Thursday, December 31, 2009

TV demand outlook improves; revenues to resume growth in 2010

AUSTIN, USA: As the world begins to emerge from the economic malaise of 2009, consumer demand for TVs continues to improve. Total TV shipments in Q3’09 were up Y/Y on a unit basis for the first time in a year, and DisplaySearch now expects that global TV revenues will rise Y/Y in Q1’10—the first time in six quarters.

As shown in the latest DisplaySearch Advanced Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report, total TV shipments will rise from 205 million units in 2009 to 218 million units in 2010, a 6 percent increase following 2009’s 1 percent shipment decline. Key drivers of this growth are demand resilience in developed TV markets like North America, Japan and Western Europe, as well as accelerating demand from emerging markets for flat panel TVs.

“China is a hot growth engine for the global flat panel TV market as the transition from CRT to LCD and plasma TVs continues to drive market growth,” observed Hisakazu Torii, VP of TV Market Research for DisplaySearch.

“Government stimulus activity is having a positive effect on demand for flat panel TVs in both China and Japan, while several upcoming analog-to-digital broadcast changes in 2010 are likely to increase demand in Western Europe for digital TVs. Meanwhile, large price declines in North America have been driving strong unit demand, especially for 19” to 32” sizes.”

Global average selling prices for all TV technologies are expected to fall 9 percent in 2009, the first year of declining average prices since the flat panel TV transition began. The large decline in average pricing, a result of both high flat panel market share and price erosion, has boosted demand for TVs on a unit basis, but not enough to prevent a 10 percent decline in global TV revenues, from $112 billion to $101 billion. However, global price erosion is expected to lessen in 2010 which, when combined with an increased unit demand outlook, will return some positive revenue growth to the industry.

The worldwide CRT TV shipment forecast for 2010 was downgraded to 32 million units on declining demand and waning supply of core components. The forecast for plasma TVs was slightly upgraded to 14.6 million units, based on increased demand expected in China from new local production.

2010 LCD TV shipment outlook increased to more than 170 million units
After a cautious outlook at the start of 2009, global demand for LCD TVs has held up astonishingly well amid the worst global recession in decades. DisplaySearch has upgraded its 2009 LCD TV forecast to 140.5 million units, based on surging demand in China, as well as improving outlook for LCD TVs in Western Europe and North America from large price declines. In fact, nearly all regions received a demand outlook upgrade, although overall LCD TV revenues are only expected to rise 1 percent in 2009 amid pricing pressure.

“LCD TV prices have been falling by 20-30 percent Y/Y or more at most screen sizes with the overall average LCD TV price expected to fall 24 percent in 2009, twice the rate of decline seen in 2008,” noted Paul Gagnon, Director of North America TV Market Research.

“The price declines are a strong influence on the robust demand, but are coming at the expense of profitability for many in the supply chain, especially at the brand and reseller level. Ultimately though, tough times are a prime opportunity for companies to capture market share and we’ve seen a distinct shift in share position in 2009.”

The 2010 LCD TV forecast has been upgraded to 171 million units, which would be a 22 percent increase over 2009 levels. The strong demand in 2009 has come mostly from smaller screen sizes (less than 40”) where prices are near or below $500, but DisplaySearch now expects larger screen sizes to resume share growth in 2010 and beyond as economic conditions continue to improve.

Advanced technologies like LED backlights and 3D are expected to provide a further catalyst for growth, particularly in higher price point products where the premiums are more acceptable. LED backlight LCD TVs in particular are poised for explosive growth in 2010 as nearly every major TV brand will introduce a wide variety of models and sizes with aggressive targets for growth. Starting in Q1’10, DisplaySearch will report actual and forecast data for LED backlit LCD TV shipments by brand, region, screen size, resolution and frame rate.

DisplaySearch is also currently tracking shipments of high frame rate LCD TVs. Higher frame rates are important to manufacturers and retailers who seek to mitigate the commoditization of LCD TVs with high performance features and future technologies like LED and 3D will receive similar attention.

The 100/120 Hz frame rate models will account for 26 percent of LCD TV revenues worldwide in 2009, while 200/240 Hz will take about 5 percent of revenues. By 2013, 100/120 Hz will account for 31 percent of LCD TV revenues, while 200/240 Hz will account for nearly 20 percent.

Fig. 1: Worldwide LCD TV Revenue Share by Frame RateSource: DisplaySearch Advanced Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report

PlasmaTech intros universal circuit board to OEMs

LAS VEGAS, USA: PlasmaTech Inc., a wireless technology innovator providing solutions to the $120 billion global security market, has begun marketing its universal wireless remote control and access circuit board to global OEMs.

The universal circuit board can be integrated into almost any existing device, equipment or finished good to allow that device to send data wirelessly. The company'’s wireless transmitter has many applications in both the security and non-security fields; it could be used for the transmission of data from machines in manufacturing, data collection in oil fields, or data from valves controlling fluid volumes.

Security applications could be sending data on door and window access to a central control system. These are but a few of the types of applications the wireless data transmission device could be installed.

By working with various manufacturers the company intends to provide its wireless secure transmitter as an add-on to their existing products. In many installations where data collection is required, running wires in just not an option, Plasmatech’s secure wireless transmitter is the solution.

The wireless transmitter can easily and efficiently create ad-hoc, peer-to-peer, point-to-multi-point, Star or Mesh networks for secure and redundant communications. The radio technology can broadcast as far as 40 miles within specific application requirements, often where Wi-Fi and other networks are limited.

In addition to new products, PlasmaTech's universal circuit board can be integrated into a wide variety of existing products, not at all limited to security applications. Other products features include up to three years of data transmissions on a two nine volt batteries, 129 bit AES data encryption and transmits data on a different frequency every 4.9 micro seconds.

“Our technology is one of the best solutions for integration into existing product lines requiring secure wireless communications, with field-tested and proven reliability. As a result, we believe we have a significant competitive advantage in the OEM marketplace,” said PlasmaTech President Marvin Williams.

“We are now recruiting sales representatives across the US with specific experience and contacts in the OEM marketplace. Wireless OEM data, voice and video modules are on the rise and represent a promising growth opportunity for PlasmaTech.”

10 Predictions for video conferencing solutions in 2010

HACKENSACK, USA: As the first decade of the millennium comes to a close, Vidyo, the pioneer in personal Telepresence, believes that change is on the horizon in the videoconferencing market as we enter 2010. Vidyo’'s predictions for the coming year:

1. 2010 will be the first year when corporate funded, large-scale desktop solutions will be the largest market growth segment in video conferencing.

2. Unified Communications and social media platforms will include a videoconferencing function, and by the end of the year, no market leader offering will be available without video.

3. Error-resilient multipoint video conferencing will emerge as a killer app for 3G/4G wireless networks.

4. The H.264/SVC standard will be embraced by many video conferencing vendors, but successfully delivered by the few who can eliminate the MCU.

5. New market entrants will announce exciting SVC-enabled videoconferencing solutions and services.

6. The broadcast world will begin to embrace H.264/SVC to reshape broadcast television delivery.

7. The economics associated with operating costs (network expense, the need for managed services, and on-going maintenance) will become a primary buying criterion in the purchase of room systems that can provide telepresence-like audio and video quality.

8. Enterprise-quality desktop video conferencing software will become part of the solution for decreasing the cost and raising the quality of healthcare in the U.S.

9. Religious organizations and churches will use desktop video conferencing to change the way they communicate and extend their reach.

10. Higher education, government continuity and recovery plans, and the broadband build-out to rural communities, funded by President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) will create stimulus for growth in desktop video conferencing.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pocket Radar -- world's only pocket-sized personal speed radar set -- to be unveiled at CES 2010

SANTA ROSA, USA: Selected as a 2010 Innovations Design and Engineering Award Honoree in the highly competitive personal electronics category, Pocket Radar’s sleek, compact, palm-sized, ultraportable design, combined with break-through speed radar technology and point-and-shoot functionality, provides users with extremely accurate, real-time speed measurements of moving objects with the touch of a button.

Using proprietary digital signal processing algorithms and state-of-the-art intelligent target acquisition techniques to provide users with industry leading accuracy and speed measurement detection across all ranges, Pocket Radar sets a new standard for performance.

Designed to be used by both professionals and everyday consumers in a wide range of applications, from coaches clocking baseball pitch speeds, to athletes seeking improved performance, to NASCAR racing fans looking to enhance their viewing experience and become part of the action, Pocket Radar forges a new standard in speed radar performance.

Pocket Radar utilizes a Doppler radar signal detection and processing system coupled with re-engineered microwave and antenna components to deliver the same powerful performance of traditional bulky radar guns, in a device compact enough to easily fit into a shirt pocket.

Accurate to within 1 mile per hour, Pocket Radar is able to take 10,000 speed measurements using one set of AAA batteries. Its small size and easy-to-use point-and-shoot functionality means that Pocket Radar users can get right to the action, while others are still setting up and turning on their traditional, bulky radar speed guns.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Green Plug agreement with Imagination signals easier path for CE vendor adoption

SAN RAMON, USA: Green Plug, the first developer of digital technology enabling collaboration between electronic devices and their power sources, today announced that its new agreement with Imagination Technologies PLC will potentially deliver both a zero increase in bill-of-materials costs and dramatically reduce time-to-market for Green Plug-enabled devices.

Imagination, a leading provider of System-on-Chip (SoC) intellectual property (IP), is the first manufacturer to make Green Plug’s Greentalk digital protocol and Greenwire connection sensing technology available in its core products.

At the same time, PURE, a leader in digital radio and an Imagination customer, has announced plans to enable Green Plug functionality in select radio products and is poised to introduce a smart power adapter accessory. At 2010 International CES in Las Vegas in January, PURE will host Green Plug in its booth (South Hall, #36604).

