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InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors

October 24 - 31 2001

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

InfoHQ Computer News and Rumors Article Index
Date
(Click on story to read, use your Browser's back button to return to the Index.)
Oct 31 Sub-3 Pound Sharp Notebook Features 256 MB SDRAM
Oct 31 Pirated Software Creates Problems for Corporations
Oct 31 Jasc Software Announces Namo WebEditor 5.0 Availability
Oct 31 Fujitsu Introduces Next-Generation 2.5" Mobile Hard Drives
Oct 31 Court Confirms Imation's Right to Sell Black Watch Digital Linear Tape
Oct 30 Dell Redefines Easy With Affordable SmartStep 100D
Oct 30 TDK Systems Intoduces Wireless Bluetooth USB Adapter
Oct 30 Handspring Introduces Blazer 2.0 Web Browser
Oct 30 HP Unveils New Color Printers for Small Businesses
Oct 29 ATI Unveils RADEON 8500LE Graphics Chip
Oct 29 Fujitsu Enhances All-In-One Multimedia LifeBook C Series
Oct 29 Toshiba Announces Loss for First Half of Fiscal Year
Oct 29 Survey Shows 93% of PC Households Are Online
Oct 28 Sunday Shopping Watch
Oct 26 Bill Gates Launches Windows XP in New York City
Oct 26 Windows XP Performance Data
Oct 26 Toshiba Announces New Windows XP Notebook Line-Up
Oct 26 Windows XP Forecast to Have Most Immediate Impact in Homes
Oct 25 Dell Celebrates Launch of Microsoft Windows XP
Oct 25 Turtle Beach to Show AudioTron Appliance at Windows XP Launch
Oct 25 Residential DSL Market Nears Bottom
Oct 25 Socket Announces Low Power Wireless LAN CompactFlash Card
Oct 25 Outstanding Third Quarter DVD Results Set Stage for Holiday Sales
Oct 24 Intel Introduces First 0.13-Micron Flash Memory Product
Oct 24 Video Game Console Shipments Down in 2001
Oct 24 Red-M Announces Handspring Bluetooth Module
Oct 24 W3C and VoiceXML Forum Initiate Voice Markup Standard for Web
Oct 24 Online Holiday Shopping Starting Earlier This Year

 
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Oct 31 - Sub-3 Pound Sharp Notebook Features 256 MB SDRAM. Sharp Systems of America, a U.S. business unit of Sharp Corporation, the recognized world leader of LCD technology, today announced general availability of the PC-UM10M, a 256 MB SDRAM version of their newest ultra-mobile notebook computer, the PC-UM10.
Engineered for mobile professionals, the Sharp PC-UM10M combines ultra-mobility with full functionality. Weighing less than three pounds and just 0.65" thick, the PC-UM10M is more than capable of providing the power and performance required by today's demanding business user.
Featuring Sharp's legendary LCD technology in its 12.1" XGA display, powered by the Ultra Low Voltage (ULV) Mobile Intel(R) Pentium(R) III 600 MHz processor, configured with 256MB RAM and a 20GB hard drive, and offering up to nine hours of battery life, the PC-UM10M is the perfect blend of form and function.
"The new PC-UM10M further strengthens Sharp's position as a serious competitor in the mobile computing arena," said Greg Nakagawa, senior vice president and general manager for Sharp Systems of America. "Under three pounds and less than two-thirds of an inch thick(1), the PC-UM10M is the thinnest and lightest notebook in its class."
"The Sharp PC-UM10M ultra-mobile notebook is perfectly suited for the executive who focuses on email and Web browsing," said J. Gerry Purdy, Ph.D., CEO of Mobile Insights, a market research firm in Mountain View, CA. "Sharp is leveraging its strengths in advanced displays, advanced packaging of electronics and sleek industrial design that is going to shake up the notebook industry. It's going to get a lot of consideration by executives who want the lightest full-function notebook to carry around the office and on the road."
Since June, Sharp Systems has introduced two notebooks to the U.S. market. The high-performance PC-AR50, with its industry leading SXGA+ high-resolution display, was announced in June. The ultra-mobile PC-UM10 made its debut in September and has received rave reviews. The introduction of the PC-UM10M expands the Sharp Systems notebook line, providing more of the tools Sharp needs to satisfy its corporate customers.
Available immediately, the Sharp PC-UM10M is competitively priced with an estimated street price of $2,099.
More information can be found at www.sharp-business.com.

Oct 31 - Pirated Software Creates Problems for Corporations. Pirated software on the Web may be free, but it comes at a huge price to corporations.
Websense Inc. (NASDAQ:WBSN), the world's leading employee Internet management (EIM) software company, reports that the number of pirated software and hacking Web sites has spiked more than 240 percent in the last year alone, now totaling 5,400 sites representing 800,000 Web pages. According to Wordtracker, pirated software terms have risen to the top 15 in recent months, joining "sex" and "MP3" as some of the most commonly typed phrases in search engines.
"This increased popularity in pirated software Web sites creates several problems for corporations," said Andy Meyer, vice president of marketing, Websense. "First, IT administrators lose control over employee desktops, meaning they waste help-desk resources trying to support programs unauthorized by the company. Second, employees can expose their companies to legal liability by copying illegal software. Finally, downloading these large software packages places an extra burden on the network, draining bandwidth that could be used for legitimate, work-related applications."
Many forms of pirated software also contain pornographic, violent and other obscene images or graphics embedded in the code. Employers and employees can quickly get more than they bargained for, including sexual harassment suits. In addition, some pirated software applications contain viruses that can damage corporate computer systems, or worse, open the door for hackers and allow access to proprietary company information.
Companies that are caught with pirated software often face expensive lawsuits and large fines. The Business Software Alliance (BSA), an international organization representing leading software and e-commerce developers around the world in a global effort to fight software piracy, operates approximately 65 hotlines around the world for callers who want to report suspected incidents of software theft. During the past nine years, BSA has recovered more than $60 million in penalties from companies in the U.S. caught with unlicensed software.
The problem of pirated software is more pervasive than many businesses think. According to BSA's Software Piracy Study, released in May 2001, 37 percent of software used by businesses have been copied illegally. The study highlights the serious impact of copyright infringement to the economy with piracy losses nearing $11.8 billion worldwide in 2000.
"Corporations need to take the same `no tolerance' stance with respect to employees visiting pirated software sites at work as they have taken to gambling, pornography or hate sites. It's illegal, it causes the IT department to lose control of the desktop, and it hurts everyone involved," said Meyer. "Many of our customers, including 250 of the Fortune 500, currently use Websense Enterprise to block employee access to pirated software sites, eliminating the threat and preventing the problem from spreading within their organizations."
For more information on pirated software, visit http://www.websense.com/products/ resources/wp/index.cfm to view a Websense-authored white paper about pirated software and how corporations can prevent it in the workplace. To view the BSA's latest study on pirated software, please visit http://www.bsa.org/resources/2001-05-21.55.pdf.

