Monday, November 30, 2009

Kindle breaks record for sales in single month during November

SEATTLE, USA: Amazon.com Inc. today announced that November is already the best sales month ever for Kindle, even before Cyber Monday. Kindle continues to be the most wished for, the most gifted, and the #1 bestselling product across all product categories on Amazon.

The latest generation Kindle – just released in October –- is $259 and available for immediate shipment today at www.amazon.com/kindle.

“Kindle is a great gift for anyone who loves to read and it’s flying off the shelves faster than any other product Amazon sells,” said Ian Freed, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. “We’re seeing lots of people buying from one to a handful of Kindles as gifts for friends or family, as well as many businesses and other organizations buying Kindles in large quantities for their employees or customers.”

Kindle is the revolutionary portable reader that wirelessly downloads books, magazines, newspapers and personal documents to a crisp, high-resolution 6-inch electronic ink display that looks and reads like real paper.

Kindle utilizes the same 3G wireless technology as advanced cell phones, so users never need to hunt for a Wi-Fi hotspot. The latest generation Kindle with Global Wireless enables readers to wirelessly download content in over 100 countries and territories.

FOXTEL launches Asia’s first bookable promos service using NDS XTV DVR technology

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: NDS, the leading provider of technology solutions for digital pay-TV, today announced that it has developed the first bookable promos service in Asia, for FOXTEL, Australia's leading subscription television provider.

While watching a trailer for a show, viewers will now be able to book to record the show to their DVR by pressing the green button on their remote control.

With the press of a button, subscribers will be able to book to record movies, individual programmes, or an entire series, immediately or weeks in advance. This user-friendly feature can also be used during an ad break to allow viewers to receive more details about a specific advertisement by expressing interest with the same button press.

NDS has also provided FOXTEL with the XTV open infrastructure, an extended version of NDS XTV DVR technology that gives operators the flexibility to launch applications that directly access DVR functionality.

iSuggest is the first FOXTEL application based on the XTV open infrastructure. As a visual recommendation service, iSuggest presents TV show and movie posters in the subscriber’s personalised viewing gallery, making it easy for viewers to browse, select and record programmes directly into their planner.

Peter Smart, FOXTEL’s Director of Engineering said: “The launch of these solutions in Asia has been made possible thanks to NDS’ experience in advanced DVR solutions combined with its systems integration expertise. FOXTEL continually invests and innovates for the benefit of our subscribers, enhancing their TV viewing experience.”

“We have worked with FOXTEL since the launch of its first DVR in 2005,” said Peter Iles, General Manager, NDS Australia. “This latest collaboration, which provides cutting-edge services, reaffirms FOXTEL’s position as an innovator in the provision of advanced digital pay-TV services in the region.”

FUJIFILM enters advanced visualization market

CHICAGO, USA: This year at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting, FUJIFILM Medical Systems USA is announcing its entrance into the advanced visualization space with the introduction of Synapse(TM) 3D.

Fujifilm is building on its core strength in image processing by now offering its own advanced imaging capabilities for both general radiographic and cardiovascular applications. The company has also made other significant enhancements to its Synapse PACS including the introduction of Synapse communications and new features to further aid the interpretation of breast imaging studies.

Synapse 3D
Fujifilm is one of the first major PACS vendors to introduce its own 3D product which offers more than a dozen clinical applications delivering both radiology- and cardiovascular-specific applications such as 2D, 3D, 4D, virtual ultrasound, liver analysis, lung analysis, coronary CT/MR analysis and cardiac fusion.

Developed in conjunction with radiologists, cardiologists and surgeons who performed joint research with engineers, Synapse 3D is integrated right into Fujifilm's Synapse PACS application - eliminating the need for a 3rd party software.

The application is enterprise capable, and is available at any workstation where Synapse PACS is available. Powered by server-based rendering technology, Synapse 3D enables the radiologist or the technologist to perform the renderings.

"With Fujifilm's history of innovative image processing and analysis, it's a natural extension for us to draw on our strength and provide our own advanced visualization technology," explained Jim Morgan, Fujifilm's Executive Director of Marketing, Medical Informatics.

"While we have been providing MIP/MPR functionality as well as integrations to third party 3D applications, customers will have the option to select Synapse 3D which will be integrated directly into their Synapse PACS and Synapse Cardiovascular applications, providing the most efficient workflow for all clinicians," continued Morgan.

Already available in other parts of the world including Japan, Synapse 3D is currently installed in four evaluation sites in the US Physicians at Albert Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia, Penn., Yale University Medical Center, New Haven, Conn., Margaret Pardee Memorial Hospital, Hendersonville, N.C., and USC Medical Center, Los Angeles, Calif., have been using the product and providing feedback prior to its commercial release which is expected in the first quarter of 2010.

One of the evaluators is Meng Law, MD, Director of Neuroradiology, Los Angeles County Hospital and USC Medical Center, who presented findings on his use and review of the product at the International Cancer Imaging Society conference held in early October in Salzburg, Austria.

"In my evaluation, Synapse 3D has proven to be critical in terms of the diagnostic and outcomes value it provides," said Dr. Law. "The PET CT Fusion capabilities, in particular, have performed exceptionally well, and we look forward to using the systems in the future. We have also utilized the advanced MR capabilities for processing diffusion and perfusion data of the brain as well as using the calcium scoring tool for a research project investigating the utility of neurovascular calcium scoring for predicting stroke, "continued Law.

Enterprise Imaging
Synapse has undergone significant refinements to support not only the image and information managements needs of radiology and cardiology departments, as well as other critical care departments including oncology, pathology and ophthalmology.

The ability to provide both storage and distribution of images throughout the enterprise in both DICOM and web formats is critical to the integrated healthcare network. Additional features including smart forwarding and smart prefetching functionally have been added to allow images to flow seamless from and to Synapse PACS from third-party systems.

Synapse Communications
A comprehensive toolset enabling compliance with American College of Radiology (ACR) and Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) industry guidelines, Synapse communications is available as an option to Synapse PACS.

It includes a variety of features to enhance communication and help radiology departments and reading groups meet the ever changing business and regulatory requirements of radiology information management. Specific features include critical results reporting, peer review, instant messaging, QA discrepancy tracking and embedded task list management.

Synapse Communications is embedded into the Synapse PACS user interface to maximize performance and minimize user clicks.

Full Field Digital Mammography Enhancements
Fujifilm is demonstrating a new works in progress FFDM feature of Synapse PACS designed to work with any vendor to further aid the interpretation of breast imaging exams.

These specialized advanced visualization tools are tailored to meet the specific demands of breast imaging and reaffirm Fujifilm's ongoing commitment to assist in efficient and accurate detection of breast disease.

Breast bound detection and alignment Automatically left-right aligns images with optimum "zoom to breast borders", as is required for appropriate interpretation. This feature increases workflow efficiency by enabling the radiologist to immediately begin reading the images without having to manually prepare them.

Toshiba enters ultra-portable ultrasound market with new laptop system

CHICAGO, USA: Many hand-carried ultrasound systems offer better access to patients when space is compromised, but cannot provide all of the advanced radiology capabilities required to perform exams in today’s demanding ultrasound environment.

Designed to meet the needs of today’s hospitals by combining portability with high-end radiology features, Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc. introduces the new Viamo laptop ultrasound system (works-in-progress), the industry’s no-compromise ultrasound system with advanced radiology capabilities, previously unavailable on hand-carried systems.

The Viamo combines the portability of a laptop system with advanced radiology features to deliver outstanding image quality, enhance diagnostic confidence and improve ease of use.

Developed from a radiology foundation, Toshiba’s Viamo provides the confidence to image patients at bedside, which generally requires larger, more expensive cart-based systems. When an immobile patient needs a high-end ultrasound exam, the portable Viamo laptop ultrasound is brought to the patient to improve the patient’s comfort without compromising exam quality. It is also ideal for a variety of patient exams, including traditional radiology, pediatric, emergency, OB/GYN, vascular and bariatric.

“The Viamo provides the best value in the hand-carried class by offering a feature-rich, portable system at a reasonable price point,” said Girish Hagan, vice president, Marketing, Toshiba. “With the ability to perform high-end radiology exams using a portable laptop system, Viamo rounds out Toshiba’s ultrasound product line, delivering function and value in the hand-carried segment, along with the exceptional image quality and clinical accuracy Toshiba is known for.”

The new Toshiba Viamo laptop ultrasound system offers:
* Best-in-class imaging capabilities in a laptop size, making it ideal for high-end radiology, vascular, emergency, bariatric and OB/GYN exams, even at bedside. For example,
* Viamo is beneficial during liver transplants when medical personnel must image the anastomoses to assess blood flow through the vessels.
* Excellent image quality and color flow comparable to those of larger, more expensive cart-based systems.
* Ease of use with a simple touch-screen interface that is programmable in panel or tablet modes.
* Ability to interchange Toshiba transducers while using the Viamo’s transportation pole, thus improving productivity and flexibility while saving health care costs by reducing the need to purchase multiple transducers. This unique feature improves productivity and saves money for current customers by using their existing Toshiba transducers on the Viamo. Additionally, new customers are able to use Viamo transducers with other Toshiba ultrasound systems they may purchase in the future.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

European XFEL project set to start

MOSCOW, RUSSIA: RUSNANO CEO Anatoly Chubais will be signing the European XFEL GmbH shareholder agreement in Hamburg on the 30 November, 2009.

Also, a convention on the construction and operation of the European X-Ray free electron laser (XFEL) will be signed by authorized representatives of Germany, Russia, France, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, Sweden, Greece, Denmark, Hungary and Slovakia. On behalf of Russia, the state convention will be signed by Andrei Fursenko, Minister of Education and Science of Russian Federation.

