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Daily Computer News and Rumors

November November 1-7 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.
The Daily Computer News and Rumors is an archived column, so feel free to review previous week's or month's computer news. Previous Daily Computer News articles can also be searched, by using our site search feature found in the top and bottom menu bar.

InfoHQ Daily Computer News and Rumors Article Index
Date
(Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to the Index.)
Nov 07 Faster Intel Xeon Processors Ship for High-End Servers
Nov 07 LapLink Announces Next Generation Remote Access Software
Nov 07 Education Key to Future Success of New Consumer Electronics Products
Nov 07 Nokia Sees Future in Multimedia Phones
Nov 07 Broderbund Launches Total Burn Platinum Suite
Nov 06 AMD Announces Sampling of Wireless LAN Chipset
Nov 06 America Online Launches Enterprise AIM Services
Nov 06 Cable Based Video-On-Demand to Generate Revenue of $2.8 Billion in 2006
Nov 06 Satellite TV Market Share has Leveled Off at 25 Percent
Nov 06 TigerDirect Offers Low-Cost 1.3GHz Lindows PC
Nov 05 Dell Introduces Easy-to-Manage Small Business Server
Nov 05 IBM Announces World's Fastest Silicon-Based Transistor
Nov 05 Infineon Technologies Announces Innovation to Leapfrog Moore's Law
Nov 05 Vendors Fight for Control of the Smart Home Network Market
Nov 05 Sharp Teams with Circuit City to Market Ultra-light Actius Notebooks
Nov 04 Nikon Announces New 4 Megapixel Digital Camera
Nov 04 Micron Technology, Inc., Files Case Against Korean DRAM Subsidies
Nov 04 Hitachi Announces Financial Results for First Half 2002
Nov 03 Sunday Shopping Watch
Nov 01 Epson Intoduces New Multifunction Printers
Nov 01 Hitachi Announces High Contrast 20 Inch Flat Panel Display
Nov 01 HDTV Will Be In 15 Percent of US Homes by 2008
Nov 01 Samsung Starts 1066 RDRAM Mass Production
Nov 01 1394 Trade Association Cites New Products with IEEE 1394
Nov 01 UMC Reports Sequential Growth for 3Q 2002
Nov 01 AT&T PrePaid Internet Service Available At Walgreens

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Nov 07 - Faster Intel Xeon Processors Ship for High-End Servers. Intel Corporation is now shipping the Intel(R) Xeon(TM) processor MP with an enhanced two megabyte (MB) integrated level three cache at speeds up to 2 gigahertz (GHz). When compared to previous generation Intel Xeon processors MP, the new processor delivers up to 38 percent better performance for typical server workloads such as databases, customer relationship and supply-chain management, and further enhances scalability for the increasing demands of enterprise deployments.

Designed for mid-tier and back-end servers with four or more processors, today's Intel Xeon processor MP rounds-out Intel's delivery of industry-leading 0.13 micron process technology for its IA-32 server processor family. This technology enables smaller processors at faster speeds and allows for additional performance enhancements such as increased cache size. The new processor maintains hardware platform compatibility with previous generations, which helps reduce the cost of platform development and eases the integration of new systems into existing enterprise infrastructures.

"Intel-based servers continue to enjoy outstanding acceptance by customers," said Mike Fister, vice president and general manager of Intel's Enterprise Platform Group. "We are committed to accelerating the introduction of innovative technologies, such as the larger cache Intel Xeon processor MP at 2 GHz, which enhance server performance, scalability and stability."

The Intel Xeon processor MP is based on the Intel(R) NetBurst(TM) microarchitecture and includes support for Intel's Hyper-Threading Technology. These features help software vendors enhance the performance of applications and operating systems running on Intel-based servers. Servers ranging from four to 32 processors and beyond using these technologies will be available from multiple vendors.

During the second quarter of 2002, Intel-based servers accounted for 87 percent of all server shipments and more than 73 percent of all four-way server shipments worldwide, according to industry analysts at IDC.
In addition, the Gartner Group forecasts that through 2007, revenues for 32-bit servers based on the Intel architecture will grow by a compounded annual growth rate of more than eight percent, which is twice as fast as the overall growth rate for the market segment. Gartner also estimated that Intel-based servers would comprise 52 percent of worldwide systems and servers' revenue in that same timeframe.

Pricing and Availability

The Intel Xeon processor MP at 2 GHz with 2 MB of integrated level three cache is available for Intel's suggested list price of $3,692 in 1,000-unit quantities. The Intel Xeon processor MP at 1.90 GHz with 1 MB of integrated level three cache and the Intel Xeon processor MP at 1.50 GHz with 1 MB of integrated level three cache are available for the suggested list prices of $1,980 and $1,177 in 1,000-unit quantities, respectively. Intel expects OEM and channel distributors to ship systems based on the new processor in the coming weeks.

Intel, the world's largest chip maker, is also a leading manufacturer of computer, networking and communications products. Additional information about Intel is available at www.intel.com.

Nov 07 - LapLink Announces Next Generation Remote Access Software. LapLink Inc., the recognized world leader in file transfer and synchronization, announced today the release of LapLink Everywhere(TM), the next generation of remote access software technology. LapLink Everywhere enables mobile professionals to have complete access to their desktop files and email from anywhere in the world--quickly, easily and securely.

"Up until now, individuals could purchase device specific software (like for the Blackberry) or application specific software (like Window's Outlook Web Access) to access limited information from their computers," said Mark Eppley, CEO of LapLink. "LapLink Everywhere offers the ability to access all of your information from up to three computers from any browser-enabled device--phone, PDA, Internet terminal, PC or an Apple MAC."

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

Remote access of Outlook and Outlook Express e-mail, calendar and contact files is a key feature, offering the ability to send and receive e-mail and also view attachments. In addition, LapLink Everywhere allows user sharing--offering the capability of allowing other people access to view information.
Assistants can now access the same calendar while co-workers may be able to access working files. Some of the most sophisticated security features include "MD5" user name/password access, which denies unauthorized client access utilizing SSL and 128-bit advanced encryption standards.

"Digital River is excited not only to provide the e-commerce operations that support the launch of LapLink Everywhere, but also serve as a beta site. I'm a long-time LapLink user and was excited to test drive LapLink Everywhere," said Jim Biermeier, Sr. Director of Account Management at Digital River. "LapLink Everywhere provides a significant increase in the efficiency of mobile communications and could greatly impact the hectic lives of business professionals as it has mine."

