Deal
Compaq 2.8 GHz complete system with 17" monitor
$519
-
CompUSA
1. Best Pentium 4 System
HP 3.0 GHz Pentium 4 complete system with HT Technology, 15 inch flat panel, and DVD-RW
$1249
-
CompUSA
2. Best Pentium 4 System
Sony 3.0 GHz Pentium 4 complete system with HT Technology, 15 inch flat panel, and DVD-RW
$1279
-
Circuit City
3. Best Pentium 4 System
Sony 3.2 GHz Pentium 4 complete system with HT Technology, 15 inch flat panel, and DVD-RW
$1599
-
Best Buy
4. Best Pentium 4 System
Sony All-in-One Desktop 2.8 GHz Pentium 4 complete system with HT Technology, 15 inch flat panel, and DVD-RW
$1629
-
Circuit City
5. Best Pentium 4 System
HP 3.2 GHz Pentium 4 Media Center complete system with HT Technology, 15 inch flat panel, and DVD-RW
$1749
-
CompUSA
1. Best AMD Athlon XP System
Compaq Athlon 2800+ complete system with 17 inch monitor
$619
-
CompUSA, Circuit City ($639)
2. Best AMD Athlon XP System
Compaq Athlon 3000+ complete system with 17 inch monitor and DVD-RW drive
$719
-$50
CompUSA
3. Best AMD Athlon XP System
HP Athlon 3200+ complete system with 17 inch monitor and DVD-RW
$849
-
CompUSA
1. Best Low-cost Laptop
Toshiba 2.6 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW
$649
-$250
Best Buy, Circuit City ($699)
2. Best Low-cost Laptop
HP Athlon 2500+ with DVD/CD-RW
$699
-
Circuit City, CompUSA
3. Best Low-cost Laptop
Compaq 2.6 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW
$749
-$100
CompUSA
4. Best Low-cost Laptop
Toshiba 2.8 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW
$849
-
Best Buy
1. Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba 2.4 GHz Pentium 4 with DVD/-RW
$1099
-
CompUSA, Best Buy, Circuit City
2. Best High-end Notebook
HP widescreen Centrino 1.4 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$1249
-
CompUSA
3. Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba widescreen Centrino 1.4 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$1399
-
Circuit City
4. Best High-end Notebook
Gateway Centrino 1.4 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$1399
-
Office Depot
5. Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba widescreen 3.0 GHz Pentium 4 with HT Technology and DVD/-RW
$1649
-$200
Best Buy
6. Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba widescreen 3.0 GHz Pentium 4 Media Center with HT Technology and DVD/-RW
$1949
-
CompUSA
Peripherals and Software
Best Sunday Deal
Western Digital 120 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive with 8 MB buffer
$69
(after rebates)
-
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
Western Digital 160 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive with 8 MB buffer
$79
(after rebates)
-$10
Circuit City
Best Sunday Deal
Seagate 160 GB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive with 8 MB buffer
$99
(after rebates)
-
CompUSA
Best Sunday Deal
Seagate 200 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive with 8 MB buffer
$99
(after rebates)
-
CompUSA
Best Sunday Deal
Maxtor 250 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive with 8 MB buffer
$159
(after rebates)
-
CompUSA
Best Sunday Deal
ATI 9600 SE 128 MB
$89
(after rebates)
-
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
ATI 9800 Pro 128 MB
$199
(after rebates)
CompUSA
Best Sunday Deal
ATI 9800 Pro All-in-Wonder 128 MB
$299
(after rebates)
Circuit City
Best Sunday Deal
Sony 8X DVD-RW
$189
(after rebates)
+$20
Office Depot
Best Sunday Deal
Sony 52X CD-RW
$39
(after rebates)
-$10
Office Depot

 

InfoHQ Quick Jumps to Upgrades from DealTime - Click to check on latest prices
Video Cards ATI Radeon
  GeForce4 FX
Hard Drives Maxtor
  Western Digital
  Seagate
CD-RW Drives 40x/48x Write Speed
DVD-RW Drives DVD+RW/CD-RW
CPUs All AMD Athlon XP CPUs
  All Intel Pentium 4 CPUs
Antivirus Software All Manufacturers
Firewall Software All Manufacturers
All Other Products DealTime

 

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.

Feb 13 - AMD64 Architecture Achieves Significant Milestone. AMD (NYSE:AMD) announced that more than 1,000 software and hardware developers, OEMs, systems builders and end users have recognized the benefits of AMD64 architecture -- an industry-standard approach to 64-bit computing that delivers simultaneous 32-bit and 64-bit performance.

"Innovating for the customer is what AMD envisioned when forging the path to 64-bit computing," said Marty Seyer, vice president and general manager of AMD's Microprocessor Business Unit. "This groundswell of support reflects the growing demand for AMD64 technology, which offers leading-edge 32-bit performance and an easy migration path to 64-bit computing."

"Customer response has been very positive to Microsoft's recently launched Customer Preview Programs for 64-Bit Extended Systems for both Windows Server(R) and Windows XP," said Bob Kelly, general manager, Windows Server Business Group, Microsoft Corp.

"AMD's role in developing customer-centric technology that enables increased performance and scalability with 64-bit processing, while at the same time giving customers a smooth transition path from 32- to 64-bit applications, brings investment protection to a new height."

More information can be found at www.amd.com.

Feb 13 - New EPSON Stylus Photo RX600 Scan-Print-Copy Device. Epson is launching its most advanced scan-print-copy device to date with the new EPSON Stylus Photo RX600. This photographic all-in-one is designed to not only view, scan, copy and print photographs without a computer, but also restore old slides, negatives and traditional printed photographs. The end results are true photographic quality prints using Epson's superior six-color photo inks at resolutions as high as 5760 x 1440 optimized dpi.

"The Stylus Photo RX600 is without a doubt the ultimate do-it-all solution for either traditional or digital photography," said Steve Semos, product manager, Epson. "This product offers outstanding versatility for virtually any photographic project, not to mention everyday printing and copying. Furthermore, it incorporates several of Epson's most advanced photographic technologies such as Easy Photo Fix(TM) color restoration software, memory card slots, and a 2.5-inch high-quality color LCD viewer, all for a very attractive price of $349."

The Stylus Photo RX600's six-color printer uses variable-sized ink droplets as small as three picoliters to create intensely detailed images with natural and vibrant colors. Users can produce BorderFree(TM) images on a variety of traditional photo paper sizes such as 4"x 6", 5"x 7", 8"x 10", letter size and even panoramic. The printer also creates photos and text quickly, delivering a 4"x 6" color print in about 39 seconds and up to 17 pages per minute of black text documents.

The EPSON Stylus Photo RX600 works with both Windows and Macintosh platforms and uses USB 2.0 High Speed connectivity and includes a USB cable in the box. For more information on Epson and its products, visit www.epson.com.

Feb 13 - New VoIP Technology Makes Communication More Personal Than Ever. Did you ever think you'd be able to email a voicemail? How about holding an extended family reunion over the phone? From email to palm pilots to Blackberries, the Internet is one of today's most preferred and inexpensive modes of communication. Yet despite the speed that information travels today, it has lacked the emotion of our voices. Now, however, new technology is vastly improving the most basic method of communication: the phone call.