European XFEL is a unique scientific and technological complex for advanced research in the field of nanotechnology. The 3.4 km long underground facility at the DESY site in Hamburg will surpass the analogous lasers under construction in the USA and Japan.

The ultra-bright extremely short X-ray pulses with properties similar to laser light will reveal the processes in materials and biomolecules with the atomic resolution. This enables a further understanding of matter and produce unique new materials with predesigned properties.

The total cost of constructing world’s largest X-ray free electron laser is estimated at 1 bln Euro. The 250 mln Euro will be financed by RUSNANO as a representative of Russia. The main resource of the complex — beam usage time — will be shared proportionally to each country’s contribution to the project.

The Russian Research Centre Kurchatov Institute, the lead research organization of the Program for coordinating the research efforts in the field of nanotechnology and nanomaterials in Russian Federation will be responsible for directing the research and forming the scientific agenda of the Russian part of the project.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

New USB technology adds accountability and convenience to wellness programs

KELOWNA, USA: Uploadable USB pedometers may be new, but they're already seeing prime time in wellness. A combination of advanced accelerometer functionality and automated data upload are solving a long term concern over the accuracy of self-reported data. It's now possible to accurately gauge and reward improved participation in a fitness program.

CoreHealth Technologies is one of the first wellness suppliers to integrate this technology. "Our health challenges are easy to administer and participate in... an inspirational approach that has proven effective," comments CEO Anne Marie Kirby.

"But USB pedometers add a whole new dimension. Users simply plug the pedometer into the computer, a greeting comes up asking if the steps are to be uploaded, and then the website opens to show the participants their achievement in the health challenge. It's the ultimate in convenience. Anyone can do it."

CoreHealth's motivational software for online fitness, weight loss, nutrition, and other challenges is used throughout the world by organizations with 1000 or more employees. Participants have used pedometers before, but never with such convenience. "We find pedometers can increase success," states Jeff Goreski, Implementation Specialist. "Now participants can be fully engaged regardless of age or computer skill. This new technology has opened wide doors for prevention."

The USB pedometers use specialized technology exclusive to Pacific Rim Wellness. A full week of steps information is retained within the device, so people don't have to upload daily to accurately report, and a new accelerometer monitors and stores fitness intensity.

Users simply connect to the computer once a week to update their personal fitness record. "Pedometers now offer uncompromised accountability and accuracy for health and wellness programs," comments Pacific Rim Wellness administrator Robert Dyke.

"Our greatest concern was affordability," Anne Marie explained. "Our total wellness package sells to large employers and insurers for only $10 per participant, and that's for a whole year! We couldn't have a costly pedometer option, but we needed the advanced functionality. Pacific Rim Wellness had the exclusive technology and an aggressive price point."

Technology is fast integrating with wellness for robust programs today's businesses can afford. "Our clients generate as much as $25 return for every $1 investment," states Anne Marie, "that is a significant improvement in a company's ability to compete. Still, many organizations rely on insurers, EAPs, and health providers for their wellness. These suppliers have long sought verifiable accuracy in the programs they fund. Now they have it."

Friday, November 27, 2009

HDTVs high on holiday shoppers’ 2009 lists, but purchase intent down from 2008

SCOTTSDALE, USA: Over the last two years, High Definition Televisions (HDTVs) ranked as the most desired consumer electronic (CE) product at the holiday season; and it was no different this year. HDTVs remain at the top of respondents’ holiday wish lists in 2009, according to In-Stat.

“Overall, CE products continue to top holiday wish lists, which is good news for retailers, CE manufacturers and suppliers. However, the downside is purchase intent has fallen from 2008. Our 2009 consumer survey reveals that the percentage of respondents who plan to purchase a CE device have declined within each CE market segment,” according to Stephanie Ethier, In-Stat Analyst. “In-Stat believes the economy is continuing to take a toll on consumer spending.”

For the fourth year in a row, In-Stat surveyed its proprietary Technology Adoption Panel about the different CE products they are considering for purchase this holiday season. The top products are:

* HDTVs
* Notebook PCs
* Digital cameras
* Blu-ray players
* Desktop PCs

Recent research by In-Stat found the following:

* While not in the top five desired CE categories among respondents, the e-reader market is one of the hottest CE market segments right now. Amazon is the leader in the market with its expanding Kindle lineup; and the company has notably picked up its holiday marketing and advertising. With a slew of new market entrants and new e-reader models, e-reader sales could outperform expectations.
* The most desired feature in future e-readers is wireless connectivity.
* Approximately 40 percent of future PC purchasers state that a need for better performance is the key PC purchase criteria.

GE Healthcare to manufacture high-tech medical imaging equipment in Russia

MOSCOW, RUSSIA: GE Healthcare, a unit of General Electric Co., and a leading Russian medical imaging manufacturer Medical Technologies Ltd (MTL), announced a strategic partnership to manufacture diagnostic imaging products in Russia, starting with GE Healthcare’s CT BrightSpeed Elite system1, in line with GE’s healthymagination strategy.

The partnership will see Russia’s first locally manufactured advanced 16-slice computed tomography (CT).

GE Healthcare’s first Russian localization project is aimed at bringing accessible, innovative and modern healthcare technologies to support government programs modernizing healthcare infrastructure for stroke, oncology and emergency care. Consistent with GE’s global healthymagination strategy, it will help Russian medical professionals deliver better quality care to more people at lower cost.

Under this initiative, MTL, a leading Russian manufacturer specializing in development and manufacturing of x-ray, mammography, and healthcare information technology solutions, will, together with GE Healthcare, localize, manufacture and distribute GE Healthcare diagnostic imaging technologies in Russia.

Richard Di Benedetto, President & CEO, GE Healthcare, EAGM (Eastern and Africa Growth Markets), said: “This partnership marks the beginning of an exciting time for GE Healthcare in Russia. We will be manufacturing modern products tailored to local needs in order to bring high-tech, affordable and innovative diagnostic imaging to benefit patients across Russia. This partnership confirms our commitment to Russian healthcare and will also create new jobs for the Russian medical technology industry.”

Anatoly Dabagov, President, MTL, said: “We are proud to be working with a world-leading healthcare technology company like GE Healthcare on the localization of diagnostic imaging products, starting with GE Healthcare’s CT BrightSpeed Elite system for manufacture in Russia. MTL’s track record as a leading diagnostic imaging manufacturer in Russia, combined with GE’s global technology excellence, means we have a solid basis for localizing innovative GE Healthcare technologies to help spread access to high-quality healthcare around Russia.”

Vyacheslav Grischenko, General Manager Russia & CIS, GE Healthcare said: "We want to be in Russia for Russia, and we believe that by starting CT manufacturing we can help bring better healthcare and address one of the country’s top strategic priorities, the localization of high-tech medical equipment manufacturing. It is the right move for Russia, for healthcare professionals, and for the patients we are working for."

First manufacturer-led dedicated Training Center for healthcare professionals
GE Healthcare’s also announced the opening in Moscow of the ‘GE Healthcare Academy’ that will provide access to technical knowledge and education for a wide range of diagnostic imaging specialists in Moscow and the Russian regions. In addition to delivering up to 100 training courses at various levels every year, the GE Healthcare Academy will also host conferences and seminars.

“New technologies in healthcare demand new training for healthcare professionals if improvements are to be sustainable in the long-term. The launch of this new training center is a sign that a manufacturer is not only committed to supplying high-end medical equipment to Russia, but also to building up local healthcare capabilities and enabling Russian healthcare professionals to keep up with the latest innovations,” said Academician Sergey Ternovoy, Head of Radiology Department of Moscow Medical Academy.

Wipro inaugurates development centre in Chengdu

BANGALORE, INDIA & CHENGDU, CHINA: Wipro Technologies, the global IT services business of Wipro Limited (NYSE:WIT) announced the inauguration of its global delivery centre at Chengdu, China to provide IT & BPO services to its customers. The center will have secured facilities, labs and infrastructure for customer projects and can grow to provide a capacity of 1,000 seats.

The new centre will broaden Wipro’s service capabilities along with its existing presence in Shanghai. The Vice-Province Governor of Sichuan province, Li Chengyun, and the Mayor of Chengdu city, Ge Honglin, officially inaugurated the center, jointly with Sambuddha Deb, Executive Vice President and Chief Delivery Officer, Wipro Technologies.

This center will extend Wipro’s expansive portfolio of IT service to its customer with an initial focus in the first year on Testing and Enterprise Application services for the Manufacturing, Banking, Financial Services & Insurance (BFSI) industries. The center would provide multilingual services in English, Chinese and Japanese.

Chengdu was chosen as a location due to its conducive business environment, talented pool of IT professionals and the city’s excellent infrastructure. The center currently employs over 100 people and the IT major plans on increasing this headcount.

Inaugurating the new centre Ge Honglin, Mayor of Chengdu city said, “Chengdu is a great outsourcing destination and we are happy that Wipro is inaugurating its center here today.”

Sambuddha Deb, Executive vice president and Chief Delivery Officer, Wipro Technologies said: “This facility in Chengdu is one of the global strategic centers that we are creating around the world. Our employees here would be trained in Wipro’s quality processes, technologies and the high global delivery standards that Wipro is renowned for.”

Wipro has been successfully diversifying its footprint in multiple countries and the Chengdu center is a part of its globalization strategy which includes enabling near shore delivery.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Mobile phone displays benefit from emerging markets; units up 30 percent Q/Q in Q2’09

AUSTIN, USA: After hitting bottom in Q1’09, mobile display shipments for Q2’09 reached 360 million, up 30 percent Q/Q and 3 percent Y/Y. Revenues were up 29 percent Q/Q to $2.93 billion, but down 5 percent Y/Y.

