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Welcome to InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors. InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors is a daily column. It features news coverage of new PC and Mac computer hardware and software, Internet news, and other technical news items.
Every Sunday, News and Rumors features "Sunday Shopping Watch", which is a comparison and analysis of Sunday computer store advertisements.
The Computer News and Rumors is an archived column, so feel free to review previous week's or month's computer news by clicking on the link below. Previous computer news articles can also be searched, by using our site search feature found in the right-hand column.
InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors Article Index Date (Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to the Index.) Jan 23 Infineon Technologies Samples 1-GB DDR Modules for AMD's Athlon Jan 23 University of Delaware Supercomputer uses 128 AMD Athlon processors Jan 23 ``Utility Gap'' Widening Between Internet Producers and Public Jan 23 Samsung Takes Leadership Role in DDR Module Validations for Athlon Jan 22 New InfoHQ Computer Customer Service Polls Jan 22 Wireless Phones, Pagers and Modems to Surpass PCs as Most Popular Internet Access Devices Jan 22 Toshiba intoduces Type II PC Card Hard Disk Drive Jan 22 Dell Unit Shipments Up 40-Plus Percent; Revenue, Earnings Will Be Jan 22 Toshiba Announces Notebook Fingerprint Reader Jan 21 Sunday Shopping Watch Jan 20 Digital Audio is 2000 Holiday Season's Only Big Winner Jan 20 Compaq's iPAQ Pocket PC Gets Magi P2P Edge Jan 20 InfoHQ Releases New Laptop Buying Guide Jan 19 Micron Technology, Inc., Announces DDR SDRAM Module Validations Jan 19 America Online and Nokia Announce Microbrowser Licensing Agreement Jan 19 ScheduleOnline Enables Macintosh Users to Sync With Palm PDAs Jan 19 EA Announces Plans for The Sims House Party Expansion Pack Jan 18 Prodigy and GiantBear Partner to Develop and Launch Wireless Web Portal Jan 18 Logitech Debuts Its First Internet Video/Still Camera Jan 18 Motorola and EarthLink Partner to Provide E-Mail Access on the Go Jan 18 AMD reports record annual sales Jan 17 AMD's Next-generation Hammer Family of Processors Passes Another Major Milestone Jan 17 Handspring Posts Record Revenues for Q2, Up 64% Sequentially Jan 17 Hitachi Introduces 21 inch Flat-Faced Monitor Jan 17 Intel Reports Record Annual Revenue And EPS Jan 16 Intel to Acquire Xircom for Approximately $748 Million Jan 16 Toshiba Announces Single-Chip, Low-Power MPEG-4 Encoding and Decoding Solution Jan 16 Microsoft enhances Windows Me Web Support Pages
January 23 - Infineon Technologies Samples 1-GB DDR Modules for AMD's Athlon. Infineon Technologies (NYSE: IFX) announces that it is sampling the highest-density 1-GB DDR module, a registered DIMM organized 128Mbit x 72. The PC1600 module is made using 36 components of 256 Mbits each, and employs stacking to achieve the highest density available today for DDR modules.
"Infineon's world-class 0.17u DRAM technology has enabled us to be among the first companies to bring the 1-GB DDR DIMM to the market," said Peter Schaefer, Vice President Memory Products of Infineon Technologies Corp. in San Jose, CA. "At the upcoming Platform Conference in San Jose on January 23 and 24 we will demonstrate a DDR system with two 1-GB DDR DIMMs based on an AMD Athlon(TM) processor. With four of these DIMMs, this system can support the unprecedented DDR memory density of 4GB per PC."
Infineon also announced that its 256MB DDR SDRAM module has been validated for use in DDR platforms based on devices from Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.
Samples of 256-Mbit DDR parts in the DDR200 and DDR266 versions are available immediately, along with samples of the related 256-MB unbuffered and 256-MB and 512-MB registered DIMMs. Samples of the 1-GB DDR registered DIMM will become widely available in the course of the second quarter 2001.
For additional information about Infineon's product portfolio of DRAMs and modules, visit http://www.infineon.com/products/memory.
Januaary 23 - University of Delaware Supercomputer uses 128 AMD Athlon processors. AMD today announced that the University of Delaware's Bartol Research Institute (BRI) has installed a supercomputer powered by AMD Athlon(TM) processors. Racksaver's "Samson" supercomputer, a Beowulf Cluster design that uses 128 AMD Athlon processors, was purchased through a $500,000 Major Research Infrastructure (MRI) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
"The new parallel cluster supercomputer will solidify the University of Delaware's position as a leader in new technology, providing important computing power for UD researchers and students in physics, engineering and computer sciences," said Melvyn D. Schiavelli, Provost, University of Delaware. "It will provide an unparalleled learning experience for all concerned, and fits well with the University's commitment to teaching, research and technology.
The design of the `Samson' supercomputer using AMD Athlon processors reflects the economic changes in supercomputing," said David Driggers, President and CEO of Racksaver (www.racksaver.com). "Racksaver specializes in using existing, advanced technology to design flexible, yet powerful systems that can fit into specific space limitations.
The `Samson' supercomputer with AMD Athlon processors fulfills both the space and performance needs of the University of Delaware." Racksaver's `Samson' supercomputer using AMD Athlon processors is expected to rank within the top 200 of the fastest supercomputers in the world based on the Top500 supercomputer list (http://www.top500.org/index.html), but should move to a higher ranking upon the addition of updated Linux compilers. UD officials are expected to conduct industry standard benchmarks over the next several months, including single processor benchmarks such as SpecINT and SpecFP, and the Stream memory bandwidth test.
January 23 - ``Utility Gap'' Widening Between Internet Producers and Public. The producers of new Internet applications have the technology to deliver amazingly sophisticated effects -- but most consumers can't receive the images with commonly used computers.
According to Web technology innovators, the industry is hamstrung by the limited capabilities of the general public's computers. As a result, Web producers are "dumbing down" their programming until the public's technology catches up.
"Streaming video, via Flash, is still a challenge to the average user. MP4, DIVX and technology beyond that are ready to roll out, but the audience to view it is so limited that it's often not economically viable," Sam Sokolow, co-principal of SokoLobl Entertainment, explained.
"There are live-action effects that we can Webcast right now, but what's the point if no one sees it?" Rob Lobl, SokoLobl co-principal, added. In fact, consumers often develop a resistance to new applications as a result of being frustrated by their attempts to view Webcasts beyond their computers' ability.
eBlast Venture spokesman Bruce Weiner echoes the sentiment, observing that the e-commerce industry is driven by a technological vision but "hampered by the consumer marketplace trying to play catch-up."
