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InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors

May 23-31 2001

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

InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors Article Index
Date
(Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to the Index.)
May 31 Leading Linux Companies Announce Alliance to Help Linux Mature
May 31 QPS Ships USB 2.0 External CD-RW Drive
May 31 Pioneer Supplies DVD-R/RW Drives to Sony for VAIO Computer Line
May 31 EarthLink Teams with RadioCentral For Launch of ``EarthLink Radio"
May 31 PC Connection to Acquire Cyberian Outpost
May 30 Dell Launches 64-Bit Itanium Workstation
May 30 IBM Delivers New Itanium-Based Systems
May 30 Red Hat Announces Red Hat Linux 7.1 for Itanium Processor
May 30 3Com's Wireless Bluetooth PC Card Enables Simple Connectivity
May 30 Ressearch Firm Warns Intel Must Use Caution During Pentium 4 Transition
May 29 Manufacturers to Ship First Intel Itanium-Based Systems in June
May 29 HP Announces Itanium-Based Systems, Services and Solutions
May 29 Hitachi HDTV Monitors Feature Advanced Digital Signal Processing
May 29 Survey Reveals 20 Million Web Users Have Paid for Online Content
May 27 Sunday Shopping Watch
May 26 AMD and Transmeta Announce Cooperation On Future Microprocessor Standards
May 26 InfoHQ new article, Building a 1.2 GHz DDR Athlon with the Iwill KA266-R Motherboard
May 26 IBM Builds Linux Supercomputer to Speed the Search for Oil
May 26 Low Income Users are Largest Group Online in UK
May 25 American Megatrends Inc. Announces Testing Program for AMIBIOS8
May 25 Two in Three Companies Plan Upgrades to Cabling Infrastructure
May 25 DSL's Value-Added Services Will Position Industry for Revitalization
May 24 Dell Readies Itanium-Based PowerEdge Server
May 24 NEC, Sony, and Fujitsu Choose AMD Processors for New Notebooks
May 24 Electronic Component Manufacturers Don't Expect Relief Until Q4 2001 or Q1 2002
May 24 Send Internet Photos Five Times Faster With PhotoStreak
May 24 FIC Teams With Silicon Wave To Develop Global Bluetooth Market
May 23 IBM Delivers New Affordable Thin Servers and Web Appliances
May 23 CSR To Bring Bluetooth Functionality to Compaq Notebooks
May 23 Dell Launches New, Easy-To-Use Workstation Design
May 23 IBM First to Offer Wireless Access Across All Its Product Lines
May 23 1394 Trade Association Introduces Newest Version of the 1394 Multimedia Standard

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

May 31 - Leading Linux Companies Announce Alliance to Help Linux Mature. Fujitsu Limited, Hitachi Limited, IBM, and NEC Corp. today announced a partnership that will capitalize on the companies' global resources to refine features needed to drive Linux further into the enterprise. The companies, implementing a shared common plan to help Linux mature, will work together with the Linux community to develop various open source projects.

By working on open source projects, the partnership will ultimately offer customers added Linux features to deploy in their enterprises. One of the first projects the companies will work on will be a serviceability project designed to enhance problem isolation, the ability to quickly and precisely isolate problems in running systems. Other projects planned include scalability, and NUMA (Non-Uniform Memory Access) capabilities for Linux. The companies plan to work closely with the open source community to gain its insights and acceptance, while delivering simple, modular, high-quality, serviceable results.

Today, enterprises and research institutions are increasingly looking to Linux to meet their critical e-business applications. Linux is the fastest growing server operating system, growing at 166 percent last year according to IDC; with the number of users growing from about 1,000 in 1992 to about 9 million last year. By working together and with the Open Source Community, IBM, Hitachi, Fujitsu and NEC hope to accelerate that growth.

"Linux is rapidly becoming an enabler of e-business," said Dr. Daniel Frye, Director, IBM Linux Technology Center. "This move today will help ensure that Linux gains in functionality and will ultimately provide technology decision makers a greater choice for their server environment."

"Linux has proven itself to be a promising operating environment for Internet businesses. Hitachi believes it will continue to grow as an essential component for enterprise systems," said Nobumasa Mori, general manager of Open Platform Solutions Operational Division. "Hitachi provides a wide range of Linux servers, from PC to Mainframe. We will also provide a variety of middleware products on Linux, so that Linux can easily be deployed both in the Internet and enterprise environments. Hitachi has experience and many achievements in the enterprise system area. By making the most of its technology and experience, Hitachi is ready to contribute to the Linux community."

"Having been cultivated in the open source community, Linux has risen with remarkable speed to become an Internet server standard," said Akira Ozora, general manager of Fujitsu Limited's Linux Division. "Fujitsu will supply robust and efficient hardware and software components to penetrate the enterprise and public system Internet server markets. In this regard, we consider Linux to be an extremely important enabler of the Internet, and we intend to contribute as much as possible to improving the reliability, stability and scalability of Linux."

"In addition to network servers, the usage of Linux is now being expanded to the enterprise servers," said Hiroshi Katayama, Chief Manager, First Computer Software Division, NEC Solutions. "NEC will be able to contribute to its acceleration by providing its technology accumulated through long experience in this market under this alliance."

May 31 - QPS Ships USB 2.0 External CD-RW Drive. QPS Inc. announced today that its Que! USB 2.0 8x8x32 external CD-RW drive, for USB 2.0-equipped PCs, is now shipping.

The fast, new drive is also backward compatible with USB 1.1 (for USB 1.1-equipped PCs) at speeds of 4x4x8. The Que! USB 2.0 allows users to utilize the high-speed capabilities of USB 2.0 (Hi-Speed USB) to easily and quickly record, erase and rewrite CDs -- and is ideal for archiving and exchanging any kind of data including MP3 audio.

Que! is the first USB 2.0 CD-RW drive for PCs to arrive at major retailers such as CompUSA and Fry's Electronics.

"Our new Que! USB 2.0 drive capitalizes on the new Hi-Speed USB format, which supports transfer rates up to 480Mbps, allowing use of devices that demand much higher bandwidth, such as fast CD-RW drives and hard drives," said Pierre Abboud, vice president of QPS. "This unique ability gives consumers more choices and the option of using our faster CD-RW drive, now with a USB 1.1-equipped computer, and to use the same drive at even faster speeds when they upgrade to USB 2.0 or buy a new computer equipped with the Hi-Speed USB 2.0 interface."

In addition to 8x write and rewrite speeds, the Que! offers up to 32x read performance on both CD-R and CD-RW media. Complete and ready to install, the plug-and-play drive comes with 2MB of buffer RAM for application flexibility. It also includes CD mastering software, CD-R and CD-RW media, a protective carrying bag and all necessary accessories. The U.S. price is $249 MSRP.

The company can be found on the Web at www.qps-inc.com.

May 31 - Pioneer Supplies DVD-R/RW Drives to Sony for VAIO Computer Line. Pioneer New Media Technologies Inc., the leader in recordable DVD technology, today announced that Pioneer is now supplying its DVR-103 combination DVD/CD Recordable/Re-recordable drives to Sony Corp. on an OEM basis for the VAIO line of computers.

The drive supports reading and writing on CD-R/RW discs and DVD-R/RW discs, meeting all reading and recording needs with one drive. Pioneer has been supplying the drive to major computer manufacturers including Apple, Compaq and NEC/Packard Bell since the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2001 (January to March 2001).

"We're very pleased to see our drive reaching end-users through multiple OEM channels," said Hani Gabriel, senior vice president of sales and marketing, optical systems division for Pioneer. "We believe our DVD-R/RW drives offer consumers the best possible option for recording data or video to DVD discs. The addition of this drive will greatly enhance any OEM's product offering."

Demand for large-capacity media and drives capable of storing edited data files has been growing rapidly with the proliferation of computers and software that allow users to edit digital image data.

There is also a strong demand for CD-R/RW drives and discs now that they have become more affordable. Since Pioneer's DVD-R/RW drives are capable of reading and writing both DVD and CD media, Pioneer offers a single computer peripheral suitable for digital audio and video editing and recording.

"Pioneer has a proven track record of bringing new technology to market," said Andy Parsons, senior vice president of product development and technical support. "Our DVD-R/RW drive offers three key features -- multiple format support, compatibility with most existing video players and DVD-ROM drives and a price that reflects a 94% reduction from our first generation DVD-R drive released in 1998."

During its current fiscal year, Pioneer will significantly expand the production capacity of DVD-R/RW drives in China, operation of which has just begun in May, in order to attain its worldwide production objective of more than 1 million DVD-R/RW drives. Renamed the DVR-A03 for the aftermarket, the drive is now shipping to distributors for the MSRP of $995.

For more information, visit www.pioneerelectronics.com.

May 31 - EarthLink Teams with RadioCentral For Launch of ``EarthLink Radio". EarthLink (Nasdaq:ELNK), the nation's second largest Internet service provider (ISP) as ranked by paid subscribers, and RadioCentral, a pioneering provider of custom interactive radio programming for commerce and content Web sites, have launched EarthLink Radio.

The fully-interactive online radio station caters to EarthLink's 4.8 million subscribers while serving the entire online community via www.earthlink.net. Powered by RadioCentral, EarthLink Radio lets `Net surfers enjoy the same popular music found on many of America's top radio stations.

Combining great sound with a range of programming, EarthLink's new Internet radio feature represents a growing shift in the way audio content is used on major commercial Web sites. The music is professionally programmed and typical radio station commercial interruptions are minimized. Instead of a barrage of radio chat and commercials, listeners hear only brief mentions of products, services and promotions between every few songs.

"Because it requires no downloads or external media players, EarthLink Radio makes it extremely easy for EarthLink subscribers and other visitors to enjoy the popular music whenever they surf the `Net," said Erika Jolly, EarthLink's vice president of consumer products and services. "This latest EarthLink feature enriches our user experience while giving us a great avenue to promote our products and services."

"EarthLink is among the first Web sites in the world to have its own live, truly interactive radio stations," said Eric Rhoads, president and chief executive officer of RadioCentral. "RadioCentral blends the proven efficacy of terrestrial radio with the accessibility of the Internet to create high-quality, leading-edge radio stations that listeners can't always get locally."

