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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 31 Intel announces Ultra Low Voltage Mobile Celeron and Pentium III Processors Jan 31 NVIDIA Introduces DirectX 8 Development Kit for Microsoft's Xbox and PCs Jan 31 TDK intoduces CD Digital Jukebox Jan 30 Hitachi America Announces Longest, Most Comprehensive CRT Monitor Warranty Jan 30 Symmetricom's DSL Distance Doubler Enters Trial At Berkshire Telephone Jan 30 DVDs Will Continue as Fastest Growing Consumer Electronics Product in History Jan 30 Think Outside Announces Stowaway Portable Keyboard for Compaq iPAQ Pocket PC Jan 29 Toshiba introduces Satellite 2805 Series Notebooks with NVIDIA GeForce2 Go GPUs Jan 29 Tiny Software Announces Free Personal Firewall That Protects PCs Before Windows Launches Jan 29 Cirronet Inc. Launches Broadband Wireless Internet Access Product for Residential Deployment Jan 29 Virtual Pen to Enable Surface-Independent Writing Into Any Digital Device Jan 28 Sunday Shopping Watch Jan 27 Fujitsu introduces new Notebook Hard Drives Jan 27 Mission Critical Linux to Showcase Wireless Cluster Management At LinuxWorld Jan 26 Viking announces RamBus Modules for Intel Pentium 4 Systems Jan 26 SuSE to ship Linux 7.1 with Kernel 2.4 Jan 26 QUALCOMM Begins Worldwide Shipment of Its First Wireless Multimedia CDMA Integrated Circuit Jan 25 Sony Introduces Spring Line of VAIO Desktop PCs Jan 25 Dell and Unisys Sign Global Agreement Estimated At $1 Billion Jan 25 U.S. DSL Market to Reach 17.4 Million by End of 2004 Jan 25 Tripp Lite annnounces New Notebook Computer Surge Suppressor Jan 24 Juno Launches Version 5.0 of its Internet Access Software Jan 24 GeoDiscovery Announces Geode GPS Module for the Handspring Visor Jan 24 Zapex Debuts Gemini DVD Video Transfer System
January 31 - Intel announces Ultra Low Voltage Mobile Celeron and Pentium III Processors. Intel Corporation today introduced two new ultra-low-power mobile PC microprocessors, including the industry's first to operate under 1 volt while consuming less than half a watt of power. Enabled by Intel's advanced processor design and power-reduction technologies, the new processors are designed to deliver high performance, minimal power consumption and extended battery life for the smallest mobile PCs.
The new Ultra Low Voltage mobile Pentium(R) III processor 500 MHz featuring Intel(R) SpeedStep(TM) technology brings high performance to mobile PCs weighing less than three pounds and measuring one inch in height. This processor operates at less than 1 volt and consumes less than half a watt of power in Battery Optimized Mode at 300 MHz.
Intel also introduced the Ultra Low Voltage mobile Celeron(TM) processor 500 MHz, delivering the industry's highest performance for the value sub-notebook segment.
"Breakthrough technologies to improve mobile computing continue to drive our business. Last year Intel led with SpeedStep technology, and the first sub 1 watt PC processor. Today we lower power below half a watt," said Frank Spindler, vice president and general manager of Intel's Mobile Platforms Group. "Every category of laptop will see world-class performance, compatibility and optimal battery life with Intel Pentium III mobile processors."
Intel Low-Power Technologies
All of Intel's mobile processors are specially engineered to meet the performance, power, cooling and size requirements of mobile PCs. Intel's 0.18-micron process technology enables processors running below 1 volt. Intel SpeedStep technology, featured in mobile Pentium III processors, automatically detects if AC power is available and scales the clock frequency and voltage to help users achieve the optimum balance between performance and battery savings. In addition, Intel's QuickStart technology can power down the processor to the lowest levels, regardless of the application being used -- even between keystrokes. Intel's advanced cooling and packaging technology enables high performance in the smallest and lightest notebook PC designs.
Intel Mobile Processor Family
By designing industry-leading mobile processors for every type of mobile PC, Intel enables manufacturers to design systems that offer the best performance, low power consumption and extended battery life for all mobile PC segments. The previously introduced mobile Pentium III processor at speeds up to 850 MHz is for full-sized as well as thin-and-light designs, the most popular categories for mobile PCs. Intel's Low Voltage mobile Pentium III processor at 600 MHz targets mini-notebooks, while the new Ultra Low Voltage mobile Pentium III processor 500 MHz is optimized for the emerging sub-notebook category.
Specifications and Pricing
All mobile Pentium III processors feature a 100 MHz system bus; 256 Kilobyte full-speed Advanced Transfer Cache; Advanced System Buffering; and Streaming SIMD extensions.
In 1,000-unit quantities in Ball Grid Array packaging, the Ultra Low Voltage Mobile Pentium III and Celeron processors at 500 MHz are priced at $208 and $118 respectively. Intel can be found on the Web at www.intel.com.
January 31 - NVIDIA Introduces DirectX 8 Development Kit for Microsoft's Xbox and PCs. As part of its on-going strategy to drive content creation to the next level, NVIDIA(R) Corporation (Nasdaq:NVDA) introduced today its DirectX 8 Development Kit for the content and game developer community. NVIDIA designed the DirectX 8 Development Kit to help developers capitalize on the breakthrough features enabled by Microsoft's (Nasdaq:MSFT) DirectX 8.0 application program interface (API) and NVIDIA's highly programmable next generation graphics processing unit (GPU).