Oct 31 - Jasc Software Announces Namo WebEditor 5.0 Availability. Jasc Software, Inc., home of popular Web graphics editor Jasc(R) Paint Shop Pro(TM), today announced that Namo WebEditor(TM) 5.0, the latest version of the award-winning Web site creation and management software, is now available for purchase. This announcement follows on the heals of Jasc Software's recent exclusive agreement with Namo Interactive Inc. to distribute Namo WebEditor 5.0 in North America and other world markets.
"Namo WebEditor is a natural extension of Jasc Software's ongoing commitment to the Web development community," said Kris Tufto, president and CEO of Jasc Software. "For years, Web designers have looked to Jasc Paint Shop Pro as their solution of choice for creating Web graphics. Now they can also look to Jasc for Namo WebEditor, a complete, easy-to-use toolkit for Web site creation and management."

About Namo WebEditor 5.0

Namo WebEditor 5.0 provides novice and intermediate Web designers with all the tools they need to quickly build, manage, and publish professional-looking Web sites. With Namo WebEditor, users can:

-- Create a personalized Web site in minutes using the Site Wizard with over 200 customizable templates and themes.
-- Use drag-and-drop page elements to design a sophisticated page without writing code.
-- Get interactive with a powerful Script Wizard that allows users to add rollovers, scrolling banners, and other JavaScript actions to their site.
-- Take control with the HTML source editor that allows users to write their own code. Features code validation, browser compatibility checks, and tag clean-up.
-- Create Dynamic Database pages in a snap with a built-in wizard that supports ASP, PHP and JSP dynamic document formats.
-- View reports, change site structure, and publish a site to the Web, all from one screen with the powerful Site Manager.
-- Add interest and impact to Web pages with built-in image effects and graphic elements or use images created in Paint Shop Pro or other image editor.

Availability

A physical boxed version of Namo WebEditor 5.0 is now available at a suggested list price of $149 from Jasc Software, and an ESD version is available for $139. As a special promotion, Jasc Software is offering purchasers $20 off the suggested list price of the full boxed or ESD product through December 31, 2001. Upgrades for registered users of previous versions of Namo WebEditor will be available for $49 boxed / $39 ESD from Jasc Software. A full-featured trial version is available for download from the Jasc Software Web site at www.jasc.com.

Oct 31 - Fujitsu Introduces Next-Generation 2.5" Mobile Hard Drives. Fujitsu Limited, a worldwide leader in hard drive technology, today introduced its next-generation of 2.5" mobile hard drives. The new MHR series from Fujitsu incorporates new technologies for both head and media, which have been previously highlighted in Fujitsu's recent magnetic recording technology breakthrough that will enable hard disk drives to eventually achieve recording densities up to 300 Gigabits per square inch.
The new mobile series is the next step for Fujitsu in its quest for market leadership in the fast-growing and diverse mobile HDD market that includes laptop computers, consumer electronic devices, audio-visual products, GPS/In car entertainment systems, and other non-PC applications, including some specialized server application environments.
The new MHR Series from Fujitsu supports the Ultra ATA/100 interface and with 20GB per platter offers capacities of 10, 20, 30, and 40GB. Incorporating Fujitsu's second-generation head load/unload and unique "Silent HDD" technologies, the new mobile drives offer exceptional performance with a 32.5MB/s (max) transfer rate and industry-leading track to track seek time of 1.5ms.
Weighing just 99g, with a 4,200RPM spindle speed and 2MB buffer -- and with 900G of non-operating shock tolerance -- the MHR hard disk drives are ideal for intensive mobile computing applications and rugged environments.
Fujitsu's "Silent HDD" technology results from its use of Fluid Dynamic Bearing (FDB) motors which offer improved reliability in harsh environments, as well as greatly reduced acoustic noise and non-repeatable run out (NRRO).
"The new MHR Series from Fujitsu continues the very clear trend of Fujitsu bringing to bear the full array of its technological expertise, and translating that expertise into drives that will no doubt be among the very best in their class," said Bill Ress, research analyst at Data Storage Review. "At this pace of innovation and product development, Fujitsu is clearly serious about its quest for leadership in the 2.5" mobile hard drive market and is well-positioned to increase its market position."
The new MHR series from Fujitsu is currently in evaluation cycles at key OEM customers. Volume shipments will commence in early 1Q02. For more information about Fujitsu products and services, visit www.fcpa.fujitsu.com.

Oct 31 - Court Confirms Imation's Right to Sell Black Watch Digital Linear Tape. Imation Corp. (NYSE:IMN) welcomed today's ruling in California Superior Court, denying a bid by Quantum Corp. (NYSE:DSS) to block Imation from selling Black Watch(TM) Digital Linear Tape IV cartridges.
"The Court sided with Imation that we are entitled to be in the digital linear tape market by denying Quantum's bid to exclude us. Customers and the marketplace won a victory today, along with Imation. We will continue to offer customers Imation certified and manufactured Black Watch(TM) Digital Linear Tape IV," said Frank Russomanno, vice president of Data Storage Media and Services for Imation.
"Today's decision has no impact on Imation's federal antitrust claims against Quantum. We initiated our actions because Quantum is illegally attempting to keep Imation out of the market, not because of royalty payments. We understand the Court's preliminary decision to preserve the status quo until this matter is resolved. In addition, the Court's requirement that Imation pay the 30% royalty during the interim is recognition of Quantum's dependence on their unusually high royalty structure.
" This is the motivation for their illegal price fixing scheme and desperate attempts to keep Imation out of the market, as outlined in Imation's federal antitrust suit against Quantum. In their most recently reported quarter, Quantum reported royalty income of $50 million and pro-forma net income of $10 million. Clearly, their business model is completely dependent on the DLT royalty structure they are desperately attempting to preserve. Unfortunately, this results in higher prices to end user customers," concluded Russomanno.
Imation will continue to pursue its federal antitrust claim against Quantum filed in Minnesota on Oct. 1, 2001, specifically charging that Quantum has conspired to fix prices and monopolize the market for DLT compatible tape in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Imation seeks an injunction, barring Quantum from future violations of antitrust law and seeks a minimum of $150 million in damages, which would be trebled to $450 million under antitrust law.
"Imation looks forward to presenting this full antitrust case in federal court and is confident it will win on the antitrust charges," said John Sullivan, Imation vice president and general counsel. "Today's decision is the result of a diversion by Quantum from the real issue raised by Imation: Quantum's illegal behavior in the marketplace. Any subsequent legal maneuvers by Quantum are obviously nothing more than desperate attempts to shut down competition. Recent attempts to frighten or intimidate our customers and distributors through misleading advertising and marketing claims are simply further attempts to protect their price fixing scheme. This ruling reinforces that the market for tape cartridges compatible with DLT drives must remain fair and open," concluded Sullivan.
"The positive market reaction to Imation-manufactured Black Watch Digital Linear Tape underscores customer trust in Imation-certified products bearing the Black Watch trademark. We have a growing number of end user customers, distributors, and resellers who recognize the quality performance of our product, and our 50-year history as a trusted developer, manufacturer and marketer of high quality data storage tape. In fact, customers prefer the low abrasivity and high durability that Imation Black Watch Digital Linear Tape delivers. Customers have been delighted to have a cost-competitive choice with Imation-certified quality. Demand has exceeded supply in the few weeks since introduction," Russomanno stated.
Additional information about Imation is available on the Company's website at www.imation.com.

