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Daily Computer News and Rumors

March 01-07 2003

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

InfoHQ Daily Computer News and Rumors Article Index
Date
(Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to the Index.)
Mar 07 Toshiba Announces Direct Methanol Fuel Cell for Portable PCs
Mar 07 Dell Delivers New Wide Screen Inspiron 8500
Mar 07 Bell Labs Physicists Disclose Research Breakthroughs
Mar 07 WordPerfect Office 11 Coming This Spring
Mar 07 Panicware Inc. Announces Pop-Up Stopper Professional
Mar 07 Teenagers Continue to Drive Video Game Market
Mar 06 Fujitsu Adds Affordable Business Class System to LifeBook Notebook Family
Mar 06 T-Mobile Launches Handspring Treo 270
Mar 06 Crucial Technology Introduces Flash Card Readers
Mar 06 Toshiba Launches Wireless Broadband Hotspot Solution
Mar 06 CMS Peripherals Introduces 250GB Backup Solution for Desktop Users
Mar 06 DSL Forum Sponsors Successful ADSL2 Plugfest
Mar 06 ATI Announces Technology Development Agreement with Nintendo
Mar 05 Dell Offers Two New Inspiron Notebook Computers
Mar 05 Intel Centrino Mobile Technology Advertising Begins
Mar 05 SanDisk Unveils World's Fastest 1 Gigabyte CompactFlash Card
Mar 05 PNY Introduces New USB 2.0 Flash Drive Series
Mar 05 HP Announces World's Smallest Flatbed All-in-one
Mar 05 SanDisk Offers 256MB Memory Stick with Select Function
Mar 04 T-Mobile and Intel to Promote Wireless Broadband
Mar 04 Microtune Unveils New CableFree USB Product Family
Mar 04 HP Holds No. 1 Worldwide Position for Server Sales
Mar 04 SmartDisk Introduces FlashTrax Digital Multimedia Device
Mar 04 Worldwide Chip Sales Show Yearly Increase in January 2003
Mar 04 ScanSoft Ships Dragon NaturallySpeaking 7
Mar 03 HP Reports 1st Quarter 2003 Profit
Mar 03 Veo Ships PDA Camera for Dell Axim
Mar 03 Satellite TV Threatens Cable's Dominance
Mar 03 Nokia 3650 Imaging Phone is Now Shipping
Mar 03 Hitachi ``Pixie Dust'' Technology Brings Record Capacity to HP Notebook Users
Mar 03 Happy Puppy Re-launches Game Site
Mar 02 Sunday Shopping Watch

 

 

Mar 07 - Toshiba Announces Direct Methanol Fuel Cell for Portable PCs. Toshiba Corporation today announced the world's first prototype of a small form factor direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) for portable PCs, a clean energy breakthrough with the potential to end reliance on rechargeable batteries. The new fuel cell currently realizes average output of 12W and maximum output of 20W, and can achieve approximately five hours of operation with a single cartridge of fuel. It provides instant power supply, and achieves significant advances in operating times with replaceable methanol cartridges.

Toshiba will present the DMFC at CeBIT in Hannover, Germany from March 12 to 19.

The hardware capabilities of notebook PCs, cellular phones, PDAs and other portable devices continue to make rapid progress, However, faster CPUs, higher resolution displays, wireless connectivity and other advances all increase the demands on power supply and underline the limitations of current lithium-ion batteries.

Fuel cells are widely seen as a replacement for lithium-ion batteries, but companies working on their development have to overcome the problems of miniaturization and fuel delivery. Toshiba has achieved this with its DMFC.

Methanol in a fuel cell delivers power most efficiently when it is mixed with water in a 3 to 6% methanol concentration--a concentration requiring a fuel tank that is much too large for use with portable equipment. Toshiba overcame this by developing a system that allows a higher concentration of methanol to be diluted by the water produced as a by-product of the power generation process. This technology allows methanol to be stored at a much higher concentration, and achieves a fuel tank less than 1/10 the size of that required for storing the same volume of methanol in a 3 to 6% concentration. The current prototype can operate for approximately five hours on 50cc of high concentration methanol.

Alongside this, Toshiba realized essential technologies for miniaturization of a high performance fuel cell. These include interface and electric circuits to assure efficient control of power supply; sensors to monitor methanol concentration and liquid level; and a remaining quantity sensor to tell users when they need to change the methanol fuel cartridge. All these components, and low power liquid and air transmission pumps, are controlled by a super small DC-DC converter.

For the cell itself, Toshiba developed a new material that allows smaller cells, allowing for miniaturization of the cell stacks.

One of Toshiba's main concerns in developing the DFMC was optimized operating efficiency, to assure that the fuel cell generates power at the required level, with minimal waste of energy. Towards this, the company investigated such factors as fuel density and circulation, and air supply levels, all in order to map the best operating conditions for a miniaturized fuel cell. In addition, the PC sends information on its operating status to the fuel cell in order to balance power demand and supply. Any unused energy is stored in the DMFC and can be drawn on when the PC requires extra power.

Toshiba has given the DMFC the same electrodes as found in lithium-ion batteries, allowing it to connect directly to a PC or other portable device in the same way as an lithium-ion battery. It can also be used as an alternative to lithium-ion batteries. The DMFC removes the need for proximity to a mains power supply to assure long operating times.

Toshiba will continue development of DFMC technology, with the aim of product commercialization within 2004. Toshiba can be found online at www.toshiba.com.

Mar 07 - Dell Delivers New Wide Screen Inspiron 8500. Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) today announced the newest member of the next generation of its award-winning desktop-replacement notebook line, the Inspiron 8500, designed for mobile computer users who demand high performance in the U.S.

The Inspiron 8500 excels at gaming, digital entertainment and video editing with its wide screen UltraSharp(tm) display, cutting edge NVIDIA graphics and powerful Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4-M processors.

The new notebook features a 1.5-inch slim design, moonlight silver and Venice blue color scheme, and optional display back personalization. Starting at $2,299, the 8500 is the first Dell notebook to include a wide aspect (15.4-inch) screen that allows for viewing of wide screen movies, side-by-side display of documents and Web content. All systems include two USB 2.0 ports and one IEEE 1394 port, integrated modem and Ethernet ports and hardware audio volume and mute buttons.

To allow connectivity flexibility, systems can be configured with optional integrated Wi-Fi(R) (802.11b/g) and Bluetooth capabilities. The Inspiron 8500 also comes with QuickSet, a customizable software application that takes the guess work out of power management settings, system status monitoring, enlarging icons for high-resolution displays, and more.

The new notebook is designed for high-performance use, from editing video to high-end 3-D gaming. It includes Intel's latest Pentium 4-M processors up to 2.4GHz and NVIDIA's GeForce 4 4200 Go, which provide the same lifelike characters and game environments that experts expect from the most advanced desktop graphics.

The 8500 also expands the Inspiron personalization options program, with five new QuickSnap(tm) color kits that snap on and cover the entire LCD back of the notebook. Available for $39.99, the new colors are Venice Blue, Red Lava, Bamboo, Gray Swirl and Burlwood.

Information on Dell and its products can be obtained at www.dell.com.

Mar 07 - Bell Labs Physicists Disclose Research Breakthroughs. Physicists from Bell Labs, the research and development arm of Lucent Technologies (NYSE: LU), will reveal the results of recent research into new semiconductor lasers, novel semiconductor materials, and other areas that could potentially help improve communications networks in the future.

They will be speaking at the annual conference of the American Physical Society, the largest gathering of physicists every year, being held here this week.

"Physical science continues to be an important part of what we do at Bell Labs," said Cherry Murray, senior vice president of physical sciences research for Lucent. "Research that will be presented at the Austin meeting spans the entire range from very fundamental work on how electron gases behave in low magnetic fields to applied research on components for next-generation networks."

In an invited lecture, Bell Labs physicist Claire Gmachl will describe the world's first quantum cascade laser that emits light continuously and reliably over a broad spectrum of infrared wavelengths. Quantum cascade (QC) lasers are a class of high-performance semiconductor lasers that were invented at Bell Labs in 1994 by Federico Capasso, Alfred Cho and their collaborators. QC lasers are very convenient light sources because they can be made compact, portable, rugged, and powerful.

A QC laser operates much like an electronic waterfall. When an electric current flows through the laser, electrons cascade down an energy staircase; every time they hit a step, they emit a photon of infrared light. The emitted photons are reflected back and forth inside the semiconductor resonator that contains the electronic cascade, stimulating the emission of still more photons. This amplification process in QC lasers produces high output power.

Lasers are typically narrowband devices, emitting light of a single color or wavelength. A broadband laser offers significant advantages in that it allows for sampling of a wide swath of wavelengths at the same time, and making a reliable one that can operate under a wide variety of operating conditions was a goal for scientists for a long time.

