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Daily Computer News and Rumors

March 15-22 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 this index.)
Mar 21 Cisco Systems Announces Agreement to Acquire Linksys Group
Mar 21 Micron Technology, Inc. Reports Results for the Second Quarter
Mar 21 MPEG-4 aacPlus to Become Part of Future Nero Products
Mar 21 Iraq War Doesn't Slow Internet Performance
Mar 21 Apple Releases iPod Software 1.2.6 Update
Mar 20 VIA Announces Launch of the Apollo Athlon KT400A Chipset
Mar 20 Dell Expands Consumer Recycling for Unwanted Computer Equipment
Mar 20 Samsung Electronics Tops TFT-LCD Market for 5th Straight Year
Mar 20 Northgate Innovations to Market EPoX Motherboards
Mar 20 SiRF's GPS Technology Powers Location-Based Services on Mobile Phones
Mar 20 MontaVista Linux to Power Advanced Motorola Mobile Phones
Mar 20 VIA Heralds 'Flat Panel Lifestyle' Era with New VIA "Mark" CoreFusion™ Processing Platform
Mar 19 Phoenix Technologies Provides Support for Intel Centrino Mobile Technology
Mar 19 ATI Signs Pentium M Bus License Agreement with Intel
Mar 19 MINOLTA-QMS Introduces $699 Personal Color Laser Printer
Mar 19 Visioneer Announces Strobe XP 200 Sheetfed Scanner
Mar 19 America Online Showcases Latest In Mobile Communications At CTIA Wireless 2003
Mar 19 Master of Orion 3 is #1 Best-Selling PC Game
Mar 18 HP Extends Mobile Lifestyle with New Wireless Wide Area Network Offerings
Mar 18 New Intel Products Accelerate the Transition to Higher Ethernet Speeds
Mar 18 Sony Ericsson Showcases New Mobile Products at CTIA WIRELESS 2003
Mar 18 Infineon Reinforces Leadership in DDR2 SDRAM
Mar 18 LapLink Announces Version 2.0 of Everywhere Remote and Mobile Web Service
Mar 18 Survey Concludes Backing up DVDs is Critical to Protecting Digital Investments
Mar 17 Panasonic Introduces Most Advanced Ruggedized Tablet PCs
Mar 17 ATI Unveils Mobility RADEON 7000 IGP
Mar 17 EZQuest Intros High-Performance FireWire 800 External Hard Drive
Mar 17 SanDisk Introduces Four Gigabyte CompactFlash Card
Mar 17 SanDisk Introduces World's Smallest Removable Flash Card for Mobile Phones -- miniSD Card
Mar 17 Visioneer Announces the OneTouch 9220 USB
Mar 16 Sunday Shopping Watch

 

 

Mar 21 -Cisco Systems Announces Agreement to Acquire Linksys Group. Cisco Systems, Inc., today announced a definitive agreement to acquire the business of privately held The Linksys Group, Inc. of Irvine, Calif. Linksys is the leading provider of home networking products with a broad line of wired and wireless products for consumers and SOHO (small office/home office) users.

This acquisition represents Cisco's entry into the high-growth consumer/SOHO networking market, which is expected to grow from $3.7 billion in 2002 to $7.5 billion in 2006 worldwide (sources: compiled from Dell'Oro Group, Synergy). Home networks allow consumers to share broadband Internet connections, files, printers, digital music, photos, and gaming, all over a wired or wireless LAN (local area network).

Under the terms of the agreement, Cisco will issue common stock with an aggregate value of approximately $500 million to acquire the Linksys business and to assume all outstanding employee stock options. The acquisition of Linksys is expected to close in the fourth quarter of Cisco's fiscal year 2003.

Cisco expects the acquisition of Linksys to be dilutive by no more than $.01 to its FY2004 GAAP EPS. Exclusive of acquisition charges, Cisco anticipates this transaction will add approximately $0.01 to its FY2004 pro-forma EPS. The transaction will be accretive to both GAAP and pro-forma earnings thereafter. The acquisition has been approved by the board of directors of each company and is subject to various closing conditions, including expiration or termination of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976.

"Fueled by consumer broadband adoption, the home networking space has experienced mass market acceptance. Linksys has captured a strong position in this growing market by developing an extensive, easy-to-use product line for the home and small office," said John Chambers, president and CEO of Cisco Systems. "This acquisition is a solid example of Cisco's strategy to broaden its end-to-end portfolio of network solutions into high-growth markets such as wireless, voice-over-IP and storage area networking."

News and information are available at www.cisco.com.

Mar 21 - Iraq War Doesn't Slow Internet Performance. As the first full day of the war campaign against Iraq came to life today, Keynote Systems (Nasdaq:KEYN) announced that it would issue a regular 'Iraq War Internet Performance Report' that provides data and analysis regarding the performance of major Internet backbones and important government, commercial, media and anti-war Web sites.

With Americans and much of the world increasingly relying on the Internet as a vital communications link, and heightened concerns about cyber-terrorism, Keynote is making its data and analysis available both on its Web site at www.keynote.com on behalf of the Internet-using public, and directly to media via e-mail at approximately 10:00 AM EST each day a report is issued.

Over the last two days leading up to war, overall Internet performance among major U.S. backbones has been normal. Keynote measures real-time performance latency between the major U.S. Internet backbones and makes its data available at: www.internethealthreport.com.

Overall Web performance for both major business sites (the Keynote Business 40 index) and major U.S. government sites (the Keynote Government 40 index) has also been normal. These indices can be accessed at Keynote's web site.

There have been a few notable exceptions:

-- The public U.S. Army home page, www.army.mil/ has had severe
problems. These started on Monday, March 17, and appear to be
associated with Web server capacity issues. The Army home page
typically takes 4 seconds to download on a high-speed Internet
connection. On Wednesday during peak hours it averaged more
than 80 seconds, 20 times longer than usual. Availability of
the home page also plunged from the normal 93%. On Wednesday,
March 19, the U.S. Army home page was at or below 70%
availability during the day.

-- The public U.S. Marine Corps home page, www.usmc.mil/ also has
had problems on March 19. Unlike the situation for the Army,
these problems appeared to be associated with bandwidth
issues; the "pipe" between the U.S. Marine Corps Web server
and the Internet may be too small. Availability has not
suffered, but average download time for the home page measured
on high-speed Internet connections soared on Wednesday from
the usual 4.5 seconds to over 30 seconds.

Unlike the Army site's performance, which has been getting progressively worse each day, the Marine Corps site's performance actually improved since Tuesday. (On Tuesday during peak hours, the Marine Corps home page average download time measured on high-speed Internet connections was approximately 50 seconds.) This improvement appears to be because the Marine Corps is taking actions to decrease the size of its Web page.

-- There has been minor performance degradation on the public
U.S. Department of Defense home page, www.dod.mil/. Between
9:00 am and 2:00 pm EST on Wednesday, March 19, performance
slowed to 5 seconds to download a Web page instead of the
usual, fast one second. There was a similar, although smaller,
peak on Tuesday March 18.

-- There was some minor performance degradation for the Federal
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA, www.fema.com) on March 18,
during peak hours. There were no problems yesterday.

Some European sites are showing similar difficulties; an example is the Home Office in the U.K. (www.homeoffice.gov.uk/), which exhibited poor performance on Wednesday during working hours when measured from the U.K. Home page download time, which is normally approximately one second when accessed from high-speed Internet connections, jumped to over 15 seconds. Availability dropped below 80%.

In general, major news sites are not showing any unusual problems at this time.

For both the Army and the Marine Corps sites, load testing across the Internet, as is done by major Web commercial sites before major selling seasons and by major news organizations preparing for news events, could have been used to avoid the problems that have been seen.

Mar 21 - Micron Technology, Inc. Reports Results for the Second Quarter. Micron Technology, Inc. (NYSE:MU), today announced results of operations for the second quarter of its 2003 fiscal year which ended February 27, 2003.

The Company reported a second quarter net loss of $619 million, or $1.02 per diluted share, on sales of $785 million. Sales for the second quarter were $100 million, or 15%, higher than the immediately preceding quarter, which ended November 28, 2002, and were $400 million, or 37%, higher comparing the first six months of fiscal 2003 to the corresponding period of the prior year.

Average selling prices per megabit for the Company's semiconductor products were down slightly in the second quarter compared to the immediately preceding quarter. This decrease reflects the net effect of a significant decrease in selling prices for DDR DRAM products partially offset by increases in the selling prices for Synchronous DRAMs. DDR DRAM products comprised approximately 60% of the Company's megabit sales in the second quarter of fiscal 2003, compared to approximately 40% in the first quarter of fiscal 2003.
The Company's sales volume as measured in megabits increased approximately 20% in the second quarter of fiscal 2003 compared to the previous quarter. The higher level of megabit sales reduced the Company's finished goods inventories to their lowest level, as measured in weeks of sales on hand, since 1999.