Oct 30 - Dell Redefines Easy With Affordable SmartStep 100D. Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) made buying direct even easier today by introducing to U.S. customers the SmartStep(tm) 100D, a desktop computer that is a breeze to order, set up and use.
Beginning today, customers can buy the SmartStep 100D for $599. The system includes a monitor, six months of Internet access, speakers, and service and support from the world's No. 1 computer maker. For as little as $18 a month, home users can order SmartStep 100D and soon be off surfing the Web, downloading music, or emailing business associates. SmartStep 100D is designed for first-time Dell computer buyers or for customers wanting another desktop for their home or small business.
"For about the cost of two movie tickets and popcorn every month, customers can own a Dell SmartStep 100D. That is unprecedented," said John Hamlin, vice president and general manager of Dell's consumer business. "Once again, Dell is delivering the best value in the industry to its customers."
Buying SmartStep 100D is easy. For home users, the basic configuration includes an Intel(R) Celeron(tm) processor at 1 GHz, 128 MB SDRAM, 20 GB(d) Hard Drive, PC Speakers, a 15 inch (13.8" viewable) monitor, a modem, and six months of AOL Internet service.
Additionally, customers receive Microsoft's new Windows(R) XP Home Edition operating system, Music Match software for listening to digital music and Dell Picture Studio for processing and sharing digital photos. While home users buying SmartStep 100D receive a 90-day limited warranty, they can choose to upgrade to a one-year limited warranty for an extra $50.
Home users interested in SmartStep 100D can visit www.dell4me.com/SmartStepPC or call 800/388-8542. Small business customers interested in ordering SmartStep 100D via the Internet should visit www.dell.com.

Oct 30 - TDK Systems Intoduces Wireless Bluetooth USB Adapter. TDK Systems, Inc. a founding member of the Bluetooth Consortium is announcing the availability of its next wave of cable free products.
The Go Blue USB Adapter for laptops and PCs brings low-cost wireless printing, email, Internet and Personal Area Networking (PAN) access to Bluetooth-enabled devices in the home and office environment. Ad hoc networking in wireless workgroup meetings and automatic synchronization of Palm devices, mobile phones and PCs are other product characteristics.
The USB Go Blue adapter has been thoroughly tested to ensure compatibility with Bluetooth access points to be introduced in airport lounges, conference centers and other public spaces.
"All products in the Go Blue range - the Go Blue USB adapter, Blue5 for PalmV series PDAs, and the soon to be released PC card - are dedicated to retrofitting Bluetooth to products that are already widely used," said Nick Hunn, managing director at TDK Systems.
TDK Systems' Bluetooth products are being showcased at the Palm Solutions Pavilion, booth L6155 and the Bluetooth Pavilion booth L5142 in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center during COMDEX, Nov. 12-16th in Las Vegas.
TDK Systems can be found on the Web at www.tdksys.com.

Oct 30 - Handspring Introduces Blazer 2.0 Web Browser. Handspring, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAND), a leading innovator in handheld computers and personal communicators, today announced the release of Blazer(TM) 2.0, a new version of its award-winning web browser, designed to provide Palm OS handheld computers and communicators with fast access to a full range of web content.
Blazer 2.0 offers all of the features of the original Blazer, but with improved speed, enhanced security for online transactions, and new features to allow faster and easier access to web content.

New Features

Blazer 2.0 has several new features including enhanced bookmarks, 128 bit SSL encryption and faster browsing while connected to the Internet. The new security features support additional security types, including proxy and HTTP authentication, and viewing of secure web pages over HTTPS, which allow users to make purchases and shop online with complete confidence. In addition, browsing performance has been improved, making page rendering and navigating on the Web with Blazer faster than ever before. Also new in Blazer 2.0 is the ability to select the homepage that first appears when Blazer is launched. Virtually any web site on the Internet can be set as Blazer's homepage.

Blazer 2.0 is available now for $19.95 on www.handango.com and later today on www.palmgear.com. Both Handango and PalmGear will email their Blazer 1.1 customers instructions on downloading a free upgrade to Blazer 2.0.

Oct 30 - HP Unveils New Color Printers for Small Businesses. Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HWP) today debuted a portfolio of color printing and imaging solutions for small- and medium-sized businesses that allows customers to create powerful business communications materials more easily, creatively and affordably than ever before.
The portfolio features three color inkjet printers as well as two print servers. The inkjet printers boast improved image quality and an expanded array of paper handling options for high-impact communications development. The print servers enable HP customers to share printers wirelessly or via a network. Additionally, each of the printing systems announced today is available for lease through the HP Printadvantage program.

HP's Newest Inkjet Printers

The HP Color Inkjet Printer cp1160 features two-sided printing, up to 400-sheet paper capacity, infrared connectivity, support for Microsoft(R) and Macintosh operating systems and optional networking. Sporting an efficient and space-saving design, the printer is ideal for printing proposals, marketing materials and reports. An additional 250-sheet plain paper tray and an Internet connector accessory for desktop networking are standard with the HP Color Inkjet Printer cp1600tn version.
Designed for personal use or small businesses, the HP Color Inkjet Printer cp1700 and HP Color Inkjet Printer cp1700ps offer wide-format color printing and optional networking. Office professionals can create documents with exceptional color print quality without sacrificing speed. Each printer supports media up to 13 x 19 inches and has optional, two-sided printing -- this feature comes standard on the HP Color Inkjet Printer cp1700d. The HP Color Inkjet Printer cp1700ps offers Adobe(R) PostScript(R) 3(TM) compatibility and supports Microsoft, Macintosh and Linux operating systems.
The HP Business Inkjet Printer 2600 is HP's most network-savvy, wide-format color inkjet printer. When configured with an HP Jetdirect print server, the printer becomes a high-performance, Internet-enabled appliance that can be shared reliably in a network environment. An embedded Web server allows remote management from a standard Web browser or with HP Web Jetadmin 6.5 software.
The HP Business Inkjet Printer 2600 supports media up to 13 x 19 inches, has optional two-sided printing, PostScript 3 emulation and supports Microsoft, Macintosh, UNIX, Linux and AutoCAD(TM) operating systems. The HP Business Inkjet Printer 2600dn version includes a two-sided printing accessory and an EIO network card.

HP's Print Servers

The HP Jetdirect 200m and 250m internal print servers offer businesses a simple and affordable way to link to the Internet and share printers. These print servers are designed specifically for the HP Color Inkjet Printer cp1160 and cp1700 families and are compatible with printers featuring LIO networking slots.
The HP Wireless Print Server wp110 offers a simple and cost-effective way to share a printer by allowing multiple PC or Mac users to connect and share a broad range of HP peripherals on an 802.11b wireless network.

The products announced here are available in the United States and Canada beginning Oct. 29. The HP Business Inkjet Printer 2600 is expected to be available March 2002.