According to the DisplaySearch Quarterly Mobile Phone Shipment and Forecast Report, the saturated Western European and North American markets are expected to see subscriber growth of less than 10 percent Y/Y in 2009, while emerging markets like India and China are driving growth. These booming regions had a higher global system for mobile communication (GSM) penetration ratio.

“The global economy is slowly recovering, fueling growth in mobile phone shipments in Q2’09,” noted Calvin Hsieh, DisplaySearch Research Director. “Despite this, total 2009 mobile phone demand in North America and Western Europe is still less than 2008, an impact of the recession. Looking ahead, we expect it will be a better year in 2010, with worldwide mobile phone growth of 15 percent and emerging markets playing an increasingly vital role in shipments.”

Fig. 1: Mobile Phone Shipments by RegionSource: DisplaySearch Quarterly Mobile Phone Shipment and Forecast Report

Unable to penetrate emerging markets, Nokia’s market share continues to decline, falling from 31.7 percent in Q1’09 to 25.5 percent in Q2’09. Nokia was unsuccessful in catching up with GSM growth rates in emerging markets. White-box handsets mainly produced in China also captured nearly 20 percent market share from brand names.

Fig. 2: Mobile Phone Market Share by Supplier
Source: DisplaySearch Quarterly Mobile Phone Shipment and Forecast Report

With touch functionality, higher resolution and larger displays (3.5”+) for smart phones, active matrix displays are growing as a share of the mobile phone market.

Taking advantage of its cost-effectiveness, a-Si TFT LCD reached 46.6 percent share of the market. LTPS TFT LCDs grew 25.3 percent Q/Q, maintaining a 21.6 percent share. AMOLED displays capitalized on high-end devices such as Samsung Anycall, growing 54.5 percent Q/Q with a 1.3 percent share.

China remains a critical region for both handset manufacturing and demand. Local panel manufacturers have successfully maintained market share, accounting for 20 percent of the overall demand in 2009. The country also produced 50.4 percent CSTN panels, especially BYD, for the handsets which were mainly made for emerging markets.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Experience the 'Clean Tech' from Taiwan at CES 2010!

TAIPEI, TAIWAN: Taiwan, a key player in 3C industry (Consumer electronics, Computers, and Communication products) in the world will shine again with its Clean Tech in the world’s largest consumer technology tradeshow - CES 2010 (Consumer Electronics Show)!!

Taiwanese companies have always been well known for their timely delivery, professional skills, as well as reasonable prices. The products’ reasonable prices often driven by gradual production-cost down raised consumption level and also boosted the growth of Taiwan’s high-tech industry in the past.

However, due to the global financial crisis, consumption level in the past two years has not risen as usual. Taiwanese enterprises therefore have redirected their efforts more to new innovations such as Clean Tech to stay competitive in the new era.

Hybrid and electric vehicles, carbon capture and sequestration, new video conference, blue tech, biofuels, renewable energy, recycling, wind, solar energy, smart grid, LED, etc. are the most common items of Clean Tech. If you are interested in Clean Tech, especially LED innovations, you definitely have to visit Taiwan booths in LVCC (Las Vegas Convention Center) South Hall and LV Hilton in CES 2010!!

Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) is honored to lead Taiwanese suppliers to participate in CES 2010 held in Las Vegas from Jan. 7 to 10, 2010. On display will be up-to-date products and innovations, such as media players, bluetooth speakers, MP3, digital photo frames, digital cameras, digital notepads, electronics components and accessories, LED modules, USB, CCTV cameras, HDMI extenders and more. Plus, the latest information of Taipei Trade Shows, including Computex Taipei 2010, TAITRONICS, Taiwan RFID, Display Taiwan, and Broadband Taiwan will be available at the TAITRA booth in LVCC South Hall 1.

Want to know more about Taiwanese suppliers and experience “Clean Tech” from Taiwan?! Get a sneak preview at http://mission.taiwantrade.com.tw/CES2010 before coming to the show. View the Taiwan exhibitors’ link to see what each vendor has to offer and plan your trip accordingly. You can even make advance online appointments with them through the website.

Confidence in consumer electronics at highest level in history of CEA-CNET Index

ARLINGTON, USA: Consumer confidence in consumer electronics reached the highest level in the history of the CEA-CNET Index, according to figures released by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and CNET.

The CEA-CNET Index of Consumer Technology Expectations (ICTE) reached 93.5, the highest level of the index since tracking began in January 2007. The ICTE, which measures consumer expectations about technology spending, also saw the largest sequential increase in the history of the index. The ICTE climbed more than 14 points from October and is up more than nine points from this time last year.

CEA’s recent 16th Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study underscored consumer’s desire for technology in finding that 80 percent of individuals want consumer electronics as a gift this holiday, the highest results in the history of the study.

“This holiday shopping season is shaping up to be a digital one with consumers looking to purchase technology gifts,” according to Shawn DuBravac, CEA’s chief economist and director of research. “November’s index results show consumers are eagerly anticipating purchasing electronics on Black Friday and during the rest of the holiday shopping season even with a difficult overall economic picture.”

Consumer confidence in the overall economy decreased this month. The CEA-CNET Index of Consumer Expectations (ICE) fell to 165.3, the lowest level since July 2008. The ICE, which measures consumer expectations about the broader economy, is down nearly nine points from last month and down more than four points from this time last year.

“Consumers continue to worry about the overall direction of the economy,” said DuBravac. “Concerns over a still declining job market and personal financial health persist among many Americans.”

Strategy Analytics on appealing automotive entertainment features

BOSTON, USA: A recent Strategy Analytics survey of vehicle owners in the USA and Western Europe found that drivers increasingly want to be able to use their own devices, such as iPods and MP3 players, via their vehicle’s stereo system. However, in-car AM/FM radios and CD players continue to be the most essential entertainment equipment.

“In both the US and UK, consumers prefer an audio-in connector to stream music from their personal players through the in-vehicle stereo,” commented Chris Schreiner, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics. “Consumers in France and Germany, however, preferred a USB connection.”

Kevin Nolan, Vice President of the Strategy Analytics User Experience Practice, added, “In the UK, digital radio also showed positive levels of usage, interest and consumer satisfaction.”

Details may be found in the Strategy Analytics Automotive Consumer Insights (ACI) report: “Consumers Want Entertainment Device Connectivity.”

Additional findings from this research include:
* 83 percent of consumers listen to their AM/FM radio in their vehicle at least once a week, while 65 percent listen to their CD player once a week, or more;
* 22 percent of consumers in the US consider an audio-in connector a necessity when purchasing their next vehicle; and
* 22 percent of consumers in the UK consider digital radio to be essential.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Telestream industry leader in global video transcoders market

NEVADA CITY, USA: Telestream, a provider of world-class video transcoding solutions, affirms its leadership position with the announcement that Frost & Sullivan has presented the company with two 2009 Global Video Transcoders Market Leadership Awards.

The Competitive Strategy Leadership Award recognizes Telestream for its accomplishments in the overall global enterprise, broadband and mobile video transcoders market. The World Market Share Leadership award recognizes Telestream's position in the global broadband video transcoders market sector.

The awards cite Telestream's best practices as being unmatched in their field; acknowledge the company's continued double-digit growth rate and market share dominance; as well as the creativity and dedication of its executive team and employees.

Frost and Sullivan's Competitive Strategy Leadership Award is based on key criteria that benchmarks Telestream against its competitors in the areas of competitive intelligence, competitive strategy, market share, brand positioning and customer satisfaction.

"Telestream has focused on using transcoding as an enabling technology and has been able to successfully merge it with other components to provide customers with complete workflow solutions. Further, Telestream has made two major acquisitions that have helped the company leverage growth," said Vidya S. Nath, Senior Industry Analyst at Frost and Sullivan.

"Despite tough economic conditions and extremely competitive situations, Telestream has enjoyed substantial growth in 2009 and established itself as a leading transcoding vendor across multiple market segments."

Traditional and pay TV services migrating infrastructure to more efficient CDN and data center models

SCOTTSDALE, USA: Traditional Video-on-Demand services and traditional “siloed” video services currently use a great deal of proprietary, or industry-specific, equipment.

In-Stat sees traditional and pay TV service providers migrating to more efficient Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) and data center models based on server virtualization. This migration enables content portability and will have a direct impact on equipment vendors, service providers and content owners.

“Increasing usage of ‘over-the-top’ internet video is driving traditional TV service providers to launch TV Everywhere initiatives,” says Gerry Kaufhold, In-Stat analyst.

“The data center approach promises more flexibility to manage content for delivery to multiple device types, enabling service providers to offer any content, on any platform, in any location.”

In-Stat believes next-generation on demand approaches increase content owner influence, and greatly expand the delivery options. Among other impacts, content owners and service providers will need to re-negotiate licensing agreements that will reflect more flexibility and responsiveness to consumer demands. The CDN trend will also drive a shift in the type of equipment and features that manufacturers provide to service providers to handle video delivery.

Recent research by In-Stat found the following:

* Over the next five years, the worldwide value of Content Delivery Network (CDN) services will pass US$2 billion annually by 2011 and continue growing thereafter.
* Barriers, such as digital rights management, competing encoding formats and standards, and restricted bandwidth remain a challenge to meet customers’ new demands for flexibility in content use.
* Adaptive Bit Rate Video approaches will permit IP-networks to deliver a quality User Experience at lower bit rates.

Comat commences distribution of new digitized ration card across Karnataka

BANGALORE, INDIA: Comat Technologies Pvt. Ltd., a leader in rural service delivery, has commenced distribution of digitized ration cards to beneficiaries in several taluks across various districts of Karnataka.

Over 90 lakh cards will be distributed and about 4.5 crore people will benefit from this. Karnataka is the first state in the country to digitize ration cards. The distribution, which started in November 2009, is expected to conclude by the end of this year.

The lists of talukas currently being covered for ration card distribution are given here. More taluks will be covered shortly in subsequent phases.