The initial step in transforming from dumb power adapters into smart power solutions is to enable electronic products to communicate over the power connector. While thousands of consumers voiced their preference for more convenient, reusable power adapters on, the perception that doing so would entail added cost in what was a difficult year for CE product vendors proved an impediment to rapid adoption. Now, with the simpler “enablement” process that the Green Plug/Imagination agreement makes possible, for many products this impediment has been removed.

Using the new technology, any device can communicate with Green Plug-enabled power supplies directly over the power cable and connector on the device, in many cases without adding any extra components.

“Look to 2010 for Green Plug to become native within power management and other controller chips, making it even easier for CE product vendors to turn-on Green Plug in their products,” said Frank Paniagua, Jr., Green Plug CEO.

"We're delighted to welcome Green Plug as a valued smart energy partner and licensee of Imagination's META processor technology, which will be at the heart of both Green Plug's chip offering as well as an IP block to be offered widely,” said Tony King-Smith, VP Marketing, Imagination Technologies.

“PURE, a leading manufacturer of digital radios and connected audio products and a division of Imagination Technologies, will also be incorporating Green Plug technology in some of its future products - a great example of how Imagination's Technology Division utilizes PURE as an advanced technology showcase. We look forward to working closely with Green Plug in the deployment of their smart energy solutions globally."

Consumers will have the option of using the free, vendor-provided power adapter or of purchasing a power accessory that will work with all Green Plug-enabled CE products and can be configured to simultaneously power two, four, eigth or more products, each with unique power requirements.

Green Plug is the first green technology company to apply two-way digital communication to convert a universal power source to a device’s specific power requirements. The Greentalk digital protocol enables devices to collaborate with power supplies to dynamically monitor, control and optimize power delivery for changing conditions.

Highly efficient, stylish DC power hubs enabled with Green Plug’s GPP chip are able to simultaneously power multiple devices, each with its own specific voltage and power requirements. Green Plug technology minimizes solid waste by allowing consumers to keep their chargers for use with future devices after their current devices have become obsolete.

Global transition to IP video surveillance defies downturn

UK: With 2009 almost at an end, the latest data from IMS Research suggests that the global video surveillance market will increase by 3 percent. This figure is significantly lower than historical market growth and is reflective of the severe impact of the economic slowdown on the video surveillance industry.

Report author and IMS Research analyst Gary Wong states: “The economic downturn has undoubtedly impacted global video surveillance growth in 2009, but the market for IP video surveillance equipment continues to grow strongly. While the global market for analog video surveillance equipment will be effectively flat in 2009, the growth rate for global IP video surveillance equipment is likely to exceed 15 percent.”

This growth forecast is corroborated by recent third quarter financial updates from a number of publically traded IP video surveillance firms, and data reported to IMS Research’s quarterly network camera tracking service. The quarterly tracking data shows strong growth in the Americas market for IP video surveillance equipment, with the region on course to meet IMS Research’s growth forecasts for 2009 and 2010.

Wong also states, “Nascent markets for video surveillance equipment, which have embraced IP video surveillance technology, will significantly outperform global market growth in 2009 and will continue to thrive in 2010.”

The Middle East is a prime example of a relatively immature video surveillance market that has experienced strong IP video surveillance adoption. The rapid growth of IP video surveillance in the Middle East can be partially attributed to the vast number of greenfield projects. Security consultants and integrators operating in the Middle East are generally more IT savvy than their European and US counterparts; another key factor driving IP video surveillance growth in the region.

IMS Research’s forthcoming “Middle East CCTV and Video Surveillance – 2009 edition” discovered that whilst some areas within the Middle East region - in particular Dubai - have been heavily affected by the economic downturn, the impact has been restricted to certain market verticals, and the region as a whole is forecast to grow strongly through 2010.

2010 International CES features record 330 new exhibitors

ARLINGTON, USA: A record number of new exhibitors – more than 330 companies – will join more than 2,500 exhibitors in unveiling their latest technology innovations at the 2010 International CES.

With more than 20,000 new products on display, the International CES is the world’s largest consumer technology tradeshow. CE Spotlights throughout the CES show floor will feature key market categories including apps, green technology, gaming, location based services and more. Owned and produced by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the 2010 International CES returns to Las Vegas, January 7-10, 2010.

“With a record number of new exhibitors, scores of new product introductions, several new Spotlights on the show floor and a dynamic lineup of keynotes sessions, the 2010 International CES will be our best show yet,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA.

“More technology deals will be made during the four days of CES than anywhere else on earth. In fact, each CES attendee has an average of 12 meetings while at the show, reinforcing CES as the business hub for technology. Innovation is flourishing within the technology industry and the 2010 CES is the only place to see it all.”

Several CE Spotlights covering a variety of technology categories will be housed on the 2010 CES show floor. These include: the iLounge Pavilion, featuring all things iPod, iPhone and Mac related; Living in Digital Times, highlighting technology relevant to all lifestyles; EHX@CES with custom CE products for home and commercial installation; Sustainable Planet, featuring the latest green technologies including advances in green building, alternative energy technologies and smart grid technologies and the Gaming Showcase with the latest gaming hardware and software.

The 2010 CES will feature 20 market-specific TechZones highlighting the latest trends and emerging markets. New CES TechZones include the eBooks, Experience 3D, Femto, Lifestyle Gadgets, Mobile DTV, Netbooks and Safe Driver TechZones.

Top executives of the biggest names in technology and business will take the stage at the 2010 International CES with keynote addresses from Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer, Ford’s Alan Mulally, Intel’s Paul Otellini and Qualcomm’s Dr. Paul Jacobs, as well as Nokia’s Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo and Hisense’s Zhou Houjian, who will speak as part of the CES Technology and Emerging Countries Program.

Additionally, the 2010 CES will feature more than 250 sessions and 800 expert speakers as part of the CES conference program, which will cover a range of industry topics from social media to safe driving to technology policy.

Conference programs for the 2010 International CES include, “Up Next at CES: Creativity, Content and Cash,” focused on addressing the major challenge of how to monetize new media and the “Tech Policy Summit,” which will discuss critical policy issues including broadband deployment and spectrum allocation.

Printed electronics to control flexible displays

GERMANY: Screens and display elements in mobile phones, e-readers for electronic books and measuring devices are now well-established features of our networked world. To make the manufacture of these mobile mass displays more cost effective, organic electronics is providing technical solutions, including flexible control circuits.

The Technische Universität Darmstadt, tesa scribos GmbH, the Universität Stuttgart and BASF SE want to research into these printed electronics in the project “Complementary Circuit Technology for printed Displays” (German name Kosadis ).

This project is an element of the “Forum Organic Electronics” cluster, one of the winners of the Excellence Cluster Competition held by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF).

The joint project is initially intended to resolve fundamental technological issues. These activities have a total volume of just under €3.5 million, to which the BMBF is contributing sponsorship funding of almost €1.9 million. Within this initiative, BASF SE is researching into optimized organic semiconductors for organic CMOS circuits. Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductors are a complementary circuit technology with low energy consumption and high switching speeds.

In the next step, the printing specialists of the Technische Universität Darmstadt will optimize existing printing processes so that ultrathin transistor structures can be printed reproducibly. The Technische Universität Darmstadt will be supported in these efforts by tesa scribos GmbH, whose experts create structures measuring a few micrometers (µm) on theprinted layers by laser direct imaging.

The necessary electronics and display know-how is being contributed by the Universität Stuttgart. The research scientists of the Chair of Display Technology are specialized in developing different display elements and thin layer circuits for their control. As part of the Kosadis project, they intend to adapt the design of the structural elements to the special requirements of organic electronics and to design and construct a display based for the first time completely on organic electronics.

The printed electronics for flexible displays being researched in Kosadis are an important interface to many areas of organic electronics. Based on conductive polymers or smaller molecules from organic chemistry, they are regarded as an important technology of the future.

Compared to silicon-based components, organic transistor circuits can be printed easily, in mass production and more cost effectively. Thereby, they open the way to new applications such as flexible, rollable and mobile displays, electronic price labels or intelligent labels that inform consumers at all times about the condition of their goods.

The “Forum Organic Electronics” excellence cluster is a cooperative network of three DAX companies, eight international corporations, six medium-sized companies and 11 research institutes and colleges, including two elite universities.

The objectives of the excellence cluster in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region are to create the world’s leading research, development and production center for organic electronics, one of the most attractive workplaces for top-flight researchers and young academics as well as the world’s leading innovation center for knowledge transfer and company start-ups.

The 28 companies, universities and research institutes are cooperating in the research projects for the technology of the future, organic electronics, which is being sponsored by the BMBF to an amount of more than €40 million.

Monday, December 28, 2009

AIS releases high brightness ppen frame LCD monitors for outdoor digital signage and kiosk applications

IRVINE, USA: American Industrial Systems Inc. (AIS) has introduced a line of high brightness and Transflective LCD Monitors, featuring passive transflective technology, which reflects and transmits light (transflective = transmissive + reflective).

Under bright illumination such as direct sunlight exposure, the display acts as a reflective LCD with the contrast being constant with illuminance. High Brightness displays natively produce luminance, up to 1500 NITS for superior performance in outdoor and direct sunlight applications.

Transflective technology utilizes ambient light as a power source, the active luminance requirement of the backlight is reduced and only required for dark & dim applications; in turn reducing power consumption, heat emissions, and increasing efficiency. Several display lines feature transflective and high brightness technologies including open frames, rugged marine series, waterproof series (full IP65), vehicle mount series, and tablet LCD’s.

AIS’ comprehensive sunlight readable LCD display line is designed for industrial and extreme environments, application such as outdoor digital signage kiosks, industrial machinery, vehicle and marine mounted instrumentation controls are ideal application for sunlight readable LCD displays.