LapLink Everywhere is available for $89.95 for 12 months of service ($7.49 per month) and can be downloaded from the LapLink website www.laplink.com. To celebrate the launch of LapLink Everywhere, LapLink is offering a free 15-day trial.

Nov 07 - Education Key to Future Success of New Consumer Electronics Products. Even in today's economic conditions, consumers are still purchasing and continue to express interest in consumer electronics.

However, educating consumers is still necessary in order to drive increased growth, according to a recent survey by In-Stat/MDR (www.instat.com). For example, the high-tech market research firm reports that it has taken a few years for DVD technology to reach the mainstream and this will also be the case for newer products like personal video recorders (PVRs), satellite radio, online gaming, and other products that are in the early stages of their life cycles.

In-Stat/MDR's annual consumer survey asked over 100 questions about multimedia devices and correlated the results with demographic and related product and service ownership. The survey indicated that the most common devices currently owned by survey respondents include: cable TV service, CD recorders, and DVD players. The percentage of those owning DVD players has risen to 37.2% this year, up from 18.6% in 2001, likely due to the decrease in price of players and increased availability of DVDs.

The In-Stat/MDR survey also found that:

-- Overall, the number of respondents who own a PVR increased
slightly in the last year, which may be influenced by the
limited number of players in this industry, the price of the
devices, and their availability.

-- About 34% of 961 respondents own a video game console in
comparison to 28% in 2001. Of those who have a console capable
of online gaming now, or in the near future, respondents are
almost equally divided between "yes" and "no" in their
interest in online gaming.

-- The percentage of respondents owning digital audio players has
increased. Surprisingly, the highest percentage of respondents
with digital audio players are in the 35-54 age bracket, with
all other brackets holding nearly identical percentages.

Nov 07 - Nokia Sees Future in Multimedia Phones. "Nokia continues to benefit from good demand for color-screen phones with advanced mobile messaging capability," said Nokia Chairman and CEO Jorma Ollila on Tuesday, speaking at the seventh annual Nokia Mobile Internet Conference in Munich. Including new launches made on the eve of the event, the company now has 15 phones supporting MMS.

Ollila told an audience of developers, content providers and operators that in 2003, more than half of all Nokia phones sold would be MMS-enabled.

"Next year Nokia expects to ship 50-100 million devices which have a color display and an open application development platform. Of these phones, we expect roughly 10 million will be Series 60 based devices. The rest will be based on the Nokia operating systems and have the standard Open Mobile Alliance service enablers, including MMS, Java and browsing."

Ollila emphasized that the way forward in mobile communications would be through openness and collaboration and that the GSM/EDGE/WCDMA technology family would continue to set the global benchmark.

With the emergence of totally new categories in mobile devices, the transition to advanced mobile services is happening now. More than 60 network operators in Europe and Asia are already offering multimedia messaging services and the number is increasing every week. MMS-capable terminals, including those with digital cameras are in strong demand and more than one million Nokia 7650s, the company's first integrated camera phone, have already been sold.

On technology standards, the evolution from GSM to EDGE and WCDMA continues to be the most important path in the mobile world. More than 100 licences have been allocated by national administrations for the new 2GHz frequency band. Almost all licensees have chosen WCDMA technology - and the majority of these networks are currently being built. Looking ahead, the GSM family of technologies is estimated to represent 85% of all mobile phone subscriptions in the world by 2006.

What is an MMS Phone?

Pre Nokia, "MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) builds on the success of SMS (Short Message Service) text messaging and is a messaging service for the mobile environment.

"MMS makes it possible for mobile users to send mms messages (multimedia messages = photo, audio clip) from MMS-enabled handsets to other mobile users and to e-mail users. For the phone user, MMS is very similar to Short Message Service (SMS)."

For more information visit www.nokia.com.

Nov 07 - Broderbund Launches Total Burn Platinum Suite. Broderbund(R), a leading publisher of home productivity and digital media software, recently acquired by Riverdeep, Inc., today launched Total Burn(TM) Platinum Suite.

Comprised of five programs, Total Burn Platinum Suite focuses on CD and DVD burning including powerful applications that CD and DVD users will benefit from, such as video editing, photo editing, label creation and media organization. Whether storing data files, organizing digital photos, creating a video library, enhancing a music collection, or making your own DVD movie, Total Burn Platinum Suite is the complete editing and burning solution.

Step-by-step tutorials make burning CDs and DVDs simple and convenient. Users drag and drop files for quick and easy burning. Gone are the days of wasting time and ruining CDs. Now, smart recording technologies deliver fast and reliable burning. Total Burn Platinum Suite is robust and flexible, supporting widely recognized DVD media including DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW and DVD+RW.

"Total Burn Platinum Suite makes the digital editing and burning process easy and affordable," says Joe Roberts, Riverdeep's president of worldwide product development and marketing. "This product meets the needs of users of all levels -- from the initial capturing of video, music and photos to the design of the media label."

Total Burn Platinum Suite is now shipping to stores with a suggested retail price of $99.99. Visit Broderbund at www.broderbund.com.

Nov 06 - AMD Announces Sampling of Wireless LAN Chipset. AMD (NYSE:AMD) today announced widespread availability for sampling of the AMD Alchemy(TM) Solutions Am1772(TM) Wireless LAN chipset and a mini-PCI card reference design kit (RDK).

A revolutionary two-chip 802.11b wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) solution with next-generation architecture, the Am1772 chipset will provide customers the building blocks for an outstanding long-term wireless strategy.
Customers who use the Am1772 chipset in their laptop computer, handheld computer or other portable computing device will be able to significantly lower their system cost, provide longer battery life, and lower host CPU utilization--the amount of CPU processing power needed to support WLAN connectivity.
Widely available sampling of the Am1772 chipset and RDK is scheduled for this month and AMD plans production availability in Q1 2003.

"Collaborating with our customers and identifying their needs led our design team to create the remarkably innovative Am1772 chipset and a mini-PCI card reference design kit, a high-integration, low-power, high-performance solution," said Dr. William Edwards, AMD's vice president and general manager for the Personal Connectivity Solutions Group.