The middle ground has been to enhance the performance of existing technology. SokoLobl is now producing an animated series for the Web using streaming technology but delivering the quality of 24 frames per second instead of the typically stuttering effect of 12 frames per second.
"We're tweaking and pushing the available technology to the limit as a stopgap," Lobl said. "However, in the near future we'll be sending -- and the public will be enjoying -- interactive effects seemingly light-years more sophisticated."
January 23 - Samsung Takes Leadership Role in DDR Module Validations for Athlon. According to data just released by Advanced Micro Devices, Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. leads the industry in the number of fully validated DDR SDRAM DIMM modules available by a ratio of Five to One over the next nearest supplier.
Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. has 10 fully validated modules available, providing both PC2100 and PC1600 speed ratings. According to the AMD data, three additional manufacturers between them have a total of four, predominantly low speed, modules available. All Samsung's DDR SDRAM DIMM memory modules have been validated for use with the AMD 760 and the VIA Apollo Pro266 and VIA KT266 chipsets.
"DDR is a crucial element of Samsung's global memory strategy." Said Mian Quddus, Samsung's Director of Solution Enabling. "We intend to support the growing DDR market with the fastest and widest range of customer solutions available. Samsung's unequivocal support for our DDR customers is clearly demonstrated with our 256Mbit and 128Mbit PC2100 and PC1600 modules that we have in full production and are shipping right now."
"Samsung is an impartial supplier," Said Dieter Mackowiak, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. "Samsung fully intends to maintain its position as the industry's number one memory supplier. We will achieve this in the high-speed memory market segment by continuing to offer our customers their choice of either DDR SDRAM DIMM or RAMBUS DRAM DIMM modules."
Samsung Semiconductor's North American headquarters are located in San Jose, California. For more information, please visit http://www.usa.samsungsemi.com.
To visit the AMD DDR module validation site go to: http://www.amd.com/devconn/ddrvalid.html. To visit VIA's DDR module validation site go to : http://www.via.com.tw/company/ddrzone_val.htm.
January 22 - New InfoHQ Computer Customer Service Polls. We've started two new polls to gather your opinion on customer service you have recieved from computer companies; the computer company with the best customer service, and the computer company with the worst customer service. Click here to see the new polls .
January 22 - Wireless Phones, Pagers and Modems to Surpass PCs as Most Popular Internet Access Devices. Wireless Internet access devices including palm computers, wireless modems and two-way pagers will boom in popularity over the next several years and eventually displace the PC as the preferred Internet access method, according to Cahners In-Stat Group.
Shipments of wireless Internet access devices will sustain double and triple digit growth through 2004, the high tech market research firm says.
Sales of Internet-ready wireless phones, the most popular mobile access devices, will surpass 1 billion annually by 2004 and by the end of 2002, virtually all wireless phones will be pre-loaded with mini browsers and will be Internet-enabled.
Not all users will be able to access the Web wirelessly right away, however. "Carriers throughout the world will roll out Internet access at different speeds," said Ken Hyers, a senior wireless analyst with In-Stat.
"A few may never roll out data services." Nevertheless, all wireless Internet access device markets will see strong growth. Initially, the devices will be most popular for business use, but as access speeds, displays and interfaces improve, they will become a hit with consumers as well."
Cahners In-Stat Group can be found on the Web at http://www.instat.com/.
January 22 - Toshiba intoduces Type II PC Card Hard Disk Drive. the Computer System Group (CSG) of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc. Monday announced the availability of the 2.0GB(a), 1.8-inch Type II PC Card Hard Disk Drive, allowing mobile users to back up data and access large files anytime, anywhere.
With the largest capacity storage currently available in a Type II PC Card form factor, Toshiba leads the way in providing high-performance storage solutions for mobile users. Weighing less than two ounces, Toshiba's credit card-sized HDD introduces a sleek design with powerful storage capacity, eliminating the need for and hassle of carrying data from multiple diskettes or CDs while on the road.
In addition to storing large files from a PC and removable applications (data back-up capacity equivalent to three CDs), the 1.8-inch HDD also serves as a bridging device to transfer digital data from electronic equipment with a PC Card slot.
With a data transfer rate of up to 20MB per second, large files can be stored quickly -- all without the need of external cables, power supplies or specific media, increasing the productivity of mobile users. Combining a quick data transfer rate and 2.0GB storage capacity, co-workers can now share large amounts of data more quickly and efficiently.
The removable HDD also provides an excellent data security solution, as the Type II Card can be removed from the computer and locked away at night, keeping sensitive files secure.
Toshiba's 2.0GB, 1.8-inch Type II PC Card HDD will be available for purchase in February 2001 at an estimated single unit price of $459. Visit the company's Web site at www.computers.toshiba.com.
January 22 - Dell Unit Shipments Up 40-Plus Percent; Revenue, Earnings Will Be. Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) said today its unit shipments grew as much as four times the industry rate, and that it expects to report strong revenue growth and industry-leading profitability, during its fiscal fourth quarter. Nevertheless, operating results will fall short of company guidance at the start of the quarter because of deterioration in global economic conditions and overall demand for computer systems and services.
"This performance clearly distinguishes us from other computer-systems companies, given current realities of the global economy and computer-systems market," said Michael Dell, the company's chairman and chief executive officer. "Customer preference for direct relationships continues to grow and we're extending our price leadership, regardless of the economic environment."
Dell said fourth-quarter revenue is expected to total $8.5 to $8.6 billion, up 25 to 27 percent from the year-ago quarter, with net income up 16 to 20 percent. Per-share earnings will likely reach 18 to 19 cents. The company previously said it anticipated earnings of 26 cents per share, on revenue of $8.7 billion.
According to Dell, quarterly unit shipments are likely to increase more than 40 percent from the year-ago quarter. Industry analysts estimate Dell added at least two full points of overall market share during the period. Company growth in shipments of strategically important enterprise-class systems -- servers, storage products and workstations -- and notebook computers was particularly strong.
Mr. Dell said the company plans to continue to aggressively manage its already lean cost structure during the next year. Cost leadership, combined with the downward trend in component prices, should permit Dell to deliver the greater value customers are looking for from providers of computer systems and services.
"We are bringing the full competitive force of our direct business model to bear on the marketplace to benefit customers, accelerate market-share gains and position Dell for profitable, long-term growth at a multiple of the industry rate," he said. "We intend to succeed on all counts."
Dell's fourth quarter ends this Friday. The company will announce full financial results on Feb. 15. . Information on Dell and its products can be obtained on the World Wide Web at www.dell.com.
