Sunday, May 31, 2009

Analogix's DisplayPort to HDMI or DVI Converter

TAIPEI, TAIWAN & SANTA CLARA, USA: Analogix Semiconductor, a world leader in high-performance digital multi-media interface solutions, released the industry’s first low-power DisplayPort to HDMI or DVI converter.

The Analogix ANX9830 is designed to connect DisplayPort-enabled computers to flat-panel televisions, multimedia projectors and multimedia A/V receivers, and will unsettle potential competitors with its low price.

As video proliferates on the Web, consumers are downloading content onto laptops, desktops and netbooks and want to display that content on flat-panel televisions and other multimedia displays. To connect through DisplayPort, the next generation digital display interface connectivity, they will require a variety of converter options.

"Video is creating a new, more vibrant Internet, and Analogix Semiconductor is well positioned to help consumers make the most of it," says Dr. Kewei Yang, Chairman and CEO of Analogix Semiconductor. "The company continues to demonstrate leadership in providing end-to-end interface connectivity for all multi-media devices and helping device makers interoperate."

Small form factor for CE devices
The ANX9830 is designed into a very small package and consumes very little power. It designed to support very small form factors like Dongles, Flat-TV internal connectivity, LCD Monitors, Computer Docking Station Products, Projectors, A/V Receivers and other multimedia receiver products.

The single-chip ANX9830 supports 1080p and 1920x1200 at 60Hz resolutions with up to 10 bits per color. It offers 8KV ESD protection.

"The ANX9830 creates numerous opportunities for consumer electronics manufacturers," says Soumendra Mohanty, Senior Director of Marketing at Analogix Semiconductor. "We are excited to work with Consumer Electronics manufacturers to include ANX9830 into their back panel as a DisplayPort Receptacle."

The ANX9830, immediately available for sampling, complies with DisplayPort 1.1a video display standards, HDMI 1.3 specifications and HDCP 1.3 high-definition digital-content-protection encryption. It requires no external clock source, giving it greater simplicity of design.

The product is available in a 48-pin QFN package and volume pricing is available.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Rising notebook PC and TV sales send large-sized LCD panel prices up

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Average pricing for large-sized Thin Film Transistor (TFT) LCD panels is increasing at a stronger-than-expected rate in May due to a rebound in notebook PC demand and surprisingly robust television sales, according to iSuppli Corp.

“While desktop PC monitor panel prices experienced a recovery in February, notebook panel prices continued to decrease throughout the first quarter due to weak demand,” said Sweta Dash, senior director for LCD research at iSuppli.

“However, by May, virtually all large-sized panels -- i.e., those with a diagonal dimension of 10-inches or more—experienced price increases compared to April, including notebook PCs and LCD TVs less than or equal to 37-inches in size. Even the 40/42-inch TV panel prices started to stabilize after months of price reductions.”

Pricing in May is set to increase by $3 to $7 for monitor panels, by $2 to $6 for notebook panels, and by $5 to $8 for 26- and 32-inch television panels.

This trend is expected to continue in June and July with the prices of most panels tracked by iSuppli continuing to increase. Prices will remain on the rise in the third quarter during the holiday build season.

In anticipation of these developments, suppliers have reduced their shipments by drastically cutting utilization rates of their fabs, making panel supply tight and helping to drive up prices as a result.

“China continues to be the key growth region, thanks to the government’s rural subsidy program and the upcoming Golden Week holiday,” Dash said. “Demand from the US market also is intact.”

Among panel suppliers, inventory is reportedly low at about two weeks—the same as it is for panel buyers. Many branded vendors and system integrators are suffering panel shortages for some sizes, although they are seeing improvement from the April level.

With most TV, monitor and notebook panel pricing hovering at the cash-cost level, panel suppliers are trying hard to increase prices in order to make a profit. As a result, pricing for the 26-, 32- and 37-inch TV panels as well as monitor and notebooks panels showed higher-than-expected increases in May.

The figure presents iSuppli’s price estimate for a panel indicative of market trends—the 32-inch WXGA TV LCD panel market for the period of the first quarter of 2007 through the fourth quarter of 2009.Source: iSuppli

Average pricing for these panels is set to rise to $174 in the second quarter, up from $153 in the first. Pricing will increase again to reach $185 in the third quarter.

As iSuppli reported this week, even amid the current economic downturn, consumers are continuing to purchase flat-panel televisions. However, with disposable incomes having been squeezed, U.S. consumers are gravitating to smaller-sized sets. Because of this, sets sized 32-inches and smaller went into short supply starting in April, contributing to a rise in panel prices.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Wireless connectivity to be main focus for vehicle manufacturers by 2012

STAMFORD, USA: By 2012, the majority of vehicle manufacturers will concentrate product development efforts for mature markets on enabling wireless data connectivity in more than half of their next-generation cars, according to Gartner Inc.

“The automotive industry must explore new ways to generate consumer interest, product differentiation and revenue opportunities,” said Thilo Koslowski, research vice president at Gartner.

“Web-based applications and services specifically designed to enhance the driving and ownership experience, in particular, represent a significant chance to accomplish this. During the past two years, consumer awareness and interest for such technologies and applications has grown significantly in mature automotive markets, such as the United States and Western Europe. The goal is to provide dynamic content that is contextual and relevant to the driver and the passengers. It’s not about replicating consumers’ home computer Internet experience”

The continued rise of connected consumer devices, such as smartphones and mobile Internet devices (MIDs), will increase consumer expectations for always-on data availability throughout their work and home, and when being mobile — including when driving.

The automotive industry's ability to differentiate mass-market vehicles based on performance and handling will be limited from this point on, because of environmental and economic concerns, as well as the rise of electric vehicles and other alternative powertrain offerings.

Gartner anticipates that by 2016, consumers will consider in-vehicle connectivity as important as traditional automobile features (for example, safety and fuel efficiency). This means that automotive companies must offer such functionality in two vehicle generations (one generation is traditionally four years) from today, to meet future demand.

Automotive companies will increasingly build in-house expertise to offer connectivity solutions on a growing number of cars and will work with other external partners to offer holistic offerings that address consumers' broader transportation needs.

“Suppliers, content and service providers, as well as automotive-focused technology vendors will evolve and take on broader roles to address automakers' needs for offering such connectivity, integration and content solutions,” Koslowski said.

“The growing need for connectivity solutions in the automobile will also have a significant impact on the automotive aftermarket and will provide opportunities for those companies that can offer cost-effective retrofit solutions for vehicle owners that want to upgrade their existing cars.”

Internet-video-capable CE shipments to nearly quintuple by 2013

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Driven by the broadband access boom, global shipments of consumer-electronics devices capable of supporting Internet video are set to rise by nearly a factor of five from 2009 to 2013, according to iSuppli Corp.

By 2013, 376.5 million entertainment-oriented consumer electronics platforms with the capability to support Internet video will be shipped, up from 80.5 million in 2008. These platforms include televisions, Set Top Boxes (STBs), Blu-ray players, video game consoles and dedicated video platforms.

The figure presents iSuppli’s forecast of global shipments of Internet-capable devices for the period of 2008 to 2013.Source: iSuppli

“The expansion of broadband Internet access from home computers to other devices including STBs has opened up a world of new possibilities for supporting Internet video via streaming and downloads,” said Sheri Greenspan, senior analyst for consumer electronics at iSuppli. “More importantly, the public is demanding this type of content on a wider variety of platforms. However, they want this content to be easily available, and they want it to be of the same video quality as the programming on their living room televisions.”

OEMs looking for new opportunities to differentiate themselves as well as content providers seeking new channels for distribution now view Internet television as a significant growth opportunity.

“Players across the consumer electronics supply chain are gearing up for the boom in Internet TV, which many consumer-electronics companies view as the next big thing in the digital home,” Greenspan added. “This opportunity spans every segment of the consumer electronics supply chain, from semiconductors, to contract manufacturing, to system OEMs.”

Internet television is here
While there are many Internet-video-capable consumer-electronics platforms on the market today, there are many more coming in the next few years that will begin to form their own ecosystem in the digital home, including televisions, Blu-ray and DVD players, game consoles and PCs.

But just because Internet television is here, it doesn’t mean the market will enjoy a smooth ride. In fact, many hurdles exist that will compel consumer electronics companies to educate consumers and the supply chain on the benefits of Internet video and how it can be implemented.

One major challenge is consumer confusion. With so many options out there, consumers may find themselves in a quandary over which platform, or combination of platforms, to choose. And as Internet TV is an undefined area, consumers may be confused as to how they will receive content or how providers will supply that content.

Another major challenge is bandwidth. While broadband access has expanded worldwide, a majority of consumers still do not have sufficient high-speed access to the Internet. Bandwidth requirements will need to increase if consumers are to enjoy a larger amount of video content that can be played instantly.

Despite these challenges, the future is bright for Internet TV on multiple platforms and the battle for the digital living room is just getting started.

In uncertain times, US consumers turn to TV!

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Confounding the prediction of many pundits of a major decline in flat-panel television sales in early 2009, the US and Canadian market continued to expand in the first quarter, as consumers chose to invest in home entertainment, according to iSuppli Corp.

Shipments of flat-panel televisions, i.e., LCD and plasma sets, in the United States and Canada amounted to 7.8 million units in the first quarter of 2009, up 17.3 percent from 6.6 million during the same period in 2008. Consumers managed to increase their television purchases by gravitating toward less expensive models, low-priced retailers and value brands, according to iSuppli.

