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Computer News and Rumors

May 16-23 2002

About News and Rumors. InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors is a daily column. It features news coverage of new PC and Mac computer hardware and software, Internet news, and other technical news items.
Every Sunday, News and Rumors features "Sunday Shopping Watch", which is a comparison and analysis of Sunday computer store advertisements.
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 top and bottom menu bar. Please be advised that when using older news articles, Web links may change and no longer function correctly.

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 23 Dell Announces Two New Dimension Desktop Computers
May 23 U.S. Army Introduces 'America's Army" PC Game
May 23 Kodak Introduces EasyShare Digital Picture Printing
May 23 ViewSonic Introduces High Brightness Displays
May 23 Study Shows Video Games are Here to Stay
May 22 Intel Announces 845 Series USB 2.0 Chipsets
May 22 Dell Brings Gigabit Networking to Desktop Computers
May 22 IBM Ships 100 Millionth Silicon Germanium Chip
May 22 Microsoft Unveils Xbox Live Online Gaming
May 22 Sega.Com Enters Wireless Gaming Market

May 21 Toshiba's Computer Systems Group Unveils Business Plan
May 21 Matrox and UMC Collaborate on Matrox Parhelia-512 Graphics Chip
May 21 MicronPC Introduces New Millennia TS2 at 2.53Ghz
May 21 AMD's Austin Fab 25 Producing Flash Memory Devices
May 21 Bitstream Releases ThunderHawk Wireless Web Browser for Pocket PCs
May 21 THQ Unveils Game Line Up at 2002 E3
May 20 IBM Creates World's Highest Performing Nanotube Transistors
May 20 3Com Delivers Industry's First Bluetooth Wireless Printing Kit

May 20 Nintendo GameCube Price Set At $149.95
May 20 Photo Print Solutions Driven by Digital Photography
May 20 First Quarter Video Game Rental Revenues Up 9%
May 19 Sunday Shopping Watch
May 17 Infineon, AMD, and DuPont Photomasks Partner on New Chip Technology
May 17 1394 Trade Association Praises New Firewire Enabled Chipset from SiS
May 17 Dell's Q1 Results Beats Estimates
May 17 TDK Mediactive Unveils Most Extensive Lineup Ever at 2002 E3
May 16 Fujitsu Announces New LifeBook S Series Notebooks
May 16 Socket Delivers Bluetooth Connectivity Enhancements for Pocket PCs
May 16 WLAN Market Gets Off to a Promising Start in 2002
May 16 Despite Economy, Voluntary Departure Rate Among IT Workers Remains High
May 16 Electronic Arts to Support PlayStation 2 Online Initiative

 

 
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May 23 - Dell Announces Two New Dimension Desktop Computers. Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) today announced two new Dimension(tm) desktop computers, the Dimension 4500 and Dimension 4500S, to suit wide-ranging customers needs from microprocessor and video high performance to being able to fit in small places.

The first, the Dimension 4500S, is designed for customers who need powerful Intel(R) Pentium(R) P4 or Celeron(R) technology in a compact, mini-tower chassis that can be positioned horizontally or vertically in tight spaces. Priced starting at $789(a), the Dimension 4500S currently features an Intel Celeron 1.7 GHz processor, Intel's new 845G chipset, which incorporates the next generation of extreme integrated graphics utilizing up to 48 MB of dynamic system memory, and features six integrated USB 2.0 ports. Later this month, Pentium 4 processors will be generally available. Combined with a P4 processor, the chipset provides an affordable, yet powerful, video and audio capability.

The second, the Dimension 4500, provides expandability for a wider selection of audio cards, graphics cards and processor speeds. It also features Intel's new 845E chipset, a Pentium 4 at 2.26 GHz along with more memory bandwidth that enables better graphics, multitasking, integrated USB 2.0 support, and Microsoft(R) Windows(R) XP performance. Prices for a typical configuration start at $1,089(a).

Dimension desktops quickly bring new technologies to the consumer and small business markets, offering a complete selection of customized, built-to-order computing solutions for every budget. Complete product details can be found at www.dell.com/dimension.

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

May 23 - U.S. Army Introduces 'America's Army" PC Game. The U.S. Army today unveiled "America's Army," an innovative, realistic computer game providing civilians with an inside perspective and a virtual role in today's premier land force, the U.S. Army. "America's Army" players will experience soldiering in a state-of-the-art new manner.

The "America's Army" game blends two vivid simulations: "Soldiers," a role-playing portion in which players navigate life's challenges to achieve goals, and a first-person action game, called "Operations."

Developed by the U.S. Army and a world-class team of Department of Defense experts in simulations and virtual environments, "America's Army" will be available in August. The Army will distribute "America's Army" for free in response to requests at www.americasarmy.com and www.goarmy.com, through distribution partners that include leading computer game magazines, at Army events and recruiting stations and through Internet download. The game is rated "T" for Teen by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board.

Anticipating large-scale distribution this summer, the Army unveiled the game at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the computer and video games industry's major convention in Los Angeles.

In the "Soldiers" role-playing portion, players undergo Army training and adventures while encountering tactical, technical and physical challenges - similar to issues soldiers might face in their first tour of duty while on and off duty.

Importantly, players manage their character's goals, values and resources. Each player chooses specific soldier attributes, career, and personal goals to achieve. As each goal is met, another is set. Values are integral to how the player guides a character while they coordinate six resources to determine how fast their character reaches a goal.

Each time a soldier-character encounters a new challenge or life choice, the game uses a revolutionary real-time story engine to generate new screenplays, dialogue, scenes, sounds and actions to carry the character through a personalized story. This link between player's actions and choices results in nearly infinite story possibilities. The game features text-to-voice technology allowing for personalized simulations while combining animation with photo-realistic background images.

The action-packed "Operations" portion allows up to 32 players to enter into "virtual service" with the U.S. Army on the same unit mission. Players begin their virtual Army experience as a recruit with an anonymous user name to experience challenging Army missions from a first-person perspective. Developed using the latest version of Epic Games' "Unreal Engine(R)" and optimized for NVIDIA GeForce2(TM) graphics processors, "Operations" features 20 single and multiplayer missions. Training missions build player capabilites -- from navigating Fort Benning's obstacle course to parachute drops in preparation for assignment to the 82nd Airborne Division. Multiplayer missions are played free on a virtual playing field online with web servers hosted by HomeLAN.

Multiplayer missions are organized into assignment tours, such as being part of the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) or the 75th Ranger Regiment. To join a multiplayer game, the players must complete the appropriate training. Gamers use realistic equipment and authentic military hardware. Teamwork, leadership and the benefits of training are emphasized. As in any team effort, communication is key: gamers use different speech, whispers, shouts, radio messages and -- in a game industry first -- genuine military hand and arm signals. Borrowing a page from Army force-on-force training methods, players always perceive they always are on the U.S. team.

The two games are interlaced, with experiences and attributes accumulated during gameplay in one game shaping adventures and opportunities in the other. Players can jump from one game to another to find out additional mission and career information and learn hints to help them advance.

The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs is the proponent for "America's Army." Game development was directed and managed by the U.S. Military Academy's Office of Economic & Manpower Analysis at West Point. The staff of the Modeling, Virtual Environment and Simulation Institute, masters and doctoral students at the military's post-graduate education facility in Monterey, Calif., developed the game's highly realistic simulations and situations. The development team worked with leading firms such as Epic Games, NVIDIA(R), THX Division of Lucasfilm Ltd., Dolby Laboratories, Lucasfilm Skywalker Sound, HomeLAN, and GameSpy Industries.

May 23 - Kodak Introduces EasyShare Digital Picture Printing. Eastman Kodak Company today introduced the new Kodak EasyShare system, combining enhanced software, digital cameras and an enhanced camera dock to take digital photography beyond e-mail and take the challenge out of obtaining high-quality prints.

Until today, printing photos from digital cameras was difficult, time-consuming and frustrating. With the new EasyShare system, making high-quality prints becomes fun and easy because of EasyShare's one-touch simplicity.

The new EasyShare system provides the industry's broadest number of integrated printing options that allow consumers to easily print at home using One Touch to Better Pictures and Kodak inkjet paper, from home by choosing to upload to either the EasyShare print service or another retail online photofinisher of choice, or at retail using Kodak digitally-enabled kiosks or over the counter.