Comat Technologies had entered into an MoU with the Department of Food and Civil Supplies, Government of Karnataka in the year 2006. The aim of the MoU was to improve the efficiency of food grain distribution, by incorporating technology to arrest leakages in the system, and eliminate bogus and duplicate beneficiaries.

LifeSize, Redington (India) ally for high definition video conferencing in India

MUMBAI, INDIA: LifeSize Communications, the global leader in high definition video communications, today announced a partnership agreement with Redington India Ltd, a leading IT distribution player, to address the rapidly growing demand of high definition video conferencing in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Maldives.

Under the LifeSize channel partner program, Redington will market, sell and support LifeSize HD video communication systems in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Maldives.

Redington was selected to be a part of the LifeSize channel partner program based on their extensive experience in distribution of technology products in the mentioned geographies.

"Redington brings the expertise and the infrastructure necessary for LifeSize to grow our channel partner base in APAC region,” said William Yu, Regional Director, Asia Pacific, LifeSize. ”We realize the tremendous value our partners bring to LifeSize and we are absolutely committed to providing them with a fully encompassing channel program that supports their efforts and contributes to their ultimate success. We are looking forward to working with Redington to bring our exciting technology to new customers, allowing them do more while travelling less."

LifeSizes all-HD video product portfolio is now the industrys broadest and most affordable high definition product line, ranging from simple point-to-point video systems to highly customized, multi-display, multi-HD camera video systems. LifeSize products provide superior quality of experience, unique flexibility and unmatched price performance.”

Anand Chakravarthy, Head Business, Redington, said: "We are happy to add a leading brand in high definition video communications to our solutions portfolio. This will help us cater to a broader base of channel partners. Redington now can provide comprehensive solutions to information infrastructure needs across different business verticals. Our distribution network and dedicated communications division will help to grow LifeSizes market share substantially throughout India.”

Vivendi/Canal+ Group acquire 10 percent of Canal+ France owned by TF1

PARIS, FRANCE: Vivendi/Canal+ Group and TF1 have signed a definitive agreement relating to the sale of the 9.9 percent of the capital of Canal+ France owned by TF1. This agreement, the value of which is €744 million, should be completed at the latest on December 31, 2009.

On that date, Canal+ Group (which is wholly-owned by Vivendi) will increase its stake in Canal+ France from 65 percent to 75 percent.

The impact of this transaction, which was originally planned for the first quarter of 2010, has already been taken into account, for an identical amount, in Vivendi’s debt in respect of TF1’s put option held by TF1 since January 2007 in the context of the acquisition of TPS by Vivendi/Canal+Group.

An identical offer has been made to M6 for its stake of 5.1 percent of Canal+ France.

Garmin nüvifone G60 difficult to navigate

BOSTON, USA: During a recent user evaluation of the Garmin nüvifone G60, the nüvifone failed to deliver a personalized experience because one cannot customize its home screen.

The recent Strategy Analytics Automotive Consumer Insights benchmark report, “Navigation Device User Evaluation: Garmin nüvifone G60,” evaluates the user experience of navigation, messaging, web browsing, and other core features.

In addition, users found it difficult to scroll on the homepage using touchscreen, as it would often open a function instead. In portrait mode, the virtual keyboard was too small and could only be presented in ABC layout. Some participants had difficulty locating address entry for navigation, although all participants were satisfied with POI search and voice calling.

“Consumers want to be able to customize their devices by downloading applications, or at least having the ability to change backgrounds and rearrange menus on their home screen,” commented Chris Schreiner, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics. “However, the Garmin nüvifone does not offer this capability.”

Kevin Nolan, Vice President of Strategy Analytics User Experience Practice, added, “If Garmin is to succeed in the mobile device arena, they must improve their user experience and differentiate themselves from Android’s free full-service navigation.”

Monday, November 23, 2009

Global PC shipments to grow 2.8pc in 2009, but PC revenue to decline 11pc

STAMFORD, USA: Accelerating mobile PC shipments will drive the worldwide PC market to grow again this year, according to Gartner's preliminary fourth-quarter forecast.

The new forecast predicts worldwide PC shipments will total 298.9 million units in 2009, a 2.8 percent increase from 2008. In 2010, PC shipments are projected to reach 336.6 million units, a 12.6 percent increase over 2009.

This forecast is more optimistic than Gartner's final September forecast, which anticipated a 2 percent decline in shipments for 2009. "Shipments in the third quarter of 2009 were much stronger than we expected, and that alone virtually guaranteed we would see positive growth this year," said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner.

"We're anticipating seasonally modest growth in the fourth quarter of 2009, but because shipments were so weak in the fourth quarter of 2008, growth will appear quite strong. This could lull vendors and market watchers into thinking the market is recovering faster than it really is."

While PC shipments are now expected to increase in 2009, the market value of PC shipments is still projected to decline. The market value of global PC shipments is now forecast to total $217 billion in 2009, a 10.7 percent decline from 2008. Gartner is now projecting the market value of PC shipments to reach $222.9 billion in 2010, a 2.6 percent increase over 2009.

"Blame this year's drop in market value on the unprecedented declines in PC average selling prices (ASPs) we've seen this year," Shiffler said. "The rapid decline in PC ASPs reflects a marked shift towards lower price points as customers have looked for 'good enough' PCs at the cheapest price, and vendors have tried to spur market growth by catering to ever-lower price points.

"We expect PC ASP declines to slow as the market recovers, but given the market's competitive dynamic, we don't see PC ASPs rising any time soon. As a result, growth in the market value of shipments will significantly lag shipment growth next year and beyond."

Gartner analysts reiterated their belief that Windows 7 will have a limited impact on holiday PC sales but noted that 2010 PC shipments could be affected. "We just don't see consumers buying new PCs solely because of Windows 7," said Shiffler.

"We are expecting a modest bump in fourth-quarter consumer demand as vendors promote new Windows 7-based PCs, but the attraction will be the new PCs, not Windows 7. The more critical question is, 'When will businesses make their move to Windows 7, and what will they do about replacements in the interim?' We don't see businesses mainstreaming Windows 7 much before the end of 2010. We think many businesses will try to shift replacements to the back end of next year so as to sync their adoption of Windows 7 with their PC refresh. That will put a damper on early 2010 shipments."

Gartner's new forecast indicates mobile PC shipments are on pace to reach 162 million units in 2009, a 15.4 percent increase over 2008. In 2010, mobile PC shipments are expected to reach 196.4 million units.

Mini-notebook shipments, included in overall mobile PC shipments, are forecast to reach 29 million in 2009 and will grow to 41 million shipments in 2010. Meanwhile, shipments of desk-based PCs are expected to total 136.9 million units in 2009, a 9 percent decline from 2008. In 2010, desk-based PC shipments are forecast to reach 140.2 million units.

"Mobile PC shipments continued to get a significant boost from mini-notebooks," said Mr. Shiffler. "We've raised our near-term forecast for mini-notebooks in response, but we have also narrowed our scenarios for them. Mini-notebooks are facing increased competition from other low-cost mobile PCs, as well as alternative mobile devices. They are rapidly finding their level in the market, and we expect their growth to noticeably slow as early as next year."

Gartner's preliminary forecast is subject to revision and will be superseded by its final forecast, which will be released in three weeks.

Tailwind, ViVOtech to integrate new contactless payment reader modules into legacy POS systems

PARIS, FRANCE: ViVOtech, the leader in near field communication (NFC) and contactless payment systems, and Tailwind, a leader in strategic marketing in the payments industry, have signed an agreement to develop and deploy joint solutions that will enable retailers to meet the demand for contactless payment systems.

Tailwind and ViVOtech will integrate contactless payment readers into existing Chip and PIN devices using Tailwind’s patented “POS Paddle” universal Pin Pad mounting solution and ViVOtech’s best-selling ViVOpay line of contactless payment readers.

Having just invested in the mandatory upgrade to Chip & PIN, retailers are looking for ways to leverage this investment into the future by enabling them to accept contactless cards and NFC mobile phones.

Tailwind’s PoS Paddle allows retailers to upgrade their existing Chip & PIN systems to accept contactless payments with minimum cost and disruption. The PoS Paddle integrates the ViVOpay contactless reader module with the Chip and PIN terminal, turning them into one single customer-facing unit and a single point of interaction.

This saves valuable counter space. POS Paddle is also fitted with a key lock to restrict the removal of the PIN Pad, a requirement that is becoming standard in most EMV countries in Europe.

“Retailers want to adopt contactless technology, but they also want to make sure they can leverage their investment in Chip and PIN devices, and give their customers an ergonomic and intuitive point of interaction,” said Garry Knox, Founding Director of Tailwind. “Our partnership with ViVOtech allows us to provide retailers with the best contactless payment modules directly integrated with their existing systems in one single package.”

The ViVOpay line of contactless payment readers is the best selling line of contactless reader products worldwide. The readers have been deployed in over half a million POS locations, including several Tier 1 merchants such as major specialty retailers, fast food restaurants (QSR), movie theaters, casual dining establishments, convenience stores, gas stations, drug stores, grocery stores, and thousands of buses, taxicabs, kiosks and vending machines.

“Contactless adoption by retailers is growing worldwide. That demand comes not only from the desire to accept easy and convenient contactless cards, but also from the desire to be ready for the upcoming NFC mobile payment revolution,” said Mohammad Khan, ViVOtech president and founder.

“ViVOpay readers will enable existing Chip and PIN devices to accept not only contactless and NFC mobile payments, but also to offer advanced merchant loyalty programs such as mobile promotions, vouchers and rewards.”

Second edition of Invest in Photonics to be held in Bordeaux

BORDEAUX, FRANCE: Invest in Photonics, a two-day international partnering convention will be held in Bordeaux, France, March 18–19, 2010.