The industrial grade monitors are encased in steel and aluminum mechanical designs for maximum protection and ruggedization. You can choose a standard sunlight readable open frame for custom mounting options or a fully ruggedized full IP65 water/dustproof monitor, featuring a stainless steel chassis for anti-corrosion and outdoor environments.

AIS’ offers a long list of add-on enhancements to customize each LCD display to the specific application. Sunlight Readable Transflective films, backlight enhancements, privacy films, touch screens, wide voltage range boards, wide temperature range modules, sealed connectors, and shock/vibration resistance are all but a few of AIS’ line of enhancement technologies.

AIS currently offers sunlight readable displays in 6.4” to 57” currently. AIS’ LCD displays are engineered for long-lasting product life cycle and high reliability to serve digital signage, kiosk, and the industrial market demands.

LED-backlit LCD-TV shipments to rise nearly by factor of eight in 2010

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Light Emitting Diode (LED)-backlit Liquid Crystal Display-Televisions (LCD-TVs) will gain considerable momentum in 2010 and beyond because of the increasing commitments from various parts of the TV supply chain, consumer demand and a higher focus on green technologies, according to iSuppli Corp.

iSuppli forecasts that global shipments LED-backlit LCD-TV 40-inches and larger in size will expand to 112.1 million units by 2013, rising at a whopping CAGR of 405 percent from a mere 34,000 units in 2008. In 2010 alone, shipments of LED-backlit LCD TVs 40-inches in size and larger will rise by a factor of nearly eight, reaching 18.8 million units, up from 2.5 million in 2009.

By 2013, 83.2 percent of 40-inch and larger LCD TVs shipped will use LED backlights, up from just 0.1 percent in 2008 and 6 percent in 2009.

The figure presents iSuppli’s forecast for 40-inch and larger LCD-TV unit shipments by backlight type, both CCFL and LED, for the period of 2009 through 2013.

“Panel makers have been investing heavily in LED chipset makers or have been developing their own internal technologies in order to take advantage of what they believe LED-backlit LCD-TVs bring to the table: differentiation, innovation, low power consumption and, of course, the potential to reap the benefits of higher revenue,” said Riddhi Patel, principal analyst for television systems at iSuppli.

“Obviously for brands, LED backlighting represents a huge opportunity in a market segment already brimming with potential. LEDs also help to differentiate products from others on store shelves. This will be even more important as the LCD-TV market begins to saturate and the replacement cycle occurring in the United States and elsewhere nears its conclusion.”

Consumer demand and acceptance
Beyond differentiation and environmental considerations, perhaps the greatest driving force for LED backlit LCD-TVs is coming from the consumer. Consumers are attracted to LED-backlit LCD-TVs by attributes, including thinner form factors, improved picture quality, including better color saturation and power savings and other green attributes.

Light emitting challenges
While the benefits of LED-backlit LCD-TVs are apparent, the challenges are as well. The cost of LED backlights remains too high for mass consumer adoption at this point. The TV sets that utilize LEDs now are priced far more than standard CCFL-based LCD-TVs.

Other challenges include an inadequate component supply, a fragmented supply chain, short LED lifetimes and thermal issues.

Gone green
However, LEDs have an ace in the hole: Increasingly stringent government policies are forcing television manufacturers to shift their backlighting to environmentally friendly technologies that consume less electricity, especially at the larger TV sizes where power is a major concern.

Friday, December 25, 2009

HDMI Licensing LLC communicates further detail on 3D requirements within HDMI v1.4

SUNNYVALE, USA: HDMI Licensing LLC, the agent responsible for licensing High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) specification, announced, on behalf of the HDMI Founders, the following regarding 3D formats and HDMI Specification Version 1.4:

1. In order to respond to recent input from the industry, the HDMI Consortium will meet in late January 2010 to add an additional 3D format (tentatively named “Top/Bottom”) to the HDMI specification, supporting the use of this format over HDMI.

a. The exact date for this announcement is undetermined. The Consortium has committed to resolving this issue in January 2010 and publishing a document soon thereafter.

2. Legacy set-top boxes (those that are already deployed in the market) are required to comply with the HDMI Specification Version 1.4 requirements for 3D functionality even if only implementing one or more of the 3D formats in Appendix H of the specification.

a. In order to meet the needs of the market, the HDMI Founders have decided to allow legacy set-top boxes to use formats contained in Appendix H without having to implement the HDMI specification’s mandatory 3D formats, provided that they fully comply with the signaling protocol defined in Appendix H. This will continue to be in effect and will be reevaluated once a mandatory 3D broadcast format is defined.

i. However, legacy set-top boxes that do not support the mandatory 3D formats may not claim 3D functionality as defined by the updated HDMI Adopted Trademark and Logo Usage Guidelines.

”As a leading global standard for HD connectivity, the HDMI Consortium takes the market’s needs very seriously,” says Steve Venuti, president of HDMI Licensing, LLC.

“3D is a nascent market and thus continues to evolve quickly. We have taken input from leading industry associations and this announcement reflects the HDMI Founders’ commitment to continuously and proactively set the foundation for innovations that will deliver the next generation of content. The addition of the new format will secure the application of 3D for broadcasting, in addition to the existing applications for Blu-ray and gaming.”

Electronic cigarettes for smokers who have quit quitting

GAINESVILLE, USA: Thousands and thousands have left tobacco for an alternative called an electronic cigarette, that is making waves in the news, government and the general population.

The support is widespread and diverse, from prominent doctors and harm reduction specialists to the users and family members of the ones who are hoping against hope that this will be the product that can reduce the risk of traditional tobacco cigarettes.

A quick check of comments online shows thousands and thousands of supporters of smokers and non smokers alike with high expectations of this new alternative, but there are a few that are in strong opposition of the new product and calling it a danger to society against many health care professionals' advice.

Special interest groups have made open attacks on the product with less than accurate information or misleading information on the new product called the electronic cigarette.

The electronic cigarette is now being used by the thousands of smokers who have given up on quitting and have settled for the new alternative. "I still get the nicotine and the satisfaction of the act of smoking without 4,000 chemicals in tobacco cigarettes," states Robin Duran of Tennessee.

"It just makes sense to use these if you are not able to quit using willpower or the products that do not work for 95 percent of smokers, and I will continue to use them instead of going back to tobacco."

Most users comments online are stating that this is the one product that just makes sense and has the potential to change the hearts of millions concerning smokers if they would just try the new alternative.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Scalable video coding (SVC) to impact global videoconferencing market

HACKENSACK, USA: Wainhouse Research has released its latest study, "H.264 SVC: A Technical Assessment," an independent view of the Scalable Video Coding (SVC) standard, ratified in late 2007 whose benefits are gaining recognition and acceptance in multiple segments of the videoconferencing and unified communications markets.

The report contrasts H.264 SVC with the preceding H.264 (AVC) Baseline Profile used for many years in traditional videoconferencing systems. Conclusions were based on side-by-side comparisons of a variety of videoconferencing devices and analysis of architecture and coding aspects.

“When properly implemented, an SVC-based video conferencing solution offers many benefits including decreased latency, enhanced video quality, significantly improved network error tolerance, decreased costs and more,” said Andrew W. Davis, Senior Analyst, Wainhouse Research. “SVC is a more versatile encoding method than any of its predecessor algorithms and we believe it will eventually be supported by all videoconferencing vendors.”

In particular, the Wainhouse paper indicates that an H.264 SVC system can provide:
* Equal video quality over non-lossy networks.
* Dramatic improvements in the ability to host high quality, artifact-free video calls on lower cost, loss-prone IP networks, including the Internet.
* Noticeable and measurable shorter delays (and higher interactivity) on both point-to-point calls and multipoint calls between H.264 SVC-compliant systems.
* Impressive reduction in the cost of infrastructure hardware to support multipoint.
* Ability to support video calls between endpoints with widely varying processor power and network performance characteristics.

“One of the primary ‘take-aways’ from this report is that Enterprise as well as SMB customers need to exercise caution before investing in a videoconferencing solution based on an architecture that could soon be obsolete,” said Marty Hollander, Senior VP of Marketing at Vidyo.

“Video conferencing is a nascent market and we’re on the cusp of the next generation architecture. Investing in non-SVC-based traditional solutions at this point in time would be like deploying fax machines on traditional telephone networks at the time that email was becoming prevalent to all on standard IP networks.”

Vidyo built its unique architecture from the ground up, leveraging what was then the new video compression standard, and was the first company to launch SVC-based videoconferencing technology and products, shipping its end-user solution in March of 2008.

Since H.264 SVC enables a video stream to be broken into multiple resolutions, quality levels and bit rates, Vidyo utilized this capability, integrating it with its own intellectual property to create a new architecture for multipoint videoconferencing.

VidyoTechnology offers unprecedented error resiliency, eliminating the central component of legacy video conferencing—the Multipoint Control Unit (MCU)—and replacing it with a distributed architecture using an application layer router.

VidyoConferencing was the first video multipoint solution that could deliver rate matching and continuous presence capabilities without an additional video encode and decode. This unique capability allows for less than half of the end-to-end latency of MCU-based solutions. Because there is no MCU encoding and decoding bottleneck, there is no resulting latency introduced on VidyoConferences.

“Vidyo is a visionary and technology leader in enterprise-ready desktop video conferencing,” said Davis. “They have developed a patented, potentially disruptive, next generation architecture that leverages the new SVC standard to deliver impressive video quality under unmatched network conditions. We believe other companies will follow Vidyo’s early lead to move to SVC-based video conferencing because of the resulting improvements in conferencing quality, ease of deployment, and reduced communications costs.”

New Pixetell Hyperlens technology re-invents Webcam

PORTLAND, USA: Ontier Inc. developer of Pixetell, today announced the availability of an exciting new webcam technology: the Pixetell Hyperlens.