“In the post-9/11 era, a new phrase entered the lexicon: ‘cocooning,’ a trend among fear-struck citizens to avoid travel and remain in the safety of their homes,” said Joe Abelson, vice president, displays, for iSuppli. “Amid the current economic downturn, a new wave of cocooning has hit, with recession-wary US consumers eschewing travel, staying home and watching their televisions. However, they still are finding enough money to buy new flat-panel sets that offer superior pictures and larger sizes.”

Low-priced realignment
This trend is impacting the television market on many different levels.

“There has been a major shift in flat-panel television purchasing price points,” observed Tina Tseng, analyst, television, for iSuppli. “In the first quarter of 2009, 68.9 percent of US television purchases were of sets priced less than $1,000, according to a survey conducted by iSuppli’s US Television Consumer Preference Analysis service. This is up from 62.8 percent in the second quarter of 2008.”

US purchases of flat-panel televisions priced in the $600 to $999 range rose the fastest among all price bands, increasing by 3.6 percent in the first quarter compared to the second quarter of 2008. In comparison, purchases of flat-panel sets priced at less than or equal to $599 increased by 2.6 percent.

Meanwhile, US purchases of sets priced from $1,000 to $1,499, from $1,500 to $1,999 and at more than $2,000 declined by 1.7 percent, 1.3 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively.

For many US consumers, buying a lower-priced flat-panel set means going for a smaller set. Because of this, sets sized 32-inches and smaller went into short supply starting in April.

However, larger televisions—40 inches and bigger—are coming down in price as premium brands slash prices to match those of their value competitors.

Fig. 1 presents quarterly percentages for flat-panel TV purchases by price band in the United States.Source: iSuppli

Wal-Mart windfall
As US consumers flock to lower-priced flat-panel televisions, they also are embracing lower-cost retailers, particularly Wal-Mart.

No.-2 flat-panel television retailer Wal-Mart in the first quarter of 2009 accounted for 22.3 percent of all US flat-panel purchases, up from 13.8 percent in the first quarter of 2008. Purchases at No.-1 Best Buy remained largely flat during the same period on a percentage market-share basis.

This put Wal-Mart just one tenth of a percentage point behind Best Buy in the first quarter of 2009, closing the gap dramatically from 9 points in the first quarter of 2008.

Fig. 2 presents the percent of total US flat-panel television purchases made at the nation’s Top-4 TV retailers.Source: iSuppli

Hand in hand with Wal-Mart’s rise is the ascension of the retailer’s featured television brand: Vizio.

Vizio’s first-quarter 2009 flat-panel television shipments in the United States and Canada rose to 1.4 million units, up from 829,000 in the first quarter of 2008. While Vizio took the No.-1 position in US and Canadian LCD-TV sales in the first quarter, when plasma is added in to create the total flat-panel segment, Vizio came in a close second behind Samsung.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

E Ink to showcase high-volume, reliable production displays

SAN ANTONIO, USA: E Ink Corp., the leading developer and provider of ePaper, will show a wide variety of products in high-volume production using E Ink Vizplex Imaging Film at the SID Display Week 2009 International Symposium and Exhibition.

eBooks go mainstream
More than 1 million eBooks using E Ink Vizplex Imaging Film are in use today. The combination of low power and readability makes E Ink’s technology ideal for eBook applications and is helping eBooks reach the mainstream market.

The New York Times reviewed both the Amazon Kindle 2 and the Reader Digital Book PRS-700 from Sony in February and said the E Ink display in each is “extremely satisfying to read at long stretches.” Oprah Winfrey called the Amazon Kindle her "favorite new gadget" on her afternoon TV talk show last fall. Late night talk shows, prime time dramas and multiple other mainstream media are referring to eBooks as a common device.

E Ink will demonstrate many of these eBooks featuring E Ink displays at booth #681:
Cybook Gen 3 by Bookeen
Digital Reader 1000S by iRex
eSlick by Foxit
EZ Reader by AstakHandyBOOK N516 by Hanvon
Hanlin eReader V3 by Tianjin Jinke Electronics
Hanlin eReader V8 by Tianjin Jinke Electronics
iLiad 2nd Edition by iRex
Kindle 2 by Amazon
NUUT from Neolux
Reader Digital Book PRS-505 by Sony
Reader Digital Book PRS-700 by Sony
STAReBOOK STK-101 by Staretek

E Ink announces SURF segmented display brand
SURF displays are ultra-thin, rugged and flexible. They are ideal for consumer electronics, medical devices, PC-accessory, display smartcards, capacity indicators, electronic shelf labels, signage and communications applications.

The Alias 2 phone by Samsung, available from Verizon Wireless, was released in May. It is the first phone available in the US to feature a keypad using E Ink SURF displays. This ‘Magic Keypad’ switches between a QWERTY keyboard and standard numeric keypad, depending upon which way you open the dual-flip design. The Alias 2 is ideal for texting.

Esquire magazine created a cover using E Ink SURF displays for its October 2008 edition, creating another mainstream application for electronic ink. The hit TV show CSI New York created an episode based on the technology used in the magazine cover. Art Technology just released two new Phosphor wristwatches featuring E Ink SURF displays.

SURF displays use E Ink Vizplex Imaging Film, which makes all E Ink displays bistable, low-power and reliable. More than Over 15 million products have been shipped using E Ink SURF displays and are in use all over the world.

E Ink innovation
E Ink has a strong IP portfolio and was recently awarded its 150th US patent.

E Ink continues to innovate and improve its technology, demonstrating larger size displays, color, flexible substrates, and higher contrast inks. All these new technologies will help improve the user experience and will be on display at SID 2009. They will increase the number of applications that can take advantage of electronic ink’s benefits, including reduced power consumption and eyestrain. Larger displays and new technologies such as flex and color help fuel the burgeoning market for eBooks, eTextbooks and eNewspapers.

E Ink awards
In the past 60 days, E Ink has won Finetech Japan’s Grand Prize for Advanced Display of the Year 2009, Boston Business Journal’s Pacesetter award for one of the fastest growing companies in Massachusetts and SBANE’s (Smaller Business Association of New England) award for Innovation.

Liquavista raises €5 million in Series C round

EINDHOVEN, THE NETHERLANDS: Liquavista, the developer of break-through display manufacturing technologies, announced the closing of its Series C funding round of €5 million. Displays using Liquavista’s unique electrowetting technology have excellent indoor and outdoor viewability and use dramatically less battery power. The investment was led by existing investors Amadeus Capital Partners, GIMV and Prime Technology Ventures.

“Achieving our Series C funding is an impressive validation of our patented technology and our commercial progress to date,” said Nigel Litchfield, chairman, Liquavista. “Given current economic conditions it demonstrates our investors’ strong belief in the market potential of Liquavista’s electrowetting-based displays and in our focused strategy for achieving market penetration.”

The first products to use Liquavista displays will be the next generation of electronic readers. Liquavista’s technology enables new types of paper-like display that will provide vastly improved usability, content compatibility and cost compared with first generation electronic paper technologies. The fast growing electronic reader market place is predicted to reach over $25 billion in value by 2020.

Liquavista’s first active-matrix technology platform, LiquavistaBright, will be ready for transfer to manufacturing partners in the Summer of 2009. The manufacturing process is compatible with conventional display fabrication methods and is offered as an upgrade to existing manufacturing facilities.

The company will present the compelling advantages of LiquavistaBright and its partner-friendly engagement model at the SID International Symposium, Seminar and Exhibition in San Antonio Texas May 31-June 6, 2009.

Tektronix re-invents swept spectrum analysis

BANGALORE, INDIA: Tektronix Inc., a leading provider of test, measurement and monitoring instrumentation announced significant enhancements for the RSA6000 Series spectrum analyzers.

These latest hardware and software enhancements deliver unprecedented diagnostic capability and faster time-to-solution using industry-leading triggering technology and real-time signal analysis. The RSA6000 Series offer reduced test times with faster measurement speed, and lower systems cost due to their unique combination of measurement capabilities, making them particularly well suited for spectrum management, radar, electronic warfare, and radio communications applications.

Increasing need for combining digital computing and traditional RF technologies has introduced new analysis challenges, including broadband transients, digital signal processing (DSP) errors, and so-called 'runt' pulses. These signals are becoming more complex and time-consuming to troubleshoot using traditional analyzers that are equipped only with narrow filters and slow spectrum update rates.

Elusive transients can cause intermittent failures that are unacceptable in high-reliability applications, and these interferers and hostile signals often overlap in time and frequency with allowed transmissions, so they are difficult to separate.

Featuring advanced time, amplitude, and DPX Density trigger functions combined with swept DPX spectrum display, the RSA6000 Series now enables faster discovery and capture of these intermittent and rapidly changing signals.

“The enhanced RSA6000 Series essentially re-invents the swept spectrum analyzer,” said Bob Hiebert, director of marketing, Spectrum Analyzer Product Line Tektronix. “As the time-domain and frequency-domain worlds intersect, the logical way forward is to use a single instrument and maximize return on investment. Using the RSA6000 Series spectrum analyzer provides real-time advantages and solid swept performance, adding additional characterization capabilities while satisfying the need for a basic spectrum analyzer and a vector signal analyzer."

