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InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors

January 1-7 2002

About News and Rumors. InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors is a daily column. It features news coverage of new PC and Mac computer hardware and software, Internet news, and other technical news items.
Every Sunday, News and Rumors features "Sunday Shopping Watch", which is a comparison and analysis of Sunday computer store advertisements.
The Computer News and Rumors is an archived column, so feel free to review previous week's or month's computer news by clicking on the link below. Previous computer news articles can also be searched, by using our site search feature found in the 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 07 AMD Introduces Athlon XP Processor 2000+
Jan 07 Intel Ships 2.2 GHz Pentium 4 Processor
Jan 07 Siemens Introduces Voice Data Gateway for Home Networking
Jan 07 Lugh Networks Unveils Home Powerline Networking Solutions
Jan 06 Sunday Shopping Watch
Jan 04 HP No. 1 in Worldwide Itanium-based Workstation Shipments
Jan 04 Cirrus Logic to Showcase New Products at CES
Jan 04 Belkin Announces mini PDA Keyboards
Jan 04 Corinex Intoduces USB and Ethernet PowerLine Cards
Jan 03 Toshiba cuts prices on Digital Cameras
Jan 03 `WWF Mobile Madness` to Release for Wireless Devices
Jan 03 RioPort Unveils Technology for Secure Playback of Subscription Music
Jan 02 Microvision ships first Nomad Personal Display System
Jan 02 HP Introduces New Wireless Notebooks and other Products
Jan 02 New Products Ready to Make Their Debut At Macworld

Jan 02

Semiconductor Industry Sales Increase in November
Dec 30 Sunday Shopping Watch

Electronic Gaming Monthly Free Year Subscription to Electronic Gaming Monthly!! While it Lasts....

 

Jan 08 - Sony's New VAIO notebook PC Cuts the Cord With Cable-Free Mobility. Plug in anywhere and plug in longer -- all without the plug -- with Sony Electronics' new VAIO(R) SRX77 notebook PC, announced today. This new model's wireless connectivity and long-life battery coupled with its exceptional digital entertainment capabilities combine to grant users the freedom to work and play more efficiently, wherever their business takes them.
An extension of the Sony SR line of notebook PCs built for the frequently mobile user, the SRX77 model features integrated IEEE 802.11b wireless capabilities for cable-free LAN connectivity.
For all-day use the new notebook PC comes with a bundled lithium-ion battery that lasts up to six hours on a single charge, along with a Low Voltage Mobile Intel(R) Pentium(R) III Processor 800 MHz-M and Sony's new heat dissipating technology that saves power and allows the machine to run cool. These feats of mobility unfold in a svelte, compact package that weighs only 2.76 pounds and measures only 1 inch thin.
"The VAIO SRX77 notebook PC finally cuts the cord for mobile consumers and business professionals who demand independence from AC adapters and phone lines without sacrificing fun and style when they're away from home or the office," said Mark Hanson, vice president and general manager of VAIO PC marketing for Sony Electronics. "Three essential factors of mobility -- wireless connectivity, long battery life and extreme portability -- added to the digital entertainment functionality unique to VAIO PCs make the SRX77 PC an extraordinary mobile computing solution."
The new SRX77 PC comes equipped with a 20 GB hard drive, 128 MB SDRAM, center Jog Dial(TM) control with back button, integrated V.90 modem, built-in stereo speakers and a bundled external CD-ROM drive. Units ship next month with a Microsoft(R) Windows(R) XP Professional or XP Home operating system and will be available for about $1,500. For more information visit www.sony.com/vaio.

Jan 08 - SanDisk Introduces Cruzer, Pocket-size Storage Device. SanDisk Corporation (Nasdaq:SNDK) today introduced Cruzer(TM), the world's first portable, pocket-size storage device with removable and upgradeable flash memory cards.
The personal storage device, about three inches long, one and three-fourth inches wide and about three-quarters of an inch thick, can be slipped into a pocket or purse for easy transport of personal computer data files, image files, video and audio between homes, offices and other locations where one would like to take their personal files and information. The Cruzer will accommodate both SD cards and MultiMediaCards, two extremely compact size storage cards that have wide industry support.
The SanDisk Cruzer was introduced at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) at the Las Vegas Convention Center where SanDisk is showing products in booth 11511.
Wes Brewer, SanDisk's director of business development, said, "It is rare that a new storage product can be described as 'unique'. Cruzer is unique because it is the first pocket-size, personal data storage device that is fully compatible with both PCs and consumer electronic devices. Up to now, all small flash storage devices were either PC centric or consumer electronic centric and could not be upgraded by the user. Cruzer provides the connectivity to both the PC/notebook environment and the consumer electronic appliance and also has a unique, stylish, highly ergonomic design."
Eric Bone, retail product marketing manager, added, "The Cruzer is targeted at today's active, on-the-go lifestyle. Today, people want to conveniently carry some of their music to a friend's house to share the sounds. They want to take some new photos to a family gathering to show them to their relatives. And those in business surely would find it much more convenient to carry their electronic presentation in their pocket, rather than a laptop when they travel, and just plug the Cruzer into a USB port at their destination. The promise of the 'network everywhere' still has not occurred and the physical transfer of data is still highly practical with consumers. The Cruzer allows them to carry and move that personal data in a secure, reliable, solid-state device."
"Cruzer is the ideal truly portable personal storage device," said J. Gerry Purdy, Ph.D., CEO of Mobile Insights in Mountain View, Calif. "With Cruzer, mobile professionals will have an upgradeable storage system that can operate on millions of PCs in the world. Cruzer benefits from the dramatic price reductions in flash memory in the past year, which bring the price of a 128 megabyte (MB) Cruzer to parity with the price of a 100MB Zip drive."
Cruzers initially will be available in four capacities -- 32, 64, 128 and 256MB. Consumers could, for example, store 35 to 70 songs (depending on compression scheme used) on a 128MB Cruzer or at least 64 high-resolution images on a 64MB Cruzer. More than 40,000 pages of double-spaced text could be stored on a 32MB Cruzer. As higher capacity cards become available users will be able to upgrade their Cruzers to these higher capacities.
Cruzer features Mass Storage Class (MSC) compliance, which allows for true "Plug-and-Play" operation when used with Windows 2000, Millennium Edition (ME) and XP. MSC is natively supported in Windows 2000, ME, XP, Apple OS 9.X and OS X which means consumers do not need to install an extra driver to use Cruzer. Cruzers also work with Microsoft Windows 98 and Macintosh computers with Mac OS 8.6 and USB support. Cruzer production units will include software passwords for enhanced protection of personal files.
It is expected that the Cruzer will be available early in the second quarter of 2002 in many of the 38,000 retail stores worldwide where SanDisk-branded products are sold. The device is expected to sell, depending on capacity, at prices ranging from $59.95 to $199.95. It is expected that the 128MB Cruzer will sell for $99.95.
SanDisk's web site/home page address: www.sandisk.com.