Steve Appleton, Micron's Chief Executive Officer and President, said, "Our .13 micron products are realizing noticeable manufacturing improvements which will be reflected in reduced costs over the next two quarters and we expect to gain further economies on our .13 micron production by re-deploying many of the 200 mm tools from Virginia to other sites. We are ahead of plan for the worldwide transition to our 200 mm .11 micron process and our 300 mm .11 micron production line in Virginia is progressing on schedule."

The Company hosted conference will be available online at www.micron.com.

Mar 21 - MPEG-4 aacPlus to Become Part of Future Nero Products. Ahead Software, the makers of Nero, the technology leader in CD/DVD recording software, and Coding Technologies, leading provider of audio compression technologies for mobile, digital broadcasting and Internet markets worldwide, today announced that Ahead has licensed MPEG-4 aacPlus.
Being the most efficient audio codec today, MPEG-4 aacPlus uses Coding Technologies' groundbreaking Spectral Band Replication Technology (SBR) and is now standardized in MPEG-4 as the High Efficiency AAC Profile.

Users of Ahead's new Nero Digital MPEG-4 technology will soon be able to encode and playback CD-quality MPEG-4 aacPlus audio files at bit rates as low as 48 kbps.

Since its early inclusion of mp3PRO and its subsequent in-house development on MPEG-4-AAC, Ahead has been well positioned from an engineering level to understand the advantages of SBR technology. The adoption of MPEG-4 aacPlus once again demonstrates Aheads market leadership. Its unrivaled functionality, ultra-stable performance and user-friendliness make Nero the premier application for the creation of CDs and DVDs.

"We are happy to have Ahead and its standard-setting Nero Digital technology on board," said Martin Dietz, CEO & President, Coding Technologies. "The strategic decision to bank on MPEG-4 as an open standard is a clever move ensuring interoperable state-of-the-art solutions. Coding Technologies is a proud supporter of Ahead on this path."

"With a community of millions of Nero users worldwide, Ahead's mission is to offer the most compelling technology to its users," states Richard Lesser, CEO Ahead. "aacPlus is a must-have from this perspective and it perfectly fits our strategy towards MPEG-4."

Coding Technologies can be found online at www.codingtechnologies.com.

Mar 21 - Apple Releases iPod Software 1.2.6 Update. Per Apple,"iPod Software 1.2.6 provides improved battery management which solves a problem that may appear to shorten your iPod’s battery life.

"Prior to this update, the iPod would sometimes mistake a temporary low voltage condition as an indication that the battery was discharged. This resulted in the iPod shutting down prematurely, even though the battery was still capable of powering the iPod."

To download the free update for Windows or Mac visit www.apple.com/ipod/download.

Mar 20 - VIA Announces Launch of the VIA Apollo KT400A Athlon Chipset. VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator and developer of silicon chip technologies and PC platform solutions, today announced the launch of the VIA Apollo KT400A Chipset, the fastest single channel DDR chipset for the new AMD Athlon™ XP 3000+ processor. Optimized for the needs of gamers, enthusiasts and professionals requiring the fastest system performance and a complete suite of the latest I/O and connectivity features, the VIA Apollo KT400A is the ultimate chipset solution for AMD Athlon™ XP processor based systems.

At the heart of the VIA Apollo KT400A is FastStream64™ Memory Controller technology which uses an expanded array of prefetch buffers to reduce latency in the memory controller, extending performance without the extra cost of the twin memory modules that are required by dual channel DDR chipsets. The VIA Apollo KT400A is over 10% faster than the previous generation VIA Apollo KT400 in 3D applications, and boasts an enhanced feature set including native Serial ATA support and onboard VIA Vinyl Audio 6-channel surround sound.

"VIA has successfully delivered seven generations of award winning chipset solutions to the Socket A marketplace, culminating in the VIA Apollo KT400A," commented Chewei Lin, Vice-President of Product Marketing. "With FastStream64 memory controller technology, AGP 8X and integrated VIA 6-channel audio support, the KT400A outperforms rival chipsets and gives enthusiasts, gamers and professionals their Socket A platform of choice for 2003."

VIA Apollo KT400A

Supporting DDR200/266/333/400 SDRAM memory and a full range of 200/266/333MHz Processor Bus AMD Athlon™ XP and AMD Duron™ processors, the VIA Apollo KT400A provides lightning fast access to system memory and delivers exceptional performance across the application spectrum. The KT400A is also part of the VIA Modular Architecture Platform initiative (V-MAP), meaning both North and South Bridge are pin compatible with the previous generation KT400 Chipset, ensuring a much faster time to market and a broad range of reliable motherboards for OEMs, SIs and end users.

DDR400 offers 3.2GB/s of memory bandwidth through VIA's low latency, FastStream64 memory controller while AGP 8X delivers 2.1GB/s of bandwidth to the graphics engine, improving image quality and 3D performance in the highest resolution conditions. The KT400A North Bridge is connected to a VT8237 or VT8235CE South Bridge through the fast 8X V-link connection at 533MB/s.

With native support for two Serial ATA channels in the VIA VT8237 South Bridge supplying 150MB/s of bandwidth, as well as up to eight USB 2.0 ports, the VT8237 offers the highest possible peripheral performance for professional and home users.
The VT8237 also integrates VIA Vinyl Audio technology with 6-Channel surround sound and Sensaura™ drivers for more vibrant surround gaming and an enhanced end user experience when watching DVD movies.
To extend flexibility to the system integrator, the VT8237 features support for Parallel ATA-133 devices to allowing for mainstream or value configurations leveraging the existing technology standard. Additional features include a VIA MAC for 10/100Mbps Fast Ethernet, integrated PCI support, and an MC'97 modem.

For more information on the VIA Apollo KT400A, visit www.via.com.tw/en/apollo/kt400a.jsp.

Mar 20 - Dell Expands Consumer Recycling for Unwanted Computer Equipment. For consumers who want to donate or recycle their unwanted computer equipment when they buy new systems and accessories, it has never been easier or more affordable to do so.

Dell announced today that it is enhancing Dell Recycling (formerly Dell Exchange) to enable customers to order home pickup of unwanted notebooks, desktops, monitors, and other select computer equipment for $15 per unit. The service is available for continental U. S. customers online beginning March 25. Customers can learn more about the home pick-up service at www.dell4me.com/recycling.

The new offering expands the current reuse and recycling services Dell provides, including donation through the National Cristina Foundation. The company is also launching a five-city recycling tour to permit customers to donate or recycle their unwanted systems completely free of charge during tour stops. In addition, Dell offers a broad range of reuse and recycling options for its commercial customers. To learn more visit www.dell.com/assetrecovery .

Mar 20 - Samsung Electronics Tops TFT-LCD Market for 5th Straight Year. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world's largest provider of TFT-LCD display panels, today announced that it has recorded its fifth year as the world's foremost maker of TFT-LCDs. According market researcher, DisplaySearch, Samsung sold US$3.086 billion worth of TFT-LCDs in 2002 to capture 17.6% of the world market--the top share in terms of sales revenue.

By geographical region, the worldwide TFT-LCD production breaks down as 38% for Korea, 36% for Taiwan and 26.9% for Japan. Thus, Taiwan has surpassed Japan for the first time to rank second, while Korea has remained the top TFT-LCD producing country since 1999. The top 4 company rankings are Samsung (Korea, 17.6%), LG-Philips LCD (Korea, 17.4%), AU Optronics (Taiwan, 11.7%) and Sharp (Japan, 9.1%).

Samsung has achieved the highest share of the world market in 1998, just four years after starting up TFT-LCD production. Samsung's record performance in the TFT-LCD market comes from its well-facilitated marketing strategy of large-area notebook panels. The 15-, 17- and 19-inch models have received good response from the market.

Samsung started up its 5th-generation fabrication line (1,100mm by 1,250mm substrates) in Cheonan, Korea in September 2002. Construction of a sixth fabrication line was initiated last December and is scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2003. Samsung will secure a monthly output of 160,000 substrates from lines five and six. The enhanced capacity will meet growing market demand for 20-, 22-wide-screen, and 32-inch LCD TVs along with forecasts for another strong year of 15-inch notebook PC panels and 19-inch TFT-LCD monitor models.