January 22 - Toshiba Announces Notebook Fingerprint Reader. The Computer Systems Group (CSG) of Toshiba America Information Systems Inc. Monday announced the availability of an enhanced security solution for mobile computer users.
Toshiba's PC Card Fingerprint Reader uses Biometrics technology to offer security that is quick, convenient and reliable. Attached to a standard Type II PC Card, the retractable fingerprint reader captures an image of the user's fingerprint and uses the information as identification for entry into the system. Coined "Biometrics," this technology uses complex algorithms to convert the image into a "map" of points.
Toshiba's PC Card Fingerprint Reader locks the user's notebook at the BIOS level, enabling the same level of security as your standard BIOS password, but with the simple touch of a finger. Like BIOS level notebook security, Biometrics technology secures both the device and data on the system, ensuring the same level of security, but without the inconvenience of another password to remember.
With Toshiba's PC Card Fingerprint Reader, users are given either a one-to-one or one-to-many search option. The one-to-many search option enables the user to program more than one fingerprint into the system as a backup. Therefore, for instance, if the finger a person normally uses for system access has a cut on it, the user can simply defer to their backup finger for entry into the system.
The PC Card Fingerprint Reader will work in any notebook with the following minimum configurations: an Intel(R) Pentium(R) II processor, a standard Type II PC card slot, 64MB of RAM, 20MB of free hard disk drive space, a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive and proper installation and configuration of the TCP/IP protocol (for Windows(R) 95/98 only). It is compatible with Microsoft(R) Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT 4.0.
Toshiba's PC Card Fingerprint Reader will be available in February 2001 through Toshiba's traditional distribution channels, VARs, www.shoptoshiba.com and mail-order partners for a street price of $199 and will come equipped with BioLogon(TM) software. Visit the company's Web site at www.computers.toshiba.com.
January 21 - Sunday Shopping Watch.
Special Discounts and Financing.
Best Buy is advertising no interest financing for one year on all notebooks, a $100 instant rebate on all desktop complete systems, and a $100 instant rebate on all Toshiba notebooks.
Circuit City has a $100 mail-in rebate on all computer Pentium III complete packages and notebooks..
Office Depot has no ad this Sunday.
Staples has no ad this Sunday.
CompUSA has no ad this Sunday.
Internet Rebates. All stores continue to offer the 3 year, $400 Internet Rebates. Please see our article, What You Need to Know About Internet Rebates and Free PCs, for an in-depth discussion of Internet Rebates.
Definitions. A complete system/package is defined as a computer with monitor and printer or scanner.
A built-to-order system is customized and ordered from a Vendor's store. In addition to the computer's stated price, you still pay sales tax and shipping charges (if you order direct from the vendor without going through the chain store, you may not have to pay sales tax).
* Prices discussed in this article. Advertisers typically deduct the $400 Internet rebate from an items true price. We report all prices without subtracting the $400 Internet rebate, however all other rebates and discounts are usually subtracted.
Best Deals this Sunday Category Product Description Price* (see above) Store Best Low Cost Celeron Deal None advertised Best High-End Celeron Deal HP 766 MHz complete system $899 Best Buy Best Low Cost Pentium III System HP 933 MHz complete system $1149 Circuit City Best High End Pentium III System HP 1 GHz complete system $1499 Circuit City Best Low Cost Athlon System Compaq 750 MHz Duron complete system $849 Best Buy Best High End Athlon System Compaq 1.2 GHz complete system $1999 Best Buy Best Pentium 4 System None advertised Best Low Cost Notebook Toshiba Celeron 600 MHz $899 Best Buy Best High End Notebook Toshiba 650 MHz with DVD $1699 Best Buy
Additional Information. For additional technical information, advice on how to buy a laptop or desktop, and vendor and manufacturer links, please see our Computer Buying Advice page.
About Sunday Shopping Watch. Sunday Shopping Watch appears every Sunday (except some holidays like Easter and Christmas) in our News and Rumors column. It is a review of the highlights of local (Dayton, Ohio) computer chain store advertisements. While we can not guarantee your local chain store have the same items, this article should help you to make informed buying decisions.
January 20 - Digital Audio is 2000 Holiday Season's Only Big Winner. The numbers are in, and it's now clear that the turnaround many high-tech pure plays had envisioned for the 2000 holiday season didn't materialize. According to analysis released today by OneChannel.net computer systems, printers and scanners fared poorly, with only digital audio doing well: PC audio products such as digital music/MP3 players, outperformed last year's holiday season. Except for this bright spot, in category after category, sales were lower than those experienced during the l999 holiday season.
PC audio products increased from about $2.2 million in sales in December 1999 to about $6.4 million in December 2000, just shy of a three-fold increase. They also saw a huge spike in sales, about a 90 percent increase, from the third quarter of 2000 to the fourth, when holiday buying occurred.
Interestingly, digital cameras were favored earlier in the season to be strong performers, but overall, they actually decreased from sales of about $18.7 million in December 1999 to sales of about $14.2 million in December 2000, in total a near 16 percent drop. Digital cameras, however, experienced better sales in the fourth quarter than in the third, increasing about 27 percent from Q3 to Q4. According to OneChannel.net's analysis, computer systems experienced a very bad holiday season, consistent with reports from other industry sources. Online sales dropped from about $70 million in December 1999 to about $63.4 million in December 2000. Sales also declined by about 7.8 percent between the last two quarters of 2000. For pure-play computer retailers, this was extraordinarily bad news, since many had already reported that the third quarter had been uncharacteristically bad.
Printers and scanners also saw declines between the two holiday seasons, perhaps reflecting the lack of computer systems sales, which often generate add-on opportunities for peripherals. For example, online sales of printers fell from about $25.5 million in December 1999 to about $18 million in December 2000, about a 29 percent drop. Similarly, December online sales of scanners dipped from about $6.2 million to about $5.4 million, a near 13 percent difference.
PDAs saw a year-to-year decline in December online sales, falling from about $24 million in 1999 to about $10.4 million in 2000, translating to a decrease of about 57 percent. In particular, online sales of Palm OS-based PDAs at OneChannel.net's participating retailers dropped from about $20.7 million to about $8 million, in a comparison of December 1999 and December 2000 sales. Windows CE devices saw a similar decline, dropping from $3.1 million to $1.8 million in the same comparison.
Many categories--even those troubled and lackluster ones--saw holiday buying spikes in December 2000. For instance, PDAs did 77 percent better at OneChannel.net retailers in December than in November. Cameras saw a one-month increase of about 80 percent. Scanners saw an 18 percent jump as did input devices. This spike, however, was still not enough for many pure-play technology retailers who had been expecting huge increases over last year's online sales.