Jan 08 - ViewSonic Wireless Monitor Prototype Shown at CES. ViewSonic(R) Corporation, a worldwide Visual Technologies(TM) leader, is using the 2002 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to display the first Mira-enabled wireless monitor that will enable users to experience always-on, anytime mobile connectivity to a PC from anywhere in the home.
A prototype of the ViewSonic airpanel(TM) 150 -- a 15-inch, wireless LCD display -- is being highlighted today in a demonstration by Microsoft(R) co-founder Bill Gates during his keynote speech at CES 2002. The airpanel 150 is based on Mira, a set of Windows technologies that extend the rich capabilities of the PC to smart displays anywhere in the home. As part of its development efforts, ViewSonic is extending its relationship with Microsoft to ensure that its airpanel product line optimizes the multi-media and connectivity advantages of Windows CE.NET-based Mira technology.
With the wireless connectivity and portability of the airpanel 150, users can enjoy computing experiences in a relaxed environment -- in any room of the home, without having to be directly in front of their PC.
"The airpanel 150 extends the use of the home PC, allowing family members to have a rich computing experience in and around the home," said Marc Mcconnaughey, senior vice president, Advanced Products Group, ViewSonic. "The combination of ViewSonic display technology and Microsoft's Mira technology will quickly establish new standards in home computing and entertainment capabilities, and help drive the adoption of wireless home networking."
ViewSonic's creation of the wireless monitor category supports growing trends in home networking. According to the Yankee Group, a Boston-based research firm, in 2001, 35 percent of PC-owning U.S. households were very or somewhat interested in home networking products, up 7.75 percent from 2000. Thirty-eight percent of PC owners recognized the utility of home networks in shared high-speed connectivity and in enabling Internet applications, while 30 percent also cited increased efficiency derived from networks.
"ViewSonic recognizes that consumers want the freedom to experience the power of Windows XP from anywhere in their home," said Todd Warren, general manager of the Embedded and Appliance Platforms Group at Microsoft Corp. "ViewSonic's airpanel will deliver a smart display device to consumers that offers the rich functionality of Mira in an innovative form factor that will meet this demand."
The development of the airpanel 150 is the third step in ViewSonic's plan to deliver next generation visual technology for the mobile and wireless market. ViewSonic is one of the very few companies that has already started volume shipping a Windows 2000-based Tablet PC (ViewPadTM 1000) and a Windows CE-based SuperPDA (ViewPad 100). Both the ViewPad 1000 and ViewPad 100 are currently available through authorized ViewSonic resellers.
Availability of the ViewSonic airpanel 150 is expected mid year 2002. Pricing is not yet available. For further information, visit www.ViewSonic.com.

Jan 07 - AMD Introduces Athlon XP Processor 2000+. AMD (NYSE: AMD) today announced the new AMD Athlon(TM) XP processor 2000+, reinforcing AMD's commitment to provide the industry's highest performing desktop PC processors to our customers.
Systems featuring the AMD Athlon XP processor 2000+ are expected to be immediately available from Compaq in the U.S. Other top-tier manufacturers, including Hewlett-Packard Company and MicronPC, LLC in the U.S., and NEC-CI in Europe, also plan to offer systems soon with the AMD Athlon XP processor 2000+.
"With the AMD Athlon XP processor 2000+, AMD is making a New Year's resolution to PC users - to continue providing them the best performing products," said Ed Ellett, vice president of marketing for AMD's Computation Products Group. "AMD is determined to provide users with the right solutions at the right time, as when we championed the introduction of a DDR memory-based chipset for the PC platform more than 14 months ago."
Home and business consumers benefit from AMD's innovations by experiencing improved software performance. As a result of AMD's close collaboration with Microsoft, the AMD Athlon XP processor is optimized for use with Windows(R) XP.
"Windows XP provides customers with exciting new experiences combined with ease of use," said Jeff Price, Director of Windows Marketing at Microsoft Corp. "Together, with the great performance of the AMD Athlon XP processor, users will have a tremendous computing experience."
"Digital video enthusiasts choose AMD Athlon XP processors for the excellent performance, real-time capabilities, and smooth playback power they provide to video editing products," said Robert Sharp, Vice President of Marketing at Canopus Corporation. "The Canopus DVRaptor-RT Video Editing system, combined with the features and optimizations of the AMD Athlon XP processor 2000+ with QuantiSpeed(TM) architecture, offer a digital video platform that the most stalwart of enthusiasts can benefit from."
AMD recognizes the importance of delivered PC performance, based upon industry-standard benchmarks. These benchmarks demonstrate that AMD maintains performance leadership with the AMD Athlon XP processor 2000+. (See http://www.amd.com/us- en/Corporate/VirtualPressRoom/0,,51_104_2315+3750,00.html)
AMD identified the AMD Athlon XP processor using model numbers, as opposed to clock speed in megahertz. Model numbers are designed to convey the relative performance of AMD Athlon XP processors, as well as communicate the architectural superiority compared to existing AMD Athlon processors. The higher the model number, the better the performance.
The AMD Athlon XP processor 2000+ is priced at $339 in 1,000-unit quantities. For more information on pricing, visit: www.amd.com/pricing.