The new broadband QC laser, made by Bell Labs scientists after overcoming many challenges, generates light at multiple infrared wavelengths, is very reliable and could have immediate applications as ultra-sensitive chemical detectors. In the long term, QC lasers may be ideal for communications networks. This is because they require less power to operate than conventional semiconductor lasers, can operate under a range of operating temperatures, and can be switched on and off rapidly, which is necessary to transmit data at high rates.

In addition, Gmachl will talk about how the Bell Labs team recently demonstrated nonlinear generation of light in a QC laser by carefully adapting a multiwavelength laser. Nonlinear effects are dramatic responses induced under certain physical conditions that, properly harnessed, may be useful to optical communications one day.

High-speed communications

In a related development, Bell Labs physicist Mark Lee and colleagues are announcing that they have built a polymer-based optoelectronic device that can operate at more than 100 gigahertz (GHz).

The major challenge to increasing the bandwidth of optical networks significantly beyond the current 40 GHz state of the art is the need for very wide bandwidth optoelectronic devices that can multiplex, demultiplex, switch and modulate the transmitted signals. Devices based on conventional materials have shortcomings that make them unsuitable for signal frequencies above 100 GHz.
By contrast, the Bell Labs team has found that certain polymers have all the necessary properties to function in photonic devices at signal frequencies up to several hundred GHz. To demonstrate the speed advantages of polymers, the Bell Labs team built a polymer-based, high-bandwidth optical amplitude modulator, a common component in optical networks.

"Our device modulates light with a bandwidth of 130 to 150 GHz in the lab," said Lee. "If other network components can be built to similar specifications, they should be able to handle the bandwidth requirements of networks for the foreseeable future."

Other Bell Labs papers being presented at the meeting deal with fundamental matters, such as the electronic properties of perovskites, complex oxides that may one day be used widely in industry; X-rays studies of the phenomenon of antiferromagnetism in chromium; and experiments to determine how two-dimensional electron gases behave in low magnetic fields.

For more information about Bell Labs, visit its Web site at www.bell-labs.com.

Mar 07 - WordPerfect Office 11 Coming This Spring. Corel Corporation (NASDAQ:CORL) (TSX:COR) today unveiled the new version of its flagship office suite, WordPerfect(R) Office 11, scheduled for North American availability in spring 2003.

WordPerfect Office 11 combines the best assets of previous versions with new features to improve the workflow efficiencies of users. Building on its strong reputation for value, ease-of-use and flexible licensing options, WordPerfect Office 11 enhances the way users create, exchange and interact with content, providing intelligent methods of collaborating with clients and colleagues.

"We've built WordPerfect Office 11 as the intelligent choice for office productivity," said Graham Brown, executive vice president of software development for Corel Corporation. "WordPerfect users love the quick and intuitive access to features that give them full control over their documents. With WordPerfect Office 11 we're offering a highly capable product to long time WordPerfect Office users and to a growing number of users seeking an alternative to Microsoft's cost and strict terms of licensing."

About WordPerfect Office 11

WordPerfect Office 11 Standard Edition features the latest versions of the core applications- WordPerfect(R) 11, Quattro Pro(R) 11 and Presentations(TM) 11. In addition to these applications, WordPerfect Office 11 Professional Edition includes the powerful relational database Paradox(R).

Set for availability in late April, WordPerfect Office 11 will be offered in Standard and Professional editions, with the Professional edition available as a license-only offering to meet the demands of enterprise customers. WordPerfect Office 11 Standard edition has a suggested retail price (SRP) of $299.99US. In keeping with Corel's commitment to rewarding customer loyalty, existing users of WordPerfect Office will be eligible to purchase WordPerfect Office 11 Standard at the upgrade SRP of $149.99US. A special edition to serve the education market will be available at an SRP of $99.99 US.

Corel Corporation can be found online at www.corel.com.

Mar 07 - Panicware Inc. Announces Pop-Up Stopper Professional. Panicware, Inc., a Seattle developer of PC pop-up control technology, announces the newest, instant update of Pop-Up Stopper Professional.

This one-of-a-kind ad-blocking product is the first and only product to stop ads served by browsers such as AOL, while also blocking all Internet pop-up and pop-under ads within browsers such as AOL, MSN, SBCYahoo, Opera, Mozilla, WMConnect, Juno, NetZero and Netscape, as well as continued, advanced support for Internet Explorer.

The latest release of Pop-Up Stopper Professional includes full browser privacy and file cleaning technology, and the ability to block the new Windows Messenger Service spam windows which appear as grey boxes on the desktop. Panicware products are currently bundled with a free spyware scanner to remove any new ads installed by ad-serving companies. This most recent update also allows users to easily add sites they trust to an 'allow list', such as address books in common email programs.

Panicware's patent-pending XA technology leads the way to a more enjoyable surfing experience on the Internet by allowing users to immediately update the current product whenever Panicware releases new ad-blocking technology or new browser support. Users already running the product received a free, instant update today.

"We are pleased that our users continue to assist us by informing us of browsers for which they would like ad-blocking support. So far, we have met every request," said Matina Fresenius, CEO of Panicware.

Pop-Up Stopper Professional is available for immediate download from www.panicware.com. After the free 30-day evaluation period, single-user registration is currently discounted at $29.95, and site licenses are also available. Pop-Up Stopper Professional is supported by Windows 98, ME, 2000 and XP. Panicware continues to provide free 24-hour tech support via email.

Mar 07 - Teenagers Continue to Drive Video Game Market. Zanthus, a leading market research-based consulting company, today unveiled the results of its second Future2Future survey, which focused on the video gaming market. According to the independent consumer survey, 92 percent of today's youth own and play video games. The Web-based survey, conducted by the Portland, Ore. research company, was designed to determine the latest trends in the video gaming market and gauge consumer demand for future advancements.

The survey was based on responses from 498 U.S. gamers, aged 14 to 26 years old, plus two separate focus groups of hardcore gamers divided into one group of 14 to 18 years old and another aged 19 to 26.

Highlights of the survey results include the following:

-- Heavy gamers tend to be males between 14 and 17-years-old who
describe themselves as innovators or early-adopters when it
comes to purchasing video and/or computer game hardware and
software. They represent about 25% of youth gamers. Most (55
percent) have played video and/or computer games for 10 or
more years and, on average, spend about 23 hours per week
playing games.

-- Light gamers tend to be older females, between the ages of 18
to 26, who largely fall into the late majority or laggard
categories. They have played video and/or computer games, on
average, for about six years and spend about eight hours per
week on this activity.

-- Teen and young adult gamers are satisfied with the current
state of the video game market, rating the video game market,
on average a 7 out of 10; however, only about two-in-five
youth gamers (39 percent) gave a score between '8' and '10' on
this scale, suggesting that there's substantial room for
improvement.

-- Youth gamers most appreciate the high-quality graphics
featured in today's games. When asked about positive market
trends, graphics, in some form, was mentioned the most.

-- The growing variety of games ranked as the second highest
positive trend; however, the variety for male gamers was
clearly higher than for female respondents as 'lack of
variety' by the older, female gamers still ranked near the top
of the list of gamers' complaints.

-- Early teens are still more likely to own a GameCube than
mid-teens or young adults; however, younger gamers in
Zanthus' focus groups proclaimed they would never purchase a
Nintendo GameCube because they considered it "geared for
little kids." This group uniformly regarded the PlayStation 2
and Xbox platforms as "more grown-up."

-- Online gaming holds substantial appeal among youth gamers, but
so far, few have pursued the option with any seriousness. Only
5 percent of the youth gamers surveyed currently subscribe to
an online game that requires a monthly fee; however, 21
percent reported an interest in subscribing in the future.

-- A substantial portion of youth gamers expressed an interest in
potential future services. Sixty-one percent expressed
interested in video-on-demand via a console and cable TV
connection, and another 23 percent expressed an interest in a
pay-to-play game service over the Internet.

"Our survey results clearly show that the youth gamers driving this market are most interested in higher quality games and greater variety," said David Edwards, CEO and founder of Zanthus. "Those companies that tap into youth gamers' desire for different types of games and capitalize on the demand for online gaming will be best suited for long-term success."

Highlights of the "BigBamBoom: The Future of Video Games" survey is available on Zanthus' Future2Future Web site at www.f2fresearch.com.

Mar 06 - Fujitsu Adds Affordable Business Class System to LifeBook Notebook Family. Fujitsu PC Corporation (FPC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702), today introduced the company's newest addition to the LifeBook(R) E Series product line with the LifeBook E2000 notebook. Sporting a completely new look, this no-nonsense machine is designed for maximum scalability and stability yet still maintains an economical starting price point of $1,299.