At the heart of the DirectX 8 Development kit is NVIDIA's next-generation GPU and the core graphics technology powering Microsoft's highly anticipated Xbox game console. Also included in the DirectX 8 Development kit is NVIDIA's newly released DirectX 8 Software Developers Kit (SDK), NVIDIA's Unified Driver Architecture certified with industry-leading software programs, including 3ds max(TM) from Discreet, a division of Autodesk, Inc. (Nasdaq: ADSK); Maya(R) from Alias/Wavefront(TM), an SGI (NYSE:SGI) company, and SoftIMAGE(R)/3D by Softimage Co., a subsidiary of Avid Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVID), and over 500MB of effects, source code, technical papers and development tools.
The next generation GPU that forms the heart of the DirectX 8 Development Kit is the most sophisticated of its kind and will be the first to be used for both PC and console content creation. This highly anticipated hot GPU from NVIDIA is the basis of the Xbox Prototype Kits (XPK) distributed by Microsoft through their Xbox Independent Developer Program. The power of the new NVIDIA GPU combined with the breakthrough features in DirectX 8.0 and the broad, flexible SDK supplied as part of the NVIDIA DirectX 8 Development Kit make it a necessity for authoring the next generation of graphics applications.
DirectX 8.0 is Microsoft's latest and most advanced version of its popular 3D API that enables developers to write software for a wide variety of multimedia hardware, including graphics, audio, video, networking and input devices designed for PCs. NVIDIA and Microsoft co-developed many of the key fundamental technologies of DirectX 8.0 API, including programmable vertex shaders, programmable pixel shaders, and high order surfaces. These enabling 3D graphics features were invented by NVIDIA and licensed to Microsoft to be proliferated in Windows platforms and Xbox.
Scheduled for release in fall 2001, Xbox is Microsoft's future-generation video game console that delivers superior graphics, better audio and the most intense, action-packed gaming experiences available. All this is possible because Xbox has at least three times the graphics performance of the newest generation of game consoles. Features include an Intel(R) (Nasdaq:INTC) Pentium(R) 733MHz CPU, a custom-designed graphics processor from NVIDIA, capable of processing more than 1 trillion operations per second, an 8GB hard drive, 64 MB of total memory, a 3D audio processor with 64 audio channels, and broadband connectivity for online game play. Xbox uses familiar architecture and DirectX(R) development tools so game developers will be able to create better games faster.
NVIDIA can be found on the Web at www.nvidia.com.
January 31 - TDK intoduces CD Digital Jukebox. TDK today announced the development of the world's first CD Digital Jukebox, a portable CD-based MP3 player that for the first time offers full artist, song title, album and musical genre navigation plus on-the-go playlist creation.
Dubbed MOJO for the magic it adds to the portable music experience, the device combines the economy and unlimited storage capacity of CD-based MP3 players with the navigational flexibility of expensive solid-state and hard-disk based devices.
The key to MOJO's enhanced functionality is TDK's exclusive Navitrack(TM) navigation technology (patent pending), which enables MOJO to quickly read and sort the music ID information contained in each MP3 file. In just a few seconds, Navitrack scans every music file on an MP3-CD and displays this information on MOJO's bright, backlit 4-line LCD screen. Find the music you want to hear by Artist, Album, Song Title and Musical Genre....MOJO's navigation keys make it fast and easy. Equally exciting, MOJO is the first portable CD-MP3 player to allow users to create custom playlists. And MOJO remembers playlists created for up to five CD-MP3 discs.
"MOJO really is the magic that everyone with CD burners has been waiting for," commented Patricia O'Donnell Smith, TDK Product Manager. "No other CD-MP3 player offers MOJO's navigation and playlist capability; it truly is the first CD Digital Jukebox. With just a few taps on its navigation compass, you can find all the albums by a specific artist on your CD, then add just the tracks you want to hear to your playlist. Most important, the whole process is fast and easy. And because each CD-MP3 disc can hold about 150 songs, MOJO lets you take an entire music collection with you on inexpensive recordable CD discs."
Unlike power-hogging hard-disk based MP3 devices, MOJO plays for up to 10 hours on two rechargeable Nickel Metal-Hydride AA batteries. MOJO's superior play time capability is the result of advanced power management circuitry that fills the unit's anti-shock memory buffer with up to eight minutes of MP3 music, then pauses the CD drive motor to conserve energy. The supplied NiMH batteries can be recharged in the unit itself with the included AC adapter, or MOJO can operate on two AA alkaline batteries.
MOJO will be available in April at an estimated street price of $179.99.
Janaury 30 - Hitachi America Announces Longest, Most Comprehensive CRT Monitor Warranty. The U.S. Computer Monitor Sales Group of Hitachi America, Ltd., a subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE: HIT), has extended by two years the warranty on new CRT monitors purchased after January 31, 2001.
Hitachi has extended the limited warranty on parts, labor and the tube for CRT monitors from three years to five years to form the longest, most comprehensive warranty available from any major monitor company. Hitachi has also extended the warranty on the backlight for LCD monitors purchased after January 31, 2001 from one year to three years.
"By extending our US monitor warranty, Hitachi now offers the longest, most comprehensive program available from any major monitor vendor. This extension underscores our commitment to quality and customer service. Customers now have even greater assurance that they will enjoy Hitachi's high resolution and high performance for many years after their purchase," said Kevin Bowler, Director of Sales for Hitachi America, Ltd.'s US Computer Monitor Sales Group.