Jan 07 - Intel Ships 2.2 GHz Pentium 4 Processor. Intel Corporation today introduced its highest-performing Pentium(R) 4 processor ever, running at 2.2 gigahertz (GHz), or 2.2 billion cycles per second.
Built using Intel's most advanced manufacturing technologies, the processor sets the stage for a new class of high-performance PCs that power increasingly popular digital music, photography and video uses, as well the latest applications being developed for the workplace.
Systems based on the Pentium 4 processor at 2.2 GHz are available immediately from leading computer makers worldwide.
The 2.2 GHz milestone comes at a time when nearly 450 million people use PCs that run at 700 MHz or less. While those PCs were state of the art two to four years ago, they pre-date the MP3 revolution, streaming video on the Internet, recordable DVDs and the online gaming phenomenon. The most recent data from InfoTrends Research Group, Inc. shows that 33 percent of online households own a digital camera. By 2005, Forrester Research says that 92 percent of US online households will create and share personal multimedia content.
"People are making digital media a regular part of their lives, and the new technology behind the Pentium 4 processor at 2.2 GHz makes those experiences better yet," said Louis Burns, vice president and general manager, Intel Desktop Platforms Group. "This holiday season brought another surge in sales of digital cameras, and as consumers use such devices to record and share their lives with others, the highest-performing PCs enable the best experiences."

New Manufacturing Innovations Lead to Processor Performance

The new Pentium 4 processor is built on the semiconductor industry's most advanced manufacturing technology, Intel's 0.13-micron fabrication process, using highly-efficient copper interconnects. Using this technology, Intel was able to increase the chip's on-board memory (called level two cache) while reducing overall processor size by over 30 percent. With Intel's 0.13-micron process technology, it is possible to build circuits so small that 55 million transistors can be placed on each chip. It would take almost 1000 of these "wires" placed side-by-side to equal the width of a human hair.
Intel's 0.13-micron process technology features the world's fastest and smallest transistors (60 nanometer) used in volume production. These transistors are the foundation of the industry's highest performance microprocessors.
The Pentium 4 processor at 2.2 GHz is the world's highest-performance desktop processor as measured by the SPEC CPU 2000 benchmark running Microsoft Windows XP. The Pentium 4 processor at 2.2 GHz delivers the world's highest Windows XP desktop processor score on SPECint_base2000, with a score of 771. In addition, the Pentium 4 processor at 2.2 GHz delivers a SPECfp_base2000 score of 766.

Platform Innovation

Intel also announced that its popular Intel 845 chipset now supports DDR memory, providing the industry with a high volume DDR solution that delivers both high reliability and memory interoperability. With its 845 and 850 chipsets, Intel is now shipping the Pentium 4 processor in all performance and mainstream computing segments with a full range of platform solutions supporting all major memory technologies. The 845 chipset has supported SDRAM memory since it was originally launched in August of 2001.
Two new Intel Desktop Board products, the D845PT and D845BG, support the 845 chipset and DDR memory and have been shipping since December. Today Intel also announced two desktop boards (D850MVSE and D845BGSE) that support up to five USB 2.0 ports. The higher bandwidth connections available through Hi-Speed USB 2.0 capitalize on the faster processing power of the Intel Pentium 4 processor. The two boards are being launched in advance of Intel's introduction of a USB 2.0-integrated chipset that will arrive in PCs later this year.

Pricing and Availability

The Pentium 4 processor at 2.2 GHz, with 512KB level two cache, is available now and priced at $562 in 1,000-unit quantities. The Pentium 4 processor at 2.0 "A" GHz with 512KB level two cache ("A" signifies the 0.13-micron version) is priced at $364. Intel is also shipping boxed Intel Pentium 4 processors up to 2.2 GHz to distributors and system builders worldwide. The Intel 845 chipset sells for $39 in 1,000-unit quantities.
PCs based on the Intel Pentium 4 processor at 2.2 GHz will be exhibited at the Intel booth (No. 331) at the 2002 International Consumer Electronics Show Jan. 8-11 in Las Vegas. Additional information about Intel is available at www.intel.com.

Jan 07 - Siemens Introduces Voice Data Gateway for Wireless Home Networking. Siemens Information and Communication Mobile LLC today announced the availability of its new Voice Data Gateway (VDG) product with 2.4GHz HomeRF technology to U.S. carriers, creating a revolutionary new alternative for wireless broadband networking and telephony.
The VDG integrates standard voice (POTS) and broadband cable or DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) modem connections into one reliable device capable of transmitting data up to 10 Mbps to a host of devices and up to eight cordless handsets using the HomeRF 2.0 wireless specification.
The VDG can be combined with a wireless USB adapter for desktop PCs with USB, a PCMCIA card for laptops, and a cordless handset. With this combination of devices, the VDG brings ease of use and total mobility into the home or small office for all types of voice, data and Internet connections. The VDG is capable of handling up to four separate phone lines and numerous high-speed Internet links all operating at the same time without any interruption in service or compromise in voice quality. With a range of up to 150 feet indoors and 300 feet outdoors, consumers can access their voice and data services with no wires from almost anywhere in the house, yard, or small office.
"Consumers expect the latest technologies in home networking to be reliable and easy to use," said Kevin Duffy, vice president of home networking at Siemens Information and Communication Mobile. "Our VDG is a breakthrough product category that offers a compelling value proposition for consumers and carriers alike, allowing for the integration of voice and data services in the home or small office."
You can access further information about Siemens IC Mobile on the Internet at http://www.icm.siemens.com.