The versatility of the new form factor offers business professionals a multitude of options to customize and upgrade their system. From various screen sizes to optical drives, processor speeds to memory upgrades, the LifeBook E2000 notebook creates an affordable and highly adaptable desktop replacement solution.

In addition to the new form factor, the LifeBook E2000 notebook features a Mobile Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 Processor - M with speeds ranging from 1.8 GHz to 2.4 GHz. This variety of high-performance processors are complemented by the integration of an ATI(R) RADEON(TM) IGP340M graphics accelerator with up to 128MB of selectable-shared UMA graphics memory. The notebook also incorporates two DIMM slots for up to 1GB of DDR266 SDRAM to handle today's most intensive business applications.

Other features of the LifeBook E2000 notebook include the crisp, clear display and modular bay options. Fujitsu employed the latest display technologies, offering users their choice of either a 14.1-inch XGA or 15-inch SXGA+ display. The system's standard modular bay can accommodate a variety of optical drives, such as CD-ROM, DVD or DVD/CD-RW drives as well as a second battery for those who require extended battery life.

For ultimate connectivity, Fujitsu has outfitted the LifeBook E2000 notebook with two USB 2.0 ports. At up to 480Mbps, users can transfer large data files at speeds up to 40 times faster than with USB 1.1. In addition, the LifeBook E2000 notebook also features optional Wi-Fi(TM)-compliant wireless LAN (IEEE 802.11b) capabilities. With the optional wireless LAN, standard modem and standard Ethernet ports, users can stay connected to the network in virtually any type of computing environment.

The notebook comes preinstalled with Microsoft Windows XP Professional Edition, Windows 2000 Professional or Windows XP Home and is available with a 60GB, 40GB or 30GB Ultra DMA 100 hard drive, giving users a massive amount of space to store data.

An optional port replicator is available, featuring a slim, one-click docking design. The port replicator expands the number of ports available, including two USB 2.0 and two USB 1.1 ports, and allows for better cable management.

The LifeBook E2000 notebook is available through the company's retail and reseller channels as well as at www.fujitsupc.com.

Mar 06 - T-Mobile Launches Handspring Treo 270. The popular and easy-to-use Handspring Treo 270 color handheld communicator becomes easy-to-own today as T-Mobile USA, Inc. announced the immediate availability of the Treo 270 directly from T-Mobile and its nationwide network of authorized dealers.

The award-winning Treo 270 delivers on T-Mobile's GET MORE(R) service offering by elegantly integrating an outstanding dual-band world phone with a Palm OS PDA that features wireless applications such as email, text messaging and full color HTML Internet browsing. These features are smartly delivered in a compact clamshell device that makes phone calls effortless, typing emails as easy as ABC with the full QWERTY keyboard, and tapping through the intuitive user interface on the touch screen a breeze.

In one simple step, customers can transfer personal information from a Palm OS PDA to the Treo 270 to immediately begin enjoying superb wireless phone, email and Internet functionality, as well as continue using the applications they already know and love.

"It's never been easier for Palm loyalists to upgrade their old Palm handheld, pager and cell phone with one do-it-all device that fits in your pocket," said Cole Brodman, senior vice president and chief development officer for T-Mobile USA, Inc. "The Treo 270 is a great addition to our business device line-up and we'll continue to introduce devices, like the Treo, that support open platforms and easily tie-in with back office systems."

Business customers can customize their Treo 270 to fit their business needs by adding one or more of the 11,000 software applications developed specifically for Palm OS handhelds. More than 230,000 registered developers continue to create software such as sales force automation applications that extend the office into a mobile environment.

"T-Mobile's GET MORE offerings are a perfect match for Treo, bringing rich voice, messaging and Internet services to the smallest, most compelling communicator available," said Joe Sipher, vice president of worldwide marketing for Handspring. "T-Mobile's nationwide data network brings out the best in Treo, especially for email and Internet access."

Among other awards, the Treo 270 received Planet PDA's "Product of the Year Award" for its innovative hardware design and intuitive software interface that seamlessly combines the cell phone and the handheld computer into one compact, easy-to-use device. Additionally, the device received PC Magazine's award for technical excellence.

"The Treo 270 weighs less than many other cell phones on the market," said Keith Read, network engineer for law firm Baker Donelson. "Many applications on the Treo can be accomplished one-handed, such as browsing the calendar, address book and even making calls at night with the backlit keyboard. The large bright color screen helps prevent eyestrain and is bigger than many other phones on the market."

The Treo 270 is a full-featured communicator, making it an ideal productivity tool that is compatible with both Windows and Macintosh operating systems. The Treo 270 is available through T-Mobile for $399.99 after a $100 rebate with activation of qualified voice or data plans.
Customers can purchase the Treo 270 at more than 700 T-Mobile retail stores and select dealer locations nationwide, and online at www.t-mobile.com.

Mar 06 - Crucial Technology Introduces Flash Card Readers. Crucial Technology, a division of Micron and one of the world's largest direct memory upgrade providers, introduced today a new line of stationary and portable flash memory card readers to complement its existing CompactFlash(TM) and MultiMediaCard(TM) flash memory line. Crucial's new USB 1.1-compliant readers make it easy to transfer digital data from flash memory cards directly to a desktop computer or notebook.

"Crucial's card readers are the ideal way to shuttle data from your digital camera, digital music player, handheld computer, or other electronic device directly to your PC," said Crucial Technology Product Marketing Manager Scott Heimgartner. "Many of our customers use multiple electronic devices and multiple flash memory card formats in their home or professional life. Crucial's card readers host either single or multiple flash storage card formats, addressing the needs of the mobile professional and desktop user alike."

Crucial now offers the following card readers:

Crucial(R) USB 6-in-1 Card Reader

-- Four slots, compatible with six memory cards - MultiMediaCard,
CompactFlash, SmartMedia(TM), Secure Digital(TM), Memory
Stick(TM), and MicroDrive(TM)

-- Sturdy design and stop pads to prevent sliding during operation

-- USB 1.1-compliant for faster transfer rates

-- Drag-and-drop data transfer between memory cards

-- Currently priced at US$49.99

Crucial USB Portable 6-in-1 Card Reader

-- Four slots, compatible with six memory cards - MultiMediaCard,
CompactFlash, SmartMedia, Secure Digital, Memory Stick, and
MicroDrive

-- Lightweight and compact for easy mobility

-- USB 1.1-compliant for faster transfer rates

-- Hideaway USB extension cable for quick and easy access to
desktop or notebook

-- Drag-and-drop data transfer between memory cards

-- Currently priced at US$39.99

Crucial USB Secure Digital/MultiMediaCard Reader

-- Compatible with Secure Digital and MultiMediaCard memory cards

-- Lightweight and compact for easy transportation

-- USB 1.1-compliant for faster transfer rates

-- Currently priced at US$29.99

Crucial USB CompactFlash Reader

-- Compatible with CompactFlash memory cards

-- Lightweight and compact for easy mobility

-- USB 1.1-compliant for faster transfer rates

-- Currently priced at US$19.99

Crucial card readers offer a plug-and-play solution for today's latest operating systems. The reader appears as a removable drive once it is plugged in to the USB port, eliminating the need to restart your system. The readers also come with installation software and a USB cable to accommodate a wide range of systems. Bus powered, the Crucial card readers require no external power source.

All Crucial readers are available on Crucial's Web site at www.crucial.com and come with a limited lifetime warranty, free second-day shipping within the contiguous US on qualified orders, and Crucial's renowned customer service and technical support.

Mar 06 - Toshiba Launches Wireless Broadband Hotspot Solution. Making it easier to stay connected, Toshiba's Computer Systems Group (CSG) today announced the launch of its "hotspot" wireless service offering.

Designed for coffee shops, hotels, convenience stores and other popular public locations, Toshiba's hotspot solution brings the convenience of wireless Internet access to people on the move. Toshiba is rapidly deploying hundreds of locations across North America in the coming months and plans to have up to 10,000 by the end of 2003.

To help bring this wireless service offering to market, Toshiba selected Accenture (NYSE:ACN), the world's leading management consulting and technology services company, to deliver the business and operational support functions including network operations, billing and settlements processing and help desk support for end users.

"Toshiba aims to be the dominant supplier of 802.11b hotspot infrastructure and expects a considerable portion of the established public Wi-Fi market to be driven by hotspot operators and location owners capitalizing on the hotspot trend," said Oscar Koenders, vice president of product marketing and worldwide product planning, Toshiba CSG.

"It's really a win-win solution all around and location owners and hotspot operators alike, will not find a more price competitive solution."

Toshiba's unrivaled Wi-Fi hotspot solution provides a low cost of entry for location owners and low maintenance cost with remote management from Toshiba. The business model is simple. Toshiba offers the hardware, a recurring revenue model and network infrastructure and management with support from Accenture.