The only European-wide photonics-investor convention of its kind, Invest in Photonics 2010, will bring together the world’s experts in photonics and leading investors from Europe and beyond to meet with emerging photonics companies seeking financial support. Upwards of 200 participants are expected to attend.

Invest in Photonics is an investment-networking and market development event. It facilitates meetings between entrepreneurs and executives of emerging companies in photonics and investors and analysts. These investors include venture capitalists, institutional investors and potential technology licensees from a wide range of high growth potential industries that use the latest photonics technology.

“Invest in Photonics is about creating investment opportunities in Europe for investors and emerging companies in photonics,” says Bernard Couillaud, chairman of the Invest in Photonics organizing committee. “The field of Photonics is bursting with innovation and represents a global industry estimated to be worth $760 billion, according to the SPIE, an international society focusing on advanced light-based research. Invest in Photonics is proud to have many international partners join us for this second convention”.

The two-day Invest in Photonics event will consist of a program of keynote speakers and three presentation sessions. The presentation sessions are: Market Time, Business Time, and Innovation Time will showcase photonics products and the latest technology breakthroughs.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

PNDs: Worldwide shipments grow despite increased competition from GPS-enabled handsets

NEW YORK, USA: Reportlinker.com announced that a new market research report is available in its catalog -- PNDs: Worldwide Shipments Grow Despite Increased Competition from GPS-Enabled Handsets.

The personal navigation device (PND) market is maturing as prices decline, consolidation occurs, and shipment growth slows; the most looming threat is the rapidly growing GPS-enabled mobile phone market.

Still, PND shipments will continue due to affordable price points for the mass market, car manufacturers' desire to offer cheap navigation options, and the potential growth in connected PNDs. Yet, due to the weak economy's impact on consumer spending, demand for these higher-priced connected PNDs has yet to take off. In-Stat expects that if the costs to incorporate a cellular modem decrease, there will be a stronger opportunity for connected PNDs.

Meanwhile, PND manufacturers should explore ways to participate in the GPS-enabled mobile handset market. GPS-enabled mobile handsets are expected to grow 26 percent between 2009 and 2010, and reach almost 700 million units by 2013.

In-Stat's recent PND research offers forecasts for global and regional PND shipments, worldwide revenue, and average selling prices. A bill of materials analysis, as well as silicon and non-silicon revenue opportunities are discussed. Finally, a worldwide forecast of GPS-enabled handsets is offered.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Global TV shipment growth recovered in Q3; first quarter of Y/Y growth in a year

AUSTIN, USA: Global TV shipments showed a spark of recovery in Q3’09 amid an easing global economic recession, reports DisplaySearch in its latest Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report.

Total unit volume increased on a year-over-year (Y/Y) basis for the first time since Q3’08, rising 1 percent to 54.9 million units. LCD TVs have been enjoying strong growth all year after becoming the leading technology on a unit basis, but their growth has not offset the rapid decline in shipments of CRT TVs until now.

LCD TV shipments worldwide increased 38 percent Y/Y, exceeding DisplaySearch’s expectations, to reach a record 37.5 million units. Government stimulus programs in China and Japan, as well as continued high levels of price erosion, contributed to excellent unit growth in LCD TVs, with double digit Y/Y growth in every region except Eastern Europe. Based on strong Q3 shipments, DisplaySearch now expects 2009 total LCD TV shipments could reach 140M units worldwide.

Despite the robust unit growth of LCD TVs and the return to positive Y/Y growth overall, revenue growth continues to be elusive. Total TV revenues were down for the fourth straight quarter, falling 10 percent Y/Y to $26.2 billion.

For the LCD TVs segment, the spread between unit growth and revenue growth was even more dramatic, as worldwide LCD TV revenues grew just 1 percent Y/Y compared with 38 percent Y/Y unit growth.

“The dramatic difference between strong unit growth and weak revenue growth is a problem for the TV industry,” noted Paul Gagnon, Director of North America TV Research for DisplaySearch. “The strong unit demand from consumers is predicated upon attractive retail prices in the current economic environment, but manufacturers and retailers can’t keep up price declines forever, as production costs fall more slowly and new advanced features require modest to high price premiums.”

Average selling prices for LCD TVs fell 27 percent Y/Y, more than twice as much Y/Y as the overall average. This decline in average prices comes despite the fact that LCD panel prices, a key cost driver of LCD TVs, have been rising for most of 2009.

The result is a compression of margin at the OEM, brand and reseller levels as all stakeholders try to keep consumer interest high by moving prices lower. In addition, consumers remain very price-sensitive, so they are settling for more modest screen sizes, causing average size growth to grind to a halt in 2009, which has a direct impact on overall average prices. Even the introduction of advanced technologies like LED backlights and networking have not been able to ease price erosion.

Table 1: Q3‘09 Worldwide TV Shipments by Technology (000s)Source: DisplaySearch Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report

China and Japan use stimulus programs to drive sales
China and Japan are driving excellent growth in flat panel TV sales right now through government stimulus programs that encourage adoption of flat panel TVs. China is engaging in several stimulus programs designed to push adoption of new technologies in rural markets, as well as encourage upgrades to energy efficient appliances in top-tier cities. Both proved to be strong drivers of Golden Week Sales in October.

In Japan, the Eco-Points program rewards consumers of highly energy-efficient electronics with points that can be spent on merchandise and gift certificates. Japan’s LCD TV Y/Y shipment growth rate reached the highest level in over three years, which is impressive for a country that completed the transition from CRT to flat panel TVs earlier than anywhere else.

Samsung leads global brands, but Value and Chinese brands showing peak growth
Samsung remained the global brand share leader in terms of revenues for the fifteenth straight quarter, but lost about a point of share, to 21.9 percent, as Q/Q growth lagged that of many competitors.

LGE remained #2 for the second straight quarter after surpassing Sony in Q1’09, also seeing a slight decline in share to 12.9 percent. Sony remained #3 worldwide on a revenue basis, but fell below 10 percent share and was one of the two brands experiencing a Q/Q revenue decline during a seasonally strong quarter.

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

Table 2: Q3‘09 Worldwide TV Brand Rankings by Revenue ShareSource: DisplaySearch Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report

North America saw significant brand turbulence in Q3’09. Samsung remained the leading overall TV brand on a unit and revenue basis, but Funai overtook Vizio on a unit basis to rise to #2.

On a total revenue basis, Panasonic climbed two spots to #2, overtaking Sony and Vizio, on strengthening LCD and plasma revenues. Overall, market growth in North America is heavily biased towards value brands aligned with discount sales channels.

China remains a very competitive market as well, one dominated by domestic brands. The top six LCD TV brands on a unit basis are all Chinese and collectively accounted for nearly 80 percent of all units shipped to the region in Q2’09; they are also strong exporters.

Each one of the top 10 brands in China enjoyed strong double-digit Q/Q unit growth in LCD TVs, ranging from 18 percent to 91 percent. Skyworth was the #1 brand on a unit and revenue basis, but each of the top three brands were within 5 percentage points of each other on a unit basis. The government stimulus program also favors local brands, which offer lower prices and qualify more models under the government set price ceiling.

California TV power regulations may cut LCD-TV energy consumption in half

EL SEGUNDO, USA: New television power consumption limits imposed by California's Energy Commission (CEC) could cut aggregate annual power consumption of LCD-TVs worldwide in half by the year 2013, if these standards are adopted universally, according to iSuppli Corp.

If all of the 200 million LCD TVs set to be shipped in 2013 complied with the CEC standard, they would use a total of 64.4 billion kilowatt hours for the year, compared to 126.8 billion if they didn't, iSuppli estimates. This represents a 50 percent decline in power consumption. With indications that other states may follow California’s lead, and with the United States the world’s largest LCD-TVs market, it’s conceivable that CEC-style regulations could spread throughout the country and the world.

The CEC regulations conform with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Energy Star 3.0 and 4.0 guidelines. The figure presents iSuppli’s estimate of potential worldwide power savings that the CEC/Energy Star 3.0 and 4.0 standards could yield in the year 2013.Source: iSuppli, Nov. 2009

Consumers and industry embrace green trend
The US Consumer Electronics Association is warning that the CEC mandates will have a deleterious impact on consumer choice and technological innovation. The trade organization stated the regulations will result in higher prices for consumers, job losses for Californians, and lost tax revenue for the state.

iSuppli believes the regulations could reduce California tax revenue as consumers purchase larger-sized LCD-TVs through out-of-state channels. Furthermore, the regulations could cause a cessation in sales of certain products in the state, such larger-sized plasma televisions.

However, with both the industry and consumers already embracing greener televisions that consume less power, the negative impacts of the CEC regulations are likely to be limited.

“While the CEA has legitimate concerns, the CEC regulations simply follow suit with the EPA’s Energy Star 3.0 and 4.0 guidelines,” said Randy Lawson, senior analyst, display electronics, for iSuppli.

“Television makers already have been working to cut the power consumption of their products so they can earn the coveted Energy Star label. Furthermore, iSuppli’s research indicates that consumers increasingly are aware of power consumption issues, and are likely to gravitate toward sets that use less electricity. Because of this, television brands will still be offering a plethora of product choices that will be attractive to consumers.”

An iSuppli survey revealed that 46.1 percent of U.S. consumers in the third quarter said green factors influenced their television purchasing decisions. The same survey showed that 43.4 percent of those consumers considered power savings to be the most important green feature.

Big TVs, big power consumption
The TV industry represents the key battleground for reducing energy consumption in the consumer electronics business.

“Due to sweeping changes in the television technology that have occurred during the past five or six years—changes which show no sign of slowing down—the problem of energy efficiency has come become a paramount consideration,” Lawson said. “The once-dominant CRT television set—with its much smaller average screen size and lower brightness—consumed much less power per year than today’s bright High-Definition (HD) flat-panel sets.”