The Hyperlens is new webcam technology, produced by Ontier that allows the user extensive flexibility when using the webcam as part of a recorded video communication.

The Hyperlens allows the sender to speak through the lens as they show and tell about anything they are looking at on their computer screen. Not only is Hyperlens innovative and engaging, but it gives the user an additional tool for clearly explaining website designs, proposals, or even narrating photos.

"Major players are dumping a lot of money into video collaboration technologies and 2010 should be a big year for video," said Sebastian Rapport, Ontier founder and CEO. "Pixetell Hyperlens goes way beyond simple webcam video messages. It integrates you right into your desktop so you can show and share anything you're looking at, and that's where the real value is--in the content."

The Pixetell Hyperlens is incredibly easy to use and you can send messages in seconds. Just record your screen and turn on the Hyperlens. If you right-click on the lens, you can select other lenses. You can put your image from your webcam on a Big Time Billboard, wrapped around an Escher Reflecting Sphere, on all sides of a 3D cube and much more--even behind the wheel of an RV. They're all captivating, and guaranteed to catch your eye--and the eye of the person you're trying to communicate with.

Release of the Hyperlens software comes just six weeks after Ontier announced a package of new features that facilitated the creation and editing of Pixetell messages. The Hyperlens software was the Ontier development team's response to a challenge from Rapport to find a way to make the webcam feature of Pixetell more flexible and user friendly.

"I wanted to break our users out of the boring old webcam box and give them something exciting," Rapport said. "What our guys came up with far exceeded my expectations. It's a hoot and I find myself using the webcam more than ever. The rear view mirror is my favorite one of the bunch."

Hyperlens greatly increases the communications options available to Pixetell users.
"There are many more uses for the Hyperlens that perfectly complement your Pixetell message, and there are lots of Hyperlenses to choose from," Rapport said. "It's fun, it's creative, it's compelling. Just one more way that Pixetell helps your messages rise above the noise."

System Requirements and Availability Pixetell is Windows 7 ready and supports Windows XP and Vista. Subscriptions to Pixetell Basic and Pixetell Pro can be purchased for $9 and $19 respectively with a 21-day free trial. The new version of Pixetell is available for immediate download at

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Car and PND mobile TV market set to double by 2015

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Worldwide shipments of mobile television systems for cars, consisting both of solutions embedded into autos and included in Portable Navigation Devices (PNDs), are expected to more than double from 2009 to 2015, according to iSuppli Corp.

Global automotive mobile television shipments are expected to exceed 17 million units in 2015, up from 8 million in 2009, as presented in the figure.Source: iSuppli, Dec. 2009

“Mobile television represents a lucrative growth opportunity for hardware makers and service providers,” said Richard Robinson, principal analyst, automotive electronics, for iSuppli. “Car passengers will be able to take advantage of live TV services in an increasing number of vehicles with embedded front and rear displays.”

The future of mobile TV services is likely to be shaped by new mobile TV broadcast standards, rather than cell-broadcast, IP-based video services. Cell-broadcast television services face numerous obstacles, including the burden they place on already overloaded wireless networks.

Furthermore, the monetization of such services represents a challenge for wireless providers because most users regard television to be free of charge.

The rollout of new Mobile TV formats will be heavily dependent on the initial introduction of services in consumer devices and phone handsets, with mobile TV in the automotive space likely to piggyback on any successes in the consumer space.

While broadcast TV offers a strong growth opportunity for automotive OEMs and PND vendors, there also are numerous financial and technical challenges faced by vehicle manufacturers as they embed receiver solutions into vehicles.

“For broadcasters and receiver manufacturers alike, considerable technical issues need to be addressed,” Robinson said. “For example, the uninterrupted delivery of picture and audio is imperative in moving vehicles, regardless of the receiving environment.”

Source: iSuppli, USA

New camera developments expand automotive demand -- 50mn automotive cameras by 2016

BOSTON, USA: Driven by a combination of lower-cost modules and new applications in Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), automotive camera sensor technology is one of the fastest growing sensor technologies in the automotive industry.

The Strategy Analytics report, “Automotive Cameras: Parking Systems Drive Demand,” reveals that cumulative annual automotive camera growth is estimated to reach 52 percent between 2009 and 2014.

Current camera systems are mostly devoted to vehicle-reversing applications, and are seen primarily in the Japanese market due to the high penetration of screen-based infotainment and navigation systems. The latest developments clearly point to expanding application opportunities for automotive cameras for various vehicle OEMs and their suppliers.

“Tier One vendors are continuing to develop more camera-reliant ADAS applications,” says Kevin Mak, author of the report and Industry Analyst with the Strategy Analytics Automotive Electronics Service. “The ability of camera players to generate new compact camera modules at lower cost, with increasing levels of performance, enables the development of more safety system applications at reasonable expense for both OEMs and consumers.”

“Furthermore, in new vehicle designs, flat panel display screens are appearing more in primary instrument clusters, center stacks, or even integrated into rear view mirrors, thus making it easier to add image projection from cameras. The Gulbransen Act in the US, and potential mandates in Europe and Japan, will mean greater growth for back-up and blindspot cameras in the mid-term. On-going developments in object distance perception from stereo and Time-Of-Flight cameras may further broaden opportunities for cameras in the longer term.”

Consumer confidence unchanged in December: Latest CEA-CNET indexes

ARLINGTON, USA: Consumer confidence in the overall economy remained level in December, while confidence in consumer electronics (CE) and technology declined from last month’s record high, according to figures released by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and CNET.

The CEA-CNET Index of Consumer Expectations (ICE) reached 165.2 in December, unchanged from November. The ICE, which measures consumer expectations about the broader economy, is down 2.7 points from this time last year.

“Consumers remain concerned about the overall health of the economy and are keeping a close eye on spending,” said Anne Claudio, vice president of research at CBS Interactive. “Instability in market forces continues to drive consumers’ worries about their own personal financial stability and will impact consumer spending now and potentially into 2010.”

Consumer confidence in technology and CE dropped nearly seven points this month to 86.8. The CEA-CNET Index of Consumer Technology Expectations (ICTE), is up 8.5 points from this time last year and is at the second highest level of the year. The ICTE measures consumer confidence in technology and consumer electronics.

“Many consumers purchased their electronics on Black Friday when manufacturers and retail stores offered deep discounts,” said Claudio. “Consumer electronics remain a must-have gift this holiday and a bright spot in the overall economy.”

2010 Infiniti M35 provides compelling entertainment features

BOSTON, USA: During a recent user evaluation of the 2010 Infiniti M35 entertainment and navigation features, consumers were impressed with the ease of use of the radio, CD, and iPod functions, but some had difficulty entering navigation destinations.

The recent Strategy Analytics Automotive Consumer Insights benchmark report, “Vehicle Entertainment and Navigation User Evaluation: 2010 Inifiniti M35,” evaluates the user experience for this car’s entertainment and navigation features.

Many Infinity M35 features impressed the Strategy Analytics user panel, especially the built-in iPod connection and controls. However, users encountered several minor usability issues, including:

* An expectation that radio tuning would be done through the Infiniti Controller,
* An expectation that for destination entry, the street number and house can be entered in the same field, frequent errors in speech recognition, and
* An inability to interrupt prompts in speech recognition.

“While consumers liked the ability to record CDs to the vehicle’s internal hard drive,” commented Chris Schreiner, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics. “They expressed a desire for the additional capability to record individual songs instead of entire discs.”

Kevin Nolan, Vice President of the Strategy Analytics User Experience Practice, added, “Users also felt that the touchscreen display was too far to reach, particularly while driving.”

Audio-Technica debuts AT-LP60-USB Lp-to-digital USB turntable system

STOW, USA: Audio-Technica has introduced its AT-LP60-USB LP-to-Digital Turntable System, a complete USB turntable and software package that makes it easy to enjoy listening to records, and to transfer vinyl records to digital media files.

The AT-LP60-USB includes a turntable and phono cartridge, PC- and Mac-compatible software, a USB cable that connects the turntable directly to a computer, a built-in phono preamp and other accessories.

The AT-LP60-USB features automatic operation, and a 33-1/3 and 45 RPM speed selector. The turntable is designed to deliver outstanding sound, with a heavy-duty cast aluminum platter, a high-quality Dual Magnet stereo cartridge with replaceable stylus, and a pickup arm with soft damping control.

The supplied USB cable enables plug-and-play connection to a computer. Its built-in phono preamp enables connection to a wide variety of home entertainment systems, powered speakers, and to A/V receivers that do not include a phono input. The AT-LP60-USB comes with RCA output cables and 3.5mm-to-RCA adapter cables, and a dustcover.

The included PC- and Mac-compatible Audacity software converts the audio on a record to digital audio files, which can then be played back on portable audio players, computers, home media centers and car audio systems. The Audacity software includes a host of audio editing features and click/noise removal.

The Audio-Technica AT-LP60-USB LP-to-Digital Recording System will be available in January 2010 at an MSRP of $229.00. Its counterpart, the AT-LP60, is available now (without the USB connectivity and software package) at an MSRP of $149.00.

Celebrating 47 years of audio excellence, Audio-Technica is renowned worldwide for a broad range of consumer and professional audio products, including high-performance headphones, microphones, wireless systems, turntables and phono cartridges.

Winner of numerous industry awards, Audio-Technica designs and manufactures products that set quality, durability and price/performance standards for major concert tours, broadcast and recording studios, corporate and government facilities, theaters, house-of-worship venues, and consumer applications.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cydle to unveil world’s first GPS-multimedia combo with free HD live traffic updates at CES

TORRANCE, USA: At 2010 International CES, Cydle, the emerging leader in car-based multimedia systems and one of South Korea’s biggest electronics makers, is poised to launch a diverse suite of products that includes the world’s first portable GPS with built-in HD Radio and free HD live traffic updates.

