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Computer News and Rumors

July 24-31 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 here. Previous computer news articles can also be searched, by using our site search feature found in the top and bottom menu bar.

InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors Article Index
Date
(Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to the Index.)
Jul 31 Samsung Introduces .Net Compatible Processors for PDAs
Jul 31 VIA Announces P4PB 266E Mainboard
Jul 31 SOYO Announces New P4X400 DRAGON Ultra Motherboard
Jul 31 Fujifilm Introduces the xD-Picture Flash Memory Card
Jul 31 Zone Labs Announces Immediate Availability of ZoneAlarm 3.1
Jul 30 Crucial Introduces Radeon 8500LE 128MB Video Card
Jul 30 MicronPC Announces Affordable Pentium 4 Notebook
Jul 30 OWC Itroduces External DVD-RW/CD-RW Drives
Jul 30 IBM Technology Gives New Hondas a Voice
Jul 30 Pioneer Announces Portable DVD/CD/Video CD Player
Jul 29 Samsung Gains 30 Percent in Brand Value; Dell +12 Percent
Jul 29 ATI RADEON 7000 Series Chosen be Manufacturers for New Systems
Jul 29 Fujitsu Reports FY2002 First Quarter Financial Results
Jul 29 Digital Camera Ownership and Imaging Soaring
Jul 29 Other World Computing First Reseller to Ship 1GHz G4 Upgrade
Jul 28 Sunday Shopping Watch

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Jul 31 - Samsung Introduces .Net Compatible Processors for PDAs. Samsung Semiconductor, Inc., a leader in System-On-A-Chip LSI technology, today announced a new line of embedded ARM-based Application Processors, specifically designed to support Windows CE .NET version 4.1, the latest release of the Microsoft embedded operating system.

This update enhances Windows CE .NET with key new features used to empower next-generation portable wireless devices. The powerful pairing of the two technologies will enable consumers to run a host of Microsoft software applications, formerly reserved for PC and laptop use, on wireless mobile devices, including PDAs and Smartphones.

The market availability of the Application Processors is the result of a strategic relationship between Samsung and Microsoft Corp. Both companies share a commitment to bring next-generation wireless technology to market and have worked closely together to test and validate Samsung's Application Processors. As a result, popular Microsoft applications, including Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Adobe Acrobat can now run on today's wireless mobile devices.

The incorporation of Samsung and Microsoft technologies enables multimedia applications, including gif and jpg image files to run on Windows CE .NET. Samsung has also added a 2D graphics accelerator, camera interface, image scalar and a color space converter to its Application Processors to support the next-generation Internet Protocol in Windows Powered wireless mobile devices.

"This is a significant day in wireless technology," said Dr. Hyung Lae Roh, senior vice president of Samsung's System-on-a-Chip Division. "With Samsung Application Processors and the updated Windows CE .NET, consumers can enjoy wireless connectivity by running their favorite Microsoft software applications on PDAs and Smartphones. The digital convergence era is here now."

"OEMs building next-generation mobile computing devices need high-performance solutions to bring their products to market," said Keith White, senior director of the Embedded and Appliance Platforms Group at Microsoft Corp. "By including support for Windows CE .NET in its line of Application Processors, Samsung ensures a more rapid development process and enables developers to include industry-leading multimedia and browsing functionality in computing devices such as PDAs, Web pads and Smartphones."

"Samsung is committed to meeting the ever-increasing consumer demands in the next-generation wireless market," said Dr. Hyung Lae Roh. "Our plan is to be first-to-market with leading-edge System LSI components in a wide range of configurations and densities."

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

Jul 31 - VIA Announces P4PB 266E Mainboard. VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator and developer of silicon chip technologies and PC platform solutions, today announced the VIA P4PB 266E mainboard for the Intel® Pentium® 4 processor platform, the first motherboard from VIA to feature the highly versatile VIA Apollo P4X266E chipset.

Based on the VIA Apollo P4X266E chipset, the successor of the highly acclaimed Apollo P4X266A, the P4PB 266E mainboard features 533MHz front side bus support for the latest high-speed Intel® Pentium® 4 processors and the rich 2D/3D graphics performance of AGP4X, as well as supporting today's "must have" features such as DDR266 SDRAM memory, USB 2.0, six channel audio, and ATA/133.

The six USB 2.0 ports on the VIA P4PB 266E enable seamless connectivity to all the latest high speed multimedia devices and peripherals such as digital video cameras, MP3 players, and the next generation of scanners and printers while also providing backwards compatibility with established USB 1.1 standard devices.