"This will be AMD's bold first step into the wireless market, and the first of several wireless products we plan to introduce over the next 12 months. Ultimately, we intend to continue to provide industry-leading wireless technology for our customers, and to integrate that technology into our MIPS(R) technology-based AMD Alchemy Solutions system-on-a-chip (SOC) processors."

For more information about the AMD Alchemy Solutions Am1772 wireless LAN chipset and mini-PCI card RDK, please follow the following link: www.amd.com/pcs.

Nov 06 - America Online Launches Enterprise AIM Services. America Online, Inc., the world's leading interactive services company, today announced the availability of Enterprise AIM(R) Services, a suite of business class solutions that increase the value and manageability of AOL (R) Instant Messenger (tm) within organizations.
Enterprise AIM Services brings a new level of control and security to instant messaging in the workplace, while continuing to provide organizations with access to the largest and most active instant messaging community in the world.

Along with all of the functionality of the publicly available AOL Instant Messenger software, the world's most widely used instant messaging service, Enterprise AIM Services offers the AIM Enterprise Gateway, a product that is deployed onsite behind a company's firewall to provide a greater measure of control over AIM within the enterprise, an increasingly important requirement for organizations.

America Online is also offering an optional Private Domain Service with Federated Authentication that lets companies maintain consistent user identities across corporate communications tools and centrally manage users from their corporate directory. In addition, America Online is offering a Developer Access Package and Certified Developer Program to support the extension of AIM's instant messaging and presence awareness technology to other applications. America Online is also working on an AIM client with encryption capabilities, which is currently in Beta.

Enterprise AIM Services is the first business class instant message offering that is based on the AIM service, already used in close to 60% of businesses, which makes it easier for companies to keep up a greater level of control of instant messaging with minimal or no employee training.

Jon Miller, Chairman and CEO of America Online said: "America Online pioneered the use of instant messaging and has evolved the product into one of the most widely used communications tools. Increasingly, as the AIM service finds its way virally into the workplace, businesses are realizing how instant messaging and its presence technology can complement existing communication services, boost productivity, and economically provide real-time customer service.
"With Enterprise AIM Services we're providing organizations an instant messaging platform using a product that's familiar and easy-to-use with the added management and control features they want. We're also pleased to be working together in partnership with leading communication services companies so that we can provide business customers with instant messaging solutions for their needs today and into the future."

The first suite of Enterprise AIM Services, including the AIM Enterprise Gateway, is available now. Businesses can visit www.aim.com for more information.

Nov 06 - Cable Based Video-On-Demand to Generate Revenue of $2.8 Billion in 2006. Over the last 18 months, leading cable operators have rapidly deployed video-on-demand (VOD) for three reasons: to differentiate their service from direct broadcast satellite (DBS) services, to improve the value proposition for digital cable and to produce incremental revenue from their upgraded networks.
With the growing penetration and increasing breadth of VOD content, pay-per-view and subscription VOD will generate combined revenues of $2.8 billion in 2006, according to a new Yankee Group report titled "Video-on-Demand: Sustained MSO Commitment Drives Rapid Growth."

"Despite falling stock prices and pressure from Wall Street, most major MSOs have continued to deploy VOD," said Adi Kishore, Yankee Group Media & Entertainment Strategies analyst. "With content availability growing and VOD technology maturing, the supply side hurdles are largely resolved. MSOs must now shift their focus to the demand side and concentrate on marketing and consumer education to drive usage."

The report also found that growing VOD availability and usage will begin to divert video rental revenue. However, rental stores' earlier access to new releases from the major studios will limit the impact over the next few years.

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

Nov 06 - Satellite TV Market Share has Leveled Off at 25 Percent. While the use of premium TV services continues to increase, the market penetration for satellite TV has leveled off, according to a recent study by Solomon-Wolff Associates, a New Jersey-based market research firm.

Cable TV continues to dominate the premium TV market with 75 percent of households and its market penetration is still increasing.

"DirecTV and Dish Network together now account for one out of four households that use premium TV services, but their growth has waned," says Joey Wolff, partner, Solomon-Wolff Associates. "Cable TV services are now having more success in holding customers, getting new premium TV customers and getting back some who had switched to satellite TV."

The satisfaction levels for both types of premium TV services increased versus last year, but satellite TV continues to have a higher percentage of users who are completely satisfied. While 22 percent of cable TV users are completely satisfied with their service, 34 percent of satellite TV users are completely satisfied.

"There are significant differences in satisfaction between brands," continued Wolff. "DirecTV has the highest satisfaction level, with 38 percent of their users being completely satisfied. The major cable TV service with the highest satisfaction level is Cox Cable, with 29 percent of its customers completely satisfied with their service."

Located in Mountain Lakes, NJ, Solomon-Wolff Associates is a 20-year-old market research firm specializing in high tech and communications issues.

Nov 06 - TigerDirect Offers Low-Cost 1.3GHz Lindows PC. TigerDirect, a subsidiary of Systemax Inc. (NYSE:SYX), is now shipping a $229 complete PC featuring the LindowsOS operating system.

A system powered with the AMD Duron 1.3GHz processor, 128MB memory, 10GB hard drive, 56X CD-ROM drive, 56K modem and floppy drive with LindowsOS is now available at the TigerDirect.com website in a move to provide individuals with a compelling offer for that "extra" PC they want to add to their home.

"Consumers are looking for a low-cost second machine for their home," says Gilbert Fiorentino, CEO of TigerDirect. "This system provides great performance at the best value available - including a fully functional operating system. We're pleased to be the first nationwide retailer to offer such a compelling value."

With the PC market suffering a decline in demand, TigerDirect is providing an alternative to the standard fare. TigerDirect's configuration is offering more "bang for the buck," providing a huge performance increase over similarly priced systems at national retailer Wal-Mart.

"TigerDirect, Inc. and Lindows.com have made available a powerful yet affordable machine to the general public," said Michael Robertson, chief executive officer of Lindows.com, Inc. "Consumers can't go wrong with this offering. Clearly, this is one of the most powerful sub-$250 PCs available on the market."

TigerDirect cna be found online at www.tigerdirect.com.

Nov 05 - Dell Introduces Easy-to-Manage Small Business Server. Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) today announced the new PowerEdge(tm) 1600SC, a powerful server designed for small businesses and corporate workgroups with an affordable remote-management option previously available only on higher-end systems.