The warranty extensions apply to Hitachi's branded CRT & LCD monitors purchased from the US computer monitor division and sold in the US after January 31, 2001. The product lines covered include the Hitachi CM series of 17", 19" and 21" monitors and its CML series of 15", 17" and 18" flat panel displays.
For more information, visit www.hitachi.com.
Janaury 30 - Symmetricom's DSL Distance Doubler Enters Trial At Berkshire Telephone. Symmetricom(R), Inc. (NASDAQ:SYMM), today announced the Berkshire Telephone Corporation, a privately held Local Exchange Carrier serving five communities in Columbia County, New York, will field trial Symmetricom's GoLong(TM) ADSL Loop Extender beginning January 30.
The field trial is to verify that the GoLong Loop Extender will enable Berkshire Telephone to respond to their community's growing needs for broadband services. Currently, Berkshire endeavors to provide ADSL service to customers who live beyond 18,000 feet from a central office. The GoLong Loop Extender will extend this reach to six miles, vastly expanding Berkshire's ADSL customer base.
"Our customers beyond 18,000 feet are seeking fast and reliable Internet access that we currently cannot guarantee. We are keenly interested in technology that will enable us to extend our ADSL services beyond the current distance limitation without sacrificing transfer rate," said Brian Kelly, President of Berkshire Telephone. "With Symmetricom's GoLong extender, we can move forward in providing cost-effective universal DSL solutions to many more customers."
Visit Berkshire's web site at www.berkshiretelephone.com. Visit Symmetricom's web site at www.symmetricom.com.
Janaury 30 - DVDs Will Continue as Fastest Growing Consumer Electronics Product in History. Already the fastest growing consumer electronics product in history, DVD sales will reach new heights over the next several years, according to Cahners In-Stat Group.
The DVD market has grown from nothing in 1996 to more than 28 million units expected to ship worldwide in 2001 and will exceed 60 million units in 2004, the high tech market research firm says.
New features such as DVD-Audio, component integration leading to lower prices, and new products incorporating DVD technology such as TV/DVDs and DVD mini systems, all point to rapid market growth, a 48% increase in U.S. shipments in 2001 alone.
More products will enter the DVD recorder market in 2001. DVD recorders using the DVD-RW and DVD+RW formats will finally make their bow in the U.S. and Europe. "Price will be the determining factor in unit shipments," says Michelle Abraham, Senior Analyst for In-Stat's Multimedia Group. "Though recorders will be available for less than $1,000 by the end of 2001, unit shipments will not reach the millions until prices fall below $500."
In-Stat also found:
-- In 2004, DVD player sales in the United States will equal the number of VCRs sold today.
-- By 2004, an average DVD player bill of materials will fall below $90.
-- Though twice as many DVD players sold in the United States than Europe last year, by 2004, the European market will be roughly 80% of the U.S. market.
Cahners In-Stat Group can be found on the Web at www.instat.com.
Janaury 30 - Think Outside Announces Stowaway Portable Keyboard for Compaq iPAQ Pocket PC. Think Outside Inc. today announced availability of the Stowaway(TM) Portable Keyboard for the Compaq iPAQ Pocket PC.
The Stowaway Portable Keyboard takes full advantage of the software applications that come standard with the iPAQ Pocket PC, especially Microsoft Pocket Word, Excel and Outlook applications, as well as the embedded numeric keypad. Now iPAQ users will have the ability to comfortably touch-type on the Stowaway full size keyboard, enabling them to easily create and respond to e-mails, compose documents and reports, and take notes without sacrificing portability.
In addition, a special right angle dongle has been included with the keyboard to enable the handheld to be charged while using the keyboard. The Stowaway Keyboard also works with the iPAQ Pocket PC modular system of slide-on Expansion Packs. The Expansion Packs provide support for CompactFlash and PC cards to provide wireless, LAN and fax modem capabilities.
Available through Targus' U.S. and International channels under the name Targus(TM) Stowaway Portable Keyboard for Compaq iPAQ, the new keyboard has a suggested retail price of US $99. The Targus Stowaway Portable Keyboard for the Compaq iPAQ will be available in limited quantities in late February, with general availability in March 2001.
For more information on Think Outside and its products, please visit their web site at www.thinkoutside.com.
January 29 - Toshiba introduces Satellite 2805 Series Notebooks with NVIDIA GeForce2 Go GPUs. Pushing the envelope with extreme multimedia capabilities and powerful performance, the Computer Systems Group (CSG) of Toshiba America Information Systems Inc. (TAIS) introduces the enhanced Satellite 2805 Series notebooks, featuring the industry's first mobile graphics processing unit (GPU).
The NVIDIA(R) GeForce2 Go(TM) GPU delivers breakthrough graphic performance previously only available on a desktop PC, making the Satellite 2805 Series a truly desktop performing portable computer and the mobile solution for gaming enthusiasts, graphic artists and business users. The GeForce2 Go also enhances business and Internet applications to run faster and smoother without hindering battery performance.
Fast and effortless capabilities are a mainstay with the Satellite 2805 Series. With an integrated i.Link(R) (IEEE 1394) port (S402 model only), users can experience ultra-fast data transfer from more than 125 multimedia products including digital cameras (both still and video) and scanners. To quickly download photos or data, a built-in SmartMedia(TM) card slot is also included (S402 model only).
Providing additional functionality, the Satellite 2805 Series comes pre-installed with a DVD/CD-RW multi-function drive (S402 model only), allowing users to increase productivity and enjoy enhanced multimedia features such as playing DVD movies or CDs, creating audio/video CDs, or backing up data.