A recent worldwide survey conducted by the research firm Market Facts confirms that easy uploading and the ability to print high-quality photos are the two most important purchase considerations for potential digital camera buyers. Last year, Kodak unveiled the award-winning EasyShare system, which made it simple to transfer images from a camera to a computer - at the touch of a button. The enhanced Kodak EasyShare system introduced today makes getting prints simpler than ever, letting consumers print at home, from home or at retail - driven by software that offers the widest range of printing choices available on the market.

"Kodak set the standard for consumer satisfaction a century ago, and today the enhanced EasyShare system has set a new standard for ease-of-use in the digital age," said Chairman and CEO Daniel A. Carp. "Kodak offers consumers more ways to get high-quality prints more conveniently than ever before."

For additional information, visit www.kodak.com/go/easyshare.

May 23 - Study Shows Video Games are Here to Stay. Offering striking confirmation of the staying power of computer and video games as a force in popular culture, the Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA) released new data today at E3Expo showing that six out of ten of today's computer and video game players expect to still be playing games ten years from now.

"There's no doubt that video games are deeply imbedded in our society," said Doug Lowenstein, president of the IDSA, the trade group that represents U.S. computer and video game publishers and the owner of E3Expo. "It's clear that the industry's surging growth is no passing fancy and that the millions of Americans who played video games yesterday play them today, and will still be playing them tomorrow."

Specifically, the data shows that 56 percent of the most frequent computer and video game players have been playing games for six or more years and that 60 percent expect to be playing games as much or more ten years from now as they do today.

According to Lowenstein, the explanation for both the continued growth of the $6.35 billion game industry and the connection so many consumers have with video games stems from the emergence of two generations of Americans between the ages of 6-35 for whom interactive entertainment "is as natural and basic as watching TV or listening to the radio were for previous generations."

Other results of the IDSA's seventh annual consumer survey, released today at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3Expo), show that people enjoy playing games throughout their lives because they're fun and challenging, and because games can be played with friends and family. Specifically, the survey found that people who play games do so because computer and video games: are fun (88 percent); are challenging (71 percent); can be played with friends and family (42 percent); offer a lot of entertainment for the price (36 percent); and offer a way for players to keep up with the latest technology (19 percent).

Additional survey highlights include the following.

-- Mobile Gaming: More than one-third (37 percent) of Americans
who own consoles or computers report that they also play games
on mobile devices like handheld systems, PDAs, and cell
phones.

-- Online Games: Thirty-one percent of game players say they play
games online, up from 24 percent last year and 18 percent in
1999.

-- Types of Games Played Most Often: Console game players say
that their favorite games are: driving/racing games (39
percent); action games (38 percent); sports games (38
percent); and role-play/adventure games (31 percent).
Computer game players say their favorites are: puzzle/board/card games
(35 percent); action games (28 percent); sports games (23
percent); and simulations (23 percent).

-- Number of Games Owned: Consoles game players report that they
own an average of 14 games, while computer gamers report that
they own about 13 titles.

-- Player Demographics: Sixty-two percent of computer game
players are male, while 34 percent are under 18 years old, 26
percent are 18 to 35, and 40 percent are over 36. Seventy-two
percent of console game players are male, while 45 percent are
under 18, 36 percent are 18 to 35, and 19 percent are over 36.

-- Women Gamers Entering the Market: Sixty-two percent of people
who have been playing computer and video games for less than a
year are women, concrete evidence that more and more women are
being drawn to games.

-- Buyer Demographics: Ninety-six percent of those who purchase
console games are over the age of 18, and 90 percent of
computer game buyers are over 18. Forty-six percent of console
game buyers and 55 percent of computer game buyers are women.

-- Parental Involvement in Purchases: The vast majority of game
players under the age of 18 say they get their parents
permission before buying games (86 percent) and that their
parents are usually present when they make a game purchase (91
percent).

The IDSA is the U.S. association dedicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of the companies publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet. IDSA members collectively account for more than 85 percent of the $6.35 billion in entertainment software sales in the U.S. in 2001, and billions more in export sales of American-made entertainment software. For more information, visit www.idsa.com.

May 23 - ViewSonic Introduces High Brightness Displays. ViewSonic® Corporation, a worldwide Visual Technologies™ leader, today added to its award-winning line of monitors with four displays that provide enhanced viewing capabilities, including up to three times brighter images than current displays.
The displays' features create brilliant, precise edge-to-edge images with great detail and color fidelity, giving users optimum viewing of graphics, video, games or TV.

Two CRT displays, the P95f+ and the P75f+, and two LCD monitors, the VE510+ and the VX500+, are the first in ViewSonic's line to feature UltraBrite™ technology. With the touch of a button, users can increase screen brightness up to three times higher than normal, making these displays ideal for demanding professionals who require high-end performance and superior color richness when working on graphic or web design, video or photo editing, desktop publishing or gaming applications.

"Computer and video applications are becoming more complex," said Seth Ngin, product manager, ViewSonic Corporation. "Our high brightness capabilities provide professionals with an essential tool to not only help them design more intricate images, but view exceptional video, graphics or photography elements."

To complement current computing technology, the P95f+ and P75f+ are available in black or beige, and have an estimated street price of $345 and $235 respectively. TheVE510+ and the VX500+ retail for $499, and $539 respectively.

The P95f+, P75f+ and VE510+ will be available in June through authorized ViewSonic resellers, distributors and mail order catalogs. The VX500+ will be available in July. For further information, visit www.ViewSonic.com.

May 22 - Intel Announces 845 Series USB 2.0 Chipsets. Intel Corporation today announced a trio of chipsets that deliver excellent performance for desktop computer users, enabling richer digital media, gaming and broadband experiences.

Available in PCs today, the Intel(R) 845G, 845E and 845GL chipsets include integrated Hi-Speed Universal Serial Bus (USB) 2.0, which increases bandwidth up to 40 times over today's USB 1.1 interface. With USB 2.0, users will be able to burn CDs up to six times faster, and back up data up to 11 times faster. For businesses, the flexibility and expandability of the technology enable high-bandwidth peripherals such as scanners and writeable DVD players to be added quickly and easily.

The Intel 845G chipset, designed for Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 processor-based PCs, incorporates a new generation of integrated graphics -- dubbed Intel(R) Extreme Graphics -- and is targeted at the high-volume business and consumer desktop market segments. "Offering both next-generation integrated graphics performance and high-quality, stable software drivers, the Intel 845G chipset is an outstanding solution for both corporations and mainstream consumers," Burns said.

The Intel 845E chipset works with discrete graphics components to provide flexibility for consumers. A third chipset, the Intel 845GL, is designed for Intel Celeron(R) processor-based PCs. All of the new chipsets enable surround-sound with enhanced 20-bit audio, resulting in an audiophile-level experience.

With a 533 MHz system bus, the Intel 845G and 845E chipsets offer faster pathways within the PC, balancing overall platform performance to take full advantage of the Pentium 4 processor's speed. Computers based on the Pentium 4 processor with the 533MHz system bus make it easier and faster than ever to edit and play digital video, view and edit family photos, play games and edit and listen to music.

For computer makers and system integrators, Intel also announced availability of four desktop motherboards: ATX form factor Intel desktop boards D845GBV and D845EBG2, and the smaller micro-ATX form factor Intel desktop boards D845GRG and D845EPT2.

Additional technical information on these chipsets is available at http://developer.intel.com/design/chipsets.

May 22 - Dell Brings Gigabit Networking to Desktop Computers. Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) today introduced the OptiPlex(tm) GX260, the first desktop computer system to integrate an Intel(R) PRO/1000 MT Gigabit (10/100/1000) Ethernet controller on the motherboard.

In concert with Gigabit connectivity on Dell PowerConnect(tm) switches and Gigabit controllers on Dell PowerEdge(tm) servers, the GX260 enables an end-to-end Gigabit network, all from a single vendor.

"Gigabit networking on a client product has major implications to both the end user and system administrator," said Jeff Clarke, vice president and general manager of Dell's Client Products Group. "System administrators can deploy images or applications over the wire at several times the speed of fast Ethernet, and users can enjoy network access speeds comparable to a local hard drive. Integrating Gigabit on the motherboard helps prepare desktops for increased bandwidth requirements for the next several years, and at an outstanding value."

The GX260 features Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 or Celeron(R) processors with low-cost, high-performance DDR-SDRAM system memory and six integrated USB 2.0 ports, two in front and four in the back. Flexible graphics options include an embedded 4X AGP chip that shares up to 48MB of system memory, or a selection of higher performance graphics cards. The OptiPlex GX260 also includes ASF support, an industry-standard technology that monitors system health and can notify a system administrator about potential problems or security compromises regardless of whether an operating system is installed or functioning.