An onboard VIA VT1616 audio codec provides six channels of studio quality, crisp, digital surround sound and supports both optical and S/PDIF outputs. The P4PB 266E is bundled with a S/PDIF connector bracket that fits neatly into any available PC chassis I/O expansion slot. The S/PDIF brackets enables digital to digital signal transfers between devices thus eliminating the signal degradation associated with traditional analog audio.

An onboard Smart Card connector enables easy implementation of PC Smart Card reader solutions. Smart Card solutions offer businesses, government, and individuals the highest level of security for applications such as online transactions, credit cards, electronics cash and identification cards.

The VIA P4PB 266E is available now through VPSD global distribution partners. For further details visit www.viavpsd.com.

Jul 31 - SOYO Announces New P4X400 DRAGON Ultra Motherboard. SOYO Computer, Inc. today announced its latest motherboard for enthusiasts of Intel® Pentium® 4 based systems who strive for both performance and superb features.

The P4X400 DRAGON Ultra motherboard continues the DRAGON legend with VIA's P4X400 chipset and many advanced integrated features. Doubling the speed of the current graphics support, P4X400 officially brings 8X AGP to the Intel® platform, providing incredible graphics bandwidth at 2100MB/sec. Another break through feature is the new DDR400 support, enabling Intel® Pentium® 4 processors with 533 MHz FSB to perform at exceptional levels. On board connectivity features include USB 2.0/1.1, IDE ATA-133, and 10/100 Mbps Ethernet. For the enthusiasts, several overclocking options are provided to bring the best performance out of the P4X400 DRAGON Ultra.

Echoing the recent trend in see-through system cases, SOYO's new DRAGON offering will go on to make a fashion statement with its platinum finish. The new P4X400 DRAGON Ultra will feature a platinum-colored PCB and a translucent chipset fan for building a stylish system.

Maximizing VIA's new chipset, the SY-P4X400 takes advantage of its support for DDR memory modules at 400MHz. The enhanced chipset solves bottlenecks created by increasing processor speeds, and accelerates the memory bandwidth by close to 20% to 3.2 gigabits per second (GB/sec), compared to DDR333's 2.7 gigabits per second (GB/sec) and DDR266's 2.1 gigabits per second (GB/sec)

In addition to higher memory bandwidth from the VIA chipset, another significant offering in the SY-P4X400 is its full support for 8X AGP. The addition of AGP 3.0 interface to the chipset's North Bridge brings unparallel graphic realism to the Pentium® 4 platform. PC gamers and graphics professionals can now take full advantage of the increased visual performance offered by this new DRAGON model.

Using high quality components, SOYO has integrated a wide array of on-board features to add performance and value. The P4X400 DRAGON Ultra features an on board CMI 8738 audio chip to provide crisp 6-channel digital surround sound. The sound chip eliminates the need for a sound card, and also supports optical & S/PDIF output. S/PDIF audio connector is a standard bundling feature in the DRAGON line of motherboards. The bundled S/PDIF card allows digital audio signals to be transferred from one device to another without having to convert them first to an analog, thus maintaining the integrity of the digital signals.

The MSRP of the P4X400 DRAGON Ultra is $155 (U.S.). For more information, visit www.soyo.com.

Jul 31 - Fujifilm Introduces the xD-Picture Flash Memory Card. Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. a leader in innovative imaging and information products and services, along with Olympus Optical Co., Ltd., has developed the new xD-Picture Card, a high-capacity flash memory format for digital cameras.

The xD-Picture Card will be the smallest storage format of its kind on the market - comparable in size to a penny, measuring just 0.79" x 0.98" x 0.07" and weighing less than one-tenth of an ounce -with the potential for up to 8GB storage capacity in a single card. This unprecedented combination of small size and large capacity will allow Fujifilm and other companies to manufacture sleeker and lighter digital cameras than ever before. Both Fujifilm and Olympus plan to offer cameras compatible with the xD-Picture Card this fall.

In addition, the xD-Picture Card was designed to minimize power consumption, saving battery life and with fast read/write capabilities for smoother digital camera operation. PCMCIA and CompactFlash adapters will be available at the time of camera introduction, allowing use of xD-Picture card in a variety of cameras and other devices from multiple manufacturers.

The name "xD-Picture Card" was inspired by "eXtreme Digital", suggesting the excellence of this new memory media for recording, storing, and transporting audiovisual information. Production will be consigned to Toshiba Corporation.