More robust analysis tools
Improved broad sweep capability in the RSA6000 Series spectrum analyzer allows quick detection of signals of interest. The DPX engine collects 100s of thousands of spectrums per second over a 110 MHz bandwidth. With this new enhancement, you can now sweep the DPX across the full input range of the RSA6000 Series, up to 14 GHz.

In the time a traditional spectrum analyzer has captured one spectrum, the RSA6000 Series has captured orders of magnitude more spectrum. This new level of performance reduces the chance of missing time-interleaved and transient signals during broadband searches.

The innovative DPX Density trigger captures signals that other analyzers cannot even see, reducing time-to-insight by triggering on signals within signals. This is as easy as pointing at the signal on the DPX Spectrum display and invoking the Trigger On This feature. Other trigger enhancements include the new runt trigger and the ability to time-qualify any trigger.

Time and amplitude qualified triggers are unique to the RSA6000 Series, and will reduce troubleshooting time in numerous applications, including radar and spectrum management.

Additional RSA6000 Series enhancements include a 6X performance improvement to the 2nd generation of the powerful industry-exclusive DPX Live RF spectrum display which now captures more than 292,000 spectrums/second.

With this feature, designers can test with confidence and detect very short duration transients (as brief as 10.3 µs), that are missed by conventional spectrum analyzers. This enhancement is particularly important for applications such as software defined radio and radar.

Pricing and availability
The RSA6000 Series with the new software and hardware enhancements is available immediately worldwide. User-installable upgrade packages for existing RSA6000 Series instruments are also available. RSA6000 Series entry-level pricing begins as low as $77,900 MSRP.

Shin-Etsu develops new generation of silicone encapsulating material

TOKYO, JAPAN: Shin-Etsu Chemical Co., Ltd. has developed and begun sales of its “ASP Series” of silicone encapsulating material for HBLEDs. The company is beginning sample shipments, mainly for backlighting applications in LCD TVs.

This newly developed silicone product will stably retain its properties even when exposed to high temperatures. The new material greatly reduces the level of gas permeability, which can lead to the degradation of light intensity. It succeeds in reducing the level to 1/100th of the conventional methyl-group material and to 1/10th of the phenyl-group material. As a result, the reliability of HBLEDs has been dramatically improved.

Since this new product is superior in photo-thermal stability and transparency and has a high refractive index of 1.57, it is an attractive encapsulating material for HBLEDs. There are two types of products in this series formulated based on different hardness properties: “ASP-1010 A/B” has a hardness level of (Shore D) 55 and “ASP-1020 A/B”, has a hardness level of (Durometer A) 65.

In addition to the new silicone encapsulating material product series being announced in this press release, Shin-Etsu Chemical has a line-up of other diverse silicone encapsulating materials for HBLED applications.

Representative products in the “SCR Series” are increasingly being adopted for backlighting applications in mobile phones and notebook PCs, and products in the “KER Series,” which are superior in long-term reliability, are also being increasingly adopted, mainly for applications in general-purpose lighting.

In addition to these silicone encapsulating materials, Shin-Etsu Chemical has developed various other silicone materials for HBLEDs including die bond materials and lens materials. The company also offers peripheral materials such as heat-radiating materials and moisture-proof insulating materials.

In the future, Shin-Etsu Chemical will continue to pursue the development of cutting-edge technologies and will carry out its product development efforts with the goal of meeting the needs of the rapidly developing, more sophisticated market for HBLEDs.

Silicones are highly functional materials that have both organic and inorganic characteristics. They are used as products that can provide high-added value in a wide range of industrial fields such as the electrical, electronics, automotive, construction, cosmetics, and chemical industries.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

ViewSonic's super short-throw portable projector for India

NEW DELHI, INDIA: ViewSonic Corp., a leading global provider of visual display products continues to pioneer visual experience with the launch of its new versatile super short throw projector, the PJD5351.

The new projector promises to enhance versatility, functionality and usability to support professional, hassle-free and dynamic presentations in both boardrooms and for multimedia lessons in the classroom.

Equipped with an extreme-short-throw projection technology, PJD5351 is capable of producing a 60" image from a distance of only 0.9 meter with a throw ratio of 0.9:1. This technology allows users to save space by enabling them to place the projector in front of their table and still display large and crisp images.

Featuring XGA native resolution (1024 x 768), 2500 ANSI lumens and 2400:1 contrast ratio the projector delivers bright crisp images even in spaces with ambient light and guarantees presentations to be vibrant even in the brightest office environment.

Adding to the outstanding capabilities of the PJD5351, ViewSonic's BrilliantColor technology provides richer, more lifelike images by using a wider range of the color spectrum, making presentations brighter and more dynamic than ever before and shades through a short-throw lens, giving users big image flexibility in smaller spaces.

Gautam Ghosh, Country Manager, ViewSonic Technologies India Pvt. Ltd said: "Delivering on our commitment of providing efficient projection solutions for India, this new lightweight projector, PJD5351 has been specially launched to combine ease-of-use with optimal performance across a variety of applications. Combining one of the lowest total cost of ownership projection in the industry, this Super
Short Throw technology allows users to create Big Picture experience even in smallest of spaces."

The PJD5351 from ViewSonic is a full-functional multimedia projector with multiple inputs, including RGB x 2, component, composite and S-video to connect to a variety of display sources.

For added convenience, ViewSonic offers Off to Go Feature for the busy presenters, which allow users to simply unplug the projector at the conclusion of a presentation, saving valuable "cool down" time without risking damage to the bulb. Together with ECO mode, the projector increases lamp life by up to 4,000 hours and reduces the voice disruptions during presentations.

eSobi makes MSI mainboard users power surfers

TAIPEI, TAIWAN: esobi Inc., an innovative Internet information navigator, started new partnership with MSI (Micro-Star Int'l Co. Ltd) in the first quarter of 2009. The integrated Internet tool "eSobi" is now preloaded on the selected models of MSI mainboards worldwide with multiple local search engines enabled.

Now. MSI mainboard users can enjoy using eSobi's smart search for hunting more specific results efficiently; they can also track their favorite social-networking sites conveniently via eSobi's feed aggregation, whether Facebook or Twitter, and never miss friends' updates again.

Based on the web 2.0 concepts, eSobi combines a News Reader, Internet Search across multiple major search engines at once, and an Information Library for productive web content management -- all in one interface. For heavy computer and Internet users, eSobi greatly saves their time on finding comprehensive yet customized information, such as gaming tips shared on guild forums, cool gadgets from popular blogs, and breaking news on local media sites, providing a central location to keep valuable findings neatly.

"MSI as a leading manufacturer of mainboards always aim to deliver products with greater energy-saving capability and higher performance. This year, in order to bring our customers more value in addition to powerful computing experience, we are glad to offer eSobi to make our mainboard users own more freedom, power, and speed than ever when surfing the web," said MSI Desktop Marketing Director Jason Lee.

"The core value of eSobi is to facilitate daily use of the Internet as information source. It seamlessly integrates commonly used Internet features in one simple interface while each function is optimized and designed with our customers in mind," said Wen Lee, chairman of esobi Inc., the developer of the eSobi program. "We are happy to see that eSobi and MSI's partnership will allow more users to always stay informed and updated with the fast-moving Internet world."

eSobi is also about personal Internet experience. One of its exciting features, News Watch, enables users to monitor market changes of their favorite topics with simple keywords. Besides, Keyword Proposition takes meta-search from pure cross-engine or advertising-influenced searches to more personally-relevant results, helping users obtain the most specific information needed efficiently.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Test mobile Web sites on iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Win Mobile smartphones

LEXINGTON, USA: Gomez Inc., a leader in Web application experience management, has introduced the industry's first solution that can automatically test how entire mobile Web sites render on iPhone, Google Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Mobile 6.1 and 5-based smartphones.

The service is part of Gomez's "One Web" performance testing and monitoring capabilities that help developers and IT operations teams find, diagnose and fix application performance issues whether they are mobile-specific, Web-specific or both.

Completely automated, self-service and on-demand, Gomez's cross-browser and device testing solution saves mobile developers time and money by enabling them to visually test complete mobile Web sites significantly faster than traditional manual testing processes.

By simply entering a starting URL and selecting which smartphones to test, the service rapidly crawls through the entire mobile Web site and returns volumes of screen captures showing how each Web page appears on each smartphone selected.

Automating the process means developers can more swiftly find and correct content rendering issues like missing or misplaced graphics, buttons and text, prior to launch. It also reduces the need for in-house testing labs which can be expensive and time-consuming to build and maintain.

As smartphone sales increase (more than 36.4 million units were sold in Q1 2009, a 12.7 percent increase from the same period last year, according to Gartner, Inc., so does consumer and enterprise mobile Web usage fueled by the full HTML browsers found in these devices. Consequently, more businesses are developing mobile Web sites and applications to ensure that their brands and services are available to increasing numbers of smartphone owners.

However, much like on the traditional Web, the multiplicity of mobile browsers and devices affects the way content appears and functions from smartphone to smartphone which can negatively impact the end-user's mobile Web experience.

"First impressions count, especially for smartphone owners who have high expectations for a rich mobile Web experience," said Imad Mouline, CTO of Gomez. "Any organization that is building a mobile presence needs to be sure that their content renders as intended across all the devices their customers use -- or risk jeopardizing brand and customer satisfaction. Gomez's cross-mobile web browser testing transforms a process that was once manual and cumbersome to one that is speedy and cost-efficient."