Toshiba's Wireless Broadband Hotspot solution allows end users with Wi-Fi enabled notebooks or PDAs to connect with the access point, or hotspot, to launch an Internet browser and access e-mail, surf the Web, watch streaming video or download multimedia presentations.

Using Wi-Fi technology, Toshiba's hotspot service makes it convenient for people who are traveling to connect to any Toshiba hotspot location, reducing the complexity of data connection around the ability to gain remote access.

"Wireless connectivity in public venues enables new ways to conduct business and is a convenient and easy way of obtaining information quickly with high-speed Web surfing," said Koenders. "We're committed to proliferating the number of access points across the country with easy-to-use technology and services through Toshiba's mobile computing leadership and Accenture's technology services."

Interested dealers may visit www.hotspot.toshiba.com for more information.

Mar 06 - CMS Peripherals Introduces 250GB Backup Solution for Desktop Users. CMS Peripherals(R), Inc., the leader in backup and hard drive solutions for notebook and desktop computers, today announced the immediate availability of two new hard drive capacities at 200GB and 250GB for its award winning desktop ABSplus.
At 250GB, the ABSplus is the first fully integrated backup and disaster recovery solution of its kind and size for desktop users.

"The increased capacity of the ABSplus gives professional and multi-computer users adequate space to store and backup vast amounts of data," explained Ken Burke, president of CMS Peripherals. "With the new massive storage capacities, the ABSplus is ideal for a variety of backup and storage functions, making it a highly cost-effective, easy-to-use solution for protecting a user's valuable data."

The expanded hard drive capacities also give users the ability to backup multiple computers to one ABSplus system by setting up multiple partitions on the CMS solution to allow for both backup and external storage space. With a weight of 2.4 pounds and measuring 8.25 inches wide by 5.25 inches deep by 1.6 inches high, the ABSplus can be easily moved between computers in order to backup an entire office network.

The ABSplus is the industry's first fully integrated software and hardware system providing users with complete backup, restore, disaster recovery and bootability features. It is an easy-to-use, plug-and-play device powered by CMS' robust ABSplus Backup software. This software performs a complete and automatic backup of a desktop's entire hard drive once the ABSplus is scheduled, powered on or connected.

The ABSplus supports backup, archival and restoration of data with one of the market's lowest total cost of ownership (TCO). The desktop ABSplus is available in capacities ranging between 80GB and 250GB with either FireWire or USB 2.0 interfaces and includes 3-year warranty. Pricing for the desktop version starts at $349. A professional software upgrade called ABSpro with Bi-Directional Synchronization and Versioning functionality is available for $79.

The entire ABSplus product line is compatible with Windows 98SE/Me/2000 and XP operating systems. All of CMS' solutions are available through major distributors, corporate resellers, mail order and direct from the company's Web site, www.cmsproducts.com.

Mar 06 - DSL Forum Sponsors Successful ADSL2 Plugfest. Today the DSL Forum announced the success of its multi-vendor ADSL2 "plugfest" interoperability event conducted earlier this month by the University of New Hampshire's InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) in Durham, NH.

Seven ADSL silicon vendors participated in the DSL Forum-sponsored interoperability plugfest, which was based on the DSL Forum's internal "Proposed Draft 013 - Interoperability Test Plan for ADSL2 Plugfests" (PD-013). PD-013 provides a suite of basic physical layer tests to ensure interoperability between multiple chipsets and systems supporting ADSL2. DSL Forum's published Technical Report (TR)-048 specifies ADSL bit-rate and distance requirements well beyond the previous ADSL Recommendations.

"DSL Forum believes interoperability among multiple chipsets and systems is critical to the success of the newly approved ITU-T ADSL2 standard. Additionally, this standard is an important milestone because it uses DSL Forum's TR-048, demonstrating the industry's recognition of our interoperability work," commented Tom Starr, president of the DSL Forum. "The strength of the Forum is our ability to bring together experts from the service provider and vendor community to develop comprehensive interoperability plans to further ADSL's success."

A second plugfest for ADSL2 chipsets is scheduled for the week of June 23, 2003 at UNH-IOL, and future plugfests to test extensions to the ADSL2 standard, such as ADSL2+ are slated for late summer.

About ADSL2

ADSL2 (also known as ITU Recommendation G.992.3) is the new standard that was consented by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in August 2002. It provides numerous improvements over existing ADSL standards including line diagnostics, power management, power cutback, reduced framing and on-line configuration. The industry standard setting bodies are currently finalizing ADSL2+, which builds upon ADSL2 by expanding the bandwidth to approximately 2 MHz and increasing achievable data rates to more than 20 Mbps.

More information on DSL Forum is available from its industry site www.dslforum.org. Information tailored to end-users is available on www.dsllife.com.

Mar 06 - ATI Announces Technology Development Agreement with Nintendo. ATI Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATYT)(TSX:ATY.TO), a world leader in the design and manufacture of innovative 3D graphics and digital media silicon solutions, announced today that it has entered into a technology development agreement with Nintendo Co., Ltd. Under the agreement, ATI and Nintendo are developing technologies for use in Nintendo products.

No other details regarding the nature of this agreement are being made available at this time.

"ATI has had an excellent relationship with Nintendo for many years," said David Orton, President and Chief Operating Officer, ATI Technologies Inc. "We are pleased to enter into this major technology development agreement with Nintendo."

Visit their Web site at www.ati.com.

Mar 05 - Dell Offers Two New Inspiron Notebook Computers. For consumers and small business customers who demand portable performance at an outstanding price, Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) today introduced two new notebook computers, the wireless-ready Inspiron(tm) 5100 and the Inspiron 1100.

Starting at $1,199 and $899 respectively, the two systems are powered by Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 and Celeron(R) processors up to 2.8Ghz, and include large 14.1-inch and optional 15-inch desktop class displays and multimedia features. The new Inspirons also deliver a new stylish look, sporting a new Moonlight Silver base accented by a Venice blue display cover.

"These notebooks offer users robust performance without any additional price premium for portability," said John Medica, senior vice president and general manager of Dell's Product Group. "Consumers and small business professionals have validated the need for a notebook that goes easily from place to place, but includes all the features and performance of a desktop."

Designed for customers who need a powerful and flexible system, the Inspiron 5100 easily manages digital media like music, photos and movies, wireless computing and productivity applications. Managing and transferring large amounts of data or multimedia files is quick work with the choice of two USB 2.0 ports and an IEEE 1394 port. Staying connected is straightforward via integrated modem and Ethernet, and integrated Wi-Fi(R) (802.11b) capability is available for an additional $49.

For users who want an economical notebook computer for essential tasks like e-mail, word processing and other productivity applications, the Inspiron 1100 is an affordable portable computer. The 1100 also features a variety of connectivity options including integrated modem and Ethernet, USB 2.0 and S-Video out.

Information on Dell and its products can be obtained at www.dell.com.

Mar 05 - Intel Centrino Mobile Technology Advertising Begins. Intel Corporation today begins a worldwide advertising campaign to support the upcoming product launch of Intel(R) Centrino(TM) mobile technology. Covering 11 countries, the campaign highlights innovative technology designed to create a new generation of wireless notebook PCs that bring true mobility to computer users.

Intel Centrino mobile technology represents Intel's best technology for wireless notebook PCs. The technology includes a new mobile processor, related chipsets and 802.11 wireless network capabilities that have been designed and tested to work together. In addition to wireless networking capabilities, Centrino mobile technology includes features designed to enable extended battery life, thinner and lighter notebook designs, and outstanding mobile performance. Centrino mobile technology will be introduced on March 12.

"Unwire" is the theme of the campaign's TV ads, which show businesspeople computing from their desks in unexpected places -- such as a diving board, an airport "people mover," a golf course driving range and an open-air sightseeing bus -- surrounded by crowds unaware of the odd presence of a desk un-tethered from its office.

"Centrino mobile technology is designed to enable wireless capabilities in smaller, lightweight PCs and make them truly mobile," said Pam Pollace, vice president and director of Intel's Corporate Marketing Group. "To help illustrate the freedom and flexibility that Centrino mobile technology brings, the 'Unwire' ad campaign humorously depicts people moving their work to surprising and unusual locations."

A larger, integrated campaign targeted at business and mobile computer users, IT professionals and tech-savvy consumers will break on March 12 in conjunction with worldwide events to introduce Centrino mobile technology. Television launch spots will carry such taglines as "Introducing Intel Centrino mobile technology, the new wireless laptop technology designed to help you unwire your life."

The campaign, which also includes outdoor advertising and sponsorships, will run through June. See www.intel.com/products/centrino/more_info for more information.