EarthLink subscribers and visitors can listen to EarthLink Radio from the EarthLink homepage (http://www.earthlink.net/), the EarthLink Entertainment page (http://entertainment.earthlink.com/), and the newly redesigned Personal Start Page(SM) (http://start.earthlink.net/).

May 31 - PC Connection to Acquire Cyberian Outpost. PC Connection, Inc. (NASDAQ: PCCC), a leading direct marketer of information technology products and solutions, and Cyberian Outpost, Inc. (Outpost.com) (NASDAQ: COOL), a leading Internet provider of consumer technology and e-business services, today announced they have signed a definitive merger agreement.
The transaction is structured as a stock-for-stock, tax-free merger and will be accounted for under the purchase method of accounting. The Boards of both companies have unanimously approved the transaction and expect it to close in the third quarter of 2001. The merger is subject to approval of the Cyberian Outpost stockholders and to other closing conditions.
In announcing the transaction, Patricia Gallup, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PC Connection, Inc., stated, "We welcome Cyberian Outpost to the growing family of PC Connection companies. This acquisition is consistent with our stated growth strategy and complements our existing business. Based on anticipated cost savings and gross margin enhancements, we believe the transaction will be accretive to PC Connection's earnings per share in the first year."

May 30 - Dell Launches 64-Bit Itanium Workstation. Dell (Nasdaq:DELL), the world's leading workstation provider, today announced availability of the Dell Precision(tm) Workstation 730 -- based on the Intel(R) Itanium(tm) processor -- for U.S. customers who plan on transitioning to an industry-standard 64-bit computing architecture.

Dell plans to make the product available worldwide later this year.

The Dell Precision Workstation 730 marks a key development in creating an open market for 64-bit workstations. New 64-bit systems can accomplish roughly double the amount of work as 32-bit systems in a given amount of time. Previously, customers had to purchase expensive UNIX workstations based on proprietary hardware and operating systems -- often making them dependent on a single vendor --to get the high-end capabilities of 64-bit computing.

"This is good news for customers. It is an economic fact that open markets create competition, and competition means customers get better products at lower prices," said Jeff Clarke, vice president, Client Product Group. "This is our first step in bringing the efficiency, simplicity, and low cost structure of Dell's direct business model to the 64-bit market. We will compete aggressively to provide the best possible service and value to workstation customers."

Dell designed the Dell Precision Workstation 730 for large business customers, software developers and scientific users to take advantage of the new Intel Itanium 64-bit processor.

The Dell Precision Workstation 730 provides an ideal development and testing platform for customers who intend to migrate applications to the new architecture. Customers running technical scientific applications with large data sets should see an immediate benefit from the large amount of system memory and impressive floating point performance -- a measure of how many mathematical computations per second the processor can handle. These features are also critical to digital content creation, computer-aided engineering and design, fluid simulation and dynamics, and other compute-intensive applications.

Dell is working with numerous independent software vendors including SolidWorks, Unigraphics Solutions, Newtek, SDRC, MSC Software, Monis Software, and Cakewalk as they develop 64-bit versions of their applications.

For more details on the Dell's Itanium-based systems, visit www.dell.com/itanium.

Pricing and Availability

Starting at $7,999(a), the Dell Precision Workstation 730 comes with a single Intel Itanium processor at 733 MHz, 1 GB SDRAM, Matrox Millenium G450 graphics card, 18 GB(b) SCSI hard disk drive, and a one-year next-business day onsite service(c). The Dell Precision Workstation 730 is available for order today from Dell's direct sales teams.

Dell Precision Workstations

Dell Precision Workstations are intended for professional users who demand exceptional performance in the digital content creation (DCC), computer-aided design (CAD), geographic information systems (GIS), computer animation, software development and financial analysis markets. For more information about Dell Precision Workstations visit www.dell.com/precision.

May 30 - IBM Delivers New Itanium-Based Systems. IBM (NYSE:IBM) today announced new Intel(R) Itanium(TM)-based eServer(a) and IntelliStation(R) workstations which will form a new Linux(R) supercluster at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Capable of 1 trillion calculations per second, a cluster of 160 new IBM Itanium-based systems will be the most powerful Linux supercluster in academia.

Scientists will use NCSA's IBM eServer clusters to study a wide range of research problems, from how gas flows over surfaces at supersonic speeds to simulations of black hole collisions, which demonstrate principles of Einstein's General Relativity Theory. The new Itanium-based eServer cluster will complement the cluster of 512 eServer x330's installed earlier this year.

"Linux, Itanium and IBM create a very strong combination," said Dan Reed, director of NCSA and the National Computational Science Alliance. "We have been running Linux on IBM Itanium-based servers and workstations for quite some time and have seen very good performance on applications. These new systems will provide great additions to the eServer x330 based-Linux Supercluster that is already installed."

New eServer

The new eServer x380, IBM's first Itanium-based server, was designed as the industry standard reference platform for IA-64 development efforts. Available with up to four processors, the x380 delivers increased performance for data intensive applications such as data mining and data warehousing, online transaction processing and security applications. In addition, the x380 is available with up to 64GB(1) of memory permitting in-memory processing of data intensive applications, which helps avoid bottlenecks. System also includes hot swap and redundant fans and four power supplies, along with hot-swap PCI technology.

Targeted towards bringing high-end Intel computing into the technical environment and data center, the x380 can scale up to four processors and scale out to hundreds of nodes using industry standard clustering technology.

New IntelliStation Z Pro

The new IntelliStation Z Pro announced today is IBM's first workstation to take advantage of Itanium, creating new solutions for engineers, media creators and scientists. Working in collaboration with the University of Minnesota, NCSA scientists using the new IntelliStation Z Pro to study gas flow dynamics have achieved single-processor performance in excess of 650 megaflops. Engineers can take advantage of floating point performance to run compute-intensive applications, such as finite analysis, on lower-cost platforms. And media creators can design more life-like animations while reducing rendering time.

"Few tasks are more complex or demanding of the capabilities of the host platform," says Chris Ford, senior product manager, Alias 5/8Wavefront, a leading software developer of 2D and 3D graphic technology for film and video, interactive media and industrial design. "Maya's unparalleled capabilities in physical-based simulation utilize the Itanium processors floating point performance to maximize throughput of the most complex problems imaginable."

The IntelliStation Z Pro is one of the most reliable workstations available, with rigorous testing in design and manufacturing, a three-year limited warranty (2), and the opportunity to communicate directly with the engineering development team through the "Ask Engineering" program. Systems will be available June 29, and prices start at $16,799 (3).

NCSA

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications is the leading-edge site for the National Computational Science Alliance. NCSA is a leader in the development and deployment of cutting-edge high-performance computing, networking, and information technologies. The National Science Foundation, the state of Illinois, the University of Illinois, industrial partners, and other federal agencies fund NCSA. For more information see http://www.ncsa.uiuc.edu

For more information, visit www.ibm.com/eserver or www.ibm.com/intellistation.

May 30 - Red Hat Announces Red Hat Linux 7.1 for Itanium Processor. Red Hat, Inc. (Nasdaq:RHAT), the leader in developing, deploying and managing open source solutions, announced today the availability of Red Hat Linux 7.1 for the Itanium(TM) Processor.

Red Hat Linux 7.1 for the Itanium Processor features the Red Hat Linux 7.1 operating system with the new 2.4 kernel. This configuration supports the very large address space of Itanium-based systems and scales efficiently to eight or more Itanium processors running as a single system image. New configuration tools and security enhancements are also available in this new release from Red Hat.

Red Hat Linux 7.1 for the Itanium Processor is designed for developing and porting applications that require superior performance on high-end servers and workstations. This release is equally suited to porting 32-bit applications or RISC applications to Itanium-based systems, as well as developing new applications for Itanium-based processor systems that are designed for superior performance on high-end servers and workstations for mission-critical reliability.

"Intel recognized very early that Linux was going to be a very important operating system in the future, and we are pleased that they chose to work with Red Hat as a strategic technology developer. Red Hat Linux 7.1 for the Itanium Processor will enable the enterprise and technical computing communities to take full advantage of Intel's new technology running on the industry's standard Linux platform," said Michael Tiemann, CTO, Red Hat.

"With the release of Red Hat Linux 7.1 for the Itanium processor-based systems, developers should be confident that the technology, support and leadership is in place to successfully develop, deploy and manage 64-bit Linux applications and services," said Victor Krutul, Linux Technology Mgr, Intel Corporation.

New Features and Benefits of Red Hat Linux 7.1 for the Itanium Processor:

-- 2.4 Kernel positions Red Hat Linux as an enterprise class

operating system. Provides significantly improved
multiprocessor support, makes virtual memory effectively
limitless, supports 64 GB of physical RAM, supports greater
number of users and groups, includes revised scheduler to
handle more processes, carries increased and improved device
support, as well as an improved multi-threaded network stack
and virtual filesystem.

-- Heightened Security delivers secure default settings that
keep ports closed and Internet utilities inactive until
needed. A new firewall screen enables users to turn on or off
as many features as desired for totally customized security.

-- Configuration tools make system administration easier than
ever with BIND (DNS), Apache and Print tool.

-- Installer enhancements improve the user experience by
providing a graphical Kickstart configuration tool for
unattended installation.

-- Desktop Functionality includes updated GNOME & KDE, popular
graphical environments where users can choose their preferred
desktop, and Mozilla, a Web browser, email client and news
reader that provides a complete open source Web and messaging
client.

-- XFree86 4.0.3 interface supports 2D and 3D graphics.

-- USB support for "hot pluggable" devices.

-- New 200-page Customization Guide.

Red Hat Linux 7.1 for the Itanium Processor will be available for download and from hardware partners in the coming weeks. For more information on Red Hat Linux 7.1 for the Itanium Processor, please visit http://www.redhat.com/products/software/linux/7-1_itanium.html.

May 30 - 3Com's Wireless Bluetooth PC Card Enables Simple Connectivity. As a step in enabling personal electronic devices to connect effortlessly without cables, 3Com Corporation (Nasdaq:COMS) today announced the worldwide availability of its Bluetooth(TM) PC Card, featuring a radically simple 3Com Connection Manager for Bluetooth software package and an innovative antenna design.
The 3Com(R) Wireless Bluetooth PC Card allows mobile users to instantly share information (such as data files, text documents and contact lists) among Bluetooth-enabled personal devices including notebooks, desktop PCs, cell phones and handhelds.