The company’s line of wireless digital devices seamlessly integrate capabilities that combine navigation with entertainment – including GPS, Live HD traffic update, HD Radio, rich multimedia, Bluetooth, WiFi, black box, mobile TV technology and more.

“The car should be a haven,” said Woody Lee, U.S. director of sales, Cydle. “Whether a driver needs accurate traffic information and alternate routes to get somewhere on time, wants to watch a video of his or her family while on a business trip, or simply wants to enjoy a favorite tune. We provide all of that, at the highest quality, from a single device.”

Poised for rollout at CES in Las Vegas on January 7:

GPS with HD Traffic Update: New technology delivers Live Traffic updates 10x faster than competitors. Cydle’s new T43H is the world’s first portable navigation system with built-in HD Radio to include free HD Traffic, offering real-time updates 10 times faster than other traffic message channels.

The T43H contains an Internal and External antenna and refreshes automatically to include the latest information about accidents, traffic speed and road construction areas. Drivers simply punch in the destination and get real-time alerts as they go.

The T43H goes beyond navigation to serve as a holistic entertainment device with a high-resolution 4.3-inch screen, combining a rich media video player, audio player and picture viewer into a single device. The T43H is available through select online retailers for $299. There is no subscription fee.

Combined GPS and Multimedia Players. Cydle will unveil two additional products that combine a GPS unit and a multimedia player with wider touch screens. Both the T70 (with a 7-inch screen) and T50 (5-inch screen) are basic GPS units; the T70BX also comes with the black box unit built-in. All are available with a range of options, including HD Radio, Live HD Traffic update, Bluetooth, WiFi, mobile TV, and black box (with the T70 and T50).

BX1 – a Black Box for the car. The new Cydle BX1 continually updates every 30 seconds to keep a running video of events while driving. When the G-force shock sensor detects an event, Cydle BX1 retains data from 15 seconds before and after the impact.

The footage is saved to an SD Card, making it accessible and viewable on a PC. That information can help discover what happened and can be used as evidence in an investigation. The Cydle BX1 will be available in the United States in Q1 2010, with a suggested retail price of $149.

Mobile Internet Device. Cydle’s new M7 Mobile Internet Device (MID) functions as an Internet search appliance, a digital photo frame and multimedia player (music and movies), and incorporates HDMI support. Eight GB of memory comes standard, expandable to 16GB.

Highly portable and ideal for hands-free operation, the unit features an embedded screen cover that acts as a stand when the device is in use, and supports both vertical and horizontal views. The M7 is expected to carry a retail price of $199, with shipping slated for 2Q, 2010.

“With advanced technologies that uniformly make life easier for motorists specifically and for consumers overall, Cydle is en route to becoming the dashboard companion of choice for those who want to break away from the pack,” Lee said. “At 2010 CES, we’re ready to raise the bar – again.”

IGT revolutionizes gaming industry with sbX system

LAS VEGAS, USA: IGT's sbX Experience Management System is the ultimate catalyst for change and it's currently installed at ARIA Resort & Casino at CityCenter.

"sbX is four years in the making and it's just what we wanted it to be," Eric Tom, executive vice president of North American sales and marketing of IGT, said. "With sbX, our customers have more choice than ever in how they operate a casino floor. With a touch of a button, they can cater to a particular demographic using highly targeted marketing tools. In minutes, they can reconfigure a floor to enhance performance. And in seconds, a player can switch games and tailor their own gaming experience - all at one machine. We are very excited."

As the industry's first server-based gaming solution, sbX lets operators run their casino floors how they want, with the games they want, and the player interaction they want - all with the potential of lowered operational costs, improved efficiency, and more satisfied players. Change is also in the cards for the player experience.

With sbX, players can now choose the games they play, experience better communication with a property, and tap into an experience they've customized.

"sbX and the Service Window afford us never-before-seen opportunities with our customers," said Bill McBeath, president and chief operating officer of ARIA. "We can offer them customization, choices and personalized service. sbX(TM) makes us unique and gives us a competitive edge."

The sbX system provides the first G2S game management solution, and incorporates the award-winning Service Window, sbX Floor Manager and Media Manager, and the IGT Advantage casino management system. There is no system in the industry like sbX. The sbX Service Window provides a unique player interaction experience, right at the slot machine. When the player inserts his players club card, a special "window" slides the game screen over, providing a menu of information and services the player and operator can customize, all designed to improve the player experience.

The sbX Floor Manager allows access to the IGT game library, letting operators reconfigure a casino floor with the touch of a button. And no longer will casino patrons have to comb the floor for their favorite games - this gives more options at the players' fingertips, all on one machine.

sbX Media Manager enables targeted messages and services to the Service Window. Casinos have a new, more effective way to market to players and differentiate their property with sbX.

sbX also serves as a yield management system, allowing operators to notify patrons of specials and offers throughout the property, helping move inventory.

IGT completed multiple field trials and gained customer feedback to create the most effective and streamlined tools in sbX(TM). The system is also a product of collaboration. As the industry's first GSA-compliant server-based solution, sbX was designed to operate on a floorwide or hybrid network, connecting multiple manufacturer's games to create a seamless experience for the player and a more cost-effective floor management solution for operators.

IGT has brought sbX to market with an emphasis on interoperability.

AIS'intros 10” wireless smart digital signage display

IRVINE, USA: American Industrial Systems Inc. (AIS) releases a new RISC based 10.1” Smart Digital Signboard featuring SMIL Open Standard Architecture support and is also Scala Enabled Photo Frame Edition, supporting Scala Networks and Content Management Software.

AIS digital signboards deliver DVD quality signage content in a compact frame you can place anywhere. The compact unit integrates the media player, high brightness display, expandable local storage, and wireless network into a compact sleek housing.

The AIS 10.1” Digital Signage System supports Scala Content Manager 5 (Release 5 or higher) networking features such as smart playlists and conditional playback (Scala Script is NOT supported). Extend your Scala Network by adding the Scala-enabled Photo Frame Edition SDS-101 Display into your digital signage locations.

A combination of digital signage networks consisting of Scala PC players and AIS’ dedicated high definition and standard definition media player appliances can coexist to form a complete ecosystem of Scala-managed signage displays that can be deployed to suit your project needs. AIS’ Scala Enabled digital network players are managed just like PCs on the same Scala network. Heart-beats, play-logs, and content scheduling are handled using the same easy-to-use Scala Content Manager web-based user interface.

The plug and play compact design features a high brightness display totally integrated digital signage. Since the power adapter cable is the only physical connection to the player, it’s easy to achieve a clean and professional presentation in tight spaces. The unit features built-in Wi-Fi for easy content management and updating without the need to run cables.

If Scala is'n’t for you the Digital Signboard supports SMIL Open Standard Architecture which supports POPAI standard media formats, allowing users to custom program their own dynamic digital signage content and layout. The AIS’ Smart Digital Signboard system supporting Scala and XML-based SMIL Open API has opened up the doors and lowered the barrier of entry for Digital Signage with a complete all-in-one digital signage solution.

Monday, December 21, 2009

MPEGIF launches '3D over MPEG' campaign

FREMONT, USA: The MPEG Industry Forum (MPEGIF), the world’s largest advocacy group for standard’s based digital TV technologies, announced today the formation of the 3DTV Working Group and launch of the '3D over MPEG' campaign.

The new working group and campaign continue MPEGIF’s successful work in furthering the widespread adoption and deployment of MPEG-related standards including MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, the Emmy-Award winning video compression technology.

“3DTV is of keen interest to everyone in the video creation and delivery industries. The challenge we all face is that of sorting through the myriad technical options. Our common goal is to create a 3DTV ecosystem that delivers great new experiences to consumers,” says Dr. Sean McCarthy, chair of the newly formed 3DTV Working Group and Fellow of the Technical Staff at Motorola.

“The 3DTV Working Group and the ‘3D over MPEG’ campaign are designed to provide focus and clear information to decision makers. 3DTV can be distributed today using MPEG-related standards. Existing broadband and broadcast services and infrastructures are 3D-ready, and ongoing works by standards bodies provide a compelling path for the future evolution of 3DTV.”

The 3DTV Working Group will provide a forum for free exchange of information related to this emerging technology, an industry voice advocating the adoption of standards and for consolidating the overall direction of the 3DTV industry.

Its focus and constituency will be derived from video service providers, consumer electronics manufacturers, content owners, equipment manufacturers, system integrators, software providers, as well as industry advocacy groups, industry analysts, financial institutions and academic institutes.

“3D video is showing distinct commercial promise in theatrical releases and could thus transition to the advanced living room to follow High Definition and Surround Sound. As a result there is a growing array of competing technologies and work from various standards bodies,” said David Price, Vice President, MPEGIF and Vice President at Harmonic Inc.

“It has therefore become a major theme of the next MPEG Industry Forum Master Class being held at CES 2010 in Las Vegas in January featuring leading executives from HBO, AT&T, Microsoft and other industry luminaries.”

GigOptix receives $4.5mn federal funding for polymer based integrated photonic transceiver

BOTHELL, USA: GigOptix Inc. announced that, as part of the Fiscal Year 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations bill which was passed by the House of Representatives on December 15th and approved by the Senate on December 19th, the company was approved to receive $4.5 million in funding towards the development of an Integrated Photonic Transceiver, to be kicked off in the first quarter of 2010, and fully deployed through 2010.

The funding was obtained in support of the Integrated Photonic Transceiver development project proposed by GigOptix and aimed towards meeting the communications needs of government agencies and customers.

This new product development will allow the company to extend its novel electro-optic polymer technology to support integration with electronic circuits for ultra high speed communications, and augment the cross synergy of the various technologies that GigOptix commands as result of the acquisition of iTerra (July 2007), Helix (January 2008), Lumera (December 2008), and ChipX (November 2009).

