Thursday, December 30, 2010

Connected TVs forecast to account for 21 percent of global TV shipments in 2010

SANTA CLARA, USA: While the consumer electronics industry prepares its wares for the CES in Las Vegas, the foundations of a quiet revolution in TV viewing continue to be built, with 21 percent of all TVs shipped in 2010 forecast to have Internet connectivity.

According to the DisplaySearch Q4’10 Quarterly TV Design and Features Report, the category is forecast to grow to over 122 million in 2014.

Growth of connected TVs was fueled by the Japanese market in 2010 with strong market growth driven by the Eco Points system, and very high penetration of connected TVs, driven by domestic brands’ strategies and by high levels of broadband access.

Emerging markets will play a key role in the future growth of this segment, with Eastern Europe forecast to grow from 2.5 million connected TVs shipped in 2010 to over 10 million in 2014. DisplaySearch findings also suggest that 12% of flat panel TVs sold in China in 2010 will have internet capability.

Fig. 1: Connected TV Shipment ForecastSource: DisplaySearch Quarterly TV Design and Features Report

“The looming risk now is what happens if every connected TV gets used,” said Paul Gray, Director of European TV Research. “With Netflix accounting for 20% of peak internet traffic in the US, it’s reasonable to ask if the infrastructure can cope. Set makers need to understand that broadband access does not scale endlessly like broadcast reception.”

It is expected that the connected TV market will diverge, with basic sets carrying enhanced broadcast services such as Hbb.TV and YouView, while the Smart TV segment will enjoy configurable applications, sophisticated search and navigation engines, and advanced user interfaces.

While there is no accepted definition for Smart TV, most have a few key features:

* Capable of upgrades and changes to functionality by the consumer, typically by loading applications.
* Able to receive content from the open internet, not just within a “walled garden” defined by a portal.
* Possesses an advanced user interface or content discovery engine, to permit rapid discovery and selection of content to watch (but not via a browser and typed search terms as in PCs).
* Able to communicate with other networked devices in the home via open standards (e.g. DLNA)

Smart TVs are not limited to a specific operating system, and Linux (MeeGo) and Android (Google TV) platforms will be joined by others. Google is working with Sony and Logitech for the launch of Google TV, but expect many more entrants in 2011.

“Current shipment levels combined with consumer feedback suggests that Google TV is not yet the Smart TV of people’s dreams,” Gray added. “While adding internet capabilities into the TV is powerful, it needs to be as effortless as channel surfing. However, Google TV has given a good lead into what works.”

Seagate ships industry's highest performance 'Green' desktop hard drive

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Seagate announced the availability of the Barracuda® Green hard drive, the industry’s highest performance eco-friendly 3.5-inch desktop drive for low-power personal computers, multi-drive home networking systems and external PC storage.

The Barracuda Green hard drive, formerly Barracuda LP, combines the industry’s highest spin speed (5900 RPM) with Seagate’s SmartAlign technology to deliver best-in-class performance.

SmartAlign technology enables all the benefits of the new 4K sector standard while simplifying drive installation by eliminating the need for utilities often required to ensure optimum drive performance. The cool-running, lower-power Barracuda Green hard drive delivers whisper-quiet acoustics and helps reduce system costs associated with the fans and power supply devices often required for power-hungry systems.

Barracuda Green hard drives also support Seagate Think Green programs for a greener more sustainable world:

* 70 percent or more of the materials used to build the drive can be recycled.
* All Barracuda Green drives use low halogen components to reduce the negative environmental impacts related to these substances.
* Barracuda Green is designed and built to the highest environmental standards.

“Not only do Barracuda Green drives offer environmental improvements in power consumption and material usage, but these drives are also among the first hard drives from Seagate to offer SmartAlign technology,” said Rajesh Khurana, Seagate country manager for India and SAARC.

“This is important because the industry is transitioning to 4K sector formatting called Advanced Format to improve capacities and maintain strong error correction. However, the transition to Advanced Format without SmartAlign™ technology can be complex and require additional integration steps and software utilities to avoid performance degradation. SmartAlign technology removes these concerns and makes this transition virtually invisible for our customers.”

The Barracuda Green hard drive, offered in capacities of 2TB, 1.5TB and 1TB, is now shipping to the worldwide distribution channel.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Touch screen shipments on track for more than 30 percent Y/Y growth in 2010

SANTA CLARA, USA: In its Q4’10 Touch Panel Market Analysis update, DisplaySearch indicated that the worldwide touch screen industry is on track for more than 30 percent Y/Y growth in 2010. The report includes shipment and revenue data for the first half of 2010 and estimates for the second half of the year for 32 leading touch screen suppliers.

“Despite the worldwide economic downturn and sluggish recovery in 2010, total touch panel shipments had almost 30% growth in 2009, and this segment is on track for healthy growth again in 2010,” noted Jennifer Colegrove, VP of Emerging Display Technologies for DisplaySearch. “Penetration of touch screens in medium and large-size electronic devices such as mini-note/slate PCs and gaming is rapidly increasing in 2H’10.”

The mini-note/slate PC category is the fastest growing application for touch screens in 2010, with 6.3 million shipped in the first half. Touch suppliers are very optimistic about this application, with more than 20 million units planned in the second half of the year. There is uncertainty about the timing, as some shipments may be delayed to Q1’11. A majority of the mini-note/slate PC touch shipments are from Wintek, who led in the segment, followed by TPK Touch Solutions.

Table 1: Top Five Mini-note/Slate PC Touch Suppliers in by Module Shipments in 1H’10Source: DisplaySearch Q4’10 Touch Panel Market Analysis Update.

Other key findings from the Q4’10 Touch Panel Market Analysis update include the following:

* Touch screen growth differs by region, due to the differing focus by touch screen technology and customer base. Taiwan is the leading region in terms of shipments and revenues. According to a DisplaySearch survey, Taiwan’s share of worldwide touch screen shipments accounted for 43.5% in 2009. Taiwanese suppliers, especially in projected capacitive, are benefiting from the growth in mini-note/slate PCs. Capacity expansions are under way for 2011 as well.

* China’s top touch module makers took advantage of the growing local consumer and commercial market, which resulted in their forecast shipments increasing nearly 39% Y/Y in 2010. However, most Chinese touch suppliers are manufacturing resistive type touch screens, and projected capacitive capacity is still limited to factories built by Taiwanese and Japanese suppliers.

* Touch controller IC suppliers in the US and Europe are reaching record high shipments in 2010. The controllers are critical for touch solutions in mobile phones and slate PCs.

* Japanese touch panel suppliers are facing challenges from other Asian touch suppliers due to the strength of the Japanese Yen.
* Most Japanese touch suppliers will have flat growth in 2010 over 2009.

* Optical imaging touch is evolving, as suppliers work with LCD panel makers to try to reduce the bezel thickness, in the hopes of increasing adoption.

* A dramatic example of optical imaging touch can be seen in the Microsoft Kinect, which will increase shipments by three to five times, if the product sells as well as Microsoft forecasts.

* ITO replacement materials are being used in touch screens in 2010.

* Infrared type touch screens were adopted by e-books in 2010.

* In 2010, projected capacitive is expected to become the leading touch technology in terms of revenue.

McAfee Labs predicts geolocation, mobile devices and Apple will top list of targets for emerging threats in 2011

BANGALORE, INDIA: McAfee Inc. unveiled its 2011 Threat Predictions report, outlining the top threats that researchers at McAfee Labs foresee for the coming year.

The list comprises 2010's most buzzed about platforms and services, including Google's Android, Apple's iPhone, foursquare, Google TV and the Mac OS X platform, which are all expected to become major targets for cybercriminals. McAfee Labs also predicts that politically motivated attacks will be on the rise, as more groups are expected to repeat the WikiLeaks paradigm.

"We've seen significant advancements in device and social network adoption, placing a bulls-eye on the platforms and services users are embracing the most," said Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs. "These platforms and services have become very popular in a short amount of time, and we're already seeing a significant increase in vulnerabilities, attacks and data loss."

McAfee Labs Threat Predictions for 2011:

Exploiting Social Media: URL-shortening services
Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook have created the movement toward an "instant" form of communication, a shift that will completely alter the threat landscape in 2011.

Of the social media sites that will be most riddled with cybercriminal activity, McAfee Labs expects those with URL-shortening services will be at the forefront. The use of abbreviated URLs on sites like Twitter makes it easy for cybercriminals to mask and direct users to malicious websites. With more than 3,000 shortened URLs per minute being generated, McAfee Labs expects to see a growing number used for spam, scamming and other malicious purposes.

Exploiting Social Media: Geolocation services
Locative services such as foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places can easily search, track and plot the whereabouts of friends and strangers. In just a few clicks, cybercriminals can see in real time who is tweeting, where they are located, what they are saying, what their interests are, and what operating systems and applications they are using.

This wealth of personal information on individuals enables cybercriminals to craft a targeted attack. McAfee Labs predicts that cybercriminals will increasingly use these tactics across the most popular social networking sites in 2011.

Mobile: Usage is rising in the workplace, and so will attacks
Threats on mobile devices have so far been few and far between, as "jailbreaking" on the iPhone and the arrival of Zeus were the primary mobile threats in 2010. With the widespread adoption of mobile devices in business environments, combined with historically fragile cellular infrastructure and slow strides toward encryption, McAfee Labs predicts that 2011 will bring a rapid escalation of attacks and threats to mobile devices, putting user and corporate data at very high risk.