More information can be found at www.usa.samsungsemi.com.

Mar 20 - Northgate Innovations to Market EPoX Motherboards. Northgate Innovations Inc. (OTC BB:NGTE), and EPoX Computer Company Ltd. (EPoX) announced that the companies had recently signed an agreement to strive to expand EPoX's PC motherboard market in North America.

"Northgate will be responsible for sales and marketing in North America. Since Northgate provides excellent service, warehousing and distribution capability, both companies will utilize existing resources and then work on expanding the North American market for EPoX motherboards," said Jerry Ferng, president of EPoX Computer Co.

Due to a long period of a soft market plus struggling due to a price drop from major tier-one motherboard manufacturers, EPoX has determined to adjust its market strategy. After evaluation and a decision made by EPoX's Board of Directors, EPoX decided to reform and restructure its U.S. branch with this new opportunity.

Ferng continued: "Signing an agreement with Northgate Innovations creates a win-win situation. Northgate benefits by EPoX's long established brand recognition, product reputation, and existing human resources. EPoX's U.S. branch can reduce operational overhead and focus on wireless, IA, and IPC market development."

Andy Teng, Northgate's chairman and CEO, views the EPoX co-op agreement as a logical step for both companies. Teng stated: "By combining EPoX's brand recognition with Northgate's outstanding service and sales and marketing, a new opportunity for a brighter future is created, leading to increased market share in the motherboard market in this territory in the near future.

"Northgate will work closely with EPoX Taiwan to further enhance the quality of EPoX's product offerings as well as working to reduce the cost of the products. Northgate, on EPoX's behalf, will provide service and warranty work for existing EPoX customers without interruption."

Northgate can be found online at http://www.northgate.com. EPoX USA can be found online at http://www.epox.com/html/default.asp.

Mar 20 - SiRF's GPS Technology Powers Location-Based Services on Mobile Phones. SiRF Technology, Inc. announced today that its SiRFLoc multimode location platform is at the heart of a wide variety of new Location-Based Services (LBS), allowing mobile phone users to determine their position and take advantage of a variety of useful new applications. These applications include services such as turn-by-turn navigation, mobile resource and logistics management, and other enterprise LBS applications. SiRF will be displaying its SiRFLoc multimode technology this week in New Orleans at the 2003 CTIA Wireless conference.

SiRFLoc Multimode is the first wireless location platform that allows device users to determine their position with or without network aiding. Initially incorporated into cellular phones to meet the FCC's E-911 emergency calling mandate, SiRFLoc's unique location features are being rapidly adopted by enterprises and consumers for a wide variety of commercial LBS.
SiRFLoc meets all the requirements of the FCC mandate for accuracy and location availability, but has the added advantage of being able to function as an independent, high sensitivity GPS receiver. This means that wireless devices with SiRFLoc can continuously navigate with new position fixes as frequently as once per second without network aiding.

"Our goal is to work with manufacturers, carriers and application software companies to drive the adoption of Location-Based Services," according to Kanwar Chadha, founder and vice president of business development at SiRF Technology.
"Wireless carriers and software companies are only beginning to scratch the surface of the potential for revenue generating location enabled applications. As the market develops, the variety of applications such as personal navigation, mobile commerce, workforce management, enterprise logistics and gaming will require location systems that go well beyond the E-911 requirements. The SiRFLoc multimode system is optimized to provide accurate and continuous positioning in a bandwidth efficient manner to enable these class of applications."

For additional information, please visit www.sirf.com.

Mar 20 - MontaVista Linux to Power Advanced Motorola Mobile Phones. MontaVista Software, Inc., the company powering the embedded revolution, today announced that MontaVista(TM) Linux(R) is the chosen operating system for the recently announced Motorola A760 mobile phone, the world's first handset based on Linux and Java technology.

The Motorola A760 combines features of a mobile phone with the capabilities of a personal digital assistant (PDA), digital camera, video player, MP3 player, speakerphone, advanced messaging, instant Internet access and Bluetooth(TM) wireless technology. The A760 is Motorola's first handset demonstrating the company's commitment to making the Linux operating system a key pillar of its handset software strategy. Motorola is displaying this phone in its booth (# 4245) at the CTIA Wireless Conference this week in New Orleans.

"This handset is special because it features one of the most open and flexible software platforms," said Terence Lam, senior global marketing manager, Smartphone and Networked Entertainment Products, Motorola Personal Communications Sector. "By supporting the open source Linux OS along with Java technology, Motorola is providing the most creative and fertile environment possible to set the stage for a 'best experiences win' environment."

"As mobile phones rapidly evolve, the supporting software needs to be more robust to support their rich functionality and networking capabilities. MontaVista Linux provides a powerful systems software platform that can help to quickly bring these advanced products to market," said Jim Ready, CEO and president, MontaVista Software. "By standardizing on Linux for its handset software strategy, Motorola is blazing a trail into this new world of advanced consumer electronics, and we are proud to support this trend."

For more information on the phone, visit http://www.gx-3.net/motoinfo/products.asp?product=A760&y=2003.

Mar 20 - VIA Heralds 'Flat Panel Lifestyle' Era with New VIA "Mark" CoreFusion™ Processing Platform. VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator and developer of silicon chip technologies and PC platform solutions, today revealed the key to the next generation of connected computing and entertainment solutions underpinning the emerging Flat Panel Lifestyle, the VIA CoreFusion™ Processing Platform, codenamed "Mark", with a live demonstration of the "StarHub" all-in-one TV PC concept design at the VIA Press Conference at CeBIT 2003.

Combining the new generation VIA C3™ 1GHz processor based on the "Nehemiah" core with the highly acclaimed VIA ProSavage™ CLE266 North Bridge in a single, low power and space saving package, the VIA 'Mark' CoreFusion Processing Platform architecture has been specially engineered to enable the easy and cost effective integration of today's key computing, Internet and multimedia applications into the rapidly emerging new segment of flat panel system designs, ranging from plasma TVs and LCD TVs to car entertainment systems and ultra portable notebooks, Tablet PCs and intelligent displays.

"'Mark' opens up an exciting new world of innovative new product designs for today's totally connected lifestyle," commented Richard Brown, Associate Vice-President of Marketing, VIA Technologies, Inc. "The advanced security, performance and low power features of the new generation VIA C3 processor combine with the great graphics capabilities of the CLE266 North Bridge, including stunning DVD playback, to make the VIA CoreFusion Processing Platform the way forward in highly integrated embedded systems."

Flat Panel Lifestyle Demo: All-in-One StarHub TV PC

CeBIT hosted the first ever demonstration of one of the key anticipated design applications for the VIA 'Mark' CoreFusion Processing Platform, the "StarHub" all-in-one TV PC concept design from Insight Solutions. The unique StarHub is an excellent example of the rapidly emerging Flat Panel Lifestyle in the home, forming the conduit to bring digital media entertainment and computing capabilities to a traditional TV viewing format, and clearly illustrating a further leap into the living room for the PC platform.

Integrating a full function, small form factor motherboard into the back of a 17" LCD TV, StarHub delivers a rich array of entertainment and computing applications, including standard TV, Internet browsing, DVD and playback, and Digital Video Recording, in a stylish all-in-one unit. It also comes with a full array of easily accessible connectivity options for hooking up the unit to a home audio system or peripheral devices such as a digital camera, camcorder or MP3 player; these include two USB 2.0 and two IEEE 1394 ports, as well as SPDIF connectors.

About the VIA 'Mark' CoreFusion Processing Platform

The new VIA CoreFusion Processing Platform, codenamed "Mark", combines the new generation VIA C3 1GHz processor based on the "Nehemiah" core with the VIA ProSavage CLE266 North Bridge in a single, low power package that significantly reduces the amount of board real estate required for integrating a full complement of high performance x86 computing, connecting and digital media playback and recording capabilities.

In addition to the integrated S3 Graphics UniChrome™ 2D/3D AGP8X graphics core with integrated full MPEG-2 decoding for silky-smooth DVD playback, the VIA ProSavage CLE266 also features support for the fast DDR SDRAM memory, motion compensation and DuoView for an extended desktop.

Additional information can be found at www.via.com.tw.

Mar 19 - Phoenix Technologies Provides Support for Intel Centrino Mobile Technology. Phoenix Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq:PTEC), the company driving the global core system software standard in many millions of PC systems and connected digital devices for nearly a quarter-century, has announced its support and product readiness for Intel(R) Centrino(TM) mobile technology. This capability is available immediately for both Phoenix cME FirstBIOS(TM) Notebook Pro and cME FirstBIOS(TM) Tablet PC Pro products.