It's called Voice Over the Internet Technology and it's being praised for revolutionizing the phone call the same way DVD's revolutionized movie watching: by providing higher levels of quality and control than ever before. Using a small device - about the size of an answering machine - Internet users with a broadband connection can make their calls from any phone over the net.

So far, AT&T seems to be leading the Voice Over the Internet Technology Pack. Beside what industry watchers expect will be dramatic savings off your monthly phone bill, consumer benefits include:

- A "Do Not Disturb" option where calls are automatically routed to voicemail, only allowing select or emergency calls to ring through
- A "Locate Me" feature that will find you on your home, wireless, car phone or any other device that receives calls, no matter which number your caller dialed
- The ability to view, listen to and forward your voicemails via email
- Call logs that allow you to track calls you have placed, received or even missed
- Conference calling with up to nine people on a single connection

AT&T will start offering a Voice Over the Internet Technology in major cities across the United States in the first quarter of 2004.

Feb 13 - VoIP Key to Boosting Broadband Adoption. Internet telephone service could be crucial in promoting the adoption and development of broadband, according to a new white paper from Parks Associates. Entitled VoIP: At Last a Killer App?, the paper found the average narrowband household could capture a net savings of $8 per month if they upgraded to broadband and began using a VoIP telephone service. This service combination, the report noted, could eliminate cost as an obstacle to greater broadband adoption.

"Among narrowband households not interested in broadband, almost 60% cite price as the main deterrent," said John Barrett, analyst with Parks Associates. "VoIP changes that equation by offering an overall net savings if you upgrade to broadband."

To realize these savings, however, households would have to abandon traditional phone service completely. If a household uses VoIP service only as a second line and keeps its existing phone service, it would pay $30 more each month.

Barrett also cautioned that pricing, packaging, and FCC regulations could tip the scales one way or another. "Eight dollars is not a tremendous margin," he said. "If regulatory changes cause the cost of VoIP to increase by just a few dollars per month, the incentive to switch disappears. Most people will not go to the trouble if it saves only a couple bucks per month."

For additional information on VoIP, visit www.parksassociates.com.

Feb 13 - eEye Digital Security Uncovers Dangerous Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows. eEye(R) Digital Security, a leading developer of enterprise security software solutions, today announced its research team uncovered two critical vulnerabilities relating to Microsoft's Windows(R) Abstract Syntax Notation One (ASN.1). ASN is the method through which the syntax of messages to be exchanged between peer applications is defined, independent of local representation. These critical security flaws affect unpatched Windows NT, 2000, XP and Windows Server 2003 machines. eEye's research team discovered these vulnerabilities as early as July 2003 and worked with Microsoft to develop a remediation solution.

Either of these ASN vulnerabilities could allow an attacker to overwrite heap memory with arbitrary data allowing for the execution of malicious code. Both of these flaws can be detected and subsequently exploited remotely and have the potential to cause serious damage if not immediately remediated.
Ironically, the security-related functionality in Windows is especially adept at rendering a machine vulnerable to an attack. Since the ASN library is widely used by Windows security subsystems, the vulnerability is exposed through an array of authentication protocols. This makes these vulnerabilities more dangerous than previous flaws that spawned Nimda, Code Red and Sapphire worms. eEye and Microsoft have released detailed advisories to alert Windows users of the need to immediately remediate vulnerable machines on their networks.

"eEye's research team is in constant search of new vulnerabilities in order to improve network security and stay a step ahead of malicious attacks that disrupt business and result in financial loss," said Marc Maiffret, chief hacking officer of eEye Digital Security. "With these new findings of potentially catastrophic vulnerabilities, it is imperative that organizations immediately apply the appropriate patches to ensure their systems are secure."

Retina(R) Network Security Scanner customers are already protected against this vulnerability. It is imperative that users scan their networks for vulnerable machines and follow the remediation instructions provided by Retina. eEye Digital Security is a leading contributor to network security research. For more information about upcoming advisories, visit www.eeye.com/html/Research/Upcoming/index.html.

For more information about eEye's research team, please visit www.eeye.com/research.

Feb 12 - New IBM ThinkPad X40: Thinnest, Lightest ThinkPad Ever. IBM today unveiled its completely redesigned ultraportable notebook computer, the ThinkPad X40, setting new standards for portability, battery life, and wireless connectivity in ultraportable systems. Starting at only 2.7 pounds, the new X40 is the lightest and thinnest ThinkPad ever and boasts the smallest footprint in its class with a full-size keyboard.

And in a PC industry first, IBM today is also launching Rescue and Recovery with Rapid Restore, a completely new set of tools contained in an embedded, pre-boot emergency system. They provide one-button relief from a broad range of common PC problems, including viruses, missing system files, and corrupted software drivers.

By incorporating the latest ThinkVantage Technologies with the light system design, the ultraportable ThinkPad X40 is ideal for the global mobile user, road warriors and business travelers. Because many of IBM's new recovery tools exist outside the PC's main operating system, business travelers who are away from office technical support have new options for solving PC problems -- regardless of whether Windows will start.
Commonly described by IBM as a "lifeboat" solution, this tool helps reduce IT support costs by enabling user self-recovery and reducing the need for help-desk calls and desk-side visits.

"A ThinkPad like the X40 fits into our longer term vision," said Steve Evans, vice president of information systems for the PGA Tour. Evans is responsible for the technology supporting PGA tournaments, players, staff and agents.
"Since we've got over 300 players carrying ThinkPads and they are traveling every single week, having full function in a lightweight model will be a big benefit. The support features are just as important. The ability to recover if there is a problem on the road is really going to help our help desk to be effective and keep our costs down."
The ease of carrying a ThinkPad X40 into meetings, Evans said, will help him transition to asking people to begin taking action while he's still in the meeting, and from doing paperwork at his desk to taking care of most duties on his notebook.

Ultimate Mobility In A Versatile Ultraportable

The ThinkPad X40 is a full 20 percent smaller and 25 percent lighter -- 14 ounces less -- than its predecessor, the ThinkPad X31. For the business traveler, 14 ounces translates into three cell phones; or two digital cameras; or a bottle of water; or a pair of jeans, a sweater and a T-shirt. It also offers a unique battery design capable of providing the longest standard battery life of any leading brand notebook, at up to 7.5 hours on select models with the optional 8-cell battery.
Mobile users can also combine the X40's unique battery options to deliver all-day computing for people who take their notebooks with them anywhere and everywhere, offering up to 10 hours of optional battery life in a total solution that weighs less than 4 pounds.

A Powerful Ultraportable Alternative

IBM today is also announcing new models of the ultraportable ThinkPad X31. The ThinkPad X31 now features Intel Pentium-M processors up to 1.7GHz, with a travel weight of 3.6 pounds. For organizations that want image commonality, the X31 is compatible with the T41 and R50.