Apple: No longer flying under the radar
Historically, the Mac OS platform has remained relatively unscathed by malicious attackers, but McAfee Labs warns that Mac-targeted malware will continue to increase in sophistication in 2011. The popularity of iPads and iPhones in business environments, combined with the lack of user understanding of proper security for these devices, will increase the risk for data and identity exposure, and will make Apple botnets and Trojans a common occurrence.

Applications: Privacy leaks—from your TV
New Internet TV platforms were some of the most highly-anticipated devices in 2010. Due to the growing popularity among users and "rush to market" thinking by developers, McAfee Labs expects an increasing number of suspicious and malicious apps for the most widely deployed media platforms, such as Google TV. These apps will target or expose privacy and identity data, and will allow cybercriminals to manipulate a variety of physical devices through compromised or controlled apps, eventually raising the effectiveness of botnets.

Sophistication Mimics Legitimacy: Your next computer virus could be from a friend
Malicious content disguised as personal or legitimate emails and files to trick unsuspecting victims will increase in sophistication in 2011. "Signed" malware that imitates legitimate files will become more prevalent, and "friendly fire," in which threats appear to come from your friends but in fact are viruses such as Koobface or VBMania, will continue to grow as an attack of choice by cybercriminals. McAfee Labs expects these attacks will go hand in hand with the increased abuse of social networks, which will eventually overtake email as a leading attack vector.

Botnets: The new face of Mergers & Acquisitions
Botnets continue to use a seemingly infinite supply of stolen computing power and bandwidth around the globe. Following a number of successful botnet takedowns, including Mariposa, Bredolab and specific Zeus botnets, botnet controllers must adjust to the increasing pressure cybersecurity professionals are placing on them. McAfee Labs predicts that the recent merger of Zeus with SpyEye will produce more sophisticated bots due to improvements in bypassing security mechanisms and law enforcement monitoring.

Additionally, McAfee Labs expects to see a significant botnet activity in the adoption of data-gathering and data-removal functionality, rather than the common use of sending spam.

Hacktivism: Following the WikiLeaks path
Next year marks a time in which politically motivated attacks will proliferate and new sophisticated attacks will appear. More groups will repeat the WikiLeaks example, as hacktivism is conducted by people claiming to be independent of any particular government or movement, and will become more organized and strategic by incorporating social networks in the process. McAfee Labs believes hacktivism will become the new way to demonstrate political positions in 2011 and beyond.

Advanced Persistent Threats: A whole new category
Operation Aurora gave birth to the new category of advanced persistent threat (APT)— a targeted cyberespionage or cybersabotage attack that is carried out under the sponsorship or direction of a nation-state for something other than pure financial/criminal gain or political protest. McAfee Labs warns that companies of all sizes that have any involvement in national security or major global economic activities should expect to come under pervasive and continuous APT attacks that go after email archives, document stores, intellectual property repositories and other databases.

Fabrinet joins Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC)

BANGKOK, THAILAND: Fabrinet, a provider of precision optical, electro-mechanical and electronic manufacturing services to original equipment manufacturers of complex products, has joined the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) as an applicant member.

Fabrinet fully supports the vision and mission of the EICC to create better social, economic and environmental conditions across the electronic industry’s global supply chain through shared social responsibility.

Fabrinet progressively supports EICC principles with a specific corporate commitment to high standards of working conditions for employees, increased efficiency and productivity through lean and sustainable manufacturing practices and local community support programs.

Additionally, Fabrinet is committed to complying with EICC guidelines and delivering the shared benefits of the standardized code of conduct established by the EICC to first tier suppliers throughout Fabrinet’s global supply chain.

“We are proud to step forward with more than 50 other global companies in support of the EICC code of conduct along with the forward-thinking, socially responsible actions outlined by EICC standards,” said Fabrinet chairman and CEO, Tom Mitchell. “Becoming a member of the EICC underscores Fabrinet’s commitment to continuous improvement of our operations and supply chain.”

Power Efficiency Corp. granted new patent for E-Save technology

LAS VEGAS, USA: Power Efficiency Corp., a clean tech company focused on efficiency technologies for electric motors, has been granted a patent from the US Patent and Trademark Office for a core algorithm incorporated in its revolutionary E-Save Technology platform. The patent encompasses the method, system and apparatus for controlling electric motors and optimizing their energy use.

“This is a very important patent for Power Efficiency,” said Steve Strasser, Chairman and CEO of Power Efficiency Corporation. “This patent covers the core control algorithm for reducing electricity use by an electric motor when it is lightly loaded and so is an integral part of our E-Save Technology platform. We are extremely proud of this technology because of the significant savings it creates for applications driven by Alternating Current Induction Motors, the workhorses of industrial and commercial equipment throughout the world. This is the second patent the company has been granted to date as part of its E-Save Technology platform.”

Power Efficiency Corporation’s E-Save Technology platform was developed to reduce electric motor energy consumption by matching the power supplied to the motor with its load. Most electric motors are sized for the worst case operating conditions of the equipment it is powering.

Since most equipment does not operate constantly at its peak potential load, it is common to see a motor operate at less than 40 percent of the rated load for significant periods of time. E-Save Technology allows for variation in the load profile and adjusts the amount of energy required to optimize the energy use of the motor. This typically results in energy savings of up to 35 percent in appropriate applications.

Utilizing three-phase Motor Efficiency Controllers, Power Efficiency has established itself throughout the world in the vertical transportation market, with numerous high profile installations at large airports, transit systems, entertainment complexes and even in the US Capitol Complex. The company is also working with several large end users, OEMs and distributors to increase its participation in industrial markets.

Pulse Electronics confirms receipt of letter from Bel Fuse

PHILADELPHIA, USA: Pulse Electronics Corpn., a leading provider of electronic components, has received a letter from Bel Fuse Inc. indicating its intent to nominate three candidates for election to the Company's Board of Directors at the company's 2011 Annual Meeting of Shareholders.

The company sought to acquire Bel Fuse, a competitor, in 2007, and the current nominations followed a recent communication from Bel Fuse expressing its interest in "restarting discussions about a potential business combination" and identifying a "friendly transaction" as the "preferred path forward." The company had responded to Bel Fuse's expressed interest by indicating its willingness to meet to learn Bel Fuse's views.

The company indicated that its Governance Committee will consider whether the Bel Fuse notice of nomination complies with applicable requirements of the Company’s governing documents and the Securities and Exchange Commission’s.

The Governance Committee intends to recommend to the Board for election at the 2011 Annual Meeting of Shareholders candidates whom the Committee believes will best serve the interests of all of the company's shareholders.

The company does not intend to comment further on these matters at this time.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Redpark serial cables for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch begin shipping

EMERYVILLE, USA: Redpark Product Development announced today that it has started to ship its initial serial cables for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The cables are being released as Redpark products and under other brands.

"We completed development of our first cable products this month explained president Mike Ridenhour. "We have worked within Apple's "Made for iPod" program to develop the cables. As a result, there is no need to jailbreak the iPhone.

The cables make it possible to connect to serial devices such as point of sale devices, scientific instrumentation, industrial process control equipment, networking equipment, and devices used in home and office automation.

In order to comply with Made for iPod policies each cable will be engineered for a specific purpose, explained Ridenhour.

The first cable that was released is Southern Stars SkyWire. The cable is used in conjunction with the SkySafari app to turn an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch into a 21st century telescope controller.

Redpark is now available to work with iOS app developers that have a need for serial connectivity for a specific purpose.

"We will need to work in conjunction with each app developer to get their app working with a cable and to complete the necessary approval processes, explained Ridenhour.

Technology trends to watch out for in 2011

Satish Joshi, executive VP and global head – technology & innovation, Patni Computer

Enterprise Social Networking
Social Networking has become synonymous with Facebook, Twitter, Second Life and such other sites that provide mechanisms for perfect strangers to interact in an unfettered, un-orchestrated manner. A lot of enterprises have created their presence in these essentially individual focused cyber environments.

However, Enterprise Social Networking needs to be something much more than the usual Social Networking and that realization will drive the evolution of different kinds of interactive platforms – platforms to facilitate and influence human interactions OUTSIDE defined, formal business process workflows and hierarchies - for knowledge and experience sharing, collaboration, for building relationships outside the formal defined business environment and for fulfillment for a common purpose that the members of the community share.

These will be designed to address three different communities – communities that are an integral part of the enterprise (employees, contractors), communities that are directly influenced by but are not a part of the enterprise and communities that are only loosely influenced by or only remotely interested in the enterprise. The platforms commonly associated with Social networking (Facebook, Twitter and the like) may be leveraged effectively for this third community; however generally the mechanisms for building and networking in these communities will be substantially different.

Since the common social networking platforms are completely unregulated and unfettered, the interactions in these networks tend to be flashes in the pan – unrepeatable and not reusable. The enterprise networking platforms therefore while still facilitating impromptu, spontaneous interactions amongst the members of the community, not bound by rigid workflows and rules, will nevertheless be designed to milk reuseable knowledge and interactions to achieve a purpose.

Clouds Everywhere
Cloud computing while becoming ubiquitous is still in many ways rooted in a data center. Whatever view the clouds may provide to the users – their core still consists of server farms running various operating systems and middle ware platforms over which the cloud is built.