With regards to rising TV power consumption, the primary issue is not the CRT-to-LCD shift itself, but rather the shift to larger screen sizes that has accompanied that technology transition.

“At screen sizes smaller than 26 inches, there’s only a small difference between the energy consumption of current LCD TV displays and equivalent-sized CRTs, which maxed out at about 35 inches,” Lawson observed. “However, larger screen sizes, such as the popular 37- , 40- , 42- and 50-inch flat panel screens, consume dramatically more energy than the older, much smaller CRT screens.”

With LCD and plasma makers offering very low prices for TV sets 40 inches and larger, hordes of consumers have been willing to upgrade their older televisions. Sales of sets with screens sized 40-inches and larger now represent 27 percent of all televisions sold annually.

Seeing green
The ever-more-restrictive television power consumption standards in California and elsewhere definitely will impact the path of technology development for flat-panel TVs, affecting panel materials, LCD backlight designs and system audio/video electronics.

Many design changes will occur in the television electronics and OEM-enabled features, including technologies like ambient light sensing to help enable intelligent backlight drive options.

However, the largest energy-savings gains will come from redesigns of panel materials and backlight source electronics. One very effective approach allowing power reduction will be the shift from traditional Cold-Cathode Fluorescent Lamps (CCFLs) to LED backlighting.

Use of direct-lit LED backlighting can yield power saving of 40 percent or more for a typical 30-inch-or-larger LCD-TV compared to using a CCFL.

Source: iSuppli, USA

AGL to launch outdoor, full HD digital signage LCD monitor series

HSINCHU, TAIWAN: As LCD monitors become more commoditized, there is an increasing demand for applying them as advertising display media or digital signage boards.

However, due to brightness, life time or operation temperature limitations, users generally find it difficult to use regular LCD monitors to serve outdoor-displaying or store window-dressing purposes.

Specially designed for window signage, outdoor and public digital information applications, AGL now launches a series of 22-inch, 24-inch and 32-inch commercial LCD monitors with 1920x1080 full HD resolution, 1000 nit high brightness, excellent gray scale and high contrast ratio.

As for outdoors, AGL also provides solutions suitable for outdoor LCD applications with the following features:
* water proof
* direct sunlight applicable
* high reliable touch screen
* wide ambient operation temperature (-30 to 60 C)

AGL’s Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Tsai Jun-Hui indicated: "High brightness, high image quality and high reliability are three keys to success in digital signage applications!"

Because commercial space or outdoor environment is commonly interleaved with strong bright spot lights, if the LCD board of interest did not demonstrate sufficient brightness, it would be difficult to attract people's attention.

Meanwhile, to meet commercial request of digital signage, Dr. Tsai stressed, "If LCD monitors cannot afford long life time, it could result in substantial maintenance costs," whereas AGL LCD monitors offer emerging applications revolutionized specifications with high brightness, ultra-long 100,000-hour life-time and three years warranty.

Lexar Media expands gaming line with M2 and SDHC memory cards

FREMONT, USA: Lexar Media, a leading global provider of memory products for digital media, announced the expansion of its line of gaming solutions with the Lexar Gaming Memory Stick Micro (M2) and Gaming Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) memory cards.

Designed to take the gaming experience to the next level, the cards enable users to reliably save and store gaming data and multimedia content on popular gaming consoles.

With the introduction of the new Gaming memory cards, Lexar is expanding its leadership in high-performance digital media gaming solutions to improve the overall video game experience for the growing number of consumers playing and competing on popular gaming consoles.

Available in 4GB and 8GB capacities, the Lexar Gaming M2 and Lexar Gaming SDHC memory cards give gamers the ability to store critical gaming data and information, such as cheat codes, checkpoints, custom settings, high scores, bonus materials, and player profiles. The new Gaming memory cards also enable gamers to store and manage games and downloaded multimedia content.

“Gamers live by their saved gaming data, and everyone from casual to hard-core gamers rely on that information to be available every time they power up their consoles,” said Manisha Sharma, director of worldwide memory card product marketing, Lexar Media.

“Since most gamers play more than one title at a time and use their consoles for Web browsing and photo, video, and music storage, they need memory products that can hold lots of content. The Lexar Gaming M2 and SDHC cards give even the most passionate gamers a way to reliably store their video game information, and help enhance the overall playing experience.”

The new Lexar Gaming M2 card is compatible with Sony PSPgo and other Sony M2 devices. Lexar also offers the Lexar Gaming Memory Stick PRO Duo card for Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) and PlayStation 3.

The new Lexar Gaming SDHC card is designed for use with Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DSi, and also gives Nintendo DSi users the ability to snap and store photos with the device’s two built-in cameras, play back songs and music on their gaming device, and store games downloaded from the Nintendo DSi Shop.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sapphire HD 5970 -– the fastest graphics card – ever!

MUMBAI, INDIA: World leading graphics supplier, SAPPHIRE Technology, has introduced what it claims is the world’s fastest graphics card, the SAPPHIRE HD 5970.

With twice the computing power of the highly acclaimed SAPPHIRE HD 5870, the new HD 5970 model shares all the exciting features of this family -– including support for the DirectCompute 11 instruction set of Microsoft DirectX 11, hardware tessellation and multithreaded communication with the system CPU. It also supports acceleration of applications supported by ATI Stream, and the ability to display across three monitors simultaneously with ATI Eyefinity.

The SAPPHIRE HD 5970 ships with enhanced clock speeds of 725MHz core and 1000MHz (4.04GHz effective) -- making the SAPPHIRE HD 5970 the fastest in the world.

With 2GB of fifth generation GDDR5 memory and a new architecture with a total of 3200 stream processors and 160 texture units the SAPPHIRE HD 5970 is lightning fast with existing DirectX10.1, DirectX 10 and DirectX 9.0 games and applications, and will support stunning new levels of detail, transparency and lighting effects in new releases of software using DirectX 11.

All of this comes with a modest active power consumption and ATI Powerplay Dynamic Power Management to achieve super-low power consumption in 2D and idle modes.

These cards incorporate the latest architectural features from the ATI division of AMD in order to fully support Microsoft DirectX 11, including DirectCompute 11 instructions, hardware Tessellation and multi-threaded communications with the system CPU.

These combine to provide new capabilities such as the interaction between transparent objects, new lighting and accelerated post processing effects as well as supporting ATI Stream for accelerating applications such as video transcoding.

Narayana Nethralaya pilots breakthrough telemedicine on iPhone in quest to end blindness in children

BANGALORE, INDIA: Narayana Nethralaya Postgraduate Institute of Ophthalmology, Bangalore which has been involved in pediatric community eye outreach programs for over 25 years has helped evolve a unique tele-medicine software which allows screening of rural and semi-urban infants for a potentially blinding condition called Retinopathy of Prematurity along with other common conditions including ocular cancers.

The institute has helped provide the access of this software on the iPhone. The development is said to have large consequences in reducing the blindness burden of the country.

“Retinopathy of prematurity is the leading cause of preventable infant blindness worldwide. In India, over 8 percent of 27 million births each year are at risk of this potentially blinding condition. Roughly if 100 ‘at-risk’ infants are screened, 15-20% may require treatment that can prevent blindness. This requires a fast and efficient system of screening infants especially in the peripheral rural areas where expertise is lacking”, said Dr Anand Vinekar, Project Co-Ordinator & Pediatric Retinal Surgeon, Narayana Nethralaya, Bangalore.

“Since we began two years ago in seven districts of Karnataka, we have successfully treated over 150 infants and screened over 1500, but we used the ‘store and forward’ technology that was slow and did not solve security and storage issues.” Dr Vinekar remarked.

“With the experience of over 56,000 images of infant retinas in our database, we required a dedicated web-based software with progressive viewing to speedily allow access to our experts at the base hospital. This quest lead to the development of this new technology” said Dr Bhujang Shetty, Chairman of Narayana Nethralaya.

"There isn’t anything more rewarding than seeing the anxious look of a mother with a new born at risk of blindness and giving her reassurance that the best care is only a click away on a doctors iPhone" said Sham Banerji, CEO of i2iTeleSolutions, the collaborating software partner. "The i2i team is proud that our CARE TeleOphthalmology software connects ROP specialists to pre mature infants in the farthest corners of India.”

The i2i Teleopthalmology Application running on Apple’s iphone ushers in a new era of telemedicine letting doctors see amazingly clear images of the retina and report findings anywhere, anytime, realtime. The new pilot will run for 36 months at which time we expect TeleROP to be deployed on a much broader scale across the country and soon in other countries linking them in this unique way.

Bosch leading in automotive stop-start systems

BOSTON, USA: The Strategy Analytics Insight, “Bosch Leading The Stop-Start Market,” reports on changes in the automotive stop-start market—systems which are designed to turn off the engine when vehicles are stationary in order to reduce unnecessary fuel consumption and exhaust emissions.

Recent changes favoring Bosch in the Stop-Stop market include:

* The move toward consumer purchase of compact models due to the recession;
* Cash-for-clunkers-types of incentives which encourage the purchase of compact cars;
* Tougher fuel economy and emissions control mandates imposed on car makers; and
* The need to offer efficiency sub-brands ahead of rivals.

In addition, Strategy Analytics now expects stronger demand for more efficient car parts built in emerging markets, like those made in India for export to Europe. The modified starter system offers a quicker, more cost-effective solution over rival starter-alternators.

“Strategy Analytics had thought that there would be room in the market for both modified starters and starter-alternators. However, the overall automotive market favors modified starters,” according to the author of this Insight, Kevin Mak, Industry Analyst of the Strategy Analytics Automotive Electronics Service.

“Furthermore, low-cost mild hybrid power trains—and full hybrid power trains—are increasing pressure on the belt-driven starter-alternator.”