Product Pricing

HP Color Inkjet Printers cp1160/cp1160tn $399/$599
HP Color Inkjet Printers cp1700/cp1700d $499/$599
HP Color Inkjet Printer cp1700ps $599
HP Business Inkjet Printers 2600/2600dn $999/$1,399
HP Jetdirect 200/250m print servers $199/$259
HP Wireless Print Server wp110 $299

Information about HP and its products can be found on the World Wide Web at www.hp.com.

Oct 29 - ATI Unveils RADEON 8500LE Graphics Chip. ATI Technologies Inc. (TSE:ATY, NASDAQ:ATYT), a world leader in the supply of graphics, video and multimedia solutions, today introduced the RADEON(TM) 8500LE graphics processor, the latest addition to RADEON(TM), the world's most powerful and innovative family of graphics chip and board technologies.
Based on the award-winning RADEON 8500 chip architecture, the RADEON 8500LE affords customers all of the industry-leading features of the world's fastest and most technologically advanced graphics chip at a cost that is extremely appealing to a broader group of customers and at a performance level (250 MHz (megahertz) core clock speed compared to the RADEON 8500's 275 MHz core clock speed) that would satisfy even the most power-hungry game or application. While ATI is marketing the RADEON 8500 through retail outlets worldwide, it is not selling the RADEON 8500LE through retail under the ATI brand name. ATI will only distribute the RADEON 8500LE to OEMs, ODMs and AIBs, who will then market the technology under their own brand names, selling it to systems integrators, distributors and retailers.
"We recognize that our OEM (original equipment manufacturer), ODM (original design manufacturer) and AIB (add-in-board manufacturer) customers want components at a variety of price and performance levels when choosing options for their systems," said Jewelle Schiedel-Webb, Director, Desktop Marketing, ATI Technologies Inc. "The RADEON 8500LE will allow our OEM, ODM and AIB customers to include the technology-leading features of the RADEON 8500 chip with their products but, by using a variety of memory speeds and types, the cost of the product can be tailored to suit a broader range of customers."
The RADEON 8500LE includes all of the new technologies found in the RADEON 8500, including TRUFORM(TM), an innovative rendering technology that helps to deliver the smoothest, most natural 3D images ever seen on existing and next-generation 3D games; and SMARTSHADER(TM), an advanced technology that is the first application of its kind to take advantage of Microsoft's new DirectX 8.1 specification, including supporting Pixel Shaders Versions 1.2 - 1.4 to enable more complex and realistic texture and lighting effects without sacrificing performance.
The RADEON 8500LE joins the RADEON 8500 in fully supporting Microsoft's new operating system, Windows XP, including DirectX 8.1.
Visit ATI at www.ati.com.

Oct 29 - Fujitsu Enhances All-In-One Multimedia LifeBook C Series. Fujitsu PC Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702), today announced the release of the latest LifeBook(R) C Series -- an all-in-one multimedia notebook made popular for its unrivaled price and performance.
Starting at $1,399, the LifeBook C Series includes many multimedia innovations that add to its overall appeal. A new enlarged 15-inch XGA display provides excellent resolution, reduces eyestrain and enhances the DVD viewing experience. For superior video editing, smooth DVD playback and the ability to run the most graphics-intensive applications, the LifeBook C Series features an advanced ATI(R) RAGE(TM) Mobility-P video controller with 8MB of video memory. Additionally, Fujitsu has included an S-video out port so that users can connect their notebook to a television or projector, and an IEEE 1394 port included as part of its standard configuration for lightning fast digital video and data transfer.
To extend its functionality, the LifeBook C Series features an unprecedented four universal serial bus (USB) ports standard for added versatility. Users can simultaneously connect their digital camera, scanner, zip drive, printer or other USB devices directly to their notebook.
The updated LifeBook C Series now boasts a Pentium(R) III 1GHz or 900MHz processor which supports Intel(R) SpeedStep(TM) technology, offering higher system performance to tackle the most intensive applications. Equipped with a DVD/CD-RW combo drive, this notebook is one of the most affordable Pentium III-based machines in its class.
"A powerful yet affordable desktop replacement, the LifeBook C Series incorporates some of the most advanced multimedia features available in an all-in-one design," said Sara Nelson, Fujitsu PC Corporation 's vice president of Marketing. "Combined with its 1GHz processor, this notebook is the perfect computing solution for anyone interested in entertainment and productivity."
The LifeBook C Series is ideal for a wide variety of users, including small-to-medium business professionals, first-time users and students. Its three-spindle design accommodates a CD-ROM, DVD, CD-RW or DVD/CD-RW combo drive, a built-in floppy drive and a 20GB or 30GB hard drive.
Fujitsu offers the LifeBook C Series with Microsoft(R) Windows(R) XP Home Edition and Windows XP Professional Edition, as well as Windows 2000 Professional and Windows 98 Second Edition. The notebook includes up to 256MB system memory, a nine-cell Lithium ion battery, an S-video out, an optical digital out and two Type II PCMCIA ports. Its built-in 56K V.90 modem and Ethernet ports make it perfect for office networking or a broadband Internet connection.
This new LifeBook is now available through Fujitsu's retail and reseller channels as well as at www.fujitsupc.com or 877/FPC-DIRECT. Users have the option of purchasing one of the three recommended configurations available or they can customize their notebooks by utilizing Fujitsu's Configure To Order (CTO) program.

Oct 29 - Toshiba Announces Loss for First Half of Fiscal Year. Toshiba Corporation today announced its consolidated and non-consolidated results for the first half of fiscal year 2001.

General Overview for First Half of Fiscal Year 2001

In the first half of fiscal year 2001, Toshiba and its consolidated group companies experienced a larger than anticipated decline in sales and profit. This resulted from the sharp downturn in the US economy at the end of 2000, subsequent sluggish demand in the global IT business, and an unexpected falling away in demand for electronic devices, such as semiconductors for digital products.

Consolidated Results

Consolidated net sales decreased 11 percent over the same period a year ago, to 2,510.7 billion yen (approximately US$21,098 million), reflecting a major fall in demand for electronics devices, including semiconductors and LCDs for IT-related products, and lower sales of digital consumer products, including sales of PCs in overseas markets, where IT-related investment stalled even as sales prices declined.
Net income was minus 123.1 billion yen (minus US$1,035 million). There were improvements in Social Infrastructure Systems, in Power Systems and in Home Appliances. Electronic Devices & Components, particularly semiconductors, saw performance undermined by sales declines and price erosion.

Non-consolidated Results

Non-consolidated results saw net sales decrease by 17 percent over the same period a year ago, to 1,448.8 billion yen (US$12,175 million). This result reflected lower sales in electronic devices and power systems and the spin-off of the elevator and escalator business. Recurring profit (loss) decreased to minus 124.4 billion yen (minus US$1,045 million). Extraordinary losses from restructuring and the devaluation of marketable securities resulted in net income (loss) of minus 101.4 billion yen (minus US$852 million).

Electronic Devices & Components recorded a decline of 33 percent over the same period a year ago, to 546.7 billion yen (US$4,594 million). Sluggish demand and price erosion in DRAMs, system LSIs, discrete devices and LCDs reflected a heavy fall in demand for digital consumer products. Others decreased 10 percent over the same period a year ago, to 208.5 billion yen (US$ 1,752 million).