Jan 07 - Lugh Networks Unveils Home Powerline Networking Solutions. Launching at the International Consumer Electronics Show 2002, Lugh Networks, Inc., an engineering and development firm specializing in home powerline networking solutions, will showcase its new audio and data networking solutions in a mock home environment.
At booth No. 15029, South Hall, attendees can for the first time experience an audio home network demonstration in which Hi-Fi audio content is distributed to any location in the home via Lugh Networks' power line designs -- the music itself is piped through the electrical outlet to speakers located in another room.
The company will also present home networking data solutions for sharing content, resources and Internet connections between two or more PCs. Incorporating Lugh Networks' proprietary user interface software, the solution is designed to eliminate the hassle and frustration experienced by the consumer when setting up data networking systems in the home.
More information on the company and its services is available at www.lughnetworks.com.

Jan 06 - Sunday Shopping Watch. After New Year's pricing of new computer laptops and desktops has not significantly changed, but deals can be found by the informed shopper.

Shopping Alert on Lower Priced Desktops. Many lower priced Celeron desktops made by almost all computer manufacturers should be carefully investigated before purchase.
Most of these low priced desktops have no AGP video expansion slot, no onboard dedicated video RAM, no CD-RW, and very few empty PCI expansion slots. These computers will be very difficult to upgrade, and they have poorer performance than other desktops that do not have integrated audio and video chips on the motherboard.
Often by spending $300-$400 more dollars for a Pentium 4 or Athlon XP based system, you can get twice the performance, more features, and you will have an upgradeable computer that will serve you well for another 3 years.
If you choose the $700 Celeron system to save a few bucks, keep in mind that in a year or two you will probably have to replace it.

About Windows XP. It has been a little over 3 months since Windows XP began to be bundled with new computers. Windows XP became available for separate purchase on October 25th. For more information on Windows XP visit Microsoft's Windows XP home page.

This Sunday's Special Discounts and Financing. In addition to sales on specific items, the following store-wide sales are advertised this week.
Best Buy
is giving away 1 year of free MSN with any computer purchase. Additionally, they are also offering no interest financing for 12 months on purchases over $498 and $100 mail-in rebates on all desktop complete packages.
Circuit City is advertising $100-$150 rebates on clearance desktop computers, and laptops.
Office Depot is offering no interest, no payment financing for 6 months on purchases over $298.
CompUSA has no ad this Sunday.
Staples is giving away 1 year of free MSN with any computer purchase.

Internet Rebates. Most stores are no longer advertising 3 year Internet rebates. Check with your local store before you buy. Please see our article, What You Need to Know About Internet Rebates and Free PCs, for an in-depth discussion of Internet Rebates.

Definitions. A complete system/package is defined as a computer with monitor and printer or scanner.
A build-to-order system is customized at the retailer and then ordered from a vendor's store. In addition to the computer's stated price, you still pay sales tax and shipping charges (if you order direct from the vendor without going through the chain store, you may not have to pay sales tax and you could get a better warranty).

* Prices discussed in this article. Advertisers typically deduct the $400 Internet rebate from an items true price. We report all prices without subtracting the $400 Internet rebate, however all other rebates and discounts are usually subtracted.
Caution about advertised prices. When reading advertisements, read the fine print of the ad to make sure you know what is being advertised and what it cost. For example, many advertisers will show a complete system with computer, monitor, and printer but advertise a price for the computer only.

Best Deals this Sunday
Category
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Store
Best Celeron Deal
HP/Compaq 1.1 GHz complete system
$599
Best Buy, Circuit City
Best Pentium III System
None Advertised
   
Best Pentium 4 System
Compaq 1.5 GHz complete system
$1099
Best Buy
Best Duron System
None Advertised
Best Athlon System
None Advertised
   
Best Athlon XP System
Compaq 1700+ complete build-to-order system
$1059
Best Buy
Best Low Cost Notebook
Sony AMD Duron 900 MHz with DVD
$1049
Best Buy
Best High-end Notebook
Compaq AMD Athlon 4, 1 GHz with combo DVD/CD-RW
$1299
Office Depot

Additional Information. For additional technical information, advice on how to buy a laptop or desktop, and vendor and manufacturer links, please see our Computer Buying Advice page.
About Sunday Shopping Watch. Sunday Shopping Watch appears every Sunday (except some holidays like Easter and Christmas) in our News and Rumors column. It is a review of local (Dayton, Ohio) computer chain store advertisements. While we can not guarantee your local chain store has the same items, this article should help you to make informed buying decisions.

Jan 04 - HP No. 1 in Worldwide Itanium-based Workstation Shipments. Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HWP) today announced that it holds the number one market position for Itanium(TM)-based workstation shipments worldwide for the third quarter of calendar year 2001. This was the first full quarter in which these systems shipped.
According to reports by industry research and advisory firms Gartner/Dataquest and International Data Corporation, HP is the leading Itanium-based workstation vendor -- number one in Itanium-based workstation revenues and shipments. Both the Gartner and IDC reports show that HP shipped more than one and a half times its closest competitor and holds 50 percent of the Itanium-based workstation market.
"The level of enthusiasm for the Itanium architecture HP co-developed with Intel is steadily increasing," said Barry Crume, business product manager for Itanium workstations, HP Technical Computing Division. "HP's workstation market share growth during the third quarter also reflects the advantage of being the only Itanium-based supplier shipping a commercial UNIX."
HP and its products can be found on the World Wide Web at www.hp.com.