Complementing the DVD capability is an integrated high-performance sound system with bass-enhancing subwoofer and two stereo speakers, providing a dynamic and rich audio experience. With up to 15-inch TFT displays, the Satellite 2805 Series transforms into a mobile mini-theater.
Customers can also play and control CDs and MP3 files, even with the unit turned off, by using dedicated DVD/CD playback function keys for skip/search and play/stop capabilities. With TV-out connections to standard televisions, the Satellite 2805 Series can accommodate presentations in almost any environment.
With a one-touch Internet access button, an integrated 10/100 Ethernet port and V.90 56K modem, the Satellite 2805 Series makes logging onto the Web fast and convenient, increasing the productivity of the mobile user.
Pricing starts at $1,799. Toshiba can be found on Web www.toshiba.com.
January 29 - Tiny Software Announces Free Personal Firewall That Protects PCs Before Windows Launches. Tiny Software, Inc., a leader in router and firewall software solutions for networks, today announced the full release of its Tiny Personal Firewall, the world's first personal firewall that protects PCs before Windows(R) launches.
Unlike other personal firewalls on the market today, Tiny Personal Firewall protects the PC right from the start before Windows launches. It is positioned between the network interface adapter and the operating system so that the PC is protected in the initial seconds of booting. This eliminates the possibility of hackers intruding with Trojan Horses during this critical and typically vulnerable stage.
"We believe that this full release represents the most impressive personal firewall on the market today," said Roman Kasan, president and CEO of Tiny Software. "The United States Air Force has selected Tiny Personal Firewall for its approximately 500,000 desktop PCs as an integral part of our Centrally Managed Desktop Security (CMDS) system. In this form, Tiny Personal Firewall acts as a low-layer desktop security engine that defines internal network authority and reports desktop activity to a Central Command Server, which we aim to introduce later this quarter."
Tiny Personal Firewall offers many leading-edge firewall features, including the much demanded MD5 signature support, which protects computers from unauthorized use of its applications. For novice users, Tiny Personal Firewall features three levels of predefined security rules: Low, Medium and High. For advanced users, it offers the ability to customize the rules to the administrator's liking. Unlike other personal firewalls, Tiny Personal Firewall also includes Remote Administration.
Kasan added, "With the rapid adoption of broadband internet access to homes and the growing number of employees logging onto corporate networks over VPN connections, the market for a solution such as Tiny Personal Firewall is clearly increasing. Our security engine technology is truly unique as no other service on the PC can be initiated before our firewall is launched and secures the PC. We are pleased to fulfill this demand especially since the response during beta stage has been overwhelmingly positive from both the press and public alike."
Tiny Personal Firewall is compatible with Windows 9x, Me, NT and 2000. It is free for personal use and pricing starts at $39 for business use.
In conjunction with CNET (Nasdaq:CNET), the full release of Tiny Personal Firewall will be available for free to home users exclusively at CNET's popular Download.com (www.download.com).
January 29 - Cirronet Inc. Launches Broadband Wireless Internet Access Product for Residential Deployment. Cirronet(TM) Inc. (formerly known as Digital Wireless Corporation), a broadband wireless Internet access equipment company focused on breaking the residential market deployment barriers, today announced the commercial deployment of its WaveBolt product family. WaveBolt is a high-speed data access solution designed to enable the wireless residential and small business markets to emerge by breaking the price and deployment barriers for Internet service providers (ISPs).
"Cirronet has a strong track record of applying proprietary technology and practical engineering techniques to enable new markets to emerge," said Robert Gemmell, CEO and chairman of Cirronet's board of directors. "Cirronet is now applying its proven technology to break the deployment barriers for high-speed Internet access to the residential market."
The first-in-category WaveBolt system offers an attractive solution for last-mile broadband wireless Internet access based on its ease of installation, low entry investment and market coverage capability. WaveBolt enables cost-effective and quickly deployable wireless connections because it is end-user installed, priced under $400 (including amortized access point) and approved to operate globally in the unlicensed 2.4 GHz (ISM) frequency band.
WaveBolt offers high-speed access comparable to that of DSL and cable modem without the costs and time incurred with installing wireline solutions. The system operates worldwide utilizing equipment that is approved by the FCC and ETSI and compliant with all U.S. and international standards. WaveBolt uses Cirronet's frequency hopping spread-spectrum technology that provides immunity from potential jamming sources as well as security from eavesdropping.
By incorporating Cirronet's proprietary frequency hopping spread-spectrum technology, the WaveBolt system operates flawlessly in high radio-noise environments," said Gemmell. Cirronet began its Internet access product initiatives in early 2000, when the company was approached by several international ISPs and asked to provide a last-mile residential market solution that could pass the "economic viability" test. ISPs wanted a product with low acquisition costs that was easily deployed for rapid market penetration.
"We set out to produce the first wireless product that would enable ISPs to realize that critical 12-month return-on-investment. An ISP's cost per subscriber -- including access point equipment, installations and subscriber equipment -- is less than $400 with the WaveBolt system. We have a long history of preceding our product development with a clear business case for our technology," continued Gemmell.
Cirronet's Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) was designed based upon practical engineering ideas and integrates a microwave antenna, radio and modem, packaged as a small, hand-size device. Placed up to 150 feet from the PC, the CPE connects to a PC's serial port - RS-232 or USB interface - via the system's standard serial cable. Avoiding complicated in-home installations, the WaveBolt system uses the dial-up networking routines that are part of Microsoft Windows(R) to establish an always-on subscriber connection. There is no need to open the computer and add special cards. This single unit enables maintenance free installation, eliminating the cost or need for truck roll, and is weatherproof.