Forecast for FY2001

Overall forecast for financial results, including production, sales and profit Toshiba forecasts unfavorable overseas markets in the second half of the fiscal year as IT-related demand remains weak and the world situation remains uncertain in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in the United States. In the domestic market, demand will continue to be slow in IT-related products, digital consumer products and cellular phones. The lack of a recovery in private sector capital expenditure will also contribute to the continuation of a tough market environment.
For more information, visit Toshiba's website at: http://www.toshiba.co.jp.

Oct 29 - Survey Shows 93% of PC Households Are Online. According to the Yankee Group's annual Technologically Advanced Family(R) (TAF(R)) Survey, 93% of households that own PCs now have Internet access. In addition, the top three uses for home PCs are: online services/Internet access (76%), games/entertainment (58%), and personal/household finances (30%). The online population is also becoming more experienced. Of PC owners who have Internet access, 83% have been online for over one year; 40% of those users have been online for between one and three years, and 43% have been online for over three years.
"These results indicate that a vast majority of consumers are incorporating the online channel into their daily activities, ranging from providing entertainment content to tracking household finances," said Lisa Melsted, an analyst for the Yankee Group's Internet Market Strategies research and consulting practice. "As online consumers become more experienced, the opportunity for service providers to develop value-added services, content and applications to address consumer's needs will continue to expand. It is important for companies to track online consumer usage patterns and trends to determine which new services will successfully meet the needs of these online consumers."
For over a decade, the Yankee Group has used the TAF(R) Survey to measure the demand for a broad assortment of communications products and services. The study sample was selected from a consumer mail panel of 450,000 nationally representative U.S. households.
The Yankee Group can be found on the Web at www.yankeegroup.com.

Oct 28 - Sunday Shopping Watch. This is the fifth 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.
Desktop computer prices this week are in general, much higher than last week (see October 21st below). Notebooks prices are a little lower than last Sunday.
Windows XP became available for separate purchase this week on October 25th (Thursday). 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, and various coupons and rebates with Windows XP, the following store-wide sales are advertised this week.
Best Buy
is giving away 1 year of free MSN with any computer purchase. They are also offering 14 month no interest financing on all desktop complete systems, laptops, and build-to-order computers with a purchase value of $599 or greater. Also advertised is a $100 mail-in rebate on all in-store Pentium 4 complete systems.
Circuit City is offering $100 mail-in rebates on all desktop complete systems and laptops.
Office Depot has no store-wide sales this Sunday (individual items may be on sale).
CompUSA has no store-wide sales this Sunday (individual items may be on sale).
Staples is also giving away 1 year of free MSN with any computer purchase.

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
HP 1.1 GHz complete system
$700
Circuit City
Best Pentium III System
None Advertised
   
Best Pentium 4 System
HP 1.5 GHz complete system
$1149
Best Buy, Staples
Best Duron System
None Advertised
Best Athlon System
None Advertised
   
Best Athlon XP System
Compaq 1500+ (1.33 GHz) DDR with 17 inch monitor
$1099
Best Buy
Best Low Cost Notebook
Toshiba 1 GHz Celeron with DVD
$1049
Circuit City
Best High-end Notebook
Compaq 900 MHz Athlon 4 with CDRW/DVD
$1399
Best Buy

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.

Oct 26 - Bill Gates Launches Windows XP in New York City. Microsoft Corp. announced the worldwide availability of Windows® XP with a celebration in the business capital of the world: New York City. Customers are now able to acquire the new Microsoft® Windows XP operating system on new personal computers and in retail stores throughout the world. Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates presented the keynote address at the most important product launch in Microsoft's history, accompanied by leaders from the PC industry, more than 50 Microsoft partners, a special welcome by New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and an appearance by television's Regis Philbin at the event in Times Square's Marriott Marquis Theatre.

"Today is a great day for PC users and a great day for the PC industry," Gates said. "With the launch of Windows XP, we are entering an exciting new era of personal computing. This powerful new version of Windows offers so much to customers -- it unlocks the full power of the PC and enables them to enjoy the best of what the digital world has to offer.

"New York City is the perfect place to announce the worldwide availability of Windows XP," he said. "I want to thank all the people of New York City for welcoming us here, to congratulate them for their unbroken spirit, courage and determination, and to urge all Americans to join us in recognizing that New York is absolutely open for business."

In addition to the launch event in Times Square, a panel of industry leaders including Gates, Intel Corp. President and CEO Craig Barrett, and CEOs of major computer manufacturers discussed the state of the personal computer industry and prospects for the forthcoming holiday season and beyond. Microsoft will also sponsor a free concert in Bryant Park dedicated to the people of New York City featuring international music and film sensation Sting.

The launch festivities also extended across the globe, with more than 50 events worldwide, including CEO Steve Ballmer in Europe and President Rick Belluzzo in Latin America in addition to 62 events in key U.S. locations.

Launch of Windows XP Offers Customers Unprecedented Value

Never before have customers been able to get such incredible value in their PCs. New personal computers with Windows XP are now offering more, in terms of processing power and peripherals, at historically low prices. Many retailers are offering tremendous incentives for customers to obtain Windows XP. The value being offered by computer manufacturers and retailers bodes well for customers as they begin their holiday shopping.

Windows XP Professional and Home Edition

"With Windows XP on today's computers, customers will experience a much more enhanced yet simplified computing experience," said Jim Allchin, group vice president of Windows at Microsoft. "Customers can do things they've never done before with a PC; likewise, business users can work smarter and faster with more-productive tools to meet the demands of any-size company."

Windows XP Professional is the operating system of choice for businesses of all sizes and for people who demand the most out of their computing experience. Windows XP Professional includes all the features of Home Edition, plus remote access, security, performance, manageability and multilingual features to help users improve productivity and connectivity, and work even smarter. Windows XP Professional offers enterprise customers increased dependability, usability, security features and communications, which have resulted in tremendous enthusiasm for this much anticipated release. One hundred and fifty thousand desktops have already been deployed, and more than 1 million more are committed to be deployed by enterprise customers. In addition, hundreds more corporations have already begun testing and evaluating Windows XP, further underscoring the benefits of Windows XP for enterprises.

Windows XP Home Edition is designed for individuals or families and includes experiences for digital photos, music and video, home networking, and communications. Both editions of Windows XP will be available at retail in upgrade and standard versions.

More information on Microsoft Windows XP is available on the Microsoft Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp.

Oct 26 - Windows XP Performance Data. Microsoft's Jim Allchin, group vice president for the Platforms Group at Microsoft Corp, provided the following Windows XP performance data at the NYC product launch.
" There are many reasons why Windows XP sets the new standard. Let’s just talk about reliability. This slide says ten times more reliable. In our testing and in e-testing, it shows 30 times more reliable, and that’s still the operating system hasn’t crashed. Some applications, business applications stopped but not the operating system. This is compared to Windows 9x, 98.

"In Windows 2000, Windows XP is still more reliable, at least 20 percent more reliable in our testing.

"What about performance? Windows XP is 36 percent faster running on business apps, 77 percent faster if you’re running content creation.

"The system boots faster, up to 27 percent faster than Windows 98 Second Edition, and it loads apps that you’ve been using frequently 25 percent faster.