Mar 05 - SanDisk Unveils World's Fastest 1 Gigabyte CompactFlash Card. SanDisk Corporation (Nasdaq:SNDK) today announced a 1 gigabyte (GB) SanDisk Ultra(TM) CompactFlash(R) card with a sustained write speed of up to 6 megabyte (MB) per second and sustained read speed of 9MB/sec., making it the fastest and largest capacity Type I CompactFlash card.

In addition, SanDisk introduced the SanDisk Ultra(TM) SD card line to its family of high-speed film cards specifically designed for digital cameras. The new SanDisk Ultra cards are designed for serious photographers who use digital cameras with CompactFlash or SD slots. The announcement was made at the Photo Marketing Association trade show where SanDisk is showing its products in booth L-70.

The sustained write and read performance of the new 1GB Ultra CompactFlash card is approximately twice the speed of SanDisk's current Ultra line. Actual performance may vary between digital cameras from various manufacturers. The cards are fully compatible and interchangeable with all CompactFlash digital cameras, CompactFlash card readers and adapters. The new SanDisk Ultra SD cards have a sustained write speed of up to 2.5MB/sec., which is more than twice the speed of current SD cards.

The increasing megapixel count of today's digital cameras can result in the creation of extremely large image files which lengthens the time required for the camera to capture the image and save it to the film card. SanDisk has significantly optimized the performance of its SanDisk Ultra CompactFlash and SanDisk Ultra SD cards so that these large image files are saved quickly.

The new SanDisk Ultra CompactFlash cards with improved sustained write/read speeds will be available in capacities ranging from 128MB to 1GB with prices ranging from $59 to $329 respectively. The SanDisk Ultra SD card line will be available in capacities from 128MB to 512MB with prices from $79 to $169. Both card formats will be available in Q2 2003.

For more information on SanDisk and its products, contact: www.sandisk.com.

Mar 05 - PNY Introduces New USB 2.0 Flash Drive Series. PNY Technologies(R) enables users on the move to transfer and store large files more quickly and easily. PNY has unveiled Attache, a new, easy-to-install USB 2.0 flash drive series that delivers an improved data storage solution compared to traditional floppy drives. Attache was introduced at PMA 2003 in Las Vegas.

PNY's new Attache flash drives offer file transfer rates up to 40x faster than USB 1.1. The products are so versatile they can be connected to almost any computer's USB port. Without file extension limitations, the new flash drives are able to store the same file types as a hard disk drive.

According to Matt Mustachio, PNY's senior director of marketing, "PNY's Attache flash drives are ideal because the device's USB port allows for the immediate transfer of large data, music or image files. For students and professionals in today's fast-paced society, time runs short and carrying excess belongings becomes laborious." Mustachio added, "Attache is so lightweight, you can easily carry the portable device on your key chain."

PNY's Attache USB 2.0 Flash Drive series support 128MB and 256MB storage capacities and will be available for purchase during the second quarter 2003 for the suggested retail price of $89.99 and $139.99 respectively.

For product inquiries, where-to-buy information, or to place an order, contact PNY at www.pny.com.

Mar 05 - HP Announces World's Smallest Flatbed All-in-one. HP (NYSE:HPQ) today announced new all-in-one printing and imaging devices for consumers at home or in the office, including the world's smallest flatbed all-in-one and a home office all-in-one with networking capabilities.

Ideal for anyone tight on space, the HP PSC 1210 is the world's smallest flatbed all-in-one, combining photo-quality color printing, scanning and copying in one streamlined product.

Also announced, the HP Officejet 7100 series, together with the existing HP Jetdirect 280m and 200m accessories, brings easy-to-use wireless networking capabilities to consumers. With the Officejet 7100 series, small business and home office consumers can access a complete and versatile range of color printing, copying, scanning and faxing capabilities to tackle nearly any digital imaging, creative printing or networked, high-volume printing need.

Sales of all-in-ones continue to explode, largely contributing to triple-digit growth for HP's Imaging and Printing Group during the holidays. According to the NPD Group, HP held 70 percent of the inkjet all-in-one market in December 2002. HP continues to focus on bringing consumers the kind of technology they're asking for --specifically in the area of digital imaging, which analysts say is key for success.

HP PSC 1210

-- Estimated U.S. retail price of $149

-- World's smallest flatbed all-in-one

-- Functionality of three products in one: color printer, scanner
and copier

-- Up to 4,800 x 1,200 optimized dots per inch (dpi)(5) produces
vibrant, true-to-life photo-quality prints when using HP's
premium photo paper

-- Print speeds of up to 12 pages per minute (ppm) in black and
up to 10 ppm in color

-- Innovative cord design allows the product to sit flush against
a wall to further save space

The HP PSC 1210 and HP Officejet 7100 series all-in-ones are expected to be available within the next few weeks. The HP Officejet 7100 all-in-one series is expected to sell for estimated U.S. retail prices of $399-699. The HP Jetdirect 280m is currently available at an estimated U.S. retail price of $199.

All the all-in-ones above come with a one-year limited warranty backed by HP Customer Care service and support and are available direct from www.hpshopping.com or at consumer electronics stores nationwide.

Mar 05 - SanDisk Offers 256MB Memory Stick with Select Function. SanDisk Corporation (Nasdaq:SNDK) today introduced the SanDisk Memory Stick(R) with Memory Select Function(TM), a 256 megabyte (MB) storage card (total capacity) that is based on the existing Memory Stick media platform and is designed for current Memory Stick-compatible devices that support up to 128MB capacity.

The new card integrates dual 128MB memory units that can be selected with a mechanical switch, a unique feature that simplifies the categorization of data on the card. The announcement was made at the Photo Marketing Association trade show where SanDisk is showing its products in booth L-70.

"With a total of 256MB (128MBx2), SanDisk Memory Stick with Memory Select Function effectively doubles the amount of digital images, digital music files, video and other data that can be stored and used on a Memory Stick device," said Nelson Chan, senior vice president and general manager of SanDisk's retail business unit. "We believe the increased capacity and the ability to partition the card into two halves for the convenient storage and organization of files will be very compelling features for anyone who owns a Memory Stick product."

The SanDisk Memory Stick with Memory Select Function is expected to be available in May for approximately $135.

SanDisk's web site/home page address: www.sandisk.com.

Mar 04 - T-Mobile and Intel to Promote Wireless Broadband. T-Mobile USA and Intel Corporation today announced an agreement to launch a joint marketing campaign to promote T-Mobile's WiFi (802.11) high-speed wireless Internet service, the most widely available public network of its kind with more than 2,100 locations across the country.

The program coincides with the upcoming introduction of Intel(R) Centrino(TM) mobile technology for notebook PCs that feature built-in wireless capability. T-Mobile is also announcing new monthly pricing plans for unlimited T-Mobile HotSpot(SM) service, as the company further delivers on its GET MORE(R) promise to provide customers with the best overall value in their wireless voice, messaging and high-speed data services.

T-Mobile and Intel are working together to drive awareness of T-Mobile HotSpot service where notebook users can wirelessly connect to the Internet and corporate networks at fast speeds at airports, airport lounges, book stores and coffee houses.

In addition, to enhance the end users' wireless experience and enable interoperability, T-Mobile and Intel have conducted engineering testing or "verification" of the Intel Centrino mobile technology on T-Mobile's network. The two companies are also working on co-marketing initiatives, including advertising, on-line marketing campaigns and co-branded signage, to drive awareness for T-Mobile HotSpot locations.

T-Mobile today announced new monthly pricing plans. For $29.99 a month, customers get unlimited access, with an annual agreement, to the T-Mobile HotSpot service at more than 2,100 locations nationwide including Starbucks coffee houses, national and regional airports and American Airlines Admirals clubs. The service will also be available in new locations as they are deployed, including airports, Borders Books and Music, and United and Delta Air Lines clubs and lounges.

Intel's new Centrino mobile technology includes a new mobile processor, chipset and built-in WiFi capability that have been designed to work together to enable a great wireless notebook experience. This technology will be implemented in PC manufacturers' notebook computers and will be available in March.

"The agreement between T-Mobile and Intel is a big win for our customers," said Cole Brodman, senior vice president and chief development officer, T-Mobile USA. "The Intel Centrino mobile technology represents an important step toward consumerizing WiFi service, making it more affordable and more accessible through a range of integrated devices."

The Intel Centrino mobile technology brand represents Intel's best technology for mobile computing and is designed to deliver an unwired computing experience while enabling extended battery life, outstanding mobile performance and thinner and lighter form factors.

"Notebook users want the freedom of being unwired while enjoying longer battery life and cutting-edge performance when they are accessing the Internet," said Anand Chandrasekher, vice president, Intel Mobile Platforms Group. "Intel is pleased to work with the leading wireless service provider like T-Mobile to enable a great user experience with Intel Centrino mobile technology at T-Mobile HotSpots."

