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InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors

November 16-21 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.)
Nov 21 NINTENDO GAMECUBE: Hotter Than Potter!
Nov 21 Microsoft Xbox - No Real Xtras?
Nov 20 U.S. Video Game Industry Having Record Year
Nov 20 More Vehicles Include Factory-Installed Navigation Systems
Nov 20 Dell Expands Server Line for Small and Medium Businesses
Nov 20 Nokia Announces World's First Always Connected Symbian OS Phone
Nov 20 MPEG-4 is expected to become the Streaming Media Standard
Nov 19 New Game Console Shipments to Surpass 49 Million Units in 2002
Nov 19 KVH Introduces Internet-Satellite TV Antenna for Vehicles
Nov 19 Can Intel Measure Up in the Server Market?
Nov 19 Nokia Launches Its First Multimedia Messaging Phone
Nov 18 Sunday Shopping Watch
Nov 16 NINTENDO GAMECUBE launches this Weekend
Nov 16 ArialPhone Announces Wearable PC-Compatible Phone
Nov 16 Dell Reports Third Quarter Earnings
Nov 16 Inside the Microsoft Xbox
Nov 16 SimpleTech Launches Portable External Drive

 
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Nov 21 - NINTENDO GAMECUBE: Hotter Than Potter! Young wizard Harry Potter may have worked box office magic over the weekend, but his potion of profitability actually was trumped by the powerful new NINTENDO GAMECUBE(TM) video game system.
Movie industry sources put ticket receipts for the three-day opening weekend of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone at $93.5 million. But combined U.S. retail revenues for NINTENDO GAMECUBE (including hardware systems, games and accessories) reached more than $98 million in just its first single day of availability on Sunday, November 18.
The NINTENDO GAMECUBE also represented the top video game launch of 2001, with initial hardware unit sales running more than twice that of the Microsoft Xbox, and even Nintendo's own wildly successful Game Boy(R) Advance, which debuted in June. Many stores reported selling out of the hardware system in a matter of hours.
"Some 700,000 NINTENDO GAMECUBE hardware systems moved to retail locations in time for our launch, our largest first day supply ever," says Peter Main, executive vice president sales and marketing at Nintendo of America. "But right now it appears that none of them may be left by this weekend."
Nintendo of America originally committed to shipping a total of 1.1 million hardware systems to retailers by Christmas. However Nintendo of America today announced it will increase North American shipments of the new NINTENDO GAMECUBE(TM) video game console by 200,000 hardware units before year-end. The announcement boosts total North American shipments for 2001 to 1.3 million from the previously announced 1.1 million.
The top-selling opening day software titles were those exclusive to Nintendo GameCube. Most popular (in order) were Nintendo's self-published Luigi's Mansion(TM), followed by Star Wars(R)Rogue Squadron(R)II: Rogue Leader(TM)from LucasArts Entertainment Company, and Nintendo's Wave Race(R): Blue Storm. Reorders are already underway to replenish all retail software supplies.
"NINTENDO GAMECUBE is the most exciting new entrant in the video game sector," says Joseph Spiegel of Spinner Asset Management. "Its lineup of exclusive software titles is fun and unique, and with a price tag $100 less than its competitors NINTENDO GAMECUBE is particularly attractive in the current economy. Consumers, whether 28 years old or the parents of an eight-year-old, can buy a system and two great games for less than the price of the competitions' hardware."
A dedicated game play system, NINTENDO GAMECUBE delivers new forms of interactive fun for players and offers the easiest development environment for game creators. The system's embedded memory, proprietary optical disc and innovative controller were designed to optimize the game play experience. NINTENDO GAMECUBE is available in two colors: Jet (black) and Indigo (violet) for a suggested retail price of $199.95.
For more information on Nintendo products, visit the company's Web site, www.nintendo.com or www.nintendogamecube.com.