"What about security? Bill Foundstone says that, "Windows XP can provide the strongest network security available."

"Now why is that? Well, there are many things that we added to the system -- Internet firewall, so that when you install a product you get instant protection from attackers trying to get into your system.

"We added a bunch of other capabilities to the system for security, but we also worked with the industry, the anti-virus vendors, the consultants to ensure that their products, together with Windows XP, created a holistic experience.

"We also came up with a new advanced technology that let us scan all the source code in the system to look for potential security issues, and we removed them before we shipped.

"We also put Windows XP on the Internet and we didn’t have a single compromise, and we left it on there for a very, very long time.

"What about usability? Well, the slide says 25 percent better. This was based on about 100 different usability studies that we did with a thousand different participants. But I don’t think 25 percent really gets across the importance of what we’ve accomplished. The failure rate before of doing simple tasks, like copying photos to a CD, was very high. We show an 80 percent increase in completion of doing that task in Windows XP. We show a 40 percent increase in completion of those tasks if you’re just trying to take pictures from a camera and bringing those into the system.

"Another area that Windows XP is setting the standard for is deployment. Now, that’s something that we’ve worked on for our PC manufacturers, because it takes time for them to load it in their manufacturing facilities, but we’ve also worked on it for the business space. We have a ministry in British Columbia that’s been able to load Windows XP and their applications and deploy them all within 40 minutes.

"So across the board we think this is a great solid foundation."

The full Windows XP launch transcript can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/billgates/speeches/2001/10-25winxplaunch.asp.

Oct 26 - Toshiba Announces New Windows XP Notebook Line-Up. The Computer Systems Group (CSG) of Toshiba America Information Systems Inc. (TAIS), today joined Microsoft(R) in New York as part of the official Windows(R) XP launch to demonstrate its support of the new operating system.
Windows XP will be featured on Toshiba's Satellite(R), Tecra(R) and Portege(R) Series of notebook computers.
Windows XP is the new standard in operating software for reliable, efficient and robust computing. Available in both Home Edition and Professional, Windows XP gives users the freedom to create, connect and communicate in new ways, and fully leverage the digital media experience.
"Toshiba is proud to be working together with Microsoft in launching Windows XP and in creating next-generation computing platforms that offer breakthrough productivity, reliability, security and simplicity," said Rod C. Keller Jr., executive vice president, Toshiba CSG.
"Toshiba has enhanced the productivity and multimedia capabilities of its most popular notebook PCs, allowing users to take full advantage of new computing functionality made possible by Windows XP."
Supporting both Windows XP Home Edition and Professional, Toshiba's Satellite 5005 allows home and business users to unlock the full potential of their personal computers. Toshiba has added new productivity features, media expansion slots and enhanced graphics and sound capabilities.
To support graphic-intensive multimedia computing, the Satellite 5005 has an NVIDIA(R) GeForce2 Go(TM) graphics processing unit with 16MB of DDR video memory and an internal Harman/Kardon(R) sound system with built-in subwoofer.
Toshiba has another technology first with integrated Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11b) and Bluetooth(TM) wireless technologies in its new Tecra 9000 Series and Portege 4000 Series notebook PCs. Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11b) technology offers users a secure wireless connection to local area networks to access e-mail and participate in team computing, whereas Bluetooth connections enable wireless file sharing, instant messaging and data transfer.
Both the Tecra 9000 and Portege 4000 Series of notebook PCs support Windows XP, which offers wireless 802.1x networking support. Additionally, both notebook models offer a Secure Digital Media slot, which accommodates a 128MB SD Memory Card offering storage with the added benefit of cryptographic security. This offering complements the encrypting file system of Windows XP Professional, which provides protection from hackers and data theft.
"Today's launch of Windows XP represents the arrival of a new standard of computing," said Jim Allchin, group vice president for the Platforms Group at Microsoft Corp. "Microsoft is excited to have the support of Toshiba to deliver great new Windows XP experiences to our customers."
For more information visit www.toshiba.com.

Oct 26 - Windows XP Forecast to Have Most Immediate Impact in Homes. The consumer segment will see rapid implementation of Windows XP Home, but in the business market, Windows 2000 will be the leading operating system in 2002, according to the latest worldwide forecast by Dataquest, Inc., a unit of Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT and ITB).
In the consumer market, Gartner Dataquest forecasts 87 percent of new Windows PCs will have Windows XP Home in 2002. In the business segment, Windows XP Professional will be in 16 percent of new Windows PCs in 2002, while Windows 2000 will be in 41 percent of new Windows PCs at the end of next year.
"In terms of stability alone, Windows XP Home is a dramatic advance over Windows 98, 98 SE and Windows Me," said Michael Silver, research director for Gartner. "However, Windows XP Professional is clearly only an incremental change from Windows 2000 professional.
"Most enterprises will see little return on investment upgrading existing Windows 2000 machines to Windows XP and should ensure there is return on investment before upgrading any existing PCs," Silver said. "Existing PCs that will only be owned for less than 12 months should almost never be upgraded and, instead, should be replaced with a new PC with a new operating system during normal refresh cycles. For new Windows PCs, enterprises should make every effort to ensure they're delivered with Windows 2000 or Windows XP instead of an older version of Windows."
Many PC vendors have hoped that Windows XP will help drive sales of PCs in the fourth quarter of 2001, but Gartner analysts said this is unlikely. Gartner Dataquest projects worldwide PC shipments to decline 13 percent in the fourth quarter of 2001 compared to the fourth quarter of 2000.
"Although Windows XP offers solid technology, Microsoft's ability to push the rest of the PC market has lessened, and it will not be able to overcome a slow economy and market saturation," said Charles Smulders, vice president of Gartner Dataquest's Computing Platforms Worldwide group. "The release of Windows XP will only mildly affect new PC sales, with the majority being replacements of old systems at the end of their lives."
Additional analysis about Windows XP is available in the Gartner Research Spotlight "Windows and Office XP: Microsoft's New 'Experiences.'" In this series of research documents, Gartner analysts examine the benefits, costs and risks involved in migrating to Windows XP and Office XP. This Spotlight issue can be found on Gartner's Web site at www.gartner.com.