Introduced last week, 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.

Phoenix Core Managed Environment(TM) (cME) First BIOS augments Intel Centrino's mobile technology by providing additional innovations to support the advancements of mobile computing:

-- Power management - Promotes and enhances extended battery life
in the Centrino platform so mobile devices run longer between
battery recharges.

-- Thermal management - Ensures improved temperature regulation
for increased reliability, and is code optimized with the new
slim profile of the Centrino platforms.

-- ACPI functionality - Complies with Advanced Configuration and
Power Interface (ACPI) 2.0, which Phoenix co-developed for
industry-standard interfaces for OS-directed configuration and
power management.

"Intel and Phoenix are well positioned to drive market expansion for mobile computing," said Timothy D. Eades, Senior Vice President, Corporate Marketing and Product Development for Phoenix.
"The advanced features of Centrino technology, combined with the integrated power and thermal management features of Phoenix cME FirstBIOS Notebook Pro, will make a significant impact on the ability of people to work in a variety of mobile settings. This is a key benefit for anyone who must depend on portable and wireless PC solutions."

For more information about Phoenix Technologies, visit their website at www.phoenix.com.

Mar 19 - ATI Signs Pentium M Bus License Agreement with Intel. ATI Technologies Inc. (TSX:ATY, NASDAQ:ATYT) today announced the company has reached agreement with Intel Corporation for a Pentium(R) M processor bus license. This gives ATI the necessary rights to build integrated chipsets for PC platforms based on Intel Pentium(R) M processors. Additional details of the agreement were not disclosed.

ATI is the world's largest designer and manufacturer of graphics solutions for notebooks, with 49 per cent of the market, according to Mercury Research.

For media or industry analyst support, visit our Web site at www.ati.com.

Mar 19 - MINOLTA-QMS Introduces $699 Personal Color Laser Printer. With a price of only $699 (est. Street), MINOLTA-QMS today announced the magicolor 2300W--the first color laser printer for personal use. Featuring a small price, compact size, and user-friendly design, the magicolor 2300W is well suited for small businesses, home use, and executive offices that need a reliable color solution. Compatible with Windows operating systems, the affordable magicolor 2300W is at home on any desktop.

"At $699 individuals can easily justify the cost of having a personal color laser printer on their desktop," said Stephen Fletcher, president and COO for MINOLTA-QMS. "Finally home users, small business owners, and senior-level management have an ink jet alternative for high-performance, confidential, and convenient printing."

Based on the same engine technology used in the popular-selling magicolor 2300 DL, the magicolor 2300W has been adapted for personal use, while retaining many of the features that have made the 2300 DL one of the fastest selling color laser printers on the market. Print speeds are comparable to many black-and-white workgroup printers at 16 ppm monochrome as well as 4 ppm in full color.
The printer also features a 200-sheet multipurpose input tray, USB and parallel interfaces, 1200 x 600 dpi print quality, 32 MB RAM, printer drivers and software utilities for use with Windows XP, 2000, Me, 98SE, and 95.

Small Size, Great Color

Featuring a streamlined desktop size measuring 14" wide, the magicolor 2300W uses about the same desk space as a typical inkjet or personal black-and-white laser printer. Its multipurpose input tray is positioned discreetly on the printer's side and can hold up to 200 sheets of paper.

An innovative toner technology and 1200 dpi resolution work hand-in-hand to produce exceptional output from the magicolor 2300W. The toner is composed of smaller particles that are uniform in size and shape to create finer lines, better halftones, and improved image quality. This new toner eliminates the need for fuser oil, reducing costs even further.

The magicolor 2300W doesn't require special media to obtain the best output quality, unlike many ink jet printers. It produces excellent prints on ordinary office paper as well as other business media, including recycled paper, transparencies, labels, heavy stocks, and envelopes.

The magicolor 2300W ships with a complete set of standard-capacity supplies (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black toner cartridges, OPC drum, and waste toner pack) and includes a one-year exchange warranty.

For more information, visit www.minolta-qms.com.

Mar 19 - Visioneer Announces Strobe XP 200 Sheetfed Scanner. Visioneer, Inc., a leader in intelligent imaging solutions, today announced the new Visioneer Strobe(TM) XP 200 and related software developer's kit.

The Strobe XP 200 is Visioneer's most advanced 6 page per minute sheetfed scanner targeted at the corporate desktop user and is bundled with ScanSoft's(R) PaperPort(R) Deluxe 8.0 software. The Strobe XP 200 Software Developer's Kit (SDK), available for purchase separately, was created for third party developers and corporate users who want to use the Strobe XP 200 as the basis of a turnkey system or for incorporation into their existing workflow applications.

Strobe XP 200 Scanner Specifications

Designed to fit between the keyboard and monitor, the Strobe XP 200 is an extremely space efficient paper management and productivity tool. Measuring only 2" x 2.5" x 11", it scans paper and photos from business cards up to legal size documents at 6 pages per minute. The Strobe XP 200 has a resolution of 600 dpi with 48-bit color and attaches via a USB 2.0 or USB 1.1 port.

With Visioneer's patented PaperDriven(TM) and AutoLaunch(TM) technologies, the Visioneer Strobe XP 200 automatically scans documents and photos when they are inserted into the scanner. The Strobe XP 200 scanner then launches the PaperPort software and instantly places the document on the PaperPort Desktop ready for use. From there users can file images, print them out, use the included software to convert documents to editable text, insert images into web pages or share them with anyone via email or fax. Users can set the scanner to send the scanned image to any of the numerous PaperPort links automatically after scanning.

Price and Availability

The Visioneer Strobe XP 200 is currently available through authorized retailers, computer super stores and online services, mail order catalogs and from Visioneer's web site at www.visioneer.com. The suggested retail price is $299.99.

Mar 19 - America Online Showcases Latest in Mobile Communications At CTIA Wireless 2003. America Online Inc., the world's leading interactive services company, will showcase the company's latest wireless features and content services for handsets and handheld computing devices from popular brands including the AOL® Instant Messenger™ service, CNN, AOL® Music, ICQ® and T9® Text Input in America Online's exhibit booth (#4653, Hall E) during CTIA Wireless 2003. The show runs from Monday, March 17 through Wednesday, March 19.

With the theme of "Connect, Inform, Entertain," visitors to the AOL booth will find a virtual neighborhood showcasing how AOL's wireless features and services keep consumers in touch with the people and things they care about while they're on the go. A wide-range of products and services will be demonstrated including:

* The AOL Instant Messenger service (AIM®), with instant messaging and Buddy List® features that work across desktop computers, enterprises, handheld computing devices and wireless handsets, including a new color client for wireless devices and clients for SMS, WAP and Java.

* The AOL Mobile Download Store featuring an online library of hundreds of downloadable ringtones, logos and handset screen savers.

* The AOL Music Mobile Club, which extends top AOL Music features to wireless consumers, featuring the ability to listen to music clips, access news and information on popular and up-and-coming artists, as well as download ringtones from a wireless phone.

* The AOL® by Phone service, AOL's popular voice recognition service, which lets members treat their e-mail like voicemail, access free directory assistance, and get their favorite AOL news and entertainment from any phone.

* The newest ICQ applications for sending and receiving wireless instant messages using SMS, Java, Symbian, iMode, WAP and more, via wireless phones and handheld computing devices.

* T9 Text Input enhancements including adaptive text features, new additions to its expanding library of languages, as well as Sloppy Type, a new text input technology specifically designed for mobile touch-screen devices.

For more information about America Online's activities at CTIA Wireless 2003 or on the company's wireless features and services visit www.aol.com.

Mar 19 - Master of Orion 3 is #1 Best-Selling PC Game. Infogrames, Inc., a leading global publisher of interactive entertainment software, is pleased to announce that robust first week sales of the space epic sequel Master of Orion(R) 3 have made the game the Top-Selling PC Game for the week of February 23 - March 1, according to NPD sales data released last week. The game released worldwide on February 25, 2003.

"Master of Orion 3 breaks exciting new ground for one of the most dearly loved gaming series' of all time," says Peter Matiss, Infogrames Brand Director for Master of Orion 3. "We are thrilled to see so many fans answer us with their unabashed enthusiasm for the game and the results are showing at retail."

In Master of Orion 3, the sequel to one of the best-loved strategy games of all time, players assume the biggest role ever. Players become the controlling power behind an entire galactic civilization; the dictators, presidents, councils, and overlords that come and go are merely pawns in the player's arsenal.
One must use these governments, their citizens, and their leaders to secure the destiny of their civilization, to manipulate policies of freedom and oppression in both foreign and domestic arenas. It is not enough to be an able economist or a great starship captain to succeed in Master of Orion 3; considerable political, administrative, research, and espionage skills must be applied to claim the title of Master of Orion.