As one of nine promoter companies in the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, 3Com has been a driving force in determining the latest industry standard Bluetooth specifications. 3Com's Wireless Bluetooth PC Card is among the first to market based on the new Bluetooth 1.1 specification. The new specification includes a number of enhancements to the original 1.0 specification, and is intended to ensure compatibility among Bluetooth products regardless of the vendor.

"The simple and ad hoc nature of Bluetooth connections is ideal for personal devices such as mobile phones and PDAs and is also a perfect complement to the inherent structure of a local area network (either wired or wireless) for computing devices like laptops. Bluetooth is an integral component of 3Com's complete communications solutions that enable simple, reliable and secure mobile connectivity," said Rick Maule, vice president and general manager of 3Com's Mobile Connectivity Division.
"3Com's Bluetooth products demonstrate our solid heritage in serving the connectivity needs of the mobile worker, and with our distribution channels, we will be a powerful force in placing standards-based Bluetooth products in the hands of consumer, road warrior and enterprise customers."

Delivering on the Promise of Bluetooth

3Com's wireless Bluetooth products enable users to conveniently connect without cables, share files among personal devices, establish a quick dial-up Internet connection via a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone or print to a Bluetooth-enabled printer without logging onto the local network. With this new technology, exchanging files in a conference room or checking email on the road can be accomplished without cables, in a matter of seconds.

In April 2001, Cahners In-Stat Group estimated that shipments of Bluetooth-enabled products will soar to 955 million units by 2005. "For Bluetooth to successfully live up to its potential of universal adoption, it must be easy to install and manage. We are encouraged that 3Com's products are simple to use. The future is bright for this emerging technology with enormous potential, and 3Com is on the leading edge of what is sure to be the future of personal wireless networking," said Joyce Putscher with Cahners In-Stat.

3Com's Radically Simple Software

Building on its rich history of innovations in mobile connectivity, the 3Com Connection Manager for Bluetooth software ships with each PC Card and provides radically simple connectivity for the mobile worker:

-- Exchanging files or printing is a simple, one-step,

drag-and-drop process.

-- Recognizing other Bluetooth devices requires no user

interaction. Discovery is done automatically by the 3Com

Connection Manager for Bluetooth software.

-- Multiple security options allow users to control access to

their device.

- A fully discoverable setting enables other Bluetooth
devices to recognize and transact with the Bluetooth
device.

- A medium level of security enables other Bluetooth devices
to recognize the Bluetooth device, but requires a password
to communicate.

- The highest level of security cloaks the Bluetooth device
from other devices, and transactions are only possible
with a password from authorized devices.

-- The 3Com Connection Manager for Bluetooth software and
firmware are flash upgradeable, providing a future-proof
upgrade path as additional profiles are added to the Bluetooth
specification, protecting customers' investment in this new
technology.

Innovative Antenna Design


3Com's Wireless Bluetooth Type II form factor PC Card features 3Com's patented XJACK(R) antenna, which folds conveniently into the PC Card when not in use. This innovative design eliminates the need to remove the card from the notebook. When extended, the XJACK antenna reduces dead zones and interference by providing true omni-directional coverage. 3Com's card is also functional with the antenna retracted, so it does not interfere with other PC cards using the second PC Card slot.

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi(TM) (802.11b) Wireless Networking

As a leading provider of both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (802.11b) wireless products, 3Com recognizes the complementary nature of the technologies, objectively playing to the advantages of each, and enabling them to coexist. Bluetooth is designed for quick bursts of low-bandwidth information in a cable replacement scenario, while Wi-Fi is the ideal wireless LAN technology for transferring high-bandwidth files or for always-on Internet and network connectivity. Bluetooth's purpose and design allows small computing equipment such as notebooks, cell phones and handheld computers to complete small data transfers using a less expensive, smaller-footprint device and significantly lower power consumption.

Pricing & Availability

The 3Com Wireless Bluetooth PC Card, including the 3Com Connection Manager for Bluetooth software, (model No. 3CRWB6096) is scheduled to be available in June 2001 for a US list price of $149. 3Com's Wireless Bluetooth PC Card will be sold through standard 3Com channels, including traditional retail partners, distributors, resellers, VARs, catalog and at 3Com.com. The PC Card and software comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

For further information, visit www.3com.com.

May 30 - Ressearch Firm Warns Intel Must Use Caution During Pentium 4 Transition. Intel is in the midst of a processor generational change that is as important as any previous change (486 to Pentium, Pentium to Pentium II), according to Cahners In-Stat/MDR.

In light of this, the high-tech market research firm finds that, despite the company's dominance in the market, several issues will have an impact on Intel's success. "Intel must carefully manage the transition to Pentium 4, as any miscalculations could further reduce ASP and/or shipments.

"To spur demand for Pentium 4, the company must identify and promote applications that make effective use of a 2.0GHz processor," said Kevin Krewell, senior analyst with In-Stat/MDR's Intel Microprocessor Service.

In-Stat/MDR projects that Intel's biggest competition will come from AMD, which had a stated, but now unreasonable, goal to double its market share (to nearly 30 percent) by the end of 2001, with additional competition coming from non-PC devices. Intel hopes to compensate by increasing its penetration of the highly profitable server market, but it faces several entrenched competitors in that segment.

In addition, Intel's dominance will force many other companies to keep tabs on its products and roadmaps. According to Krewell, "Increases in processor performance affect the plans of both software applications developers and system component makers, which must design their products to take advantage of available CPU performance.

"Software vendors are specifically concerned about when to use new instructions, such as 3DNow, SSE, and IA-64. PC and system-logic makers need to know what sockets Intel and other CPU vendors will be targeting during the next few years."

In-Stat/MDR has also found that:

-- In 2001, Intel will drive the Pentium 4 microarchitecture into

mainstream performance desktop PCs and obsolete the Pentium
III (in this market segment) by 1Q02. The larger die of the
initial Pentium 4 (Willamette) will limit its ability to
replace the Pentium III, but the next process generation
(0.13-micron) will shrink the Pentium 4 to a manufacturable
size.

-- Intel's desktop ASP should deteriorate during 2001 and
stabilize in 2002 on the strength of the Pentium 4 processor
and its ability to maintain a substantial lead over AMD during
that time. Intel will compensate for lowered ASPs by reducing
manufacturing costs.

-- Intel's chip sets will continue to focus on RDRAM for the high
end of the performance desktop but will add SDRAM in late 2001
and provide DDR SDRAM support in 2002. Intel will also add
integrated graphics to a Pentium 4 chip set in 2002 to support
a lower-cost infrastructure as Intel migrates the Pentium 4
microarchitecture into its value (Celeron) desktop segment.

Cahners In-Stat Group can be found on the Web at www.instat.com.

May 29 - Manufacturers to Ship First Intel Itanium-Based Systems in June. Computer manufacturers are expected to introduce initial Intel(R) Itanium(TM)-based servers and workstations in June, Intel Corporation said today. The company expects approximately 25 computer manufacturers to offer more than 35 models this year, as hundreds of hardware, software and application vendors provide products that support Itanium-based systems.
Targeted at the most demanding enterprise and high-performance computing applications, the Itanium processor is the first in a family of 64-bit products from Intel. The Itanium processor's Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing (EPIC) design enables breakthrough capabilities in processing terabytes of data, speeding protected online purchases and transactions, and processing complex computations.
These features address the growing needs for data communications, storage, analysis and security while providing performance, scalability and reliability advantages at significantly lower costs than proprietary offerings. Application segments include large databases, data-mining, e-Commerce security transactions and mechanical computer-aided engineering, as well as high-performance and scientific computing.
Four operating systems will support Itanium-based systems, including the Microsoft Windows* platform (64-bit Edition* for workstations and 64-bit Windows Advanced Server Limited Edition 2002* for servers); Hewlett Packard's HP-UX 11i v1.5(a), IBM's AIX-5L(a) and Linux. Caldera International, Red Hat, SuSE Linux and Turbolinux plan to provide 64-bit versions of the Linux operating system.
Itanium-based systems deliver world-class performance and reliability through a number of product and architectural innovations. For example, database and data-mining applications used by corporations and online stores can take advantage of the large cache memory, 64-bit addressability and the EPIC technology's ability to execute more operations simultaneously to speed data queries and transactions for up to 16 terabytes of data. The Itanium processor's floating point engine enables industry-leading performance for complex computations such as those required by data-mining, scientific and technical computing applications.
According to independent testing results, Itanium-based systems can provide up to a twelve-fold performance improvement for online security transactions over proprietary RISC designs**. The Itanium Architecture also includes unique reliability features via its Enhanced Machine Check Architecture, enabling error detection, correction and logging as well as Error-Correcting Code (ECC) and parity checking features. Itanium processors will feature 2 and 4 MB of L3 cache and 800 and 733 MHz frequency speeds at prices ranging from $1,177 to $4,227.
Intel, the world's largest chip maker, is also a leading manufacturer of computer, networking and communications products. Additional information about Intel is available at www.intel.com.

May 29 - HP Announces Itanium-Based Systems, Services and Solutions. Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HWP), co-developer of the Intel(R) Itanium(TM) Instruction Set Architecture, today announced a broad portfolio of Itanium Processor Family (IPF)-based systems, services and solutions designed to provide customers with an easy transition to Itanium-based platform technology, the flexibility to choose among various operating systems, and protection for their information technology investments.
"HP is confident that the Itanium Processor Family is the future of computing," said Duane Zitzner, president, HP Computing Systems Organization. "Today's announcement of HP's Itanium-based solutions demonstrates HP's leadership in the future of computing technology. Our customers will be the real beneficiaries of this new processor technology."
"The introduction of Itanium-based servers marks a new chapter in enterprise-class computing and establishes a solid foundation to deliver the performance, innovation and price essential to businesses for many years to come," said Paul Otellini, executive vice president and general manager, Intel Architecture Group. "HP's broad support for the Itanium processor family -- with workstations, servers and operating system support -- exemplifies the momentum behind the Itanium processor."