Pricing and Availability

The new ThinkPad X40 notebook and new models of the ThinkPad X31 notebook will be available on February 24 through www.ibm.com. IBM personal computers are also available through select business partners. Prices for the ThinkPad X40 start at $1,499, while the ThinkPad X31 starts at $1,349. For more information, see www.ibm.com/thinkpad.

Feb 12 - America Online and AT&T Wireless Launch Simplified Mobile Instant Messaging Services. America Online Inc., the world's leading interactive services company, and AT&T Wireless (NYSE:AWE) today announced the availability of new mobile instant messaging services that streamline the wireless instant messaging (IM) experience. An embedded version of the AOL(R) Instant Messenger(TM) (AIM(R)) service is now prominently featured on the main menu screen of select AT&T Wireless phones, bringing the power of instant messaging to the foreground of wireless.

AT&T Wireless customers can already access AOL(R) services via SMS text messaging or the company's mMode(TM) service. This will be the first time that AIM will be embedded on select AT&T Wireless phones, just as the phonebook and text messaging features are today. Wireless customers can now use their phones to easily stay in touch with their online AIM and/or AOL buddies, see which buddies are logged in when sending instant messages, and conduct real-time IM chats.

"Given the huge success of AOL Mail and AIM on mMode, we are excited to expand our relationship with AT&T Wireless and offer subscribers new and exciting mobile instant messaging services from AOL," said Bill Schwebel, Vice President and General Manager, AOL Mobile, America Online Inc. "These new mobile instant messaging services provide added convenience to AT&T Wireless subscribers, allowing them the ability to stay in close touch with friends, family and co-workers while on-the-go."

"With this feature, instant messaging on wireless phones will finally be as simple as sending a text message," said Glenice Maclellan, vice president of messaging services at AT&T Wireless. "Together, America Online and AT&T Wireless are making it faster and easier for users to stay connected to their IM communities, which we expect will drive further adoption of wireless IM services. We believe that customers will choose to use some combination of text messaging, instant messaging, picture messaging, and wireless email based on individual needs and preferences," said Maclellan.

In addition to the built-in versions of the AIM and ICQ(R) services, the IM-To-Text feature available on AT&T Wireless phones lets AOL members and registered users of the AIM service send instant messages directly from their desktop computers to AT&T Wireless customers simply by addressing the IM to the phone number of the person they want to reach. In turn, AT&T Wireless subscribers can respond to incoming messages from their phones -- even if they don't have an AIM or AOL screen name. With AOL's IM Forwarding feature, subscribers also can forward incoming instant messages to their mobile phones through the desktop settings of their AIM and ICQ service, ensuring that their IMs follow them wherever they go.

At launch, the embedded instant messaging feature is available on Nokia 3100 and 3200 handsets. IM-To-Text and IM Forwarding are available on all AT&T Wireless two-way text messaging capable phones. Additional instant messaging-enabled wireless phones will be rolled out throughout the year. Instant messages cost $.10 each to send; all instant messages received are free of charge. Only AT&T Wireless offers unlimited incoming messages free of charge.

The new instant messaging software clients are based on the Wireless Village open standard for mobile instant messaging and presence services, which are used to exchange messages and presence information between mobile devices and Internet-based instant messaging services. The Wireless Village initiative lets device manufacturers such as Nokia develop wireless applications based upon a single standard, allowing wireless providers such as AT&T Wireless tools needed to deploy messaging and other applications in a quick and cost-effective manner.

For more information, please visit us at www.attwireless.com.

Feb 12 - Intel Software Products To Simplify Application Development. To simplify the development of high-performing applications for the recently announced Intel® Pentium® 4 processors (formerly codenamed "Prescott"), Intel Corporation today unveiled the Intel® Integrated Performance Primitives (Intel IPP) 4.0 and Intel® Threading Tools 2.0. The Intel IPP 4.0 will also support the Intel® Personal Internet Client Architecture (Intel PCA) application processor codenamed "Bulverde" with Wireless MMX™ technology due later this quarter.

The Intel IPP 4.0 software library features a common Application Programming Interface (API) allowing developers to obtain higher-performing applications across Intel processor-based desktop, server, mobile and handheld platforms.

Intel Threading Tools 2.0 is a suite of software tools to help developers optimize applications designed for Intel's family of processors that support Hyper-Threading Technology. The new version allows developers to run the tools and view results within the Microsoft Visual Studio* .NET Development Environment, features one click diagnostic help to view and resolve threading errors, and includes compiler support for Intel® C++ Compiler, Intel® Fortran Compiler and Microsoft Visual C++ .NET 2002 and 2003 Editions.

"With continued advancements in processor technology, there has been an explosion of computing platforms and electronic devices," said Jon Khazam, general manager of Intel's Software Products Division. "Software developers are increasingly challenged to deliver compelling experiences that run on a number of platforms. Intel IPP and Intel Threading Tools are designed to help developers maximize the benefits of Intel's latest processors enabling developers to focus their efforts on delivering new features for their applications."

"Intel IPP 4.0 enhanced multimedia capabilities have improved our product's performance significantly," said Samuel Wu, assistant vice president, Video DVD Product Line Director, Ulead Systems Inc. "Because of Intel IPP cross-architecture compatibility, we are now able to enhance our M-Style series products including Ulead VideoStudio M-Style for Intel PCA-based devices."

"Intel Thread Checker helped Siemens by identifying issues in software we develop and in software we purchase from third parties," said Andreas Dietrich, Research and Development Image Processing, Siemens Medical Group. "We use Intel Thread Checker to improve the quality of our software and look forward to expanding the use of the tool in more of our software development groups."

Intel IPP provides a broad range of multimedia, voice coding, signal processing and cryptography functions optimized for the Intel Pentium 4 processor, Intel® Itanium® 2 processor, Intel® Xeon™ processor and Intel PCA application processor. Other new features of Intel IPP 4.0 include extended support for the latest media and voice coding standards; extensive sample code to help accelerate software development; and support for cryptography and string processing for Intel-based desktop and server platforms.

Intel Threading Tools 2.0 includes Intel® Thread Checker, Intel Thread Profiler, and Intel® VTune™ Performance Analyzer. Intel Thread Checker locates hard-to-find bugs, the Thread Profiler locates threading bottlenecks in Win32* or OpenMP* threaded code and Intel VTune Performance Analyzer locates performance bottlenecks. The Intel Threading Tools are available for Intel Pentium 4 processor and Intel Xeon processor-based systems running Microsoft Windows* XP Professional or Microsoft Windows Server 2003.

Intel IPP 4.0 is available for the Windows and Linux operating systems and is offered at the suggested list price of $199. Intel Threading Tools 2.0 is priced at $1,198. Both products are available from Intel and resellers worldwide for download and on CD-ROM. More information is available at www.intel.com/software.

Feb 12 - CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 12 Ships. Corel today announced that it has simultaneously shipped CorelDRAW(R) Graphics Suite 12 in eight languages to customers around the world. Available today in English, German, French, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese and Japanese, CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 12 allows users to perform many design tasks twice as fast as ever before.
CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 12 features an exciting new breed of intelligent tools that deliver the power professional designers demand, while adding the ease of use and compatibility business users require. This comprehensive graphics suite lets customers create stunning design projects in record time.