In fact, the first, the largest and the most successful cloud ever built was a part of the SETI@Home program which was NOT rooted in a data center but used the spare computing resources of nearly 3 million small and large computing nodes. The primary purpose and the primary application of each of these nodes was something other than building and supporting the cloud. So while the clouds as we know them today – rooted in mega-datacenters (perhaps distributed) will continue to evolve, the virtualization technology will lead to emulating the SETI@Home cloud architecture in many unusual environments.

Just consider the computing resources contained in high end diagnostic equipment such as MRI or PET or such other machines in a hospital. Except when a scan is actually in progress this capacity lies idle. Virtualization technology of today will allow us to pool these spare computing resources and make them available for running more conventional computing loads. This is just one example – how much computing capacity lies idle on a thoroughly automated shop floor where most of the machine tools are driven by a computer brain? Can that be harnessed into a virtual machine to run other compute loads? Sure!

There are a number of reasons why even after all the progress that has been made “Software Engineering” remains still a pair of self contradictory words. Perhaps the most glaring of these reasons is - how little importance ergonomic considerations have in design of software systems. A car does not sell if its only virtue is a great engine but software does.

This has been changing over the years but still historically the focus has been on making the look and feel of a software product better and prettier – not on designing for end user productivity. Designs were made to make the software scalable and not the end-user scalable! This is poised to change dramatically with the techniques of behavioral and cognitive analysis honed by consumer product designers to being adopted and deployed to design not prettier but more useable interfaces. So much so that the creation of a new software product/application which used to begin with a “Requirements Analysis” phase will now begin with a behavioral study of the prospective users of that product.

There is another strong reason for Useability becoming the starting point of software engineering efforts – more and more regulations are starting to emerge which mandate that software design take into account the requirements of people with special needs and special physical challenges. Such laws already exist for many different products of other industrial endeavors. With computing systems and accessing them effectively becoming necessary part of our daily lives similar laws are fast emerging and will in the near future start warranting that design of software systems comply with them.

Convergence of Cloud Computing, smart Mobile devices and Social networking (Or Enterprise social networking as defined above):
Three block buster platforms – each in its own right a trend setter evolved for a while catering to their own niches in the market. Sure a mobile device could connect to the internet by using a browser or a VPN tunnel or some such mechanism but that coupling was loose. And sure a mobile device could access facebook or twitter again through a browser.

You would clearly experience the distinction between the two environments. While you were got on to Facebook through the browser you “experienced” a Facebook environment, when you quit and went back to the mobile device to read an email you “experienced” a Symbian or a Blackberry or a Windows mobile environment – distinctly differently. With Android and (the soon to come) Chrome OS and tablets and a myriad applications running in the cloud and exposing their capabilities through web services and such other developments these boundaries have already started blurring.

On a more technical level, the speeds and low latency of the 4G networks will make the users completely oblivious to these distinctions. Developments in Enterprise Social networking platforms will integrate both structured enterprises applications access and the more unstructured forms of interactions typical of a social networking platform.

Dell launches Inspiron M101z ultrathin laptop with long battery life

INDIA: Dell has announced the latest in compact computing - the ultra-portable and ultra-stylish Inspiron M101z laptop.

The perfect combination of size, weight, performance and contemporary looks, the Inspiron M101z is the ideal on-the-go, easy-to-use laptop PC for today’s mobile population.

Whether a student, running between classes or a mom trying to keep the kids entertained, carrying this ultrathin sub-1.8 Kg[i] laptop that fits easily in a handbag or backpack helps lighten the load. Despite its diminutive size, the Inspiron M101z laptop packs performance punch, nimbly stepping through everyday tasks quickly and delivering impressive playback of streaming movies and HD videos.

Blending brains and beauty, the Inspiron M101z laptop is built around a clever hinge-forward design that moves the display closer and keeps the body rigid to help enhance strength and durability. It features a full-width keyboard that simplifies typing and navigation, while the attractive finishes and smooth curves make it stand out in a crowd. And with a choice of four vibrant colors, people also have the ability to add personal style to their PC.

The Inspiron M101z laptop is powered by AMD Athlon II Neo Mobile processors and integrated ATi graphics and achieves up to 6 hours and 36 minutes[ii] of operation with its standard 6-cell rechargeable battery.

“Finally, people can get premium looks, a big display, a full-width keyboard, long battery life and a powerful processor in a laptop no bigger than many netbooks. It makes the ideal companion for women everywhere, whether you are a professional, mom or student,” said Mahesh Bhalla, General Manager, Consumer & SMB, Dell India.

“Lightweight and stylish, the ultraportable Inspiron M101z is an affordable, on-the-go companion with complete functionality and can be easily customized to handle individual needs from simple e-mailing and Web surfing to HD video playback and editing or watching a favorite TV program.”

The Inspiron M101z is available on and prices begin at Rs 20,900/-. Thin, light, with great battery life, the Inspiron M101z comes pre-installed with Skype and Syncables Desktop software that makes it easy to synch photos, music, video and data with a primary computer for quick, on-the-go access.

ESCO announces AMI system expansion at CFE

ST. LOUIS, USA: ESCO Technologies Inc. announced that Mexico's electric utility Federal Commission of Electricity (CFE) has issued an additional purchase order for Aclara PLS Inc.'s TWACS power-line technology through Ambar Electroingenieria, Aclara's AMI distributor for Mexico, and prime contractor for the entire project. The initial, prime contract was awarded in December 2009.

Aclara's TWACS technology is currently being deployed as part of CFE's Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project. CFE is Mexico's single electric utility provider, servicing nearly 34 million customers countrywide.

This follow-on purchase order provides an expanded deployment of Aclara's pole-mounted and socket-type TWACS AMI solution in Acapulco, an important seaport serviced by CFE's South-Central Division, to support the utility's AMI project. A key feature of this AMI implementation is the installation of in-home displays that will allow CFE to enhance its customer service through improved communications.

The initial purchase order in December 2009 was for approximately 90,000 meters, along with an option for an additional 90,000 meters available under the original contract.

This follow-on order represents the additional 90,000 units. These combined purchase orders represent the largest individual contract ever placed by CFE for a two-way AMI communications system, and makes Aclara the leading AMI technology supplier to this utility. CFE plans to deploy new metering end-points in several major cities in Mexico over the next several years to utilize state of the art AMI features that include: asset modernization, customer service upgrades, remote meter reading, interval read capabilities, outage management, aggregate demand, energy balance, voltage quality and other cost-savings and efficiency solutions.

As noted with the original award, during the initial competitive evaluation process, Aclara's technology was the only solution that met all of CFE's technical requirements. TWACS proved its ability to provide two-way communications with fast response over existing power lines, while demonstrating scalability to millions of end points. CFE will use TWACS to read residential and commercial meters.

"It has been a great pleasure working on this AMI project with CFE as they continue to implement the TWACS technology," said Gary Moore, COO for Aclara. "This follow-on order demonstrates CFE's satisfaction with our proven technology and clearly enhances our strategic partnership with this progressive utility. We look forward to continuing a productive, long-term relationship with CFE as it moves forward with its efforts to implement AMI and Smart Grid Technology throughout Mexico."

The TWACS system is a proven, fixed-network solution that uses patented technology to transmit data over power lines. TWACS offers two-way communication to electric meters and provides timely and accurate billing information, load control, demand response, and outage detection and assessment. With this system, utilities can effectively manage customer data and reduce costs while enabling innovation and providing superior customer service.

Monday, December 27, 2010

D-Link brings the Internet to your TV with Boxee box

DUBAI, UAE: The way you experience media on your TV will be revolutionized with the Middle Eastern and African availability of the Boxee Box by D-Link in January 2011.

The striking black box allows users to watch available movies and TV programmes from the Internet, stream videos from nearly any website, exchange recommendations with friends using social media sites like Facebook, organize and enjoy personal music, photos and videos, and browse the Internet, all from a simple to use remote.

The Boxee Box by D-Link gives consumers a new, exciting and easy-to-use way to experience free or paid for content on the Internet, changing the way they interact with it forever.

As part of the Middle Eastern & African availability, D-Link announced that the Intel Atom CE4100, Intel's system-on-a-chip designed for TV and Internet integration, will power the Boxee Box. The powerful Intel-based hardware allows Boxee's open software platform to deliver up to full 1080p HD over a wired or Wireless N network.

With hundreds of apps already available and an intuitive interface, the Boxee Box by D-Link gives users unparalleled access to on-demand entertainment and newfound control over their TV.

The Boxee Box by D-Link has already received critical industry acclaim, and a 'first look' at the media device earned it the accolade of 'Best of Innovations in the Home Entertainment' category at CES in January 2010.

Since then, D-Link and Boxee have worked closely together to add further capabilities and content to the platform that allows you to make the most of the huge library of free and paid content available on the Internet, as well as easy and secure access to your own digital content and social media networks. Boxee Box by D-Link content providers and apps include the BBC,, CNET, CNN, Channel 4, Comedy Central, Facebook, ITV, MTV Music, mySpaceTV, YouTube, Flickr, and Picasa.

Harrison Albert, regional director at D-Link Middle East & Africa commented: "D-Link has always been committed to pioneering Digital Home experiences for consumers, transforming the home network so that new entertainment possibilities can become a reality.

"The Boxee Box by D-Link is the start of a new revolution in home entertainment as we bring the limitless world of Internet content to the TV. The Boxee Box by D-Link will be a catalyst for smart TV within the Digital Home, allowing consumers to discover new content and enjoy it in high definition."