OptiPlex desktops are designed for networked business environments, with long product lifecycles, standards-based technology and a full suite of user-friendly management tools, making them easy to deploy and maintain. Complete product details can be found at www.dell.com/optiplex.

May 22 - IBM Ships 100 Millionth Silicon Germanium Chip. IBM today announced it has shipped the 100 millionth chip made with silicon germanium (SiGe), a technology pioneered by IBM that is revolutionizing the design of cell phones and other wireless electronic products.

The 100 millionth SiGe chip was produced at IBM's Burlington, Vermont facility, the company's primary chip manufacturing site and exclusive IBM SiGe production facility, and was delivered to Tektronix (NYSE: TEK), a world leader in advanced test, measurement and monitoring equipment.

The milestone underscores the growing use of SiGe technology in chip applications that demand a combination of very high speed, reduced power consumption and the economies made possible by SiGe's production on standard silicon-based semiconductor tooling and manufacturing lines. Earlier this year, IBM announced the use of SiGe in building the then world's fastest integrated circuit, running at over 110 GHz.

"We're translating SiGe's benefits into real customer applications," said Dr. Bernard Meyerson, IBM Fellow and chief technologist, IBM Technology Group. "With multiple SiGe technologies, a full suite of design tools, and our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility we have the resources to help anticipate and meet our customers' requirements. SiGe adoptors such as Tektronix are turning to IBM because we are the premier volume supplier of advanced SiGe technology."

SiGe is a process technology in which the electrical properties of silicon, the material underlying virtually all modern microchips, is augmented with germanium to make the chips operate more efficiently. This technology is already widely deployed in a range of both high speed wired and low cost wireless gear. In addition, SiGe provides increased integration capabilities, enabling designers to reduce the size and cost of electronic products.

More information about IBM Microelectronics can be found at: http://www.ibm.com/chips.

May 22 - Microsoft Unveils Xbox Live Online Gaming. Today at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Microsoft Corp. became the first video game company ever to announce a comprehensive online game service fully dedicated to fast-action, always-connected broadband gaming experiences.
The online console gaming service, named Xbox™ Live, launches in North America, Japan and Europe this fall for the Xbox video game system and ramps up with consumer beta programs starting this summer.

Xbox Live will enable all gamers to find their friends easily; talk to other players during game play through the Xbox Communicator headset; download current statistics, new levels and characters to their Xbox hard drive; and play online.

"Online technology is the next revolution in video games, and it will fundamentally transform gaming into a new form of social entertainment," said J Allard, general manager of Xbox at Microsoft. "Together with our partners we will combine exceptional gaming experiences, a world-class service and a viable business model so all parts of the online ecosystem thrive."

Jump-starting the online title announcements, Allard said Xbox Live will support five Xbox Live-exclusive games this year: "Unreal Championship" (Infogrames); and "MechAssault™," "Whacked!™," "NFL Fever 2003" and "Midtown Madness® 3" (Microsoft Game Studios).
To date, 60 game companies have committed to create games for Xbox Live, and at least
50 Xbox Live-enabled games are planned to release by the end of next year. Some upcoming Xbox Live titles include "Shaun Palmer's Pro Snowboarder™ 2" from Activision, Inc.; "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon™," "Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six™ RavenShield™" and "XIII" from Ubi Soft; and "SEGA Sports™ NFL 2K3," "SEGA Sports™ NBA 2K3" and "Phantasy Star™ Online" from SEGA® of America, Inc.

As the grand finale to the Xbox Live unveiling, Allard announced a lineup of games in the works for the future of the service, including "Star Wars® Galaxies™" (LucasArts Entertainment Company), "Counterstrike" (Valve Software for Microsoft Game Studios), and future versions of Xbox original blockbusters like "Halo™," "RalliSport Challenge," "Amped™" and "Project Gotham Racing™."

With the service approach, Xbox Live is poised to deliver the most seamless, easy-to-use and consistent online gaming environment for gamers, developers and publishers alike. It was designed by gamers for gamers and includes features such as delivery of real-time scores and statistics so gamers can compare themselves to the best players in the world; quick and easy game launches; fast downloads; the ability to find friends online across games with only one click; and the ability to maintain a single identity across all games with a single password.

Microsoft is building four datacenters - in Seattle and Tukwila, Wash., Tokyo and London - in order to run a scalable, secure and gamer-friendly service. Xbox will assist publishers by managing the hosting, networking, security and billing so that game creators can focus on creating awesome game content.

Key, consistent features of the Xbox Live service across games include the following:
- Gamertag. Gamertag is a gamer's unique online ID for all games across the global gaming service.
- Friends list. This feature allows gamers to find friends online and invite them to a game - no matter which Xbox Live game they're playing.
- Xbox Communicator. Voice communication is integrated with all Xbox Live multiplayer games and enables voice interaction with teammates and opponents. Key elements of this feature exclusive to Xbox include voice masking, global muting and parental control.
- Matchmaking. QuickMatch enables players to enter a multiplay experience with a single button-click, and OptiMatch, an Xbox Live exclusive, helps them select games and opponents based on similar skill levels.
- High-speed content downloads to the Xbox hard disk. Only Xbox offers console gamers the ability to download and permanently store both free and for-a-fee content that can include new levels, characters, missions and statistics.

Allard painted a bullish picture for the future of online console gaming and the promise of Xbox to lead the category. "Within five years every important game will be online," he said. "There will be new categories of collaborative and competitive console games that are possible only online. The ability to download new worlds, levels, characters, weapons, vehicles, teams, statistics and missions will change the way developers think about creating games, and will change the way gamers play them."

At launch, U.S. consumers can purchase a starter kit for $49.95. For the estimated retail price of a single game, the consumer receives a year's subscription to Xbox Live, an Xbox Communicator that plugs into the Xbox controller and facilitates all voice communication with other players, and "ReVolt," a fun online racing game from Acclaim Entertainment Inc. Pricing and specific offers in regions outside the United States will be announced locally at a later date.

More information on Xbox can be found at http://www.xbox.com/.

May 22 - Sega.Com Enters Wireless Gaming Market. Sega.com, Inc., today announced the launch of Sega Mobile, a new division of Sega.com dedicated to bringing the thrills and excitement of Sega gaming to cellular phone and PDA users in North America.
Taking advantage of the phenomenal successes of the mobile gaming market in Japan and the burgeoning wireless and 3G network adoption in North America, Sega Mobile is well positioned to lead the market in wireless gaming content.

"Staying true to our history of innovation in the gaming industry, Sega.com continues to push the boundaries and expand the video game market into new territories with the launch of the Sega Mobile division," said Mr. Ryoichi Shiratsuchi, CEO of Sega.com and general manager of Sega Mobile Japan. "Bringing great Sega content to wireless platforms is another step toward Sega.com's goal of bringing networked gaming to all devices and thereby extending the pastime to mainstream audiences across the world."

Sega Mobile draws upon both Sega's heritage in the video game industry and its current successes in the Japanese wireless gaming market. Relying on the experience that comes from more than 2.5 million subscribers to wireless games and other entertainment related content in Japan, Sega Mobile is well prepared to lead the next wave in gaming in the U.S. Wireless gaming is widely expected to take off in the next few years, with Ovum, a leading analyst and consulting company, estimating that the global revenue for wireless gaming will reach $4.4 billion by 2006, up from $124 million in 2001.

Sega Mobile is tapping into Sega's extensive content library launching classic titles such as Pengo, Flicky, Puyo Puyo, and Baku Baku Animal. Beginning this summer, Sega Mobile will be bringing the hit title Monkey Ball to wireless devices nationwide. Appealing to the more mainstream wireless user with familiar and fun content, Sega Mobile will round out the launch repertoire of games by publishing new puzzle, sports and entertainment titles.

Sega.com, Inc. can be found online at www.sega.com.

May 21 - Toshiba's Computer Systems Group Unveils Business Plan. Today Rod Keller, executive vice president of Toshiba's Computer Systems Group (CSG), laid out the company's strategy for growth and success in 2002 and beyond -- a bulls-eye focus on mobility, wireless and digital convergence.

Drawing on the proven strength of its mobile technology and design heritage, Keller explained that Toshiba will only design, manufacture and market products and services that map to its core mobile computing and communications strategy.

From research and development to marketing and sales, Toshiba's mission is to spearhead the evolution of mobility by bringing the best customer solutions, product bundles and business practices to the U.S. market.

In support of the new strategy, Keller defined his top organizational goals for the company: drive costs out of the business model and establish a dynamic supply chain, while increasing purchasing flexibility and technical and sales support for its customers and partners.