GigOptix will start to commercialize this new family of products, made available through this development project, as early as the 4th quarter of 2010.

Dr. Raluca Dinu, Vice President and General Manger of GigOptix Bothell said: “We have been looking forward to this news and working with the AFRL program managers to ensure we meet the government’s technical needs with this program. We are already working with commercial companies to integrate our polymer onto CMOS integrated circuits for intra-chip optical interconnects but this program will be focused on integrating a photonic system with our own electronics and polymer technology being combined. The US Troops need the best technologies to maintain their security objectives, and we are honored to be chosen to support them.”

“The support of this project reflects the hard work and perseverance of Senator Murray,” stated Dr. Avi Katz, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of GigOptix.

“I would like to thank her for her continuous support of Washington State companies and for her loyal and continuous commitment to GigOptix’ technology vision and mission. The continuous development of strategic integration technologies is the key to the enduring success of the U.S. and members of Congress, such as Senator Murray, are the ones who truly make the impossible, possible by providing the financial means that are required to execute those complicated engineering projects.”

SPC Electronics to become wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Electric through share exchange

TOKYO, JAPAN: Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and SPC Electronics Corp. announced today that they have concluded a share exchange agreement (hereafter the Share Exchange) after respective corporate decisions to have SPC Electronics become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Electric.

The Share Exchange is scheduled for April 1, 2010, pending approval of the agreement on February 26 at SPC Electronics’ three separate shareholders’ meetings: the extraordinary meeting of shareholders, class shareholders' meeting of shareholders with common stock and with class B preferred stock.

Meanwhile, in accordance with Article 796, Paragraph 3 of the Japanese Companies Act, Mitsubishi Electric intends to treat the matter as a simplified share exchange, not requiring approval by the general meeting of shareholders.

Before the Share Exchange becomes in effect, SPC Electronics’ shares will be delisted on March 29, with the last day on the market scheduled on March 26, 2010.

On April 27, 2009, SPC Electronics announced a business recovery plan to become a profit-sustainable company through management reforms and business-improvement measures. The plan was developed following a sharp downturn in the business environment due to the economic crisis that started in the autumn of 2008, and still does not allow SPC Electronics to foresee when its business performances may recover.

The plan includes the following measures:

- Drastic revision of the company’s business portfolio through strategic reallocation, including termination of its cleaning equipment business and strengthening of its businesses for communications equipment, electronic equipment, coaxial and waveguide components and applied high-frequency heating equipment.

- Improvement of efficiencies by relocating production to the Tokyo Works and dissolving the electronic equipment production subsidiary.

- Soliciting voluntary retirements following implementation of the above measures.

This plan was meant to stabilize business by simplifying organizational structure and increasing productivity through integration, and also to reduce fixed expenses.

Meanwhile, Mitsubishi Electric judged that the best way to minimize the business impact of SPC Electronics’ asset deficiency would be to stabilize its financial condition, so on June 29, 2009, it underwrote preferred stock worth 5.5 billion yen issued by SPC Electronics.

SPC Electronics’ various measurements in structural reforms have since been promoted according to the original business recovery plan, and the company is now able to see progress in reducing fixed expenses and improving business efficiencies. To ensure SPC Electronics’ recovery, however, the company must expand its businesses in targeted fields by utilizing its specialized technologies, and also by pursuing greater synergy with Mitsubishi Electric.

Mitsubishi Electric had previously judged, at the time when SPC Electronics announced its business recovery plan and when Mitsubishi Electric underwrote SPC Electronics’ preferred stock, that it would be better for both companies to operate as separately listed corporations to enable SPC Electronics to recover as soon as possible, as well as to strengthen the Mitsubishi Electric Group’s consolidated financial condition.

In ensuing discussions with SPC Electronics, Mitsubishi Electric has determined that strengthened cooperation in businesses and technologies would help to strengthen SPC Electronics’ management structure and business expansion, while also helping Mitsubishi Electric to raise its competitiveness and efficiency, mainly in its electronic systems business. To best achieve such results, it has now been concluded that SPC Electronics should become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Electric.

As a wholly-owned subsidiary, SPC Electronics would benefit from Mitsubishi Electric’s stable procurement of its specialized products, such as coaxial and waveguide components as well as microwave and millimeter-wave components.

Mitsubishi Electric also intends to brush up SPC Electronics’ products and technologies by promoting technology exchanges in Mitsubishi Electric’s system application engineering technologies, power circuit technologies and technologies in other fields. In addition, SPC Electronics’ clean rooms and other production infrastructure are expected to help improve productivity within the Mitsubishi Electric Group.

Furthermore, a synergistic complementary relationship will be pursued by strengthening cooperation in SPC Electronics’ businesses for electronic and communications equipment as well as coaxial and waveguide components. Resulting capabilities will then be leveraged to develop customers outside of the Group, both domestic and overseas.

In particular, expansion is envisioned in fields including high-efficiency power amplifiers for communications equipment, microwave and millimeter-wave components incorporated in radar equipment for meteorological and cosmic purposes, high-voltage and high-performance waveguides for satellites, ships and aircraft and a variety of testing equipment.

In the field of applied high-frequency heating equipment, cooperation with Mitsubishi Electric’s R&D sections will enable the company to better differentiate its products from competitors and meet market needs by developing products featuring higher energy efficiency, smaller size and lower environmental impact due to reduced carbon-dioxide emissions.

By increasing its synergy with Mitsubishi Electric and accelerating its growth strategies through the above-mentioned measures, SPC Electronics looks forward to the fastest-possible achievement of the goals in its business recovery plan.

Going forward, the two companies intend to maximize the effects of their merger, with the Mitsubishi Electric Group striving to strengthen and stabilize SPC Electronics’ performance while meeting its shareholders’ expectations.

Notebook and monitor panels integrating touch and 3D functionality

AUSTIN, USA: Recent findings from DisplaySearch, the worldwide leader in display market research and consulting, indicate that touch and 3D functionality are influencing the development of notebook PC and LCD monitor panels for 2010.

According to the company’s latest Quarterly Large-Area TFT LCD Product Roadmap Report, panel manufacturers will feature 3D and touch features—even combining them in a variety of new notebook and LCD monitor panels in 2010.

In addition, DisplaySearch’s findings also indicate that while 120 Hz became a mainstream feature for LCD TVs in 2009, 240 Hz with LED backlights will be predominant in 2010.

The Q4’09 Quarterly Large-Area TFT LCD Product Roadmap Report findings indicate important trends in touch panels and 3D displays in panel makers’ IT product and technology roadmaps.

Notebook PCs with touch
* Most panel makers are developing 11.6”W LCDs with touch functionality for notebook PCs and mini-notes (netbooks) in 2010, leveraging Windows 7.
* Samsung has canceled plans to produce 15.6”W notebook panels with in-cell touch in Q2’10, in favor of using touch panels.

LCD monitors with 3D and touch panels
* CMO has been the most aggressive in promoting 3D and touch capabilities in monitor panels. They are currently mass producing 23.6”W 3D displays, and 23.6”W and 27”W with touch capability will be mass-produced in Q1’10.
* Samsung, LG Display and AUO are all developing new monitor panel models with touch and 3D features for 2010 launches.

Youku completes $40 million first closing of expansion round

BEIJING, CHINA: On the third anniversary of its launch,, China's leading Internet video website, has closed US$40 million in private equity funding in a first tranche of a growth financing round.

The round was led by Chengwei Ventures and the first closing was raised entirely from existing investors. Besides Chengwei, those investors include Brookside (Bain) Capital, Maverick Capital, and Sutter Hill Ventures.

Youku is in active discussion with other potential investors over a second tranche of the round, which will raise up to an additional $40 million.

Including the first tranche for the current round, the company has raised $110 million in private equity funding, and $10 million in venture debt.

This latest round of funding will be used to syndicate professional media and produce Web-based content, to further enhance user experience, and on both PC-based and mobile R&D, according to Youku founder and CEO Victor Koo.

"We are honored to have the continued support of our board and our investors," said Koo. "We feel this is a vote of confidence in our ability to execute and deliver results over the last three years, and this round of funding will help us to extend and solidify our lead in the market," he said.

Youku currently works with over 1500 content license-holders to deliver professionally-produced programming. Youku has attracted 350 brand advertisers to date, and the company's gross revenues for 2009 will surpass RMB 200 million.

"In the year 2009, Youku has cemented a dominant market position and achieved successful monetization," said Eric Li, managing director of Chengwei Ventures. "We will continue to ensure Youku has the strongest financial resources to maintain and expand its leadership position," he added.

Youku had 149 million unique visitors accessing the site from home or office PCs and 57 million accessing from Internet cafes during the month of October 2009, according to Shanghai-based Internet research firm iResearch. iResearch also reported that Youku users spent a total of 229 million hours on the site in October.

BridgeCo announces $7.5 million equity investment to fuel growth in connected consumer electronics space

EL SEGUNDO, USA: BridgeCo Inc., a leader in networked entertainment technology, announced a $7.5 million investment to support the rapid growth in connected home audio. A 2009 report, published by Eureca Research, projects the market to grow by over 300 percent in 2010.

BridgeCo’s financing will serve to accelerate the company’s technology development, support its rapid growth and fund the expansion of the company’s customer base and global design partner program.

“With the rapid market growth, we need to deliver cost-effective connectivity and a broader range of features for a variety of home audio products from A/V receivers, iPod docking stations, kitchen radios, to mini systems and home theaters.”

“This funding helps us meet the growing needs of our Tier 1 customers and their markets,” said BridgeCo CEO, Gene Sheridan. “With the rapid market growth, we need to deliver cost-effective connectivity and a broader range of features for a variety of home audio products from A/V receivers, iPod docking stations, kitchen radios, to mini systems and home theaters.”