Featuring a rich Single Player game and up to 8-player simultaneous turn-based Multiplayer, Master of Orion 3 is the definitive 5X Space Strategy game; Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate and now Experience grand strategy as you never have before.

Master of Orion 3 is developed by veteran developer of classic strategy games Quicksilver Software, Inc and features a wide range of multi-player and solitaire play options, 16 highly-distinctive alien races, crisp graphics and an intuitive user interface. Master of Orion 3 is available for Windows 98/ME/2000/XP PCs.

For more information, visit www.infogrames.com.

Mar 18 - HP Extends Mobile Lifestyle with New Wireless Wide Area Network Offerings. HP (NYSE:HPQ) today announced a broad range of wireless wide area network (WWAN) products and service offerings that further enable a mobile lifestyle while delivering outstanding value.

The new technology and services allow mobile professionals using HP notebooks, Tablet PCs and Pocket PCs to securely connect to a variety of high-speed (3G) wireless networks, simplify the wireless connection process and increase productivity.

HP is delivering wireless connectivity products and solutions across the entire wireless spectrum (including PAN, LAN, and WAN) for mobile products. The range of wireless cards and airtime plans on multiple networks available through HP include:

-- AT&T Wireless -- GSM/GPRS

-- Sprint PCS -- CDMA/1XRTT

-- T-Mobile USA -- GSM/GPRS

-- Verizon Wireless -- CDMA/1XRTT

A Choice in WWAN Connectivity

HP is first major technology products and services company to offer mobile customers a choice when accessing wireless data over either CDMA/1XRTT or GSM/GPRS (general packet radio service) networks via a handheld, notebook or Tablet PC. HP now offers customers the option of four wireless carriers and cards for their devices, allowing customers one of the widest choices in wireless coverage nationwide.

Designed to simplify and minimize the implementation efforts of corporate IT departments, this solution can be deployed across various devices. Customers have the ability to choose cards and airtime plans through HP, making one-stop shopping for wireless access a reality.

Estimated U.S. pricing for these cards start at $179 including rebate. More information is available at www.hp.com/go/ipaqsolutionstore.

Mar 18 - New Intel Products Accelerate the Transition to Higher Ethernet Speeds. Intel Corporation today introduced several advanced Ethernet products that help speed data between desktop PCs and servers over enterprise networks. The products promise to accelerate the adoption of Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) connections onto the desktop and the transition to 10-Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) in enterprise data centers.

The new products include a GbE controller, which includes the first implementation of Intel's new Communications Streaming Architecture (CSA), and the industry's first 10GbE server adapter for enterprise networks. Intel also introduced a small-form-factor 10-Gbps XFP optical transceiver that operates at multiple data rates, the industry's first four-port GbE network adapter for servers, and a PCI-based GbE controller for clients.

"Just as ever-growing traffic is driving the need for more lanes on freeways, increasing data traffic is driving the demand for greater bandwidth on enterprise networks," said Tim Dunn, vice president, Intel Communications Group, and general manager, Intel's Platform Networking Group. "Intel's objective is to help ensure that networks keep pace with increasing performance of PCs and servers, and the growing multitude of bandwidth-hungry applications."

New CSA Technology Doubles GbE Throughput

The new Intel(R) PRO/1000 CT Desktop Connection works in tandem with Intel's soon-to-be-released Springdale and Canterwood chipsets to double the performance attainable on desktop-PC GbE-network connections. A generation ahead of other GbE controllers, the PRO/1000 CT connection utilizes Intel's new Communications Streaming Architecture (CSA). CSA is a dedicated bus that connects to the memory controller hub on the chipsets, bypassing the PCI bus on the I/O controller hub, freeing its bandwidth for other I/O operations. The CSA connection provides bidirectional bandwidth of 2 Gbps, twice that of the 32-bit PCI bus.

The increased bandwidth of CSA can significantly improve the performance of a wide range of networking-related applications, enhancing the experience of users running both mainstream programs, such as e-mail, and bandwidth-intensive applications, such as engineering programs requiring remote data-base lookup. These gains are most evident in multitasking situations when the PRO/1000 CT connection is used in conjunction with an Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 processor with Hyper-Threading Technology.

Unless otherwise noted, all of the products will be either sampling or shipping by the end of March. The Intel PRO/1000 CT Desktop Connection is priced at $29.95. The Intel TXN18107 10GbE XFP Optical Transceiver is priced at $500 in volume. The Intel PRO/10GbE LR Server Adapter is priced at $7,995 and will be available in April. The Intel PRO/1000 MT Quad Port Server Adapter is priced at $575. The Intel PRO/1000 MT Network Connection is priced at $29.95.

Additional information about Intel is available at www.intel.com.

Mar 18 - Sony Ericsson Showcases New Mobile Products at CTIA WIRELESS 2003. Sony Ericsson is involving show attendees in the company's display of their new handset portfolio by offering interactive demonstrations of the latest in entertainment, connectivity and imaging at CTIA WIRELESS 2003 (March 17-19).

"This year at CTIA we are bringing our theme "Serious about Fun," to life by offering an interactive exhibit of our mobile handsets and accessories for our target consumer segments," said Urban Gillstrom, Corporate Vice President and Head of Sales & Marketing for North America.

The Sony Ericsson "Fun Zone" will tempt the CTIA show attendees to test out key applications in fun ways, such as engaging them in gaming competitions between arcade consoles and their wireless counterparts, racing a Bluetooth Remote Control Car, or trying their hand at the imaging and music experience centers.

"Show attendees will have the chance to see in action our second generation imaging phone, the T610 and the first Bluetooth integrated CDMA phone, the T608," added Gillstrom. "We continue to drive innovation to its highest level and deliver products that are serious about making it easy for consumers to have fun and stay connected."

Following is an overview of Sony Ericsson's CTIA line-up of new products and accessories:

- T610 - Taking mobile imaging to the next level, Sony Ericsson's T610 is the company's second-generation imaging phone that features a 65K color screen and a built-in camera. A flash accessory can be used with the phone to take pictures in low light environment.

- With the introduction of the T310, Sony Ericsson further builds upon its commitment to provide the latest in mobile gaming and imaging technology.

- The first CDMA phone with integrated Bluetooth technology in the United States, Sony Ericsson's T608 features Java, enabling users to download ring tones, games, images, and other applications directly into the phone.

- The T606 mobile phone is a dual-band CDMA handset that showcases the latest innovations in entertainment and personalization. Its MultiActionTM enhances the gaming experience dramatically.

- For music fans on the go, Sony Ericsson brings the HBM-30, a Bluetooth-enabled hands-free MP3 player.

- Targeted to mobile professionals, the Sony Ericsson GC79 is a new GPRS/Wireless LAN PC-Card that offers global wireless access and fast local connection, providing easy and fast access to e-mails, SMS and fax, as well as access to Internet, intranet and company networks.

For further information, visit www.SonyEricsson.com.

Mar 18 - Infineon Reinforces Leadership in DDR2 SDRAM. Infineon has begun internal qualification of 512Mb DDR2 (second-generation Double-Data-Rate) SDRAM. Targeted for use in next-generation servers, workstations, high-end PCs and notebooks, DDR2 memory will initially offer data rates per pin of 400 Mbps (megabits per second), 533 Mbps and 667 Mbps. Memory modules designed using the 533 Mbps data rate, for example, would have a bandwidth of 4.3 GBps (gigabytes per second).

The JEDEC compliant, 512Mb DDR2 chips, manufactured using Infineon's next generation 110 nm DRAM process technology, are configured as quad-bank DRAMs, and will be available in x4, x8 and x 16 organizations. Additional features of the new components include a pre-fetch size of 4 bits, differential strobe and variable data-output impedance adjustment.

Infineon expects that DDR2 components will appear in end-user systems in 2004. Additional information about Infineon's DDR2 memory products can be found at www.infineon.com/DDR2.

Mar 18 - LapLink Announces Version 2.0 of Everywhere Remote and Mobile Web Service. LapLink Inc. the recognized world leader in file transfer and synchronization announced today at the CTIA Wireless trade show, the release of version 2.0 of the LapLink Everywhere remote and mobile access web service.

LapLink Everywhere enables mobile professionals to have complete access to their desktop files and e-mail from anywhere in the world--quickly, easily and securely. With version 2.0, the company is introducing the added benefit of full remote desktop PC access with the introduction of the Free LapLink Secure VNC client for Windows.