With prices starting at $999, the dual-processor PowerEdge 1600SC offers small business customers optional remote management that allows them to control or diagnose the system regardless of its operating status. Dell's OpenManage(tm) systems management software complements this feature by providing an easy-to-use interface to monitor and maintain servers, and tools to simplify installation and setup for small business users. These features are accessible through an intuitive Web browser interface that provides anytime, anywhere status of PowerEdge servers on the network.

"We designed the server to be easy to use and flexible to meet a diverse range of computing needs for small businesses and corporate applications," said Randy Groves, vice president and general manager of Dell's Enterprise Systems Group. "It can be factory configured and delivered direct to the customer ready for deployment as an entry file and print server or as an application server with more advanced performance and management features."

The PowerEdge 1600SC delivers extensive availability and expandability features, making it ideal for file and print serving, shared Internet access and Web-serving, as well as remote offices and small-scale, departmental email or database applications.

For customers requiring high system uptime, the new server supports optional hot-plug redundant power supplies, hot-plug hard drives and SCSI or IDE RAID. In addition to the latest Intel(R) Xeon(tm) processors, the PowerEdge 1600SC offers up to 4 gigabytes (GB) of memory, PCI-X expansion slots, embedded Gigabit(a) Ethernet and up to six hot-plug Ultra320 SCSI drives for almost half a terabyte of data storage. Additional product specifications include:

-- Dual Intel Xeon processors with speeds up to 2.8GHz
-- Up to 438GB(b) of internal SCSI storage
-- Embedded single-channel Ultra320 SCSI controller
-- Six PCI slots, including two PCI-X and two legacy slots
-- Optional Dell Remote Access Card (DRAC) III/XT

Additional information on Dell servers is available at www.dell.com/poweredge and more information on Intelligent IT is available at www.dell.com/intelligentit.

Nov 05 - IBM Announces World's Fastest Silicon-Based Transistor. IBM today announced it has created the world's fastest silicon-based transistor.

The transistor, a key component in microchips, uses a modified design and IBM's proven silicon germanium (SiGe) bipolar technology to achieve speeds of 350 GigaHertz (GHz). IBM's new transistor performs nearly 300 percent faster than today's production devices, and is 65 percent faster than previously reported silicon transistors. A fingernail-sized microchip can hold millions of transistors.

IBM anticipates the new transistor will lead to communications chips with speeds of more than 150 GHz in about two years. The transistor is also expected to result in substantially lower power consumption and lower cost for communications systems and other electronic products.

Transistor speeds are determined primarily by how quickly electrons pass through them. This is dependent on the semiconductor material used to fabricate the transistor and the distance electrons must travel through it. The material used in most standard transistors is silicon. In 1989, following pioneering research work conducted at IBM's Research Division, IBM introduced an improvement to the silicon by adding germanium to speed electrical flow, improving performance and reducing power consumption. With this new achievement, IBM is combining the use of the SiGe material with an improved transistor design that can shorten the electrical path to help speed up the device.

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

Nov 05 - Infineon Technologies Announces Innovation to Leapfrog Moore's Law. Infineon Technologies (NYSE:IFX)(FSE:IFX) today introduced a chip design technology that allows a significant increase in the performance of embedded processors, the central chips used in products such as mobile phones, PDAs, computer peripherals, automotive electronics and other everyday electronic products.

Infineon's development brings multi-threaded execution to embedded applications, which enables system designers to jump over the limitations of Moore's Law and achieve up to a 10X increase in the efficiency of new processors.

The typical progress of chip performance, referred to as Moore's Law, is based on the reduction in the size of transistors, which leads to a corresponding increase in computing power. Multi-threading dramatically changes the way that embedded processors work, enabling a leap in performance without changing production technology.

In automobiles, for example, Infineon's multi-threading technology is designed to allow high-speed processors to operate at greatly increased efficiency, improving engine performance, emissions and fuel efficiency, and lowering the cost of safety and comfort features to move them into mass-market models.

Mobile phone designers will be able to create phones with extended battery life and lower cost, even while adding the interactive multimedia and Internet access features of next-generation networks. Multi-threading technology also makes it possible for engineers to design new types of "always on" networked systems and affordable personal entertainment devices.

"Embedded technologies are in every single electronic product we use. Improvements in the way the processors and DSP chips in these products work has a direct impact on individual lifestyles," said Dr. Soenke Mehrgardt, Chief Technology Officer at Infineon Technologies AG. "Multi-threading is a key development to help Infineon and its customers create entirely new embedded products that enhance the way we all live, work and play."

Infineon has developed a series of innovations that make it possible to use multi-threading, a technique developed for high-performance computer systems, in embedded processors and digital signal processors, while maintaining or improving the real-time determinism required for embedded systems. Infineon's first implementation of the technology will be in a new 32-bit microcontroller that it plans to introduce in mid-2003. Infineon also plans to actively license the technology to other chip designers to promote wide use of the technology.

Further information is available at www.infineon.com.

Nov 05 - Vendors Fight for Control of the Smart Home Network Market. The penetration of Internet access and the emergence of home networks are paving the way for a new breed of revenue-generating opportunities for service providers, utility companies, security installers, homebuilders, and white good appliance manufacturers.

Smart home networks, which use a variety of technologies and standards from basic X-10 power line networks, to fully automated high-end proprietary and wireless systems, are creating new business models for mass market penetration.
However, In-Stat/MDR reports that, despite the availability of technologies and standards in the smart home networking market, there has yet to be widespread acceptance of common standards and strong consumer demand. This has lead to a challenging year in 2002, as many of the strong vendors focused entirely on smart home revenue in 2001, have been acquired or have gone out of business.

"While the growth in smart home networks is not up to par with what was believed in 2000, there is still room for growth, especially with the involvement of industrial automation vendors, such as Echelon and GE," said Jaclynn Bumback, an analyst with In-Stat/MDR.

"Further, ZigBee, a new low-power wireless technology, could enable smart home networks wirelessly at low consumer price points." There already exists limited demand for home automation for high-end homes, and as an add-on to security services. However, despite this limited initial demand, silicon, hardware, software, and service providers do not appear to be ready to market these types of services to the mass market.