T-Mobile operates the largest WiFi network in the country and was the first U.S. wireless carrier to fully embrace wireless broadband technology as a compliment to its wireless voice and 2.5 G high-speed data services. With T-Mobile, customers get a complete wireless voice and data service offering that meet their needs and provides business people both mobility and true office portability.

For more information, visit the company web site at www.t-mobile.com.

Mar 04 - Microtune Unveils New CableFree USB Product Family. Applying its pioneering radio frequency (RF) silicon and systems expertise to practical, affordable PC wireless connectivity, Microtune(R), Inc. (NASDAQ:TUNE) today introduced the newest technology in its Bluetooth(TM) portfolio, the patent-pending CableFree USB(TM) product line.
Targeted to the installed base of hundreds of millions of legacy PCs and peripherals, CableFree USB offers a wireless replacement that extends universal serial bus (USB) ubiquity and operation with extended functionality and long-range cordless convenience. It permits manufacturers to develop bundled, easy-to-use retail products that bring consumers a simple, inexpensive way to eliminate clumsy cords and cable clutter in their homes or offices.

The first product in the family, CableFree USB MT0760-CF, is optimized for printers and supports the print modes and operations of Hewlett Packard(R) (HP), Lexmark(TM), Epson(R), and Canon(R) devices. Two versions of the product are available, one with wireless print capability to 30 feet and one to 100 feet.

"The key to unleashing the potential of Bluetooth is finding the right application and making it available in the traditional retail channels, offering a practical product with a low price tag that is extremely simple to install and use, and packaging it in an appealing bundle," explained Joyce Putscher, Director, Converging Markets and Technologies, In-Stat/MRD.

"Our research shows consumers are very interested in simple wireless printing. Microtune has previously concentrated its Bluetooth efforts on voice and audio applications, where its technology offers distinct advantages. With its new CableFree USB product line, Microtune is attacking the potentially huge installed base of legacy PCs and peripherals to enable wireless functionality and is doing so with a complete solutions approach."

CableFree USB: General Purpose USB Wireless Replacement

Unlike Bluetooth dongles or Bluetooth-embedded products, CableFree USB offers a complete, fully interoperable, self-contained solution, with built-in software, that provides wireless point-to-point communications across rooms, labs, workspaces or offices. Complying with conventional USB 1.1 standard protocols and deploying a 2.4 GHz communications link, CableFree USB creates a 'virtual cable', allowing peripherals, PCs, notebooks or USB hubs with a USB port to be Bluetooth capable. Its operation is completely transparent to users -they perform functions just as if they are using the cable; the application executes automatically without user intervention.

As an added advantage CableFree USB is secure. Both ends of the connection are paired together for PC and peripheral compatibility, while, at the same time, providing users increased privacy in their communications.

CableFree USB for Printers

CableFree USB MT0760-CF, the version of the product targeted for wireless printing, supports a standard data rate throughput of up to 140 Kbps, comparable to the full-speed operation of a home printer using an RS232 cable. When the technology is packaged by manufacturers for retail, the CableFree USB consumer kit is expected to include two adaptors (with built-in software), power supply and optional connector adaptor - everything the consumer needs to get started. Additionally, the retail price tag is expected to be less than $79, beating the cost of alternative WI-FI (802.11) options.

'Five Minutes out of the Box' Installation Experience

Critical for achieving mass-market volumes, CableFree USB offers consumers painless installation and straightforward operation for USB wireless connections. The consumer plugs the MT0760-CF slave adaptor into the PC's USB port (Type A receptacle) and plugs the master adaptor into the HP, Canon, Epson or Lexmark printer (Type B receptacle). Once the power line is connected, the system is ready for wireless printing. There is no software to load, no card to add, no Bluetooth knowledge required. Hardware requirements are minimal - an available USB port, a popular and current Windows(R) operating system and a loaded USB printer driver.

"CableFree USB technology was engineered to leverage the compelling advantages of USB familiarity and its huge installed base with a complete, practical solution that can kick-start Bluetooth into the consumer mainstream," said Douglas J. Bartek, Chairman and CEO of Microtune. "It demonstrates our continuing commitment to RF technology innovation, while marking a significant advancement in wireless PC and peripheral communications."

Future CableFree USB Products Add Peripherals, Enhanced Speeds and Multipoint Operation

Based on Microtune's highly integrated Bluetooth system-on-chip technology and comprehensive suite of software, the CableFree USB architecture is protected by two pending patents containing 68 individual claims, keys to delivering its transparent wireless flexibility, mobility and security.
Microtune plans to extend the capabilities for networked printing (a 3-pack adaptor set) and for peer-to-peer (non-PC) communications this year. Future additional extensions to the CableFree USB product family will extend the range of peripherals supported (scanners, digital cameras, cable modems and PDAs), will provide for enhanced speeds/throughput, and will offer support for USB 2.0 and Bluetooth 1.2 protocols.

Visit their web site at www.microtune.com.

Mar 04 - HP Holds No. 1 Worldwide Position for Server Sales. HP (NYSE:HPQ) is the worldwide leader in total server shipments for calendar year 2002, according to figures released today by IDC.
The market research firm also reported that HP led the world in standard Intel(R) architecture server (SIAS), blade and Itanium(R) server revenue and shared the lead for UNIX(R) revenue for this same period. Additionally, for the fourth quarter of 2002, IDC found that HP maintained the No. 1 position in SIAS and Linux and tied for the No. 1 position for UNIX server revenue.

"HP's continued No. 1 position in UNIX, Windows and Linux servers underscores our ability to offer customers choice and flexibility with the broadest, most robust server line in the industry," said Peter Blackmore, executive vice president, HP Enterprise Systems Group.
"Further, enterprise customers are choosing HP for emerging categories such as blade and Itanium servers -- with their innovative management and utilization features -- as the right ingredients for an IT infrastructure that can be easily adapted to respond to business changes."

HP led the server market with 30.2 percent total server units shipped in the fourth quarter of 2002.

More information about HP is available at www.hp.com.

Mar 04 - SmartDisk Introduces FlashTrax Digital Multimedia Device. SmartDisk Corporation (Nasdaq:SMDK), today introduced its new FlashTrax(TM) handheld portable device for offloading and storing digital images and music. FlashTrax is being showcased in Booth H164 at PMA International, The Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, March 2-5, 2003.

FlashTrax can safely store high-resolution images transferred from any flash memory card onto the built-in 30GB USB2.0 hard drive and displays them on a 3.5" LCD that outperforms tiny on-camera screens. By using the sleek control pad, the user can change the image, zoom in, zoom out and scroll, or choose a slide show function -- all without the need of a PC. The LCD folds to ensure that both the screen and control buttons remain protected while in field use. Images may be viewed on the LCD screen or on any TV using the included remote control. To facilitate portability, FlashTrax also includes a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery.

"FlashTrax brings new freedom to photographers," says Charles Klinker, Director-Marketing for SmartDisk. "The ability to offload images from flash memory cards to the built-in hard drive represents a lower cost alternative to purchasing multiple, expensive flash memory cards."

A built-in MP3 player makes this device even more attractive - more than 7,000 compressed audio files can be stored and played back through the built-in speaker, headphones or external speakers. Various play modes are easily controlled from the user-friendly screen display and control pad, making music selection quick and easy.

With transfer speeds of up to 480MBps, FlashTrax can also serve as an external hard drive to transfer, store and access data or act as a simple backup device.

Pricing and Availability

Suggested retail price for FlashTrax is $499.99, with availability in April through retailers and distributors, as well as through the company's Web site at www.smartdisk.com.

Mar 04 - Worldwide Chip Sales Show Yearly Increase in January 2003. Global semiconductor sales totaled $12.2 billion in January 2003, a 2.4% decrease from the $12.5 billion in revenue reported in December 2002 and a 22% increase from the $10.0 billion total recorded in January 2002, the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) reported today.

"For more than a decade now, with the exception of the boom year 2000, sales have been slightly lower in January than December because of the seasonality of the semiconductor industry", said George Scalise, SIA President. "We continue to forecast double digit revenue growth for 2003 and broad-based strength in our industry, driven by a recovery in information technology (IT) spending, a fast-paced global wireless market, and the emergence of new growth sectors, including Wi-Fi (802.11) and broadband networks using advanced semiconductor technologies."

Market forecasts predict a 4-7% rise in IT spending in 2003 and a 10-14% rise in PC sales, as corporate buyers return to the market. There is an installed base of 160-180 million older units worldwide that need to be replaced in the anticipated upgrade cycle.

The wireless communication market, 25% of final chip demand, drove performance in 2002 and continues to show strength, as consumers migrate to new mobile technology, including smart phones offering digital cameras, e-mail messaging, wireless Internet access and video games.