Workstation, Servers and Operating Systems

HP's first Itanium-based systems include the HP Workstation i2000 with up to 2 processors, the HP Server rx4610 with up to 4 processors and the HP Server rx9610 with up to 16 processors.
HP offers customers the freedom to choose their operating system by supporting HP-UX, Microsoft(R) Windows(R) and Linux. This choice provides customers with the flexibility, cost effectiveness, scalability, application availability and interoperability required to meet their business needs.
HP-UX is currently the only 64-bit UNIX(R) system that provides compatibility of customers' binary software applications as they transition from Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC) to the Itanium architecture. HP-UX is optimized for the Itanium architecture to provide the performance, scalability and reliability customers have come to expect from the HP-UX operating environment well into the future. HP also currently has the only RISC-based hardware that is upgradeable to IPF without recompiling applications or software.

Availability and Pricing HP's Itanium-based systems are expected to be available in late June with an estimated U.S. street price beginning at $7,000. Information about HP and its products can be found on the World Wide Web at www.hp.com.

May 29 - Hitachi HDTV Monitors Feature Advanced Digital Signal Processing. The Home Electronics Division of Hitachi America, Ltd., a subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE:HIT), www.hitachi.com/tv, today announced its 2001 television line featuring UltraVision(R) and UltraVision Digital(R) television products. New for 2001 is Hitachi's proprietary digital signal processing technology that brings the highest quality picture possible to Hitachi's digital televisions.
"Hitachi's expanded 2001 product line includes both new 16:9 and 4:3 offerings to address the demands of today's digital television consumer," said Bill Whalen, Senior Product and Marketing Manager for Hitachi America, Ltd., Home Electronics Division. "Hitachi enjoys a unique advantage by producing the core elements of HDTV Monitors, including wide neck CRT's and 6 element lens systems. These core technologies allow us to present the consumer with an exceptional visual experience. The next step in product development is to introduce D3VirtualHD processing to convert today's conventional signals to match our HDTV Monitors high resolution display capability." Hitachi's D3VirtualHD processing is included in 5 new widescreen and 4 new standard aspect ratio HDTV Monitors for 2001.
Hitachi's new D3VirtualHD circuit offers the consumer a choice of different display resolutions to suit their individual preferences. The D3VirtualHD circuit offers the choice of 1080i or 540p display. "Conventional 480p line doubling left too much 'real estate' untouched in our high resolution CRT's. By increasing the signal to 1080i or 540p, we are able to present an image that has more than twice as much information vertically. When combined with our horizontal oversampling, we can utilize more of the display's high resolution capability and produce an image that is crisp and clear," said Whalen. "Visible scan lines are the film fan's enemy, and with our new D3VirtualHD circuitry the image is both smooth and detailed."
Digging a little deeper into Hitachi's D3VirtualHD technology reveals two separate systems to match signals to the higher resolution display. One is designed specifically for video-based sources such as sports programming. With a video source, the D3VirtualHD circuit literally looks through space and time with 8-point motion detection to accurately determine the new "scaled" image. The second system addresses film sources by detecting the film frame sequence and creating the new image based on reconstructing the original film frame. "We are now able to incorporate a display processor that just a few short years ago cost in the 10's of thousands of dollars," said Whalen.

May 29 - Survey Reveals 20 Million Web Users Have Paid for Online Content. About 20 million U.S. Web users say that they have paid for online content, according to a Web study conducted by Lyra Research's Content Intelligence Group.
The study's respondents identified two key reasons that motivated their payment decisions: (1) the paid site was the only place where they could get what they wanted (43 percent), or (2) they paid because they were curious about the content (39 percent).
Underlining the fact that 90 percent of Web users who admitted paying for content were motivated by personal interest or entertainment desires, the research shows that 45 percent of those who paid for Web content bought adult-related material. Nevertheless, the survey also points out that the next two most popular paid-for Web content categories were work-related subjects: industry-specific business sites (27 percent) and online database services (18 percent). The probe found that premium music/video sites or specialized/premium news sites also drew about 10 percent of the paying audience.
The study is showcased in the lead story, "Media Power Shift," in a new publication, Content Intelligence. Commenting on the findings, John Mc Intyre, managing editor of Content Intelligence, explains, "The research indicates that successfully selling content on the Internet requires not only developing a compelling and unique content offering but also careful targeting of an audience's personal desires or business needs." Mc Intyre adds, "The research clearly shows that as the length of Web experience grows from one year to four, the likelihood of buying content more than doubles. This is good news for the future of an industry that has endured a tidal wave of failed business models."

May 27 - Sunday Shopping Watch - Memorial Day Weekend.
Special Discounts and Financing. In addition to sales on specific items, the following store-wide sales are advertised this week.
Best Buy
is giving away 1 year of free MSN with any computer purchase. They are also offering instant discounts of up to $250 on all in-store desktop complete systems.
Circuit City is offering $100 instant rebates on all computer packages and notebook computers.
Office Depot no ad this Sunday.
CompUSA Has 2 day sale (Sunday and Monday) offer of $250 mail in rebates on any Intel processor based complete desktop package and $150 rebate on any Intel CPU based notebook.
Staples no ad this Sunday.
HHGregg no special store-wide computer sales (individual items may be on sale).
Internet Rebates. All stores continue to offer 3 year, $400 Internet Rebates. Please see our article, What You Need to Know About Internet Rebates and Free PCs, for an in depth discussion of Internet Rebates.

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

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

Best Deals this Sunday
Category
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Store
Best Celeron Deal
Compaq 766 MHz complete system
$549
CompUSA
Best Pentium III System
Compaq 1 GHz complete system
$999
CompUSA
Best Pentium 4 System
HP 1.4 GHz complete system
$1679
Best Buy
Best Duron System
None Advertised
   
Best High End Athlon System
Compaq 1.2 GHz complete system
$1399
Best Buy
1. Best Low Cost Notebook
Toshiba 700 MHz Celeron
$849
CompUSA
2. Best Low Cost Notebook
Compaq 766 MHz Celeron with DVD
$1049
Best Buy
3. Best Low Cost Notebook
Sony VAIO 800 MHz Duron with DVD
$1349
Best Buy
Best High-end Notebook
Compaq 800 MHz build-to-order Pentium III with DVD\CD-RW
$2299
Best Buy
New Software Releases Microsoft Office XP
Diablo II Expansion
May 31
June 29
 

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

May 26 - AMD and Transmeta Announce Cooperation On Future Microprocessor Standards. AMD (NYSE:AMD) and Transmeta Corporation (Nasdaq:TMTA) today announced that they have signed licensing agreements that promote industry standards for next generation microprocessors.

Specifically, Transmeta has licensed AMD's x86-64(tm) technology and AMD's HyperTransport(tm) interconnect technology for their future x86 processors and technology initiatives.

HyperTransport interconnect technology is an innovative solution that moves information faster, enabling the chips inside of PCs, networking and communications devices to communicate with each other up to 48 times faster than with existing technologies.
AMD's x86-64 technology is a straightforward approach to 64-bit computing. It builds upon the x86 instruction set, and seamlessly integrates into the current 32-bit computing and support environment.
Compatible with today's 32-bit computing environment, AMD's x86-64 technology approach will enable enterprises to transition to 64-bit environments while preserving the billions of dollars in 32-bit hardware and software investments.

"AMD's x86-64 instruction extensions provide the best upward compatible path for adding 64-bit address capabilities to the x86 instruction set for the PC industry, and we applaud AMD for taking leadership on this issue," said David R. Ditzel, vice-chairman and chief technology officer of Transmeta Corporation.

"We also believe that the HyperTransport interconnect technology is the right choice for the next generation input/output bus standard. By cooperating together on these technologies, customers will be the winners," added Doug Laird, executive vice president of product development of Transmeta.

"Cooperative alliances such as the one we are announcing today with Transmeta yield tremendous benefits for the entire industry," said Fred Weber, vice president and chief technical officer for AMD's Computation Products Group. "AMD welcomes Transmeta to the group of companies adopting HyperTransport technology and we look forward to them introducing products incorporating the technology.
Transmeta's endorsement of x86-64 technology demonstrates growing support as we move toward a new industry standard for 64-bit computing. We hope others in the industry will recognize the potential rewards from this collaboration and follow our cue as we advance these new computing standards."

"Transmeta's move to license AMD's x86-64 technology will simplify the lives of software developers, and increases the likelihood that the x86-64 architecture will attract the software support it needs for market success," observed Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64 in Saratoga, Calif. "Similarly, Transmeta's decision to adopt AMD's HyperTransport technology adds to the momentum building behind that standard, and expands the market for HyperTransport-based I/O controllers."

About AMD's x86-64(tm) Technology

The x86-64 technology approach to 64-bit computing builds upon the x86 instruction set, one of the industry's most proven and widely supported technologies. Old PC applications will continue to run without a performance impact and new applications can take advantage of the larger address space.
AMD x86-64 technology is designed to support applications that address memories as large as 2 to the 64th power, such as high performance servers, database management systems, and CAD tools. The x86-64 technology seamlessly integrates into the current computing and support environment, and is designed to enable enterprises to deploy high performance 64-bit capable systems that build upon the billions of dollars already invested in 32-bit software.

AMD enhanced the current x86 instruction set by introducing two major features: a 64-bit extension called long mode, and register extensions. Long mode consists of two sub-modes: 64-bit mode, and compatibility mode. 64-bit mode supports new 64-bit code through the addition of eight general-purpose registers and widens them all along with the instruction pointer.
It also adds eight 128-bit floating point registers. Compatibility mode supports existing 16-bit and 32-bit applications under a 64-bit operating system. In addition to long mode, the architecture also supports a pure x86 legacy mode, which preserves binary compatibility with existing 16-bit and 32-bit applications and operating systems.