"While this market is positioning itself for rapid growth, there are a number of hurdles, which need to be overcome by the entire industry," said Bumback. "Pricing and interoperability must be resolved for the smart home networks to gain mass market acceptance. This includes creating low-cost silicon transceivers and embedded networking solutions, in addition to hardware and software for enabling interoperability between disparate technologies."

In-Stat/MDR has also found that:

-- Revenues for smart home controllers and nodes are expected to reach nearly $1.9 billion by 2006, up from around $300 million in 2002.

-- As Microsoft pushes itself into the market through its Universal Plug and Play standards and home networking software, more consumers will learn of the benefits of smart home networks, while using platforms that are easy-to-use for novice computer users.

-- Currently, only three main standardized technologies for smart home networks have achieved any significant deployment: X-10, CEBus and LonWorks. X-10 is the most widely deployed communications technology for home automation.

-- While smart home networks will originally exist as "islands of connectivity," using many different transmission technologies for varying applications, smart homes will migrate to a
unified network using bridges to connect disparate technologies.

In-Stat/MDR can be found online at www.instat.com.

Nov 05 - Sharp Teams with Circuit City to Market Ultra-light Actius Notebooks. Sharp Systems of America (SSA) today announced an agreement with Circuit City Stores, Inc. that will make Sharp's new Actius notebooks available for purchase in more than 600 Circuit City Superstores, nationwide.

Over the past year, the Sharp Actius UM series of ultra-light notebooks have been racking up awards, including Best Ultra-light Notebook (Mobile Insights), Best Mobile Notebook (Mobile Focus), Best Buy (Laptop Magazine), Best Portability (Smart Business), and 4-Star Survivor of the Smart Business' Torture Test.

"Sharp has made substantial inroads into the ultra-light notebook space, and in less than a year has received numerous accolades and awards for our innovative design," said Greg Nakagawa, senior vice president and general manager for Sharp Systems of America.

"We are extremely excited about this unique agreement with Circuit City, in which they will be our exclusive national retailer for Sharp notebook computers. Circuit City has demonstrated its superior merchandising capabilities in the notebook computer category, and its ability to articulate the value of Sharp's innovative technologies make this a truly synergistic relationship."

Additional Information About Sharp Actius Notebooks

All of the new Actius notebooks include built-in 802.11b wireless LAN support for quick and easy connection to wireless networks. With the increasing popularity of wireless networks, users are being challenged to quickly set up and switch between a home, office, airport, hotel or coffee house network. To address this challenge, Sharp has developed an easy-to-use utility program that allows users to store the settings for several different wireless networks and quickly switch between them.

For a limited time, Sharp notebooks will ship with a 30 day free trial of Wayport's high-speed wireless Internet access. Wayport is a leading provider of high-speed wired and Wi-Fi (802.11b) wireless Internet access in more than 460 hotels and nine airports nationwide.

All Sharp notebooks are available with a one-year or three-year Express Exchange limited warranty. Through this program, customers that require notebook repair will receive a working notebook the next business day.

The award-winning Actius notebooks will be on Circuit City shelves starting in mid-November. More information can be found at www.sharpsystems.com.

Nov 04 - Nikon Announces New 4 Megapixel Digital Camera. Nikon(R)today introduced the cool new Nikon Coolpix(R) 4300, which is built on the award-winning design of the Nikon Coolpix 885, and is the latest digital camera in the Nikon Coolpix line, featuring a 4.0 effective Megapixel CCD and 3x Optical Zoom-Nikkor lens.

The Nikon Coolpix 4300 has a compact, sleek intelligent design, which makes taking great digital pictures comfortable, intuitive and, most importantly, fun for photographers who rely on superior image quality.

The Nikon Coolpix 4300 brings the highest-quality digital photos to all photographers with Nikon's convenient, built-in One-Touch Upload™ feature making online photo albums, creative effects and emailing photos to friends and family as easy as the push of a button, with no additional accessories to purchase.

"With the Nikon Coolpix 4300, we have developed the ideal camera for photographers who depend on unparalleled image quality, portability and ease-of-use, but who also want a product that's cool and exciting," said Jerry Grossman, vice president, marketing, Consumer Digital Products and Compact Cameras, Nikon Inc.

"The Nikon Coolpix 4300 truly delivers everything the amateur photographer is looking for in a digital camera, from its compact size, sleek silver design and its full range of automatic features to easily capture great pictures. Add 4.0 million effective Megapixels, a 3x Optical Zoom-Nikkor lens and brilliant color reproduction and the Nikon Coolpix 4300 will satisfy everyone from the knowledgeable beginner to the more serious on-the-go photographer."

For more information visit www.nikonusa.com.

Nov 03 - Micron Technology, Inc., Files Case Against Korean DRAM Subsidies. Micron Technology, Inc., filed today a countervailing duty (CVD) case with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission against DRAM semiconductor products manufactured in South Korea.

The complaint identifies multi-billion-dollar bailout packages and loan subsidies to South Korean semiconductor companies in violation of U.S. Countervailing Duty laws and South Korea's commitments under World Trade Organization agreements. These subsidies have included loan write-offs, debt-for-equity swaps, government-induced debt financings and re-financings on noncommercial terms, special export financing and special tax treatment.

Commenting on Micron's filing, CEO and President Steve Appleton stated: "The ongoing subsidization of Korean DRAM manufacturers violates free market principles and has resulted in excess supply in the international market for DRAM products. Inefficient manufacturing operations should not be allowed to escape normal market forces. Korea has not kept its commitments to the World Trade Organization and continues to violate U.S. Countervailing Duty laws."

According to Micron's complaint, subsidies benefiting South Korean semiconductor manufacturers have caused economic injury to Micron and other DRAM producers. The filing seeks imposition of a countervailing duty against Korean DRAM imports. The case will proceed simultaneously with the Department of Commerce and with the International Trade Commission.

Micron Technology, Inc., is one of the world's leading providers of advanced semiconductor solutions used in today's leading-edge computing, consumer, networking, and communications products. Micron Technology, Inc., and its subsidiaries manufacture and market DRAMs, very fast SRAMs, Flash memory, TCAMs, CMOS image sensors, other semiconductor components and memory modules. Micron's common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the MU symbol. To learn more about Micron Technology, Inc., visit its web site at www.micron.com.

Nov 04 - Hitachi Announces Financial Results for First Half 2002. Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE:HIT) / (TSE:6501) today announced its consolidated financial results for the first half of fiscal 2002, ended September 30, 2002.