Nov 21 - Microsoft Xbox - No Real Xtras? Chipworks Inc., a world-class leading supplier of reverse engineering services for the semiconductor and electronics market, today comments on the technical innovations, or lack of, in the Microsoft Xbox.
Almost a year after the introduction of Sony's Playstation 2, Microsoft has entered the game console market with its' much anticipated Xbox. "The Microsoft XBox game console is built around an Intel Pentium III processor running at 733 MHz," stated Julia Elvidge, vice president, marketing and sales for Chipworks. "The whole console is in fact a stripped down medium end PC with high end graphics."
Produced by nVIDIA, the graphics processor is a custom chip starting from a GeForce3 core running at 250 MHz. The system memory consists of 64 MB DDR-SDRAM (Double-Data-Rate) running at 200MHz. nVIDIA's graphic chip performance is 125 Mpolygon/sec with a memory bandwidth of 6.4 GB/sec. These values are notably better than both Sony Playstation2 and Nintendo Game Cube. According to Ms. Elvidge, "this is the only significant difference of the Xbox from its competitors."
The second chip from nVIDIA's chipset has an IDE interface capable of Ultra DMA 100, a serial interface for 4 USB ports (the controller ports) and an Ethernet 10/100 interface. The 8MB memory cards share the USB bus with the controllers. The IDE bus connects a 10GB hard disk and a DVD reader. The disk contains a modified version of Microsoft's XP OS but cannot be read if hooked to a regular PC IDE interface.
An additional PIC microcontroller produced by Microchip handles the front panel and some control signals for the IDE drive and DVD. The highest video resolution is 1920x1080 with HDTV capabilities and 64 audio channels with 3D support.
The Xbox does not have a shared bus as it is a system with a strong interaction between only two chips: the Intel processor and the XGPU nVIDIA chip (as a North bridge chip).
Despite the hype and considering its late arrival in the marketplace, one would have expected more enhancements of the Xbox," stated Ms. Elvidge. "We analyze many down stream products looking for new and innovative technology for our technical analysis reports. We were hoping for more once we cracked the lid."
"There are many game developers who started creating new games for the Xbox or porting existing games from other consoles. Despite this large number, and Microsoft's active support, it will be hard to catch up with the competitors market which are already consolidated," said Ms. Elvidge.
Chipworks can be visited via the Internet at www.chipworks.com.

Nov 20 - U.S. Video Game Industry Having Record Year. Despite a weakening economy, retail dollar sales of U.S. video game hardware, software and accessories increased 33 percent year-to-date (January-September) 2001, compared to the same time last year, according to leading marketing information provider, NPDFunworld(SM).
Unit sales of video game hardware, software and accessories also rose 12 percent from January to September 2001, compared to the same time last year.
Transition year 2000 made way for a profitable 2001, driven in part by strong sales of next-generation console Sony PlayStation 2 and the launch of the new portable Nintendo Game Boy Advance. According to NPDFunworld, the total U.S. video game industry generated over $4.3 billion in revenue during the first nine months of this year, while sales during the same time period last year were just over $3.2 billion.
"When we consider that the fourth quarter typically makes up 50 percent or more of the annual dollar sales volume for the video games industry, and then add in the launch of two new console hardware systems, the Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo GameCube, a new record for the video game industry looks likely," said Richard Ow, NPDFunworld senior account executive.
"While most of retail struggled in September, the video game industry not only survived, but thrived," said Ow. "Due to recent national events, Americans may be spending more time at home, which bodes well for video game sales this holiday. Kids and adults undoubtedly will drive video game sales as one of their top choices of entertainment at home."
For more information on The NPD Group, visit www.npd.com.

Nov 20 - More Vehicles Include Factory-Installed Navigation Systems. While penetration of navigation systems remains at less than 1 percent of the market, the number of cars, vans and light-trucks models that offer factory-installed navigation systems grew from 26 to 45, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2001 Navigation Usage and Satisfaction Study(SM) released today. The number of vehicles with factory-installed navigation systems rose to an estimated 175,000 in the 2001 model year.
The study focuses on overall navigation system satisfaction based on performance and layout as well as system design and integration within the particular vehicle model.
The navigation system equipped on the Lexus GS Sedan, supplied by Denso, ranks highest in overall customer satisfaction, followed in a tie by the Alpine system supplied on the Acura RL (top ranked in 2000) and Denso's Lexus LX 470 navigation system.
"The satisfaction level realized by Denso on the Lexus GS system is the highest in the study's three-year history," said Frank Forkin, partner and executive director of automotive research at J.D. Power and Associates. "Nearly all of the Denso-supplied systems that have been converted from CD-ROM to DVD show substantial improvement from 2000."
As some suppliers convert their CD-based systems to DVD, navigation system users are reacting positively to the changes. Each of the top 10-ranked vehicles in the study is equipped with a DVD-based system, which typically offers greater geographic coverage, more detailed points of interest information and calculates routes faster.
Although the number of consumers with previous exposure to navigation systems is increasing, most owners are selecting a vehicle equipped with a navigation system without any prior experience in using one. However, after leaving the dealership, many consumers are not sure how to operate their system, where to go to get their questions answered, how to upgrade their software or where to go for service if a problem occurs.
"In addition to better systems, consumers want better support," said Forkin. "They want user-friendly manuals and easy-to-follow instructions. They expect support from a well-trained, knowledgeable sales and service staff. Unfortunately, these expectations are not being met. Of all attributes measured in the study, those associated with the dealership score among the lowest."
More than one-half of new owners use their system at least once or twice a week. Finding residential/business addresses or routes to unfamiliar locations are the most common system uses. Interestingly, one in four navigation system owners surveyed has another directional support tool readily available -- a personal assistant service (e.g., OnStar, Lexus Link). These consumers can get routing assistance from a trained personal advisor.
Customers feel strongly about their navigation systems. More than one-half of current owners surveyed "definitely" would recommend a system like theirs to others. In addition to being navigation system advocates, two-thirds of current owners indicate future vehicle purchase decisions will be influenced by a navigation system option.
Looking to the future, U.S. consumers will begin to see mulitmedia interfaces that incorporate vehicle diagnostics and navigation, satellite and digital radio, Internet access and hands-free phone capabilities into one system. Driver distraction issues are being addressed by the further development of voice-activated controls. Navigation system users want access to detailed road construction and traffic information, and many manufacturers plan to incorporate real-time traffic updates in future systems.
J.D. Power and Associates can be accessed through the Internet at www.jdpa.com.