About HyperTransport(tm) Technology

HyperTransport interconnect technology is a new high-speed, high-performance, point-to-point link for integrated circuits. It was developed to enable the chips inside of PCs, networking and communications devices to communicate with each other up to 48 times faster than with existing technologies.
Compared with existing system interconnects that typically provide bandwidth up to 266MB/sec, HyperTransport technology's bandwidth of 12.8GB/sec represents up to a 48-fold increase in data throughput. HyperTransport technology provides an extremely fast connection that complements externally visible bus standards like the Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI), as well as emerging technologies like InfiniBand and 10Gb Ethernet.
The HyperTransport connection is designed to provide the bandwidth that the new InfiniBand and 10Gb Ethernet standards require to communicate with memory and system components inside of next-generation servers and devices that may power the backbone infrastructure of the telecom industry.

Additional information on the x86-64 instruction set is available at www.x86-64.org.

May 26 - InfoHQ new article, Building a 1.2 GHz DDR Athlon with the Iwill KA266-R Motherboard. InfoHQ has posted a new article, Building a 1.2 GHz DDR Athlon with the Iwill KA266-R Motherboard. It is a complete guide to building a DDR GHz class Athlon with many pictures and instructions.
The article also includes a review of the Iwill KA266-R motherboard and other peripherals. (6 pages of information)

May 26 - IBM Builds Linux Supercomputer to Speed the Search for Oil. IBM today announced that a major seismic acquisition, processing, and reservoir imaging firm has selected a powerful IBM (R) Linux (R) supercomputer to substantially increase its ability to assist oil companies in their search for new oil reserves hidden deep beneath the earth's surface. The supercomputer will power WesternGeco's sophisticated seismic imaging system and will be comprised of a cluster of 256 IBM eServer systems, all running Linux.

With the high cost of oil exploration, particularly the drilling effort, dry holes are not an option. That is why more companies are turning to sophisticated methods of seismic imaging that allow scientists to create detailed 3D maps of hidden oil and gas reservoirs before drilling starts.

"The use of IBM systems running Linux has greatly expanded our ability to provide oil companies with detailed images, or to assist oil companies in imaging potential drill sites," said Trevor Gatus, data processing manager of WesternGeco's Houston Land Processing Center. "With excellent performance, we are now able to more fully utilize our most technically demanding imaging routines to assist oil companies with their oil exploration efforts."

WesternGeco is not alone in its use of seismic imaging. As evidence of the technology's growing popularity, in 1989 only five percent of wells drilled in the Gulf of Mexico were based on seismic imaging. By 1996, that figure swelled to nearly 80 percent. Today, seismic imaging precedes virtually all drilling expeditions.

xSeries-based Linux clusters are highly scalable from 4 to 1024 processors and can be fully adapted to meet the high performance needs of the petroleum market. Linked by a fast network, the clusters can be easily managed from a single point of control and can act as either a single machine or a multiple node system. The cluster at WesternGeco is comprised of 256 eServer xSeries 330 systems, each powered by two 933 MHz Intel Pentium III processors.

"Even with the best techniques available, oil is difficult to find," said Dave Turek, vice president, Linux emerging technologies, IBM. "Petroleum companies need to do everything they can to stack the odds in their favor when making million-dollar decisions on where to drill. "Through the use of high-performance Linux clusters, companies like WesternGeco can image more area in less time."

For more information about IBM, visit www.ibm.com.

May 26 - Low Income Users are Largest Group Online in UK. More than a quarter of all Internet users (26.9 per cent) earn less than (pound)600 per month, according to new figures from Internet monitoring company NetValue.

Those who earn (pound)4000 or more per month make up 8.3 per cent of all Internet users.

"The Internet is not reserved for a rich elite," NetValue's Alki Manias said. "These figures show that the web is being welcomed by low income earners. Online businesses have to recognise that the Internet market is every bit as diverse as the high street market, and not limited to big earners."

The UK gained 800,000 new home Internet users in April, taking the national total to more than 13,500,000 home users. More than 2,300,000 have gone online at home since the beginning of the year.

The total number of people who accessed the Internet anywhere in the UK in April (home, work, school, university, Internet cafe etc) was just under 18,000,000. Of these, 45.5 per cent connected only from home and 18.2 per cent connected both from home and work. 12.6 per cent of users connected only from work.

Men make up 59.1 percent of users and almost one in five users (19.2 per cent) is aged over 50.

NetValue's website can be found at www.netvalue.com.

May 25 - American Megatrends Inc. Announces Testing Program for AMIBIOS8. American Megatrends Inc. (AMI), leading developer of innovative BIOS solutions worldwide, today announced the start of beta testing for AMIBIOS8 with a select group of partners and customers.
American Megatrends' beta testing program for AMIBIOS8 has been designed to ensure full testing of all functional areas of its newest product in a real world environment. The testing program will be conducted over a designated period of time with customers ranging from small embedded device producers to high end server manufacturers focusing on high availability solutions. Testing will be done on a range of real products covering the industry's most "in demand" chipsets and platforms and will concentrate on rendering AMIBIOS8 the most complete, tested, and stable offering by AMI to date. The testing period is expected to last for three months but may be extended or terminated earlier than scheduled based on initial results.
AMIBIOS8 offers the full range of support for traditional industry initiatives and technologies that AMI's current customers have come to expect in addition to new innovations in architecture and build design. The scalable architecture of AMIBIOS8 is targeted to the embedded market as well. By allowing consumers to choose the functionality they need for their solutions, AMIBIOS8 is the solution for companies that are looking to build a solid firmware base in however small a footprint is needed. AMIBIOS8 is an ideal solution for a host of industry segments such as consumer electronics, industrial PCs, telecommunication servers, internet/appliance servers and web access devices.
The enhanced Visual Development Environment, which ships with AMIBIOS8 provides an enhanced and intuitive feel to the design and development of the OEM Solutions. AMIBIOS8 also ships with built-in high-end features such as an Internal Debugger, Remote Manageability and Configurable IO Subsystem, in addition to all industry standard features such as ACPI and USB.
Built from the ground up as a scalable solution based on functional need, AMIBIOS8 represents an innovative approach to BIOS. Providing companies with a single firmware solution that can be utilized in any environment, from the smallest devices to the largest and most sophisticated server-oriented machines, AMIBIOS8 is the latest evolutionary step of BIOS. AMI recognizes and is addressing the ever shrinking pool of resources for BIOS programming by allowing its components to be created in either the traditional assembly, or in C level languages that are recognized as the future of the BIOS industry.
"It is our goal to provide the best BIOS solution for any industry segment," said Bill Clark, Strategic Accounts Manager, Software Division. "The modular architecture of AMIBIOS8 assures that customers will have the ability to purchase only those modules they need, therefore making AMIBIOS8 a cost-effective decision for customers on the front end, and providing ROI by reducing time to market."
For more information on AMI, its products or services, visit www.ami.com.

May 25 - Two in Three Companies Plan Upgrades to Cabling Infrastructure. Nearly two in three companies are planning to upgrade their cabling infrastructure within the next two years according to a recent survey of 130 US businesses published by Sage Research, Inc. "Premises cabling is in a state of flux," notes Kathryn Korostoff, Sage's President. "With the ever-growing demands being placed on networks, it is not all that surprising that businesses are aggressively planning changes to their cabling infrastructure, both to support new sites and workgroups and to replace existing cabling."
The study finds that previous plans by companies to replace Category 5 cabling in their vertical risers and horizontal networks were over-optimistic. "When Sage conducted a similar study two years ago, many businesses reported aggressive plans to replace Cat 5 with fiber or higher-performance copper," notes Ms. Korostoff. "The reality is that 87% of companies surveyed in the current study still use Category 5 in the horizontal network, and of those that have Cat 5, it averages more than 70% of the horizontal cabling in place."
In addition to quantifying Cat 5's dominant position, the study also finds significant growth in adoption of multimode fiber and Cat 5e. As shown in the graph, Cat 5e is now the second most common cabling type in horizontal networks:
For the study, IT professionals from 130 US organizations were surveyed about current and planned use of cable types on the premises, including campus backbones, vertical risers, and horizontal networks. These IT professionals, surveyed this month via the Web, primarily represent businesses with more than 100 employees, ranging to more than 10,000 employees. The study also gathered data on wireless LAN (WLAN) adoption, since this is clearly becoming a substitute technology for some companies.
For more information about Sage Research visit www.sageresearch.com.

May 25 - DSL's Value-Added Services Will Position Industry for Revitalization. The DSL industry is experiencing hard times. Service providers and equipment manufacturers are struggling to remain financially viable. These struggles are not a reflection of the technology per say, but the growing pains of a young industry.
Can the implementation of value-added services breath life into the struggling DSL industry? The latest report from Pioneer Consulting, "Enabling Value-Added Services Over DSL Networks: Market Opportunities for Service Providers and Equipment Suppliers," takes a comprehensive look at these value-added services and the sizeable market opportunities they represent for DSL service providers and equipment manufacturers.

According to Pioneer's new study, over 16 million DSL customers will subscribe to over 25 million value-added services by 2005. Value-added services are defined as enhancements to a basic DSL access product that are enabled by that product. Some examples of these services include: Video-On-Demand (VOD), Voice-Over DSL (VoDSL), MPEG Music, Multi-Player Gaming, Videoconferenceing, Broadcast Television and Virtual Private Networking (VPN). Pioneer estimates that value-added services represent a market opportunity varying from $15.8 billion to $26.6 billion per year, depending on pricing selected by service providers.

"Each of the value-added services mentioned in the report will generate considerable interest among subscribers. However, VPN services will clearly lead the pack in terms of revenue and number of subscribers," said Michael Lowe, senior market analyst on emerging broadband research at Pioneer Consulting. "This is because VPN services have become so important to the operations of many businesses where other services will be seen as more of a luxury. It is important to note though, that many of these services will be delivered in the form of a bundle."

More information can be found at www.pioneerconsulting.com

May 24 - Dell Readies Itanium-Based PowerEdge Server. Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) announced its plan to deliver an Intel(R) Itanium(tm)-based PowerEdge(tm) server today that the company anticipates will help redefine the economics of how companies run demanding applications, such as very large databases, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and Internet commerce.

The PowerEdge 7150, available later this year, is a rack dense server designed from the ground up to offer the performance, availability, management and scalability characteristics of proprietary RISC architectures, but at a fraction of the cost. According to Intel, early tests reveal that Itanium-based servers significantly outperform some of the fastest proprietary RISC-based systems when running high-end applications that provide security for Internet commerce transactions. Additionally, servers based on Intel's industry-standard technology typically are less expensive to purchase and operate than proprietary systems because of the large number of software vendors, service providers and consultants that exist to support them.