Jan 04 - Cirrus Logic to Showcase New Products at CES. Cirrus Logic Inc. (Nasdaq:CRUS), the premier supplier of high-performance analog and DSP semiconductor solutions for digital entertainment electronics, today announced plans to display the power of its vision at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Jan. 8 - 11, 2002 in Las Vegas.
Cirrus will feature innovative consumer digital entertainment products at booth No. 3439, Central Hall and wireless LAN technology at booth No. 13803, South Hall 3 (Wi-Fi Pavilion) of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Participants will experience Cirrus' Total Entertainment (Total-E(tm)) solutions via demonstrations exhibiting Cirrus' DVD Home Theater, Wireless Home Networking, Internet TV, Enhanced DVD, Media Streaming and DVD Receiver technologies.
As the largest semiconductor pure play in consumer electronics, Cirrus is driving the next generation of consumer digital entertainment products that are transforming the way people see, hear, connect and enjoy the rich spectrum of content available on DVD and over the Internet.
"Cirrus' expanding line of advanced chip solutions is at the heart of the analog to digital upgrade now underway in the entertainment electronics industry," said David French, president and CEO of Cirrus Logic. "Our recent acquisition of cutting edge DVD, video encoding and wireless home networking technologies represents an even greater focus on creating solutions for rapidly growing digital entertainment markets."

Cirrus CES Product Debuts

Supporting its vision to lead the digital entertainment revolution, Cirrus will make two product announcements at CES -- the premieres of an innovative DVD processor, as well as the industry's highest performance single chip audio processing solution that provides extraordinary sonic realism.
Cirrus' new DVD processor represents the industry's first progressive scan technology priced at mass market price points. Progressive scan technology enables extremely sharp picture quality when used in conjunction with a digital TV, and is compatible with Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS, MP3, WMA and HDCD.
Cirrus' new programmable DSP allows consumer OEMs to quickly bring high fidelity audio, previously reserved for only high-end products, to all three consumer product segments -- low-, medium- and high-end -- with a flexible range of features for given price points. This potentially brings high fidelity sound previously available only in $3,000 products to high volume applications.

Expanded Global Leadership Enables Total-E Solutions

In 2001, Cirrus strengthened its ability to provide Total-E solutions for next-generation, networked home entertainment applications through the acquisition of four audio, video and networking technology companies. The acquisitions included: Boulder, Colo.-based Peak Audio Inc., a leader in commercial audio networks; Fremont, Calif.-based LuxSonor Semiconductor Inc., a leader in DVD decoding processors; El Dorado Hills, Calif.-based ShareWave Inc., a leader in wireless home networking; and Stream Machine Company, a leading provider of video encoding processors for DVD-R and personal video recorders.

More information about Cirrus Logic is available at www.cirrus.com.

Jan 04 - Belkin Announces mini PDA Keyboards. Belkin, the leading manufacturer of computer peripherals and accessories, today introduced its new line of mini Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) keyboards for Palm m500 and m505 (F8P3500), Compaq(R) iPAQ H3100, H3600, and H3700 (F8Q1501), and Handspring(TM) Visor Deluxe, Prism, Platinum, Neo, and Pro (F8R0500) Handhelds. These models will have an ESP of $49.99 and will begin shipping in North America on January 28, 2002.
Unlike other portable keyboards, the Belkin mini PDA keyboard is a handheld size keyboard that securely attaches to the bottom of the PDA. Designed with the mobile professional in mind, the lightweight mini PDA keyboard eliminates the need to use an on-screen keyboard with a stylus and is more convenient than a flat board -- users need simply snap on the keyboard to start typing!

Features:

-- Unique, snap-on design
-- Balanced for use with your handheld
-- Buttons sized for quick thumb-typing with tactile feedback
-- Fits on all iPAQ expansion sleeves
-- Includes primary application buttons
-- Unique Face board button for special symbols and emoticons
-- Compatible with most popular word processing software
-- No batteries required

For more information, visit the company's website at www.belkin.com.

Jan 04 - Corinex Intoduces USB and Ethernet PowerLine Cards. Corinex Global Corp today announced the addition of USB and Ethernet cards to complement the Powerline network interface board brought by Corinex to market and announced Oct 1, 2001 as the first high speed PCI Powerline product available on the market.
Ethernet-class networks over standard home powerlines are now available, thanks to ASIC based signal processing advances that control interference and transfer function degradations that used to compromise the powerline transmission medium. Corinex's standards based, highly integrated powerline solutions support audio, video, voice and data transmission over existing powerline infrastructure.
Corinex plans on getting the new network interface cards in to market quickly with product ready to be shipped.
Corinex's PLC solutions supported by Corinex PLC Wizard will also interface with a variety of different technologies. The ethernet PLC card was already tested with xDSL modems to distribute video in homes. Corinex PLC products were also tested with a complete range of Corinex next generation wireless products, and an operating system supporting its wireless applications together with management and billing software. The company can be found online at www.corinex.com.

Jan 03 - Toshiba cuts prices on Digital Cameras. Toshiba Imaging Systems, a division of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., is encouraging digital photography buffs to kick off the New Year with one of its high-quality, award-winning super megapixel digital cameras.
Toshiba announced today that it is reducing the price of its popular 3.2 megapixel digital camera, the PDR-M71, by over twenty percent to a breakthrough $399. In addition, Toshiba is immediately offering a $100 mail-in rebate for its top-of-the-line PDR-M81 4.2 megapixel camera, effectively cutting its price to $599 and putting four-megapixel digital imaging power well within reach of budget-conscious shoppers.
As a further enticement, Toshiba is extending its free Photo Kit offer to buyers of its PDR-M81, PDR-M71 and PDR-M21 cameras. A $100 value, the free Toshiba Photo Kit includes an extra 32Mb SmartMedia(TM) Card along with a special SmartMedia case, a sturdy camera bag, plus four Energizer(R) e2(R) Lithium Photo Batteries (perfect for your new Toshiba digital camera!).
"With these price reductions, Toshiba now stands alone in the marketplace by offering digital cameras that combine incredible low cost of ownership with the best photo output and unmatched versatility," said Doug Freck, Vice President & General Manager, Toshiba Imaging Systems. "Digital photography enthusiasts can turn with confidence to the Toshiba brand for digital cameras, just as they do for their other consumer electronics needs."