Reflecting these seasonal demand patterns, eight out of twelve product sectors were down modestly in January from December levels, while Digital Signal Processors (DSPs) were up 3.3%, owing to the strength of the wireless market.

Sales in all geographic markets were down 2-3% in January over December, but up over January 2002, including a 33% rise in the Asia Pacific market, which now constitutes 36% of the total global chip market. "The U.S. and China are the only briskly growing economies in the world," Scalise said, "and China is fueling annual 8% growth with exports, running an historic $103 billion trade surplus with the U.S. last year."

China's semiconductor market is growing 18-20% per year, pushing it past $17 billion in 2002, from $12 billion in 2000, as China seeks to satisfy an increasing portion of its semiconductor demand internally and become a net exporter by the end of the decade.

More information about the SIA can be found at www.sia-online.org.

Mar 04 - ScanSoft Ships Dragon NaturallySpeaking 7. ScanSoft, Inc. (Nasdaq: SSFT), a leading supplier of imaging, speech and language solutions, today announced the availability of Dragon NaturallySpeaking version 7, a new release of the world's best-selling speech recognition application for Microsoft Windows. Dragon NaturallySpeaking 7 delivers the accuracy, speed, ease-of-use and innovative features needed to make speech recognition a mainstream application, in the home and at the office.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking 7 is a significant improvement over the previous release, increasing accuracy by 15 percent and enabling users to achieve accuracy levels of up to 99 percent. Its speed has been improved by more than 50 percent for dictation initialization.
Accuracy and performance are further enhanced by new features such as the Vocabulary Optimizer, which evaluates previously authored emails and documents to personalize itself to the writing style of the user, and the Performance Assistant, which optimizes the efficiency of speech recognition based on a user's workflow. In total, the accuracy and performance improvements within Dragon NaturallySpeaking 7 deliver an unmatched level of productivity and ease of use for speech recognition products.

"Dragon NaturallySpeaking has been a boon to those who need to limit their typing or who are familiar with dictation," noted Bill Meisel, President, TMA Associates, a speech market research firm. "ScanSoft's new release has addressed the issues that deterred less-motivated users -- getting started, accuracy, and ease-of-use. NaturallySpeaking fills a need beyond dictation -- idea and information capture. A new category of customers will use it to convert ideas in their heads into searchable and editable text. It's the ultimate cure for writer's block -- thought-to-text."

Dragon NaturallySpeaking turns speech into text at up to 160 words-per-minute, and allows users to control Microsoft Windows and their PC applications completely by voice. The product is tightly integrated with Microsoft Office, which allows users to create new documents, or change the layout of existing documents, using their voice. The product's new Natural Punctuation feature offers automatic insertion of periods and commas in applications such as e-mails, instant messages and Web-based forms.

"The accuracy and ease-of-use advancements in Dragon NaturallySpeaking 7 represent a step forward in speech recognition technology for users at home and in the office. Dragon NaturallySpeaking 7 was designed and optimized to take advantage of Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 processor based PCs," said David L. Brown, General Manager of Intel's Software Enabling Division. "Intel is pleased to have worked with ScanSoft, a member of the Intel(R) Early Access Program, to deliver the performance needed to make speech recognition a valuable solution for all PC users."

For additional information on features, pricing and volume licensing programs, visit www.ScanSoft.com.

Mar 03 - HP Reports 1st Quarter 2003 Profit. HP (NYSE:HPQ) today reported financial results for its first fiscal quarter ended Jan. 31, 2003. The company reported first quarter revenue of $17.9 billion, compared to $18.0 billion in the prior quarter. Revenue reflected ongoing weakness in commercial IT spending in the United States and Japan, while Europe and Asia-Pacific posted solid revenue growth quarter over quarter.

Gross margin increased from 25.9% to 26.5%, up 0.6 percentage points sequentially, reflecting continued improvement in HP's cost structures. Integration-related cost savings for the first quarter were $734 million, up from $482 million last quarter and 14% above first-quarter plan. Non-GAAP expenses as a percent of revenue were down sequentially from 21% to 20.3% of net revenue.

"HP is making good headway and continues to execute well," said Carly Fiorina, HP chairman and chief executive officer. "The first quarter was our best overall profit performance since the merger, demonstrating there is significant leverage in our operating model. We made good progress on cost structures, achieved sequential market share gains in each of our businesses, and continued to improve gross margins. Our revenue shortfalls were largely confined to the U.S. market, as weak commercial spending continued. Outside the U.S., revenues improved 3% sequentially with strong performance in Europe and Asia-Pacific. Personal Systems posted a profit for the quarter, and Enterprise Systems improved operating results by 36% sequentially.

"Today's world is full of uncertainty and predictions are difficult. We're staying focused on what we can control -- maximizing our operating model leverage, delivering the best possible products and services, accelerating market share gains, staying on the offense and investing in growth. Therefore, we're comfortable affirming analyst consensus estimates of $0.27 for the second quarter."

Regionally, Americas revenue declined 7% sequentially to $8.2 billion for the quarter, representing 46% of total revenue. Europe grew 6% sequentially to $7.1 billion, representing 40% of total revenue. Asia-Pacific grew 3% sequentially to $1.9 billion, representing 11% of total revenue. Japan declined 6% sequentially to $744 million in revenue, representing 4% of HP's total revenue.

In addition to posting a quarterly profit, Personal Systems grew sequentially in consumer PCs and handhelds, and reinforced HP's commitment to innovation with strong market acceptance of new Media Center PC, Tablet PC and iPAQ offerings. Imaging and Printing continued to post strong revenue and operating profit, with market share gains across key categories.

Enterprise Systems reduced its operating losses for the second quarter in a row and maintained its strong market position in servers, storage, software and supercomputers. HP Services maintained double-digit profitability during the quarter and posted double-digit sequential revenue growth in managed services.

More information on this quarter's earnings is available on HP's Investor Relations site at www.hp.com/hpinfo/investor/financials/quarters.

Mar 03 - Veo Ships PDA Camera for Dell Axim. Veo, a leading provider of high quality digital imaging products, today announced expanded compatibility of its Veo Photo Traveler family of cameras for use with Dell Axim handhelds. Customized to plug into the Dell Axim's built-in Compact Flash (CF) memory slot, the new Photo Traveler takes digital snapshots and short video clips.
With a simple, easy-to-use interface, the camera's full color preview allows users to frame the photo and instantly see the result. Its swivel lens can easily capture both self-portrait and forward-facing photos, and an adjustable focus lens ensures crisp, clear photos both close up and far away.

The Veo Photo Traveler family includes cameras for both Palm and PocketPC devices. All the cameras take 24-bit full color photos, include automatic exposure, white balance, color control and come with a rugged and stylish travel case. The Veo Photo Traveler for Pocket PCs works with operating system versions PocketPC 2000 and PocketPC 2002. The Veo Photo Traveler for Palm works with PalmOS versions 4.0, 4.1 and 5.0.

The Veo Photo Traveler line is now available at www.Dell.com, www.Veo.com and major national retail stores at a suggested retail price of $99.99.

Mar 03 - Satellite TV Threatens Cable's Dominance. Today, 87 percent of U.S. households subscribe to some form of multi-channel video programming. A new Yankee Group report, "Building Brand Identity in the Multi-Channel Video Universe," shows that while cable remains the primary source for multi-channel video programming, its share of subscribers has declined to 80 percent, including 2.5 million homes that subscribe to both cable and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) TV. Overall, the total number of cable subscribers is declining.

Another challenge to incumbent cable providers comes from overbuilders, including RBOCs, that are installing competitive cable systems in key markets.

"While cable operators continue to have success selling digital cable and cable modem services, a shrinking subscriber base is a growing problem," says Michael Goodman, Yankee Group Media & Entertainment Strategies senior analyst. "Once a subscriber churns, it is difficult and costly to reacquire them. Furthermore, it is one fewer home to sell advanced services to--limiting future revenue growth."

Although cable companies continue to add new digital cable and high-speed Internet subscribers, competition is driving down the overall number of cable subscribers. Cable subscribers feel little loyalty to their providers. Instead, they view their cable provider as a stodgy, unresponsive monopoly.

The Yankee Group can be found online at www.yankeegroup.com.

Mar 03 - Nokia 3650 Imaging Phone is Now Shipping. "Bringing the Nokia 3650 to markets such as North America, reflects Nokia's determination to offer a superior mobile imaging experience for a wide base of consumers", said Juha Putkiranta, Senior Vice President, Imaging Business Unit.
"In addition to enabling both picture and video communication for mobile users, the Nokia 3650 also offers Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) functionality with its extensive email support, calendar and contacts synchronization for most popular email and personal information management applications, and numerous add-on software."