"Up until now, simple and secure remote access to PCs protected by firewalls or home DSL/Cable routers were either highly unsecured and/or incredibly expensive, or required complicated firewall or router configuration. LapLink Everywhere version 2.0 solves this problem at a fraction of the cost as well as providing individuals and IT managers standard and secure options for managing remote and mobile access," said Mark Eppley CEO of LapLink, Inc.
"In addition, we've added no fewer than 25 new features and updates to our existing e-mail, calendar, contact, forms, database, and file transfer options available to any phone, PDA, Notebook, or Desktop PC users.... and now most of these features are available to customers even if they do not use Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express."

LapLink Everywhere, the first and still only device and application independent mobile web access service, offers the ability to access all of your information from up to three computers from any browser-enabled device - phone, PDA, Internet terminal, PC or an Apple Macintosh. New in version 2.0 are a wealth of new capabilities including the following:

-- Remote Desktop PC Access - full browser based remote control
for up to 3 separate PCs using the new LapLink Secure VNC
client software. LapLink has added Windows SSL support to the
open source and well-accepted VNC remote control product as
well as engineering its use thru the LapLink Everywhere secure
network.

-- Remote Desktop, File transfer, Remote Forms, and Database
access are available WITHOUT the previous requirement of
having Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Expressed installed.

-- Enhanced PDA support for all new Internet enabled phones and
PDA devices.

-- Support for archive and public folders in Microsoft Outlook.

-- Enhanced file transfer options affecting performance, direct
folder access, and unattended automatic logoff after large
file transfer sessions.

-- Simplified user interface and increased performance.

LapLink Everywhere offers "Zero Footprint" remote access to any Internet-connected PC from a laptop, another desktop, Web phone, PDA, Internet cafe, or airport kiosk - allowing you to do confidential work from any device without leaving behind your personal files on the device. As long as there is a fully functioning web browser, the operating system of the remote device or computer does not need to match the home/office based PC.
File transfer options use the classic LapLink split screen design and transfer files of any size using a simple, but fast, drag and drop method. File updates are dramatically faster by employing LapLink's patented "SpeedSync" file updating technologies, which only transfer the changes to an updated file, thus saving significant time and bandwidth.

LapLink Everywhere is available for $89.95 for 12 months, $24.95 for 3 months or $9.95 per month and can be downloaded from the LapLink website. Version 2.0 provides for 1 hour per month of the new remote desktop PC service for this same price.
Unlimited monthly remote desktop PC access is $4.95 per month or $29.95 per year for access up to 3 separate computers. LapLink is offering a free 15-day unlimited trial without requiring trial users to input a credit card number available at www.laplink.com.

Mar 18 - Survey Concludes Backing up DVDs is Critical to Protecting Digital Investments. Children and pets are the biggest threats to delicate DVDs according to a survey released today targeting consumers across the United States. Administered by 321 Studios, makers of DVD copying software, the survey results revealed that nearly 40 percent of the respondents stated that their last DVD was destroyed or damaged by a child or a pet.

The survey also revealed the cost-benefit to consumers of backing-up of their DVD investments. With 1,600 respondents reporting ruined DVDs, had they made back-up copies their DVDs, collectively they would have saved $48,000 based on an average replacement price of $30 per DVD.

Additional survey highlights include:

-- Accidents were responsible for 21 percent of the
destruction of a DVD.

-- 20 percent of respondents noted that normal wear and tear
resulted in unreadable or ruined DVDs.

-- 10 percent of consumers reported lost or stolen DVDs.

-- DVD rot, the combination of corrosion and delamination,
where the layers of the disc separate is responsible for 8
percent of ruined DVDs according to respondents. Symptoms
of DVD rot include picture break-up and freezing in a
specific place on the disc. DVD rot is more likely to
occur on dual layer DVDs, and it will usually freeze up
during the layer change.

-- 2 percent of respondents noted that extreme weather
conditions were the cause of ruin of their DVDs.

"Like audio CDs, DVDs can easily get lost, stolen, scratched, damaged by heat or broken by children and pets. By making backup copies, consumers can protect their investments in their DVD libraries," said Robert Moore, president of 321 Studios. "As evidenced by the findings of this survey, consumers have identified a need for making back-up copies. The duplicate copy can be used at home, taken on vacation or played in the car, while the availability of both the original and the backup provide insurance against loss or damage."

For more information about the company, its products or to follow its lawsuit, please visit www.321studios.com or www.dvdxcopy.com. In addition, 321 Studios is fighting to preserve fair use through their advocacy group, ProtectFairUse.org. Consumers can make their voices heard at www.protectfairuse.org.

Mar 17 - Panasonic Introduces Most Advanced Ruggedized Tablet PCs. Panasonic Computer Solutions Company, the leading provider of ruggedized portable computers, today elevated the bar of both notebook and tablet computing with the introduction of two convertible Toughbook(R) CF-18 notebook/pen tablet PC models.

Utilizing Intel(R) Centrino(TM) Mobile Technology and the Intel(R) Pentium(R) M processor for maximum performance with minimal battery drain, the Toughbook(R) CF-18's feature a tilting-and-swiveling 10.4-inch high-visibility display panel that flips and closes over the unit's keyboard to become a fully functional, rugged Microsoft(R) Windows(R) XP Professional or Windows(R) 2000 Touchscreen PC tablet, or--in the digitized-screen variant--a state-of-the-art Windows(R) XP TabletPC.

"The Toughbook 18 is quite simply in a class by itself," said Rance Poehler, president of Panasonic Computer Solutions Company. "It will redefine the tablet PC category while setting new standards for versatility in notebook computing. Panasonic has leveraged its years of experience and engineering to design a tablet PC which provides the durability demands for both white and blue collar applications. The 'convertible' nature of the Toughbook 18 makes it ideal for use from claims adjusters to hospital nurses while also being able to withstand the pounding from Panasonic's Military and Public Safety customers. The Toughbook 18 can be carried up a ladder, hung on a wall as a tablet, or mounted in a vehicle like a standard notebook," notes Poehler.

"It also offers our customers--some of whom regularly find themselves in situations where reliable communication is literally a life and death matter--more simultaneous connectivity options than any other computer in its class, notebook or tablet PC. No longer does a department head or IT manager have to decide between wireless LAN, Bluetooth(TM), CDMA, or GPS access. Now a company can have many options working simultaneously, in an under-five-pound computer that they can depend on to keep them connected in even the most unforgiving operating environments.

As a provider of portable computing systems to some of the most demanding industrial, public service and military organizations in the world, we have always defined ourselves by our ability to deliver high-performance, rugged computers for use anywhere, anytime, under any conditions," comments Poehler. "Typical retail notebook computers have failure rates as high as 20 percent, according to Gartner. In my opinion, retail plastic tablet computers with no ruggedization will experience even higher failure rates than notebook PCs. Carrying into the field a plastic tablet PC with an unprotected glass LCD display is an accident waiting to happen and will present its user with a costly learning experience," further notes Poehler.

Resetting the Baseline of Portable Performance & Power Management

The Toughbook(R) CF-18's have been designed from the ground up to fully exploit Intel(R) Centrino(TM) Mobile Technology platform's unparalleled ability to streamline internal computer instruction operations, increase real-word computing efficiency and prolong battery life. Advanced instruction prediction is used to pre-load instructions based on past program behavior for smoother, faster transitions between operations; power-optimized logic regulates consumption and dissipation levels for lower CPU average power, and intelligent power distribution circuitry focuses the system power where the CPU needs it most.

Intel(R) Centrino(TM) mobile technology communications enhancements include the Intel(R) PRO/Wireless Network Connection 802.11b WLAN support and advanced encryption and security technology for Virtual Private Networks.

Full Pen Tablet Functionality With Maximum OS Flexibility

The Toughbook CF-18 Convertible is available in two models- a Windows(R) XP Professional or Windows(R) 2000 PC notebook that converts to a tablet using standard pen extensions or proprietary Windows-compatible applications and a Windows(R) XP Tablet PC Edition-based notebook with a magnetically digitized display that converts to a 100-percent Tablet PC-compliant pen tablet.

The digitized screen in the Tablet PC version allows users to incorporate handwritten input into Microsoft(R) Office applications, annotate documents imported from a server or other computer, instantly change screen views from portrait to landscape mode and use pen "gestures" to perform such functions as pointing, clicking, selecting and dragging.

Other features integrated into the CF-18 Tablet PC Edition include handwriting-to-text conversion, speech recognition (English, Japanese and simplified Chinese), and Microsoft(R) ClearType(R) technology for maximum text readability.