Oct 25 - Dell Celebrates Launch of Microsoft Windows XP. As part of a celebration of more reliable and efficient personal computing, Dell (Nasdaq:DELL) will join Microsoft(R) tomorrow in New York to launch the Windows(R) XP operating system.
Dell employees, executives and products will help power the kick-off events that highlight the powerful, productive and fun features that Dell will deliver to customers with Windows XP.
"Windows XP running on Dell systems is the state of the art for notebook and desktop computing," said Michael Dell, chairman and chief executive officer. "Windows XP will provide many of our customers with a new level of enjoyment, performance and dependability."
Dell began taking orders for systems with Windows XP on Sept. 14 and already has begun shipping them. Windows XP is optimized for greater reliability than Windows 98 and Windows 95 and delivers advanced capabilities for communications, digital entertainment, remote support and wireless connectivity.
"With Windows XP Home Edition, users will be able to quickly download, share and print photos, customize music CDs and even have a video chat over the Internet," said John Hamlin, vice president and general manager of Dell's consumer business.
Business users will also be attracted to the performance and stability of Windows XP. "Windows XP delivers a performance boost from Windows 98," said Ro Parra, senior vice president for Dell's Americas business, "and its stability means there's less time dealing with IT issues and more time taking care of business."
New Dell systems with Windows XP can be purchased at www.dell.com

Oct 25 - Turtle Beach to Show AudioTron Appliance at Windows XP Launch. Turtle Beach today will join Microsoft Corp. in New York City to demonstrate its AudioTron digital audio appliance at the Windows XP Launch.
The device ($299 estimated street price) organizes and plays digital audio files stored on a network-connected personal computer and streams Internet radio broadcasts to a user's home stereo. The Turtle Beach AudioTron supports MP3, Wave files and Windows Media Audio, which provides CD-quality sound at half the bit rate and file size of MP3.
With the included AudioStation(R) software, the PC becomes a whole house music jukebox, delivering audio to any room where an AudioTron is located. Using either the included remote control or buttons on the base unit, users can play digital music without the need to interface with or even be in the same room as their PC.
"Windows XP allows end-users to easily connect their PCs to AudioTron via standard in-wall phone wiring (HomePNA 2.0) or an Ethernet 10BaseT network," said Carmine J. Bonanno, president and CEO of Turtle Beach. "AudioTron, a home network, and an Internet connection let you enjoy your entire music collection (up to 30,000 songs) or hear music streamed from around the world - all from the comfort of your couch."
"With today's launch of Windows XP, setting up a home network has never been easier," said Dave Fester, general manager of the Windows Digital Media Division at Microsoft. "Building on the networking and digital media capabilities of Windows XP, Turtle Beach's AudioTron extends high-quality digital music into the living room, to a home theater and around the entire home."
For more information, visit Turtle Beach at www.turtle-beach.com.

Oct 25 - Residential DSL Market Nears Bottom. According to Cahners In-Stat Group (www.instat.com), the market for Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) residential service will bottom out in late 2001 and will be positioned for considerable growth in the next five years.
The high-tech market research firm reports that slowing in 2001, characterized by the dramatic collapse of key Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLECs), appears to be stabilizing.
"Even though the residential DSL market slowed significantly after the first quarter of 2000, residential DSL broadband access services are becoming increasingly available in the home as providers are able to extend their services to the edge of the network," says Ernie Bergstrom, a Senior Analyst with In-Stat. "Price drops will have to take place soon to foster customers as cable and DSL access begin to experience more pricing parity leaving value added offerings, as the only differentiator between the big two residential broadband access services. DSL price wars have already started in Asia and are certain to reach our shores in the near future, forcing DSL and cable service providers to rethink their marketing strategy."

In-Stat has also found that:

-- The Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC) companies are holding the dominant position in the market.
-- The U.S. DSL residential installed base of broadband subscribers will reach 3.6 million by the end of 2001, and exceed 13.5 million by the end of 2005.
-- DSL services in the U.S. will produce in excess of 7 billion dollars of revenue by 2005.
-- In the United States, cable modem access will remain the broadband access technology with the most subscribers until late 2004.
Cahners In-Stat Group can be found on the Web at www.instat.com.

Oct 25 - Socket Announces Low Power Wireless LAN CompactFlash Card. Socket Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq:SCKT)(PSE:SOK), the leading provider of connection products for Pocket PC-based handheld computers and other mobile devices, today announced the launch of its Low Power Wireless LAN CompactFlash (CF) Card, which enables wireless local area network access.
The Low Power Wireless LAN Card reinforces Socket's commitment to provide energy-efficient products to its customers. Through advanced power and battery management features, Socket's Wireless LAN card extends the battery life of handheld devices, enabling mobile users to remain productive throughout the day.
Corporate employees no longer need to be tethered to a desktop PC to access the Internet, send and receive email, send instant messages or access database information and other network services. While in range of an 802.11b access point, mobile employees can remain connected in a conference room or training facility, in a co-workers office, or even in an outdoor courtyard. Mobile users can enjoy the same fast Internet connection through public access points, located at hotels, airports, libraries or a favorite coffee shop.

About the Low Power Wireless LAN Card and Wi-Fi

Socket's Low Power Wireless LAN Card is Wi-Fi certified, and is interoperable with other Wi-Fi certified products, regardless of manufacturer. Its Type I form factor can be used in mobile devices with both a Type I and Type II I/O slot, giving consumers even more flexibility. The incorporated antenna was designed to minimally impact the size and feel of a handheld when inserted.
The Low Power WLAN Card will be available at a suggested retail price of $189 and available for purchase through Socket's web site, and through normal distribution and online reseller channels in November, 2001. For more information, please visit www.socketcom.com.

Oct 25 - Outstanding Third Quarter DVD Results Set Stage for Holiday Sales. DVD hardware and software sales continued their rapid growth in the third quarter and are anticipated to accelerate through the holiday selling season.
According to figures compiled by Ernst & Young on behalf of the DVD Entertainment Group, approximately 76 million DVD movies and music video titles shipped in the third quarter of 2001, nearly a 180 percent increase over the same quarter last year. And, more than 225 million units have shipped this year alone - more than half of all the units shipped since the format launch in 1997.
The fourth quarter is anticipated to be even more explosive for the format, with sought-after collectible titles and recent blockbusters hitting retail shelves for the holidays. The DVD Entertainment Group expects total DVD-Video software shipments to top 170 million in the fourth quarter, bringing the total anticipated number of shipments to 400 million units this year.

Hardware Continues Record Pace

Based on data from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the sales of all video products were down by nearly 12 percent through the third quarter of this year. Yet even in this environment, DVD continued its record growth. According to figures compiled by the DVD Entertainment Group based on data from the CEA, retailers and manufacturers, more than 3.8 million DVD players were shipped to retail, bringing the total units shipped since the format's launch to more than 24 million. Year-to-date, this represents a 55 percent increase over the same period last year.
Hardware players sold through to U.S. consumers have reached more than 22 million units. "DVD continues to be one of the most popular elements of home cinema," said Emiel N. Petrone, chairman, DVD Entertainment Group and executive vice president, Philips Entertainment Group, Worldwide. "With the much anticipated DVD movie classics and blockbuster hits coming to retail, we expect to see DVD grow as we head into the holidays."
The DVD Entertainment Group's web site can be found at www.dvdinformation.com.

Oct 24 - Intel Introduces First 0.13-Micron Flash Memory Product. Intel Corporation today introduced the industry's first flash memory product built on 0.13-micron process technology. The new flash memory chip is nearly 50 percent smaller and consumes less power than its 0.18-micron predecessor, making it ideal for cell phones and other electronics equipment where small form factors and low power are critical requirements.
"Intel continues to lead the industry in flash memory technical innovation and reliability," said Curt Nichols, vice president and general manager of Intel's Flash Products Group. "Intel is also the leading supplier of flash memory. Our goal is to ship 0.13-micron flash products before our closest competitors ship 0.18-micron products, putting Intel two product generations ahead of the next largest supplier."
The Intel(R) 3 Volt Advanced+ Boot Block flash memory chip announced today is part of a family of Advanced Boot Block flash memory products that have shipped more than 700 million units, making it the world's best-selling flash memory product. The chip helps power cell phones and other devices by storing program code that is used by the internal processor to operate the device. The chip also stores user data such as a device's address book.
Intel became the world's first company to introduce 0.13-micron products in volume when it announced five new mobile processors, including the mobile Intel(R) Pentium(R) III-M, in July. Intel has also introduced 0.13-micron processors for desktops and servers. Last week, Intel opened its second 0.13-micron high-volume semiconductor manufacturing facility. The company has plans to build 0.13-micron products at four locations in the United States by the end of the year.
Additional information about Intel is available at www.intel.com.