During the period under review, although some regions, notably Asia, showed signs of strength, the global economy remained lackluster, set against a backdrop of a slowing U.S. economy and falling stock prices on world exchanges. The Japanese economy echoed the overall economic mood, despite signs of an upturn in production volumes following a period of inventory destocking. As deflation increased debt burdens and squeezed earnings, corporate sentiment toward capital expenditures failed to improve. And, as employment prospects remained dim, consumers too were reluctant to spend.

Against this backdrop, net sales were largely the same year on year at 3,916.4 billion yen (US$31,841 million). But Hitachi posted operating income of 61.6 billion yen (US$502 million), reversing an operating loss of 42.1 billion yen (US$342 million) in the previous year's first half, as the Corporate Innovation Initiative (CII), including Procurement Renewal Project, produced results, and structural reforms implemented in the previous fiscal year yielded lower fixed costs.

By segment, in Information & Telecommunication Systems, sales of telecommunication-related equipment fell, while demand for storage solutions remained firm. Consequently, segment sales remained consistent year on year at 878.2 billion yen (US$7,140 million). The segment recorded operating income of 42.1 billion yen (US$343 million), up 190% over the same period in fiscal 2001. This result reflects a steady performance in storage solutions and systems integration, as well as benefits from structural reforms, particularly in the telecommunications sector, implemented in the previous fiscal year.

In Electronic Devices, sales in display operations were driven higher by rising demand for small and medium-size TFT LCDs, mainly for mobile phones, and large-size TFT LCDs. This outweighed lower sales stemming from Hitachi's withdrawal from CRTs for PC monitors in the previous fiscal year. This turnaround reflected the benefits of structural reforms, including the termination of unprofitable products such as CRTs for PC monitors and the streamlining of certain semiconductor production lines.

In Digital Media & Consumer Products, although sales of mobile phones decreased, sales of optical storage products and plasma TVs increased year on year. In home appliances, overall sales were sluggish due to soft domestic demand. Hitachi Maxell, Ltd. saw audiotape and videotape sales fall, but sales of computer tapes, optical media and rechargeable batteries increased.

Outlook for Fiscal 2002

The world economy seemed to be moving onto a recovery footing, particularly in the U.S. and Asia, at the start of 2002. However, the recovery in the bellwether U.S. economy has slowed, and a string of terrorist attacks in various parts of the world have created a growing sense of instability in the world economy. The Japanese economy, on the other hand, remains mired in recession with no prospects for a full-fledged recovery. Consequently, consumer spending and capital expenditures in Japan are expected to remain depressed, creating an uncertain operating environment for companies.

In this climate, Hitachi will bolster its international competitiveness by accelerating the pace of CII, which targets greater efficiency throughout the organization, to quickly improve its operating results. Concurrently, Hitachi will advance bold management and structural reforms.

For more information visit www.hitachi.com.

Nov 03 - Sunday Shopping Watch.

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

Weekly Comparison. Pentium 4 desktop prices were significantly higher this week. High-end laptops were higher this week.

Laptops - Low-end laptop prices were about the same as last week. High-end laptops were priced much higher than last week.

Desktops - Most stores are now advertising the 1.7 GHz Intel Celeron complete system for $599 (or more), instead of the older 1.4 GHz Celeron. As the 1.7 GHz Celeron is potentially upgradeable to a Pentium 4, older 1.4 GHz Celeron systems should be avoided.
Prices were much higher on all Intel desktops. Pentium 4 desktops were significantly higher than last week. I suggest you wait another week for better prices before purchasing a Celeron or Pentium 4 desktop
No new Media Center PCs, that run Windows XP Media Center, were advertised this week.
Circuit City was having a good sale on AMD desktops. The fastest AMD desktop advertised was the 2400+.

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 offering 6 months of free MSN with any computer purchase. They are also a $200 gift card with laptops or desktops purchased with high-speed Internet service, and 18 month no-interest financing on all laptops.
Circuit City is giving away 3 months of free AOL on any in-store computer purchase. In addition they are offering 12 month no interest financing on all laptops, and desktop packages with AMD processors.
Office Depot has 12 month no interest financing for purchases over $298.
CompUSA has no store-wide promotions this Sunday.
Staples has no store-wide promotions this Sunday.
Compare to Online Prices - Compare the Sunday ad prices to those being offered at DealTime, it searches over 160 online computer stores.

New Oct 27 ** Shopping Alert on Lower Priced Celerons. The 1.7 GHz Celeron has replaced the 1.4 GHz and slower Celerons in the low-end retail market. As the 1.7 GHz Celeron is socket compatible with the Pentium 4, it is potentially upgradeable to faster Pentium 4 processors. The older 1.4 GHz and slower Celerons cannot be upgraded without a conversion kit.
Again, 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 video chips on the motherboard.
Often by spending $200-$400 more 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 $600 Celeron system to save a few bucks, keep in mind that in a year or two you will probably want to replace it.

Shopping Alert on Lower Priced Laptops - AMD Duron, AMD Athlon 4, and Intel Pentium III laptops should only be purchased at significant discounts. These processors have been superseded by the newer mobile AMD Athlon XP+ and the Intel Pentium 4-M processors.

About Windows XP. It has been a little over 12 months since Windows XP began to be bundled with new computers. Windows XP became available for separate purchase on October 25, 2001. 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 complete desktop system/package/complete package is defined as a computer with monitor and printer or scanner.
A build-to-order system is customized at the retailer and then ordered from a computer manufacturer. In addition to the computer's stated price, you still pay sales tax and shipping charges (if you order direct from the vendor without going through the chain store, you may not have to pay sales tax and you could get a better warranty).