Toshiba will be displaying its full line of digital cameras at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, January 8-11, 2002. For more information, visit www.dsc.toshiba.com.

Jan 03 - `WWF Mobile Madness` to Release for Wireless Devices. THQ Inc. (Nasdaq:THQI) and JAKKS Pacific, Inc. (Nasdaq:JAKK) today announced their latest World Wrestling Federation(R) (WWFE) licensed video game, "WWF Mobile Madness(TM)."
One of the first mobile games from THQ Wireless(TM), "WWF Mobile Madness" is available now for Java-enabled phones. Additional versions of "WWF Mobile Madness" will be available beginning early 2002 for all SMS and WAP-enabled mobile devices. "WWF Mobile Madness" for Java-enabled phones features World Wrestling Federation Superstars Kane(TM) and Undertaker(R) while the WAP and SMS versions feature more than 21 World Wrestling Federation Superstars, three game modes and a create-a-Superstar option.
"THQ Wireless is very excited that one of its first mobile games is based on a license as recognizable as the World Wrestling Federation," said Doug Dyer, General Manager, THQ Wireless. "With addictive gameplay and a variety of modes, 'WWF Mobile Madness' games are sure to entertain on whatever mobile platform players choose."
The THQ web site is located at www.thq.com.

Jan 03 - RioPort Unveils Technology for Secure Playback of Subscription Music. Delivering a major step forward for the emerging online music subscription market, RioPort, Inc., the leading music application service provider (ASP), today announced a ground-breaking advancement to its d2d(TM) (Direct-to-Device) technology that enables rental/subscription music downloads to be played on consumer electronics devices while maintaining the security and usage rules outlined by content owners.
RioPort's d2d technology can be implemented in portable playback devices, Web-based home stereos, set-top boxes or car stereos, to ensure that content usage rules for rental music tracks, such as termination by play count, cumulative play time or time-based expiration, are enforced.
RioPort is deploying its d2d technology, enabling the option of enjoying rental downloads "anywhere," through its PulseOne Service(TM). RioPort's service already provides "try it and buy-it" e-commerce options to the company's e-tail partners. In addition, a "rent-it" option (subscription service) will launch in early 2002.
Several of the world's leading consumer electronics companies, including Samsung, Sanyo and SONICblue, plan to introduce portable playback devices featuring RioPort's advanced d2d technology in early 2002.

Jan 02 - Microvision ships first Nomad Personal Display System. Microvision, Inc. (Nasdaq:MVIS) today announced that it has begun shipping the first Nomad(TM)Personal Display System to customers.
The Nomad display system is a high-resolution headworn display that presents images and information to the user in a see-through or "head-up" mode. This unique personal display will enable head-up, hands-free access to information such as diagrams, instrumentation, maintenance records, moving maps and interactive training manuals. The Nomad display features full daylight-readability, allowing users to view high contrast images in even the most challenging ambient lighting conditions. High quality, Super VGA resolution makes the Nomad immediately compatible with a broad range of existing applications and content.
By enabling users to merge selected electronic images into their natural field of vision, the Nomad Personal Display System can bring critical information to the point of task. From flight lines to factory floors, surgical suites, and more, systems utilizing the Nomad display can deliver major improvements in productivity, quality and safety for virtually any type of manual task.
The company is targeting applications for workers in four vertical markets -- industrial, aerospace, medical, and military -- that enable customers to keep information in front of people engaged in manual tasks or on the move, noted Rick Rutkowski, Microvision CEO.
Microvision can be found online at www.mvis.com.

Jan 02 - HP Introduces New Wireless Notebooks and other Products. Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HWP) has broadened its mobile offerings with products that allow users to simplify how they manage and exchange information, enabling users to easily connect and move between work, home or school.
The new products include the HP Pavilion zt1000 notebook PC series with optional embedded 802.11b or Bluetooth wireless capabilities, the HP Pavilion ze1110 notebook PC for budget-conscious consumers and easy-to-install wireless HP digital home networking solutions, which enable greater mobility and resource sharing within homes or small offices.
"At HP we envision a mobile world where consumers benefit not only from the usefulness of a single device, but from all the wired and wireless resources that surround them," said Jean-Luc Meyer, worldwide marketing manager, HP Embedded and Personal Systems Organization. "The wireless products announced today build on this vision by allowing people to work and play in new ways in each environment they encounter."

HP Pavilion zt1000 Notebook PC Series

The slim and lightweight HP Pavilion zt1000 notebook PC series makes staying connected easy by offering optional embedded 802.11b wireless connectivity and optional integrated Bluetooth capabilities.
Users can wirelessly connect to the Internet in the home or office and dial into a local Internet service provider to check e-mail or send an instant message to friends via an integrated v.90 56k modem. This broadband-ready notebook PC also accommodates wired environments with its 10/100 LAN port.
Combining eye-catching aesthetic appeal with fast Intel(R) mobile processors and multimedia features, the HP Pavilion zt1000 meets a wide range of user needs -- from simple word processing and Internet surfing to digital video editing and video transfer through its IEEE1394 port. The zt1000 also offers a removable DVD-ROM/CD-RW or 8x DVD-ROM drive to watch DVDs, burn original music CDs or back up critical data.

HP Pavilion ze1110 Notebook PC

HP further broadened its notebook PC line with the introduction of the HP Pavilion ze1110. With a starting price of $1,099, this powerful, all-in-one mobile PC is ideal for consumers on a tight budget who need to stay connected and productive at home or on the road.