The WaveBolt subscriber system is designed for easy mounting on a building's exterior to obtain "near line-of-sight" with the ISP access point. Because the antenna can listen and transmit over more than a 90-degree arc (more than 1/4 of a circle), the antenna need only be aimed in the general direction of the access point.
Access points connect to the ISP network through a standard 10/100BaseT interface to service up to 1000 subscribers per PoP. These multiple access points allow ISPs to scale the system to provide a range of performance levels as well as support different numbers of users in different locations. The WaveBolt access point unit consists of an indoor Access Controller Unit (ACU) and a weatherproof radio/antenna outdoor (ODU) assembly that are connected by cable.
Visit the company's Web site at www.cirronet.com.
January 29 - Virtual Pen to Enable Surface-Independent Writing Into Any Digital Device. GOU Lite Ltd., an Israeli company specializing in optical technology, has developed a pen-like product that enables writing messages into digital devices -anywhere and anytime. The product is believed to create a breakthrough in the way people will interface with their cell phones and handheld computers.
Imagine this: Instead of having to hit the tiny buttons on your cellular phone, you simply write your text - SMS, E-mail or signature - on any surface available. The Virtual Pen(TM) (Vpen(TM)) is based on patented optical technology: The Vpen(TM) measures its motion relative to any writing surface and transmits the information via Bluetooth link to cell phones, PDAs, set-top boxes or PCs.
IDEO, a world-leading product design company, which has designed such award winning products as the Palm V and the Visor, is designing the Vpen(TM).
"Players in the market have been looking for ways to have the cellular handset evolve into a data device, and input has always been a challenge," comments Sven-Christer Nilsson, former CEO of Ericsson and co-founder of Startupfactory, who now joins the GOU Lite Board of Directors. "When we met GOU Lite and examined their Vpen(TM), we suddenly realized that they had found an excellent solution to this problem."
Erez Aluf, Managing Director of STI Ventures' advisory arm in Israel, adds: "The Vpen(TM) allows people to input text and signatures the way they have always wanted to - simply by writing it."
The Vpen(TM) is expected to hit the market within a one year time frame and GOU Lite is already engaged in discussions and activities with leaders in the cellular industry, as well as with potential partners in the fields of PDA, PC and set-top boxes.
GOU Lite can be found on the Web at www.goulite.com.
January 28 - Sunday Shopping Watch -
Special Discounts and Financing.
Best Buy has no store-wide sales this Sunday.
Circuit City has a $200 bonus rebate on all Intel processor build-to-order desktop computers.
Office Depot has no store-wide sales 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.
Caution about advertised prices. When reading advertisements read the fine print of the ad to make sure you know what is being advertised and what it cost. For example, many advertisers will show a complete system with computer, monitor, and printer but advertise a price for the computer only.
Best Deals this Sunday Category Product Description Price* (see above) Store Best Celeron Deal HP 700 MHz complete system $779 Best Buy Best Low Cost Pentium III System HP 933 MHz complete system $1299 Best Buy Best High End Pentium III System None advertised Best Pentium 4 System Compaq 1.3 GHz build-to-order (computer only) $1599 Circuit City Best Duron System Compaq 800 MHz Duron complete system $1049 Best Buy, Circuit City Best High End Athlon System HP 1.2 GHz complete system $1749 Best Buy Best Low Cost Notebook Compaq Celeron 700 MHz $1199 Circuit City, Office Depot Best High End Notebook Sony 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 27 - Fujitsu introduces new Notebook Hard Drives. Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc. (FCPA), one of the world's leading suppliers of hard drives and computer peripherals, today announced the introduction of a new line of 2.5-inch mobile hard drives, the MHN Series, at 15GB per platter in a 9.5mm profile. The new mobile series includes capacities of 10, 15, 20, and 30GB for notebook PCs.
The new MHN Series from Fujitsu is the first mobile hard drive line to incorporate head load/unload technology and Fluid Dynamic Bearing (FDB) technology to achieve 800G non-operating shock tolerance. Head load/unload technology lifts the heads off the media when the drive is not running or is powered down. . FDB technology vastly improves the drive's acoustic performance, achieving virtually silent operation while offering better tolerance to shock, and improved seek performance by eliminating errors due to Non-Repeatable Run-Out.
In addition, the new mobile drives from Fujitsu have an industry-leading 30.7MB/s (max.) transfer rate and an average seek time of 12ms making them ideal for intensive mobile computing applications. With an UltraATA/100 interface, 4200RPM spindle speed, and a 2MB buffer, these drives offer exceptional performance and an unmatched level of reliability.
The MHN Series, with 9.5mm z-height, consists of four 2.5-inch mobile disk drives, available at 4200RPM, with ball bearing or FDB spindle motor technology. Evaluation drives are expected to ship to OEM customers in 1Q01. For more information about Fujitsu products and services visit www.fcpa.com.
January 27 - Mission Critical Linux to Showcase Wireless Cluster Management At LinuxWorld. Mission Critical Linux's latest release of their Convolo Cluster, which now delivers complete high-availability network filesystem capabilities, will be highlighted Thursday, February 1st 10:45am in a keynote address by William Swope, VP of the Intel Architecture. The keynote will include a variety of innovative Linux-based enterprise solutions for IA32 and Itanium servers.
This demonstration will showcase clustered Itanium-based servers, managed wirelessly through a PDA for anytime, anywhere computing. The entire demo configuration is monitored and controlled using new tools, developed by Mission Critical Linux, that combine an off-the-shelf, handheld, wireless device and the Internet to provide cluster and system administrators with a secure, go-anywhere method of managing their systems.