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

VISLINK intros KAMELYON digital transmitters and receivers, advances wireless surveillance

UK: VISLINK, plc has significantly advanced the state-of-the-art in Law Enforcement & Public Safety (LE&PS) wireless surveillance with the introduction of its software defined KAMELYON family of digital transmitters and receivers. As a Software Defined Radio (SDR), the field upgradeable KAMELYON is compatible with legacy surveillance technology, emerging digital applications, and future technological advancements.

In fact, based on KAMELYON, VISLINK has already developed next generation waveforms that provide greater reliability and security for covert video surveillance activities.

The KAMELYON surveillance products enhance VISLINK’s market strategy of providing secure Mobile Network Centric Solutions (MNCS) to the worldwide LE&PS market. MNCS facilitates the movement of surveillance related data (voice, video, and data) seamlessly across disparate networks (both public and private) in support of strategic and tactical surveillance operations.

MNCS provides a common platform solution for real-time imagery from covert, mobile, airborne, and fixed video collection assets to command staff engaged in crisis management. The MNCS strategy supports integrated Command, Control, and Communications on both a local and regional basis. As VISLINK’s MNCS technology continues to evolve, the KAMELYON products may be upgraded in the field to incorporate the latest advancements.

The KAMELYON products were developed by VISLINK Technologies to primarily support the requirements of its LE&PS business unit. However, this innovative approach to digital video and radio frequency transmission technology has immediate applications in the Group’s News & Entertainment and Marine & Energy business unit’s as well.

The KAMELYON technology is being adopted by VISLINK’s PMR, MRC, LINK, ADVENT, and Hernis brands for inclusion in the product offerings in their respective markets. With the adaptable KAMELYON technology in the product portfolio, each of the VISLINK brands can sustain a market leadership position through a reduction of the time required for product development and market introduction.

As a core technology, KAMELYON allows VISLINK to quickly bring innovation to the Law Enforcement & Public Safety market based on the flexibility and adaptability of the platform.

Coupled with VISLINK’s point-to-point microwave links, satellite uplink/downlink terminals, long range antenna systems, high power RF amplifiers, city-wide surveillance infrastructure, and air-to-ground video transmission systems, the new software defined KAMELYON technology is a key element to VISLINK’s integrated surveillance solutions.

LifeSize, Redington (India) form distribution partnership

MUMBAI, INDIA: LifeSize Communications, the global leader in high definition video communications, today announced a partnership agreement with Redington India Ltd -- a leading IT distribution player to address the rapidly growing demand of High Definition videoconferencing in the Indian, Middle-east and African regions.

Under the LifeSize channel partner program, Redington will market, sell and support LifeSize HD video communication systems in the Indian, Middle-east and African regions.

Redington was selected to be a part of the LifeSize channel partner program based on their extensive experience and knowledge of the video communications market, as well as their ability to provide exceptional customer service and support.

"Redington brings the expertise and the infrastructure necessary for LifeSize to grow our channel partner base in India,” said William Yu, Regional Director, Asia Pacific, LifeSize.

”We realize the tremendous value our partners bring to LifeSize and we are absolutely committed to providing them with a fully encompassing channel program that supports their efforts and contributes to their ultimate success. We are looking forward to working with Redington to bring our exciting technology to new customers, allowing them do more while travelling less."

LifeSize’s all-HD video product portfolio is now the industry’s broadest and most affordable high definition product line, ranging from simple point-to-point video systems to highly customized, multi-display, multi-HD camera video systems. LifeSize products provide superior quality of experience, unique flexibility and unmatched price performance.”

Anand Chakravarthy, Head Business, Redington, said: "We are happy to add a leading brand in high definition video communications to our solutions portfolio. This will help us cater to a broader base of channel partners. Redington now can provide comprehensive solutions to information infrastructure needs across different business verticals. Our distribution network and dedicated communications division will help to grow LifeSize's market share substantially throughout India.”

Three RFID 'bright spots' will outpace overall market growth to show 12.7 percent CAGR over next five years

NEW YORK, USA: RFID (radio frequency identification) is being used or trialed in a variety of industries. Global economic conditions and business necessities have resulted in mixed outcomes: in some areas RFID still faces challenges, while in others, it is thriving.

Early this year, ABI Research identified three of the most promising hot-spots as the retail apparel segment, asset management, and active RFID (in a number of verticals).

“2009 has confirmed those assessments,” says RFID practice director Michael Liard. “All three of these RFID application and technology areas have shown strong growth, and today account for 9.3 percent of the total RFID market, with combined revenues of more than half a billion dollars. We expect the trend to continue in 2010 and beyond: apparel, asset management and active RFID should show a 12.7 percent combined compound annual growth rate through 2014, outpacing the overall RFID market growth. This is considered strong growth given the level of maturity of many RFID-based asset management applications.”

Specifically, adoption of item-level RFID in the fashion apparel market is graduating from pilot testing to full-scale deployment. While installations at Marks and Spencer in the United Kingdom, American Apparel in the US, and Charles Vögele in Switzerland remain the largest contributors to market growth, scores of companies are now in various stages of implementation.

Asset tracking and management is showing particular applicability to work-in-process tracking, including spare parts and tools; Returnable Transport Items (RTIs); IT asset management; medical assets, rental item management (library books, media, laundry, etc.); and yard management. “Multiple RFID frequencies and technologies support asset management, affording opportunities for multiple vendors,” notes Liard.

Active RFID-based solutions, including real-time location systems (RTLS), is expected to experience solid growth in a number of verticals, such as healthcare, manufacturing, aerospace and defense, transportation, and commercial services, in support of asset tagging, people tracking, and more.

3D@Home Consortium announces products for 3D industry professionals

SAN JOSE, USA: The 3D@Home Consortium, dedicated to speeding the advancement of 3D technology into the home, released two documents, ST4-01 3D Glossary and ST4-02 3D Technology Family Tree Poster.

Each one of these documents represents the first efforts of their kind in defining and documenting emerging technologies that enable 3D to the home. The two documents are geared toward industry professionals and are the work-product of the consortium’s Steering Team 4 (ST4), tasked with identifying issues around 3D displays and associated hardware and lead by Chris Chinnock of Insight Media.

The 3D@Home Consortium is making these documents available to 3D industry professionals to provide a common framework for communication and facilitate industry advancement.

The terms included in the 3D Glossary represent a comprehensive listing of the terminology used in the technology and business of 3D. Chinnock notes, “The document provides more up-to-date and accurate definitions than any other source since it was developed from inputs provided by 3D@Home members who represent all aspects of the 3D supply chain from content creation to display.”

Industry professionals will find the 3D Glossary an authoritative and useful reference tool in communicating regarding technical issues and products. The glossary is available via the consortium’s website.

The 3D Technology Family Tree poster is a graphical representation of the relationships between 3D display technologies and the eyewear needed, if any. The poster was originally released as an insert to the Motion Imaging Journal of the Society for Motion Pictures and Television Engineers (SMPTE) and is also now available for purchase via the internet.

“The 3D Technology Family Tree poster is a ‘must have’ on the office wall of the stereoscopic industry professional and those looking to explore the field,” notes Ethan Schur, co-chair of the consortium’s promotion team and vice president at TDVision.

DisplayLink virtual graphics to enable simple, affordable 10-seat thin client computing via Windowns Multipoint Server 2010

PALO ALTO, USA: Helping achieve the company’s founding vision of making networked computing accessible to all, DisplayLink USB virtual graphics technology is enabling the world’s first 10-seat thin client multi-user computing solution.

By eliminating the need for additional graphics hardware and simplifying setup to a quick USB connection, it will be more affordable than ever for schools to allow multiple people to access the computing resources of a single computer.

DisplayLink’s industry-leading USB virtual graphics innovations allow a computer to drive up to 10 monitors without additional video hardware in the host by providing simple software in the host and USB virtual graphics technology in the client. With Windows MultiPoint Server 2010, a host computer can drive an individual desktop experience to each of the monitors. And there is no need for a system administrator to be devoted to installation.

“Up to 10 people can work and browse the Web at the same time,” said Dennis Crespo executive vice president of marketing and business development for DisplayLink. “Thanks to the unsurpassed simplicity of our virtual graphics technology and USB 2.0, we can offer a true multi-person plug-and-play solution that’s easy to set up, manage and use in minutes.”

The ultra-convenient solution makes thin client computing more efficient and faster to set up, while also potentially saving thousands of dollars compared to traditional thin client solutions. It is ideal for education, emerging markets and large multi-seat installations, where a complete PC for every person isn’t affordable or practical.

The DisplayLink USB virtual graphics technology for multi-user computing is available through one of the world’s leading computer OEMs. It offers a true zero client experience that eliminates the need for a full PC at the systems’ end points – and just requires peripherals, a thin client device, and a familiar standard USB 2.0 cable instead of any proprietary connection technology.

”We are pleased to support DisplayLink’s announcement to help extend the reach of technology in learning environments like classrooms, labs and libraries by allowing multiple users to leverage the resources of a single computer,” said Ira Snyder, general manager, Windows MultiPoint Server at Microsoft Corp.

DisplayLink’s simple yet sophisticated hardware embedded in the client helps the device deliver high performance at a low cost.

By using familiar USB connectivity, DisplayLink eliminates the need for running cables and installing multiple graphics cards in the host, therefore allowing client computing to be powered by a host computer and sold at a fraction of the cost of server architectures.

* The low-power design helps the thin client device to operate on the bus power of the USB instead of requiring an external power supply.

* DisplayLink’s technology also helps ensure servers can support well over the five seats typically supported by competing video-card-based multi-user solutions.

CMO and Innolux Display to merge companies through exchange of common shares

TAIWAN: Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp. (CMO) and Innolux Display Corp. recently held their board meetings, respectively, to approve the merger of the two companies through 100 percent of the exchange of their common shares.