The Itanium processor and its 64-bit architecture extend the capabilities of Intel servers by exponentially increasing the amount of memory that the microprocessor can interact with, meaning the system is able to process more information at a faster rate than ever before. Additionally, the new processor enhances floating-point performance, the system's ability to perform complex calculations, for faster execution in scientific applications, such as in engineering programs used for modeling and testing. The new processor incorporates error-correcting technology, known as machine check architecture, which enhances the system's ability to compensate for processing errors automatically and ensures greater levels of availability and data integrity.

"New Itanium systems will accelerate the process whereby industry-standard systems continually and methodically push proprietary architectures into smaller and smaller niches of the computing landscape," said Michael Lambert, senior vice president, Dell Enterprise Systems Group.

Working with the Industry

A major impetus compelling customers to migrate from proprietary RISC/UNIX systems to Itanium-based systems running Windows or Linux will be strong industry support and the availability of applications for the new architecture. Dell is collaborating with Intel, independent software vendors (ISVs) and customers to ensure market readiness for its new PowerEdge 7150 servers. The company is working with more than 20 leading software companies, such as IBM DB2, SAP and Veritas Software to convert applications for use on Itanium servers and has placed pilot systems with more than 25 customers, including Cornell University, Motorola and Nasdaq. Dell is contributing to the development of 64-bit versions of Microsoft(R) Windows(R) and Red Hat(R) Linux(R) with feedback from field-based customer testing and will offer these operating systems when they become available.

"Dell has put together an exciting combination of servers, programs and services to help customers exploit the architectural advancements of the Itanium processor," said Paul Otellini, executive vice president and general manager of the Intel Architecture Group. "Dell's customers will soon have more powerful and affordable Itanium-based platform solutions customized for today's most demanding business computing needs."

Customers Benefit

Nasdaq is testing a prototype Dell PowerEdge 7150 system for two classes of mission critical applications. The first is a class of memory intensive applications used to replicate and distribute stock market data on an internal data "pipeline." The second class of applications deploy Microsoft SQL Server in support of Nasdaq's ever growing Internet and intranet presence. According to Gregor Bailar, executive vice president and chief information officer, Nasdaq, "With daily transaction volumes on our network peaking at more than three billion shares per day, we are looking for systems that will support those transaction volumes and our need to access huge amounts of data dynamically. We expect the Itanium-based systems to allow us to grow our capacity and be responsive to our customers, while lowering our cost of ownership and administration."

Lambert said Dell will deliver exceptional value to its customers by offering these systems at some of the most competitive prices in the industry. Dell, he said, will also deliver a series of value-added services to both make product transitions easier and to provide the levels of support, consulting and deployment demanded by enterprise customers.

The PowerEdge 7150 will be capable of supporting up to four 733 MHz or 800 MHz Intel Itanium Processors, up to 64 GB of memory and up to four hot-plug, redundant hard drives for up to 144 GB of internal storage. Complete technical details are available at www.dell.com/itanium.

Customers purchasing the PowerEdge 7150 can choose Dell's Premier Enterprise Support Service Platinum and Gold Tiers with technical account management, engineer-to-engineer support, and extensive hardware and software support. Consulting and deployment services are also available.

Dell, the world's leading workstation provider, expects to announce a Dell Precision Workstation based on the Itanium processor at the end of this month. Dell's Itanium workstation will provide an ideal development and testing platform for software engineers and large corporate customers who intend to migrate applications to the 64-bit architecture.

Information on Dell and its products can be obtained on the World Wide Web at www.dell.com.

May 24 - NEC, Sony, and Fujitsu Choose AMD Processors for New Notebooks. AMD today announced that NEC, Sony Corporation and Fujitsu, three of Japan's largest computer manufacturers, are expected to feature notebook PCs based on seventh-generation mobile AMD Athlon(tm) 4 and mobile AMD Duron(tm) processors.

Collectively, these companies commanded over 50 percent of total PC shipments, including notebooks and desktops, for the year 2000 in Japan. Japan is the world's second largest consumer of PCs. NEC, the country's leading PC maker, is the first to adopt the newly introduced 1GHz mobile AMD Athlon(tm) 4 processor in Japan.

The mobile AMD Athlon 4 processor is the world's highest performance processor for the notebook PC market and features the innovative AMD PowerNow!(tm) technology, which can extend system battery life up to 30% without compromising performance and offers up to 50 percent more performance than competitive systems running on batteries.

Sony and Fujitsu have both announced systems based on the mobile AMD Duron processor. NEC is also offering systems based on the mobile AMD Duron processor.

"We are very pleased these prestigious companies have chosen the mobile AMD Athlon 4 and mobile AMD Duron processors," said Kazuo Sakai, president, AMD Japan. "With notebook PCs comprising approximately 50 percent of the PC market in Japan, these key notebook systems establish AMD in both performance and value mobile computing."

The mobile AMD Athlon 4 and mobile AMD Duron processors support AMD's Socket A platform architecture, providing stability and reliability. The Socket A platform provides a cost-effective migration path to the latest technology for both business and consumer users.

NEC plans to use the 1GHz mobile AMD Athlon 4 processor in its "LaVie G" series. An 800MHz mobile AMD Duron processor will also be featured in the "LaVie G" series, as well as the "LaVie L" series. These consumer systems are expected to ship later this month.

Sony is announcing a "VAIO note" system for the Japanese consumer market that features a 700MHz mobile AMD Duron processor. Sony plans to ship these systems later this month. Sony currently offers a VAIO FX210 notebook PC that incorporates the mobile AMD Duron processor in the U.S. retail channel.

Fujitsu is introducing a consumer notebook PC using an 800MHz mobile AMD Duron processor in its "FMV-BIBLO" series notebook in Japan. These consumer systems are expected to ship later this month.

AMD can be found on the Web at www.amd.com. More information on AMD mobile processors can be found in our Laptop Buying Guide.

May 24 - Electronic Component Manufacturers Don't Expect Relief Until Q4 2001 or Q1 2002. Representatives from manufacturers attending a forum sponsored by the Electronic Components, Materials and Assemblies Association (ECA) said they don't expect to see market improvements until the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of next.

"End products drive the industry and the automotive, computer and mobile phone markets do not look good," says Glyndwr Smith, assistant to the CEO and senior vice president of Vishay Intertechnology, the world's leading supplier of passive components.

Nor do other areas of consumer electronics. Wholesale color television sales were off 35 percent in April compared to this time last year, according to Alex Hepburn, manager of research and business planning for Thomson Consumer Electronics' Americas Tube Operations.

Consumer debt, rising energy costs, and unemployment that could soon hit five percent are further causes for concern on the consumer side, according to Hepburn.

The ECA monthly index of component orders continues to reflect excess inventories in the supply channel. Orders for the first quarter were less than 25 percent of the record levels of the same period in 2000. These levels have stabilized, however, indicating that the market will remain flat, then begin to grow in the later part of this year.

Manufacturers expect no immediate relief from Japan or Europe for the slumping U.S. market. Vishay's Smith says that Europe is expected to go through the same slowdown as the United States did four months ago. Consumer weakness in Europe is exemplified by auto manufacturing, which is down by four percent according to Howard Witt, president of Littelfuse Inc.

Good News in Taiwan, Materials

Witt does see light in some areas of the Far East, where PC and motherboard production is up. Lambert Hilkes, chief executive officer of Yageo America, is bullish on Taiwan, where over the past several weeks production of PCs and motherboards increased 60-percent over the same period last year. "We're more concerned about consumer confidence in China," says Hilkes. "Any excess inventory could be absorbed by China immediately."

One area not hurt by the economic downturn is chemicals. Richard Russell, president and CEO of TechSpray, a leading producer of chemical cleaners and anti-static products, said that his company is performing above forecasts. While the automotive market is down, Russell says that consumer products are "going crazy," up by 20 percent over last year. "I see tremendous opportunity in new products," he says.

Smith speculates that greater visibility in the supply chain might make up and down cycles in the market occur more frequently and in shorter duration - three or four weeks vs. three or four months - than they have in the past.

John Denslinger, senior vice president of sales for Murata Electronics, sees the volatility of the market creating greater incentives for manufacturers to eliminate inefficiencies. "There's a shift in manufacturing of goods such as PCs from Mexico to China," he says. "Compared to China, even Mexico is too costly."

ECA represents manufacturers and producers of passive and active electronic components, component arrays and assemblies, and materials and support services. It is part of the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA), which comprises more than 2,100 members that represent 80 percent of the $550-billion U.S. electronics industry. ECA and its sector partners benefit from a dynamic link into a network of programs and activities in areas such as business and technical information, market research trends and analysis, access to industry and government leaders, technical and education training, and others.

May 24 - Send Internet Photos Five Times Faster With PhotoStreak. Compression Engine Technologies Inc. has introduced PhotoStreak that allows dial-up users to greatly speed the sending of their images over the Internet up to five times faster than currently possible.

PhotoStreak, an Internet Photo Accelerator, is a full-featured PC-based software program that provides fast and easy yet powerful image compression. It is available for a limited time for free, although usually priced $24.95, at www.photostreak.com. Internet usage at home now includes 58 percent of U.S. households, or 162 million Web users, however, 88 percent of them are still using modem speeds of 56 Kbps or less. (Source: Nielson/NetRatings).

Sending digital images over the Internet, whether as an e-mail attachment or to a photo-sharing site, is usually a time-consuming and frustrating experience for dial-up users. PhotoStreak makes the sending and uploading fast and easy. It does so by providing a much smaller file size than JPEG that is sent faster over the Internet. A PhotoStreak image is up to five times smaller -- and thereby up to five times faster to send -- than the comparable-quality image in JPEG.

PhotoStreak can reduce a 2MB BMP or TIFF file to 20 KB (a ratio of 100:1) or smaller while maintaining excellent image quality. A comparable-quality JPEG file for the same image would be around 100 KB. On some images, PhotoStreak can compress at ratios of up to 200:1 while still maintaining acceptable image quality. Another powerful benefit of PhotoStreak is that its image files consume up to 80 percent less hard drive storage space than JPEG images.