Nov 20 - Dell Expands Server Line for Small and Medium Businesses. Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) today introduced the PowerEdge 1500SC, the latest addition to its line of network servers for small- and medium-sized businesses, corporate departments and workgroups. The server is available today worldwide.
With prices starting at approximately $1,400 (operating system sold separately), the dual-processor PowerEdge 1500SC offers business customers a powerful server for email, Web serving and file-sharing. The server features ServerWorks' HE-SL chipset, which supports a 1.13GHz Intel(R) Pentium(R) III processor. The server also features the Intel PRO/1000 XT network connection on the motherboard, which enables the PowerEdge 1500SC to transfer up to one billion bits of data per second (one gigabit per second) over common copper wires. The PowerEdge 1500SC comes standard with ECC memory and hot-plug hard drives as well as providing optional support for advanced RAID and hot-plug, redundant power supplies. Previously, customers could get these features only on more costly midrange-class servers.
"Small businesses and large enterprise customers will be well-served today and in the future with the performance, expandability and availability features of the PowerEdge 1500SC," said Randy Groves, vice president and general manager of Dell's Enterprise Systems Group. "Each of our PowerEdge SC servers features the latest relevant technology delivered direct to customers through Dell's efficient direct business model."
The PowerEdge 1500SC is available with factory installation of Microsoft Windows 2000 Server, Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 and Red Hat Linux 7.2. For simplified deployment and management, the server features Dell's OpenManage(tm) Server Assistant system management software for easy, on-site operating system installation. The PowerEdge 1500SC also provides server-class manageability through embedded features such as temperature, fan and voltage monitoring, as well as a hardware monitor that automatically reboots the system should the operating system fail.
Additional information on the PowerEdge 1500SC is available at www.dell.com/poweredge.

Nov 20 - Nokia Announces World's First Always Connected Symbian OS Phone. Nokia today announced the Nokia 7650 - the world's first 2.5G Symbian OS mobile phone with advanced messaging and imaging capabilities. Featuring an inbuilt camera, enhanced user interface and large colour display, the Nokia 7650 is the first mobile phone to be announced based on Symbian OS v6.1. Key features of the Nokia 7650 are its support for GPRS as well as HSCSD connections, WAP, Bluetooth, SyncML, infrared capability, email, MIDP Java support and multimedia messaging (MMS).
"The wireless industry has been waiting for a new type of mobile phone to drive home the benefits of advanced data services. The Nokia 7650, based on the advanced, open Symbian OS, heralds the arrival of this next generation of mobile phone and sets a fresh direction for the industry. A world' first in terms of its multimedia messaging capability, the Nokia 7650 is also the first always connected Symbian OS phone to be squarely targeted at the mass consumer market," said Colly Myers, CEO, Symbian.
Imaging functionality of the Nokia 7650 includes an integrated digital camera with a VGA resolution, picture taking and sending, a photo album for storing pictures, and a large 176x208 pixel colour display. The MMS works much the same way as SMS messages, but allows users to combine audio-, graphic-, text- and imaging content in one message. Once the user has selected a picture, written a text, and included an audio clip, a multimedia message can be sent directly to another multimedia messaging-capable terminal, as well as to the recipients email address.
The combination of the advanced, open Symbian OS, with the advanced multimedia and imaging functions of the Nokia 7650, also provides a compelling new target device for developers wanting to create additional content, services and applications for the mobile user.
Nokia have announced that the Nokia 7650 will be available in Europe and Asia during Q2, 2002. More detailed product information about the Nokia 7650 can be found at www.nokia.com.