"Too many people have to enjoy what they want to watch hunched over a laptop all alone," stated Andrew Kippen, vice president of marketing for Boxee, "We've partnered with D-Link to come up with what we believe is the best way to enjoy the best content from the Internet on a TV - no PC required."

The Boxee Box by D-Link will be available in January 2011 from all IT retailers in the MENA & Africa region.

Friday, December 24, 2010

HD DTT STBs to drive market revenue to $6 billion in 2014

SCOTTSDALE, USA: The DTT set-top box market continues to expand, as countries migrate from standard definition (SD) TV to high definition (HD) programs, and digital video recorders become more important.

New products like hybrid web-to-TV set top boxes also will contribute to the long-term growth of DTT STBs pushing revenues to nearly US$ 6 billion by 2014, says In-Stat.

"The bulk of the market value resides in Western Europe and Asia/Pacific with the key growth regions being Latin America and Asia/Pacific," says Gerry Kaufhold, Principal Analyst. "Sezmi TV will spur moderate growth for HD-DVR STBs in the US. The Middle East and Africa hold potential but not until the economic situation improves and local governments decide how they will handle subsidizing DTT converter boxes."

Some of the research findings include:
* Europe is embracing High Definition and optional Pay-TV services.
* DVB-T2 will provide a second growth phase for Europe.
* Hybrid Broadcast Broadband services and the UK's YouView approach will increase demand for HD STBs equipped with disk drives and broadband connections.
* Intel is entering the DTT STB market with Metrological's YuiXX Hybrid STB, Amino's Freedom box, Google TV, and others.
* Africa and Latin America will "leapfrog" directly to MPEG-4 HD and spur long-term growth.
* Semiconductor TAM for all DTT STBs will exceed US$ 500 million in 2014, with approximately 80 percent of the TAM coming from HD boxes.
* Licensing fees are a significant cost of manufacturing HD DTT boxes. By 2014, licensing will account for a higher percentage of the total Bill of Materials (BOM) than Decoders, Tuners or Memory devices.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday tech shoppers balancing smart technology choices with price concerns

SCOTTSDALE, USA: How has the ever-increasing flood of new tech devices – and information about them – affected consumers in the United States? Is belt-tightening a factor in buyers’ consumer electronics purchasing decisions?

To find out, ABI Research conducted a survey of 2000 US consumers in August, 2010. Participants were asked about their technology purchasing plans in the next six months and the features they most (and least often) wanted in the devices on their wish-lists. The results are enlightening in view of the actual retail environment observed during the 2010 holiday shopping season.

In broad terms, the survey revealed that for most products (game consoles and Internet appliances excepted) price was uppermost in shoppers’ minds. (For game consoles, brand outranked price as the most important factor. Price was also less critical for Internet appliances because many products carry similar pricetags.)

According to industry analyst Michael Inouye: “Price-consciousness could easily explain how the TV manufacturers ended up with surplus stock: higher-end TVs did not fare as well as expected. It also forced many retailers and TV makers to offer incentives, either discounts or bundles. In many cases these bundles included 3D glasses, Blu-ray players or game consoles.”

Nonetheless, many survey respondents said they intended to delay major purchases beyond the six-month “window” of the survey questions.

Best Buy had a rather poor shopping season this year, with lower sales than anticipated, and some loss of market share. Inouye believes that too related to price-awareness: “Best Buy, from what we could see, just didn't discount as deeply as its competitors.”

Primary research director Janet Wise also believes that consumers are better-educated about tech products now. “In the past, consumers may have known little about what was available and instead focused on brand, or on the advice of the retailer. Now we see more savvy consumers who look for the greatest value as well as the best prices.”

Demand for tablet PCs to improve LED specification; LED shipment in 2011 to show aggressive growth

TAIWAN: Since iPad, Apple’s best selling product, led a trend of Tablet PCs, other manufacturers have accelerated the development and launch of Tablet PCs.

LEDinside, a research division under TrendForce, indicated that LED application requirement for Tablet PC has improved, and average brightness specification has increased by over 20 percent compared to before. Additionally, LED shipment grew, too. It is estimated that LED shipment will rise to 1.3 billion in 2011 from 380 million in 2010, around 3.5 times in growth rate.Source: LEDinside.

Exceptional growth momentum in tablet PCs
Since iPad led a trend of Tablet PCs, various PC manufacturers and mobile phone vendors accelerated Tablet PCs development and launch in the latter half of 2010. In order to compete with iPad, Tablet PCs designed by other vendors are much more focused on more powerful CPU, larger disk storage space, more compatible hardware and software supports, such as USB port, Flash display support and so on.

Additionally, a variety of vendors successfully collaborated with Google Android operating system to create their own “Blue Ocean Strategy”

In addition, Samsung integrated its group resource to launch “Galaxy Tab.” Moreover, due to a good relationship with telecom channels, Samsung had an outstanding performance among the existing Android series.

Further, Canadian manufacturer RIM, known for its BlackBerry, also released its latest Tablet PC, “Playbook”, whose target market is the same as Blackberry, in the commercial area, and it is forecasted to launch in the second quarter of 2011. Moreover, PC vendor, Acer has displayed their Tablet PC with Android operating system in New York in November 2010, and will launch in March or April 2011.

Based on the analysis of TrendForce, during 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), there is a wide range of Tablet PCs with Android operating system and smart phones released in market, creating new changes and demand of portable device in 2011. TrendForce indicated that worldwide Tablet PCs shipment in 2010 was around 15 million units.

In terms of worldwide Tablet PCs shipment in 2011, it is expected that as Android becomes much developed and its market acceptance increases, worldwide Tablet PCs shipment will increase to around 50 million units and bring 3 times of growth momentum.

Further, touch panel is mostly used in most Tablet PCs, which has lower transmissivity. However, overall requirement for backlight brightness increases, hence, brightness specification of LEDs has to increase in order to meet the market demand.

In terms of LED specification requirement, according to LEDinside, LED luminous intensity should be over 2,400 mcd to be adopted in Tablet PCs, which means average brightness specification should be 20 percent higher than before.

In terms of LED shipment, around 20-28 LED units are used in a Tablet PC (Tablet PCs with Android and iPad). LEDinside indicated that LED shipment (applied in Tablet PCs) in 2010 was around 380 million. As this market continues to grow, LEDinside estimated that LED shipment will rise to 1300 million in 2011, and growth rate will reach 3.5 times. This will certainly benefit the upstream and downstream of the LED industry in Taiwan, Japan, and Korea.

Although LED specification improves, there is a close relation between the LED backlight supply chain for the Tablet PCs and the NB industries. It would not be difficult for Taiwanese plants to enter into this field of business.

LCD TV panel manufacturers developing unique specs for emerging markets

SANTA CLARA, USA: LCD TV panel manufacturers introduce advanced features and enhancements such as 3D, 480 Hz frame rate, ultra-slim form factors, and direct-lit LED backlights, but they are also adding a category at the other end of their product roadmaps targeting emerging markets.

These lower-cost panel designs with lower brightness and color gamut have been developed, and they are re-shaping the panel technology and business.

According to the DisplaySearch Quarterly Large-Area TFT LCD Product Roadmap Report, panel makers are designing for emerging markets like India, Brazil, China, and Russia with lower specifications than for developed markets.

Brightness can be in the range of 350-400 nits, versus the 450-500 nits standard, and color saturation can be 65-68 percent of NTSC versus 72-75 percent.

As LCD TVs move closer to reaching 200 million shipments per year, they are facing maturity in some developed countries. Two crucial tendencies are seen in panel makers’ roadmaps. One is a shift to high-end features in order to stimulate replacement demand in developed countries. At the same time, they are creating a market segment with lower specifications and lower costs to satisfy the new demand from emerging countries.

“Because of the variation in consumer preferences among developed and emerging regions in 2011, it will be more important to target the right market segments and regions with the right specifications and appropriate cost, instead of simply adding new features to product roadmaps,” noted Shawn Lee, Senior Analyst for DisplaySearch.

Fig. 1: LCD TV Panel Development TrendsSource: DisplaySearch Quarterly Large-Area TFT LCD Product Roadmap Report.

Panel manufacturers such as LG Display, AUO, Chimei Innolux and BOE are all investing in the emerging TV market segment. Lower specifications will be achieved through restructuring LCD backlights by swapping prism films with diffusers, using larger LED packages for better efficiency, reducing LED light bars and packages, minimizing glass substrate thickness from 0.7 mm to 0.5 mm, and modifying the color filter structure.

Additional findings on about LCD TV panel roadmaps in the Quarterly Large-Area TFT LCD Product Roadmap Report include the following:

* Sharp, the only company with a Gen 10 fab, is planning to produce 6-up 70”W panels. Sharp is currently producing 40”W, 60”W and 65”W in Gen 10.

* AUO is working on a 58”, 21:9 aspect ratio, 120 Hz panel, called ‘Cinema Scope HD’, targeted to 3D, home cinema, and smart TV markets. LG Display and Samsung are also working on 21:9 LCD TV panels.

* Samsung is producing 43” 4:1 panels for public displays in its Gen 7 fab. The company has also developed a new LCD cell structure called PLS, which combines the horizontal and vertical electric fields and has impressive off-axis image quality.

* With the ramp up of its Gen 6 fab, BOE has entered the 32”+ LCD TV panel market and will apply FFS technology for wide viewing angle.

* The 120 Hz frame rate has become the mainstream solution for 40”+ LCD TV panels. 240 Hz panels have been introduced for shutter glass-based 3D TV, and panel makers are developing 480 Hz with direct type LED backlight with local dimming, targeting high end markets.