"Customers around the world are experiencing first hand the dramatic impact Corel's new suite has on the way they work. An evolution in graphics software, our new suite delivers an unsurpassed level of intelligence that speeds the design process and delivers outstanding professional results," said Brett Denly, Executive Vice President of World Wide Marketing. "By giving designers and business users powerful tools that save them valuable time when creating their graphics, we're changing their expectations of graphics software and establishing CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 12 as a critical component of the well-equipped desktop."

Suite enhancements increase productivity:

-- New! Smart Drawing tool - Designers are able to get their ideas down fast with professional results. Built-in intelligence automatically recognizes shapes, smooths curves and interprets freehand line drawings to easily create perfect shapes and objects, on the fly.

-- New! Export For Office - Designers can create stunning graphics and easily bring them into Microsoft(R) Office and WordPerfect(R) Office documents. An ideal companion to office suites, CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 12 enables users to easily preview and import graphics files into text documents, slide presentations and spreadsheets without worrying about file format compatibility.

-- New! Dynamic Guides - With unprecedented control, users can create a shape, draw a line, or place an object exactly where they want it, in one step. Design time is dramatically reduced when users can create, size and position objects easily and precisely, with fewer clicks.

-- Enhanced! Snap to Objects - Designers can now save significant time when laying out projects by quickly and precisely drawing or modifying objects in relation to each other. Users get real-time feedback when mousing over snapping areas on objects and can choose to snap to any or all of the following: Node, Intersection, Midpoint, Quadrant, Tangent, Perpendicular, Edge of objects and lines, Center, Text Baseline or Printable Area.

-- New! Text Features - Users can now see detailed changes to type, including leading and kerning, regardless of the zoom level. They can view and manipulate text on-screen with ease and enjoy the same superior control over text as with graphics.

-- New! Unicode Support - Users can easily share files with colleagues around the world and seamlessly incorporate multiple languages into a single design, no matter which language version of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 12 is being used.

-- New! Touch-up brush - Users can remove defects (dust, scratches, etc.) from digital images and see results in real time. This dedicated tool performs common image/photo touch-ups by intelligently covering unwanted areas.

Pricing and Availability

Offering unrivaled value, CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 12 gives customers the incredible power of three integrated graphics applications, plus a collection of other useful tools and utilities all in one box. The new suite includes CorelDRAW(R) 12 for illustration, page-layout and vector drawing; Corel PHOTO-PAINT(R) 12 for professional digital imaging; and Corel R.A.V.E.(TM) 3 for motion-graphics creation.

Built for the Windows platform, CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 12 is available today at the U.S. suggested retail price of $399 for the full product, $179 for the upgrade product, and $99 for the education version.

For more information on CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 12 and its new features, please visit www.corel.com/cdgs12.

A free trial version of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 12 can be downloaded from www.corel.com/cdgs12/trial.

Feb 12 - Internet Home Alliance Launches Mobile Worker Pilot. Internet Home Alliance, a cross-industry network of leading companies advancing the home technology market, announced today the launch of its Mobile Worker Pilot, a real-world trial of the "ideal" working environment for mobile workers -- workers who use a PC as part of their job at least 15% of the time and have some freedom to choose where they work.

A cross-industry collaboration involving Internet Home Alliance members Cisco, Cushcraft, Herman Miller, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Panasonic and Taubman Centers, the four-month test will launch in May 2004 in a 2,400 square foot space in The Shops at Willow Bend in Plano, Texas, a Dallas suburb home to several Fortune 500 companies. Results of the pilot will be available to Alliance members in fall 2004 and the public in late 2004.

The pilot is the second step in Internet Home Alliance's research into mobile and remote workers. In July 2003, the Alliance, along with companies Herman Miller, Motive and SimpleDay, conducted a comprehensive study, entitled "U.S. Mobile & Remote Worker Study," consisting of a nationwide Web survey among 842 mobile and remote workers and complementary ethnographic or observational research in three major U.S. cities. The research results helped Internet Home Alliance determine the characteristics of the "ideal" remote working environment and uncovered broader latent (or unarticulated) needs.

Among the key findings were the following:

-- The greater the degree of freedom workers have to choose where they work, the more productive they are.

-- Workers with "complete" freedom to choose where they work are significantly more likely than those with less freedom to be "very satisfied" with their work-life balance.

-- Self-employed workers tend to have the greatest freedom to choose where they work and, among workers who are not self-employed, managers and sales and marketing personnel tend to have the greatest freedom.

-- Small companies -- those with fewer than 100 employees -- have the highest concentration of workers with "complete freedom" to choose where they work.

-- Mobile and remote workers believe the Internet and technology are important to helping them achieve a desirable work-life balance.

-- A solid majority of workers (69%) would like the freedom to choose where they work.

An executive summary of the "U.S. Mobile & Remote Worker Study" is available to the public at the Alliance Web site, www.internethomealliance.com. The full report is available to Alliance members.

The second step in this research, the Mobile Worker Pilot will test the study's findings -- including what constitutes an "ideal" physical environment for mobile workers -- under real-world conditions. Internet Home Alliance will examine the overall appeal of the mobile work environment, usage patterns, site behaviors, relative productivity levels, technology preferences and the impact of the space on area employers and other third parties.

For more information, visit www.internethomealliance.com.

Feb 11 - Samsung Introduces Industry's Fastest GDDR3 Graphics Memory Device. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world leader in advanced semiconductor memory technology, today announced mass production of the industry's highest speed monolithic memory device, a Graphics Double Data Rate 3 (GDDR3) capable of achieving clock speeds of up to 800MHz. The GDDR3 is set to enable a new generation of ultra-high-density graphic memory cards designed to support high-end gaming systems, workstations and high-end portable computers.

"Our 8Mx32 GDDR3 provides customers with the fastest graphics memory on the planet at lower power consumption than existing graphics systems," said Mueez Deen, director of marketing for DRAM and Graphic memory products at Samsung Semiconductor Inc., San Jose, California. "It is a lower cost, lower power and faster alternative to equivalent density stacked solutions today."

"NVIDIA's advanced GPU architectures combined with high speed memory technology are paving the way for the cinematic computing age," said Bryn Young, director of memory marketing and sales at NVIDIA. "With the aid of high-speed memory technology such as Samsung's new GDDR-3 graphics memory, NVIDIA will continue to advance graphics technology at an incredible pace so game developers have the freedom to stretch the limits of the cinematic computing experience."

The GDDR3 graphics memory device offers an 800MHz alternative to the industry standard GDDR1, which achieves clock speeds of up to 400MHz. It will enable high speed 256 MBytes and 512 MBytes graphics cards as well as power efficient 128 MBytes notebook solutions. This combination of performance and density will further enable a realistic, cinematic experience in computer generated graphics imaging.

More information can be found at www.usa.samsungsemi.com.

Feb 11 - XMPP the First Complete IM and Presence Protocol to be IETF-Approved. Jabber, Inc. (www.jabber.com) today confirmed that the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has approved the XMPP-IM specification as a proposed standard for instant messaging and presence (http://www1.ietf.org).