Nov 20 - MPEG-4 is expected to become the Streaming Media Standard. Penton Media's (NYSE: PME, www.penton.com) Streaming Media, Inc. today released the findings of its third data/analysis report, MPEG-4: The Impact of the Open Standard on the Future of Digital Media.
The research report, is the first to define current product and delivery plans for a statistically significant number of vendors in the MPEG-4 market space.
Through surveys with member companies of the Internet Streaming Media Alliance (ISMA) and the MPEG-4 Industry Forum (M4IF), the report found that 65 percent of respondents expect MPEG-4 to become the standard for streaming media within three years and 93 percent expect it to become the standard for streaming media within five years.
The reports shows that a surprising number of MPEG-4 products will ship in the first two quarters of 2002, though the number of planned releases through the end of 2003 varies by product category (encoder, server, player, DRM, etc.).
A separate survey of high-level professionals in the streaming media industry aimed to separate MPEG-4 hype from reality. Both streaming media professionals and ISMA and M4IF member companies saw wireless applications as less than one sixth of the overall market. Although industry buzz indicates otherwise, both surveys suggest that wireless video is still a long way from popular usage.

Nov 19 - New Game Console Shipments to Surpass 49 Million Units in 2002. With the launch of two new game consoles, worldwide video game console shipments are projected to reach 49 million units in 2002, up from 29 million units in 2001, according to Dataquest Inc., a unit of Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT and ITB).
"Consumers may not be interested in upgrading their PC to run spreadsheets faster, but in video game consoles, hardware performance is 'in your face' obvious," said Andrew Johnson, vice president at Gartner Dataquest. "It is the unending quest for more lifelike graphics that will keep consumers coming back to retailers for more gaming devices."
Developing high-performance game consoles is a significant project for hardware vendors. Gartner Dataquest analysts said with proprietary silicon solutions, these consoles require high investments to stay on the leading edge of the performance curve. It's this high investment that has necessitated longer product life cycles to all vendors for maximum profits through game software sales.
"This high investment has also gated the market for new competitors, giving Sony PlayStation and PS2 models a somewhat protected market," Johnson said. "But Nintendo and Microsoft are ready to challenge Sony if economic conditions do not get in the way."
A recent GartnerG2 survey found that 75 percent of video game sales will be to consumers that already have a video game console, this is up from 55 percent one year earlier.
A new competitive landscape may shorten the product life cycle, which means the industry could see new video game consoles in 2004. This would have a tremendous impact on the game industry business model. Gartner Dataquest analysts said manufacturers must also be prepared for more cautious consumer spending and a slower ramp of production and distribution capacity, which would temper the upturn in sales in 2002.
Gartner Dataquest has a series of documents focused on the gaming industry in the upcoming Gartner Dataquest research Spotlight "Video Game Mania: Much More than Fun and Games." This Spotlight will be available on Gartner's Web site on the Gartner Dataquest Hardware and Systems Focus Area at www.gartner.com/1_researchanalysis/focus/hwmkt_fa.html.

Nov 19 - KVH Introduces Internet-Satellite TV Antenna for Vehicles. Travelers parked for the evening in their RVs and campers will never look at satellite TV or high-speed Internet access quite the same way again following the introduction of the TracVision(R) S3 satellite TV antenna from KVH Industries (Nasdaq: KVHI).
With its integrated Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) technology and automatic satellite acquisition, the TracVision S3 makes "pop-up" style satellite antennas obsolete. Ideal for use aboard parked RVs, trucks, and motorcoaches, the system automatically identifies and acquires satellite signals from a range of DIRECTV(R) and DVB-compatible satellites, including the multi-satellite DISH 500 service. In addition, the TracVision S3 is fully compatible with KVH's TracNet(TM) Mobile Internet Server and exclusive mobile DirecPC(R) high-speed Internet service.
"With a growing number of satellite TV options as well as the launch of KVH's exclusive high-speed mobile Internet service, vehicle-mounted satellite antennas need to have the ability to seek out, identify, and lock onto the correct satellite from potentially hundreds of targets in orbit," explained Ian Palmer, vice president of satellite sales.
"KVH pioneered the solution to this challenge when we introduced our DVB-compatible TracVision L3 in-motion antenna. Now, we've applied that same technology to our newest automatic domed system, the TracVision S3. Simply park the vehicle and turn on the antenna - TracVision S3 will do the rest without requiring you to crank up the antenna or laboriously tune in the satellite signal. And with its pre-programmed satellite library, switching from one satellite to another is a simple matter, an invaluable convenience if you subscribe to a satellite TV service that uses multiple satellites to broadcast its programming, such as the popular DISH 500."
The TracVision S3 offers a wide range of features, including:

- A stylish, low-profile antenna dome that measures just 14.5" (37 cm) high.
- Compatibility with high-powered DVB satellite TV services, including the multi-satellite DISH 500 service.
- Reception of more than 300 channels of digital programming, including premium satellite television, commercial-free music, HDTV, and local stations.
- Compatibility with KVH TracNet Mobile Internet Server and mobile DirecPC high-speed Internet service (available exclusively from KVH).
- A preloaded satellite library of popular North American and European services is conveniently selectable via PC or the KVH TV/SAT Switch.
- A flush-mount design for easy installation and upgrade to in-motion tracking.

More information about KVH Industries can be found at www.kvh.com.

Nov 19 - Can Intel Measure Up in the Server Market? Intel Corp. has made significant inroads into the server market with its new Xeon (the server version of Pentium 4) line of processors and is on its way to shaking up the market over the next several years according to Cahners In-Stat/MDR (www.instat.com).
The high-tech market research firm reports, that the chip manufacturer will have its work cut out as the 64-bit server market still has several leaders including IBM and Sun.
Senior Analyst Kevin Krewell stated, "Muscling into IBM and Sun territory will take considerable ingenuity, but Intel may be up to the task. Intel plans to upgrade areas with succeeding products to pull ahead of its rivals' benchmarks, but that evolution will take several years."
To succeed in the server market segment, Intel must match or exceed its competitors in reliability, serviceability and performance.

In-Stat/MDR has also found that:

-- Intel will not obsolete the 32-bit Xeon within the timeframe of In-Stat/MDR's newest Intel server and workstation processors report. The large die, high power, and mediocre integer performance of the initial Itanium will preclude it from winning many designs, but the next generation (McKinley) will offer architectural improvements. In 2H02, a process shrink to 0.13-micron will create a manufacturable Itanium.
-- Intel will not migrate all server designs to the Xeon or Itanium processors. It will continue to use the Pentium III-S and Banias through 2003 for dense or blade servers.
-- Intel's focus on the server market is partially to offset decreasing ASPs (Average Selling Prices) for PC processors.
-- Despite Intel's slashing prices of desktop processors by up to 51 percent, Intel's workstation and server ASP should be stable during 2001 and begin sinking in 2H02.

Nov 19 - Nokia Launches Its First Multimedia Messaging Terminal. Nokia today introduced a Multimedia Messaging phone, a new active category phone, a new model for its classic category, as well as three new Bluetooth accessories at the Nokia hosted Mobile Internet Conference in Barcelona, Spain.
Speaking at the press conference in Barcelona, Jorma Ollila, Chairman and CEO of Nokia, said:
"Today's launch signifies a remarkable breakthrough in this industry. History has proven that advances in the way we communicate can give rise to entirely new communication cultures. Much like the transition from radio to TV, the evolution from text messaging to multi-media messaging marks a whole new era of mobile communications, combining images with sound and text. By the end of 2002, we expect more than half of all Nokia terminals will be MMS capable, and in 2003, MMS will be an integral feature in all new Nokia phones."

Two new phone categories and a new business look

The Nokia 7650 is the company's first product in its new imaging category. Featuring an inbuilt digital camera, multimedia messaging (MMS) functionality, an enhanced user interface, and large color display, the Nokia 7650 opens up new perspectives in personal communications. With MMS, users can combine audio-, graphic-, text- and imaging content in one message and send it to another multimedia messaging capable terminal or to the recipient's email address. Deliveries of the Nokia 7650 will begin in Europe and Asia in the second quarter, 2002.
Nokia also announced a new active mobile phone category with the Nokia 5210 phone. Specifically designed for people with active lifestyles, the Nokia 5210 represents a totally new concept in Nokia's portfolio, incorporating innovative materials, wearability options and improved durability. Features include a radically new removable shell design, a thermometer, and digital clock. Shipments are scheduled to begin in the first quarter, 2002.
The third phone unveiled by the company was the Nokia 6510, introducing a new design for the classic category. The Nokia 6510, which comes with a mobile wallet, encompasses a balanced set of features desired from a business phone, as well as the possibility to personalize the phone look with Xpress-on(TM) color covers. In addition, it has an FM radio. The Nokia 6510 is scheduled to start shipping in the first quarter, 2002.