* Sharp has strengthened its UV2A technology, which can achieve 20 percent higher aperture ratios, over 5000:1 contrast ratio, and 4 ms response time.

* LG Display is aggressively promoting 3D LCD panels using a pattern retarder, and plans to offer 32”, 37”, 42”, 47”, and 55” FHD panels. AUO is developing 32” HD and 65” FHD pattern retarder panels. Other panel makers are focusing on the shutter glass approach. Chimei Innolux is developing a 120 Hz solution for 3D TV.

November large-area TFT LCD shipments reach record highs, up 9 pecent M/M; revenues up 6 percent M/M

SANTA CLARA, USA: November 2010 shipments of large-area TFT LCD panels were 61.4 million units, up 9 percent from October, and revenues were 6.9 billion, up 6 percent M/M, according to the DisplaySearch Monthly TFT LCD Shipment Database.

These results surpassed the previous record reached in May 2010. Furthermore, they were also significantly better than a year ago, as shipments and revenues increased 19 percent Y/Y and 5 percent Y/Y, respectively.

"After a six-month dip in large-area TFT LCD panel shipments, it appears that the industry has recovered," noted David Hsieh, VP of DisplaySearch. "Key indicators have improved. Inventory levels are falling, panel prices are stabilizing and shipments are increasing gradually."

Hsieh added: "Peak shipment levels typically occur in September or October, and this is the first time that the industry has witnessed a peak in November. This is a result of downstream players becoming more confident in their ability to manage inventories after the hot seasonal promotions, while new applications like slate PC are driving the growth of some segments."

All large-area TFT LCD applications showed strong growth from the previous month, with LCD monitor panels showing the strongest growth at 14 percent M/M.

Table 1: Large-Area TFT LCD Panel Shipments and Growth (Millions of Units)Source: DisplaySearch December 2010 Monthly TFT LCD Shipment Database.

Hsieh added: "Notebook and monitor panel prices stabilized last month, and prices for some sizes in tight supply have rebounded. LCD TV panel prices will stop falling next quarter and possibly rebound. Panel makers’ utilization rates, TV panel prices, and low inventory levels are indications of a rebound."

LCD TV brands and OEMs are starting to move forward with their 2011 business plans, leading them to begin placing orders with panel makers. In the short term, the reduced working days at LCD module factories in China during Q1’11 due to the Chinese New Year holidays is leading some brands to refill their inventories earlier.

Hsieh added: "The recent sell-through results in China and North America served to clear out some inventories. This could be a positive factor for panel price stabilization in the next quarter as some brands and OEMs increase their demand forecast."

The DisplaySearch Monthly TFT LCD Shipment Database includes these additional highlights:

* On a unit basis, LG Display was the leader with 27.5 percent market share, followed by Samsung with 23.5 percent, Chimei Innolux with 17.8 percent, and AUO with 15.8 percent.

* On a revenue basis, Samsung led with a 25.5 percent market share, followed by LG Display with 25.3 percent, AUO with 16.4 percent, and Chimei Innolux with 14.3 percent.

* On an area basis, LG Display led with a 27.4 percent market share, followed by Samsung with 24.5 percent, Chimei Innolux with 16.5 percent, and AUO with 15.5 percent.

* All panel makers enjoyed M/M growth, with the exception of Hydis, Sharp, Tianma, and Toshiba. Meanwhile, BOE has the highest M/M growth rate of over 70 percent. Chimei Innolux has over 30 percent M/M growth. Companies like InfoVision and HannStar also enjoyed double-digit M/M growth.

* Slate/mini-note (5-11.6”) panel shipments were 7 million in November, maintaining the high level set in October. Within the 7 million, 9.7” iPad panel shipments were 2.8 million.

Supermicro expands Double-Sided Storage total solutions

SAN JOSE, USA: Super Micro Computer Inc., a global leader in server technology innovation and green computing, announced two new additions to its Double-Sided Storage family.

First, the SC417 supports an industry-leading 88 hot-swap 2.5-inch enterprise-class hard drives in a 4U JBOD configuration. Second, the SC837 supports an industry-leading 28 hot-swap 3.5-inch enterprise drives in a 3U JBOD configuration.

Both of these configurations provide the highest hot-swap storage density in their class, with the SC417 supporting up to 40 hot-swap drives in the rear and delivering nearly double the storage capacity while saving valuable rack space and reducing costs.

"By optimizing these systems with Supermicro SAS controllers, validated memory and hard disks that have passed our stringent validation process, customers will benefit from an extremely reliable, high-quality storage solution," said Charles Liang, CEO and president of Supermicro.

"Since first introducing our innovative Double-Sided Storage solution in 2009, the demand for this product line has ramped up very successfully. To address this strong demand for our high-capacity solutions, we're continuing to develop new designs and expand this product family."

Loading these Double-Sided Storage systems into Supermicro's SuperRack facilitates exceptionally clean cable routing for maximum airflow and easy access to the rear side hot-swappable hard drives and power supplies for unmatched ease of maintenance.

Teledyne Technologies to acquire DALSA

THOUSAND OAKS USA & WATERLOO, CANADA: Teledyne Technologies Inc. and DALSA Corp. jointly announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement that provides for the acquisition of DALSA by a wholly-owned subsidiary of Teledyne.

Pursuant to the transaction, Teledyne will acquire all of the outstanding common shares of DALSA for CAD $18.25 per share payable in cash. The aggregate value for the transaction is approximately CAD $341 million, taking into account DALSA’s stock options and net cash as of September 30, 2010.

Headquartered in Waterloo, Ontario, DALSA is a leader in high performance digital imaging and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) with approximately 1,000 employees worldwide. Established in 1980, DALSA designs, develops, manufactures and markets digital imaging products and solutions, in addition to manufacturing custom MEMS products.

DALSA’s imaging products and services include high-resolution, high-performance CCD and CMOS imaging sensors, electronic digital cameras and image processing software for use in industrial machine vision, advanced medical imaging and high resolution aerial and satellite imagery. For the twelve months ended September 30, 2010, DALSA had sales of approximately CAD $201 million.

“Teledyne and DALSA are each acknowledged leaders in digital imaging technology but our product lines and customer bases are almost entirely complementary. For example, DALSA produces among the world’s most advanced visible light imaging sensors and cameras for commercial applications, while Teledyne produces extreme resolution infrared sensors and subsystems primarily for government applications,” said Dr. Robert Mehrabian, chairman, president and CEO of Teledyne.

“The combined strengths of Teledyne’s and DALSA’s leading imaging technologies will allow us to develop new infrared and visible light products that serve our respective markets and customers. Furthermore, DALSA’s custom MEMS capabilities will be augmented by having access to Teledyne’s extensive MEMS research activities and advanced process technologies.

“With the acquisition of DALSA, Teledyne is making a substantial commitment to Canada. We are especially attracted to strong support for research and development and advancement of technology provided by both the Canadian Federal and Provincial Governments of Ontario and Quebec. Finally, following the acquisition of DALSA, and the previously announced divestiture of Teledyne Continental Motors, Teledyne will be transformed into a pure-play electronics, instrumentation and engineering focused company.”

“I view this transaction as a natural evolution for DALSA and a positive development for all DALSA stakeholders including shareholders, employees, executives, local communities, customers and vendors,” commented Dr. Savvas Chamberlain, chairman of the board and Founder of DALSA. “The decision to be a part of a larger organization recognizes that in order for DALSA to become a billion dollar company, we need to team up with an industry leader with complementary technologies. Finally, as the founder of the company, I am pleased to see DALSA’s name live on, in its new incarnation as Teledyne DALSA.”

“Being part of the Teledyne team will provide many opportunities for accelerated growth for DALSA,” said Brian Doody, CEO of DALSA. “I am looking forward to working with my existing management and executive team, along with the Teledyne team, as we move forward together in the next stage of the company’s development. As envisioned in the agreement with Teledyne, our principal operations will continue to function in their existing locations. Moreover, Teledyne expects to continue to invest in our technology and business.”

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Online gaming will be $20 billion business in 2012 with opportunities for more connected devices

SCOTTSDALE, USA: Driven by North American, European and Asia Pacific markets, online gaming continues its steady growth and the latest study from ABI Research forecasts revenues of slightly more than $20 billion in 2012. Technology developments will mean new opportunities for connected devices beyond the computer.

The Asia-Pac region, especially China, will be the engine behind much of this growth. However, in China, due to generally lower levels of personal PC ownership, the business models are evolving a little differently.

According to industry analyst Michael Inouye: “World of Warcraft, for instance, generates significant revenue for Activision in Europe and North America on a subscription basis. But in China, despite a large ‘subscriber’ base, the revenues are far smaller: it's more of a pay-as-you-go model (prepaid game cards). This also creates a greater reliance on ‘cloud’ or server-based games.”

Another difference in Asia is regulation. “In China, Korea, Vietnam, and elsewhere the rules are more exacting in what they allow. Some games for instance, have had to alter their content: using WoW again as an example, the developers had to remove the virtual blood.”

The increasingly varied and range of connected devices will also permit gaming on more platforms. For example Free, a French broadband and IPTV provider, has partnered with Intel to develop a very advanced set-top box (Freebox Revolution).

The STB includes an Intel Atom processor, controller with gyroscopic inputs, Blu-ray player, powerline adapters, Wi-Fi, and a game controller. While these games might be more locally- based for now, they point to the potential for opening this up to multiplayer and MMO gaming.