Fujifilm's xD-Picture Card features include:

- Storage Capacity - Initially, Fujifilm xD-Picture Cards have
16MB, 32MB, 64MB and 128MB capacities, with a 256MB card
planned for later this year. The media's roadmap shows storage
capacity potential of up to 8GB.

- Extremely Compact - Comparable in size to a penny (0.79" x
0.98" x .07") and weighing a less than one-tenth of an ounce,
the xD-Picture Card is the smallest storage media format
available.

- Read/Write Speeds -The xD-Picture Card will have fast
read/write speeds. A 16 or 32MB card can record data at
1.3MB/sec. A 64MB card or higher can record data at 3MB/sec
and both offer a read speed of 5MB/sec.

- Power Consumption - xD Picture-Card was designed to consume
minimal power. Users will benefit from the convenience and
savings of longer battery life on a single charge.

- Compatibility - PCMCIA and CF Card Adapters will be available,
allowing use of xD-Picture Card in a variety of cameras and
other devices.

For more information on Fujifilm products, access the Fujifilm USA Web site at www.fujifilm.com.

Jul 31 - Zone Labs Announces Immediate Availability of ZoneAlarm 3.1. Zone Labs(R) Inc., a leading creator of endpoint security solutions, today announced the immediate availability of ZoneAlarm(R) version 3.1, which offers basic Internet security with its award-winning personal firewall protection for PCs. ZoneAlarm 3.1 continues to offer strong security at no cost for personal and non-profit use. The new version includes a redesigned, more intuitive user interface and improved logging of Alerts.

The revamped user interface of ZoneAlarm 3.1 creates a smoother user experience, making it even more intuitive for all users, no matter their skill level. ZoneAlarm 3.1 offers varied settings ranging from 'set and forget' security for users seeking easy, instant security to greater control and customization of settings for more tech-savvy users. ZoneAlarm's Help system has been rewritten to include context-sensitive help that's always a single click away. Information is easy to find and written for beginner users, but also includes advanced detail for expert users.

A redesigned, more informative AlertAdvisor(SM) feature includes more information about alerts generated by ZoneAlarm, whether those alerts signal inbound communication attempts that are blocked by the firewall or outbound communication attempts on the part of Trojan horses or other malicious code that sneaks onto a PC. In addition, ZoneAlarm 3.1 now offers logging facilities for real-time analysis of these alerts.

"Zone Labs believes that every Internet user deserves peace of mind whether using the Internet for work, study or play," said Frederick Felman, vice president of marketing, Zone Labs. "With ZoneAlarm 3.1, Zone Labs continues its commitment to a safe and secure Internet by providing free, basic Internet security so every Internet user has the peace of mind which they deserve."

According to a new report by IDC, Zone Labs leads the software firewall market in the fast-growing personal firewall category. With over 17 million copies of its software distributed, Zone Labs sets the de facto standard for Internet security. Zone Labs' solutions span the entire spectrum of customer needs including basic Internet security with ZoneAlarm, powerful protection in an easy-to-use package for 'personal firewall purists' with ZoneAlarm Plus, advanced security and privacy features with ZoneAlarm Pro, and comprehensive endpoint security management with Zone Labs Integrity(TM), the company's enterprise endpoint security platform.

Pricing and Availability

ZoneAlarm 3.1 supports Windows(R) 98, SE, Me, NT, 2000 and XP. ZoneAlarm is free for personal and non-profit use and is available immediately for download from the Zone Labs web site at www.zonelabs.com.

Jul 30 - Crucial Introduces Radeon 8500LE 128MB Video Card. Crucial Technology, a division of Micron and one of the world's largest direct memory upgrade providers, introduced today the Crucial(R) Radeon(TM) 8500LE 128MB video card powered by ATi and featuring Micron(R) double data rate (DDR) synchronous DRAM (SDRAM).

"Installing a new video card is easy and it's the ideal method, in addition to adding more RAM, to get your computer ready for the latest graphic-intensive software," said Crucial Technology Technical Support Manager Mike Sanor. "In particular, gamers and those who use software for manipulating digital images or video will enjoy smoother and more realistic graphics with the new Crucial Radeon 8500LE video card."