Oct 24 - Video Game Console Shipments Down in 2001. As gamers await the release of Nintendo's GameCube and Microsoft's Xbox in November, unit shipments of video game consoles are expected to decline in 2001, according to Cahners In-Stat Group (http://www.instat.com).
The market research firm reports that last year, worldwide video game consoles shipments totaled over $4.5 billion in revenue and despite this year's decline, unit shipments should increase substantially between 2000 and 2005.
"The video game console market is seeing a period of unprecedented change," said Brian O'Rourke, a senior analyst with In-Stat. "This change has been marked by the exit of legacy player Sega from the market, and the arrival of Microsoft."
Also, In-Stat finds that consoles are evolving beyond mere game machines as the addition of DVD movie playback, Ethernet adapters and hard drives open up a host of new possibilities, from online gaming to e-commerce.

In-Stat has also found that:

-- Overall unit shipments of video game consoles will increase by over 13 percent per year between 2000 and 2005.
-- Sony is the dominant player in the video game console market. PlayStation 2 and PlayStation were the two best-selling consoles worldwide in 2000, and are expected to repeat this feat in 2001.
-- The Nintendo GameCube should have a significant advantage in the console wars, specifically because of its $100 price advantage. To cost-conscious parents and gamers, a $199 console may prove to be more appealing than a $299 console, particularly in current economic conditions.

Oct 24 - Red-M Announces Handspring Bluetooth Module. Red-M(TM), a pioneer in advanced wireless networking solutions, today launches an addition to the Red-M Blade family, with its Bluetooth module for Handspring Visor handheld computers.
The Red-M Blade is easily inserted into the Springboard(TM) expansion slot in the back of the device giving users quick and easy access to Bluetooth wireless mobility.
The latest member of the Red-M Blade family of products enables users of the Handspring Visor Platinum, Edge, Prism, Pro & Neo to connect anytime, anywhere to a Bluetooth mobile phone to enable easy access to the Internet, email, calendar and other data. The Red-M Blade can also identify and connect with other authorized Bluetooth devices, such as a PC or Bluetooth in-building network for wireless access and synchronization.
Roger Kermisch, Vice President & General Manager, Handspring Europe, comments, "We are delighted that Red-M is making Bluetooth technology available to Visor users. It again underlines the versatility of the Springboard platform and puts additional value in the hands of our customers. Red-M is at the forefront of developing powerful wireless connectivity solutions and we are pleased that users of Handspring Visors can now be part of the next generation of mobile working and gaming."
Priced at $179, the Red-M Blade for Handspring will be available this month from selected retail outlets. The Red-M Blade for Palm VX is currently shipping, priced at $199. For further information, please visit Red-M's website at www.red-m.com/blade.

Oct 24 - W3C and VoiceXML Forum Initiate Voice Markup Standard for Web. Leading the Web to its full potential, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) today released the first public Working Draft of VoiceXML 2.0. A first public Working Draft gives the Web community an invitation and opportunity to see the early work of a W3C Working Group, and to contribute through comments and implementations. VoiceXML 2.0 was published after W3C and the VoiceXML Forum announced plans for cooperation through a jointly signed Memorandum of Understanding.

W3C's Voice Browser Working Group Weaves Telephony into the Web

W3C is working to expand access to the Web to allow people to interact via key pads, spoken commands, listening to prerecorded speech, synthetic speech, and music. This will allow any telephone to be used to access appropriately designed Web-based services.
"Voice-enabled Web access creates opportunities for people with visual impairments or those needing Web access while keeping their hands and eyes free for other things, such as getting directions while driving," explained Dave Raggett, W3C Voice Browser Activity Lead and W3C Fellow from Openwave Systems, Inc. "VoiceXML 2.0 is an excellent fit to telephony and will enable all kinds of new applications."
To fulfill this goal, W3C's Voice Browser Working Group, active since March 1999, has been developing the W3C Speech Interface Framework, a system which includes languages and functionalities for speech synthesis, speech grammars, semantic interpretations of results, call controls, pronunciation lexicons, natural language representation, and a markup language for voice dialogs.

VoiceXML 2.0 Provides Markup Language for Voice Applications

VoiceXML 2.0 is the voice dialog language under development at W3C. It is designed to creating audio dialogs that feature synthesized speech, digitized audio, recognition of spoken and DTMF (touch-tone) key input, recording of spoken input, telephony, and mixed-initiative conversations. Its major goal is to bring the advantages of Web-based development and content delivery to interactive voice response applications.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) can be found on the Web at http://www.w3.org.

Oct 24 - Online Holiday Shopping Starting Earlier This Year. Online retailers will benefit from an early start of holiday sales, according to a new report by online credit card issuer, NextCard (Nasdaq:NXCD). The NextCard eCommerce Intentions survey found that nearly one third (32 percent) of online shoppers will begin their online holiday shopping before November. According to the survey, Amazon.com will be the clear winner among online retailers with nearly half of all online shoppers (46 percent) intending to shop there this holiday season. Consumers are sticking with the traditional selection of gifts with books, CDs/videos and toys/games representing the top three picks.
"We expect that Amazon.com will capture the lion's share of online holiday spending, although eBay, BarnesandNoble.com and the major discounters should also chalk up significant sales," said Scott Lascelles, group vice president of loyalty marketing at NextCard. "Amazon.com's top showing is consistent with its performance on the NextCard eCommerce Index, where it has been the number one online retailer for more than two years." The monthly NextCard eCommerce Index monitors online consumer spending by over one million credit card holders.

Who will shop and how much will they spend?

Nearly one in five (19 percent) shoppers will spend between $101 and $250 for their online holiday purchases. Nineteen percent will spend between $250 or more for online gifts this year. Almost one quarter (23 percent) will limit their online spending to $100 or less.
Men and women have different expectations for shopping online. More men (66 percent) than women (56 percent) will shop online this holiday season. Similarly, more men expect to spend $250 or more for their online holiday purchases (23 percent versus 15 percent of women).
The majority (54 percent) of online shoppers expect to spend up to 20 percent of their overall holiday budget online. "This was a surprising finding when you consider the fact that online retailing represents a small fraction of the overall retail industry. We think this is a strong indication of the increasing comfort people have with shopping online," said Lascelles.
Men will devote more of their holiday budget to online stores than women, with 49 percent of men expecting to do 20 percent or more of their shopping online compared to 41 percent of women.
NextCard, Inc. (www.nextcard.com) is considered the leading issuer of credit cards on the Internet.

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