Subject to the completion of all legal procedures, both companies have agreed that each 2.05 shares of CMO common share will be exchanged into 1 of Innolux common share. The new company following the merger will be re-named as Chimei Innolux Corp. (Chimei Innolux).

CMO Chairman Frank Liao expressed his optimism about the merger. CMO has the fourth largest panel capacity in the world and offers complete range of flat display products and state-of-the-art technology. Innolux, on the other hand, excels in its integration of system assembly and superior clients exposures in the display industry.

The combination of the two companies would create significant synergies in integrated supply chain management, streamlined operation, great economy of scale, and complementary customer base.

Innolux Chairman Dr. H.C. Tuan also envisioned the newly formed entity, Chimei Innolux, would contrive to re-engineer the respective resources it inherits from its original companies, demonstrate its competitiveness in all aspects and soon emerge as the new industry leader with full fledged products and services provided to its broad-based customers around the globe, hence rendering the best value proposition to its shareholders.

The combination also materializes the collaboration between Chimei Group and Foxconn Group, two of the most influential conglomerates from Taiwan, and paves the way for more business rationalization and development.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Samsung retakes leadership in US LCD-TV market in Q3

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. in the third quarter retook the No.-1 ranking in the U.S. LCD-TV market from chief competitor Vizio Inc., according to iSuppli Corp.

The South Korean electronics giant shipped 1.3 million LCD-TVs in the United States during the period from July through September, equaling a 16.8 percent share of the market. This gave Samsung a 1.1 percentage point lead over U.S.-based Vizio, which held a 15.7 percent share in the third quarter with shipments of 1.2 million LCD-TVs.

The last time Samsung held the top spot in the U.S. LCD-TV market was in the fourth quarter of 2008. Vizio in the first and second quarters of 2009 took the lead in the United States as consumers warmed to its low-cost, full-featured sets sold through high-volume retailers like Wal-Mart.

However, Samsung in the second quarter began to regain momentum and increase its market share as the company focused on advanced LED-backlit LCD-TVs and reduced prices for its high-end sets.

“Samsung is leading the LCD-TV industry’s adoption of LED backlighting technology,” said Riddhi Patel, principal analyst, television systems, for iSuppli. “The company has been marketing these sets intensely, attracting the interest of US consumers. Consumers like LED-backlit LCD-TVs because of their ultra-thin form factors. With Samsung cutting the prices of these sets aggressively, they now are becoming increasingly affordable for a larger number of US consumers.”

The figure presents iSuppli Top-5 ranking of LCD-TV brands in the third quarter in the United States, based on unit shipments. Please note that these figures encompass only the United States and do not include other nations.Source: iSuppli

LED rises
LED-backlit sets accounted for 3.7 percent of total U.S. LCD-TV shipments in the third quarter, up from 2.1 percent in the second. The United States now leads the world in sales of LCD-TVs with LED backlights.

Samsung in October was selling 55-inch LED-backlit LCD TVs for $2,650, just $325 more than for equivalent-sized and featured sets using conventional Cold-Cathode Fluorescent Lamp (CCFL) backlighting technology.

“This low price point and minimal gap with CCFL sets represents a critical price threshold for LED-backlit sets , making them more acceptable to U.S. consumers,” Patel said.

Quarterly outlook
Brands shipped 7.9 million LCD-TVs in the United States in the third quarter, up 8.3 percent from 7.3 million in the second quarter.

Most of the Top-5 LCD-TV brands in the US saw their shipments and market shares decline in the third quarter compared to the second, as smaller companies increased their sales. Brands in the third quarter were focused on introducing new models and filling sales channels with new products, causing sales to decrease.

The fourth quarter, which brings the Christmas selling season, is expected to bring stronger shipment growth because of aggressive discounts for full-featured LCD-TVs. Furthermore, retailers are expected to offer attractive deals on product bundles.

Such bundles will include LCD-TVs sold with Blu-ray players, surround-sound systems, DVRs, game consoles, and installation services. Premium brands such as Samsung, LG and Sony are expected to lead the way with these packaged deals.

Source: iSuppli

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gemalto unveils world’s first bio-sourced degradable smart cards

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS: Gemalto has launched the world’s first bio-sourced degradable smart cards. The card body is made from renewable material, is easily recyclable and compostable, and can be incinerated without emissions of toxic fumes.

Additionally, Gemalto offers packaging made from recycled paper and vegetable inks that significantly reduce the product’s environmental impact. Gemalto’s bio-sourced smart cards will be ready for mass production in the first quarter of 2010.

This innovation breakthrough answers a long standing demand from banks and operators around the world. To meet this market need, Gemalto offers a bio-sourced smart banking card and a bio-sourced SIM card, each compliant to the industry standards in their respective sector. At Cartes & IDentification this year, Gemalto will be presenting both products on its stand.

The bio-sourced smart cards complement Gemalto’s portfolio of eco-friendly cards, made from paper-based materials for short-term use (e.g. scratch cards), as well as ABS and PETG based products, a chlorine-free alternative to PVC cards.

The company opted for non-chlorine polymers in the late 1990’s and today, adopting material stemming from agro-products is a major step forward in promoting sustainable solutions for card vendors and end users alike.

“Gemalto has always believed an alternative solution was achievable,” commented Tan Teck Lee, Gemalto’s Chief Innovation and Technology Officer. “We are extremely proud to have developed the world’s first degradable smart cards the market has been seeking. These product launches lie within the scope of Gemalto’s corporate strategy to commit to sustainability, with products and manufacturing processes that have a reduced environmental impact.”

Saturday, November 14, 2009

US LCD digital signage takes off, up 41pc Q/Q and 19pc Y/Y

AUSTIN, USA: DisplaySearch indicated in its latest Monthly Large Format Commercial Displays Sell Through Report that large (26”+), non-consumer LCDs had their highest sell-through quarter ever in US commercial distribution in Q3’09, with shipments up 41 percent Q/Q and 19 percent Y/Y.

In addition, September sell-through was up 49 percent from shipments in August, and was the largest sell-through month on record for LCD commercial-use displays.

“Sales of professional displays of this kind—typically classified as Digital Signage displays—are one of the benchmarks used to determine the growth of the Digital Out-of Home market. Their installation in OOH (out-of-home) environments helps to create a ‘digital inventory’ where advertisers can sell advertising space,” noted Chris Connery, DisplaySearch Vice President of PC and Large Format Commercial Displays.

Fig. 1: US Commercial Distribution Sell-Through of Large (26”+) Professional Use LCDsSource: DisplaySearch Monthly Large Format Commercial Displays Sell Through Report

Commercial grade flat-panel screens can be used for applications like way-finding, electronic menu boards, flight-information displays, boardroom displays and classroom displays.

However, these displays are increasingly being used to help build out digital signage advertising infrastructure in OOH environments. The commercial availability of narrow frame (or bezel) LCD displays in the 40-46” class have also helped to open a new market, because they can be more seamlessly tiled together to form even larger size displays (without distracting lines in the overall image).

Additionally, while this market has been traditionally dominated by Samsung, LG and NEC, more traditional IT companies such as HP and Cisco have entered into the mix in recent quarters, helping to further build out the digital signage infrastructure.

Sales of commercial-grade displays designed specifically for such rugged public environments are not the only leading indicator showing growth in the digital signage infrastructure, however.

Not all digital signage solutions use screens designed specifically for OOH environments, and many major brands offer standard TV products for commercial installations as well, especially if installed away from the reach of the general population (such as hanging from a ceiling).

Thus, shipments of standard TV products (most with a PC interface) through commercial distributors are another indicator of growth in the OOH digital advertising sector’s inventory of available digital displays. September data shows that TVs shipped through commercial distribution channels also rose to record levels with TVs selling commercially in Q3’09 up 85 percent Y/Y.

Table 1: Q3’09 US Shipments of 26”+ LCDs Through Commercial Distributionby Display TypeSource: DisplaySearch Monthly Large Format Commercial Displays Sell Through Report.
*Hybrid denotes products which are specifically marketed as being appropriate for both commercial and consumer environments.

Friday, November 13, 2009

LCD update: Netbook panel shortage continues

USA: Here's the latest update from Converge Market Insights.

Strong demand from China for TV panels led the recovery in the LCD business in early 2009. As production capacities expanded, however, most panel makers remained cautious about the market outlook in 2010.

One reason is fear of surplus, particularly when sales numbers fell below expectations during China's Golden Week holidays in early October. Sony's aggressive pricing strategy and its recent collaboration with Foxconn have also created concerns among panel makers about diminishing profits for TV panels. As a result, TV panels will likely continue a downtrend in pricing in the near future.

Since LEDs found their way into many LCD panels and replaced traditional cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs) as the light source, there has been an ongoing shortage of models with CCFLs. The trend has intensified, particularly on 14.1", 15.0", 15.4" and some 17.0" panels.

Many of these models were discontinued in the past six to 12 months. With just a quick look at the recent demand from the service industry, it is apparent that 14.1" to 15.4" panels are in the highest demand in today's market. It is estimated that this trend will continue well into 2010. The market prices on these highly allocated sizes are expected to continue to rise due to this shortage.

The market for desktop monitor panels has been rather quiet, compared with netbooks and televisions. Pricing remains stable as neither demand nor supply has fluctuated significantly.

The introduction of Windows 7, with its newly incorporated touch screen capability, is speculated to ignite a new wave of demand for desktop panels. Currently, the market impact has been modest and will likely continue to be so until more users and software makers begin to adopt Microsoft’s new operating system.

The industrial LCD market continues its calm and steady pace. There may be some short-term instability in the supply chain once the rumored merger between Canon and Hitachi takes place, but the impact is expected to be minimal as each company has a rather modest footprint in the panel industry.