In addition to visually testing mobile Web sites, Gomez's cross-browser and device testing solution also checks how traditional Web applications appear and function in more than 500 combinations of browsers, operating systems and screen sizes. It is available now on an annual subscription basis.

Monday, May 25, 2009

SI and brand monitor shipment growth weaker than expected in April

TAIPEI, TAIWAN: Following the notable inventory replenishments during 1Q09, it started to cool down a bit during Apr09. By also taking into account the continued monitor panel price increases, these developments should help further shed light on the extent of downstream vendors’ overbooking and the actual market demand.

Amid a possible slowdown in the sales momentum and no evident rebound in the global economy, suppliers continue to hold a conservative attitude for fear of seeing their inventory running too high again, as witnessed during 2H08.

Thus, the monthly SI shipment growth momentum was not as strong in Apr09. Instead, most SIs saw a small decrease over Mar09. According to WitsView’s survey, in Apr09 the aggregated shipments by the Top 10 SIs reached 12.9 million, up slightly by 2.7% MoM.

According to WitsView’s top 10 monitor brand survey, given the slower inventory replenishments in Apr09, the stock of the downstream retailers and brand vendors returned to healthier levels.

However, as the end market sales were not too strong, the shipment growth of the top 10 monitor brand vendors was weaker than expected, where they reached 10.5 million, slightly down by 0.8 percent MoM.

An interesting aspect in Apr09 was the varying shipments of the vendors, due to the different quarterly end. For the Taiwan and Korean players, such as Acer, BenQ and LGE, the figures were lower over Mar09. By contrast, as Apr09 was the quarterly end for Lenovo, it sought to more aggressively push up shipments.

Tektronix's most accurate Superspeed USB test solution

BANGALORE, INDIA: Tektronix Inc. has announced a new comprehensive toolset for characterization, debug and automated compliance test of Superspeed USB (USB 3.0) devices.

The new option USB-TX with the DPO/DSA70000B Oscilloscope provides an automated one-button solution to validate USB 3.0 transmitter devices – enabling engineers a more efficient way to bring their designs to market. The company also introduced a full set of USB 3.0 test fixtures that enable engineers to perform more accurate transmitter, receiver, and cable testing.

Driven by the continuous need for faster data transmissions, the 10x performance improvement over current USB solutions provided by USB 3.0 creates multiple challenges for system and circuit designers. The increased bandwidth brings with it critical signal transmission and signal fidelity challenges that require highly accurate and versatile test solutions.

While other industry offerings provide only normative measurements per the USB-IF electrical test specification, the Tektronix option USB-TX supports all measurements including normative and informative tests -– Spread Spectrum Clocking (SSC), Slew, Voltage Levels and others. This enables customers to have full confidence in their design validation process.

Where other available solutions are limited to standard specific compliance, Tektronix USB-TX provides a comprehensive and complete characterization, debug and compliance toolset. In combination with the only available plug-style test fixture that enables probing as close to the silicon as possible, the Tektronix USB3.0 test solution provides the truest representation of the signal.

"We have been able to preview the new Tektronix test solution for Superspeed USB and we are excited about the increase in productivity that this solution will bring to Fresco Logic's USB 3.0 chip design process," said Bob McVay, chief technical officer of Fresco Logic. "With the AWG7000 for receiver tolerance testing and the ability to quickly move from a transmitter compliance test environment to debugging, the AWG7000 will prove to be a tremendous time saver."

Automation framework for high-speed serial standards
The Option USB-TX is built on TekExpressä framework which has been developed for automated one-button testing of high speed serial data standards. TekExpress modules are based on the test requirements and Methods of Implementation (MOI) specified and published by the standard bodies.

All tests procedures are automated and customers simply need to select the desired tests to obtain a comprehensive report with pass/fail and margin results. In addition to the new USB 3.0 offering, automation modules are also currently available for SATA and DisplayPort.

“TekExpress takes the guess-work out of high speed serial data testing. In today’s environment, customers are working with multiple standards, making it challenging to become an expert in all of them,” said Ian Valentine, general manager Technology Solutions Group, Tektronix. “TekExpress provides the required expertise and allows our customers to focus on bringing their design to market.”

Complete transmitter, receiver and cable test solution
USB will join other high speed serial standards such as 8 Gb/s PCI Express and SATA 6 Gb/s as one of the more demanding technologies, requiring advanced measurement instruments such as the recently introduced industry leading Tektronix DPO/DSA70000B oscilloscope.

The Tektronix real-time oscilloscopes with bandwidths up to 20GHz provide industry best signal fidelity, lowest noise floor and highest number of effective bits (ENOB), enabling greater margin and fidelity for demanding compliance and debug testing.

For receiver testing, the Tektronix AWG7000B Arbitrary Waveform Generators is the only solution that generates all required signal impairments in a single instrument. Cable and channel measurement solutions are available via the DSA8200 Sampling Oscilloscope.

Wacom intros Intuos4 professional pen tablet

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Wacom today unveiled the Intuos 4, a revolutionary new professional pen tablet that delivers new features and unparalleled performance to photographers, designers and artists seeking optimal control and improved productivity.

Inspired by members of Wacom’s professional community, the next generation Intuos is anchored by the Intuos4’s amazing new pen performance, capable of capturing the slightest nuance of pen pressure against the tablet surface, as well as offering 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity.

Other innovative product modifications include a refined and intelligent industrial design that provides real advancements in looks, comfort and control. Specific workflow and productivity tools to savor include the shortcut and modifier keys with multiple customisable and application-specific profiles as well as the OLED (organic light emitting diode) displays beside the keys for quick reference.

All new pen performance
The Intuos4 Grip Pen features Wacom’s new proprietary Tip Sensor technology, offering users near-zero (one gram) starting pressure for the most natural feeling experience of any digital pen to date. “The lightest touch will activate the pen, emulating the same feel, response and results derived from working with traditional art tools,” said Glenn Tsunekawa, Asia Pacific Marketing Manager at Wacom Co., Ltd.

Additionally, the Intuos4 pen delivers 2048 levels of pressure, doubling the resolution of the pen’s pressure curve to further enhance feedback and expand the creative effects within software applications that support pressure sensitivity.

“Delivering a consistently great and natural pen tablet experience starts with the pen. The Intuos4 Grip Pen provides an experience and performance that far surpasses anything we’ve had before. The range of input options will please even the most discriminating professional,” continues Tsunekawa. “In addition, our latest pen technology should encourage Wacom’s software partners to continue to expand pen-related features and functionality.”

The Intuos4 Grip Pen also features a pressure-sensitive eraser and two customizable side switches (pen buttons) for setting commands such as double-click and right-click on the pen. For those who prefer a pen with a thicker barrel, a wide-body Intuos4 replacement grip is included with all Intuos4 pen tablets.

Breakthrough design
With its ergonomic design, the ultra-slim Intuos4 pen tablet is the ideal creative instrument for working with digital content. Its new reversible (ambidextrous) design puts the “shortcut” ExpressKeys in the ideal position for both right-handed and left-handed users. The ExpressKeys are conveniently located on one side of the tablet, making them easily accessible for the users’ non-dominant hand.

To move from right-hand to left-hand operation, simply rotate the tablet 180 degrees and change the orientation of the illuminated icons within the Wacom Tablet Properties software. These application-specific ExpressKeys are instrumental in helping improve workflow and boost productivity by placing commonly used commands right at the fingertips. The close proximity of these tools to the actual work area is efficient and comfortable and helps save valuable time by minimizing dependence on the keyboard, without taking focus away from the pen hand.

New to the Intuos4 are illuminated (OLED) displays (not featured on the Intuos4 Small) that provide a helpful reminder as to the current function of each ExpressKey. With past Intuos versions, users had to rely on their own memories for their specific key function settings. As these settings can be specific to different applications, the displays will update immediately as the user changes between applications.

Also new to the Intuos4 is the user-defined Touch Ring, capable of controlling up to four different functions in any application. A button located in the centre of the ring “toggles” the ring between functions such as zoom, scroll, brush size adjustment, canvas rotation and layer selection. The position of an LED located along the perimeter of the Touch Ring indicates the current function.

“The Intuos4 design carries form and function to new heights,” said Tsunekawa. “Never before has a Wacom pen tablet so elegantly provided such tangible workflow and productivity enhancements.”

Saturday, May 23, 2009

US households spend over $1,200 annually on CE

USA: The average US household spent $1,229 on consumer electronics (CE) products in the past 12 months, $176 less than in the prior year, according to a new study released by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

According to the 11th Annual Household CE Ownership and Market Potential Study, video products are expanding already high levels of ownership.

On an average, men continue to spend more on consumer electronics than women, spending $902 annually compared to women, who spent $558. Young adults spent more than any other age group.

Consumers ages 18-24 spent $1,056 last year on CE devices, an increase of nearly $100 from the prior year. The average household reports owning 23 CE products, down from 24 products last year. However, the number of discrete (separate) CE products per household increased from 13 to 15.

"As products such as smartphones and GPS units incorporate a greater number of features and consumers replace older CE devices with newer ones, it’s not surprising to see the average number of products owned fluctuate," said Ben Arnold, CEA’s senior research analyst. "While consumers report spending less on CE, ownership of nearly all products measured in this study are higher compared to last year showing that consumers continue to buy CE products but are purchasing them at lower price points."