Visit OneChannel.net at www.onechannel.net.
Janaury 20 - Compaq's iPAQ Pocket PC Gets Magi P2P Edge. Endeavors Technology Inc., the only company delivering open-source, standards-based peer-to-peer software, today announced innovative peer-to-peer (P2P) infrastructure software for Compaq's iPAQ Pocket PC.
Now part of the developer's Magi Embedded product line, the P2P software turns the iPAQ Pocket PC into an interactive mobile Web server capable of conducting two-way interaction with desktops, workstations, servers, and other palmtops.
This latest P2P development further demonstrates Endeavors Technology's leadership in P2P computing, and its driving goal to make the Web two-way, ubiquitous and secure. With its Magi(TM) suite of P2P software, all Web-enabled devices, from palmtops through mainframes, will become fully interoperable peers, despite their unequal capabilities. This growing collection of Magi-enabled devices is transforming the Internet into a rich and seamless, two-way environment where P2P collaboration across all Web-enabled devices provides secure access to any information from anywhere, at anytime.
Endeavors Technology's latest software is written on top of the iPAQ Pocket PC's Win CE(TM) operating system. The software's low memory footprint allows the iPAQ to communicate as a true peer with any Magi-enabled desktop or device. Available as licensed technology, the iPAQ P2P software is a groundbreaking enterprise-wide solution for companies expanding into an un-wired business model.
Magi peer-to-peer technology enables organizations, groups and individuals to find, share and act upon information anywhere, at any time, by making the power of a Web server available on any Internet-enabled device. Its open, standards-based application platform incorporates automated e-process agents that enable event-driven, multi-way communications between servers, PCs, PDAs, Internet-ready phones and embedded chips.
The Magi suite of tools grew from research carried out at the University of California Irvine, partly funded by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), and integrates Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV) technology. A P2P architecture white paper and the P2P Business Summary can be accessed at www.endtech.com.
January 20 - InfoHQ Releases New Laptop Buying Guide. We've updated and rewritten our Laptop Buying Guide. The original article was expanaded from one page to over eleven pages of laptop and notebook information. Enjoy.
January 19 - Micron Technology, Inc., Announces DDR SDRAM Module Validations. Micron Technology, Inc. (NYSE:MU), today announced it received validation for DDR SDRAM DIMM modules from Advanced Micro Devices and VIA Technologies.
Micron validated its PC1600 128MB Unbuffered DDR SDRAM DIMM modules (MT8VDDT1664AG-202A1) and PC1600 256MB Unbuffered DDR SDRAM DIMM modules (MT16VDDT3264AG-202A1) with the AMD 760TM chipset.
Micron validated its PC1600 256MB DDR SDRAM Registered DIMM modules (MT18VDDT3272DG-202A1) with the VIA Apollo Pro266 chipset.
With DDR SDRAMs providing a clear path to improved system performance and moving to cost parity with SDRAMs, the company also increased production of DDR SDRAM devices to meet growing demand.
The company is also sampling PC2100 DDR SDRAM modules and will validate these modules. "Much like we saw with the shift from PC100 to PC133 in SDRAM, we anticipate a gradual industry transition from PC1600 to PC2100," said Jeff Mailloux, Micron's DRAM Marketing Director. "We are also working with industry partners on faster main memory speed grades beyond PC2100."
In continued support of this emerging technology, Micron's Crucial.com division continues to offer Micron's PC1600 DDR SDRAM memory modules directly to end users at the same price as current generation PC133 modules. "With more and more systems taking advantage of the performance benefits of DDR SDRAM, it is important to make these modules widely available," said Fred Waddel, General Manager of Crucial.com.
To learn more about Micron Technology, Inc., visit its web site at www.micron.com.
January 19 - America Online and Nokia Announce Microbrowser Licensing Agreement. America Online, Inc., the world's leading interactive services company and Nokia (NYSE:NOK), the world leader in mobile communications, today announced a licensing agreement whereby America Online will develop and market a Netscape-branded version of Nokia's WAP microbrowser, with AOL enhanced features, for use across a wide variety of mobile communications devices.
Under the multi-year agreement, America Online will work with the Nokia technology to bring to the market enhanced microbrowser technology and to promote wireless standards, including WAP, that foster a vibrant mobile data experience.
Dennis Patrick, President of AOL Wireless said, "This agreement is a key component of our wireless strategy. WAP is the most widely adopted wireless standard in the world among carriers and handset manufacturers and it makes sense for us to work to support that standard. We're delighted to work with a leader like Nokia. Licensing their WAP browser source code allows us to quickly enter the WAP market with an established technology. Additionally, America Online will continue to lead in the development of technologies and standards that deliver the best possible wireless experience for consumers as we move towards the convergence of wireless and wire-linked Internet technologies."
The agreement between Nokia and America Online marks the first extension of the Netscape brand to the microbrowser market. It supports America Online's AOL Anywhere(SM) strategy, which makes AOL's industry-leading brands and features available to online consumers anywhere, anytime through a range of devices beyond the PC. The companies can be found on the Web at www.aol.com and www.nokia.com.
January 19 - ScheduleOnline Enables Macintosh Users to Sync With Palm PDAs. ScheduleOnline Inc., the first online all-purpose scheduling toolbox for small- to medium-sized businesses, announced Macintosh users can now synchronize calendars, to-do lists and address books with Palm OS-based Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) devices, including Visor from Handspring.
Synching between PCs and Web calendars is already offered to PC users by several Web calendars, including ScheduleOnline, but ScheduleOnline is the only Web-based scheduling company that offers this functionality to Macintosh users.
ScheduleOnline allows Macintosh users to synchronize PDAs with a group scheduler that checks, in real-time, the availability of colleagues. Users can schedule with, or be scheduled by colleagues through ScheduleOnline, then load the information for offline access on their PDA. Any changes or additions to information on their PDA or ScheduleOnline account will be replicated and updated on both systems.
"With the introduction of synching capabilities for Macintosh users, ScheduleOnline makes PDAs more enticing and useful for those who have been left out in the cold by the Web-calendar market," according to Hans Hartman, president of ScheduleOnline. "ScheduleOnline sets the pace for the rest to follow."
ScheduleOnline's Mac Sync requires a Macintosh PowerPC and OS 8.1.03 or newer. Users can download the free ScheduleOnline Mac Sync software at www.scheduleonline.com.