LinuxWorld and Conference is a three day dedicated event to Linux Users, software developers and business leaders providing an in-depth technical and education-rich conference program.
Mission Critical Linux, Inc. can be found on the Web at www.missioncriticallinux.com.
January 26 - Viking announces RamBus Modules for Intel Pentium 4 Systems. Viking Components, one of the world's largest and fastest-growing manufacturers of OEM and upgrade component technology, Thursday announced a broad offering of its Rambus(R) RIMM(TM) modules to support high-performance desktop PCs based on the Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 processor and Intel(R) 850 chipset.
Pentium 4 systems use RDRAM(R) memory technology allowing for data transfer rates of up to 3.2 GB per second, which is significantly faster than traditional SDRAM systems. Viking ECC and non-ECC RIMM modules are available in densities ranging from 64 MB to 256 MB.
Viking is currently shipping 800 MHz, 711 MHz and 600 MHz ECC and non-ECC RIMMs in 64 MB, 128 MB and 256 MB capacities. A 512 MB ECC RIMM will be available later this quarter. Viking RIMMs comply with Rambus specifications to ensure compatibility with Pentium 4 and next generation PCs.
Visit the Viking Web site at www.vikingcomponents.com.
January 26 - SuSE to ship Linux 7.1 with Kernel 2.4. Today, SuSE Linux, announced the February 12th availability of the SuSE Linux 7.1 with the newly released Kernel 2.4.
Only a few weeks after Linus Torvalds released Kernel 2.4, SuSE now presents the latest duo from Europe's best selling Linux distribution. SuSE Linux 7.1 Personal, offering selected software and documentation tuned to the requirements of Linux newcomers and desktop users, and SuSE Linux 7.1 Professional, providing experienced users with the applications needed for utilization as a server operating system.
Kernel 2.4 is a further stepping stone towards "Enterprise Computing" and benefits both server and desktop applications. With its improved multi-processor support, an addressable RAM of up to 64 GB, and a 64-bit file system, Linux now enters a sphere which was previously reserved for commercial Unix variants. Desktop and notebook users benefit from enhanced USB support and simplified administration of hardware components, including plug & play for ISA cards and ACPI.
SuSE Linux Personal, designed for private PC users, is an easy-to-install, modern Linux system that includes a carefully selected range of software packages. The powerful installation assistant YaST2 (Yet another Setup Tool) guarantees Linux novices an easy installation. The automatic hardware detection and menu-driven graphical user interface enables newcomers to create space on their hard disks and set up an entirely functioning SuSE Linux OS in as little as 20 minutes. The enclosed Quick Install Manual, with numerous screenshots, guides users to success step-by-step.
SuSE Linux 7.1 is based on the program library glibc 2.2. Both the number of applications with LFS (Large File Support) and those supporting IPv6 (Internet Protocol Version 6) has grown. IPv6, which gradually supersedes IPv4, allows the utilization of additional IP addresses and enables much more flexible routing. New YaST2 tools assist with the configuration of printers and the administration of print jobs. YaST2 now allows individual package installation from not only CD and DVD, but also via FTP.
Beginning February 12, SuSE Linux 7.1 for Intel CPUs will be available directly from the manufacturer or from bookstores and software retailers. The recommended price for SuSE Linux 7.1 Personal (3 CDs, 3 manuals, 60 days of installation support) is $29.95; SuSE Linux 7.1 Professional (7 CDs, 1 DVD, 4 manuals, 90 days of installation support) is $69.95.
Visit SuSE's web page at www.suse.com.
January 26 - QUALCOMM Begins Worldwide Shipment of Its First Wireless Multimedia CDMA Integrated Circuit. QUALCOMM Incorporated (Nasdaq: QCOM), pioneer and world leader of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) digital wireless technology, today announced the on-time production shipping in December 2000 of the QUALCOMM CDMA Technologies (QCT) MSM3300(TM) Mobile Station Modem (MSM(TM)) integrated circuit and system software, providing the most highly integrated advanced multimedia solution available for CDMA digital wireless handsets and data devices.
Also shipping as part of QCT's complete solution is the SURF3300(TM) Subscriber Unit Reference development platform. Twenty of the world's leading CDMA handset manufacturers have selected the MSM3300 integrated circuit and system software, and development tools for use in their products.
"With the MSM3300 solution, QCT is the first chip developer in the world to provide CDMA handset manufacturers with highly integrated multimedia capabilities and the most powerful position location technologies on a single chipset," said Don Schrock, president of QUALCOMM CDMA Technologies. "With our on-time production delivery, handsets using the MSM3300 integrated circuit and system software are expected to be available in early spring 2001, offering consumers an unprecedented range of multimedia, position location, and other advanced capabilities and features."
The MSM3300 solution offers the highly integrated features of QCT's Wireless Internet Launchpad(TM) suite of advanced technologies and software, including gpsOne(TM) position location capabilities featuring SnapTrack(TM) technology, Bluetooth(TM) connectivity capabilities, UMTS Subscriber Identity Module (SIM), and multimedia features such as Qtunes(TM) Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG-1) Layer-3 (MP3) player software support and Compact Media Extension (CMX(TM)) Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI)-based multimedia software.
The MSM3300 integrated circuit is also capable of interfacing to QCT's Mobile Station Processor (MSP(TM)) microprocessor family, which is designed to perform the functions associated with personal digital assistant (PDA) applications, including support for streaming video using PacketVideo's PVPlayer(TM) MPEG-4 streaming media decoder.