May 24 - FIC Teams With Silicon Wave To Develop Global Bluetooth Market. FIC today announced an agreement with Silicon Wave, a leading developer and manufacturer of Bluetooth(TM) wireless components, that allows FIC to use Silicon Wave's Bluetooth 1.1 qualified SiW1502(TM) radio modem IC in its communications and computing product modules.

"Silicon Wave's expertise in Bluetooth IC design is second to none," commented Gene Sheu, president of FIC's Network and Information Group. "Joining forces with such a world leader is vital to accomplishing one of FIC's key goals of positioning ourselves as a top global provider of Bluetooth solutions. We also want to take this opportunity to encourage our customers to promote Bluetooth technology, because we are very excited about how much potential there is for the market to expand rapidly."

"FIC has an excellent track record for high-tech products and we have consistently been impressed with the innovative and reliable Bluetooth wireless solutions they provide," said David Lyon, chairman and CEO of Silicon Wave. "We are extremely positive about our collaboration with FIC. This agreement reinforces Silicon Wave's mission to ensure a superior user experience by providing robust Bluetooth 1.1 qualified components that enable high-performance with low power."

The agreement will involve close cooperation on a number of levels, particularly new product development for a range of Bluetooth modules and devices. As FIC ramps up mass production of these devices, the company has committed to having 100 samples of the latest module at Computex 2001 for its key OEM customers and industry partners. These are Class 2 modules, based on Silicon Wave's SiW1502 Bluetooth radio modem, and can be used for a wide range of interfaces (USB, PCMCIA, UART) and devices (PDAs, Notebooks, Cell phones, motherboards etc).
The latest information about FIC products and services can be found at www.fic.com.tw.

May 23 - IBM Delivers New Affordable Thin Servers and Web Appliances. IBM today announced new systems in its eServer family; a powerful and affordable thin 1U (1.75") server and a new series of server appliances that can provide up to a five-fold increase(a) in the speed of delivering web content to end users.

Big Punch in a Small Affordable Package

The new IBM eServer xSeries 300 builds on the industry leading technology of the x330, the world's first 1U server capable of packing two Intel(R) Pentium(R) III processors combining for over 2 Gigahertz(b) of power in a single system. Designed as a high-volume, entry-level thin server, the eServer x300 is priced under $1,500 and addresses two key concerns of many businesses - space and budget. Ideal for easy expansion of web and network infrastructures, the x300 also includes support for two fixed hard drives.

This system supports IBM's Project eLiza initiative, a multi-billion dollar program aimed at creating a world of self-managing servers requiring little or no human interaction with the goal of making global computing networks as easy to manage as today's kitchen appliances. The new eServer x300 includes features such as IBM Director and Software Rejuvenation, a systems management package that includes advanced self-healing computing tools that can help predict and repair software failures before they happen. The x300 leverages IBM's best eServer technology to provide industry standard servers with the performance, reliability and scalability needed to run multiple operating environments for customers of all enterprises.

Dialtone Internet (www.dialtoneinternet.com), a dedicated hosting provider has selected the x300 to provide customers dedicated servers running Linux or Windows e-mail, e-commerce and other web hosting applications. "The IBM eServer systems solve our space density problem and give us a very high level of application flexibility," said Alvaro Albarracin, CEO of Dialtone Internet. "Our customers can select applications on Linux or Windows knowing that they will be fully supported by IBM."

Speedy Web Content Delivery

IBM eServer is also introducing a family of Internet Caching Appliances (ICA) that deliver up to a five times performance increase over the fastest web response time currently available. Frequently visited Web pages are stored on the Appliance where they can be quickly accessed as opposed to accessing them on the original Internet server. In addition to getting information to the end user quicker, the new appliances also help to reduce overall Internet traffic. By incorporating theses appliances into e-business infrastructures, companies can save money, as they will require lower bandwidth. For example, an organization that currently uses two high-speed Internet connection lines, such as a T1, could realize a bandwidth savings that could enable them to gain the same result with only one T1 line in place when using the appliances.

The eServer Internet Caching Appliances allow customers to easily add on the latest technologies in media streaming and content filtration. Content filtering - or the ability to restrict access to inappropriate content - is a feature in great demand from both schools and businesses, two of the early adapters of caching technology.

These appliances, which incorporate the industry leading Volera Excelerator 2.0 caching engine(c), deploy rapidly and features an innovative "headless" design that requires no keyboard, mouse or monitor.

"Volera's technology with the new IBM appliances is a real win for our customers," said Simon Khalaf, president of Volera. "The superior eServer architecture is engineered for optimal performance with our Excelerator software, and coupled with IBM's world-class customer support, there is no better Web acceleration solution on the market."

Powered by Intel's Pentium III 866 MHz processors, the new Appliances are available in six models ranging from a 1U thin-server workgroup model capable of handling up to 5,000 requests per second to a 3U enterprise rack model that can handle up to 15,000 requests per second. Tower and Department models are also available.

New eServer Options

IBM also unveiled two new ServeRAID(TM) controllers for Intel-based systems. The IBM ServeRAID-4Lx Ultra160 and ServeRAID-4Mx Ultra160, which both feature an Intel GC 80303 100MHz processor and 66MHz PCI controller. Both ServeRAID controllers help optimize performance in mission-critical RAID data storage applications, and deliver performance, scalability and control for entry-level and midrange storage environments.

For additional information, please visit www.ibm.com/eserver

May 23 - CSR To Bring Bluetooth Functionality to Compaq Notebooks. CSR (Cambridge Silicon Radio) today announced that its BlueCore single-chip Bluetooth solution has been incorporated into Compaq Computer Corporation's Bluetooth MultiPort module for the Compaq Evo(TM) Notebook N400c, via the ALPS pre-qualified module.

The Bluetooth MultiPort, an interchangeable module designed by Compaq is integrated into the Compaq Evo notebook display panel to enable wireless communication with other Bluetooth enabled devices such as mobile phones, PDAs or printers.

Bluetooth technology has enabled the implementation of a number of major applications to the Compaq Evo Notebook N400c, including wireless synchronization of information between handheld and notebook computers, file transfer between handheld and notebook computers, and dial-up networking to Bluetooth mobile phones.

"Compaq is enabling real world applications of Bluetooth with the MultiPort module. You will be able to compose emails on your laptop while flying and as soon as you've landed and switched on your mobile phone, all messages will be immediately sent," said John Hodgson, CEO of CSR.

The MultiPort solution is a class 1 qualified Bluetooth device. Its interface is based on industry standard USB technology, which provides the flexibility to develop numerous solutions. Compatible with all 2001 generation Compaq Evo c series notebooks, the MultiPort is integral to the notebook display for optimal RF performance. This design also keeps PC Card and Mini-PCI slots free so that MultiPort users do not have to trade-off other functionality to get a wireless enabled notebook.

CSR's BlueCore01 is the only production ready single-chip Bluetooth solution and it includes the industry's first integrated CMOS based radio, baseband and microcontroller. By utilizing standard CMOS technology it can give cost and size advantages to designers of Bluetooth enabled end products. BlueCore has the capability of running with the full Bluetooth stack on-chip. This provides users with the flexibility to run some Bluetooth applications in a stand-alone mode on a single chip.

More information about CSR can be found at www.csr.com.

May 23 - Dell Launches New, Easy-To-Use Workstation Design. Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) today announced worldwide availability of the Dell(tm) Precision(tm) Workstation 530 for power-hungry professionals such as computer-aided engineers and designers, software developers, digital content creators and financial analysts.

The Dell Precision Workstation 530 offers maximum performance with up to two new Intel Xeon processors at 1.7 GHz. The system employs an innovative clamshell chassis designed for easy expansion and accessibility. Because of its expandability, the Dell Precision Workstation 530 will replace both the current mid-range and high-end Dell Precision Workstation models, making it easier for customers to choose the system that best suits their needs.

"In one visually compelling, easy-to-use chassis, Dell makes it simple for customers to configure and purchase mid-range to high-end workstations," said Jeff Clarke, vice president, Dell Precision Workstations. "Dell's customer focus is why more of them choose to buy their workstations from Dell than any other vendor."

New System Design

Dell developed its latest workstation with performance, style, expansion and ease-of-access in mind. Features include:

Clamshell chassis -- Opening the chassis is a "no tools required"

operation that uses a latch, similar to lifting the lid on a

laptop, making it quicker and easier to access internal

components.

Performance and scalability -- The system offers customers a wide

range of key component options:

-- Supports two Intel Xeon processors

-- Provides up to 4 GB of RDRAM(e)

-- Holds up to 292 GB of internal SCSI storage

-- Supports optional high performance RAID

-- Supplies three 32-bit and two 64-bit PCI slots for
exceptional system throughput

-- Houses three 5.25-inch external bays for removable devices
such as CD/RW and DVD drives

Extensive graphics options -- AGP Pro110 4X supports a broad range

of 2-D, 3-D and multi-monitor graphics cards such as 3D Labs

Wildcat II 5110, ATI Fire GL2, NVIDIA Quadro2 Pro, NVIDIA GeForce

2 GTS, and the Matrox Millennium G450.

Visual ID -- The distinctive Dell Precision Workstation shield,

contoured casing, and midnight gray color reflect Dell's emphasis

on taking industrial design beyond the "putty-colored box."

Front-mounted ports and diagnostic LEDs -- Customers can plug two

USB devices and one IEEE 1394 device into the front of the system

instead of reaching around to the back. An LED display on the

front makes for easy viewing to help improve diagnostic accuracy,

speed repair and reduce downtime.

Easy to follow color coding -- Dell helps customers accelerate

system setup and maintenance with color-coded connectors, cables

and internal components.

Easy to add/remove components -- Customers can simply and quickly

swap internal components such as hard disk drives, memory and

graphics cards without tools.

For a Web-based tour, or to download a photo, visit www.dell.com/precision.

New Processors

Customers can order the Dell Precision Workstation 530 with up to two Intel Xeon processors at 1.4, 1.5 or 1.7 GHz. The Intel Xeon processor provides outstanding workstation performance for customers running multiple, complex and compute-intensive applications such as 3-D visualization, scientific calculations, financial analysis and image processing.