HP Wireless Home Networking Offerings

HP enters the fast-growing home networking space with its wireless HP digital home networking products. These simple-to-use, self-installable digital home networking solutions use 802.11b so users can wirelessly connect all of their household PCs and notebooks to a single broadband connection. With these solutions, consumers can use their notebook PC anywhere in the home or yard and still access the Internet, printers and files on other household PCs.
HP's wireless digital home networking solutions provide fast data transfer of speeds up to 11 Mpbs to make working and playing wirelessly extremely convenient. Enabling greater mobility and resource sharing within the home or small office environment, HP provides users a comprehensive wireless home networking solution with the hn200w wireless gateway, hn210w USB network adapter and hn220w wireless LAN PC card.
Additionally, HP introduced phoneline and fast Ethernet digital home networking solutions. All of these solutions can be set up in four easy steps, making installation a snap for consumers. These products feature a look and feel that matches other HP imaging and computing products, a simple upgrade ability to new functionality and HP's renowned reliability.

Pricing and Availability

The HP Pavilion zt1000 and ze1110 notebook PCs are available through North American local retailers or direct via http://www.hpshopping.com. More information about HP's home networking products is available at http://www.hp.com/go/homenetworking.

Jan 02 - New Products Ready to Make Their Debut At Macworld. IDG World Expo, the leading producer of world-class tradeshows, conferences and events for IT markets around the globe, announced today that Macworld Conference & Expo's exhibit floor will feature many new products for Mac users. Exhibitors will showcase software, hardware and services for creative professionals, educators, and consumers, most of which will be Mac OS X-compatible.

More than 300 companies will exhibit at Macworld Conference & Expo, which will take place January 7-11, 2002 at San Francisco's Moscone Center. Macworld Conference & Expo's exhibit floor will open on January 8.

Among the many exhibitors presenting new products are:

-- Connectix Corporation (booth 1707) will showcase the new Virtual PC for Mac, version 5.0, running on both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X, which lets Mac users run Windows applications, access PC networks, share files with PC-based colleagues and use PC-only Internet services

-- Creo (booth 2117), will introduce Six Degrees, a new product set to transform the desktop by allowing content creators, creative professionals, marketing professionals and digital file authors to quickly navigate through the clutter of the desktop in a powerful new way

-- Glass Bead Software (booth 3851) will showcase SnapTalk and SnapMail, easy-to-use, proprietary chat, messaging and communication tools that require no server, Internet connection or in-house support

-- Nemetschek North America (booth 2223) will demonstrate the new OS X-compatible VectorWorks 9.5, the best-selling CAD program on the Mac, which features a fully-compliant Aqua interface, improved virtual memory, protected memory and preemptive multitasking

-- NewTek (booth 3735) will introduce LightWave 3D version 7, a flexible software solution for 3D graphics and animation, optimized for the Velocity Engine, which can be used for television, film, games, print, web, industrial design, architecture, medical imaging, etc.

-- Pantone (booth 2229) will showcase its PANTONE COLORVISION Spyder product line for color control solutions, which allows users to specify color, calibrate their monitors, profile printers and confirm color accuracy at an affordable price

-- Roxio (booth 935) will demonstrate Toast with Jam, an audio tool that allows users to produce high-quality commercial CDs and demos, delivering CD and DVD burning power plus professional audio editing and mastering for the Mac

-- SMART Technologies, Inc. (booth 2423) will introduce SynchronEyes 2.0 for Macintosh, computer-lab instruction software that allows instructors to monitor and control up to 40 Macintosh workstations from a single computer

-- Softchaos (booth 2535) will present WorkStrip (for Mac OS 9 & X), which simplifies work processes for all users by previewing files instantly, tracking files and Internet activity and gathering them into meaningful groups, thus creating greater efficiency

-- Sony (booth 4051) will showcase its Handycam camcorders and Cyber-shot and Mavica digital still cameras, highlighting industry-leading designs and features

-- ThinkFree (booth 1547) will showcase ThinkFree Office, a Microsoft(R) Office compatible suite of word processing, spreadsheet and presentation graphics applications, which uses Java technology to support a wide variety of operating systems and device platforms

Macworld Conference & Expo attendees can also network with their peers and obtain valuable education at a variety of informative conference sessions, special events and forums. This year's Macworld Conference & Expo/San Francisco will feature:

-- Opening Keynote: Presented by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, the opening keynote will take place on Monday, January 7, 2002 at 9 am. Due to the impact of new announcements from Apple, Steve Jobs' keynote was moved to one day earlier than previously scheduled.

-- Feature Presentation: Attendees can learn about the future of the Mac platform from industry leaders in this presentation, "This ain't your parents' Mac: The Present and Future of the Mac Platform." Moderated by Rick LePage, editor-in-chief of Macworld magazine, panelists of the feature presentation will include Bob "Dr. Mac" LeVitus, author/consultant; Henry Norr, technology columnist, San Francisco Chronicle; and David Pogue, author and "State of the Art" columnist, The New York Times.

-- Macworld/Power Tools Conferences: These new conferences present an opportunity for attendees to spend two full days immersed in training on the products they rely upon. Taught by industry experts, consultants, authors, product engineers and power users, these focused two-day conferences will offer in-depth training on Professional Photoshop, FileMaker Pro and Final Cut Pro.

-- Macworld/Pro Conference: Macworld/Pro is designed for the advanced Mac user or manager. Conference sessions offer a technical focus on networking and communications, professional publishing, digital video and filmmaking, Mac OS X, and best practices for the Mac manager.

-- Macworld/Users Conference: With more than 70 conference sessions presented by industry experts, users can develop their skills on the most popular Mac-related tools and learn more about small business applications, digital photography, desktop movies, education, music, science, creative applications, using legacy systems and Mac OS X.

-- Birds of a Feather Meetings (BOFs): Attendees will have the opportunity to meet with other like-minded Mac enthusiasts in an informal environment. Industry experts will facilitate interactive discussions among attendees to find answers to tough questions. All Macworld Conference & Expo attendees are invited to participate.