Keller's direction also includes a renewed focus on listening and responding to the "voice of the customer," which means letting the customer define purchasing convenience and developing the products, technology bundles and services that solve real customer needs.

"Since my appointment in October 2001, I have charged the team with one overriding goal -- reclaim Toshiba's legacy position as a mobile computing and communications leader," Keller said.

"We've begun executing on this mission and have already made great strides in refining our business model, matching our strategies with our core strengths and customers' needs, and turning our focus back solely to mobility. We will be focused and relentless in pursuit of our goal."

According to Roger Kay, industry analyst with International Data Corp.: "The future of personal computing is mobility, and research shows that mobile sales growth is expected to exceed desktop sales over the next few years and beyond. Wireless communications also will become an increasingly important element of the computing infrastructure -- both in the corporate environment and in the home."

Visit the company's Web site at www.csd.toshiba.com.

May 21 - Matrox and UMC Collaborate on Matrox Parhelia-512 Graphics Chip. Matrox Graphics Inc., the leading professional graphics company, and UMC (NYSE: UMC), a world leading semiconductor company, today announced collaboration on the new Matrox Parhelia(TM)-512 graphics chip.

A high-fidelity GPU, Parhelia-512 uses UMC's 8-layer 150nm (0.15um) process technology, which allows for reasonable power dissipation and a manageable die size. Bringing a new level of visual quality, excellent performance and a wide range of innovative new technologies to market, this AGP 4X device supports frame buffers of up to 256MB in size and integrates two 400 MHz RAMDACs, a TV encoder and support for dual TMDS transmitters.

"The constant introduction of evermore sophisticated graphics programs is placing great demand on today's graphics chip companies' to innovate," said Dr. Fu Tai Liou, chief officer of worldwide sales and marketing, UMC. "We are pleased to be able to help Matrox deliver Parhelia-512, a highly competitive graphics solution, within critical market windows."

"We chose to base Parhelia-512 on an 8-layer 150nm (0.15um) process technology in order to achieve high-routing density," said Ed Dwyer, executive vice president, Matrox Graphics Inc. "We are pleased to be working with UMC because of its ability to quickly ramp up production and reach a high yield for our extremely complex design."

Information on Matrox products, drivers, technical support and more can be found at: www.matrox.com/mga. UMC can be found on the web at www.umc.com.

May 21 - MicronPC Introduces New Millennia TS2 at 2.53 GHz. MicronPC, a Gores Technology Group company, today announced the introduction of the Millennia TS2.

The Millennia TS2 is a new premium performance desktop computer designed for PC enthusiasts who demand extreme speed for applications like gaming or digital video. The Millennia TS2 is one of MicronPC's most powerful desktop computers and features the latest processor technology from Intel(R) -- the Pentium(R) 4 processor with 533Mhz system bus technology.

The Millennia TS2 is a powerhouse whose processor-speeds can be scaled up to 2.53GHz. Also, with the addition of the latest 533MHz system bus technology, benchmark testing shows a 9% performance increase when compared to the previously available 400MHz system bus. Complementing the core processing architecture, MicronPC has combined the Millennia TS2 with the latest high-performance graphic-cards, DVD-re-writeable drives, high performance RAID options, large hard drives and sharp, colorful displays.

Designed for PC enthusiasts and power users, the Millennia TS2 offers the ultimate solution for today's demanding computing environment. "Delivering powerful computing systems to our customers has always been one of our trademarks," said Paul Petersen, vice president product marketing and development at MicronPC. "And, launching time-to-market with the latest Intel Pentium 4 processor confirms MicronPC's commitment to deliver the latest in computing technology to our most demanding PC customers."

In addition to the latest processor technology, the Millennia TS2 incorporates other cutting edge components including Intel's 845E and ICH4 chipset, DDR 266 memory, integrated Hi-speed USB 2.0, 1 IEEE 1394a Port, integrated IDE RAID 0 or integrated IDE RAID 1 controller options and integrated 6-channel premium surround audio.

The Millennia TS2 is available for order directly from MicronPC at www.micronpc.com.

May 21 - AMD's Austin Fab 25 Producing Flash Memory Devices. AMD (NYSE:AMD) today announced the company's Fab 25 manufacturing facility in Austin is in volume production of advanced Flash memory devices.

The Austin facility is benefiting from significant capital investment to enable its transition from microprocessor manufacturing to Flash memory production. The conversion is nearly complete with the last microprocessor output planned for the third quarter of this year.

Flash memory is a critical enabling technology for a wide variety of products such as cellular telephones, personal digital assistants, telecommunications devices, and Internet and global positioning systems. Flash memory retains information in the absence of power.

Fab 25 is producing 32 Megabit and 64 Megabit Flash memory devices using 0.17 micron technology. The 0.17 micron dimension describes the size of the smallest component within the Flash memory device. The facility is currently equipped for high volume production of 0.13 micron devices. The use of 0.13 micron technology is planned to begin by the end of the year.

"AMD's investment in Fab 25 will make the facility a leading-edge Flash memory factory," said Bertrand Cambou, group vice president for AMD's Memory Group. "This capability, combined with MirrorBit(tm) technology, can deliver the lowest manufacturing costs for Flash memory devices in the industry. The Austin fab is outfitted to carry us well into the future and is a strategic asset that will serve the needs of the large and growing wireless market."

AMD's MirrorBit(tm) architecture is a breakthrough technology that doubles the density of standard Flash memory devices without compromising performance or reliability. More AMD news and product information is available at www.amd.com.

May 21 - Bitstream Releases ThunderHawk Wireless Web Browser for Pocket PCs. Bitstream Inc. (NASDAQ: BITS) announced today it is releasing ThunderHawk(TM) -Bitstream's wireless Web browsing technology.
ThunderHawk brings full-featured Web browsing to mobile devices, enabling users to view the full text and images of any Web page. Users get complete wireless access to real Web pages that maintain full text legibility.

ThunderHawk brings the desktop Web browsing experience to mobile device users. It allows a Pocket PC, which typically has a 320x240 color LCD screen, to display a legible VGA screen (640x480) of a Web page. Side-by-side comparisons of ThunderHawk and today's browsing experience on Pocket PC devices can be viewed at www.bitstream.com/wireless.

"ThunderHawk makes Web browsing more intuitive. You don't have to learn anything new to use it on mobile devices. It just works. You connect to your ISP, start ThunderHawk, and surf Web pages as you normally would. The only difference is you use a stylus instead of a mouse," said Anna Chagnon, President of Bitstream.
"Companies developing new wireless and handheld gadgets now have a solution that will give them a great looking browser on their displays. ThunderHawk enables people to stay connected. We are very pleased to announce the product release of ThunderHawk, the first step in making access to the wireless Web a reality."

The product release of ThunderHawk for the Pocket PC is now available for purchase and for a free 30-day trial. Customers who have a Pocket PC can download, test drive, and purchase ThunderHawk from the Bitstream Web site at www.bitstream.com/wireless.

May 21 - THQ Unveils Game Line Up at 2002 E3. THQ Inc. (NASDAQ:THQI) is set to debut its 2002 product line up, its strongest and most diverse to date, at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles May 22-24, 2002.

The company will unveil games in all genres across multiple platforms for every type of video game fan. From original content like "Red Faction(TM) II," "Alter Echo(TM)" and "Tak and The Power of JuJu(TM)," to the most expansive mass-market kids product portfolio in the industry, featuring favorite television, music and motion picture characters like "SpongeBob SquarePants," "Scooby-Doo!," "World Wrestling Entertainment(TM)" and "Britney Spears," THQ has something for everyone.

All viable game platforms will be represented in the THQ booth (Petree Hall #4001), including the PlayStation(R) 2 computer entertainment system, Xbox(TM), Nintendo GameCube(TM) and Game Boy(R) Advance, and PC/Mac. In addition, THQ Wireless will demonstrate several new games on the latest mobile devices.

"This year marks the beginning of the broad, mass-market adoption of PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Nintendo's GameCube and Game Boy Advance, with more than 35 million of these systems projected to be in U.S. households by holiday," said Brian Farrell, president and CEO of THQ.

"THQ has been building its portfolio of brands with broad consumer appeal for the past five years in order to take best advantage of the explosive growth of these hardware systems in the marketplace. Our games target every segment of the market with original titles like `Red Faction II,' `Alter Echo' and `Summoner(R) 2,' as well as compelling licensed products such as `Britney's Dance Beat,' `Tetris' and games based on popular Nickelodeon, Mattel and Disney properties."