The study also shows an increase in video product ownership. Televisions are the most owned CE device in the US, with 99 percent of households owning a TV. Fifty-two percent of households own at least one HDTV, an increase of 11 percent from last year and double the penetration rate from 2007.

Ownership of plasma and LCD screens as well as sets over 40-inches are also on the rise. DVD players (93 percent penetration rate) and cell phones (90 percent penetration rate) are the next most commonly owned CE devices.

"As the June 12 digital television transition date nears, the average price for HDTVs continues to fall and HDTV programming increases, consumers are buying their first, second or third high-definition televisions," said Arnold. "With fewer Americans traveling and going out for entertainment, they are, in turn, choosing to stay home, save money and watch high-definition content in the comfort of their own living room."

The 11th Annual Household CE Ownership and Market Potential Study (May 2009) was conducted between January 29 and February 2, 2009. It was designed and formulated by CEA Market Research, the most comprehensive source of sales data, forecasts, consumer research and historical trends for the consumer electronics industry.

The complete study is available free to CEA member companies. Non-members may purchase the study for $999 at

Friday, May 22, 2009

Large-area TFT LCD shipments grew 6pc M/M to 40mn in April

AUSTIN, USA: April 2009 shipments of large-area TFT LCD panels reached 40.1 million units, showing strong M/M growth of 6 percent, according to the most recent DisplaySearch Monthly TFT LCD Shipment Database.

The 3 percent Y/Y increase in shipments marked the first time in seven months that there was positive Y/Y growth in monthly shipments. However, revenues were 39 percent lower than April 2008, indicating the magnitude of price declines over the past year.

Large-area TFT LCD revenues did increase 6 percent M/M, reaching $4.2 billion. As DisplaySearch reported previously, the February shipment results indicated the TFT LCD industry had reached the bottom of the cycle, and then March results showed some recovery. April shipment results indicate a continuation of the large area TFT LCD industry’s recovery.

All three major applications — notebook PC, monitor and TV — showed M/M growth. DisplaySearch’s research found that notebook PC panels had the highest M/M growth at 9 percent, followed by TV panels at 8 percent and monitor panels at 3 percent. However, monitor panel shipments are still lower than the same month last year. Notebook panel shipments were 9 percent higher than the same month last year and TV panels were 8% higher than April 2008. Table 1 shows monthly shipments by application.

Table 1: Monthly Large-Area TFT LCD Panel Shipments and Growth (Millions)Source: DisplaySearch May 2009 Monthly TFT LCD Shipment Database

For the notebook PC application, shipments of 16:9 aspect ratio panels reached 3.6 million, 28 percent of the 12.7 million notebook panels shipped, up from 24 percent in March. Meanwhile, shipments of 15.6” (16:9) notebook panels reached the same level as 15.4” (16:10) panels.

In monitors, 16:9 panels reached 6.1 million units, a 38 percent share of the 15.8 million monitor panels shipped, up from 28 percent in March. Meanwhile, 32” TV panel shipments reached 4 million units in April, and 42” TV panel shipments passed 1 million units for the first time since last October.

In addition to large-area TFT LCDs, the Monthly TFT LCD Shipment Database also tracks 5.0” to 11.6” mini-note (netbook) panel shipments. Mini-note panel shipments were 3.1 million in April 2009, up 14% M/M; HannStar continued to be the leader in mini-note panel shipments in April. The Premium Version of the Monthly TFT LCD Shipment Database includes shipment data by suppliers for each application and screen size.

According to David Hsieh, Vice President of DisplaySearch, “April results are encouraging for panel makers, as they reflect a healthy recovery in demand.” Looking forward, Hsieh added, “Considering the current end-market demand and the low panel inventories, we expect that shipments will continue to grow in Q2’09, and we forecast that panel makers will reach 80 percent capacity utilization in Q2’09.”

For information on the DisplaySearch Monthly TFT LCD Shipment Database, contact Charles Camaroto at 1.888.436.7673 or 1.516.625.2452 or

Global TV revenues decline 12pc Y/Y in Q1’09

AUSTIN, USA: With a lingering global recession continuing to place pressure on discretionary spending, global TV shipments declined 6 percent Y/Y in Q1’09 to 43.3M units according to the latest Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report from DisplaySearch. This was a decline of 25 percent from Q4’08 on seasonal trends.

Revenues fell even more, down 12 percent Y/Y to $22.1 billion with ASPs falling 6 percent Y/Y as both retailers and brands sought to keep consumers shopping. The resulting shipments were very close to projections, but the mix was weighted more heavily towards LCD TVs than expected on strong demand in China as well as North America.

Globally, flat panel TV shares grew from 66 percent in Q4’08 to 68 percent in Q1’09 as LCD TV prices fell even more in Q1’09 on an annual basis than they did during the Q4’08 holiday season, an indication of the pressure to maintain consumer demand.

LCD TVs were the only technology to gain share during the quarter, rising from 58 percent to 62 percent, as Y/Y shipments grew 27 percent to 26.7M units, but revenues posted the first ever Y/Y decline on a worldwide basis, down 1 percent Y/Y, highlighting the pressure on prices.

Plasma TV unit shipments increased 1 percent Y/Y by comparison to 2.8M with revenues falling by 26 percent Y/Y, representing 6 percent of unit shipments and 11 percent of global TV revenues.

China remained the #1 region for TV shipments, increasing unit share from 19.1 percent to 21.3 percent, with strong growth in LCD TV shipments, posting the only sequential increase in LCD TV unit volume from Q4’08 to Q1’09 of any region, as the rural subsidy program gained momentum and helped to partially offset a sharp decline in demand for CRT TVs. North America was the dominant region for TV revenues, accounting for more than 27 percent of global dollars due to a greater mix of large size LCD and plasma TVs than other regions.

Given the pressure on consumer spending, it’s not surprising that demand remained strong for modest screen sizes, where pricing was more attractive. 32” was still the most popular screen size, accounting for almost 38% of unit shipments, but the share of total TV shipments above 40” declined about half a percent from record levels in Q4’08. The unit share of higher resolution 1080p models increased by more than a point to a record 21.7%.

A review of global TV shipment performance by technology can be seen in Table 1.

Table 1: Q1‘09 Worldwide TV Shipments by Technology (000s)Source: DisplaySearch Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report

On a brand basis, Samsung remained the global brand share leader in revenues for the thirteenth straight quarter, holding their revenue share around 22 percent, and also leading in global TV unit share. LGE overtook Sony for the #2 share position in global TV revenues, rising almost 2 points to 13.3 percent and posting the only Y/Y revenue growth among the top five brands with a 14 percent Y/Y growth in unit volume.

Sony fell to #3 on a revenue basis as a result, with Sharp and Panasonic rounding out the top five. It’s interesting to note that in LCD TV on a revenue basis, Philips fell out of the top five for the first time, replaced by Toshiba who was #2 in Japan and #5 in North America and Western Europe.

A complete review of the top five brands can be seen in Table 2.

Table 2: Q1‘09 Worldwide TV Brand Rankings by Revenue ShareSource: DisplaySearch Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report

Network surveillance technologies take a bite out of crime… and inefficient business practices

FRAMINGHAM, USA: Rapid advancements in network surveillance technology are shifting the emphasis away from guns, guards, gates, and dogs and placing it on more sophisticated, scalable security solutions. According to new research from IDC, worldwide surveillance/monitoring camera shipments will grow from 9.3 million in 2007 to 26.5 million in 2013.

While some sectors – education, gaming, public safety, retail, and transportation –- have been eager to adopt network surveillance solutions, others have been more reluctant to integrate security functionality into their network infrastructure. However, advances in camera and access technologies, as well as reduced hardware price points, are converging to create a perfect surveillance storm.

"Market changes are causing a major shift in the way organizations protect their business assets," said Chris Chute, research manager, Worldwide Digital Imaging Solutions and Services at IDC. "Moving forward, security administrators will rely less on human observation to address their most critical security demands. The opportunity is tremendous for those who understand how to position themselves in this evolving space."

In addition to protecting sensitive resources and property, companies are beginning to recognize how surveillance data can be used to improve/streamline a growing number of business processes. Retail, transportation, and gaming verticals are successfully implementing network surveillance as a business enablement tool.

The retail industry has utilized video analytics to track customer flows through stores and used that information to adjust merchandise placement. The transportation industry can respond to traffic incidents in a more timely fashion, using the data to make fact-based decisions on future infrastructure initiatives. Beyond the critical security that surveillance offers the gaming industry, it also provides important business information about the games' popularity and ultimately its placement on the casino floor.

Additional findings from the study include the following:

* Captured and archived network surveillance content are expected to grow by 51.7 percent and 50.1 percent, respectively, in the next five years.

* Worldwide network surveillance camera shipments are expected to increase by an average of 45 percent yearly from 2009 to 2013.

* Network camera shipments will surpass those of analog cameras in 2012.

* The growth of deployed cameras and content will drive the physical security information management software market to over $5.3 billion in 2013.

First SuperSpeed USB interoperability demonstrated

TOKYO, JAPAN: At the USB Implementers Forum SuperSpeed USB Developers Conference, multiple companies demonstrated interoperable prototype hosts and devices, furthering significant market momentum for SuperSpeed USB.