There are challenges, though. Mobile gaming (eg. on smartphones) could be disruptive. The market is fragmented, with proprietary platforms the rule, posing difficulties for developers trying to serve a number of smaller platforms rather than a few big ones. And the growth of cloud gaming demands more and bigger servers and data centers.

Christmas demand boosts China exports

EL SEGUNDO, USA: After several months of decreases, demand related to the holiday season provided a significant boost to China’s exports of electronic products in September, according to the market research firm iSuppli, now part of IHS Inc.

Cell phone exports in September reached 63.6 million units, up 4.5 percent from August and up by double-digit percentages from the same month in 2008 and 2009.

“The 2010 holiday season is shaping up to be a very strong period for 3G smart phone demand, as buyers give new phones as gifts,” said Kevin Wang, director of China research at iSuppli. “Shipment increases are expected to continue until the end of the year, after which handset exports will fall back into their seasonal pattern of decline following the holiday surge.”

Meanwhile, desktop PC exports also began to grow in September after original equipment manufacturers (OEM) boosted their demand to ensure adequate stock on hand for Black Friday and the holidays. Total PC unit exports reached 2.4 million units, up 8 percent from the previous month and an increase of more than 400,000 units compared to September 2009.

The growth in demand for PCs also was boosted by China’s Golden Week in October, although end-market sales were not as strong as the OEMs had hoped.

PC export shipments are believed to have continued to increase in October and November—but not nearly as much as in September—as OEMs continued to stock up for the holiday season.

For liquid-crystal display TVs (LCD TV), exports from China in September inched up just 1 percent to 5.1 million units from the previous month, as a result of the OEM pricing strategy already set prior to September because of price pressure from the world’s leading competitors.

Given the prior ramp-up for Black Friday and the holiday season, iSuppli expects October to be a relatively weak month for LCD TV exports.

Source: iSuppli, USA.

Panasonic launches world’s first ultra large 152- inch 3D full HD plasma display in India

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Adding on a new variant to the portfolio of large Plasma screens, Panasonic Corp. has launched the world’s first ultra large 152-inch 3D Full High definition Plasma Display for the first time in India.

This unique product brings out the full potential of the plasma display to achieve powerful 3 dimensional effects and a feeling of total immersion that draws a viewer right into the image. With this unique offering, Panasonic adds another differentiator in its portfolio of flat panel displays.The magnificent 152” screen is the world’s first development with a self-illuminating display, which produces approximately 4 times the amount of information (4,096 x 2,160 pixels) of a full HD panel (1,920 x 1,080).

Even with its large screen size, the 4K2K display faithfully expresses bright, highly detailed content that fills the entire screen with lifelike images, even when watched from a relatively close viewing distance of 1.5 times the screen height.

The absolute beauty of this 152-inch 3D plasma display lies in ability to reproduce images with never before seen quality.

Manish Sharma, director-Marketing, Panasonic India, said: “From 152-inch LCD to 19-inch full-HD 3D plasma display, Panasonic now offers its customers the widest range to choose from. The 152-inch 3D full HD plasma display launch is part of our commitment to bring the very best to our Indian customers be it in terms of technology, customer benefits and product innovation & styling. The splendid mix of style and the cutting edge 3D technology in the plasma display enables a never before lifelike viewing experience enhanced further by the 152 inch size.

“The launch is a part of the global strategy to create new viewing environments for our customers and also to create a new video industry based around 3D plasma displays by accelerating 3D-based innovations.”

To develop the new professional models, Panasonic has advanced its unique technologies employed in its VIERA Full HD 3D plasma televisions that were launched in the market this year.

The technologies include an industry-highest native contrast ratio of 5,000,000:1 for overwhelming black reproduction; a high speed driving technology to achieve the PDP's full moving picture resolution; and a crosstalk reduction technology, a crucial requirement for producing clear and crisp 3D images, priced Rs. 3.5 crore.

N-trig pen and multi-touch technology now operating with Android

KFAR SABA, ISRAEL & AUSTIN, USA: N-trig, providers of DuoSense, a pen and projected capacitive multi-touch solution enabled over a single digitizer, today announced that it is now compatible with the Android operating system.

Android is increasingly becoming the operating system of choice for the fast expanding slate and mobile PC segment. The DuoSense solution offers the Android community a comprehensive package for both pen and multi-touch development. Utilizing N-trig hardware, devices running over Android can expand conventional slate functionality by using both the DuoSense pen and multi-touch capabilities.

The combination of DuoSense and Android opens up new windows of opportunity for the Android pen community to utilize the N-trig Digital PencilTM to expand functionality from traditional media consumption and create pen-enabled applications for more precise and creative on-screen user interaction.

“With the addition of Android, we are able to address the different requirements of a rapidly growing market that is looking to expand its media consumption and creative capabilities for pen and multi-touch functionality,” says Amichai Ben David, CEO of N-trig. “Together with the Android developer community, we will be able to enable greater precision, productivity and accuracy with new pen-enabled applications that will enhance the way users connect with their computers”.

N-trig’s DuoSense solution will be integrated in a number of Android slates due to be launched in 2011.

Transcend launches mSATA and half-slim SSDs for small form-factor devices

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Transcend Information Inc. has announced the addition of low-profile mSATA and half-slim solid state drives (SSD) to its industrial product line.

The new small footprint SSDs are designed especially for applications where a small form factor is desired, such as thin and light notebooks, net books, tablets, GPS, and mobile internet devices (MID).

Gordon Wu, Regional Head - South Asia, Transcend, said: “Our two new SSD modules offer great design flexibility and are cost savings as compared to other SSDs which typically use the larger 2.5” form factor. Despite their compact size, the mSATA and half-slim SSDs feature a high-bandwidth SATA 3GB/s interface that helps to bring the performance advantages of SSDs to notebooks, mobile devices and other embedded storage applications.”

Transcend’s mSATA SSDs leverage the speed and reliability of the SATA interface, yet offer a smaller form factor than 2.5” SSDs—only one twelfth the volume and one seventh the weight. The mSATA SSDs measure 29.85 mm x 50.8 mm x 3.5 mm, and adhere to the MO-300A JEDEC standard for small form-factor SSDs.

Compared to mSATA SSDs, Transcend’s another small footprint half-slim SSD modules are in bigger form factors, 54 mm x 39 mm x 4 mm, but still much smaller than 2.5” SSDs—only one eighth the volume. The half-slim SATA SSD modules use the same SATA connector used on 2.5” hard disk drives and SSDs, making them ideal for applications such as industrial control systems and notebooks designed to use the 2.5” storage form factor. The half-slim SATA SSDs are compliant with the MO-297 JEDEC standard.

Transcend’s mSATA SSDs are offered in 32GB and 64GB capacities, while the half-slim SATA SSDs are available in capacities ranging from 4GB to 64GB.

Inview collaboration with Haier brings innovative connected TV platform

LONDON, ENGLAND: Inview Technology the world leading supplier of royalty free EPGs, has announced a partnership with Haier IC to facilitate the launch of its fully IP-connected platform Neelix across millions of TV’s and set-top boxes.

Haier, a leading force in digital home entertainment markets, is a global pioneer in innovative semiconductor solutions. A well-established, respected supplier of innovative silicon solutions, Haier understands the rapidly evolving marketplace and value of being first to market with exciting solutions.

Neelix incorporates an integrated EPG, media browser and personal schedule tool. It boasts a range of TV applications providing easy access to internet content including video streaming, instant messaging, news, weather reports and online radio without the use of a search engine or browser – all with no added cost at manufacture.

Zhang Haitao, product director of Haier commented: “Haier is focused on collaborating with market leading innovators, such as Inview, that provide robust connected Tv experiences to our consumers. Because Inviews platform constantly expands and adapts to the consumers needs, we have every confidence that the service will be a major part of our core Tv strategy.”

Keith Wiggins of Inview Technology said: “Inview is delighted to be working with Haier to bring to market a truly innovative and free IP solution. We believe our platform will revolutionise the consumer electronics marketplace and significantly raise customer expectations as to what they can receive on their television.”

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

SPIRIT signs fourth licensing deal with Polycom

MOSCOW, RUSSIA: SPIRIT DSP, the world's top provider of carrier-grade voice and video over IP software communication platforms, has announced today it has signed a fourth contract with Polycom, a global leading conferencing equipment provider.

In this agreement, Polycom has licensed SPIRIT's wideband voice processing product for its multi-platform HD conferencing hardware. SPIRIT products enable Polycom terminals with both crystal clear voice quality in multipoint communication and interoperability with third-party conferencing solutions required for ubiquities cross-network interactions.

“We are happy to supply Polycom with HD-quality media processing, which is also part of SPIRIT's innovative carrier-grade voice and video software platform,” said SPIRIT's chairman Andrew Sviridenko.

“Our TeamSpirit Voice&Video Conferencing Engine is a universal software platform for ubiquitous massively multi-point video over IP communications for carriers, OEMs and service providers, enabling them deliver IP video-conferencing to their clients faster, and compete better with Skype, Google and WebEx.”

Monday, December 20, 2010

Technology buyers and marketers agree

FRAMINGHAM, USA: A survey of technology buyers and marketers in six countries shows common interests and preferences when it comes to digital media.