January 19 - EA Announces Plans for The Sims House Party Expansion Pack. Electronic Arts (Nasdaq:ERTS) today announced plans to release this spring, The Sims(TM) House Party Expansion Pack, a new add-on disk to the top-selling PC game of 2000, The Sims. With new characters, activities, architecture styles, objects, music and much more, the new expansion pack will give players the chance to host outrageous parties for their Sims.
"Just like real people, Sims are social creatures, but it has always been difficult for them to get together and party," said Lucy Bradshaw, General Manager of EA's Maxis(TM) studio. "This new expansion pack pumps up the fun of watching and controlling your Sims in a group dynamic."
Three new architecture styles and dozens of new objects allow players to hoedown at a country barn dance, chow down at a tropical luau, or go underground at a rave with their Sims. Within each entertaining theme, a festive variety of costumes and decor options are available to add breadth to the bash.
Players can build a dance floor for their Sims and watch them keep to the rhythm of the DJ's music. They can hire a flashy caterer to keep the buffet table and punch bowl full. Or they can roll in a mechanical bull or the giant cake "full of surprises" and kick the party into high gear. The House Party Expansion Pack makes it easy for the Sims to throw an absolutely unforgettable evening for all of their friends.
The Sims' unparalleled success most recently inspired the creation of its first add-on pack, The Sims Livin' Large which shipped this past September. The Sims Livin' Large allows players to put their simulated families from The Sims into new extreme situations and settings. To date, The Sims Livin' Large has sold over 500,000 copies in North America.
The Sims, the wildly popular game that allows players to create a neighborhood of simulated people known as "Sims" and control their lives, skyrocketed to the top of the charts when it began shipping to stores in February and has quickly become a universal gaming and cultural phenomenon. It was the best selling PC game of 2000 according to Reston-based PC Data. Translated into 13 different languages, the game continues to be a top seller worldwide. For more information on The Sims, The Sims Livin'Large, and The Sims House Party, visit www.thesims.com.
January 18 - Prodigy and GiantBear Partner to Develop and Launch Wireless Web Portal. Prodigy Communications Corporation (Nasdaq:PRGY), one of the nation's largest Internet service providers for consumers and small businesses, and GiantBear Inc., a wireless application service provider, today announced a partnership to develop and launch "Prodigy Wireless(tm)," a mobile portal that consumers can access from their wireless devices, making it easy for Prodigy Internet(R) members and non-members to always reach rich Prodigy content and applications.
As a result of this collaboration, Prodigy's wireless Web portal will allow users personalized mobile access to Prodigy Internet services including local and national content and e-commerce services. In addition, Prodigy(R) users will be able to receive customizable alerts to be delivered to their wireless phones or to other mobile computing devices on topics such as news, sports, stock quotations, horseracing and lottery results, horoscopes, as well as traffic and travel-related information. "This partnership with GiantBear lays the foundation for Prodigy to provide its members with a richer experience through content and applications that are easy to use, wherever they are," said Gregory G. Williams, chief operating officer of Prodigy. "GiantBear's wireless offering provides a platform that extends the Prodigy Everywhere(tm) experience to many mobile devices, allowing us to offer a wireless Internet experience that is industry leading and sets a new standard in terms of navigation and personalization."
"Prodigy and GiantBear are pioneers in the industry, and we're especially proud to work with Prodigy to offer consumers integrated content across multiple platforms and technologies," said James Green, chief executive officer of GiantBear. "Additionally, our sophisticated technology, along with our collaboration with Prodigy and its approximately 2.7 million users, creates the capability of increasing the consumer reach of GiantBear services to some 5 million wireless users."
GiantBear's proprietary technology enables Prodigy to deliver "Prodigy Wireless" access to users with Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)-enabled devices for TDMA, CDMA and GSM digital wireless networks, and provides the capability of delivering personalized content and e-commerce to current and future wireless technologies.
For more information about GiantBear and its products, visit www.giantbear.com. For more information on Prodigy and its products visit www.prodigy.com.
January 18 - Logitech Debuts Its First Internet Video/Still Camera. Logitech (NASDAQ:LOGIY) (Switzerland:LOGN, LOGZ), the leading manufacturer of Internet video cameras, announces its first dual-purpose camera, QuickCam(R) Traveler(TM). This newest product joins the popular QuickCam family, which has helped more than five million users create closer personal connections over the Internet.
QuickCam Traveler combines easy web communication with the freedom of a digital still camera. When detached from the PC, the camera can store up to 60 high-resolution images (640 x 480) and 200 low-resolution images (320 x 240). The camera's control panel allows users to easily snap, save and delete pictures. With the easy one button QuickSync(TM) feature, users can instantly transfer the pictures to the PC. Other features include a self-timer, macro setting and resolution adjustment.
When attached to the PC, QuickCam Traveler becomes a high-quality VGA camera with a CCD sensor that provides enhanced image quality. In attached mode, the unit features a built-in microphone for natural communication and is capable of recording video at up to 30 frames per second. Sending video e-mail to family and friends complete with sound, music and special effects is simple, with the included fully-functional versions of MGI's VideoWave(R) III SE video editing and PhotoSuite(R) III SE image editing software.
QuickCam Traveler uses a USB connection and is completely compatible with Windows(R) 98, Windows 2000 and Windows Millennium Edition. A two-year limited hardware warranty is included. QuickCam Traveler also includes, at no extra charge, the SmartClip(TM) accessory that allows a user to attach the camera to a laptop or flat-panel monitor.
With a retail price of $149.95 USD in the US and 349 DM in Europe, the product is available from Logitech dealers and distributors, and online at www.logitech.com.
January 18 - Motorola and EarthLink Partner to Provide E-Mail Access on the Go. Motorola Inc. (NYSE:MOT) and EarthLink (Nasdaq:ELNK), the nation's second largest Internet service provider, today announced a new partnership to offer mobile EarthLink e-mail services on the Motorola Talkabout(R) two-way model T900.
This new partnership will provide a mobile e-mail solution for the consumer, bringing together the structure of an existing online community and the freedom of mobile access on a proven handheld device.
As part of its effort to deliver the consumer promise of its "EarthLink Everywhere" initiative, EarthLink selected Motorola's Talkabout T900, one of the leading two-way text messaging devices with more than 750,000 units shipped in the U.S. since its introduction in May 2000.
The pocket-sized Talkabout T900 provides EarthLink subscribers with an extension of their primary EarthLink e-mail and allows them to send and receive messages without being tied to their PC. EarthLink subscribers will be able to direct their existing EarthLink e-mail accounts to be delivered to their handheld device, where they can reply, forward, delete and store e-mails.
With the Talkabout T900, users will be able to send e-mails to any e-mail address, including Internet addresses, other Talkabout T900 units and other wireless devices.