This approval comes fast on the heels of the IETF's approval of XMPP-Core as a standard protocol for presence-enabled communications. Both XMPP-Core and XMPP-IM were contributed to the IETF by the independent Jabber Software Foundation (JSF), and represent a formal definition of the protocols in use by thousands of corporations, universities, governments, and the open Jabber network.

As a proposed standard, XMPP is at the same stage of IETF ratification as other widely used and recognized standards such as URLs (Uniform Resource Locators), SASL (Simple Authentication and Security Layer), and LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol), amongst others.

XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) is a real-time communications protocol, which allows people, devices and applications to instantly communicate and exchange streaming XML data, based upon dynamic presence and availability information. Network Computing Magazine recently recognized XMPP as a "2004 Standard to Watch." Widely deployed, the JSF estimates that there are 10 million worldwide users of XMPP with more than 250,000 XMPP-based presence servers downloaded worldwide. The JSF also notes that its growing user base exceeds that of ICQ's by several million.

"The XMPP specifications were divided into XMPP-Core and XMPP-IM to clearly distinguish between core XML streaming functionality, which can be used for any presence-enabled real-time messaging application, and IM-specific features such as contact lists and presence subscriptions," said Peter Saint Andre, executive director of the JSF. "With the approval of the XMPP-IM specification, XMPP becomes the first protocol to address all of the IETF's requirements for instant messaging and presence technologies."

XMPP was originally developed as a means of connecting disparate instant messaging systems, such as those deployed by AOL, Yahoo!, and MSN. XMPP has since been used to build both commercial and open source XML messaging and transport systems that use presence to enable instant communications between people, applications and devices.

Jabber, Inc. is the leading commercial provider of XMPP-based solutions and counts 4 million users of its enterprise- and carrier-grade platform within companies that include AT&T, Lehman Brothers, EDS, Sony Corporation, HP, France Telecom, Bell South, and others.

Feb 11 - 2004 to be Key Year for GigE. Through discussions with vendors of LAN connectivity equipment -- NIC/LOMs and switches -- and an analysis of quarterly LAN connectivity shipment trends through 3Q 2003, In-Stat/MDR (http://www.instat.com) projects that 2004 will be a key year for the deployment of GigE, and, to a much more limited extent, 10 GigE, by U.S. businesses.
According to the high-tech market research firm, most vendors cite the rapid drop in GigE ASPs, and the growing inclusion of GigE connectivity in business PCs by PC OEMs, as the key drivers for the growth in GigE shipments.

However, "The most significant barrier to adoption of GigE and 10 GigE appears to be the common perception among potential customers of the simple lack of need for a full Gigabit of bandwidth to the desktop, or a full 10 Gigabits of bandwidth anywhere in the organization," said Sam Lucero, an industry analyst with In-Stat/MDR.

This theory is supported by results of a recent In-Stat/MDR survey of business end users. In the survey, 64% of respondents cited simply a perceived lack of need for a Gigabit of bandwidth as the primary reason for not having deployed GigE. This was followed by the perception that a Gigabit of bandwidth is not justified by current prices, and the lack of budget, currently, to deploy GigE.

Other key findings from the survey include:

-- Slightly more than 54% of the respondents stated that their organizations had not deployed GigE, in the respondents' area of responsibility. Not surprisingly, enterprise organizations were the most likely to have deployed GigE, while SOHO organizations were the least likely.

-- CAT5 is the most widely deployed cabling infrastructure cited by respondents, followed by CAT5e.

-- Respondents cited the desire to prepare for future expected bandwidth needs as the top reason for deploying GigE, followed by provisioning sufficient bandwidth for converged networks and reducing delay/latency in the network. This finding underscores the current lack of a "killer app" driving GigE deployment. Essentially, deployments are being driven by price reductions that allow customers to think of GigE as a viable "future-proofing" connectivity option, when new infrastructure needs to be deployed.

Feb 11 - Keeping Pace With Consumer Applications Vital to GPS Market Expansion. Alliance and high-volume consumer applications are strongly driving the North American Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment markets. As prices for low-end GPS handhelds continue to fall, inexpensive consumer access is expected to make this a high-profile electronics market. However, profit margins per unit are likely to fall, going down from the current 30-40% to the 10-15% range, as the market matures.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (www.aerospace.frost.com), "North American GPS Equipment Markets," reveals that this market generated revenues totaling $3.46 billion in 2003. Total market revenues are expected to reach $10.77 billion in 2010.

"Most manufacturers believe that the growing number of new end users will offset the expected margin decreases," says Frost & Sullivan senior analyst Ron Stearns. "But they must choose their markets carefully as competition continues to increase in high-volume GPS-enabled applications."

Commercial margins in established, high-accuracy applications such as land-based and hydrographic survey may stay in the 30-50 percent range even as those in the land-based recreational handhelds and recreational marine product sectors shrink.

As such, first-to-market technical improvements hold the key to success. Enhanced displays, software, battery power and functionality can differentiate new applications in this competitive market where many products offer similar features.

Competition is also materializing for GPS in the form of Galileo -- the planned European satellite positioning system -- which has finally garnered funding for construction and testing. Anticipating signal/equipment compatibility needs and developing positioning equipment to use both GPS and Galileo can be advantageous for manufacturers.

The United States and allied forces around the world have already become reliant on GPS as a means of weapons delivery, navigation and location in remote locations. Now, niche applications in vehicle and personal location are expected to attract new users to the GPS equipment markets.

"The media attention these applications draw are further educating potential GPS users about the technology, its capabilities, and its impact on their everyday lives," notes Stearns.

Feb 10 - HyperTransport Consortium Announces High-speed Release 2.0 Specification. HyperTransport(TM) Technology Consortium today announced a major new release of the HyperTransport Technology I/O Link Specification.

The HyperTransport Release 2.0 Specification introduces three more powerful bus speeds and mapping to PCI Express, an emerging I/O interconnect architecture. HyperTransport's speed capability extends from the 1.6 Giga Transfers/second (GT/s) of Release 1.1 Specification to 2.0, 2.4, and 2.8 GT/s using dual-data rate clocks at 1.0, 1.2, and 1.4 Gigahertz, delivering a maximum aggregate bandwidth of 22.4 Gigabytes/second. The electrical protocols supporting the new clock rates are backward compatible with all previous versions of the HyperTransport electrical specifications.

"Our Release 2.0 Specification delivers the top performance expected by the industry for its next generation computing, communications and embedded platforms," said Mario Cavalli, General Manager of the HyperTransport Technology Consortium. "Release 2.0's substantial speed and bandwidth extensions combined with PCI Express bus extensibility reaffirm and consolidate HyperTransport's long term chip-to-chip I/O technology leadership while preserving HyperTransport's low implementation cost and the multi-million dollars investments made by the HyperTransport Consortium members and their considerable customer base."

"These new specifications are in response to HyperTransport Consortium's members expectation of backward compatibility with Release 1.05 and Release 1.1 Specifications along with state-of-the-art performance," noted Brian Holden, Chair of the Technical Working Group, responsible for the development of the technical specification. "We achieved our goal of successfully increasing data throughput without a major rework of the basic electrical specification."