The Crucial Radeon 8500LE video card features 128MB of high-quality Micron DDR SDRAM, 400-MHz RAMDAC, DVI-out, dual-display capability, and a six-foot S-video cable, allowing the video card to connect to a S-video-compatible television display. The video card is available on Crucial's Web site at www.crucial.com and is currently priced at US$134.99. The Crucial video card comes with a limited lifetime warranty, free second-day shipping within the contiguous US (for a limited time), and Crucial's renowned customer service and technical support.

Crucial Technology is a division of Micron Semiconductor Products, Inc., which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Micron Technology, Inc. Crucial sells high-quality RAM upgrades, flash memory cards, and video cards on its Web site at www.crucial.com.

Jul 30 - MicronPC Announces Affordable Pentium 4 Notebook. MicronPC, a Gores Technology Group company, expands their line of highly successful TransPort(R) notebook computers with the introduction of the value-priced TransPort V1000 notebook computer.

With configurations starting at $1,199.00, the TransPort V1000 is the lowest-priced notebook computer offered from MicronPC. And, with configurations that include Intel's(R) Pentium(R) 4 processor, the TransPort V1000 is also a powerful desktop-replacement notebook.

MicronPC has come up with a solution, according to Paul Petersen, vice president of product marketing and development for MicronPC. "The V1000 doesn't sacrifice solid performance or a full-feature set for affordability. Whether deploying in a mobile lab using wireless technology, or across a fleet of business professionals, the V1000 is a versatile, affordable choice."

About the TransPort V1000

The TransPort V1000 comes standard with a 14.1" LCD screen, weighs just 7.5 lbs and offers flexibility, performance and affordability. The V1000 features choice of Intel(R) Celeron(R) or Pentium(R) 4 processors, up to 40Gb hard drive, up to 1024MB of PC2100 DDR memory, integrated modem, network interface card, 4 USB ports and optical device options including CD, DVD, CD-RW, or CD-RW/DVD Combo drive.

The TransPort V1000 is available for order directly from MicronPC at: www.micronpc.com.

July 30 - OWC Itroduces External DVD-RW/CD-RW Drives. Other World Computing (OWC), a leading provider of products and services for the Macintosh marketplace, Monday introduced the Mercury Pro DVD-R/RW, CD-R/RW FireWire solutions.

These are the first external FireWire solutions that allow users to author and burn DVDs using Apple's DVD authoring tool, iDVD. The Mercury Pro drive also works with Apple Studio Pro, iTunes, Roxio Toast, CharisMac Discribe, as well as many other CD/DVD authoring software.

The Mercury Pro plug-and-play drives are compatible with both Macintosh- and Windows-based systems, and feature a Pioneer DVR-104 drive mechanism, built-in headphone jack, and power eject. Each drive comes with five pieces of DVD-R 2x media, 25 pieces of CD-R media, one piece of CD-RW media, and all connecting cables.

"Our DVD-R/CDRW drives are the first available FireWire solution to allow people to fully utilize iDVD," O'Connor said. "Prior to this, iDVD could only operate using internal Apple/Pioneer Superdrives. Our Mercury Pro DVD solution provides users with everything they need to create, organize, share and store any digital content.

The Mercury Pro DVD-R/RW, CD-R/RW writes to industry standard 4.7GB DVD-R discs at up to 2x speeds, 4.7GB DVD-RW discs at 1x, up to 700MB CD-R discs at 8x, and up to 700MB CD-RW discs at 4x speeds giving users the ability to manage large back-up jobs, archive data, or create, edit and rewrite to the discs many times over.

For $399.95, customers today can purchase the Mercury Pro DVD-R/RW, CD-R/RW complete FireWire external solution. A FireWire/USB 2.0 version is also available for $429.95. Both drives are available exclusively through OWC at www.macsales.com.

Jul 30 - IBM Technology Gives New Hondas a Voice. IBM today announced it has provided enhanced voice recognition technology for a revolutionary new navigation system that will be a feature in select 2003 model Honda Accords.

With this system, drivers can ask for directions and hear responses over the existing car audio system, allowing them to easily and efficiently reach their destinations without having to look at maps or stop and ask for directions.

The new Accord, completely redesigned, will include the "Touch by Voice" navigation system powered by IBM's Embedded ViaVoice technology and software developed jointly by IBM and Honda R&D. This latest in a series of deals for IBM in pervasive computing and Telematics represents IBM's ongoing commitment to deliver products that meet customer expectations in a wireless world. The new system has a vocabulary of approximately 150 English-language commands and can recognize a range of accents.