BridgeCo’s market-leading JukeBlox technology platform combines a multi-core networked media processor with a full featured, embedded software design kit (SDK). The processor and SDK are integrated in to a turn-key WiFi certified module. The second generation platform, JukeBlox 2.0, will be launched next year, extending BridgeCo’s industry leadership by offering dramatically lower price points with unprecedented features sets.

BridgeCo’s technology powers some of the biggest consumer electronics brands in the world with customers like Denon, Pioneer, Nokia, Harman-Kardon and Philips. With the consumer demand for connectivity reaching an unprecedented level, the company is preparing for a significant increase in the CE brands coming to market using BridgeCo technology over the next 24 months.

Jordan Watters, BridgeCo SVP of Sales & Marketing, said: “Our Design Partner Program, launched in 2008, has been a great success, bringing our technology to more customers around the world, small and large. Our new financing allows us to expand this program by bringing on additional partners and adding infrastructure to support customers. We will be ready for the accelerating growth in 2010 and beyond.”

The financing was led by existing investor Earlybird Venture Capital and private investor, Christian Wenger, along with a new private investor, Brian Long, a General Partner with private equity firm, Atlantic Bridge. Brian will also join the Board of Directors as Chairman.

“We see BridgeCo in a strong leadership position, as well as a rapidly increasing demand for home CE product connectivity” says Brian. “This is an exciting market with tremendous opportunity, as all products are becoming connected. We look forward to working with BridgeCo and supporting their efforts to enable and lead this new market opportunity.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Atmel and Immersion ally to deliver industry-leading touch products

SAN JOSE, USA: Atmel Corp., a leader in microcontroller- and touch-based solutions, and Immersion Corp., the leading developer and licensor of touch feedback technology, announced that Atmel has licensed Immersion’s TouchSense technology to deliver products with integrated haptic feedback.

Atmel will integrate this functionality into its touch product families to offer users an enhanced experience in consumer products including mobile phones, game consoles, navigation devices, cameras, Netbooks, appliances, PCs and peripherals.

Incorporating numerous proprietary mechanical, electrical, software, and firmware technologies, Immersion's TouchSense touch feedback technology more fully involves the sense of touch to make the user experience with digital devices more efficient, intuitive, safer and more accurate. Atmel will apply this technology to its touch products to support capacitive touch buttons, sliders, wheels and touchscreens.

“As a leader in touch solutions, Atmel’s integration of our technology is great validation of our ability to utilize ecosystem partners to assist us with scale,” said Craig Vachon, senior vice president and general manager of Immersion's Touch line of business.

“We a’re seeing real momentum in the market as consumers increasingly come to expect haptic effects in touch interfaces and enabled at the IC-level. Using feedback to enrich the sense of touch is key to great user experiences and is quickly approaching mainstream.”

“Enabling our customers to develop products with best-in-class user interfaces has always been a focus for Atmel,” said Peter Jones, managing director of Atmel's microcontroller business unit.

“By adding Immersion’s innovative haptics technology to our QTouch and maXTouch products, designers will now have enhanced user features to apply to their system solutions. We are pleased to be working with Immersion, a world-class leader in the haptics space, to create a better user experience for our customers.”

Friday, December 18, 2009

Rosetta Technologies surpasses one billion IRDs printed

TAMPA, USA: Rosetta Technologies, a leading provider of MICR printers and check and Image Replacement Document (IRD) software solutions, announced that customers using Rosetta’s IRDPrint software and MICR printers had collectively printed more than one billion IRDs. This threshold was crossed last month, according to meter readings collected from deployed systems.

Rosetta’s IRD solutions combine the company’s MICR IRD printers and IRDPrint software. They are highly scalable and used by institutions and processors to print from just a few IRDs a day to tens of millions per month. Rosetta’s IRD printers range from 30-135 ppm and all work seamlessly with IRDPrint software including threaded processing that allows the printers to run at their rated speeds.

Since first released in 2004, Rosetta’s IRDPrint software family has evolved to meet customers’ changing requirements, including printing IRDs for statement insertion, adding post processing optical marks, a view and reprint feature and a powerful system manager.

Earlier this year, Rosetta began delivering IRD solutions for smaller institutions including the PDF Print Pack for banks and credit unions receiving return IRDs from the Federal Reserve Bank as PDF files, and IRDPrint OnSight for institutions receiving electronic cash letter returns from the Fed or other processors.

“At the onset of Check 21, Rosetta Technologies recognized that IRD printing would be an essential process for institutions and item processors adapting to this dramatic change in the industry. Our IRD printing solutions fit a very important need at a time when much was still unknown about the full impact of Check 21.” said Rob Hullar, president, Rosetta Technologies.

“Today, our IRD printing solutions are still satisfying the market as check processing strategies continue to evolve.”

Trimble launches new version of outdoor GPS navigation app on Android platform

SUNNYVALE, USA: Trimble is moving quickly to give Android phone users more innovative features with a new version of its Trimble Outdoors application for the Android Marketplace.

The new version is the most complete and user-friendly navigation tool for outdoor enthusiasts to find their way, capture their excursions with multi-media, and share with others through the Trimble Outdoors community. In November, Trimble introduced its popular AllSport GPS application, a fitness application for mobile phones, for the Android platform.

The Trimble Outdoors application on the Android platform has new features that allows users to easily turn their mobile phones into complete, powerful GPS navigation units--no extra devices needed. Trimble Outdoors is the ultimate application for hiking, backpacking, fishing and other outdoor activities and has the following key new features:

Best-of-class out-of-network GPS capability - Users can now count on having a digital guidebook of their content, including maps, photos, trip directions and other information, almost anywhere and even out of network. Trimble Outdoors helps users navigate their way on new excursions and gives superior tools to stay on track.

Multimedia capability - User can journal activities by capturing pictures, videos, and voice recordings. Share the adventure with friends and family or with all users on the Trimble Outdoors Web site or using the Trimble Outdoors Facebook application.
Easy user interface - From the weekend hiker to the avid backpacker, Trimble Outdoors on the Android platform is extremely easy to use. All activities and functionalities are activity-centric and designed to help users get started quickly.

Online content - Users can directly access content from the Web site right from the phone. Powerful search functions provide direct access to thousands of professionally edited adventures in the user's area or wherever their travels take them.

"It's been very exciting to incorporate our customers' feedback into this new Android version of Trimble Outdoors," said Larry Fox, director of business development for Trimble Outdoors. "We believe our existing and new users will love the cool features in this release and use their Android phones to navigate the outdoors and capture their journeys, whether it be a quick day hike or a cross country road trip."

Kris Wagner, map editor for Bicycling and Backpacker magazines said: "The new Trimble Outdoors for Android lets your adventures--from maps to photos to videos--live on forever to share with friends and family. Plus, users can search from thousands of professionally endorsed rides and hikes from Backpacker and Bicycling magazines."

Trimble Outdoors is available for download on Android devices through the Android Marketplace and Trimble Outdoors Web site, The application is available for one-time purchase at a cost of $9.99 and is free for any existing Android user to upgrade.

Sony and RealD partner to bring 3D to the home

TOKYO, JAPAN & LOS ANGELES, USA: Sony Corp. and RealD announced a technology partnership aiming to provide immersive 3D home entertainment to consumers beginning in 2010.

The pact includes Sony licensing the stereoscopic RealD Format, know-how in producing active and passive 3D eyewear and other RealD technologies. Sony and RealD have been closely working together to create a better 3D experience at movie theaters for years. The parties will now join forces to deliver a similar premium 3D entertainment experience to the home.

"Sony has its proprietary LCD panel driving technology to reproduce full HD 3D images on the screen of new "BRAVIA" LCD TVs, which will work in sync with new 3D eyewear based on RealD's technology. We are excited to work with RealD in bringing 3D to the home," said Hiroshi Yoshioka, Executive Deputy President, Officer in charge of Consumer Products and Devices Group, Sony Corp.

"We are thrilled to partner with Sony on 3D eyewear and to integrate support for the RealD Format into Sony 'BRAVIA' LCD TVs and other Sony products. This collaboration enables the distribution of high-quality 3D content to Sony displays through the existing HD infrastructure, a vital element to the widespread adoption of 3D in the home," added Michael V. Lewis, Chairman and CEO of RealD.

The companies are working in partnership to bring to market 3D compatible "BRAVIA" LCD high definition TVs and other consumer products in Sony's current and future portfolio that will support the stereoscopic RealD Format. The RealD Format is a side-by-side 3D format capable of delivering crisp, clear, high-quality 3D utilizing all channels of the existing HD broadcast infrastructure.

BenQ equips latest Joybook PCs with SRS TruSurround HD and CS headphone

SANTA ANA, USA: SRS Labs Inc., the industry leader in surround sound, audio, and voice technologies, announced that it has extended its partnership with BenQ throughout 2010, and has incorporated SRS TruSurround HD and CS Headphone audio solutions within BenQ's new Joybook S43 and S35 laptop PCs.

"Despite their incredible popularity, a portable PC's audio potential is often limited by its tiny built-in and awkwardly placed speakers. With the implementation of SRS TruSurround HD and CS Headphone, users will enjoy uncompromised and immersive multimedia sound despite the inherent challenges of dealing with PC audio," said Allen H. Gharapetian, Vice President of Product Marketing for SRS Labs.

"BenQ is a highly respected, technology-focused company, and we're thrilled to expand our relationship throughout 2010 and to be collaborating to make their PCs even better."

As a robust multichannel audio solution, SRS TruSurround HD provides BenQ users with a uniquely enhanced listening experience by processing up to 6.1 audio channels for playback over two speakers. SRS' proprietary solutions make it possible to optimize the entertainment experience with deeper bass for more intense action sequences, dialog clarity for better intelligibility of vocals, and definition control for maximum high-frequency clarity.