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

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

Best Sunday Ad Deals
Category
Product Description
Price* (see above)
Prices up or Down this Week
Store
Best Celeron Deal
HP 1.7 GHz complete system
$699
+$100
Best Buy, Circuit City
Best Low-cost Pentium 4
Compaq 2.4 GHz complete system
$1099
+$200
Office Depot
Best Low-cost Pentium 4
Sony 2.4 GHz complete system
$1249
-
Circuit City
Best High-end Pentium 4 System
Best Buy vpr 2.53 GHz complete system
$1349
-
Best Buy
Best Windows XP Media Center
None Advertised      
1. Best Low-cost Athlon XP System
Compaq 1800+ complete system
$549
Circuit City
1. Best Low-cost Athlon XP System
Compaq 2000+ complete system
$679
Circuit City
1. Best High-end Athlon XP System
HP 2200+ complete system
$899
-
Circuit City
2. Best High-end Athlon XP System
Sony 2400+ complete system
$1199
-
Best Buy
1. Best Low-cost Notebook
Compaq Athlon XP 1600+ with DVD/CD-RW
$1149
-
Circuit City
2. Best Low-cost Notebook
Toshiba Celeron 1.5 GHz with DVD
$899
-
Best Buy
Best High-end Notebook
Toshiba Pentium 4-M 2.0 GHz with DVD/CD-RW
$1699
+$100
CompUSA
Peripherals
Best Sunday Deal
Civilization III Game of the Year Edition
34.99
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
Combat Flight Simulator 3
39.99
Best Buy
Worst Sunday Deal
Sony Pentium III-M 900 MHz - 1.2 GHz Notebook with DVD/CD-RW
$1599
Should be under $1000
Circuit City, Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
Philips 17" Realflat CRT Monitor

$119
(after rebates)

-
Office Depot
Best Sunday Deal
Sound Blaster Audigy 2
$99 (after rebates)
-
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
Memorex
DVD+RW/CD -RW
$249
(after rebates)
-
Best Buy
Best Sunday Deal
D-Link 2.4GHz Wireless Router
$99
(after rebates)
-
Best Buy

 

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

 

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

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

Nov 01 - Epson Intoduces New Multifunction Printers. Epson America today announced the launch of the EPSON Stylus CX3200 and CX5200 all-in-one products that serve as all-purpose printers, scanners and color copiers.

"The Stylus CX3200 is really our high-value performer in the world of multi-function products," said Andreas Goehring, senior product manager, consumer ink jet printers, Epson. "In today's market, customers more than ever are attracted to products that give them the best overall value with the combination of features that meet their specific needs. The Stylus CX3200 offers the best overall balance between performance and price over any sub-$150 multi-function product on the market."

Epson's newest desktop ink jet print engine, EPSON Durabright inks and the company's award-winning scanning technology have all combined forces to create the perfect do-it-all product, the EPSON Stylus CX5200. This new space-saving device triples as a scanner, printer and color copier, offering a high-end combination of features and performance for $199.

"This really is the most ideal product for anyone who's looking for an all-in-one device that offers the best performance for a price less than $200," said Andreas Goehring, senior product manager, Epson. "Not only do customers get a product that fulfills nearly every aspect of their digital input/output needs, but they'll also enjoy the benefits that come with our newest and most advanced general purpose ink jet printer."

For more information on Epson and its products, visit www.epson.com.

Nov 01 - Hitachi Announces High Contrast 20 Inch Flat Panel Display. Hitachi America, Ltd., a subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE: HIT) has added a high contrast 20.1" flat panel LCD display to its line of high performance monitors. The new CML200B provides an expanded display area with a native resolution of 1600 x 1200 for graphics, imaging, CAD/CAM/CAE, as well as for general business use. It features MVA technology for superior sharpness, brightness and color reproduction across wide viewing angles with an extended life backlight that lasts twice as long as most competitive models.

The CML200B uses approximately 2/3 less desk space than most comparable CRTs. It provides sharp, distortion-free images at viewing angles of 170 degrees in both horizontal and vertical directions.

The monitor delivers a full 20.1" viewing area (408 x 306 mm) and has a pixel pitch of .255 mm. It also features 250-nit brightness and an outstanding 500:1 contrast ratio.

With its extended life backlight, the CML200B has an average backlight life of greater than 50,000 hours - double the useful life of competitive products that average 25,000 hours.

The CML200B also has analog and digital (DVI-D) inputs, side-mounted detachable speakers, an integrated microphone and a headphone jack. An auto-adjust function provides quick, beautiful picture adjustments.

PC & Mac (some Macs may require an adapter) compatible, the CML200B meets the VESA FPMPMI (Flat Panel Monitor Physical Mounting Interface) standard, enabling wall-mounting with third party mounting arms. This product also features a Kensington Security Port.

The CML200B is TCO '95 approved. It complies with one of the world's strictest standards for low radiation, safety, ergonomics and power management. The new monitor comes in a black cabinet and is available for shipping from Hitachi distributors on November 13th with an MSRP of $1599.00.

For more information, visit www.hitachi.com.

Nov 01 - HDTV Will Be In 15 Percent of US Homes by 2008. New research from Strategy Analytics, the global research and consulting company, highlights growing demand for High Definition Television (HDTV).

In a report released to subscribers to its Broadband Entertainment Strategies service, the analysts predict that 29 million US households will own HD-capable TV displays by 2008, and that half of these displays will be connected to a high definition television service. Eighty-four percent of these HDTV subscribers will be using either cable or satellite services.

HDTV sales are being driven by demand for larger, high quality TV displays. Already today, the majority of TV receivers retailing at $1500, or more, are HD-capable. Strategy Analytics predicts that 4.8 million US homes will own an HD-capable display by the end of 2002, of which nearly one million will also have HDTV tuners for either cable, satellite or terrestrial platforms.

By 2008, the number of HD-capable displays in US homes will have reached 33.4 million units. Of these displays, 27 percent will be connected to an HDTV service via cable, 14 percent via satellite, and 8 percent via digital terrestrial television. The report identifies the increasing support of cable and satellite operators and their content partners as a key factor in the take-up of HDTV services.

"HDTV has been a long time coming," says David Mercer, Vice President, Broadband Practice, at Strategy Analytics. "But sufficient momentum is now building at both content and operator levels to ensure a successful niche market in the longer term."

For more information, visit www.strategyanalytics.com.

Nov 01 - Samsung Starts 1066 RDRAM Mass Production. Samsung Semiconductor, Inc., the world's leading supplier of advanced memory technology, today announced it has started mass production of its full range of 1066 RDRAM RIMMs using 0.13 micron process technology.

As the newest addition to Samsung's DRAM portfolio, the 1066Mbps (533MHz) RDRAM RIMMs, available in 128MB, 256MB and 512MB densities, provide the highest performance memory currently on the market. The 1066 RIMMs are available in both 16bit and 32bit configurations for a variety of PC applications.