To get directions, the driver uses the "talk" button, located on the steering wheel. The system can recognize commands such as "find nearest gas station," "find nearest ATM" or "find nearest Italian restaurant." It also provides driving directions to and from any specified address or location.

The technology is integrated into the car's audio system, so driving instructions can be heard over the speakers. The Touch by Voice human voice recognition system is designed to minimize need for keyboard entry. The system also links to climate control systems for added driver convenience.

The Honda Accord, one of the best-selling cars in America over the past 10 years, is all new for the 2003 model year and adds new style, performance and sophistication to the lineup. The new Accords are due to begin reaching Honda dealerships Sept. 9.

IBM can be found on the Web at www.ibm.com.

Jul 30 - Pioneer Announces Portable DVD/CD/Video CD Player. Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc., the recognized leader in industrial video/optical disc technology, today announced that it will begin shipping the PDV-LC20 portable DVD/CD/Video CD player in the United States, Canada and South America this month.

The portable player supports playback of replicated DVD-Video discs, DVD-R, DVD-RW, CD-R, CD-RW, CD-Audio and Video CD discs. The PDV-LC20 is the ideal device to use in conjunction with Pioneer's PRV-9000 Pro DVD-Video Recorder.

DVD-RW discs created in the PRV-9000's Video Recording (VR) mode can be played back on the PDV-LC20 player, providing PRV-9000 users with a transportable and cost-effective playback solution for videos ranging from one to six hours in length.

The PDV-LC20 is a thin, lightweight and complete DVD playback and viewing solution. Weighing only one pound, four ounces and measuring 7-1/2 x 1-3/8 x 5-5/8 (W x H x D), the PDV-LC20 can be taken virtually anywhere. In addition, the 7-inch active matrix 16-to-9 LCD screen has the ability to flip the video image 180 degrees for ease of viewing up-close presentations.

The PDV-LC20 can be purchased for a suggested price of $1,100. Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc.'s Web address is www.pioneerelectronics.com.

Jul 29 - Samsung Gains 30 Percent in Brand Value; Dell +12 Percent. For the second year in a row, BusinessWeek has teamed up with Interbrand, a leading brand consultancy, to publish a ranking of 100 of The World's Most Valuable Brands by dollar value. Despite a dismal financial year for scores of companies, several brands exceeded expectations.

Of brands that are in the beleaguered telecommunications, consumer electronics and semiconductor sectors, Samsung (#34) turned in a stellar 30 percent increase in brand value, to $8.3 billion, from $6.4 billion in 2001. Rival telecomm brands, Nokia (#6) and Ericsson (#71), declined 14 percent and 49 percent, respectively, and AT&T (#17) lost 30 percent of its brand value, knocking it out of the top ten.

Among technology brands, Dell (#31) was a standout, with a 12 percent increase in brand value, while its competitor in the PC category, Compaq (#27), lost 21 percent of its brand's value. Germany's SAP brand (#42) is the only other technology solutions provider to have increased in brand value, turning in a admirable gain of seven percent.

In examining what some brands have done to succeed in the teeth of their industries' declines, Interbrand CEO Chuck Brymer said, "In a category of largely undifferentiated brands, Samsung has excelled at delivering superior product design, and has effectively communicated with customers in a brand-focused way. And Dell's brand has always been about superior customer service, and their business model is specifically designed to deliver it."

"Though advertising and marketing spending may have tightened up over the past year, what we found is that those brands that have put the customer experience first and developed their businesses around that, have been rewarded with increases in brand value," notes BusinessWeek associate editor Gerry Khermouch. "Starbucks (#93) which grew 12 percent this year is a classic example of a company that capitalizes on a strong customer experience. On the other hand, brands such as Ford (#11) and Merrill Lynch (#25), which lost 32 percent and 25 percent, respectively, are just two examples of brands that have lost their customer focus."

Coca-Cola retained its number one position, and even saw a gain of one percent, reconfirming that consumer products brands tend to hold their own in a recession. Also turning in a very strong showing was the Nivea (#91) brand, which posted the second largest gain with a 16 percent increase in brand value. A newcomer to the list, Caterpillar, had a strong debut at number 79. Both Nivea and Caterpillar had great success with brand extensions in 2001-Nivea, with focused extensions within its core hand and body cream category; and Caterpillar by taking its brand to new categories by leveraging their brand's value to forge successful licensing deals.