-- MacBeginnings: Held for the first time on the show floor at Macworld Conference & Expo/San Francisco, these educational sessions present tips, techniques and opinions for those just learning to use the Mac. All sessions will be taught by experts in the field and are open to all Macworld attendees. The Mac Show, hosted by Shawn King, will also broadcast live from the MacBeginnings stage.

-- Special Interest Areas: Attendees strolling this portion of the expo floor can interact with Mac developers showcasing products encompassing an array of categories including digital media, small business, sci-tech and education/assistive technology.

-- MacTech Central: This area will feature technical products relating to programming and development, Web development, network administrator tools and services, and other related products. MacTech Central is the hot spot for the Mac's technical and developer community.

-- Digital Art Gallery: Thirty-two digital "masterpieces" will be on display here, chosen by a respected panel of judges from the digital art community. Winning artwork is the result of a selection process that began with hundreds of entries from students, professionals and hobbyists.

To register or for more information on exhibiting opportunities at Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco, please visit www.macworldexpo.com.

Jan 02 - Semiconductor Industry Sales Increase in November. Worldwide sales of semiconductors in November rose to $10.60 billion, a month-to-month increase of 1.6% from $10.44 billion in October making this the second month in a row with sequential growth.
"Our forecast released in November calls fourth quarter sales to be 4.7% higher than the third quarter and with two months of data now in, we are on target to meet that projection," stated George Scalise, SIA president. He went on to say, "Personal computers, wireless communications, consumer products and automotive continue to fuel semiconductor sales and lead the industry out of its year long recession."
Compared to October 2001, November sales in the European market increased 5.3%, and the Asian Pacific market grew 2.5%. Sales in the Americas were nearly flat and Japan was down slightly at 1%.
The SIA's Global Sales Report (GSR) is a three-month moving average of sales activity. The GSR is tabulated by the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organization, which represents approximately 66 companies. The moving average is a mathematical smoothing technique that mitigates variations due to companies' monthly financial calendars.

Dec 30 - Sunday Shopping Watch. After Christmas pricing of new computer laptops and desktops has not significantly changed, but deals can be found by the informed shopper.
Shopping Alert on Lower Priced Desktops. Many lower priced Celeron desktops made by almost all computer manufacturers should be carefully investigated before purchase. Most of these low priced desktops have no AGP video expansion slot, no onboard dedicated video RAM, no CD-RW, and very few empty PCI expansion slots. These computers will be very difficult to upgrade, and they have poorer performance than other desktops that do not have integrated audio and video chips on the motherboard.
Often by spending $300-$400 more dollars for a Pentium 4 or Athlon XP based system, you can get twice the performance, more features, and you will have an upgradeable computer that will serve you well for another 3 years. If you choose the $700 Celeron system to save a few bucks, keep in mind that in a year or two you will probably have to replace it.
About Windows XP. It has been a little over 3 months since Windows XP began to be bundled with new computers. Windows XP became available for separate purchase on October 25th. For more information on Windows XP visit Microsoft's Windows XP home page.

This Sunday's Special Discounts and Financing. The following pricing were obtained from advertisements in Panama City, Florida. Ads were almost identical to those we review in Dayton, Ohio except for the absence of a Best Buy and Staples ad.
In addition to sales on specific items, the following store-wide sales are advertised this week.
Best Buy
has no store in Panama City, Florida.
Circuit City is advertising $150 rebates on clearance desktop computers, laptops, and build-to-order laptops.
Office Depot is offering no interest, no payment financing for 6 months on purchases over $498.
CompUSA is offering free delivery on all AMD processor build-to-order desktops and notebooks. They are also offering no interest financing for 12 months on purchases over $498.
Staples has no store in Panama City, Florida.

Internet Rebates. Most stores are no longer advertising 3 year Internet rebates. Check with your local store before you buy. Please see our article, What You Need to Know About Internet Rebates and Free PCs, for an in-depth discussion of Internet Rebates.

Definitions. A complete system/package is defined as a computer with monitor and printer or scanner.
A build-to-order system is customized at the retailer and then ordered from a vendor's store. In addition to the computer's stated price, you still pay sales tax and shipping charges (if you order direct from the vendor without going through the chain store, you may not have to pay sales tax and you could get a better warranty).

* Prices discussed in this article. Advertisers typically deduct the $400 Internet rebate from an items true price. We report all prices without subtracting the $400 Internet rebate, however all other rebates and discounts are usually subtracted.
Caution about advertised prices. When reading advertisements, read the fine print of the ad to make sure you know what is being advertised and what it cost. For example, many advertisers will show a complete system with computer, monitor, and printer but advertise a price for the computer only.

Best Deals this Sunday
Category
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Store
Best Celeron Deal
Compaq 1.1 GHz complete system
$650
Circuit City
Best Pentium III System
None Advertised
   
Best Pentium 4 System
Compaq 1.5 GHz complete system
$1000
Office Depot
Best Duron System
None Advertised
Best Athlon System
HP 1.3 GHz complete system
$799
Office Depot
Best Athlon XP System
Compaq 1500+ complete build-to-order system
$1299
CompUSA
Best Low Cost Notebook
Compaq AMD Duron 900 MHz with DVD
$999
Circuit City
Best High-end Notebook
Sony Pentium III 900 MHz with CD-RW/DVD
$1349
CompUSA

Additional Information. For additional technical information, advice on how to buy a laptop or desktop, and vendor and manufacturer links, please see our Computer Buying Advice page.
About Sunday Shopping Watch. Sunday Shopping Watch appears every Sunday (except some holidays like Easter and Christmas) in our News and Rumors column. It is a review of local (Dayton, Ohio) computer chain store advertisements. While we can not guarantee your local chain store has the same items, this article should help you to make informed buying decisions.

 

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