In an IDG Research Services online survey last September, 75 percent of the buyer respondents rely on technology media sites, 55 percent tech-related print publications, 45 percent tech vendor sites, and 41 percent tech-focused communities and discussion forums.

When searching for information, 83 percent of the respondents said they are more likely to click on a link from a familiar “trusted” source.

Technology marketers reported that 41 percent of their digital spend is on branded content sites followed by search at 24 percent with ad networks close behind at 21 percent.

Looking ahead to 2011, of the 100 marketers and agency professionals surveyed, on average tech marketers expect 52 percent of their 2011 media budgets will go to digital with 63 percent expecting a modest increase in media spend compared to 2010.

Social networks’ use varies by site and age
According to the survey of 3,658 technology buyers, social media is catching on with 63 percent reporting that they use such sites.

Forty percent are identified as active users who read but rarely or ever contribute and 23 percent are active participants who both read and frequently contribute. Tech users most often visit Facebook (29 percent daily, 13 percent weekly) and YouTube (16 percent daily, 25 percent weekly). LinkedIn and Twitter are close in visit frequency at combined daily and weekly percentages of 19 percent and 18 percent, respectively.

In North America, Facebook leads with 45 percent daily or weekly use followed by YouTube at 38 percent, LinkedIn 26 percent, and Twitter 15 percent. YouTube is most popular in Europe (40 percent daily or weekly) followed closely by Facebook at 37 percent with Twitter at 15 percent and LinkedIn at 10 percent.

When respondents were asked to classify themselves as to social media use, age played an increasingly important role. Among18 to 34 year olds, 74 percent say they are active users or active participants but the percentage slips to 70 percent for 35 to 44 year olds and drops to 55 percent for the 45 to 64 age bracket.

Marketers’ social and mobile ways
Nine out of 10 marketers say they engage in social media marketing and it is the one area where they most often expect to see an increase in spending over the next 12 months.

Sixty percent of the respondents said they will invest in mobile next year. Marketers are in alignment with 88 percent of tech buyers who use at least one mobile device (57 percent smart phones, 31 percent tablets).

IDG reacts to survey results and demographics
“Digital, social media, and mobile have a lot of momentum among both users and marketers which might be expected in a technology industry,” said Matthew Yorke, president, IDG Strategic Marketing Services.

“Marketers have more choices than ever before including platforms, audience targeting, generational differences in information consumption, and metrics. IDG has responded with services to help marketers navigate the marketing maze whether in social media marketing, custom publishing, lead generation, events, or mobile.”

Chrome OS notebooks test Ovum's 2020 vision

Tony Cripps, Principal Analyst, Ovum

USA & AUSTRALIA: Google has launched the first device to run its Chrome OS software. Around 60,000 of the Cr-48 Chrome notebooks have been delivered by ODM partner Inventec as part of a US-centric pilot program for the platform, ahead of a full launch in 2011.

The launch is low key but it is significant, nevertheless. The browser-oriented Chrome OS represents the clearest test to date of whether or not the cloud can deliver a majority of end-user needs for content and services, as outlined in Ovum’s 2020 Vision report series. If Chrome OS can do this successfully, it will begin to challenge the need for device-side applications to achieve similar ends.

Such an outcome might then lead to a major re-evaluation of the role that devices and device platform vendors play in the service delivery ecosystem, especially once retail Chrome OS devices from Acer and Samsung hit the shelves in the first half of 2011.

Chrome OS offers alternative device future for users and developers
Assuming its current creases can be ironed out, Chrome OS has several important characteristics that mark it out compared with other operating systems where access to Internet-based applications is a key feature. These potentially benefit users and application and content developers alike and include the following:

Lower cost to the end user - With its very “thin” user experience (UX) and developer platform, and minimal reliance on locally installed applications and data, the overall cost of Chrome OS devices should be kept down through their need for less powerful hardware and fewer licensed installed apps and software components.

Developer friendliness - With Google’s Chrome web browser as its only application platform there will be less need for application developers to learn vendor-specific technologies in order to reach Chrome OS devices and users. Web technologies such as HTML5 and Flash will suffice.

Less scope for vendor lock-in - By lacking a “native” development platform Chrome OS has less potential for entrapping developers in specific vendor ecosystems, who will not (necessarily) need to pay platform owners to help distribute their apps. Meanwhile, users can enjoy multi-screen access to content and services without having to procure everything via a single provider.

If exploited to their ultimate extreme, these characteristics have huge potential to challenge today’s services and devices status quo. This is especially true of those vendors that have successfully used a managed device platform (MDP) approach (see Of iPhones and Androids: redefining the smartphone and other devices) to put themselves at the center of the user and developer experiences surrounding smartphones and other connected devices.

Undermines vertical integration; puts emphasis on cloud assets
Vendor control over the end-to-end software platform (in terms of device-side development tools, storefronts, and device OSs) creates a virtuous circle in which developers and users alike benefit from that control.

However, the model begins to collapse where developers are enabled to reach any device directly through a web URL (although for UX reasons these URLs may be encapsulated in downloadable shortcuts that appear as “apps”).

This doesn’t mean that the benefits of an MDP approach in application distribution are no longer relevant. Rather, they are no longer strictly necessary. Indeed, given their proven utility, application and content developers will no doubt still wish to use channels such as application stores to distribute their wares in the same way that users will continue to use these channels to discover such content.

However, the balance of power would undoubtedly shift, placing greater demands on MDP providers to ensure the strongest collection of cloud assets and away from the device-specific application platforms that provide the focal point of these environments today. Is it a coincidence that Google is already promoting the synergy between its web-based Google Apps, the Google Apps Marketplace, and Chrome OS? We think not.

Conflicting interests may still defeat Chrome OS
This does not guarantee that Chrome OS devices will be a success. For one thing, Google itself may decide that the “thin OS” approach compromises its own ability to exert control over sections of the content and applications value system.

For another, developers and users may rail against Chrome OS if their experience of using it fails to live up to the expectations set by thicker, if still “lite”, platforms such as iOS and Android. That said, it is already the case that many apps on Android are already web apps with little need for native client-side technologies other than local data storage and access to selected Android platform APIs.

As such, Chrome OS is not just a real test of how far the web approach can be taken and whether it can live up to end-user demands. It is also a test of Google’s constitution and of the willingness of today’s big beasts to protect their investments. If Chrome OS doesn’t fly next year, expect it to be a memory by 2012.

Corsair launches world's fastest 4GB memory at 2133MHz that uses 1.5V

HYDERABAD, INDIA: Corsair, a worldwide designer and supplier of high-performance components to the PC gaming hardware market, has launched a new, highly overclocked, low voltage memory kit.

This 4GB Dominator GT memory kit, implemented using a matched pair of 2GB DIMMs, is guaranteed to operate at 2133MHz, with latency settings of 9-11-9-27, and at a memory voltage of only 1.5V.

"We have seen an increasing number of requests from overclockers for memory that can achieve high clock speeds at lower voltages," stated Thi La, Vice President ofMemory Products at Corsair. "At 2133MHz, this 4GB memory is the world's fastest commercially available memory at 1.5 volts."

LED backlights used in 20 percent of LCD TVs sold in US during Q3

EL SEGUNDO, USA: One out of every five liquid-crystal display televisions (LCD TV) sold in the United States during the third quarter used light-emitting diode (LED) backlighting, a dramatic increase from the same period in 2009, as availability of sets equipped with the technology soared, according to the market research firm iSuppli, now part of IHS Inc.

LED-backlit LCD TVs accounted for 19.6 percent of TV purchases in the third quarter, up from 17.9 percent the previous quarter and from 4 percent during the third quarter of 2009, an iSuppli survey of U.S. consumers has revealed.

“On the demand side, consumers are attracted to LED-backlit LCD TVs by attributes including their thinner form factors, improved picture quality, better color saturation, power savings and other green attributes,” said Riddhi Patel, director and principal analyst for television systems at iSuppli.

“On the supply side, television and panel makers are investing in technology and offering a plethora of products to take advantage of LED-backlit LCD TVs, including product differentiation, innovation, low power consumption and the potential to reap the benefits of higher revenue.”

The majority of US consumers in the third quarter continued to buy older non-LED-type LCD TVs — also known as cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL)-backlit sets. The share of the overall US television market for CCFL LCDs rose to 65.3 percent, up from 64.6 percent in the second quarter, with the increase coming at the expense of other display technologies, including plasma, rear projection and cathode ray tube.

The 1.7 percentage point expansion in the share of LED-backlit LCD TVs was more than double the rate of increase seen for CCFL-type LCD TVs, iSuppli data show.

For the other technologies, plasma purchases accounted for 13.5 percent of the US TV market in the third quarter, down from 14.2 percent during the second quarter. Both rear-projection TVs and tube-type cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions continued on a trajectory of irreversible decline, down to 0.9 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.

The figure presents iSuppli’s data on US TV consumer purchases from the first quarter of 2009 to the third quarter of 2010.Source: iSuppli, USA.

Consumer interest was also on the rise for Internet-enabled television (IETV). In the third quarter, among consumers who said they connected their televisions to the Internet, almost 50 percent bought sets with the option for built-in Internet connectivity, compared to those who accessed the Internet through other means, such as a game console, an Internet-enabled Blu-ray player, a PC or laptop, or a digital video box.

Among the key applications for IETV, the most popular were YouTube, for watching personal videos; and Netflix, with its Instant Watch feature that allows direct streaming of movie and video content.