Samsung is now delivering rapidly increasing quantities of 1066 RDRAM RIMM to major PC companies that lead the market with systems built on the Intel 850E chipset. As CPU speeds advance beyond 3GHz, RDRAM's clear-cut performance advantage will continue to grow.

"The computing market continues to demand extreme memory performance as consumers use their PCs for everything from gaming to video editing," said Tom Quinn, vice president, marketing, Samsung Semiconductor. "The demand for 1066Mbps RDRAM has been strong in the channel for several months, and now major PC manufacturers are shipping 1066Mbps systems as well. Our ramp of 0.13 micron mass production allows us to grow the 1066Mbps supply to meet this explosive demand."

Samsung is currently the largest volume supplier of RDRAM RIMMs and is the world's leading supplier of RDRAM memory, with more than an 80 percent share of the market. The company intends to continue its leadership role in RDRAM memory by being first-to-market with leading-edge products in a wide range of configurations and densities.

For more information, visit their website www.usa.samsungsemi.com.

Nov 01 - 1394 Trade Association Cites New Products with IEEE 1394. Leaders of the 1394 Trade Association today said the pace of new consumer and computer products with the IEEE 1394/FireWire(TM) multimedia bus is accelerating, with almost 130 new announcements from mid-summer through late October.

New products range from 12 new notebook PCs and 90 new desktop PCs to new digital video and still cameras, and Samsung's new set top box and an increasing number of storage systems. All new products incorporating FireWire, with either the FireWire or i.LINK(TM) logos, can now be found on the 1394 Trade Association's web site at www.1394ta.org.

"This past summer was a productive period for 1394-equipped product designs and introductions," said James Snider, executive director of the 1394 Trade Association. "We see a gradual acceleration in design activity throughout the industry, particularly in PCs and storage products, which is very encouraging."

Nov 01 - UMC Reports Sequential Growth for 3Q 2002. United Microelectronics Corporation (NYSE: UMC; TSE: 2303) ("UMC" or "the Company"), a leading global semiconductor foundry, today announced its unconsolidated operating results for the quarter ended September 30, 2002. All figures were prepared in accordance with ROC GAAP, which differ in some material respects from generally accepted accounting principles in the United States.

"We are pleased to report another quarter of sequential growth, despite the overall weakness shown in the global semiconductor market. UMC's revenue grew 3.1 percent sequentially after an impressive 52.8 percent quarter-on-quarter improvement in the second quarter of 2002," UMC Vice Chairman & CEO John Hsuan said. "New customer wins and increasing demand for leading-edge technology were some of the key drivers behind our third quarter performance."

Revenue from 0.18-micron and below process technologies increased over 60 percent in dollar terms compared to the second quarter of 2002. The blended average selling price (ASP) showed double-digit growth as a result of customer designs migrating to more advanced technologies, and strong demand from the communications sector - an area that demands more advanced processes. "Once again, this is a strong endorsement of our customers' belief in the leading technological capabilities of UMC," commented John Hsuan.

"0.13-micron sales showed continued increases following the volume ramp-up of new customer products and this trend is expected to continue in the foreseeable future. We also currently possess the foundry industry's largest 300mm wafer capacity, and have shipped the largest quantity of logic ICs produced on 300mm wafers. We have achieved equal or better yields for all products that are commercially fabricated on 300mm wafers compared to those manufactured in our 200mm facilities. Our accomplishments in 300mm will allow our customers to enjoy faster time-to-market and better cost reduction by utilizing our advanced 300mm wafer fabs."

"We remain optimistic for the long-term outlook of our business, despite facing the short-term semiconductor market slowdown. We identify the weakening market as an opportunity for UMC to gain more IDM customers who intend to either follow a fab-lite strategy, or increase their outsourcing percentage."

About UMC

UMC (NYSE: UMC, TSE: 2303) is a leading global semiconductor foundry that manufactures advanced process ICs for applications spanning every major sector of the semiconductor industry. UMC delivers cutting-edge foundry technologies that enable sophisticated system-on-chip (SOC) designs, including 0.13um copper, embedded DRAM, and mixed signal/RFCMOS.
In addition, UMC is a leader in 300mm manufacturing with three strategically located 300mm fabs that serve its global customer base: Fab 12A in Taiwan, UMCi in Singapore (pilot production in mid-2003) and AU Pte. Ltd., a joint venture facility with AMD that is also located in Singapore (production in 2005).
UMC employs over 8,500 people worldwide and has offices in Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Europe, and the United States. UMC can be found on the web at www.umc.com.

Nov 01 - AT&T PrePaid Internet Service Available At Walgreens. AT&T and Walgreens today announced that AT&T PrePaid Internet Service is now available in more than 3,900 of the drugstore chain's stores across the United States.

AT&T PrePaid Internet Service is a flexible, pay-as-you-go Internet service powered by the company's award-winning AT&T Worldnet(R) Service. It comes with one e-mail account and is perfect for consumers who want to access the Web without a monthly fee, need a travel Internet service to complement their home or office connection or want a back-up service.

"Walgreens customers can now pick up an AT&T PrePaid Internet Service start-up kit along with the other household electronics products we offer," said Gary Platek, Walgreens divisional merchandise manager for electronics. "Customers appreciate our convenient services, and with AT&T, we're making Internet access more convenient for them."

"Getting our product on the shelves of the nation's largest drugstore chains makes prepaid Internet readily available to more people just as prepaid phone cards expanded the long distance market," said Mark Evans, vice president of AT&T PrePaid Services. "More consumers can now pay cash for a block of time to access the Internet without a monthly recurring charge or the use of a credit card."

The AT&T PrePaid Internet Service start-up CD is available in two denominations: eight hours of Internet Service time for $9.99 or 20 hours for $19.99. Additional minutes can be purchased online for $19.99 (20 hours) or $29.99 (30 hours). The Service can be used on most compatible modem-equipped computers, whether the user is at home or traveling. Both dial-up and 800/888 access numbers are available. Internet Service minutes will be used up more quickly with the 800/888 access numbers.

Introduced a year ago, AT&T PrePaid Internet Service is now available in more than 10,000 participating retail outlets nationwide. Customers can also visit www.att.com/prepaidinternet to purchase start-up CDs, refill minutes or search the AT&T PrePaid Internet Service database to find a list of participating retailers in their area based on zip code.

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