Making it easy to take e-mail on the road, the Talkabout T900 weighs less than four ounces and is only about the size of a large pack of gum. This little package includes a full QWERTY keyboard and four-line display screen that allow for easy reading and composing of messages.
The Talkabout T900's address book accommodates information for up to 250 contacts and makes it easy to remember important numbers and e-mail addresses for friends, family and colleagues.
Information about EarthLink and its services is available at www.earthlink.net. Motorola's company Web site can be found at www.motorola.com.
Janaury 18 - AMD reports record annual sales. AMD today reported sales of $1,175,172,000 and net income of $177,968,000 for the quarter ended December 31, 2000. Net income amounted to $0.53 per diluted share.
Aggregate sales of AMD flagship products -- PC processors and flash memory devices -- increased by 33 percent from the like period of 1999. Total company sales increased by 21 percent from the fourth quarter of 1999. In the fourth quarter of 1999, AMD reported total sales of $968,710,000 and net income of $65,080,000, which amounted to $0.21 per diluted share.
"AMD had the best year in its history," said W.J. Sanders III, chairman and chief executive officer. "AMD had record sales, record operating income, record net income, and record earnings per share in 2000. Sales growth of approximately $1.8 billion produced a favorable swing of $1.2 billion in operating income. Net income was nearly $1 billion. "Our technology and manufacturing organizations distinguished themselves from the competition by executing nearly flawlessly. While the deterioration of the PC market late in the year impacted sales of PC processors in the fourth quarter, AMD substantially outperformed the semiconductor industry in a year of extraordinary growth. Despite the PC slowdown, AMD achieved record unit shipments of nearly 7 million PC processors during the quarter. AMD gained market share in the PC processor arena, with more than 26.5 million total units sold in 2000. We believe we gained three points of market share in units during the year, to approximately 17 percent of the worldwide market for PC processors.
"Demand for AMD Athlon(TM) processors remained strong in the fourth quarter," Sanders continued. "Unit and dollar sales of AMD Athlon and AMD Duron(TM) processors increased for both despite severe weakness in the North American retail sector of the PC market. Unit sales of AMD Duron processors were impacted by the unavailability of certain chipsets. Total PC processor average selling prices were negatively affected by end-of-life pricing of AMD-K6-2(R) family processors.
"During the quarter, AMD introduced a 1.2-gigahertz version of the AMD Athlon processor utilizing DDR memory," said Sanders. "This combination delivers unsurpassed PC performance on the most commonly used business applications. Last week, AMD introduced an 850-MHz AMD Duron processor, strengthening its performance leadership in the value space. No matter how little or how much PC users want to spend, they will continue to get more performance for their money with an AMD-powered system.
"A major factor in our excellent results was the continuing success of the world's first 1-gigahertz PC processor, the AMD Athlon processor. The innovative AMD Athlon processor established AMD as a leader in high-performance PCs. We continue to be the volume provider for PCs featuring speeds of one gigahertz and greater. Indeed, by the end of the current quarter, all AMD Athlon processors will be manufactured with clock speeds of one gigahertz or higher," Sanders continued.
"While current economic conditions make it difficult to forecast demand, we believe our prospects are excellent for gaining market share, growing faster than the industry, and increasing our operating profit in 2001," Sanders concluded. The company expects that normal seasonal weakness in first-quarter demand for PC processors coupled with the effects of excess PC inventories in the distribution channels will impact PC processor sales in the first quarter of 2001. The company currently expects to sell between 6 and 6.5 million PC processors in the first quarter. Accordingly, PC processor revenues are expected to be modestly lower. The company expects that unit growth for the PC market will be in the mid-teens for 2001 as a whole.
The company currently projects that sales of its flash memory products will grow modestly in the first quarter from the levels of the fourth quarter of 2000, with substantial growth for the year as a whole.
Accordingly, the company expects that total first-quarter sales for AMD will be up year-on-year, but no better than flat sequentially from the fourth quarter of 2000.
With some analysts currently reducing their forecasts for semiconductor industry growth to the range of 7 to 15 percent for 2001, AMD expects its sales to grow at the high end of these forecasts. The company believes that industry growth in this range would likely result in pricing pressures and resultant lower margins. The company believes that aggregate growth in the range of 15 percent in this environment would result in net income of $2.00 per diluted share, plus-or-minus a few percentage points, assuming a 32 percent tax rate, for 2001.
More information about AMD is available at www.amd.com.
January 17 - AMD's Next-generation Hammer Family of Processors Passes Another Major Milestone. AMD and Virtutech today announced the two companies are working together to further enable the development of software supporting AMD's next-generation Hammer family of processors. The two companies have jointly developed an innovative, high-performance tool, codenamed "VirtuHammer", that will allow software developers to write and test 64-bit programs in preparation for the planned commercial introduction of the next-generation AMD processors in the first half of 2002.
Virtutech's Simics software enables a computer featuring the 32-bit AMD Athlon processor to simulate the operations of a 64-bit Hammer processor-based computer, allowing developers to use currently available technology to quickly and accurately test and debug their 64-bit software for AMD's next-generation processors.
Hammer processors will be the first AMD processors capable of 64-bit operation, and are being designed to deliver leading-edge performance on both the 64-bit software used by high-end workstations and servers and the 32-bit software used by the majority of desktop computers. AMD has already begun delivering VirtuHammer simulators to targeted software partners, helping ensure they have the resources, time, and support required to develop 64-bit operating systems, tools and applications for the Hammer family of processors.
"AMD values the roles companies like Virtutech play in helping bring the benefits of innovative new technologies like the x86-64 instruction set and Hammer family of processors to users. Virtutech's excellent simulation technology, coupled with the powerful AMD Athlon processor, create a high-performance tool that can help developers bring 64-bit software to market supporting AMD's Hammer processors," said Fred Weber, vice president of Engineering for the Computation Products Group at AMD. "The developer community has expressed tremendous interest in the x86-64 instruction set and the Hammer family of processors, with more than 100,000 users having visited the x86-64.org website since the specification was released last August."
About AMD's x86-64 Technology AMD's straightforward approach to 64-bit computing builds upon the x86 instruction set, one of the industry's most proven and widely supported technologies. AMD x86-64 technology is designed to support applications that address large amounts of physical and virtual memory, such as high performance servers, database management systems, and CAD tools. The x86-64 technology seamlessly integrates into the current computing and support environment, and is designed to enable enterprises to deploy high performance 64-bit capable systems that also deliver leading-edge performance on the billions of dollars invested in the current base of 32-bit software.