The THQ Web site is located at www.thq.com.

May 20 - IBM Creates World's Highest Performing Nanotube Transistors. IBM today announced it has created the highest performing nanotubes transistors to date and has proven that carbon nanotubes (CNTs), tube-shaped molecules made of carbon atoms that are 50,000 times thinner than a human hair, can outperform the leading silicon transistor prototypes available today.
As reported in the May 20 issue of the journal of Applied Physics Letters, IBM researchers have improved carbon nanotube transistors. By experimenting with different device structures, the researchers were able to achieve the highest transconductance (measure of the current carrying capability) of any carbon nanotube transistor to date. High transconductance implies that transistors can run faster, leading to more powerful integrated circuits. Furthermore, the researchers discovered that the carbon nanotube transistors produced more than twice the transconductance per unit width of top-performing silicon transistor prototypes.
With today's announcement, IBM is taking carbon nanotubes, the strongest and most conductive fibers known, another step closer to becoming a viable option for replacing silicon transistors in future devices.
"Proving that carbon nanotubes outperform silicon transistors opens the door for more research related to the commercial viability of nanotubes," said Dr. Phaedon Avouris, manager of nanoscale science, IBM Research. "Carbon nanotubes are already the top candidate to replace silicon when current chip features just can't be made any smaller, a physical barrier expected to occur in about 10 to 15 years."
Today's achievement builds on a series of major research breakthroughs by IBM scientists using carbon nanotubes to make tiny electronic devices. Last April, IBM became the first to develop a groundbreaking technique to produce arrays of carbon nanotube transistors, bypassing the need to meticulously separate metallic and semiconducting nanotubes. Last August, IBM announced the world's first logic circuit within a single nanotube.
IBM can be found online at www.ibm.com.

May 20 - 3Com Delivers Industry's First Bluetooth Wireless Printing Kit. 3Com Corporation (Nasdaq: COMS) announced today the availability of the 3Com(R) Wireless Bluetooth(TM) Printing Kit in the United States. This new 3Com Business Connectivity Company solution is an innovative package that allows users to quickly enable wireless connectivity to existing printers and PCs - all with Bluetooth wireless ease.
"3Com's Universal Connectivity solutions mean extraordinary user experiences with wired and wireless innovations for desktop and mobile PCs and, with today's announcement -- printers," said Dennis Connors, president, Business Connectivity Company, 3Com Corporation. "As a pioneer in wireless standard technologies, 3Com gives yet another option for Bluetooth device connectivity with today's delivery of the Bluetooth Printing Kit. First, we delivered the 3Com Wireless Bluetooth PC Card, then the 3Com Bluetooth USB Adapter, and now, the 3Com Wireless Bluetooth Printing Kit."
"Given that the issues of interoperability, functionality, and user applications are important for the Bluetooth market, In-Stat/MDR evaluated and rated Bluetooth products by leading vendors. 3Com's Bluetooth Wireless PC Card and USB Adapter both earned a five-out-of-five rating for a `very good to excellent user experience'," said Joyce Putscher, Director of In-Stat/MDR's Converging Markets and Technologies Group. "The products that will take the Bluetooth market by storm will offer a simple, familiar, intuitive user interface, quick and easy setup, combined with chat, printing, and additional applications that consumers find compelling, productive and fun."
The new 3Com Wireless Bluetooth Printing Kit is ideal for first-time wireless users in business or home networks because practicality and simplicity are the solution's key design elements, featuring several built-in capabilities for ease of use and ownership. The 3Com Bluetooth Connection Manager gives users an intuitive interface for discovering and connecting to other Bluetooth devices - it only takes a few clicks on icons to connect seamlessly. To protect customers' investment, the Bluetooth Printing Kit is fully software and firmware upgradeable so to make it easy and cost-effective for users to download new features when they become available. In addition, the new 3Com Wireless Bluetooth Printing Kit gives optimal reliability for connectivity without wires with ranges up to 10 meters (32 feet) indoors.
The 3Com Wireless Bluetooth Printing Kit (3CRBB0196) is available immediately in the US for $250 U.S. list price. It includes one 3Com Wireless Bluetooth USB Adapter and one 3Com Wireless Bluetooth Parallel-Port Printer Adapter. Additional 3Com Wireless Bluetooth USB Adapters (3CREB96) and 3Com Wireless Bluetooth PC Cards (3CRWB6096) are available individually for $149 U.S. list price.
For further information, please visit www.3com.com.

May 20 - Nintendo GameCube Price Set At $149.95. Less than one year after successfully launching NINTENDO GAMECUBE(TM) at a mass-market price, Nintendo of America Inc. is dropping the MSRP to $149.95, effective Tuesday, May 21, 2002.
To date, Nintendo has shipped more than 4.5 million systems worldwide and its hit title, Super Smash Bros.(TM) Melee, has topped the 2.5 million mark.
Today's announcement comes as the $27 billion interactive entertainment industry gathers in Los Angeles for the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) to preview the latest and greatest games coming out this holiday.
"It's simple, really: Nintendo is committed to offering our players the best games and the best price," says Peter MacDougall, executive vice president, sales and marketing, Nintendo of America Inc. "We were the first manufacturer to reach the $199 price level and now we're leading the industry to $149 -- allowing even more players around the world to get their hands on our legendary favorites like Mario, Zelda, Star Fox and Metroid this year."

For more information about NINTENDO GAMECUBE or any other Nintendo product visit the company's Web sites, www.nintendo.com or www.nintendogamecube.com.

May 20 - Photo Print Solutions Driven by Digital Photography. Nearly half of all photo kiosks to be shipped in 2002 will be designed exclusively for digital camera users, according to a new report from InfoTrends Research Group. This is a dramatic change from last year when only 16% of photo kiosk shipments were digital camera exclusive.
"As digital camera users begin to use photo kiosks, print volumes on photo kiosks will increase dramatically," says Kerry Flatley, research analyst. "Our research shows that currently photo kiosks are mainly used by customers making just a few copies or enlargements from prints. Digital camera customers, on the other hand, will use photo kiosks as a high-volume source for their original photo prints."
While the print volume at photo kiosks will increase, growth in the installed base of photo kiosks is expected to be modest, reaching 33,000 in 2006. Sales of replacement units will contribute to an 8% compound annual growth rate in unit shipments.
Future photo kiosk developments include placement in more convenient locations, faster print speeds, and connectivity to the Internet or to local digital minilab equipment. With more user education and awareness, these improvements will attract more digital camera users to print at retail instead of at home. As of November 2001, only 9% of U.S. photo kiosk users had printed from digital photo files and only a small percentage of those were from digital cameras.
Furthermore, in the coming year, photofinishing retailers will increasingly adopt in-store digital minilabs to print images from digital camera memory cards. Unit shipments of digital minilabs are expected to double this year as more retailers make the transition from analog to digital technology.
InfoTrends Research Group, Inc. can be found online at www.infotrends-rgi.com.

May 20 - First Quarter Video Game Rental Revenues Up 9%. The video game rental market is booming with a flurry of new game titles and the introduction of two new game platforms, according to Bo Andersen, president of the home video and entertainment industry's international trade group -- the Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA).
"The video game rental business enjoyed a strong first quarter due, in part, to increased competition and consumer choices fueled by the introduction of Microsoft's Xbox and Nintendo's GameCube," said Andersen.
According to VSDA's VidTrac program -- the video industry's most accurate video rental point-of-sale tracking technology for measuring national consumer video rental spending, based on actual rental transactions -- video game consumers rented 49.2 million games and spent $201 million during the first quarter of 2002.
Compared to a year ago, video game rentals are up 9.8% from 44.8 million and revenues were up 9.2% from $184 million. Revenues for the first quarter of 2002 were also up significantly, 24.5%, from the previous quarter (fourth quarter of 2001) at $161.4 million.
"With limited platforms and games available, the video game rental market was slipping into a quiet slumber. However, GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox have reawakened consumer interest in experimenting with new game titles," added Brad Hackley, Director of Research for VSDA/VidTrac.
Sony, through its platforms PlayStation and PlayStation 2 products, dominated the market in the first quarter of 2002, and remains the video gamer's platform of choice, occupying 64% of the overall video game rental market. In fact, all ten of the Top 10 Video Game Rentals for the first quarter were PlayStation 2 products (see Top 10 list below). Nintendo's N64 platform ranked number two.
In just four and a half months on the market (debuting November 15, 2001), Microsoft's Xbox soared from zero to 9% of the market, winning the #3 spot. Xbox's success was fueled by the popularity of Activision's "Wreckless: Yakuza Missions" (#15 game of the first quarter 2002) and Microsoft's "Blood Wake" titles (#20 game of the first quarter 2002). Nintendo's GameCube, which streeted November 18th, ranked #4 with 4.5% of the rental market.