Wireless accessories enabled by Bluetooth

Nokia also announced three new Bluetooth accessories providing users with cable-free connectivity to their mobile phones.The Nokia Wireless Headset, the Nokia Wireless Car Kit, and the Nokia Connectivity Card are compatible with the latest 1.1 version of the Bluetooth specification and will be available in Europe and Asia in the first quarter, 2002.
Nokia can be found on the Web at http://www.nokia.com/.

Nov 18 - Sunday Shopping Watch. This is the eighth Sunday that Microsoft's newest operating system, Windows XP, is bundled with new computers. For some reason, local merchants continue to advertise high-end systems and not the less powerful Celeron and Duron systems. This trend applies to both desktops and notebooks.
Windows XP became available for separate purchase on October 25th. For more information on Windows XP visit Microsoft's Windows XP home page.
This Sunday's 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. Additionally, they are advertising $100 mail-in rebates on Intel processor desktop packages.
Circuit City is offering 12 month no interest financing on all notebooks with a CD-RW/DVD combo drive and $100 rebates on all Intel Celeron and AMD desktop packages.
Office Depot has no store-wide sales this Sunday (individual items may be on sale).
CompUSA is offering 12 month no interest financing on any purchase $499 and above. They are also offering a free ink jet printer with any system purchase after $50 rebate.
Staples has no ad this Sunday.

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

Definitions. A complete 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
Sony VAIO 1.2 GHz complete system
$949
Best Buy
Best Pentium III System
None Advertised
   
Best Pentium 4 System
Sony 1.5 GHz complete system
$1149
Best Buy
Best Duron System
None Advertised
Best Athlon System
HP 1.3 GHz complete system
$949
Office Depot
Best Athlon XP System
Compaq build-to-order 1800+ (1.53 GHz) DDR with 17 inch monitor
$1534
Office Depot
1. Best Low Cost Notebook
HP 900 MHz Duron with DVD
$999
Best Buy
2. Best Low Cost Notebook
Toshiba 1 GHz Celeron with DVD
$999
CompUSA
1. Best High-end Notebook
Compaq AMD Athlon 4 with CD-RW/DVD
$1499
Office Depot, Circuit City
1. Best High-end Notebook
Sony AMD Athlon 4 with CD-RW/DVD
$1499
Best Buy
Coming Products
Nintendo GameCube
Nov 18 Today
 

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.