AMD enhances the current x86 instruction set by introducing two major features: a 64-bit extension called long mode, and register extensions. Long mode consists of two sub-modes: 64-bit mode, and compatibility mode. 64-bit mode supports new 64-bit code through the addition of eight general-purpose registers and widens them all along with the instruction pointer. It also adds eight 128-bit floating point registers. Compatibility mode supports existing 16-bit and 32-bit applications under a 64-bit operating system. In addition to long mode, the architecture also supports a pure x86 legacy mode, which preserves binary compatibility with existing 16-bit and 32-bit applications and operating systems. For additional information on the x86-64 instruction set, visit www.x86-64.org.
Visit AMD on the Web at www.amd.com. More information on AMD's Hammer processor can be found in our article, InfoHQ Desktop CPU Rundown.
January 17 - Handspring Posts Record Revenues for Q2, Up 64% Sequentially. Handspring, Inc. (Nasdaq:HAND) today posted revenues of $115.6 million for the second quarter of fiscal year 2001 which ended December 30, 2000. Quarterly revenues increased 64% over Q1, and over 600% compared to Q2 of last year, reflecting strong holiday demand for Handspring's Visor line of handheld computers. Continued channel expansion in the U.S. retail market, along with new distribution channels in Asia, also contributed to the strong quarter.
Handspring's gross margins increased to 31.4%, up slightly from the prior quarter. Excluding amortization of deferred stock compensation, Handspring reported a net loss of $7.0 million during Q2. Excluding amortization of deferred stock compensation, total operating expenses were $45.6 million, or 39% of revenue. Including amortization of deferred stock compensation, net loss for the quarter was $15.2 million.
Handspring achieved several significant milestones during the quarter. First, the company started shipping three major new products: VisorPhone, Visor Prism, and Visor Platinum. Second, the company expanded its domestic retail distribution with additional retail partners such as Target and Wal-Mart. Third, Handspring expanded its international presence with new distribution in Asia and the Middle East.
On December 26, 2000 , the company announced a definitive agreement to acquire Bluelark Systems, Inc., developers of a Palm OS Web browser and proxy server that enable fast, high quality Web access from handheld computers. With this acquisition Handspring intends to make Web browsing a core feature of its product offerings moving forward.
Donna Dubinsky, founder and CEO of Handspring, said, "We are extremely pleased to enjoy such strong customer acceptance of our products, including our two high-end handhelds, the Visor Platinum and the Visor Prism. Moreover, we executed very well in product development and delivery, expanded our distribution worldwide, and supported our developers in delivering more Springboard modules."
Handspring's earnings conference call will be webcast on its Web site at www.handspring.com.
January 17 - Hitachi Introduces 21 inch Flat-Faced Monitor. Hitachi America, Ltd., a subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd. (NYSE: HIT), today announced that it has added a 21 inch (20 inches viewable) monitor to its ErgoFlat line of Invar Shadow Mask monitors. Hitachiís new CM823F delivers all the performance benefits of Hitachi award-winning ErgoFlat technology on a 21 inch monitor. ErgoFlat technology provides vibrant, realistic images with significantly reduced glare and a space-saving depth of only 18.7 inches.
Hitachi ErgoFlat technology was among the first flat-faced Invar Shadow Mask monitors in the world. ErgoFlat monitors increase brightness and clarity by 10% with significantly better convergence than comparable aperture grill models. The ErgoFlat technology accomplishes this by changing the shape of the deflection yoke enabling Hitachiís ErgoFlat monitors to achieve better focus and accuracy in the corners and edges. Furthermore, ErgoFlat monitors achieve brighter colors and images by combining new highly pigmented phosphors with a new inner filter coating enabling vibrant colors and crisper text.
The CM823F monitor extends ErgoFlat resolutions up to 2048x1536 at a flicker-free 75 Hz., for users who require extended viewing and high resolutions. The monitor provides a super-fine dot pitch of .21-.24 mm horizontal and 0.14 mm vertical to form one of the crispest, brightest images available. In addition, due to the strength of Hitachiís new Invar Shadow Mask, it does not face the heat expansion and doming problems that degrade aperture grill images.
CM823F features Hitachiís EasyMenu on-screen controls with adjustments for color temperature, trapezoid, DMS, pincushion, moirť and more. The environmentally friendly monitor reduced energy consumption by up to 20% over traditional 21 inch monitors and requires no added circuitry to achieve TCO í99 compliance.
The CM823F is available for immediate shipping from Hitachi distributors worldwide with an MSRP of $999. More information is available on the World Wide Web at www.hitachidisplays.com.
January 17 - Intel Reports Record Annual Revenue And EPS. Intel Corporation today announced revenue for 2000 of $33.7 billion, up 15 percent from 1999, resulting in the company's fourteenth consecutive year of revenue growth. Fourth quarter revenue was $8.7 billion, up 6 percent from the fourth quarter of 1999, and approximately flat with the third quarter of 2000.
For 2000, net income excluding acquisition-related costs was $12.1 billion, up 49 percent from $8.1 billion in 1999. For 2000, earnings excluding acquisition-related costs were $1.73 per share, an increase of 48 percent from $1.17 in 1999.
"This was a year of record annual revenue and earnings; yet, slowing economic conditions impacted fourth quarter growth and are causing near-term uncertainty," said Craig R. Barrett, president and chief executive officer. "Looking forward, we are confident in our business strategy and competitive position," he continued. "Our financial strength enables us aggressively to increase our current investments in capital and R&D spending to ensure future leadership and readiness with 0.13-micron process manufacturing, 300 mm technology and a strong product portfolio."
Business Outlook The following statements are based on current expectations. Current negative trends in global economic conditions make it particularly difficult at present to predict product demand and other related matters. The company's best estimate given the high level of economic uncertainty is that revenue for the first quarter of 2001 will be down 15 percent, plus or minus several points, from fourth quarter revenue of $8.7 billion, due to seasonal factors and the impact of slowing worldwide economies.
Fourth Quarter 2000 Business Review Intel
-- Microprocessor unit shipments set a record.
-- Chipset unit shipments were lower than the third quarter.
-- Motherboard unit shipments were lower than the third quarter.
Wireless Communications and Computing Group
-- Flash memory unit shipments set a record. Network Communications Group
- Unit shipments of Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet connections were lower than the third quarter.
-- Unit shipments of network processing components, which include embedded Pentium(R) III processors, network processors and I/O processors, set a record.
-- Unit shipments of microcontrollers were lower than the third quarter.
Communications Products Group
-- Unit shipments of switches were approximately flat with the third quarter.
-- Unit shipments of computer telephony boards were lower than the third quarter.