With the MSM3300 solution, QCT is the first chip developer in the world to provide CDMA handset manufacturers with highly integrated multimedia capabilities and the most powerful position location technologies on a single chipset," said Don Schrock, president of QUALCOMM CDMA Technologies. "With our on-time production delivery, handsets using the MSM3300 integrated circuit and system software are expected to be available in early spring 2001, offering consumers an unprecedented range of multimedia, position location, and other advanced capabilities and features." QUALCOMM Incorporated can be found online at www.qualcomm.com.
January 25 - Sony Introduces Spring Line of VAIO Desktop PCs. Sony Electronics Wednesday announced its Spring 2001 lineup of VAIO(R) Digital Studio(TM) desktop PCs, the first Intel Pentium(R) 4 processor-based system from a major PC vendor to be delivered in a micro-ATX form factor to the U.S. market.
Additionally, the company announced the new Sony VAIO J150 entry-level PC, which incorporates AMD processor technology.
The new VAIO Digital Studio desktop PCs (PCV-RX370DS and PCV-RX380DS) feature the Intel Pentium 4 1.3GHz and 1.5GHz processors and Rambus(R) memory with 400MHz front side bus. All systems come loaded with a 10/100BaseT Ethernet, V.90 integrated modem, two i.LINK(R)(IEEE 1394) and three USB ports (two on PCV-RX360DS), as well as Sony's easy-to-use Picture Toy(TM) drawing application and MovieShaker(TM) digital video editing software, starting around $1,400. Designed for the PC and video enthusiast, the VAIO Digital Studio series desktop PCs (PCV-RX360DS, PCV-RX370DS and PCV-RX380DS) comprise the next generation of computing and digital imaging convergence. The models focus on power and creativity by emphasizing digital imaging, movie editing, video e-mail and music. The DVD drive on the VAIO Digital Studio series is ideal for video playback of popular DVD titles, and the CD-RW drive is a solid storage medium for all the personal memories created through the included MovieShaker(TM) software.
Drawing performance from an 800MHz AMD Duron processor, the PCV-J150 is a solid choice for the first-time buyer, novice video editor and Internet enthusiast. The J150 features a CD-RW drive, a 30GB hard drive, a V.90 integrated modem and a network interface card, selling for less than $800.
The J150 hosts connectors and ports that are geared for backwards-compatibility and future connectivity. These include parallel and serial ports, two i.LINK and two USB ports, and an open PCI slot for flexibility in expansion.
For consumers seeking additional memory or additional software, Sony provides a customizable configure-to-order service through Sony Style (www.sonystyle.com). Visit Sony on the World Wide Web at www.sony.com.
January 25 - Dell and Unisys Sign Global Agreement Estimated At $1 Billion. Dell and Unisys Corp. announced the completion of a global agreement that expands their existing services relationship to include the sale of servers, desktop and notebook computers, and new services. Last month, the companies announced their intent to complete this agreement and anticipate its worth to be a total of approximately $1 billion in revenue to both companies over three years.
The alliance includes Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) agreements whereby each company will re-brand and sell specific Intel-based servers manufactured by the other company, desktop and notebook computer sourcing to Unisys customers, and new and expanded services offerings to Dell customers.
"Both companies benefit greatly from this agreement, which provides Dell a very scalable high-end system to offer its enterprise customers, and Unisys with award-winning Dell PowerEdge server, Latitude notebook, and OptiPlex desktop systems," said Dell Vice Chairman Kevin Rollins. "Our expanded services relationship enables Dell to offer a broader portfolio of services that are critical to our customers' computing environments."
The primary elements of the agreement are:
-- Dell will acquire and sell 16- and 32-processor servers based on the Unisys CMP architecture under the Dell brand. Consistent with its business model, Dell will remain the single point of contact and accountability for customers, but will partner with Unisys to provide installation, maintenance, and technical services for the CMP servers.
-- Unisys has chosen Dell as its partner for mid-range Intel-based servers. Under the agreement, Unisys will acquire and sell Dell two-, four-, and eight-processor PowerEdge servers under the Unisys brand. Unisys will provide support and services to customers buying these servers, as it does for a range of server and PC vendors.
-- Unisys will be a Dell Preferred Service Provider for installation, warranty and support services, network services and systems integration services for select Dell products. Dell and Unisys are exploring additional opportunities to further expand their services relationship to include broader technology consulting services.
-- Dell and Unisys will partner to provide Dell's line of OptiPlex desktop and Latitude notebook personal computers and single-processor PowerEdge servers in selected Unisys services engagements, including managed network services, outsourcing, and technology standardization rollouts. Dell will fulfill these orders directly to the customer and Unisys will provide support services for these products.
Information on the companies can be found on the World Wide Web at www.dell.com and www.unisys.com.
January 25 - U.S. DSL Market to Reach 17.4 Million by End of 2004. According to new statistics published by TeleChoice, Inc., DSL subscription in the United States will increase dramatically in the next four years.
The United States will have passed 2.3 million DSL subscribers as of the end of calendar year 2000. This represents growth of over 350% for the past twelve months. TeleChoice expects this growth rate to slow, but the actual number of new customers receiving DSL should increase year over year at least until 2004.
TeleChoice predicts roughly 5.7 million subscribers by the end of 2001, 9.7 million subscribers by the end of 2002, 14.5 million subscribers by the end of 2003, and 17.4 million subscribers by the end of 2004.