"Release 2.0 Specification confirms the significant contribution that HyperTransport has been making to the industry over recent years," said Gabriele Sartori, President of the HyperTransport Technology Consortium. "Our technology empowers leading edge products like Microsoft's Xbox, Apple's Power Mac G5, Cisco's high-end routers, IBM's and Sun Microsystems's servers, notebooks and Tablet PC's based on Transmeta's Efficeon-processor, and all AMD's Athlon64- and Opteron-based PCs, servers and supercomputers."

"As the first of the high-bandwidth I/O technologies to reach volume shipments, HyperTransport technology has already gained significant traction in the industry," says Jim Turley, principal analyst at SiliconInsider. "It is a further advantage for the HyperTransport-based industry to have a defined roadmap to faster performance and clean mapping to emerging I/O links."

About HyperTransport(TM) Technology

HyperTransport chip-to-chip interconnect technology is a universal CPU to I/O connection technology that replaces existing multi-level buses in systems such as personal computers, servers, embedded architectures and high performance appliances. It provides extremely high bandwidth, frequency scalability, low implementation cost, and software compatibility with legacy Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI), PCI-X and PCI Express technologies.
HyperTransport technology delivers state-of the-art bandwidth by means of easy-to-implement Low Voltage Differential Signaling (LVDS) point-to-point links, delivering increased data throughput while minimizing signal crosstalk and EMI. It employs a packet-based data protocol to eliminate many sideband (control and command) signals and supports asymmetric, variable width data paths.

HyperTransport technology is embedded in multiple CPU families from AMD, Broadcom, PMC-Sierra and Transmeta and it has established a significant presence in a number of key market sectors. It is licensed on a royalty-free basis by the HyperTransport Technology Consortium. A full list of HyperTransport-based products and HyperTransport Consortium's member companies can be found at: www.hypertransport.org.

Feb 10 - Canon's New 10X Zoom 'PowerShot S1 IS' Camera Brings Digital Photos and Digital Video Together. The era of the two-in-one camera for capturing vacations, birthday parties, anniversaries, graduations, baby's first steps or any other family function or momentous milestone has arrived thanks to Canon and the all new PowerShot S1 IS digital camera. Indeed, capturing moving video memories of special occasions is no longer a reason for compromise when it comes to image resolution, sound reproduction and movie "clip" duration from a digital camera.

"With this new PowerShot S1 IS digital camera, Canon pushes the optical imaging envelope as consumers enjoy the quality of a digital still camera with video capabilities substantially enhanced over other digital cameras," stated Yukiaki Hashimoto, senior vice president and general manager of the consumer imaging group at Canon U.S.A., Inc, a subsidiary of Canon Inc. (NYSE: CAJ). "At the same time, the camera's 10x zoom combined with Canon's advanced Image Stabilization system gives still photographers greater flexibility and stability for long-range, hand-held telephoto shooting."

Unlike other digital cameras with short duration movie mode features that capture a clip ranging from a few seconds to a few minutes depending on the resolution, the PowerShot S1 IS digital camera captures full 640 x 480 high-res movies at up to 30 frames per second, ensuring smooth video motion. What's more, individual movie clips can now last as long as one hour depending on the capacity of the memory card or the charge in the battery.

Hashimoto emphasized that the PowerShot S1 IS digital camera equipped with a fast, one-gigabyte compact flash card -- now readily available and easily affordable in the digital marketplace -- will record a solid-hour of continuous movies. Additionally, the PowerShot S1 IS digital camera is compatible with Type 1 and Type II CF cards up to and over 2GB in size, making its movie capture capability "virtually unlimited for all practical purposes."

The movie mode enhancements also include the ability to zoom and change auto exposure and auto white balance settings during a movie clip. They feature enhanced 16 bit sound quality with 22 KHz sampling frequency (double that of any other PowerShot camera model in movie mode) and an easily accessed movie start/stop button on the back of the camera are impressive advances, the PowerShot S1 IS is first and foremost, a Canon digital camera.

In stores April, the Canon PowerShot S1 IS digital camera kit includes two dedicated software CDs, four AA Alkaline batteries, a neckstrap, a lens cap, USB and AV cables and a 32MB CompactFlash card as well as printed manuals and a Canon USA limited warranty card. The estimated street price will be $499.00.

For more information, visit www.usa.canon.com.

Feb 10 - Cypress's TetraHub Technology Lets Users Operate Multiple Full-Speed USB Devices. Cypress Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE:CY), the market share leader in USB, today announced that its TetraHub(TM) USB hub controller chips are shipping in a new multiport hub being announced this week by Belkin, the world's leading manufacturer of USB hub devices.
Cypress's TetraHub technology provides end-users of Belkin's new TetraHub (F5U231) four-port USB hub a significant increase in device performance and productivity.

Cypress's TetraHub chip (CY7C65640) is the industry's first USB hub controller to integrate one "transaction translator" (TT) in each downstream port, delivering a full 12 Mbps of bandwidth to each connected full-speed USB peripheral. Transaction translators are crucial in ensuring the forward and backward compatibility of USB 1.1 and 2.0 devices. Competing hubs force connected peripherals to share a single 12 Mbps data channel, which can bottleneck data and render a system inoperable when multiple devices are used simultaneously.

"The PC has evolved into a multimedia studio, with CD burners, DVD players, video and storage devices competing for system bandwidth," said Paul Novell, managing director of the Wired Business Unit of Cypress Semiconductor's Personal Communications Division. "Why should you have to wait for your CD to finish burning before you can start on other projects? Cypress's TetraHub technology eliminates the 'downtime penalty' of single-TT hubs, enabling end-users to enjoy the full potential of their peripheral devices."

"Today's peripherals are much more sophisticated than in the past," said Gavin Downey, business unit manager, at Belkin. "Digital cameras, speakers, scanners and other multimedia devices consume considerable bandwidth that must be shared in a traditional multi-port hub. Leveraging Cypress's TetraHub technology, Belkin's new hub allows consumers to enjoy the full capabilities of these devices."

More information about Cypress is accessible online at www.cypress.com. Belkin products are available through www.belkin.com.

Feb 10 - Survey Indicates that U.S. Cable TV Operators are Capitalizing on Expanded Digital Services. With total cable TV subscriber growth flattening out, long-term revenue gains for operators are contingent upon the introduction of, and expansion of, new digital video, data and voice services, according to In-Stat/MDR's (www.instat.com) sixth annual survey of 50 U.S. cable TV system operators.

The past year has underlined that the competitive nature of multi-channel TV service providers is only going to get tougher in the years to come. However, the high-tech market research firm reports that even with increasing competitive challenges, most U.S. cable operators indicate that they remain committed to the industry's core strategies.
These include increasing the availability of advanced digital services, such as digital cable TV, cable modem, and cable telephony services, increasing total revenue-per-customer by packaging or bundling several services together, and reaching a cash flow positive position while continuing to reduce their debt levels.