Rounding out the top 10 after Coca-Cola are Microsoft (#2), IBM (#3), GE (#4), Intel (#5), Nokia (#6), Disney (#7), McDonald's (#8), Marlboro (#9), and Mercedes (#10).

For more information about Interbrand, please visit www.brandchannel.com.

Jul 29 - ATI RADEON 7000 Series Chosen be Manufacturers for New Systems. ATI Technologies Inc. (TSX:ATY; NASDAQ:ATYT), a world leader in desktop graphics, video and multimedia solutions that recently claimed the high-end graphics crown with its latest generation of graphics technologies, today announced the selection, by many industry leaders, of its RADEON(TM) 7000 and RADEON(TM) 7500 graphics boards for their latest desktop PCs.

The RADEON 7000 will be featured in the IBM NetVista(TM) M Series, the HP Compaq Presario 6000 series and the Dell(TM) Precision(TM) Workstation 340 while the RADEON 7500 is the card of choice for Apple's PowerMac(TM) G4, Hewlett-Packard's EVO-310, Fujitsu's FMV-DESKPOWER and Dell's Optiplex(TM) GX260.

The RADEON 7000 and RADEON 7500 offer manufacturers powerful and reliable graphics solutions with an outstanding level of design flexibility to meet the needs of a wide range of commercial and consumer systems. ATI's partners have been able to take advantage of the RADEON 7000 and RADEON 7500's flexible display support, including dual independent displays, integrated digital display (DVI) support and TV-out, as well as flexible memory support that allows for a range of solutions.

"The ongoing demand for our RADEON 7000 and RADEON 7500 proves that these exceptional products have firmly established themselves in the market and continue to be recognized as top in their class," said Rick Bergman, Senior Vice-President of Marketing and General Manager of Desktop Business, ATI Technologies Inc. "Our partners appreciate how the RADEON 7000 and RADEON 7500 bridge the gap between power, performance and value, to provide exceptional quality to even the most demanding users."

The RADEON 7000 and RADEON 7500 provide business and home consumers with an array of step-up features over integrated graphics solutions including industry leading DVD playback, up to 64MB of dedicated DDR graphics memory, and advanced 3D and 2D graphics acceleration. All these elements combined position the RADEON 7000 and RADEON 7500 as proven and stable products offering exceptional performance at an attractive value for manufacturers.

Visit ATI at www.ati.com.

Jul 29 - Fujitsu Reports FY2002 First Quarter Financial Results. Fujitsu Limited reported consolidated net sales of 982.9 billion yen for the first quarter of fiscal year 2002 (April 1 - June 30, 2002), a 10% decrease from the first quarter of fiscal 2001. Converted into US dollars(1), this represents approximately $8.1 billion.

Fujitsu faced a difficult business environment during the quarter. Although the impact of the bursting of the IT bubble in the United States spread throughout the globe, continuing to depress markets, there were signs of recovery in the U.S., Asia and Japan, and there was an overall sense of bottoming out.
However, with the worsening deterioration of the U.S. telecommunications sector, together with disruptions from the sharp fall in stock prices and the weakening value of the dollar precipitated by accounting scandals and other issues in the U.S., future prospects have become extremely difficult to predict.

Amidst this economic environment, during the quarter there was firm demand in Japan for software and services, and the supply/demand balance for logic ICs and other semiconductor devices improved, especially overseas. However, telecommunications carriers - especially in North America - further tightened restraints on investment, and recovery in corporate and individual demand for personal computers and other IT-related products was uneven. These and other factors adversely impacted Fujitsu's business.

Fujitsu reported a first quarter consolidated operating loss of 29.0 billion yen (US$242 million), an improvement of 13.3 billion yen over the operating loss recorded during the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal year. Due in part to costs associated with continuing restructuring efforts, the company posted a net loss for the period of 56.4 billion yen (US$470 million), compared with a net loss of 55.4 billion during the corresponding period last year.

In order to cope with dramatic changes in the IT sector and create a structure better able to meet market and customer needs, Fujitsu has since last year aggressively pursued a large-scale corporate restructuring program. Now, the recent turmoil in the U.S. economy and other factors presage even more drastic changes to the business environment in which the Fujitsu Group operates. Recognizing the need to further increase operational efficiency, Fujitsu will not waver in its commitment to structural reform.

For more information visit the Fujitsu web site at http://pr.fujitsu.com.

Jul 29 - Digital Camera Ownership and Imaging Soaring. Leading computer technology marketing watcher MetaFacts Inc. reported today that digital camera ownership has doubled in the last year in homes with PCs.