Companies including Fresco Logic, Fujitsu Microelectronics Ltd, LucidPort Technology and NEC Electronics showcased interoperable prototype PC hosts and peripheral devices using prototype software from Intel to seamlessly transport SuperSpeed USB traffic. Today marked the first public SuperSpeed USB interoperability demonstration, using PC hosts and storage devices from multiple companies.

The USB 3.0 specification was completed and released in November 2008, marking the beginning of SuperSpeed USB product development efforts. SuperSpeed USB brings significant power and performance enhancements to the popular USB standard while offering backward compatibility with billions of USB-enabled PCs and peripheral devices currently in the market.

Delivering data transfer rates up to 10x faster than Hi-Speed USB (USB 2.0) as well as optimized power management, SuperSpeed USB is the next generation of ubiquitous USB technology.

“The fact that companies are already demonstrating interoperable SuperSpeed USB solutions underscores the intense interest and market need for this technology,” said Jeff Ravencraft, USB-IF president and chairman. “The combination of market-leading data transfer speeds, improved power efficiency and backward compatibility with the billions of USB devices has resulted in excitement from silicon vendors, electronics manufacturers and consumers alike.”

SuperSpeed USB demonstrations at the event included a Fresco Logic prototype PC host working with a mass storage device from Fujitsu. In another demonstration, NEC Electronics Corporation featured a PC host transferring data to a mass storage device from LucidPort. The USB-IF anticipates SuperSpeed USB products will be available for consumers to purchase in early 2010.

“SuperSpeed USB comes at a time when larger data files and improved device storage capabilities demand faster data-transfer technologies,” said Shane Rau, Program Director of IDC’s Computing, Networking, and Storage Semiconductors Group. “IDC forecasts that SuperSpeed USB, with 10x the theoretical maximum transfer speed of USB 2.0 and improved power management capabilities, will ship in 45 percent of mobile PCs in 2012."

The SuperSpeed USB Developers Conference provides attendees with an opportunity to hear directly from the creators of the USB 3.0 specification. Keynote speakers will address the new SuperSpeed USB architecture, performance enhancements and power efficiency and what that means for companies developing SuperSpeed USB solutions.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Demand for small/medium displays rises; will prices follow suit?

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Despite rising demand, a reduction in inventories and a marginal increase in prices some for a few small/medium-sized LCD panels in April, global pricing is expected to remain on a downward trend in 2009, according to iSuppli Corp.

“Demand for small/medium LCDs, i.e., those with a diagonal dimension of 9 inches and less, was boosted in March by surge in rush orders from Chinese manufacturers,” said Vinita Jakhanwal, principal analyst for mobile displays at iSuppli. “China’s demand has been stimulated by government rebates and a rural stimulus program created to promote sales of electronic products, including mobile phones, that use small-sized LCD displays.

“The demand outlook for these panels is expected to continue to improve because the small/medium LCD supply chain has corrected its excess inventory situation. With inventories down to low levels, LCD makers are restocking the channel with new products.”

However, this is having very little impact on small/medium LCD prices in general.

Of the 67 types of LCD panels tracked by iSuppli’s Small/Medium Display PriceTrak service, 41 declined in April compared to March. Only three experienced price increases, with the remainder unchanged from March.

These displays are used in seven types of products: cameras, digital photo frames, handheld computers/PDAs, mobile handsets, portable computers, portable DVDs and Portable Navigation Devices (PNDs).

Pricing trends are expected to continue to be weak in May, with only one type of small/medium LCD managing an increase.

The good news is that price decreases are moderating in April and May compared to the more significant declines seen in the first quarter, when suppliers cut prices in order to reduce inventories. However, this stabilization will be short term, with more declines returning as the inventory restocking effort ends.

Prices may take a further hit in the third quarter because suppliers are announcing some expansions in capacity, up from the low levels of the fourth quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009. If this increase in capacity is not matched by a rise in end-user demand, prices will decline at a faster rate.

Mobile handset display pricing remains weak
Most suppliers of small/medium displays for the mobile-handset market are likely to decrease their prices for their Tier-1 customers

The figure presents monthly global average pricing for 3.5-Inch 320 by 480 LCD Panels (Pricing in US Dollars) by as much as 5 percent in the second quarter of 2009, although some spot pricing for rush orders from the local Chinese handset market may increase slightly.Despite the current tough economic conditions, the smart- phone market continues to witness robust demand, and some panels for these products are likely to enjoy stable pricing or perhaps slight increases. For example, the 3.5-inch 320 by 480 display used in smart phones posted a 1 percent price increase in April.

Furthermore, Low-Temperature Polysilicon (LTPS) LCD panels continue to be in demand and are popular choices for high-end smart-phone displays. Nonetheless, LTPS LCD supply is likely to become constrained as demand picks up, with a few Japanese companies deciding to close their older-generation LTPS LCD fabs.

Many display suppliers, especially in Taiwan, are looking at increasing their market share and penetration into the large handset vendors, specifically for smartphone products. In order to win new projects, they are likely to be more competitive on prices.

For mobile handset displays, suppliers are able to reduce cost of panel production as they are using fully depreciated fabs.

PENTAX intros advanced PENTAX K-7 Digital SLR

GOLDEN, USA: PENTAX Imaging Co. has launched the PENTAX K-7 digital SLR camera.

The PENTAX K-7 features a rugged, yet compact new body design, a new 14.6 megapixel CMOS sensor rebuilt from the ground up, and advanced features such as HD Movie Capture and new, unique-to-PENTAX camera controls. Compatible with every PENTAX lens ever made, the high-end K-7 features an abundance of long-anticipated new and improved features that are exclusive to the camera and combine to make it a tremendous photography tool.

“The K-7 will appeal to many current PENTAX SLR photographers who have been asking for more advanced features but in a smaller, solid, comfortable-to-hold body,” said Ned Bunnell, president, PENTAX Imaging. “We also believe the combination of the K-7’s smaller, high quality construction coupled with the growing line-up of our Limited compact prime lenses will appeal to serious shooters who currently don’t own or previously hadn’t considered adding a PENTAX to their camera bag.”

The most significant features of the PENTAX K-7 that have never been offered before in any K series digital camera, and in some case any camera, include:

* A compact, magnesium alloy body that is one of the smallest in the advanced photo enthusiast category to reduce bulk and allow users to travel light while maintaining durability and build quality (seven percent smaller than the K20D and up to 25 percent smaller than other cameras in the same class).

* A new 14.6 megapixel CMOS sensor rebuilt from the ground up to minimize noise, adds four channel output for fast image capture, and the ability to capture HD quality movies. It is the ideal combination of resolution and file size, allowing very large (poster size and larger) prints and cropping flexibility.

* A new 77-segment metering system quickly and accurately determines exposure for even the most complex and dynamic lighting situations.

* HD Movie capture features adjustable quality and resolution settings, aperture control, as well as mechanical Shake Reduction, and an external microphone terminal for recording stereo sound.* The K-7 will capture video at the default standard of 1280x720 resolution with a 16:9 aspect ratio (equivalent to 720p), 1536x1024 resolution with a 3:2 aspect ratio, or 640x416 resolution with a 3:2 aspect ratio (equivalent to VGA quality), all shot at 30 frames per second.

* An HDMI port with selectable output resolution (1080i, 720p, 480p, and auto) offers high resolution playback of images and video on modern high definition TVs.

* A Dedicated AF-assist lamp further improves autofocus response and accuracy in low light conditions.

* An Electronic Level function ensures that images have truly level horizons to minimize post-capture editing.

* An innovative in-camera Lens Correction function that electronically adjusts for Distortion and Lateral Chromatic Aberrations to maximize image quality with DA series lenses.

* A dedicated Mirror Lock-up function eliminates image blur due to mirror movement during long exposures.

* A High Dynamic Range (HDR) image capture mode captures three images then combines them in camera to widen the exposure gamut to bring out detail in all exposure areas of images.

* A composition adjustment feature in Live View allows minor shifts in the framing and composition of images using the Shake Reduction mechanism without having to physically move the camera. This feature is ideal for tripod use.

* A programmable embedded copyright function preserves artistic integrity and image ownership during capture via a keypad that may record ownership in meta tag data.

* Due to the compact size of the K-7 camera and the in-body Shake Reduction mechanism, a camera mounted microphone is a highly recommended accessory for optimal audio quality when capturing video.

Along with the body, PENTAX announced a D-BG4 battery grip for exclusive use with the PENTAX K-7 and two weather-resistant lens models developed specifically for PENTAX digital SLRs. The smc DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR and the smc DA 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED WR kit lenses feature weather-resistant seals to handle damp, inclement conditions.

The PENTAX K-7 body only will ship in July 2009 for $1,299.95. The PENTAX D-BG4 battery grip will be priced at $229.95, and the lenses will be priced at $199.95. These products also will ship in July 2009.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

E-paper market to soar to $2.1 billion by 2015: Displaybank

BUNDANG, SOUTH KOREA: Displaybank projects the e-Paper market to grow from $70 million in 2008 to $2.1 billion in 2015 and $7 billion by 2020 -- representing a CAGR of approximately 47 percent.

Displaybank also projects the e-Book market to comprise 50 percent of the total e-Paper market during that same period -- growing from $35 million in 2008 to $1.1 billion in 2015 and $3.4 billion by 2020 -- with the greatest regional demand coming from the US. These and other findings are disclosed in Displaybank's newly published e-Paper Display Technology and Market Forecast Report, which is the first report of its kind focusing on the e-Paper market in comprehensive detail.