Most respondents to In-Stat/MDR's survey reported that penetration of their digital cable TV services is currently averaging around 30% of their subscriber base. However, cable operators seem optimistic about the possibility for strong and continued growth, indicating that they can eventually achieve 50%, or higher, take rates for their ever-expanding menu of digital services.

In addition, survey questions about the "triple-play" mix of video, data and voice telephone services showed that the bundle's popularity is on the rise. The good news for U.S. cable operators is that there's still plenty of room to grow. Seventy percent of the survey respondents who currently offer digital video services are under 50% penetration, 70% of the respondents are less than 40% penetration on their high-speed data services, and only 14% of the respondents currently offer cable telephony services.

The survey also revealed that:

-- Across the U.S. cable industry, high-definition TV services are more widely available than Video-on-Demand services. Personal video recorder (PVR) services are also experiencing rapid growth.

-- Nearly two-thirds of the cable operators in the survey stated that their systems offered at least 750 MHz of available bandwidth.

-- CableLabs developed the CableCARD specification to enable a TV set to decode encrypted content delivered from cable TV systems without using a set top box. Seven survey respondents reported that they plan to support CableCARD devices on their systems within the next 12 months, indicating growing industry awareness of "plug & play" devices.

Feb 09 - Gateway and eMachines, The New Frontier? Last week, Gateway announced intent to acquire eMachines Inc. for $235 million, making it the third-largest computer company in the U.S.
The planned acquisition was announced at a media conference exactly one day after Gateway posted an eleventh straight quarterly loss. Unlike its purchaser, eMachines has been profitable for nine consecutive quarters, due to a dramatic turnaround under Wayne Inouye, CEO of eMachines.

The key to eMachines’ profitability lies in a tightly run operations model; the company’s sales, general and administrative cost (SG&A) is amongst the lowest in the industry, a model for which Inouye can largely be credited.
ARS believes one of the major reasons Gateway is acquiring eMachines is to leverage the success Inouye has seen and lower SG&A expenses with a goal of becoming profitable in 2005. This fact alone suggests that a major focus of the integration of the two companies will be to significantly reduce the operational costs at Gateway soon after the merger is approved to create a leaner, more dynamic operations structure.

Moving forward, the companies will focus on scale and rapid consumer electronics growth, which Ted Waitt, CEO of Gateway, indicated was likely to come primarily through digital television and digital camera products. In doing so, the companies must leverage eMachines’ domestic and global distribution, established retail relationships, low-cost structures and savings through best practices.

Channel Analysis

Beyond eMachines’ enviable low-cost structure; the company has a lot more to offer than Gateway in terms of “retail reach.” eMachines has well-established alliances with some of retail’s heaviest hitters such as Best Buy, Circuit City and Wal-Mart – to name just a few. For a brand integrator like Gateway, these alliances could form a perfect pathway for its newly established and growing line of consumer electronics (CE) products.

If Gateway is successful in penetrating retail in this manner, even rival Dell’s CE group would be envious of the advantageous position. Gateway may eventually consider closing its costly 190 Gateway Stores. ARS joins most analysts in the believed inevitability of some store closures in the near future.

PC Industry Analysis

In terms of Gateway’s PC business, the company does not intend to offer Gateway-branded computers through mainstream retail. Instead, Gateway will continue to sell its own computers –including server and storage products- through direct channels and/or through Gateway Stores. On the contrary, all eMachines-branded products will continue to be sold through the retail channel exclusively.

Noteworthy is the recently improved position of eMachines’ desktop PC offering. Following a failure to boost overall average selling price (ASP) and sell high-end desktops over two years ago, eMachines made several inroads in the improvement in the overall quality of its product, placement, service and brand mindshare. To that end, eMachines has just recently been able to post significant gains in the low-end, sub-$500 PC market as well as several PCs selling successfully within the ‘sweet spot’ range between $600 and $800.

Beyond offering a much more competitively-priced product line than Gateway, eMachines is responsible for delivering some of its own “disruptive” pricing in offering the first rewritable DVD drive clad machine for under $800. More recently, eMachines posted a first-to-market win for its AMD 64-bit Athlon 64-based computer selling for $1,299.

But in the notebook space, eMachines is still considered a new player. Gateway, which offers a diversified lineup of entry-level, mid-range, and high-end systems, has seen success in this market. To continue its push, eMachines must look to leverage Gateway’s experience and presence in the notebook space into its own product strategy and roadmap.

eMachines’ desktop PC momentum has been so solid that if it wasn’t for it’s naïveté in the notebook market and the absence of servers, storage and commercial PC penetration in general, ARS could see Gateway turning the entire PC business over to eMachines. In fact, Gateway’s notebook experience and small business PC following are the two foremost advantages it has to offer eMachines as a company.

Who Stands to Win?

Ultimately, it is Gateway that stands to benefit the most from this deal. There are many complexities in a merger like this one, but eMachines’ low-cost survival strategies, profitability, retail reach and recent international success in Europe and Asia all hold promise if Gateway can implement effectively.

ARS can be found on the Web at www.ars1.com.

Feb 09 - Nextel Testing Wireless Broadband Service. Nextel(R) Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:NXTL) announced today that it will trial a wireless broadband service in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C. market using Flarion Technologies' FLASH-OFDM(R) technology. The trial will begin later this month and will offer participants highly secure, high-speed, IP-based broadband access with the full mobility of wireless service.

Participants in the trial will include employees from select Nextel enterprise customers, including Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO), Nortel Networks (NYSE/TSX:NT) and IBM (NYSE:IBM). They will be able to take full advantage of average downlink speeds of up to 1.5 megabits per second (mbps) with burst rates of up to 3.0 mbps, making the service comparable to DSL and cable broadband services. The service will be up to 50 times faster than dial-up connections with the added benefit of being untethered.

"Nextel is exploring the market for a broadband service with Flarion because we are committed to offering our customers innovative, valuable services that help them to be more effective and more efficient. Nextel is considering a number of interesting technologies and this market trial will help us understand how the wireless broadband service performs, how valuable it is to our customers and what the market is likely to pay for it. With Flarion, we will explore the market appetite for innovative wireless solutions that meet the needs of our customers whether they work in a home office or a large enterprise," said Tom Kelly, chief operating officer, Nextel.

The announcement of this market trial follows recent news that Nextel is deploying WiDEN, which will increase its current packet data speed up to four times for the nominal cost of what is effectively a software upgrade to its iDEN network. In the Raleigh-Durham market trial, Nextel will provide wireless broadband access on laptop and desktop computers, pocket PCs and other similar devices.

Wireless broadband service provides the freedom to connect without constraints - no wires, no connection time, no need to be restricted or tethered to the home or office and no searching for WiFi hot spots. Flarion's fourth-generation (4G) mobile broadband technology is Internet-protocol-friendly, which will allow trial participants to easily connect to their main databases and run applications. The wireless broadband service will operate on a specialized network separate from Nextel's iDEN network, which enables Nextel's 4-in-1 services, including Nationwide Direct Connect(R), cellular voice, cellular wireless Internet access and short messaging.