Innovative LCDs Make Everything Clear Day Or Night

Screen readability, a determinant factor in the usefulness of all portable computers, is especially critical in touchscreen applications where the user must be able to see well enough to write, draw and complete forms on the screen rather than just read text.

An optional, transflective SVGA LCD display on the CF-18 Touchscreen PC delivers extraordinary brightness in all operating environments by automatically balancing ambient light and system backlight, while the Tablet PC's magnetically digitized display is precision engineered to optimize handwriting recognition, drafting and other freehand data-entry tasks.

Display performance in all models is enhanced by an Intel(R) 855GM graphics controller with 64MB of Unified Memory Access.

As Notebook Or Tablet This Convertible Is Mil-Spec Tough

From the bottom of its full magnesium-alloy case--manufactured by Panasonic in its own state-of-the-art metal-fabrication facility--to its sealed port and connector covers, ruggedized case hinge and moisture- and dust-resistant LCD, keyboard and touchpad, the Toughbook 18 has been designed to equal or better the durability standards of all previous fully ruggedized Toughbooks. Both the screen and hard drive are impact isolated and the entire computer has been tested for compliance with MIL STD 810F requirements for four-corner and flat-side shock and vibration absorption, and liquid, dirt and dust ingress protection in extreme operating environments.

Pricing & Configuration

CF-18BDKZZMM XP TabletPC Edition version $3200 estimated street price. CF-18BHKZZDM Touchscreen PC version $3200 estimated street price. Information on Panasonic's full line of notebook PCs for the mobile professional can be obtained at www.panasonic.com/toughbook.

Mar 17 - ATI Unveils Mobility RADEON 7000 IGP. After taking a commanding share of the mobile integrated graphics market over the past year, ATI Technologies Inc. (TSX:ATY, NASDAQ:ATYT) today announced MOBILITY RADEON 7000 IGP, the newest addition to its award-winning lineup of mobile integrated graphics processors for Intel-platform PCs.

The new processor is a performance-enhanced version of its market-leading predecessor, RADEON IGP 340M. MOBILITY RADEON 7000 IGP is the first true mobile IGP to bring support for DDR333 memory to notebook users, which means more memory bandwidth for higher performance and image quality settings. It also includes a variety of performance optimizations resulting in 25% more graphics performance in standard benchmarks.

MOBILITY RADEON 7000 IGP includes support for Intel Pentium(R)-M processors, 400 MHz front side bus, Mobile Intel Pentium(R) 4-M processors, and now 533 MHz front side bus support for the Intel Pentium(R) 4 desktop CPU, which is often used to power a variety of desktop-replacement notebooks.

The RADEON IGP family also features ATI's exclusive FLEXFIT(TM) Universal Platform Architecture, which allows computer manufacturers to design user-upgradeable notebooks by offering a baseline platform and notebook add-in cards. ATI's pin and driver compatible lineup of mobile processors means that OEMs only need to design one motherboard and one add-in card for multiple product segments, and can then deliver user-upgradeability without requiring the user to install a new driver.

The RADEON IGP family uses a 64-bit system architecture and is the first and only integrated graphics solution to support ATI's industry-leading POWERPLAY power management technology. The RADEON IGP family employs a scalable architecture with AGP 4X support, and is also the only mobile IGP family to include ATI's patented Fast Z-Clear technology that increases 3D rendering speed, iDCT for improved DVD quality, TV-out functionality, HYDRAVISION(TM) dual-display support and a full set of award-winning RADEON graphics features.

For more information, visit ATI's Web site at www.ati.com.

Mar 17 - EZQuest Intros High-Performance FireWire 800 External Hard Drive. EZQuest introduced its first 1394B product -- the Cobra+ FireWire 800 external hard drive -- at Cebit Germany last week. The high-performance drive is available in capacities up to 250GB. In addition to a FireWire 800 port, the new drive has a USB 2.0 port and can be used with both Macs and PCs.
It is ideal for transferring and storing large amounts of data. The drive is particularly valuable for recording and mastering studios because it eliminates the need to record to tape. The new drive will ship at the end of April.

"FireWire 800 allows data transfer as fast as 800mbs per second --or the equivalent of a CD full of data, every 10 seconds," said Ebrahim Zmehrir, EZQuest president. "When two or more of our FireWire 800 drives are striped together, data transfer will be twice as fast as it would be with FireWire 400 or USB 2.0. In addition, FireWire 800 is capable of bursting data over 100 meter cables -- twenty times as far as FireWire 400. So, you could set up a recording studio in one room and send data to EZQuest FireWire 800 drives located several rooms away.

"We have also included USB 2.0 ports on these new drives," Zmehrir continued. "This is for our customers who have both Macs and PCs and want to be able to use one drive to transfer or back up large files."

The Cobra+ 120GB FireWire hard drive is housed in a light-gray, streamlined case that is fully shielded with 0.6mm metal. It comes ready to use, and includes a built-in universal auto-switching power supply, a cable and software. Cobra+ is compatible with both Mac OS 8.6, Mac OSX and WIN 98SE, as well as later Mac and WIN versions.

Cobra+ FireWire 800 drives are stackable and ship with Intech Hard Disk Speed Tools, a RAID level-0 striping software for Macs. They are also compatible with the striping software that comes with Windows 2000.

The new drive comes with a one-year warranty. Cobra+ FireWire hard drives are also available with Mac 400 (1394a) ports -- and in 40GB, 60GB, 80GB, 100GB and 120GB sizes. A downloadable Cobra+ FireWire spec sheet and a list of dealers are available at www.ezq.com.

Mar 17 - SanDisk Introduces Four Gigabyte CompactFlash Card. SanDisk Corporation (Nasdaq:SNDK) today introduced a four gigabyte (GB) CompactFlash(R) (CF) card, the world's largest capacity CompactFlash memory card.
With the new announcement, SanDisk is leveraging its production 0.13 micron NAND flash technology and a new advanced high density component package to quadruple the capacity of its largest capacity CF card. The card, which is in the popular Type I CF format, was introduced at a press conference at the CeBIT trade show.

Wes Brewer, senior director of retail product marketing and business development at SanDisk, said, "With the continued growth in camera resolution and corresponding file sizes, many professional and prosumer-class cameras are requiring higher capacity memory cards than are currently available. Larger card capacities are also being driven in the point and shoot category of cameras by the addition of Motion JPEG video clips and audio support for both still and motion images. SanDisk's ability to pack 4GB's into a Type I CompactFlash card is perfectly matched to sales trends in a growing segment of the digital imaging marketplace."

With this unprecedented flash storage, more than 4,000 high resolution pictures could be stored on the 4GB CompactFlash card, or more than 1,000 digital songs or even a full length DVD movie. SanDisk also introduced a 2GB Type I CF card at CeBIT.

SanDisk CompactFlash cards are all built in the Type I format which fit into any CompactFlash slot. More than 500 different consumer electronics devices have CF slots today. High capacity CF cards (including the MicroDrive) from other manufacturers typically are built to the thicker Type II format and will only fit in a limited number of devices available today.

The 4GB CompactFlash card has a suggested retail price of $999.99 and is expected to start shipping this summer. The 2GB CF card has a suggested retail price of $499.99 and is expected to start shipping this summer.

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

Mar 17 - SanDisk Introduces World's Smallest Removable Flash Card for Mobile Phones -- miniSD Card. SanDisk Corporation (Nasdaq:SNDK) today introduced the SanDisk miniSD(TM) card, a new thumbnail-sized flash memory card that is designed to meet the needs of the mobile phone market for greater storage capacity in the smallest possible physical form factor. The miniSD card was recently adopted by the SD Association as an ultra-small form factor extension to the SD card standard.

The SanDisk miniSD card is targeted at the new generation of 2.5G and 3G mobile phones that offer storage-intensive features such as digital cameras, video capture, MP3 players, video games, personal information management (PIM), email and voicemail capabilities. SanDisk will start customer shipments of the new miniSD card in March 2003.

The miniSD card offers significant savings in card area and volume, two critical design parameters for the new generation of increasingly miniaturized mobile phones. Compared to standard SD cards, the miniSD card saves more than 40% of the printed circuit board area and more than 60% of the volume required to support the card in a portable device. SanDisk will offer a wide range of memory capacities in the new format, with 16, 32, 64, 128 and 256 megabytes (MB) expected to ship in 2003. The new card will use SanDisk's NAND flash and SD controller technology.