The Nokia 3650 comes with an integrated VGA camera, a large 176x208 pixel color display with 4096 colors, and a unique circular keypad with a 5-way scroll key. It also incorporates a video recorder for capturing video clips, as well as RealOne Player for downloading, playing, and real-time streaming of video and audio content. The multimedia messaging (MMS) functionality allows users to send video clips, images, text and sound to compatible MMS-enabled phones or to any e-mail address. The Nokia 3650 phone also supports all major e-mail protocols.

The XHTML browser in the device sets a new reference for using mobile services, such as Lonely Planet's interactive travel guide optimized for the Nokia 3650. The visually rich service including numerous color pictures offers travel information on 38 cities around the world, helping the mobile travelers to be updated on the latest tips on food, accommodation and sights while on the go.

The Series 60 software package based on the Symbian OS (Operating System) offers a powerful, easy-to-use platform for the Nokia 3650 phone. Already today, there are hundreds of add-on software applications available for the Series 60 devices making it possible for the users to enhance their devices with new content and applications. The additional software ranges from imaging enhancements such as zoom and image editing programs, to Java(TM) games and personal productivity applications including dictionaries or file management.

For more information visit www.nokia.com.

Mar 03 - Hitachi ``Pixie Dust'' Technology Brings Record Capacity to HP Notebook Users. Hitachi Global Storage Technologies is working with HP to enable the world's highest-capacity notebook PC. Using the Hitachi Travelstar 80GN with patented "Pixie Dust" technology, the HP Pavilion ze5300 will be the first notebook to offer a record-breaking 80 GB of storage.

The 80GN's new 8 MB cache also means HP Pavilion users will experience the industry's fastest 4200 RPM notebook drive. HP is expected to make its new Pavilion ze5300 series notebook PCs with the Travelstar 80GN available in early March.

"The 80GN is the most technologically advanced mobile drive in the industry; this industry-leading design allows us to meet the exacting standards of HP Pavilion notebook PCs," said Bill Healy, mobile business unit general manager, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. "The design excellence in both Hitachi's and HP's products is a sure bet to please increasingly sophisticated and digitally-engaged end-users who require outstanding notebook features, including greater performance and capacities."

The Travelstar offers notebook PC users proven reliability, high shock robustness and low power consumption. In addition, the Travelstar provides users with a superior audio experience by continuing its leadership as the quietest mobile hard drive; the new drive reduced operating acoustics by as much as four decibels from its previous generation. The Hitachi Travelstar 80GN is also available in 20- and 40-gigabyte capacities.

"The ultra high capacity and performance that Hitachi provides with the Travelstar 80GN will continue HP's promise to offer consumers the latest in mobile technology," said Kevin Frost, vice president of marketing, HP Personal Systems Group. "The HP Pavilion ze5300 is an all-in-one notebook PC with advanced multimedia and entertainment capabilities that will enable users to benefit from the ample capacity on Hitachi's new drive."

Hitachi broke its own capacity record on the new Travelstar by enabling up to 70 billion bits of data to be written on each square inch of disk space. Hitachi achieved this by adding another coating of "Pixie Dust" -- or an additional ruthenium/magnetic layer to create a five-layer sandwich called laminated-"Pixie Dust."

"Pixie Dust" is a data storage breakthrough achieved by sandwiching a three-atom-thick layer of the element ruthenium -- a precious metal similar to platinum -- between two magnetic layers, technically called antiferromagnetically-coupled media. That only a few atoms could have such a dramatic impact caused scientists to refer to the ruthenium layer informally as "Pixie Dust."

For more information on Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, visit the company's Web site at www.hgst.com.

Mar 03 - Happy Puppy Re-launches Game Site. Happy Puppy, one of the first and most highly regarded online destinations for gamers, today announced its official re-launch at www.happypuppy.com.

The site recently completed a 60-day beta period during which the team gathered user feedback and implemented changes where necessary. The redesigned Happy Puppy is intended to attract PC and video game enthusiasts who are looking for the ultimate, "one-stop-shop" destination for all of their gaming needs.

Happy Puppy's new FileSwarm technology provides users with lightning-fast downloads of game files, including demos, patches, MODS and movies. The download technology is exclusive to Happy Puppy and enables visitors to obtain the true bandwidth capabilities of their Internet connections. The site also boasts a sleek new look and format that focuses on providing the most up-to-date information for all current games.

"Happy Puppy has long been considered the `Godfather' of gaming sites, especially amongst gamers who have watched the site evolve since its inception," said Derek Collins, Happy Puppy's Editorial Director. "We are all confident that this latest incarnation of Happy Puppy will attract not only the legions of loyal `Puppy Fans,' but also new visitors that have been seeking the most complete source for their gaming needs."

Recognized for its broad reach and demographics, Happy Puppy is designed for everyone from the first-time gamer to the hard core gamer. Featuring file downloads, news, previews and reviews from sources all over the Internet, Happy Puppy is truly the ultimate destination for all things game related.

Mar 02 - Sunday Shopping Watch.

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

Weekly Comparison. Prices stayed about the same as last weeks' prices, however more features are being added to desktops and laptops to entice buyers.

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

Best Buy is offering 6 months of MSN with any desktop or laptop purchase, and 18 month no-interest financing on all desktop packages and laptops.
Circuit City is offering $100 instant gift cards, and 12 months no-interest financing, on all desktop packages and laptops.
Office Depot has no store -wide sales this Sunday.
CompUSA is offering 3 months of AOL with any desktop or notebook purchase. In addition, they have 6 months no payment, no interest financing for any purchase over $198. They are also giving $150 mail-in rebates on Intel Celeron notebooks.
Staples has no store -wide sales this Sunday.
Compare to Online Prices - Compare the Sunday ad prices to those being offered at DealTime, it searches over 160 online computer stores.

InfoHQ Related Shopping Pages

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

Windows XP Upgrade Guide - All about upgrading to Windows XP.

What You Need to Know About Dial-up Internet Service Rebates - The pros and cons of 'free' Internet service deals.

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

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

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

Best Sunday Ad Deals
Category
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Prices up or Down this Week
Store
Best Celeron Deal
HP 2 GHz complete system with 15" flat panel
$949
CompUSA
Best Low-cost Pentium 4 System
None advertised
   
1. Best High-end Pentium 4 System
Sony 2.4 GHz complete system with DVD-RW and 15" flat panel
$1329
-
CompUSA
2. Best High-end Pentium 4 System
HP 2.53 GHz complete system with DVD-RW and 15" flat panel
$1429
-
CompUSA
3. Best High-end Pentium 4 System
Compaq 2.66 GHz complete system
$1229
-
Circuit City
Best Low-cost Athlon XP System
Compaq 1800+ complete system
$629
-
Circuit City
1. Best High-end Athlon XP System
Compaq 2600+ complete system with 17" monitor
$1029
-
CompUSA
2. Best High-end Athlon XP System
Compaq 2600+ complete system with 15" flat panel
$1249
-
Best Buy
1. Best Low-cost Notebook
Compaq 1.6 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW
$799
-
CompUSA
2. Best Low-cost Notebook
HP 1.7 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW
$899
-
CompUSA
3. Best Low-cost Notebook
HP 1.8 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW
$999
-
CompUSA
4. Best Low-cost Notebook
Sony Athlon XP 2000+ with DVD/CD-RW
$1099
-
Best Buy
1. Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba 2.4 GHz Pentium 4-M with DVD/CD-RW
$1349
-$200
Circuit City
2. Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba 2.4 GHz Pentium 4-M with DVD-RW
$1899
-
CompUSA, Circuit City
3. Best High-end Notebook
Sony 2.4 GHz Pentium 4-M with DVD-RW
$1899
-
CompUSA
Peripherals
Best Sunday Deal
Mad Dog Raptor GeForce 4 Ti 4200 64 MB
$79
(after rebates)
-
CompUSA
Best Sunday Deal
Western Digital 7200 RPM 80 GB hard drive
$69
(after rebates)
-
Circuit City
Best Sunday Deal
CompUSA (Maxtor) 7200 RPM 80 GB hard drive
$69
(after rebates)
-
CompUSA
Best Sunday Deal
Maxtor 7200 RPM 200 GB hard drive
$199
(after rebates)
-
CompUSA
Best Sunday Deal
ATI Radeon 9700 Pro
$299
(after rebates)
-
Circuit City
Best Sunday Deal
ATI Radeon 9700 Pro All-in-Wonder
$399
(after rebates)
-
CompUSA
Best Sunday Deal
Xtasy ATI Radeon 9100 128MB
$129
(after rebates)
-
CompUSA
Best Sunday Deal
Western Digital 80 GB 7200 RPM hard drive
$79
(after rebates
)
-
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
Western Digital 120 GB 7200 RPM hard drive
$129
(after rebates
)
-
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
TDK 48X CD-RW
$29
(after rebates
)
-
CompUSA

 

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

 

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

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

 

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