"Flarion Technologies' system will enable users of Nextel's wireless broadband service to be more productive in their busy lives. People don't stay in one spot all day and neither should their broadband service," said Ray Dolan, chairman & CEO, Flarion Technologies. "Nextel and Flarion Technologies make a great partnership since both companies believe in developing visionary technology that fulfills the needs of real people who work in today's business environment."

Nextel has seen impressive results with Flarion's wireless broadband technology during extensive lab testing. During the upcoming market trial, Nextel will evaluate its wireless broadband service - including network performance and customer demand and satisfaction - under real world conditions. The trial is scheduled to run for a minimum of six months, and will not have a material impact on Nextel's financial results in 2004.

Nextel can be found online at www.nextel.com.

Feb 09 - Clearswift's MIMEsweeper Products Stop Employees from Downloading Junk. A combination of MAILsweeper for SMTP and MIMEsweeper for Web, Clearswift's content security solutions block employees from viewing, downloading and e-mailing the Janet Jackson breast baring incident that occurred at the Super Bowl this past weekend. The image, according to the National Post on Feb. 2, 2004, has become the most downloaded image from the Internet in that 24-hour period.

A combined e-mail and Web monitoring solution is important for organizations that don't want inappropriate material in their work environments and are concerned about the network bandwidth and storage space used by employees who view nonwork-related material during business hours.

MIMEsweeper for Web scans an employee's surfing habits and can stop the download of specific attachments such as the Jackson video by blocking Web sites that contain the clip. If an employee attempts to pass the clip via e-mail, it can be stopped at the SMTP gateway and sent to quarantine or removed.

According to Clearswift, whose MIMEsweeper content security products protect against such threats, files such as the Janet Jackson clip, when passed around an office, can have a multiplier effect -- monopolizing bandwidth and crippling productivity. Other e-cards and graphic images can also get corporations into legal trouble because of their potential to distribute discriminatory or offensive material over corporate networks.

"The Janet Jackson clip could produce huge headaches for organizations," said Greg Hampton, vice president of Clearswift. "Over the past couple of years, images such as this are presenting significant problems for network personnel by devouring bandwidth and eating up both network and personal productivity. There is also the legal risk of having something risque like this floating around a company via e-mail."

Companies have a legal responsibility to protect their staff from inappropriate e-mail content or risk expensive legal action. A clear and thorough e-mail policy is the basis for addressing a company's security issues. To be effective, that policy must be consistently enforced. Software such as MIMEsweeper can identify and eliminate e-mail threats and policy breaches.

More information about Clearswift, its products and services is available at www.clearswift.com.

Feb 08 - Sunday Shopping Watch

Best Sunday Deals - See our Best Sunday Ad Deals Table below for specific system prices.

Weekly Comparison. Something about Valentine's Day is causing computer prices to drop. A very good weekend to buy a new computer or peripheral.

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 24 month no-interest financing on all desktop and laptop purchases, and $150 mail-in rebates on advertised laptops and desktop packages.
Circuit City is offering 12 months no interest financing, and up to $150 mail-in rebates, on advertised desktop packages and notebooks.
Office Depot is offering is offering no payments, no interest, for 6 months on advertised notebooks.
CompUSA is offering $100 mail-in rebates on advertised notebooks and desktop complete systems, and they are offering a trade-in allowance on your old computer.
Staples has no store-wide promotions this Sunday.
Compare to Online Prices - Compare the Sunday ad prices to those being offered at DealTime, it searches over 160 online computer stores.

InfoHQ Related Shopping Pages

Shopping Alerts - Our latest shopping advisories on buying digital cameras and camcorders, desktop computers, laptops, and other computer items.

Windows XP 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 Newsletter; Free PC and Free Internet Deals.     

Definitions. A complete desktop system/package/complete 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 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 warranty).

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 weeks.

Best Sunday Ad Deals
Category
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Prices up or Down this Week
Store
Best Celeron Deal
Compaq 2.7 GHz complete system with 17" monitor
$449
-
CompUSA, Circuit City
Best Pentium 4 System
HP 3.0 GHz Pentium 4 complete system with HT Technology, 15 inch flat panel, and DVD-RW
$1249
-
CompUSA, Best Buy and Circuit City ($1269)
1. Best AMD Athlon XP System
eMachines Athlon 3000+ complete system with 17 inch monitor
$639
-
Circuit City
2. Best AMD Athlon XP System
Compaq Athlon 3000+ complete system with 17 inch monitor and DVD-RW drive
$719
-$50
Best Buy
3. Best AMD Athlon XP System
eMachines Athlon 3200+ complete system with 15 inch flat panel and DVD-RW
$979
-
Best Buy
4. Best AMD Athlon XP System
HP Athlon 3200+ complete system with 15 inch flat panel and DVD-RW
$1049
-
CompUSA, Best Buy ($1069)
1. Best Low-cost Laptop
HP Athlon 2500+ with DVD/CD-RW
$699
-$150
Best Buy
2. Best Low-cost Laptop
Toshiba 2.6 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW
$899
-
CompUSA
3. Best Low-cost Laptop
Compaq 2.6 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW
$849
-$50
Circuit City, Office Depot($899)
4. Best Low-cost Laptop
Compaq 2.4 GHz Pentium 4 with DVD/CD-RW
$999
-
Best Buy
1. Best High-end Notebook
HP/Compaq widescreen Pentium 4 2.66 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$1249
-
CompUSA, Circuit City, Best Buy ($1299)
2. Best High-end Notebook
Gateway Centrino 1.4 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$1399
-
Office Depot
3. Best High-end Notebook
Compaq Centrino 1.4 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$1499
-
CompUSA
4. Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba widescreen 2.8 GHz Pentium 4 with HT Technology and DVD/-RW
$1749
-
CompUSA
Peripherals and Software
Best Sunday Deal
Western Digital 80 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive with 8 MB buffer
$49
(after rebates)
-
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
Western Digital 160 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive with 8 MB buffer
$89
(after rebates)
-
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
Maxtor 120 GB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive
$119
(after rebates)
-
CompUSA
Best Sunday Deal
Maxtor 250 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive with 8 MB buffer
$159
(after rebates)
-
CompUSA
Best Sunday Deal
ATI 9600 XT 128 MB
$169
(after rebates)
+$20
CompUSA
Best Sunday Deal
Verto GeForce FX 5900 SE 128 MB
$199
(after rebates)
-
CompUSA
Best Sunday Deal
Sony 8X DVD-RW
$169
(after rebates)
-
CompUSA, Circuit City
Best Sunday Deal
Sony 52X CD-RW
$49
(after rebates)
-
Best Buy, Circuit City

 

InfoHQ Quick Jumps to Upgrades from DealTime - Click to check on latest prices
Video Cards ATI Radeon
  GeForce4 FX
Hard Drives Maxtor
  Western Digital
  Seagate
CD-RW Drives 40x/48x Write Speed
DVD-RW Drives DVD+RW/CD-RW
CPUs All AMD Athlon XP CPUs
  All Intel Pentium 4 CPUs
Antivirus Software All Manufacturers
Firewall Software All Manufacturers
All Other Products DealTime

 

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.

 

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