Slightly more than one in five home PC owners now have digital cameras in the household. This 20.2% attach rate for 2001 compares to a 9% attach rate in 2000 and only 1.6% in 1998.

MetaFacts Principal Analyst Dan Ness said, "The growth of digital camera ownership clearly exceeds the growth rate in home PC ownership in the last few years, from 670 thousand homes with digital cameras and Home PCs in 1998 to 7.7 million in 2001. Digital imaging at homes is hot, and has reached a broad range of users, well beyond the early adopters that buy every type of technology."

At the same time, digital photography buffs are moving more slowly into using specialized photo printing technologies. Multi-purpose ink-jet color printers remain the home PC user's first choice with over three-fourths (75.4%) of those with digital cameras and Home PCs using the machines. Those who own a separate photo printer comprise 5.7% of those with digital cameras and Home PCs.

Still, digital camera owners appear to be searching for better printing solutions as nearly two-thirds of them (65.1%) have changed brands of printers. "There is a good deal of churn in the ink-jet printer market, which is partly attributable to lower printer prices and households replacing or adding new PCs," said Ness.

Other findings in the report:

-- Digital camera owners are virtually equal in numbers between

male and female PC owners. Furthermore, 65.8% of digital
camera owners store or scan photos with their PCs versus only
26.2% of non-camera owners who do so.

-- About two-thirds of digital camera owners (68.3%) use their
printers to print photos some of the time, with 6% of digital
camera owners using their printers most often to produce
images.

-- Photo printer owners own more sophisticated peripheral
equipment, software and connectivity products than the average
digital camera owner. Furthermore, photo printer owners use
the Web more to purchase these kinds of products.

Concludes Ness: "Digital cameras, a great boon to amateur photographers, have clearly become one of the most popular pieces of computer-related equipment. High quality photo printers, though, are essentially pitted against commercial photo processing services, and are still in the early adopter stage of mass consumer use."

More information about the report, entitled "TUP Target Edition --Digital Imaging Households," can be found by visiting www.technologyuser.com.

Jul 29 - Other World Computing First Reseller to Ship 1GHz G4 Upgrade. Other World Computing, a leading provider of products and services for the Macintosh marketplace, Thursday announced that it is the first reseller worldwide to ship the PowerLogix PowerForce Series 100 1GHz G4 upgrade.

This is the first and fastest upgrade available for Apple PowerMac G4 AGP 350, 400, 450 and 500MHz models, Apple PowerMac G4 "Gigabit Ethernet" single 400 and dual 450 or 500MHz models, and for Apple PowerMac G4 Cube 450 and 500MHz models. OWC retails the 1GHz upgrade for $789.95.

"For owners of a PowerMac 350GHz machine, the PowerForce 1GHz upgrade will nearly triple the computer's speed," said Larry O'Connor, president of Other World Computing. "With a loaded 1GHz PowerMac now selling for $3,000 or more, many owners of older PowerMacs are looking for ways to save money by maintaining and upgrading their current systems.

"The PowerForce Series 100 cards bring an older Mac up to today's Mac speeds in an easy upgrade. The truth is you don't need a new Mac to get the performance of a new Mac."

The PowerForce G4 Series 100 is the first G4 processor upgrade to run faster than 550 MHz and first to utilize the G4 V'ger and Apollo (7450/7455) processors. The G4 Series 100 upgrade features the first-ever three-phase power supply on a Mac processor card and runs at 1.2MHz -- nearly five times faster than Apple's standard power supply.

This allows the power supply to react to the processor's varying power requirements much more quickly, and results in cleaner power, better transient response, lower heat, and better reliability.

The PowerForce Series 100 G4 upgrades are offered in 700MHz, 800MHz, and 1GHz versions starting from $445.95 through Other World Computing at www.macsales.com.

Jul 28 - Sunday Shopping Watch.

Best Sunday Deals - Best Buy has the Maxtor 80 GB, 7200 RPM, U133 hard drive on sale for $99 after rebates, and the popular computer game Neverwinter Nights on sale for $39.
CompUSA has the Samsung 40X CD-RW drive and the Maxtor/CompUSA 60 GB, 7200 RPM hard drive on sale for $50 each (after rebates).

Weekly Comparison. Computer system prices went down a little this week, but not much lower than there usual average price. (See our Best Sunday Ad Deals Table below for specific system prices.)