Pricing

Dell Precision Workstation 530 pricing begins at $1,799(a). An example configuration includes the Intel Xeon processor at 1.7 GHz, 256 MB RDRAM(tm), NVIDIA(R) Quadro2 Pro(R) graphics card, 20 GB(b) IDE hard disk drive, 48X-maximum CD ROM drive, three-years onsite next-business-day(c) service, Microsoft(R) Windows(R) 2000 -- and a 17-inch flat panel monitor -- for $3,813(a).

For more information about Dell Precision Workstations visit www.dell.com/precision.

May 23 - IBM First to Offer Wireless Access Across All Its Product Lines. IBM today announced the industry's first all-wireless line of products and services, making it easier for companies to extend their business to mobile devices.

As part of today's announcement, IBM is wirelessly enabling its lines of ThinkPad notebook computers, pervasive devices and servers. The company is also providing software, support and services to give customers mobile access to critical applications in the office, on the road, or anywhere in between. Additionally, IBM is adding programs to enable its network of 90,000 business partners to sell and develop wireless solutions.

"Wireless is having profound implications for e-business," said Michel Mayer, general manager of IBM's pervasive computing division. "The potential explosion of people and devices connecting to the network is driving the need for customers to build infrastructures that are massively scalable, more reliable and that possess more intelligence than they do today. This is IBM's sweet spot."

According to Gartner Group, in the next two to three years the average worker will use at least three devices on the job -- notebook computer, phone and handheld computer. These and future mobile devices will not only need to be outfitted with wireless capability, but integrated with existing IT infrastructures to take advantage of enterprise applications already in place.

This announcement builds on the significant investment IBM has made in developing and deploying wireless solutions over the past few years. According to Evans Data's 2001 Developer Survey, 75 percent of ISVs expect to deploy wireless applications by 2002. To meet this demand, IBM is also supporting the development of wireless applications by independent software vendors, with increased personnel and testing facilities at IBM Porting Centers for IBM's 58,000 developer partners.

"With today's announcement, IBM is staking a strong claim for leadership in the wireless space," said Andy Seybold, President of Outlook4Mobility. "The combination of a visionary strategy and innovative mobile products, along with IBM software and support gives mobile users a comprehensive product and services offering, clearly raising the bar for the rest of the industry."

IBM's new wireless infrastructure offerings include:

Wireless Portables: IBM has extended wireless capability across its ThinkPad and WorkPad lines. IBM Researchers developed a new innovative dual antenna design that places the antenna in the screen to provide IBM's wireless ThinkPads with integrated support for 802.11 wireless LANs, providing stronger(1) signal strength than that offered by other wireless integrated notebooks(2). Also available are two new sleek, slim IBM WorkPads -- including IBM's first handheld computer with a color display -- based on the Palm Computing platform.

Wireless Technology for IBM Servers: New and advanced remote wireless management technology is now available for IBM's eServer line. The IBM eServer Wireless Remote Management technology allows system administrators to wirelessly control servers from afar with common, portable devices like Internet phones, PDAs and Web browsers, as well as extend server applications to wireless devices.

Wireless Infrastructure Services: IBM Global Services is introducing a new "Instant Wireless LAN" service that helps companies quickly get up and running with wireless facilities. The service is a bundled hardware/software/installation package that wireless enables facilities for high-speed, reliable wireless data transport. This announcement extends the broad portfolio of IBM's existing wireless Services offerings to help companies of all sizes, across all industries, implement wireless e-business to enhance professional and operational productivity and improve customer relationship and supply chain management.

Wirelessly-Enabling Components: IBM, with Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, is developing advanced low-power microchips for third-generation (3G) cellular telephones. IBM will manufacture the components using its industry-leading silicon germanium (SiGe) communications chip technology, which Mitsubishi intends to incorporate into its next-generation cellular products.

Wireless Business Partners: IBM is announcing a variety of programs designed to bring its wireless solutions to market through the company's network of 90,000 Business Partner firms, which now drive on-third of IBM revenues. IBM will support the development of wireless applications by independent software vendors; and wireless education and training for solution providers on IBM hardware and software platforms, including WebSphere Everyplace Suite and Lotus Domino Everyplace Family software.

IBM also unveiled new customers that are using its wireless offerings to roll-out innovative applications. This summer the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas intends to use IBM eServer iSeries systems for a pilot to provide wireless check-in for guests -- eliminating the need to wait in line to receive room assignments, credit authorizations, room keys and receipts -- all from a handheld device. In addition, HypoVereinsbank, Germany's second largest bank, has developed a Linux-based system management concept for the IBM eServer z900 mainframe that continuously monitors system availability using Wireless WAP and PDAs to ensure 24 by 7 system uptime. Like any bank, IT system outages must be avoided under all circumstances. Using IBM wireless technology, IT administrators at the bank can respond quickly to system messages, improving customer satisfaction and productivity.

More information about IBM can be found on the web at www.ibm.com.

May 23 - 1394 Trade Association Introduces Newest Version of the 1394 Multimedia Standard. The 1394 Trade Association today introduced the new 1394b specification, the updated version of the industry's most important multimedia bus.

The new version will supplement the original IEEE 1394-1995 and 1394a specifications, and will lead to expanded adoption of the multimedia standard in many new applications. IEEE 1394, also known commercially as FireWire(TM) and i.Link(TM), is now used in desktop and notebook computers, PC peripherals, and a wide range of consumer electronics products, including camcorders and digital cameras. It also is being adopted for automotive, industrial, and instrumentation applications.

1394b provides significant bandwidth, speed, distance and cost-efficiency improvements over the original IEEE 1394-1995 specification. It enables the extension of the standard first to 800 Megabits/second and 1.6 Gigabits/second, then on to 3.2 gigabits/second, using plastic optical fiber. It supports audio and video transfer over plastic optical fiber to 50 meters at 200 Megabits/second, to 100 meters at 400 Megabits/second, and over glass optical fiber at up to 3.2 Gigabits/second. A new, highly efficient bus arbitration scheme, known as BOSS (Bus Owner Supervisor Selector) implements overlapped, pipelined arbitration, so the arbitration protocol runs in parallel with data transmissions. Hybrid bus operation enables backward compatibility with 1394-1995 and 1394a.

Costs of 1394b silicon and 1394b-enabled products are expected to be lower than products using earlier versions, according to Michael Johas Teener, chief technology officer at Zayante, Inc. and one of the originators of the FireWire standard. Gate counts for 1394b ICs will double to between 20,000 and 25,000. But its analog design is much simpler because the 'b' version uses unidirectional arbitration signaling instead of common-mode signaling, which improves efficiency and reduces voltages. (See 1394b at a glance, at the end of this news release.)

The introduction of 1394b caps more than 18 months of technical effort. The final specification is now in recirculation for approval by all members of the 'b' committee.

"1394b -- the newest version of the industry's most exciting multimedia bus -- is ready," said 1394 Trade Association Chairman Max Bassler of Molex, Inc. "It provides the bandwidth, distance and overall performance to make 1394 the ideal choice for home networking, for many industrial applications, and for a new generation of computer peripherals. 1394b also is gaining momentum among the leading vehicle manufacturers, who want to use it as the network bus for consumer electronics in automobiles. We expect to see the first 800 megabit/second devices this summer, and accelerated design activity by the autumn," he said.

Beta, Bilingual Versions Supply Versatility

The new version provides two modes of transmission, the pure 1394b 'beta' mode, and the versatile 'bilingual' mode, which guarantees backward compatibility with 1394a and 1394-1995 devices and products.

The term "bilingual" means that it will connect both in beta mode or with the data-strobe signaling method used in previous 1394 implementations and in legacy products.

Products and Applications Due This Year

Products and technology based on 1394b will become available soon. Major serial bus semiconductor suppliers including Texas Instruments Inc., NEC, Panasonic and Agere are at work on 1394b devices. Omneon Video Networks has demonstrated a 300 meter 800 Mbit/second connection using multimode glass fiber, and NEC has shown a plastic optical fiber system. Zayante has begun shipping 1394b silicon IP for early adopters.

The advent of 'b' also will stimulate new applications for and development with IEEE 1394, Bassler said. These include the automotive sector, where the 1394 Trade Association's Automotive Work Group has defined a widely accepted specification for in-vehicle consumer electronics networking. The in-vehicle video-audio network includes a customer convenience port that lets passengers connect their CD players, games, and other 1394-equipped devices and peripherals to the network with one plug-in cable.

Another key application enabled by the 'b' version of the specification is "casual" storage, the kind of hard drives and mobile storage users hook up at random times. 1394b provides significant amounts of bus power, so users with portable PCs and peripherals and want to use casual storage will not require either a battery-powered drive or any power bricks.

In addition, 1394b also will enhance the attractiveness of the Device Bay technology for consumer and multimedia applications that incorporate advanced set-top box and digital television.

About the 1394 TA

The 1394 Trade Association includes more than 170 companies worldwide dedicated to the proliferation and enhancement of the IEEE 1394 standard. For more information, please visit the TA web site at www.1394ta.org.

1394b Benefits at a Glance -- Speeds beginning at 800 Megabit/sec., up to 1.6 Gigabit/sec,

with architectural changes that allow future specifications to

go over 3.2 Gigabit/second;

-- Node-to-node distances to over 100 meters using various media.

100 Megabit/second is supported for category 5 unshielded
twisted pair (CAT-5 UTP), 200 Megabit/second over plastic
optical fiber, and a full 3.2 Gigabit/second, using 50 um
multimode glass fiber;

-- Cost reductions over the existing 1394-1995 and 1394a
implementations are possible since the new "pure beta" mode
specified by 1394b allows simple galvanic isolation. This
significantly reduces the complexity of the analog circuit,
and enables easy integration of the PHY and Link components;

-- A 'greener' standard. Emissions from 1394b-based products will
be lower than products based on earlier versions;


-- New media, but all compatible above the media dependent level;

-- The "pure beta" copper connector is almost as small as the

existing 4-pin connector, yet is capable of carrying power,
indicating speed capabilities of the media, and is capable of
carrying a full 3.2 Gigabit/second signal.

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