Top Ten Rentals

1 PS2-Grand Theft Auto 3 3-Oct-01 Take 2 Interactive
2 PS2-Max Payne 20-Nov-01 Take 2 Interactive
3 PS2-State Of Emergency 18-Feb-02 rockstar games
4 PS2-Agent Under Fire 14-Nov-01 Electronic Arts
5 PS2-Final Fantasy X 28-Dec-01 Electronic Arts
6 PS2-Metal Gear Solid 2:
Sons Of Liberty 14-Nov-01 Konami
7 PS2-NBA 2K2 15-Jan-02 Sega Of America
8 PS2-Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 31-Oct-01 Activision
9 PS2-Simpsons Road Rage 22-Nov-01 Electronic Arts
10 PS2-WWF SmackDown Just Bring It 2-Nov-01 THQ Inc.

Source: 1/6/02-3/31/02, VSDA/VidTrac
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Established in 1981, the Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) is a not-for-profit international trade association for the approximate $19 billion home entertainment industry. VSDA represents more than 1,700 companies throughout the United States, Canada, and a dozen other countries. Membership comprises the full spectrum of video and video game retailers (both independents and large chains), as well as the home video divisions of major and independent motion picture studios, and other related businesses that constitute and support the home video entertainment industry.
The VSDA can be found online at www.vsda.org.

May 19 - Sunday Shopping Watch.

Weekly Comparison.

Deal of the Week - Best Buy is offering a HP 1.2 GHz complete system for $599.

Notebooks - Prices remain high on notebooks. This week's best deal is a HP 1.2 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW for $1149. This still seems high compared to the deal from 3 Sundays ago, an Athlon 4, 1 GHz laptop advertised below $1,000.
High-end Athlon, Pentium III-M, and Pentium 4-M processor notebook prices appear unchanged.
Desktops - Prices are a little higher on Pentium 4 desktops compared to last week. Prices on Athlon "+" processor desktops went down $100 compared to last week.

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

BestBuy is giving away 6 months of free MSN with any computer purchase. They are also offering 12 months of interest free financing on any computer purchase over $298. Additionally, they are giving $100 mail-in rebates on all desktop packages and notebooks.
Circuit City is giving 12 months of free CompuServe on any in-store computer purchase. Additionally, they are offering a $150-$350 mail-in rebates on Intel Processor notebooks, $100-$350 mail-in rebates on all AMD desktop packages, and no interest for 12 months on AMD computer packages.
Office Depot is offering no interest, no payments, for 6 months on any computer purchase over $298.
CompUSA is offering 12 month interest free financing on any computer purchase. They are also offering a $150 CompUSA gift card with any Pentium 4 1.8 GHz complete system.
Staples is also giving 6 months of free MSN with any computer purchase.

Shopping Alert on Lower Priced Desktops. Many lower priced Celeron desktops made by almost all computer manufacturers should be carefully investigated before purchase.
Most of these low priced desktops have no AGP video expansion slot, no onboard dedicated video RAM, no CD-RW drive, and very few empty PCI expansion slots. These computers will be very difficult to upgrade, and they have poorer performance than other desktops that do not have integrated audio and video chips on the motherboard.
Often by spending $200-$400 more dollars for a Pentium 4 or Athlon XP based system, you can get twice the performance, more features, and you will have an upgradeable computer that will serve you well for another 3 years.
If you choose the $700 Celeron system to save a few bucks, keep in mind that in a year or two you will probably want to replace it.

About Windows XP. It has been a little over 5 months since Windows XP began to be bundled with new computers. Windows XP became available for separate purchase on October 25th. For more information on Windows XP see our Windows XP Upgrade Guide.

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

Definitions. A desktop 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).

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

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

Best Deals this Sunday
Category
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Store
Best Celeron Deal
HP 1.2 GHz complete system
$599
Best Buy
Best Low-cost Pentium 4
HP 1.8 GHz complete system
$1099
CompUSA
Best High-end Pentium 4 System
Compaq 2 GHz Build-to-order complete system
$1299
Staples
Best Low-cost Athlon XP System
HP 1600+ complete system
$849
Circuit City
Best High-end Athlon XP System
HP 1900+ complete system
$1149
Circuit City
Best Low-cost Notebook
HP 1.1 GHz Celeron with DVD/CD-RW
$1149
Circuit City
1. Best High-end Notebook
Compaq 1600+ Athlon 4 with DVD/CD-RW
$1399
Best Buy
2. Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba Pentium 4 1.6 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$1699
CompUSA

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

May 17 - Infineon, AMD, and DuPont Photomasks Partner on New Chip Technology. Infineon Technologies AG (FSE/NYSE: IFX), Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (NYSE: AMD) and DuPont Photomasks, Inc. (NASDAQ: DPMI) today announced plans to establish and operate a new advanced photomask facility in Dresden.

This move is to help ensure their continued edge in the worldwide race to create the next semiconductor generations with increased functionality in ever smaller geometries. The facility will be used to develop and pilot-manufacture next-generation lithographic photomasks for exposing patterns on semiconductor silicon wafers. For this purpose, the three companies are creating a new, equally-owned joint venture, Advanced Mask Technology Center GmbH & Co. KG (AMTC). The AMTC facility will be co-located with a new commercial photomask production facility that DuPont Photomasks will establish in Dresden as a separate entity.

The building, which is planned to house the two companies, has a useable floor space of 17,500 square meters. It will be constructed in the immediate vicinity of Infineon's and AMD's Dresden-based semiconductor fabs. The completion date for construction is scheduled for early 2003. As soon as the building is in place, AMTC and DuPont Photomasks plan to install the necessary equipment and begin start-up of the operations in the second half of 2003.
The amount of investment required for AMTC is estimated at around EUR 360 million over the next 5 years. AMTC expects to employ around 170 people. Key engineers from all three companies are expected to staff the AMTC and will collaboratively develop a roadmap for technology nodes of 90/65 nanometers and below.

Infineon already operates a photomask development and production facility with around 230 employees in Munich producing masks exclusively for Infineon's world wide production facilities. With this strategic shift Infineon is pulling out of the complete mask development on its own in favor of a cooperation model in the area of high-end-masks designed to speed up development cycles and to reduce costs.
Infineon's leading-edge photomask technology, as well as AMD's and DuPont Photomasks's technology, will be used in the new venture in Dresden. Employees of the Infineon Munich photomask facility will be encouraged to apply for comparable jobs at the AMTC, at the new DuPont Photomasks facility in Dresden or at Infineon in Dresden.

In a separate agreement announced today, DuPont Photomasks has been selected as Infineon Technologies' strategic photomask supplier, as the two companies entered into a 10-year supply agreement. As part of that agreement, DuPont Photomasks plans to build a state-of-the-art, commercial production photomask facility in Dresden, to support the advanced photomask needs of its global customers, including Infineon.

Dr. William Siegle, AMD Senior Vice President, Technology Operations and Chief Scientist, stated: "AMTC, which builds on our successful past relationship with DuPont Photomasks, is an ideal supplement to our AMD Fab 30 semiconductor facility, and will contribute to further strengthening Dresden as a microelectronics center. We see its mission to be a world-leading mask provider for future-generation technologies.

"As early as 2003 we expect the AMTC to support one of the world's most successful fabs - our Fab 30. The advantages of having a photomask facility in immediate proximity to our fabs is self-evident: it means the shortest possible distance between the AMTC development center and our plants, which depend on "just in time" deliveries of increasingly complex photomasks. Thanks to the direct feedback between our wafer fabs and the photomask facility, all three partners will be able to help ensure high-level performance on the part of AMTC. In the global semiconductor industry, this is an important key to success."

Lithographic photomasks

Photomasks are an integral component in the lithographic process of semiconductor manufacturing. High-purity quartz or glass plates containing precision images of integrated circuits (or chips), photomasks are used as masters to optically transfer these images onto semiconductor wafers. Current advanced lithographic tools, such as deep-UV (DUV) steppers and scanners, project light through a photomask and a high aperture lens.