Notebooks - Prices went down a little this week on notebooks. The HP Pentium 4-M 1.6 GHz with DVD/CD-RW sold for $1549 which was the same price as the Toshiba model last week.
Desktops - Low price Celerons were advertised this week, the Compaq 1.4 GHz complete system was advertised by Circuit City for $699.
Prices remained about average for Pentium 4 and AMD Athlon XP desktops.

This Sunday's Special Discounts and Financing. In addition to sales on specific items, the following store-wide sales are advertised this week. (Note that these ads are for the Dayton, Ohio area. Prices or offerings may be different where you live.)

BestBuy is offering 6 months of free MSN with any computer purchase.
Additionally, they are giving $100 mail-in rebates on all desktop packages, $150 mail-in rebates on all notebooks, and a $100 gift card with any Pentium 4 or Athlon XP desktop package. They are also offering 18 months of no interest financing on any HP purchase over $298.
Circuit City is giving 12 months of free CompuServe on any in-store computer purchase.
Office Depot has 6 month no interest, no payment financing for purchases over $298.
CompUSA is offering 3 months of free AOL with laptop/desktop purchase. They are also advertising no payment/no interest financing for 6 months on any HP product purchase over $248.
Staples has no store-wide computer promotions this week. Individual items may be on sale.
Compare to Online Prices - Compare the Sunday ad prices to those being offered at DealTime, it searches over 160 online computer stores.

Shopping Alert on Lower Priced Desktops. Many lower priced Celeron/Duron 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 drive, 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 $200-$400 more 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/Duron system to save a few bucks, keep in mind that in a year or two you will probably want to replace it.

Note on the "Loaded Celeron" Intel Celerons at speeds of 1.7 GHz or faster are potentially upgradeable to Pentium 4 processors. Slower Celerons are not socket compatible with the Pentium 4.
These faster Celeron systems are more like a low end Pentium 4 system as they often include: 400 MHz bus speed, DDR RAM, CD-RW or DVD drives, and flat screen monitors.

About Windows XP. It has been a little over 9 months since Windows XP began to be bundled with new computers. Windows XP became available for separate purchase on October 25, 2001. For more information on Windows XP see our Windows XP Upgrade Guide.

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

Caution about advertised prices. When reading advertisements, read the fine print of the ad to make sure you know what is being advertised and what it cost. For example, many advertisers will show a complete system with computer, monitor, and printer but advertise a price for the computer only.

* Prices discussed in this article. We report prices after rebates and discounts are subtracted.
Items highlighted in Black are good deals.
Items highlighted in Red means prices have gone up and the system is not a good buy this week.
Items in normal text means prices are about the same as the previous weeks.

Best Ad Deals this Sunday
Category
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Store
Best Celeron Deal
Compaq 1.4 GHz complete system
$699
Circuit City
Best Low-cost Pentium 4
HP 2.0 GHz complete system
$1249
Best Buy
Best High-end Pentium 4 System
Sony 2.2 GHz complete system
$1399
Best Buy
Best Low-cost Athlon XP System
Compaq 1800+ complete system
$949
Circuit City
Best High-end Athlon XP System
HP 2000+ complete system
$1049
Circuit City
1. Best Low-cost Notebook
Compaq Duron 1 GHz with DVD
$849
Best Buy
2. Best Low-cost Notebook
HP Athlon XP 1400+ with DVD/CD-RW
$1299
CompUSA
Best High-end Notebook
Compaq Pentium 4-M 1.6 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$1549
Best Buy
Peripherals
Best Sunday Deal
Samsung 40X CD-RW
$50 (after rebates)
CompUSA
Best Sunday Deal
Maxtor/CompUSA 60 GB, 7200 RPM hard drive
$50 (after rebates)
CompUSA
Best Sunday Deal
Maxtor 80 GB, 7200 RPM, U133 hard drive
$99 (after rebates)
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
Neverwinter Nights
$39
Best Buy
Worst Sunday Deal
Old HP inkjet printers - New HP inkjets came out today with 4800x1200 resolution
various
All Stores

Additional Information. For additional technical information, advice on how to buy a laptop or desktop, and vendor and manufacturer links, please see our Computer Buying Advice page.

About Sunday Shopping Watch. Sunday Shopping Watch appears every Sunday (except some holidays like Easter and Christmas) in our News and Rumors column. It is a review of local (Dayton, Ohio) computer chain store advertisements. While we can not guarantee your local chain store has the same items, this article can help you make informed buying decisions.

 

 

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