Peter Kwon, Displaybank CEO noted: "It's nice to see that despite the current economic environment, certain technology applications are still gaining strong traction with consumers now, as well as present significant growth prospects in the coming years. The e-Paper market is a clear example of this, with e-Books representing a key 'killer application' that will take the merging of information and mobility to new heights. Being at the forefront of the display industry gives Displaybank a unique perspective on the exciting developments underway in the e-Paper market, and we look forward to seeing the continuing emergence of new technologies and applications to support this market."

According to Displaybank, Amazon currently leads in the e-Book market based on the abundant content that it offers. The growth of the e-Book market depends on not only the specifications of the reading device, but also on the available content and service offerings. As a result, Displaybank predicts that Sony's recently announced partnership with Google, the world's largest digital content provider, will propel Sony back into the e-Book market and allow it to serve as a formidable challenger to Amazon.

In addition to the e-Book market, Displaybank foresees myriad applications for e-Paper display technology due to its flexibility, ability to process electronic information and low power consumption. These include mobile displays, public displays such as electronic billboards and advertisements, as well as smart cards, Electronic Shelf Label (ESL) and Point of Purchase (POP) applications.

Improvements in e-Paper display technology such as contrast ratio, color display and durability will be needed to support these and other future applications. For example, larger-scale information displays will require improved precision in color display, while outdoor displays will need improved durability against heat and impact.

e-Paper displays using glass substrates are currently mass produced by Taiwan-based PVI and Korea-based LG Display. According to Displaybank, the first maker to utilize flexible substrate in e-Paper display is expected to be LG Display. LG Display is currently developing amorphous silicon thin-film transistor (TFT) technology-based flexible e-Paper displays using a metal foil substrate in co-operation with E-ink. During the second half of 2009, Displaybank predicts that 11.5-inch flexible e-Paper displays will enter the market in mass production.

The strength of Displaybank's new report is in its detailed analysis of the myriad e-Paper technology currently available along with regional R&D, technology and application trends. In addition, the report covers the necessary steps needed for performance enhancement through technology development and development factors, as well as product delivery forecasts. Coupled with a comprehensive forecast for both replacement and newly created markets, this report truly covers all aspects of e-Paper display technology, unlike any other.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Strong demand for HD digital home entertainment products in China

HONG KONG: Despite the global economic slowdown, most China home entertainment product suppliers expect sales to grow this year, according to Global Sources' China Sourcing Report: Home Entertainment.

Among surveyed suppliers of home entertainment products:
-- 47 percent forecast sales growth of more than 20 percent;
-- 21 percent expect growth of 10 to 20 percent;
-- 11 percent predict sales to increase by less than 10 percent; and
-- 21 percent anticipate flat or declining sales.

"Global demand for high-definition and digital home entertainment products, coupled with a drop in the cost of LCD and plasma displays, are spurring growth in the sector," said Spenser Au, Publisher of the report.

"Even as the economy slows, consumers are rapidly adopting new digital entertainment technologies. In the United States, HDTV-equipped homes doubled in 2008 to 23 percent of all households. HDTV is also expected to take off in Europe from today's 59 million HDTV homes to 116 million in 2010 and over 200 million by 2018. This is one reason suppliers are so optimistic about the EU market, with 63 percent ranking it as their top export destination."

Prices set to drop
Au said: "Sixty-seven percent of suppliers we surveyed expect price competition to be the biggest challenge they face in the coming months. In order to gain or maintain market share, 79 percent are planning to maintain or decrease prices.

"A number of suppliers are also producing or planning to produce their own LCD modules. This is backed by strong support from the China government, which listed LCD module production as a key concern in its Eleventh Five-Year Plan."

Suppliers are also working in other areas to increase competitiveness with:
-- 32 percent widening their product ranges;
-- 26 percent improving operating efficiency; and
-- 26 percent working to reduce production costs.

The remaining 16 percent of suppliers cited decreasing product defects and shortening design/development time as their main strategies to win more orders.

Au concluded: "As competition increases along with demand, it is a buyers' market in the home entertainment sector. Companies buying from the region can expect to find more value-for-the-money products, all at lower prices than they paid last year."

Monday, May 18, 2009

High growth forecasted for China navigation map market

NEW YORK, USA: announces that a new market research report is available in its cataloguem the China Navigation Map Market Report, 2008-2009.

Compared to Japan, Europe and USA, Chinese car navigation market was still in its early stage. In 2008, the market penetration rate of car navigation in China was only 4.56 percent, far lower than the 60 percent of Japan, and 20-30 percent of both Europe and USA.

In 2008, car ownership reached at 149 million in China, among which 40 million are private cars, and about 6.8 million cars have installed navigation devices. Also, in 2008, the Chinese car navigation market sharply increased, a total of 3.1 million navigation devices were sold during the year, more than doubled of 2007.

The electronics map market scale is limited, accounting for 10-15 percent in the navigation industry chain. In addition, the electronic map database requires a long construction period, a large investment and high maintenance & updating cost.

The global key electronics map markets of Europe, USA and Japan, are monopolized by TA, Navteq and Zenrin respectively. Especially, Navteq and TA have become the transnational navigation electronics map providers.

Considering the nation security, there is an admittance system regarding the electronics map in china. Up to Mar, 2009, a total of 11 electronics map providers were approved by the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping, the key providers including NavInfo, AutoNavi, Ritu, Careland, Lingtu, Emapgo and City On Map.

NavInfo and AutoNavi focus on the original market, Ritu, Careland and City On Map focus on the aftermarket and portable navigation device market.

Friday, May 15, 2009

AGS intros thin-client ENDURA computer

MUMBAI, INDIA: AGS Infotech, an AGS Group Company has introduced, AGS ENDURA -- a thin client computer, which offers companies superior desktop management, access data from anywhere, lower total cost of ownership (TCO) besides high quality, reliability, lower administrative cost and less maintenance.

AGS ENDURA displays application including graphics and text information like the normal PCs. AGS ENDURA has increased security by elimination of viruses, OS Crash and is faster in troubleshooting also. AGS ENDURA being an energy efficient, has the feature to seamlessly consume less power which results in better efficiency and cost saving for the customers.

AGS ENDURA is a client computer linked to the central server for processing computing activities. As a result, all the documents get saved on the server and no local storage is required like hard disk, floppy, CD etc.

Surya Singh, Business Head - Retail said: “Thin client computing comes from an exclusive category of technology that offers clear value propositions for big and small businesses, both in terms of cost savings and increased end–user productivity. It can completely replace PC based computing in many vertical and horizontal computing environments and also at a cheaper price.”

Thin-client systems will replace the CPU in an individual desktop PCs with a centralized server that dishes up the applications and data users need at individual workstations. For business, server based thin-client computing is attracting attention because of its ability to solve some of the most vexing problems facing IT like the staffing shortage, data privacy and security and the quest for value from technology purchases” he further added.

AGS ENDURA can be used in multiple replicated sites, branch offices, highly standardized IT offices, kiosks, remote computing and access, offices with limited tech support and task based workers like customer service desk, circulation, cataloguing, order entry, call centre, payrolls etc in various industries like manufacturing, utilities, information, healthcare and social assistance, retail, education, communication, etc.

would be able to replace products like text terminals, terminal emulation software Windows – based Terminals (WBTs), Network Computers (NCs) and Personal Computers (PCs).

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Essen RFID, Bartronics India explore UHF RFID opportunities

MUMBAI, INDIA: Essen RFID today announced that it has entered into a partnership agreement with Bartronics, one of India’s largest bar code and RFID company. Under the agreed terms & conditions for the partnership, Bartronics shall procure Essen RFID’s UHF integrated reader “XtennaPlus” as part of its R&D centre. It shall also feature the UHF integrated reader “XtennaPlus” in its RFID product catalog.

Commenting on this development, Essen RFID’s senior BD manager, Shrinivas Shikaripurkar said: “We are extremely pleased of entering into a partnership agreement with Bartronics India. We believe that Bartronics is a pioneer in the field of AIDC technologies and this synergistic agreement in the UHF RFID space shall be of tremendous mutual benefit to both the organisations. I am confident that we shall be able to jointly strategise & address large opportunities emanating in the RFID space across sectors in India as well as overseas markets.”

Bartronics Chief Scientific Officer Srinivasa Parasa: said “I have personally seen the demo of Essen’s integrated reader Xtenna and am convinced about the technical merits of XtennaTM over standard RFID readers available in the indigenously developed reader marketplace. This agreement is a win-win proposition for both Bartronics as well as Essen and will go a long way in strengthening the existing synergies between the two organizations in the UHF RFID market, and will also result in a better solution delivery mechanism for UHF RFID market.”

Essen, which launched its RFID device “Xtenna” last year in April, is an Indian OEM headquartered at Nariman Point, Mumbai and has successfully demonstrated its RFID modules: for a) People tracking, b) Asset Tracking, c) Livestock Tracking, and d) Document Tracking. The integrated reader cum antenna module “Xtenna” has been successfully implemented for Retail, Realty, Defence and Hospitality sectors in India and overseas markets.

Essen’s Xtenna covers RFID bands across the EU, USA, China, Korea and India through models that operate in the 865-870 MHz, 902-928 MHz, 840–844 MHz, spectrum respectively. Its advanced RFID reader has dynamic multi-protocol capability that is fully compliant with future standards. Along with superior tag reading performance (upto 50 feet) that not only supports Dense Reader Mode but also overcomes multiple sources of signal interference.