The intensity of the light casts an image of the device's design - the pattern on the photomask - onto a silicon wafer coated with a light sensitive material called photoresist. Using negative photoresist, the unexposed, or masked, portion of this material is then removed so it can either be etched to form channels or be deposited with other materials. Chips are manufactured layer by layer, so these selective deposition/removal steps are repeated until a circuit is built. The current generation of semiconductors has 25 or more layers, each requiring a unique photomask.

Photomasks, requiring sophisticated manufacturing techniques and complex mathematical algorithms to design, are at the forefront of the microminiaturization of chips, enabling more functionality to be embedded within a smaller area. This trend in making devices as powerful and as small as possible facilitates the proliferation of handheld and other portable electronic applications. Although photomasks have always been a necessary component in the chip making process, today they are a true enabler of semiconductor technology.

Advanced semiconductors are being built at the sub wavelength level. Sub wavelength manufacturing requires advanced photomasks because the circuit images printed on the silicon wafer are actually smaller than the wavelength of the light source used to expose the pattern. Current state-of-the-technology, DUV steppers and scanners use a krypton fluoride laser with a wavelength of 248 nm, (0.248 micron), to build advanced chips with feature sizes of 180 nm (0.18 micron) and below.

To meet this sub wavelength challenge advanced photomasks utilize reticle enhancement techniques, such as optical proximity correction (OPC) and phase shift features (PSM). These and other technologies will continue to enable the extension of optical lithography as the industry transitions to 193 nm and then 157 nm optical lithography over the next decade.

May 17 - 1394 Trade Association Praises New Firewire Enabled Chipset from SiS. Leaders of the 1394 Trade Association said today that the introduction of a new 1394-equipped chipset from Silicon Integrated Systems represents a breakthrough in 1394/FireWire technology that will encourage the use of the 1394 multimedia standard in computer and peripheral applications.

SiS in March unveiled the industry's first chipsets with integrated 1394 host controller, the SiS745. In an effort to promote the adoption of the 1394 infrastructure in the PC platform, SiS has integrated the 1394 controller, in current products as well as future solutions. The SiS745 is an open architecture single chip supporting the AMD Athlon XP.
This contrasts with competitive solutions that adopt independent north bridge and south bridge. The SiS745 is now in production. By integrating the state-of-the-art 1394 technology, the SiS745 provides a high performance 1394 host platform to the market that could significantly propel the application and adoption of 1394 in PCs, consumer electrical appliances and in home networking scenarios.

SiS has also introduced its SiS962 MuTIOL(R) "South Bridge" chipset, which includes a 1394a LINK controller and supports up to three 1394 devices with external PHY.

"The integration of the 1394/FireWire standard into the chipsets is a significant development which advances the proliferation of 1394 across multiple product lines at leading PC makers," said James Snider, executive director of the 1394 Trade Association. "We anticipate that other chipset manufacturers will follow the lead of SiS, which is an innovative leader in the industry. This is a vital market and an important development for the FireWire standard."

For further information, please visit the SiS website at www.sis.com. For more information about 1394/FireWire and the 1394 Trade Association, visit www.1394ta.org.

May 17 - Dell's Q1 Results Beats Estimates. Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) further increased its appeal to enterprise computing customers and again demonstrated a unique ability to manage costs, en route to better-than-expected revenue and earnings per share for the fiscal first quarter, which ended May 3.

The company has met or exceeded its guidance to investors for five consecutive quarters, and expects to achieve year-over-year growth in both revenue and EPS in Q2.

Total first-quarter shipments of Dell standards-based servers, storage products and workstations jumped 16 percent. The company gained more than two points of server market share worldwide and three in the United States. Dell's U.S. server share reached 30 percent for the first time, as the company continued to lead that strategically important market category even after recent industry consolidation.

At the same time, Dell further enhanced the efficiency of its customer-focused direct business model, driving operating expenses as a percent of revenue below 10 percent for the first time in company history.

Dell achieved 17-percent first-quarter growth in product shipments and a 3-percent increase in revenue in the United States. Without Dell, U.S. industry volumes declined 10 percent. The company's share of the world's largest market was five points higher than one year ago. Notwithstanding recent industry consolidation, Dell leads the U.S. market in all major product categories -- servers, workstations, and notebook and desktop computers.

Revenue from U.S. consumers remained strong in the period, rising 26 percent from a year ago; combined sales to U.S. education and government customers were up 16 percent.

In Asia-Pacific and Japan, Dell's shipments grew 8 percent; absent the company, industry volumes dropped 6 percent. Similarly, Dell server units in Japan were up 10 percent; excluding the company, server volumes fell 4 percent. Dell posted double-digit unit growth and higher revenue in China, Australia and New Zealand.

The company also outperformed the industry in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Dell product shipments in the region increased 5 percent overall and 8 percent in servers from year-ago levels; the balance of the industry was off 6 percent and 8 percent, respectively. The company sustained momentum in Germany, as shipments climbed 19 percent -- the industry was down 4 percent without Dell -- and revenue rose 9 percent.

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

May 17 - TDK Mediactive Unveils Most Extensive Lineup Ever at 2002 E3. TDK Mediactive, Inc. (OTCBB:TDKM), a global publisher of interactive entertainment software, is set to debut its 2002 product lineup, its strongest and most impressive to date, at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles May 22-24, 2002. The company will showcase games of all styles across multiple platforms and genres, including titles created with some of the biggest licenses in the industry.

From "Shrek(R)" and "Robotech(R)" to Mercedes-Benz(TM) and "Dinotopia(TM)," TDK Mediactive has something for everyone. Furthermore, every viable game system will be represented in the TDK booth (South Hall #1446) including the Nintendo GameCube(TM) system, PlayStation(R) 2 computer entertainment system, Xbox(TM) video game system from Microsoft, and PlayStation(R) game console, as well as the Nintendo Game Boy(R) Advance and Game Boy Color handheld systems.

"The presence of TDK Mediactive will be felt at this year's E3 like never before," said Vincent Bitetti, chief executive officer, TDK Mediactive. "Our lineup is more powerful than it has ever been, packed with new titles featuring globally recognized brands like `Shrek,' `Robotech' and `Aquaman.' Plus, we've got a few more surprises that we plan to unveil at the show."

More information about TDK Mediactive and its products is available at www.tdk-mediactive.com.

May 16 - Fujitsu Announces New LifeBook S Series Notebooks. Fujitsu PC Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702), today unveiled the latest addition to its award-winning "thin and light" LifeBook(R) S Series notebook, incorporating new features to increase its appeal to mobile business professionals.

Unmatched in size, performance and functionality, Fujitsu's LifeBook S Series has earned a great deal of recognition since its debut, winning CNet's prestigious Editor's Choice award three consecutive times. The latest LifeBook S Series continues this legacy by retaining many of the same features and chassis, but now offers better overall system performance, incorporating a faster Mobile Intel(R) Pentium(R) III processor-M running at 1GHz and two DIMM slots for up to 1GB of system memory. The notebook also features Intel's 830MG chipset to increase its processor-to-system speed to 133MHz and deliver up to 48MB of shared memory for low power, high performance 2D and 3D graphics on-demand.

"Fujitsu's LifeBook S Series was the first ultraportable notebook to include a built-in modular bay and has become one of the most popular lines among mobile users for its design and functionality," said Sara Nelson, vice president of marketing, Fujitsu PC Corporation. "Continually pushing the edge of innovation, the LifeBook S Series now incorporates performance enhancements and integrated wireless capabilities to continue the tradition of no-compromise mobility."

With integrated WiFi(TM)-compliant wireless LAN (IEEE 802.11b) capabilities, in addition to its existing modem and Ethernet ports, the LifeBook S Series offers mobile professionals a level of connectivity in any type of office or computing environment.

The LifeBook S Series retains the same impressive design and dimensions users have come to expect. A spacious 13.3-inch XGA TFT display is easy on users' eyes and its less than four-pound weight makes it practically effortless to carry. The notebook measures just 11.5 inches wide by 9.3 inches deep by 1.3 inches high, yet incorporates a built-in modular bay for a DVD/CD-RW combo drive, DVD, CD-ROM, second bay battery or weight saver. For those requiring prolonged battery life, the second bay battery extends the LifeBook's computing life to up to eight hours.

It comes preinstalled with Microsoft(R) Windows(R) XP Home Edition, Windows XP Professional, Windows 2000 Professional or Windows 98 Second Edition and comes with either a 40GB, 30GB or 20GB hard drive. In addition, the notebook comes with an IEEE 1394 port for lightning fast digital video and data transfer, two USB ports and one Type I/II PC Card slot.