"Despite some well-publicized consolidation among service providers, DSL will continue to grow over the next several years," said Pat Hurley, TeleChoice DSL Analyst. "There will be serious competition in the consumer space, but we expect broadband will have achieved mass market acceptance by the end of 2004."
"This year will still be about getting basic services provisioned," added TeleChoice DSL Analyst Adam Guglielmo, "but we expect that by the end of 2004 advanced services and applications such as video, voice, and VPNs will really be driving the market."
The complete set of projections is available from TeleChoice's www.xdsl.com site under the "Deployment and Projections" section in the left-hand column.
January 25 - Tripp Lite annnounces New Notebook Computer Surge Suppressor. Tripp Lite, a world leader in the manufacture of power protection equipment, has expanded its line of Notebook Computer Surge Suppressors to include the PS5503M, offering ideal power protection for notebook computers, modems and other portable electronics when on the road.
This new model features complete AC and telephone line protection, providing 510 joules of AC surge suppression to protect equipment from damage and performance problems due to surges, spikes and line noise.
Two built-in AC outlets with transformer block spacing offer convenience and versatility by accommodating portable computers plus one additional device such as a printer, battery charger or other portable electronic device. Three built-in RJ11 phone jacks offer one input and two output connections to simultaneously connect a modem and telephone, eliminating the need to juggle hotel phone jacks.
The PS5503M also features a unique retractable plug to provide a better fit in briefcases or laptop cases without scratching or otherwise damaging portable electronics. In addition, two diagnostic LEDs confirm proper wiring and alerts users of suppressor protection status. This exceptional reliability is backed by $5,000 Ultimate Lifetime Insurance coverage for all connected equipment.
Pricing was not announced. Visit Tripp Lite's website at www.tripplite.com.
January 24 - Juno Launches Version 5.0 of its Internet Access Software. Juno Online Services, Inc. (Nasdaq: JWEB) today announced the release of Juno 5.0, a major upgrade to the Internet access software used by its millions of subscribers. In addition to offering a variety of new features that expand and enrich the service, Juno 5.0 takes integration of the Internet experience to the next level by incorporating the user's Web browser inside the main Juno interface.
Among other new features, Juno 5.0 simplifies the Internet experience by providing a single, integrated environment incorporating all the tools needed to use the Web and send and receive e-mail. The user's Web browser is integrated into the main Juno software in version 5.0, with a new navigational toolbar at the top of the screen ensuring that Web users are never more than one click away from the key features they use most. For example, Juno users can now conduct a search of the Web no matter where on the Web they are. Each user in a household can also keep his or her own personal set of Web "bookmarks" or "favorites."
Juno is one of the nation's largest Internet access providers, with 14.2 million total registered subscriber accounts and 4.0 million active subscribers in December 2000. Designed to meet the needs of a broad spectrum of users, including those who are just now beginning to explore the Internet, Juno offers multiple levels of service, including free basic Internet access, billable premium dial-up service, and (in certain markets) high-speed broadband access.
The new Juno software, which can be used to sign up for any of these service levels, is available on Juno's Web site, www.juno.com, or by calling 1-800-TRY-JUNO.
January 24 - GeoDiscovery Announces Geode GPS Module for the Handspring Visor. GeoDiscovery(TM) (www.geodiscovery.com), has just announced availability of the Geode(TM) GPS Module for Handspring(TM) Visor(TM) handheld computers and GeoView(TM) Mobile Software for Palm OS.
Together, these products bring new integrated, geo-aware capabilities to some of the most basic of travel tools -- the map, compass, guidebook and travelogue. These are the first of a new breed of "GeoDiscovery Active" applications enabled by the same platform.
To support the GeoDiscovery Active user experience, the Geode includes several unique features such as SiRF Star II GPS receiver with SnapLock(TM), FoliageLock(TM), and Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) to improve accuracy and sensitivity; digital compass; two MultiMediaCard slots for future expansion capable of holding up to 64MB each of maps, content, and Palm OS files; and internal flash memory loaded with applications and world maps to guarantee a great startup experience anywhere in the world.
"We are pleased to join with GeoDiscovery in celebrating the release of this exciting new Springboard module," said Ed Colligan, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Handspring. "With the combined power of the Geode and Handspring Visor, customers will have access to portable information and rich location-based content that isn't available on any other platform."
The Geode sells for US $289. Customers can try a free version of GeoView Mobile and free city maps at www.geodiscovery.com.
January 24 - Zapex Debuts Gemini DVD Video Transfer System. A comprehensive, new DVD video transfer system that provides the user with all the components necessary to convert content on virtually any media from film clips, VHS tape, or movies, to broadcast quality DVD, has been introduced by Zapex Technologies, Inc.
Gary S. Marsh, Zapex vice president, sales and marketing, said the company's new Gemini DVD Video Transfer System represents the first time a manufacturer has combined the components required to produce DVD-R transfers from original material in a single process.
"Gemini is particularly suitable for dubbing, archiving, publishing of dailies, advertising previews, security, medical and a variety of applications where transfer and preserving of original content is desired," Marsh added.
Fundamental to the Gemini system is Zapex's unique Flash- DVD direct-to-DVD software, which takes film or video content, compresses the data utilizing Zapex's encoder boards, then writes it onto the DVD-R disc in a smooth process. "The Flash- DVD software component of Gemini simplifies the traditional circuitous, multi-step process, creating a straight-line transfer solution. Zapex's operator-friendly GUI also adds to the ease of operation," Harder concluded.
A complete system is priced from $16,995. A high resolution image of Gemini is available on the Zapex web site, www.zapex.com.