Nov 16 - NINTENDO GAMECUBE launches this Weekend. If you're creeping through a harrowing haunted house in search of your missing brother...facing off against a turtle-back behemoth high atop a castle...or directing the actions of a hundred miniature sprouts across the floor of a mountainside garden...you know you've finally entered the innovative, one-of-a-kind realm of NINTENDO GAMECUBE(TM).
On Sunday, Nov. 18, video game players will find themselves immersed in the incomparable game play offered by the world's only new single-purpose video game console, as 700,000 NINTENDO GAMECUBE systems go on sale across the country. At a suggested retail price of $199.95 and boasting a launch library of nearly 20 exceptional games by the holidays, NINTENDO GAMECUBE stands poised to become the most-wanted video game system in the United States. Even with hardware shipments on track to reach 1.1 million by Dec. 23, supplies may sell out quickly in some locations.
"Nintendo is the only manufacturer in the world solely dedicated to creating the world's best interactive entertainment," says Peter Main, executive vice president, sales and marketing, Nintendo of America. "And because NINTENDO GAMECUBE isn't concerned with duplicating the DVD, CD player or computer you already own, we haven't had to compromise the quality of our software or the affordability of our hardware."
"Best Buy is excited to offer its customers NINTENDO GAMECUBE," says Jill Hamburger, vice president of Video Games & Computer Software for Best Buy. "We feel that Nintendo is poised to be successful this holiday season due to their outstanding game heritage."
Among the nearly 20 games available before the holidays are four unique Nintendo titles: Luigi's Mansion(TM), a spooky, ghost-filled quest to find Luigi's missing brother Mario; Wave Race: Blue Storm(TM), a soul-soaking watercraft romp for up to four players; Super Smash Bros. Melee(TM), a fray pitting more than 20 of Nintendo's unparalleled franchise characters in face-to-face action; and Pikmin(TM), the industry's freshest game concept, which breathes new life into garden growths. These NINTENDO GAMECUBE titles carry a suggested retail price of $49.95.
These titles join forces with a wide array of third-party games from the world's most accomplished independent publishers that will put players inside the cockpit of an X-Wing fighter...on top of custom skateboards, snowboards and motocross bikes...and in action in front of riotous crowds at all the venues of the NHL, NFL and MLB.
Legendary Nintendo game-developer Shigeru Miyamoto, responsible for all of Nintendo's first party NINTENDO GAMECUBE titles including Luigi's Mansion and Pikmin and the renowned designer of Mario(TM), Donkey Kong(TM) and other popular characters, directed the design of the groundbreaking NINTENDO GAMECUBE controller.
"Of course, what you will see before your eyes with NINTENDO GAMECUBE are wondrous sights," says Miyamoto. "But this is only half of your connection with the game because our form of entertainment is active, not passive. It is your hands that direct the movements on screen and we believe the NINTENDO GAMECUBE controller allows you to become far more a part of your adventure than ever before."
NINTENDO GAMECUBE, measuring only 4.3" x 5.9" x 6.2", is available in Indigo and Jet (black) colors. Also available are: extra controllers (MSRP $34.95) in Indigo, Jet, Spice (orange), and Indigo/clear; Memory Card 59 (MSRP $14.95); and magazine-length Official Player's Guides with the secrets to conquering every Nintendo-published title (MSRP $14.99). All software is programmed onto proprietary 1.5GB optical discs, and the hardware is designed to accommodate both future 56k and broadband network modems.
In addition, games are in development that will allow game play connectivity between NINTENDO GAMECUBE and Nintendo's handheld Game Boy(R) Advance. For more information about NINTENDO GAMECUBE, Game Boy Advance or any other Nintendo product, visit the company's Web site, www.nintendo.com or www.nintendogamecube.com.

Nov 16 - ArialPhone Announces Wearable PC-Compatible Phone. ArialPhone Corp. today announced a $100 holiday rebate offer for the ArialPhone, a wearable PC-compatible telephone that represents the ideal holiday gift for on-the-go, independent professionals. The rebate program starts effective immediately and extends through Dec. 31, 2001.
"ArialPhone represents the ultimate holiday gift for independent professionals who want it all," said Jim Alland, CEO of ArialPhone Corp. "As a wireless productivity tool, ArialPhone enables true multi-tasking during important business calls. Whether users are writing a brief at the coffee table or getting the kids ready for school, they can get it all done and still remain connected to customers and business associates with ArialPhone."
ArialPhone is designed to make phone calling more efficient for individuals who rely heavily on telecommunications. Its prime advantage is the capability to simultaneously access both the telephone and PC through a wearable, hands-free earset, which is controlled entirely by voice commands. Productivity gains are realized because users can perform automated contact management functions, such as voice dialing by name, while moving about the home or office. Top-quality, digital communications is assured up to 150 feet from the user's PC -- even through walls.
ArialPhone consists of an earset, voice-dialing software and a base station, which is attached to both a PC and an analog phone line. Operation is simple: the user presses a single button on the earset to alert the base station to listen for voice commands. These commands prompt the device to access an existing PC contact management directory, such as Outlook or Outlook Express. The call is then placed as directed.

Pricing and Availability

The $100 rebate brings the suggested list price of ArialPhone to $299 -- for a limited time only -- through Dec. 31, 2001. Participating retailers and direct marketers include CompUSA, Fry's Electronics, HelloDirect, TigerDirect, RCS Computer Experience and ShopWireless. The rebate is also available for purchases made via the company Web site at www.arialphone.com.