Fourth Quarter and Recent Highlights
-- In October, the company announced the Intel(R) 815EM mobile chipset with integrated graphics. The chipset is specifically designed for full-size and thin-and-light mobile PCs based on the Pentium(R) III processor and Intel(R) Celeron(TM) processor.
-- In November, the company unveiled Celeron processors at 766 and 733 MHz. Intel Celeron processors feature Internet Streaming SIMD extensions -- advanced microprocessor instructions which combine with faster CPU speeds to deliver a significant performance boost over previous versions.
-- In November, the company introduced the Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 processor at 1.5 and 1.4 GHz, Intel's highest performance processors for the desktop PC segment. The Pentium 4 uses the Intel(R) NetBurst(TM) micro-architecture, a collection of unique technologies that allows a new generation of performance for processing video and audio, exploiting modern Internet technologies and displaying 3-D graphics. The Pentium 4 processor is the first completely new desktop processor design from Intel since the Pentium(R) Pro processor, with its P6 micro-architecture, was introduced in 1995. In December, Intel began shipping a 1.3 GHz version of the Pentium 4 processor to help establish the brand at mainstream price-points. The company also introduced the Intel 850 chipset that supports the Pentium 4 processor's 400 MHz system bus, providing up to 3.2 gigabytes of data per second.
-- On Jan. 3, the company launched the Celeron processor 800MHz, which increases the system bus speed from 66MHz to 100MHz. The company also introduced the 810E2 chipset, which brings faster disk drive performance, more USB ports and surround sound audio to value PCs.
-- On Jan 2, the company introduced a portable digital audio player that provides up to four hours of music programming and more than 20 hours of spoken-word audio. The new product is equipped with 128 MB of memory for storing digital audio in MP3 and Windows(a) Media Audio formats.
-- In December, the company announced that its new wafer fabrication facility currently under construction in Leixlip, Ireland, will begin production in 2002 using state-of-the-art 300 millimeter (mm) manufacturing technology. The project, announced in June of last year, was originally planned as a 200 mm wafer fabrication facility. The new Irish fab will be Intel's second production fab dedicated to 300 mm technology and the first high-volume 300 mm facility in Europe.
-- In December, company researchers disclosed the achievement of a significant breakthrough by building the world's smallest and fastest CMOS transistor. This breakthrough will allow Intel to build microprocessors containing more than 400 million transistors, running at 10 GHz (10 billion cycles per second) and operating at less than one volt within the next five to 10 years. The transistors feature structures just 30 nanometers in size and three atomic layers thick.
Copies of this earnings release and Intel's annual report can be obtained via the Internet at www.intc.com. Intel can be found on the Web at www.intel.com.
January 16 - Intel to Acquire Xircom for Approximately $748 Million. Intel Corporation and Xircom, Inc. today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Intel, through a wholly owned subsidiary, would acquire Xircom for $25 per share in an all-cash tender offer valued at approximately $748 million. In addition, Intel will assume all existing vested and unvested employee options.
The acquisition complements Intel's existing desktop PC and server-based network access businesses by enabling Intel to provide new products for notebook and mobile computing uses.
Xircom, based in Thousand Oaks, Calif., is a supplier of PC cards and other products used to connect mobile computing devices to corporate networks and the Internet. Xircom is a leader in innovative small-form-factor networking products and has strong and well-established sales channel relationships.
"The acquisition of Xircom provides Intel with an award winning lineup of products and technologies in the fast growing mobile computing area," said Mark Christensen, Intel vice president and general manager of Intel's Network Communications Group. "Xircom's strengths in small-form-factor design combined with our silicon expertise will allow us to provide customers with new and innovative solutions for linking mobile computing devices to corporate wired and wireless networks."
"The combined strengths of Intel and Xircom will be a tremendous benefit to our customers," said Dirk Gates, Xircom chief executive officer. "Customers will have access to a more complete line of products and will benefit from the innovation our combined companies will apply to mobile computing and wireless networking."
The companies can be found on the Web at www.xircom.com and www.intel.com.
January 16 - Toshiba Announces Single-Chip, Low-Power MPEG-4 Encoding and Decoding Solution. In response to the increasing demand for streaming media in wireless applications, Toshiba America Electronic Components Inc. (TAEC) with its parent company Toshiba Corp. (Toshiba) Monday announced the availability of a single-chip, low-power MPEG-4 encoding and decoding (CODEC) solution.
This new chip, designated TC35273XB, integrates an MPEG-4 CODEC with 12-megabits (Mb) of embedded DRAM to deliver a low-power, end-to-end solution with encoding, transmission and decoding functionality that fully supports the MPEG-4 industry standard.
Today's announcement adds to Toshiba's existing line-up of MPEG-4 solutions, which include the recently announced low-power, single-chip MPEG-4 decoder as well as Toshiba's software MPEG-4 decoder.
The company's new single-chip MPEG-4 CODEC features 12Mb of embedded DRAM reducing power dissipation to 80-milliwatts (mW). This is a significant decrease when compared with similar solutions using off-chip memory. As a result, Toshiba's solution has the potential to more than double the battery life in a mobile videophone compared with the same phone using off-chip memory.
The TC35273XB performs 15 frames per second into a QCIF (176 x 144 pixels) video display, along with an audio CODEC that can support multiple audio CODECs including Adaptive Multi Rate (AMR) speech CODEC at a clock frequency of 70-megahertz (MHz). Three signal processing units, an MPEG-4 video CODEC, an audio CODEC/decoder, and a multiplex/demultiplex unit are integrated on the single-chip.
MPEG-4 is an ISO/IEC standard developed by MPEG (Moving Pictures Experts Group), the group that also developed the standards known as MPEG-1 and MPEG-2. MPEG's charter is to develop international standards for compression, decompression, processing and coded representation of moving pictures, audio and their combination.
MPEG-4 builds upon the proven success of three main fields --digital television, interactive graphics applications (synthetic content), and interactive multimedia (Web services and content) -- and provides the standardization process to enable the seamless integration of production, distribution and content across these main fields.
Visit TAEC's Web site at www.toshiba.com/taec.
January 16 - Microsoft enhances Windows Me Web Support Pages. Microsoft has updated and enhanced its Web support pages for Windows Millennium Edition (Windows Me). Microsoft's Windows Millennium Setup FAQ page discusses setup and install problems, while their FAQs & Highlights for Windows Millennium Edition digs into all areas of using Windows Me from networking to performance issues. There is also a Support for the Holidays page that lets you search for support issues for Microsoft software or hardware products.
Information on these pages should prove invaluable to those using Windows Me and are also worth a read by those using other versions of Windows.