This thin and light notebook is available in two recommended configurations and can be customized using Fujitsu's Configure To Order (CTO) program with the price starting at $1,499. It can be purchased through Fujitsu's retail and reseller channels as well as at www.fujitsupc.com.

May 16 - Socket Delivers Bluetooth Connectivity Enhancements for Pocket PCs. Socket Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq:SCKT) (PSE:SOK), the Mobile Connection(TM) Company, today announced the availability of its enhanced Bluetooth Connection Kit for Pocket PCs.
The product creates a cable-free link between a Pocket PC, or other Windows CE device, and a Bluetooth-enabled phone, allowing a user to exchange email, browse the Internet, send a fax, or access the company network by using the mobile phone as a wireless modem. Enhancements to the CompactFlash Bluetooth card include upgraded firmware that is Bluetooth SIG (Special Interest Group) 1.1 compliant, providing increased compatibility with other Bluetooth-enabled devices.

"The increasing number of Bluetooth-enabled devices entering the market indicates that Bluetooth technology is coming of age," said David Hayden, president of MobileWeek, a mobile and wireless consultancy. "As more and more people become part of the mobile workforce, they need an easy and cost-effective way to access email, browse the Internet, fax, print, and do all the other computer-related tasks they can perform with their wired connections. Socket's Bluetooth Connection Kit gives them that capability."

"Socket is proud to provide users with the most Mobility Friendly(TM) products on the market," commented Patti Cassalia, Product Marketing Manager for Socket's Bluetooth product line. "Using a Bluetooth-enabled phone as a modem in conjunction with their Pocket PC is easy and cost-effective. Users save money because they don't need to add an extra account for data as they would with a wireless modem. Plus, the cable-free link and fully integrated antenna mean less hassle for the user."

The Bluetooth Connection Kit is compatible with Windows CE 3.x for Pocket 2000, Pocket PC 2002, and Handheld PC 2000, and it will operate in any of those devices with either a Type I or Type II CompactFlash slot.
A similar solution for Windows powered notebooks will be available in June. The product is available through Socket's website (www.socketcom.com) for a suggested retail price of US $179. Current owners of the Bluetooth Connection Kit can upgrade by downloading the software from www.socketcom.com/support/support_bluetooth.htm.

May 16 - WLAN Market Gets Off to a Promising Start in 2002. The Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) market began 2002 in a promising light, experiencing a greater than 10% growth in total unit shipments over the first quarter of 2002, according to In-Stat/MDR (www.instat.com).

End-use revenues managed to squeak out a slight growth over the quarter, even in the midst of plummeting prices for popular Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11b) equipment.

"Although the economy was stagnant and business budgets were relatively tight in 1Q02, the WLAN market grew for two main reasons," said Gemma Paulo, an analyst with the high-tech market research firm.

"First, end-users in the home and in the business are increasingly attracted to the mobility that WLANs offer, and secondly, the cost of implementing Wi-Fi networks continues to fall, as an increasing number of vendors enter the market, and a wider variety of equipment is released into the market."

In-Stat/MDR also found that:

-- Cisco continued to dominate the market in terms of overall
revenue, although Linksys, Buffalo, Agere and D-Link showed
considerable strength in overall unit shipments.

-- For the first quarter, non-trivial shipments of 802.11a
Network Interface Cards (NICs) and Access Points (APs) were
recorded, from the likes of Intel, SMC, Netgear, Proxim,
D-Link & Actiontec. Although many of these 802.11a pioneers
had announced that they were shipping in 4Q01, most did not
have product ready to ship until 1Q02, needing additional time
to refine products.

-- The home market continued to drive overall WLAN market growth,
with total home shipments growing almost 20%, spurred on by
the popularity of low-cost wireless broadband gateway products
(combo AP and router devices often with multiple Ethernet
ports and optional print servers).

-- The business market was helped along by Agere's noticeable
recovery in 1Q02, emerging from a lackluster 2H01, namely with
its ORiNOCO-branded products. However, the growth in business
WLAN shipments was primarily driven by low-cost providers that
were also strong in the home market, including Buffalo,
Linksys, D-Link and Netgear.

-- Europe and Asia Pacific remained extremely significant markets
for WLAN growth. Hot markets outside North America included
Japan, South Korea, Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and
the Nordic countries.

May 16 - Despite Economy, Voluntary Departure Rate Among IT Workers Remains High. In tough economic times, the gainfully employed typically stay put. Not so in tech, according to an annual study released today by META Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:METG), a worldwide IT research and consulting firm.

According to META Group's 2002 IT Staffing and Compensation Guide, respondents from more than 600 medium-sized to large American corporations reported surprisingly high voluntary departure rates and a critical shift in their focus from recruiting to retention and the optimization of human assets.

"Surprisingly, given the difficult economic climate, voluntary departure rates at technology companies continue to be high, with the average turnover for all reporting companies at 10%," said Maria Schafer, program director of META Group's Human Capital Management (HCM) and author of the study. "That's down by only a single percentage point from 2001. Although turnover has improved for many companies, concerns about retaining valuable employees are quite high."

The seriousness with which respondents viewed the retention issue is split nearly evenly, with more than half of 2002 respondents indicating it is a "very serious" or "fairly serious" issue. Interestingly, when asked about types of bonuses rewarded to IT staff in 2002, survey respondents indicated that the number of retention bonuses rewarded in 2002 grew from 12% to 44% in 2002. Among the IT skills that were considered most difficult to retain were e-commerce/Internet skills (24%) and application development skills (20%).

Respondents also indicated that the need to demonstrate HR's profit to the bottom line has become increasingly important, as a continually uncertain economy forces business to reassess and realign their HCM focus. In fact, many reported recognizing that an organization's staff can be measured and leveraged to drive profitability, much like any other resource.

"Managing human capital as a competitive asset in both good times and bad is critical to the survival of Global 2000 companies," said Schafer. "The data clearly indicates that those who don't aggressively court and develop IT staff through the downturn and into the long term will find themselves in crisis mode."

Trend Spotting: Findings at a Glance

-- IT Organizations Are Hiring: Surprisingly, despite the
downturn, more than one-third (34%) of IT organizations have
increased their total number of IT staff.

-- Boomers Retiring: Employers are preparing for the legions of
"baby boomers" expected to retire soon, leaving many legacy
skill positions empty. The federal workforce will be
especially hard hit, with more than 50% of its workforce
expected to retire during the next five to seven years.

-- IT Employee Compensation Levels Remain High: IT compensation
levels are still higher than for non-IT employees.

-- Number of Retention Bonuses Increased 32%: Signing bonuses
continue to be used at roughly the same rate as last year (22%
in 2002 vs. 20% in 2001). Retention bonuses were much more
frequent in 2002, with 44% of respondents reporting they
issued a retention bonus (vs. 12% in 2001).

For more information about the 2002 IT Staffing and Compensation Guide, visit www.metagroup.com.

May 16 - Electronic Arts to Support PlayStation 2 Online Initiative. Electronic Arts (Nasdaq:ERTS), the world's leading video game software publisher, today announced that it will bring Madden NFL(TM) 2003 to the PlayStation(R) 2 computer entertainment system for online play.
EA's worldwide studios also have plans for additional EA SPORTS(TM) and EA GAMES(TM) franchises that will take full advantage of the PlayStation 2 console's online capabilities.
"We are very excited to be partnering with Sony Computer Entertainment of America to bring Madden NFL Football and other popular EA franchises online through the PlayStation 2," said EA Chairman and CEO Larry Probst. "We believe that console-based online play is in its infancy but will grow in the next several years. Early applications on the PlayStation 2 offer a great experience for consumers and a chance for developers to find out what gamers like about online play. We feel confident about the business model presented by SCEA and their choice of an open technology infrastructure for providers and consumers."
"We are thrilled to have Electronic Arts announce online support for PlayStation 2 as we firmly believe that well-known franchises are key to bringing the console gamer online," said Andrew House, senior vice president, Sony Computer Entertainment America.
"Our goal is to help lead the PlayStation 2 customer base online with an experience that is consumer friendly and content driven, requiring little or no additional investment. In keeping with the open environment of the Internet, our approach to PlayStation 2 connectivity will encourage the creative community to drive and determine content offerings, as well manage its own customer relationships and distribution models. With EA on board we are one step closer to making this a reality."
Madden NFL 2003 for the PlayStation 2 console will allow gamers to find and challenge opponents anywhere on the Internet, chat with friends and other football fans and download up-to-the-minute player statistics and trades, team rosters and information on injuries and position changes.
More information about EA can be found at www.info.ea.com.

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