One of the Unique Selling Proposition is its ability to be also used in remote locations and over long distances without signal deterioration. By using Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) for transmission and converting sensitive analog RF signals to digital at source, Xtenna eliminates any scope of loss or deterioration during data transmission.

Xtenna’s advantage over an ordinary RF cable is multifold. Xtenna requires an inexpensive CAT-6 cable that can carry 48V DC power simultaneously along with data. Unlike the RF cable’s sensitive analog signal, XtennaTM provides a stable digital transmission. Moreover, RF cable has a limited distance of upto 20 ft before signal deterioration. With XtennaTM, this is offset as the distance between Xtenna and PoE switch can now be enhanced to 330ft without loss.

Essen has a patent pending with the US and Indian Patent Offices. Essen has partnered with some of the leading players both in India as well as global firms operating in the RFID applications space.

Essen’s Xtenna is available in two versions namely a Pilot Project Kit & a Mini-pilot project kit and is available directly through Essen Mumbai or through its list of global affiliates spread across the US and the EU.

CNN-IBN engages Cranes SYSTAT for early trends analysis

BANGALORE, INDIA: Cranes Software International Ltd (Cranes), a strategic partner to CNN-IBN, announced that it will be analyzing the findings of opinion and exit polls as well as analysis of early trends on the counting day for elections held for the Lok Sabha.

Dr. Rajeeva Karandikar, Executive Vice President at Cranes Software, a well regarded probabilist and statistician and Former Professor at the Indian Statistical Institute has been driving this exercise along with the team from the Analytics Group of Cranes. The team uses Cranes’ in-house statistical software product SYSTAT and its derivatives to analyze the data.

In January and February 2009 as a run up to the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, the Cranes Software team again analyzed data collected during the opinion poll commissioned by CNN-IBN. The raw data was collected by CSDS -- the Center for the Study of Developing Societies under the leadership of noted psephologist, Dr. Yogender Yadav, while the statistical analysis and implications of the data on the final composition of the Lok Sabha was presented by Dr. Karandikar in a TV program anchored by Rajdeep Sardesai on CNN-IBN.

The Cranes team has been involved in assimilating, analyzing and preparing the raw data received from AC Nielsen for use in the graphics that go on air. The team at Cranes uses their powerful statistical analysis and graphics software -– SYSTAT, to run statistical models on early counting trends and make early seat projections of the final composition of the house.

The Graphics team at CNN-IBN then renders the findings into graphs which are then telecast on the CNN-IBN channel along with IBN7 (Hindi), IBN Lokmat (Marathi) and occasionally on CNBC channels. The work of Cranes Software team has proved to be critical in providing analytical data processing and facilitating error free graphics during the telecast. This exercise is to take place again during the post election coverage on CNN-IBN between May 13 and May 17, 2009.

Commenting on the partnership with Cranes Software, Rajdeep Sardesai, Editor-in-Chief, IBN Network said: “Rajeeva Karandikar of Cranes Software has been associated with CNN-IBN for all election forecasts over last three years. The back end data processing work done by the Cranes team has enhanced the content of election coverage at CNN-IBN, IBN7 and IBN Lokmat. We at IBN Network look forward to continued association with Cranes Software.”

Talking about the involvement of the Cranes team in election analysis, Dr Yogendra Yadav, Center for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) said: “Translating vote share estimates into seats forecast continues to be one of the foremost challenges of psephology in India. Rajeeva Karandikar, one of the leading statisticians in the country, and his team from Cranes Software have advanced the frontiers of knowledge in the analysis of opinion polls and exit polls conducted by CSDS for CNN-IBN.”

Commenting on the initiative, Dr. Rajeeva Karandikar added: “Over the past few years, we at Cranes have successfully collaborated with CNN-IBN and CSDS in providing opinion and exit poll analysis as well as analysis of counting day data by leveraging our deep domain skill set and use of analytical intelligence tools of SYSTAT and Sigma. We thank CNN-IBN for their support and CSDS for domain expertise and excellent DATA collection work. We look forward to explore other opportunities to leverage our strength in the analytics domain.”

In the Analytics Domain, Cranes is a pioneer in providing statistical modeling and solutions, proof of concepts, and delivery. The company focuses on target markets of pharmaceuticals, environmental science, social science, telecom, and BFSI. The company has successfully accumulated a portfolio of proprietary products and solutions across the analytics value chain. In doing so, Cranes has built a library of reusable components, be it statistical graphing engines, computational algorithms, or data integration interfaces.

These reusable components help come up with quick prototypes of customized solutions for clients and provide enterprise class Decision Support Systems. Some products within Cranes’ portfolio in the Analytics domain include SYSTAT, iCapella, the recently acquired Cubeware range and Strategic alliances for a number of niche tools in these areas with SAP / Microsoft, etc through Dunn Solutions Group, USA.

Axis intros P13 fixed network camera series

BANGALORE, INDIA: Axis Communications has announced the AXIS P13 Network Cameras, a new series of fixed day and night cameras with superb image quality including HDTV video and H.264 streams. Introducing simplified installation with the unique focus assistant, remote back focus and pixel counter features, these cameras are the perfect choice where high-performing video surveillance is required.

“AXIS P13 Network Camera Series introduces the concept of precise iris control enabling higher contrast, clarity, resolution and better depth of field thereby delivering superb megapixel/HDTV video in both indoor and outdoor applications,” says Erik Frännlid, Director of Product Management, Axis Communications. “This new series of network cameras also offers remote back focus capabilities in combination with the pixel counter feature, digital PTZ and multi-view streaming, making them the perfect choice for securing locations such as governmental buildings, retail environments, airports, railway stations and subways.”

AXIS P1343 Network Camera delivers SVGA resolution, whereas AXIS P1344 and AXIS P1346 models offer 1MP/ HDTV 720p and 3MP/HDTV 1080p respectively, in compliance with the SMPTE standards in resolution, color representation and frame rate. AXIS P1346 introduces a new level of image quality with the unique P-Iris control, also supporting DC-iris for backward compatibility. This model also supports multi-view streaming allowing separate video streams of zoomed in sections at the same time as a downscaled full overview image.

Adding up, AXIS P13 Network Cameras offer two-way audio support with enhanced audio quality, video intelligence such as video motion detection, audio detection and detection of camera tampering attempts. For further flexibility regarding storage and bandwidth usage, AXIS P13 Network Cameras offer support for an optional SD/SDHC memory card for local video recordings.

AXIS P13 Series provides multiple, individually configurable video streams in H.264 compression, significantly optimizing bandwidth and storage utilization, without compromising image quality. Motion JPEG is also supported for increased flexibility. All models support Power over Ethernet, reducing installation costs by eliminating the need for power cables.

AXIS P13 Network Cameras are supported by the industry’s largest base of video management software through the Axis Application Development Partner program as well as by AXIS Camera Station. The cameras will be available to order in Q3 2009.

Handheld video game player shipments to rise 4.9 percent in 2009

EL SEGUNDO, USA: The global market for handheld video game systems is set to buck weak conditions in the global consumer electronics market and rise by 4.9 percent in units and 8.2 percent in revenue during 2009, due to moves by Sony Corp. and Nintendo to freshen up their products, according to iSuppli Corp.

Sony in October 2008 updated its PlayStation Portable (PSP) device and Nintendo in November did the same for its DS device, now called the DSi.

Shipments of handheld game consoles are expected to grow to 63.5 million units by 2013, up from 49.4 million units in 2008. This equates to a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5.2 percent during the forecast period. Revenues are set to grow to $8.1 billion by 2013, rising at a CAGR of 6.4 percent from $5.9 billion in 2008.

“While the long-term growth rate isn’t staggering by any means, Nintendo’s and Sony’s platform revisions should keep their portable game console shipments growing until they are able to roll out next-generation handheld platforms,” Pamela Tufegdzic, analyst, consumer electronics at iSuppli.

“However, if both companies had introduced true next-generation platforms, the level of growth in 2009 and beyond would have been much higher. Most consumers will hold off on any purchase or upgrade until a next-generation handheld gaming device is available. iSuppli believes Sony and Nintendo will not introduce next-generation handheld video game consoles until 2011, at the earliest,” she added.

The figure presents iSuppli’s worldwide forecast for the handheld gaming market for both unit shipments and revenue.

In October of 2008, Sony updated its venerable PSP device, called the PSP-3000, with a retail price of $169.99. The main upgrades to the device included an integrated microphone, a screen with a five times brighter color ratio, new button designs and anti-reflective technology to improve outdoor playability.

iSuppli believes that at some time after 2010, Sony will release a new portable gaming platform that will help to further drive the handheld gaming market.

Nintendo DSi
In November 2008, Nintendo launched its third generation of DS, called the DSi, in Japan. Nintendo in April released the device in Europe and North America.

The main enhancements to the Nintendo DSi revision include a form factor that is 12 percent thinner than the DS Lite, upgraded dual screen displays enlarged to 3.25-inches in size, the integration of two digital cameras, improved speakers, an SD card storage slot and internal flash memory for storing downloaded games.

At a retail price of $169.99, the DSi will allow Nintendo to continue to expand its sales despite a weak economy until it rolls out a new multifunction device in the next few years.