Nov 16 - Dell Reports Third Quarter Earnings. Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) today reported sales and earnings for its fiscal third quarter toward the high end of company guidance first provided in mid-August.
Computer-systems customers worldwide chose Dell at record levels in the period, resulting in 20-percent growth in combined shipments of servers, storage products and workstations.
A superior cost structure allowed the company to simultaneously gain three points of overall global market share and increase gross and operating margins. Dell was the only top-10 computer company to increase total product shipments in the quarter. Analysts said the company gained four points of global server share, seven in the United States. Shipments of Dell notebook computers were up 18 percent, and the company led that worldwide category for the second straight quarter.
For the period, which ended Nov. 2, Dell reported net income of $429 million, or 16 cents per share, on revenue of $7.5 billion.
"Customer preference for the value we're delivering in higher-end products and services is growing rapidly," said Michael Dell, the company's chairman and chief executive officer. "In every part of the world, our highest growth rates were in enterprise products and portable computers.
"By consistently meeting customer requirements, we're gaining share faster than ever in Dell's history. Our structural cost advantage gives customers great value, at the same time we're profitably increasing share. We're positioning ourselves exceptionally well for when the economy and spending on information technology improve."
Over the past four quarters, Dell has added six points of overall U.S. market share, from 20 to 26 percent; to grow from 14 to 20 percent took more than two years. Dell's operating-expense advantage over its closest competitor was 52 percent in the third quarter, up from 32 percent one year ago.
Mr. Dell said a combination of indicators suggest Q4 industry revenue will be down from the third quarter, with flat product shipments. He added that Dell expects its own fourth-quarter volumes to increase roughly 5 percent sequentially, with revenue up slightly. The company anticipates stable profit margins, with earnings for the quarter of 16 cents per share.
Information on Dell and its products can be obtained on the World Wide Web at www.dell.com.

Nov 16 - Inside the Microsoft Xbox. Microsoft announced its plans to enter the game console market in March of 2000 and after a year and a half, the Xbox has hit the markets.
With little information disclosed about the Xbox technology, Semiconductor reveals all about the innovations in technology in this newly released product.
"Microsoft is attempting to compete with Sony's gaming unit, the PlayStation2, released in late 2000," said Derek Nuhn, Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer at Semiconductor Insights. "From what we see inside the unit, Microsoft has entered this market space with more speed and gaming power than other competitors in this area."
The Microsoft Xbox feature device is an nVIDIA Graphics Processing Unit called the "X-chip" or the "X3" as it is labeled on the device. Microsoft claims that this chip will deliver 3 times the graphics performance than any other current competitor -- that's over 300 million polygons per second.
Compared to the PlayStation2, the Xbox houses a CPU (an Intel Pentium III) that runs at 600 MHz -- twice the speed of the Emotion Engine. Other notable features include 64 Mbytes of Samsung DDR SDRAM (4 x 128M devices), 6.4 GB/sec memory bandwidth, broadband internet access and a Seagate 10 Gbyte hard drive.
Other devices supplied for the Xbox include a Conexant Video Encoder, a Cirrus Logic DVD device, a Hitachi SuperH RISC microcontroller, a Microchip low voltage microcontroller and a Semtech power management device.
For more information on the Microsoft Xbox, any of the devices found inside or about Semiconductor Insights, readers are encouraged to visit Semiconductor Insights at www.semiconductor.com.

Nov 16 - SimpleTech Launches Portable External Drive. Bringing universal connectivity to the world of portable external drives, SimpleTech, Inc. (Nasdaq:STEC), a technology solutions provider offering products based on DRAM, SRAM, flash memory and storage technologies, today announced the launch of SimpleDrive Deluxe.
Like the original SimpleDrive, formerly called DrivePak, SimpleDrive Deluxe is a rugged but lightweight, plug-and-play storage solution that can add up to 30GB of economical storage space to any Mac or PC. In addition, its compatibility with USB 1.1, USB 2.0 and FireWire makes SimpleDrive Deluxe the first external storage device on the market capable of supporting all three connectivity standards in a single, high speed package, according to Charles Hayes, SimpleTech's product marketing manager, storage products.
"Whatever your connection preference, SimpleDrive Deluxe provides the speed, portability, ease-of-use and broad-based connectivity needed for business use, home use or on the go," Hayes said. "At less than 16 ounces and about the size of your hand, it is the ideal choice for video editing as well as for storing digital photos, music files, games or other data. We believe it is the smartest way to upgrade your hard drive, off-load files or take your data on the road and keep it safe."
Bundled with Retrospect Express software, SimpleDrive becomes a powerful, easy-to-use back-up and data recovery system.
"For corporate users with a combination of FireWire-centric and USB-centric devices," Hayes said, "SimpleDrive Deluxe offers a seamless and high-capacity data transfer and local back-up solution easily utilized across multiple computing platforms."
Available in 6GB, 10GB, 20GB and 30GB capacities, SimpleDrive Deluxe enters the market at under $200. Since a 20GB unit provides storage equivalent to 200 100MB Zip disks and will store over 20,000 digital photos or 6,500 MP3 songs at 128kbps, it offers hassle-free storage at a lower cost per gigabyte than Zip disk alternatives.
SimpleDrive Deluxe is available at retail outlets or on-line. For information, go to www.SimpleTech.com.

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