"The miniSD card that we are announcing today may become one of the most important cards introduced by SanDisk in recent years", said Eli Harari, President and CEO of SanDisk. "The miniSD form-factor was developed by the SD Card Association, founded by Matsushita, SanDisk and Toshiba, as well as leading OEM's in mobile communications. The new generation mobile cell phones introduced this year are differentiated primarily by their exciting multimedia capabilities, including cameras, MP3 players, and internet messaging, which are expected to drive the requirement for removable flash storage cards."

Harari continued, "Mobile phone manufacturers are looking for ways to accelerate the replacement cycle among their customers, while mobile service providers are anxious to increase the adoption by their customers of new applications beyond voice communication. In recent quarters, the sale of mobile phones incorporating digital cameras has been accelerating. This trend, which was started in Japan and Korea is now spreading to Europe and, we believe, will reach the US, China, and other large markets for cell phones in the next one to two years.
"Although these camera phones generally have lower image resolution than conventional digital cameras, many of the new cell phone models that are planned for introduction later this year sport good resolution 1 megapixel and 2 megapixel cameras that will elevate the need for flash cards for image storage. Therefore this new market represents a considerable incremental opportunity for the sale of our miniSD cards, starting as early as the second quarter for the low capacity bundled cards sold to OEM's, and as early as the second half of the year for the higher capacity flash storage cards sold in the retail aftermarket for use in these camera equipped cell phones.
"With the new miniSD form factor, we believe mobile phone designers will have a much easier time and greater freedom in fitting a card slot into their designs. End users will benefit by being able to use the miniSD adapter to exchange data between their miniSD-equipped mobile phone and any SD compatible host, such as a digital camera, PDA or laptop PC."

A key benefit of the miniSD card is that it is both electrically and software compatible with the existing SD standard. It uses the same SD interface, including security features for content protection (CPRM -- Content Protection Rights Management) as the standard SD card. As an extension of the existing SD card standard, the miniSD card allows mobile phone and consumer electronics developers to leverage their current SD-based designs with no changes to software or electronics.
To allow interoperability with standard SD devices, SanDisk will also offer an adapter that converts the miniSD card into the SD card form factor. The adapter allows the miniSD card to fit into existing SD card slots, and thereby provide compatibility with the rapidly growing number of SD compatible devices in the market.

SanDisk will initially sell the miniSD card through its Japanese retail distribution channels starting in Q2 with worldwide expansion planned in the second half of the year. In order to reach the broadest set of devices for the miniSD, the SanDisk-branded miniSD cards will be packaged with a full-sized SD adapter. This will allow consumers to use their miniSD card in both miniSD slots and regular SD slot devices for maximum flexibility.

Suggested retail pricing for the miniSD plus SD adapter will be 3,480 yen (US$29) for the 32MB card, which is approximately the same price of an SD card of the same capacity. Prices on higher capacities have not been set.

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

Mar 17 - Visioneer Announces the OneTouch 9220 USB. Visioneer, a leader in intelligent imaging solutions, today announced the newest addition to their Slimline scanner series, the Visioneer OneTouch(TM) 9220 USB color flatbed scanner. A powerful 48-bit, Hi-speed USB 2.0 scanner, the new OneTouch 9220 USB is an extremely fast imaging solution with a suggested retail price of only $149.99.

"The OneTouch 9220 USB is perfect for the photo enthusiast who wants to scan traditional prints, 35mm slides or negatives," said Murray L. Dennis, Visioneer's President and CEO. "It also works well for establishing a paperless office or creating colorful projects for print or Internet use. With it's Hi-Speed USB 2.0 interface, it can scan a 4"x 6" photo at 300 dpi in less than 7 seconds and a full color page at 300 dpi in less than 15 seconds."

The OneTouch 9220 USB is the next generation in Visioneer's Slimline scanner series and is able to scan up to three 35mm slides or 4 negatives at once. The scanner's high 2400 x 4800 optical resolution eliminates jagged edges and captures the finest detail from originals. That is enough to turn a 4"x 6" photo into a 32"x 48" poster with no loss of detail.
It also features 48-bit internal color and Visioneer's patented FlashBack(TM) Bi-directional AutoScan Technology. The scanner also comes with a Hi-speed USB 2.0 interface that is backwards compatible with USB 1.1 ports. "Hi-speed USB 2.0" devices have data transfer rates of up to 40 times faster than devices that are rated "Full-speed USB 2.0."

Designed For Ease-of-Use

Visioneer's OneTouch scanners are engineered for both first-time and experienced scanner users. All Slimline scanners come with five buttons to scan, copy, OCR, email, and perform a custom task. The buttons are pre-configured at the optimal settings for these most common tasks; so first-time users can start scanning immediately.

The Visioneer OneTouch 9220 USB is currently available through authorized retailers, computer super stores and online services, mail order catalogs and from Visioneer's web site at www.visioneer.com. The suggested retail price is $149.99.

Mar 16 - Sunday Shopping Watch.

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

Weekly Comparison. This is a very good weekend to go out and buy a desktop or laptop. There are 4 laptops in our area stores for under $1000. There are also some very good deals on low-priced 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.)

Best Buy is offering 6 months of MSN with any desktop or laptop purchase. They are also offering $150 mail-in rebates on all Pentium 4 desktop packages and on all laptops. In addition, they have 18 month no-interest financing on all desktop packages and laptops.
Circuit City is offering 12 months no-interest financing and $100 gift cards on Intel Pentium 4 processor desktop packages and laptops.
Office Depot has 12 months no-interest financing on computer purchases over $298, plus they are offering a free (after rebates) D-Link 4-port Wireless Router with any desktop or laptop purchase.
CompUSA In celebration of its 19th anniversary, CompUSA has some great deals. They are offering a free wireless networking package (after rebates) with the purchase of any desktop or notebook computer. They also have mail-in rebates of $100 on AMD Athlon XP processor desktop and monitor bundles, $150 on AMD Athlon XP processor laptops, and $150 on Intel Pentium 4 desktop and monitor bundles. In addition, they have 12 months no payment, no interest financing for purchases over $198.
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
None Advertised
     
1. Best Low-cost Pentium 4 System
Compaq 2.4 GHz with 17" monitor and DVD/CD-RW
$899
-
Staples
2. Best Low-cost Pentium 4 System
HP 2.53 GHz with 17" monitor and DVD-RW
$1049
-
CompUSA
1. Best High-end Pentium 4 System
HP 2.53 GHz Media Center with 15" flat panel
$1649
-
CompUSA
2. Best High-end Pentium 4 System
HP 2.53 GHz complete system with 15" flat panel and DVD-RW
$1699
-
Best Buy
3. Best High-end Pentium 4 System
HP 2.53 GHz complete system with 15" flat panel and DVD-RW
$1299 (build-to-order)
-
Best Buy
4. Best High-end Pentium 4 System
Sony 2.53 GHz complete system with 15" flat panel and DVD-RW
$1829
-
Best Buy
Best Low-cost Athlon XP System
Compaq 2200+ complete system
$699
-
CompUSA
1. Best Low-cost Notebook
HP Athlon XP 1800+ with DVD/CD-RW
$849
-
CompUSA
2. Best Low-cost Notebook
Sony Athlon XP 1800+ with DVD/CD-RW
$1149
-
CompUSA
3. Best Low-cost Notebook
Toshiba 1.8 GHz Pentium 4-M with DVD
$799
-
CompUSA
4. Best Low-cost Notebook
Compaq 1.6 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW
$799
-
Best Buy
5. Best Low-cost Notebook
Compaq 1.8 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW
$899
-
Best Buy
6. Best Low-cost Notebook
HP 1.8 GHz Pentium 4-M with DVD/CD-RW
$1149
-
Staples
1. Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba 2.4 GHz Pentium 4-M with DVD/CD-RW
$1199
-
CompUSA
2. Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba 1.4 GHz Intel Centrino with DVD/CD-RW
$1999
-
CompUSA
Peripherals
Best Sunday Deal
Western Digital 7200 RPM 200 GB hard drive
$179
(after rebates)
-
CompUSA
Best Sunday Deal
Western Digital 7200 RPM 120 GB hard drive
$89
(after rebates)
-
Circuit City
Best Sunday Deal
Western Digital 7200 RPM 200 GB hard drive
$179
(after rebates)
-
CompUSA
Best Sunday Deal
Western Digital 7200 RPM 75 GB hard drive + 256 MB PC133 RAM
$74
(after rebates)
-
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
Windows XP Professional
$149
-
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
CompUSA (Maxtor) 7200 RPM 120 GB hard drive
$79
(after rebates)
-
CompUSA
Best Sunday Deal
256 MB CompactFlash card
$49
(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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