When receiving multichannel content, TruSurround HD processes the channel information, creating "phantom" speakers that appear to extend all around the listener, producing an amazingly realistic surround sound effect. Meanwhile, mono or stereo content is seamlessly converted into an expansive three-dimensional sound field.

SRS CS Headphone is an innovative solution that creates an immersive surround sound experience from 2-channel audio to provide uncompromised surround sound experience over headphones. Through this unique and powerful mix of SRS technologies, both standard stereo content and 5.1 audio content matrix-encoded for 2-channel audio are seamlessly separated into front channel and rear channel audio, resulting in a truly enveloping multimedia experience. This SRS solution also dramatically improves the dialog clarity and bass perception of audio played through the BenQ Joybook S43 and S35 laptops.

"BenQ strives to provide its users with the best user-experience possible, which means that we must think beyond the clarity of the screen, the size of the hard drive or the power of the processor to deliver the most complete machine available," said Peter Chen, General Manager of BenQ's Technology Product Center. "Quality sound is important to our customers, and we take this understanding seriously. By integrating SRS Labs' world class audio enhancement solutions into our products, we're able to provide our customers with the premium multimedia experience they demand."

Designed to maximize mobility and style, the BenQ Joybook S43 and S35 laptops, which include Intel's new Consumer Ultra-Low Voltage processor, offers users a unique blend of battery performance, connectivity and multimedia entertainment.

BenQ's SRS-equipped Joybook S43 and S35 laptops are available today and throughout 2010 at retail locations across China, Taiwan, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. By expanding the number of SRS-equipped BenQ PCs worldwide, SRS has reaffirmed its position as the global de facto standard for consumer audio solutions within a wide range of consumer electronics, including PCs.

SRS Labs, MSI expand partnership to optimize gaming and all-in-one PC multimedia experience

SANTA ANA, USA: SRS Labs, the industry leader in surround sound, audio, and voice technologies, announced that MSI has expanded its use of SRS Premium Sound, which delivers an incredible audio experience for music, video and gaming across any computer speaker configuration, within their latest SRS-equipped GT740 gaming laptop PC and the Wind Top AE2200 and AE2010 All-in-One PCs.

"It's very encouraging that our partnership with MSI continues to rapidly expand, as it is our goal to provide PC users across the globe with the most immersive and compelling audio experience possible," said Allen H. Gharapetian, Vice President of Marketing for SRS Labs.

"We have great confidence in the immersive multimedia experience that SRS Premium Sound creates, and that users everywhere will grasp how much audio depth, clarity and richness is now possible from an MSI computer."

SRS Premium Sound provides MSI's laptop and All-in-One PCs with a natural and immersive surround sound experience, complete with deep, rich bass and crystal clear dialog, while broadening the overall sound stage across any speaker configuration - internal laptop speakers, desktop speakers or headphones. To reproduce audio the way it was meant to be heard, Premium Sound dynamically brings out subtle nuances and rich sounds buried in the compressed or original music and video content.

"Our partnership with SRS Labs has provided an uncompromised multimedia audio experience that our users both recognize and appreciate," said Sam Chern, global marketing director of MSI. "PC audio now matters more than ever, and we pride ourselves on delivering the very best audio performance to our users whether it is while watching movies, listening to music or streaming online content, and SRS Labs continues to help us accomplish this."

The MSI GT740 gaming laptop, Wind Top AE2200 and AE2010 All-in-One PCs are available at select retail locations throughout the United States, China, Japan and Europe. By expanding the number of SRS-equipped MSI PCs worldwide, SRS has reaffirmed its position as the global de facto standard for consumer audio solutions within a wide range of consumer electronics, including PCs.

Global navigation system shipments to exceed 500 million in 2010

LONDON, UK: GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) technology is gaining momentum across a wide range of segments and applications such as navigation, telematics, person tracking, fitness, and high precision industrial applications including machine control, network timing and surveying.

ABI Research forecasts GNSS system shipments to reach more than 500 million worldwide in 2010 and to continue growing to 1.1 billion in 2014.

“GNSS technology is increasingly enabling all mobile services,” says practice director Dominique Bonte. “Connected converged form factors such as handsets, digital cameras, Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs), and netbooks will increasingly compete with dedicated stand-alone hardware GNSS solutions driven by advances in GNSS chipset technology in terms of footprint, power consumption, sensitivity, and cost.

“While dedicated hardware solutions in markets such as automotive, marine and aviation experienced saturation and in some cases even contraction in 2009, converged GNSS shipments were not impacted by the recession, due to soaring GPS-enabled smartphone sales.”

Multi-GNSS constellations hold the promise of improved availability and accuracy. Both Europe’s Galileo and Russia’s GLONASS have secured financing and are proceeding with implementation. This has become even more relevant due to delays in the US GPS modernization project raising concerns about GPS falling below its minimum constellation in the future. Dual GPS/GLONASS receivers are already common in high accuracy industrial solutions.

The use of real-time GNSS assistance services for speeding up fix times and/or improving accuracy in challenging circumstances is also becoming mainstream as many consumer and industrial systems feature built-in connectivity. Assistance technologies include satellite-based systems such as WAAS, EGNOS, and OmniSTAR, and cellular or radio-based terrestrial systems such as A-GPS, and Differential GPS and RTK networks.

At the same time GNSS is complemented by a wide range of alternative technologies such as Wi-Fi, inertial sensors and network-based positioning. Boeing’s High-Integrity Global Positioning System (HIGPS or iGPS) aims at using Low Earth Orbit Iridium satellites to improve indoor coverage.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

PC market returns to growth with double-digit gains likely through 2013

FRAMINGHAM, USA: Buoyed by strong back-to-school demand, worldwide PC shipments returned to positive growth in the third quarter of 2009 (3Q09) with an increase of 2.3 percent after three consecutive quarters of decline.

Consumer portables remained the key driver, with shipments increasing 33.5 percent from a year ago, while consumer desktop demand remained weak as the market continued its transition to mobility. The decline of commercial PCs also started to slow in 3Q09, providing a hint that IT spending will gradually pick up in upcoming quarters.

Mini Notebooks (a.k.a. Netbooks) continued to see strong growth with a 37 percent gain over the previous quarter, while the Mini Notebook share of consumer portables increased to 28 percent from 14 percent a year ago.

According to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, the strong showing in 3Q09 and growth in key segments will lead to net growth of 1.3 percent for 2009 and set the stage for further gains throughout the forecast period.

Looking forward, the market is expected to quicken the pace of growth in 2010. Emerging regions, which now account for half of the total market, will lead the way with double-digit growth for 2010 while mature markets are also expected to make steady gains.

Desktop shipments will be roughly flat in 2010, while portable PC growth of 18.1 percent will continue to drive overall volume gains. The commercial sector is expected to rebound in the second half of 2010. Mini Notebooks will continue to grow, but at a slower rate, as the introduction of new ultra-thin portables will generate new growth points and limit the share captured by Mini Notebooks.

“Vendors are competing aggressively to capture back-to-school and holiday demand," said Jay Chou, research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.

"Beyond stabilizing their business, PC vendors are trying to position themselves for gains as the market recovers. We’re seeing aggressive promotions and expect innovations leveraging new technologies, including ultra-thin designs, touchscreens, and LED panels. The technology changes and efforts to stand out in an increasingly commoditized market will lead to further product and customer segmentation and add to the advantage of market leaders in covering the breadth of products, technologies, and market segments.”

“Once again, the PC market shows its resiliency,” said Loren Loverde, program director IDC Worldwide Trackers. “The speed of market stabilization and growth in key segments reflect the essential role of personal computing today. Technology evolution and falling prices remain a compelling combination. As commercial spending recovers in 2010, we expect to see robust growth over the next several years.”

"An aging installed base of PCs to replace, along with government aid and declining average selling prices are key ingredients in a recipe for resurgence of PC shipments into the commercial market segment," said Richard Shim, research manager for PCs at IDC. "The combination of a recovering commercial market and a healthy consumer market will lead to double-digit shipment growth through 2013."

China car electronics suppliers expect higher sales in coming months as GPS and in-car entertainment segments heat up

HONG KONG: Despite rising export prices for car electronics, most of China's car electronics suppliers expect to grow sales in the year ahead. This is according to Global Sources' China Sourcing Report: Car Electronics.

The Report covers car audio systems, including speakers, subwoofers and amplifiers; car multimedia players and monitors; car GPS devices, car PCs, car electronic accessories; and car safety and security electronics, including car alarms, parking aids and keyless entry and remote starters.

"Over the past six months, 75 percent of suppliers we surveyed either maintained or increased prices due to rising production costs," said Livia Yip, Publisher of the Report.

"Despite higher prices and slow consumption in some product segments, 65 percent of suppliers foresee export sales increasing, as demand for in-car GPS and entertainment products heats up."

Among surveyed China suppliers:
-- 20 percent predict sales growth by greater than 20 percent;
-- 30 percent expect an increase of between 10 and 20 percent;
-- 15 percent estimate sales to increase by less than 10 percent;
-- 15 percent expect sales to remain the same; and
-- 20 percent foresee sales decreasing.

Suppliers work to control costs, target new markets
Yip said: "Half of suppliers said price competition is their top challenge ahead and this has 65 percent of companies focused on increasing operating efficiency to control costs.

"Companies are also looking to new markets to boost sales. In fact, the Middle East ranked as the top export destination for 30 percent of surveyed suppliers - topping both the traditional markets of North America and Europe.

"As suppliers work to control costs, buyers can continue to expect quality products at low prices from China car electronics suppliers. Buyers from emerging markets can also look forward to new products which are designed to meet the requirements of local consumers."