The favorite LCD TV size was in the 40- to 49-inch range, accounting for 44.8 percent of all purchases during the period. The 32-inch continued to be popular for use in secondary bedrooms, evident in the 23.2 percent share of consumers buying TVs in the 30- to 39-inch sizes. Among those who bought plasma televisions, the 42-inch was the preferred size.

The share of 3-D TVs among overall purchases was negligible, barely registering a blip. Nonetheless, of the 3-D TVs that were purchased, most were bought in the 50-inch-and-larger sizes by higher-income groups.

“Picture quality was rated as the most important criterion when buying a television, trumping even the presence of advanced technologies like LED backlights or Internet connectivity,” Patel said.

“Next to picture quality, price and screen size followed in significance. On the other hand, brand name is losing its once-powerful allure and is now less influential in the decision-making process, because front-of-screen performance among different brands in store environments is perceived to be similar by consumers. Consumers today buy what they believe to offer the best picture quality, and brands able to demonstrate superior front-of-screen performance in stores tended to win over the customer.”

Among brands, Vizio dominated at Walmart and club stores across the country, while Samsung led in other retail areas.

The results of the quarter are taken from iSuppli’s US TV Consumer Preferences survey, which polls more than 2,200 US households randomly each quarter from a continually refreshed pool of more than two million, to find out what people buy, where they buy their televisions, what they pay, and why they bought a particular set.

Source: iSuppli, USA.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

What’s NOT going to happen in technology markets in 2011

NEW YORK, USA: For the sixth consecutive year, ABI Research puts a different twist on the traditional December activity of surveying the year just past and speculating about what the new one will bring, with a white paper titled "What’s Not Going to Happen in 2011." The paper is available for free download from the company's website.

As 2010 winds down, we seem to be receiving conflicting messages. Economic recovery is slow, but corporate profits are up. Budgets are tight, yet innovative companies continue to rewrite the rule-books. So it’s a bold pundit who will make definitive statements about what is going to happen even in the short-term. That doesn’t stop many from trying though, often with hilarious results.

Slightly easier is discerning the developments that are unlikely to take place in the coming year. So nearly two dozen of ABI Research’s experts have put their heads together to debunk some of the most-hyped predictions about what will happen in tech-related industries around the world.

They cover a vast range of topics including mobile devices and applications, femtocells, mobile commerce, home entertainment, 4G, Wi-Fi, telematics and location-based services, mobile networks and mobile Internet devices, home networking, automotive technologies, RFID and NFC, and much more.

Will mobile advertising hit critical mass in 2011? Will we all be gaming in The Cloud?

Will cars drive themselves? Will Google TV survive?

Will the iPad’s market position erode? Will TD-LTE kill WiMAX?

With its mix of expert opinion, critical assessments and wry humor, "What’s NOT Going to Happen in 2011" makes for a lively and informative read.

Friday, December 17, 2010

New Silicon Image ViaPort technology enhances DTV connectivity

2011 International CES, SUNNYVALE, USA: Silicon Image, a leader in advanced, interoperable HD connectivity solutions for consumer electronics, announced its innovative ViaPort technology for DTV connectivity, improving DTV performance, usability, and consumer satisfaction in home theater applications.

Silicon Image ViaPort technology adds an HDMI output with integrated HDCP repeater support to the DTV, allowing the user to add an HDMI sound bar or Audio Video Receiver (AVR) downstream from the DTV in a simplified manner.

The resulting HDMI output from the DTV to the external audio device enables the highest-quality surround sound, full Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) functionality, and access to the latest DTV technology features delivered through Silicon Image port processors.

Connecting current-generation DTVs to external audio equipment presents a number of usability and performance issues for the typical home theater user due to an existing topology that places the AVR between source devices, such as Blu-ray Disc players, and the DTV.

Depending on the configuration, consumers may experience excessively complicated system set-up and use, degraded audio and video performance, or both. In addition, many top-line TV features such as MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) connectivity and HDMI Specification Version 1.4 innovations such as 4k display resolution, 3D, Audio Return Channel, and HDMI Ethernet Channel, may be unusable with an older AVR.

Meanwhile, AVRs and sound bars remain a valuable part of the home entertainment system, providing the high quality audio that DTVs are now too thin to effectively provide.

As an additional advantage, Silicon Image ViaPort technology enables better and more consistent merchandising of DTVs in a retail environment. Multiple DTVs can be daisy-chained to each other, all connected to a single source device, such as a Blu-ray player. This eliminates the need for signal splitters and distribution boxes, and ensures identical presentation of digital content across all of the daisy-chained DTVs. Up to eight devices can be connected in this way when HDCP-protected content is displayed, or many more devices in a non-HDCP environment.

"Silicon Image ViaPort technology underscores our continued commitment to deliver ground-breaking innovations for DTV and home theater applications,” said Alex Chervet, senior director of product marketing at Silicon Image Inc.

"Silicon Image ViaPort technology returns the TV to its logical position as the center of home entertainment and ensures that, regardless of the placement, configuration, or HDMI capabilities of external audio equipment, best-quality audio and top-tier DTV features are delivered consistently, both in the home and in retail display environments.”

Starting in early 2011, Silicon Image ViaPort technology will be incorporated into the company’s industry-proven line-up of HDMI port processors, which are platforms for innovation that add the latest connectivity and performance features to DTVs.

Silicon Image ViaPort technology will be demonstrated January 6-8, 2011 at the 2011 International CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, USA.

Inview, Trident Microsystems bring innovative digital TV platform

LONDON, ENGLAND: Inview Technology is working with Trident Microsystems Inc. to facilitate the launch of a fully IP-connected platform, Neelix, across millions of TV’s and set-top boxes globally.

Trident, a leading force in the digital home entertainment market, is a market leader in innovative semiconductor solutions for digital televisions and set top boxes. A pioneer in the consumer electronics marketplace for the past 20 years, Trident understands the rapidly evolving consumer marketplace and the value of being first to market with exciting solutions.

Neelix incorporates a fully integrated EPG, media browser and personal schedule tool. A recommendation engine searches out broadcast and internet content that is relevant to individual user viewing profiles. It also boasts a range of TV applications that provide easy access to internet content including video streaming, instant messaging, news and weather reports and online radio without having to use a browser or search engines -- all with no added cost at the point of manufacture.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tektronix announces new addition to PCIe 3.0 test solution

BANGALORE, INDIA: Tektronix Inc. has announced a new addition to the industry’s most comprehensive solution for PCI Express 3.0.

The new offering provides physical layer transmitter (Tx) verification, debug, characterization and compliance testing using Tektronix DPO/DSA/MSO70000 Series oscilloscopes . With this release, Tektronix now offers the broadest and most complete set of physical and protocol layer measurement capabilities for PCI Express.

The PCIe 3.0 architecture provides a low-cost, high-performance I/O technology that includes a new 128b/130b encoding scheme and a data rate of 8 GT/s, doubling the interconnect bandwidth over PCIe 2.0. Based on the same board material (FR4) and connectors as previous generations, PCIe 3.0 represents a far more difficult test challenge with smaller margins and new jitter measurements required to account for increased signal loss in the channel.

The new Tektronix PCIe 3.0 solution (Option PCE3) builds on the success of PCIe Gen 1 and Gen 2 test solutions. Coupled with Serial Data Link Analysis (SDLA) software, it provides a complete solution for verifying transmitter and channel performance of PCIe 3.0 designs and provides support for both the PCIe 3 Base Specification and CEM Specification measurements.

"As the release of the PCIe 3.0 specification nears completion, the hard work of designing, testing and manufacturing silicon and other components that implement the specification is now in full swing," said Jim Pappas, Director of Technology Initiatives for Intel's Data Center Group.

"Due to the complexities of the physical layer within the PCIe 3.0 specification, electrical testing will play a major role to ensure the success and performance of motherboards, adaptor cards and other server-platform components. We value the success of the PCIe 3.0 architecture within the Enterprise market and recognize the contribution Tektronix makes by delivering electrical test solutions which enable the industry."

The electrical testing support provided by the new Option PCE3 solution complements the Tektronix TLA7SA16 and TLA7SA08 Logic Protocol Analyzer modules, bus support software, and probes announced earlier this year that bring PCIe 3.0 logical and protocol testing support to the TLA7000 Series high-performance logic analyzer family.

Hard drives have a happy holiday

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Manufacturers of hard disk drives (HDD) are expected to receive a late-year boost during the holiday season as shipments rally during the fourth quarter, according to market research firm iSuppli, now part of IHS Inc.

The rise in HDD shipments in the fourth quarter will mark the second consecutive period of growth following a decline in the second quarter. HDD shipments will reach an estimated 169.2 million units during the last three months of the year, up 2.2 percent from 165.5 million units in the third quarter. Revenue in the fourth quarter is projected to climb 2.1 percent, equating to $8.9 billion.

“The fourth-quarter increases in HDD shipments and revenue reflect positive developments on several fronts, including the stabilization of prices, strong demand from the enterprise segment and a return to normal inventory levels,” said Fang Zhang, analyst for storage systems at iSuppli.

The expected growth for the fourth quarter represents a smaller increase than in the third quarter, when shipments climbed 3.4 percent and revenue rose 3.1 percent.

Nonetheless, the performance of the second half of 2010 is a major improvement from the first half. Shipments in the second quarter declined 3.0 percent and revenue fell 7.7 percent from the first quarter.

The figure presents iSuppli’s quarterly data on HDD shipments for 2010.Source: iSuppli, USA.

With their place still secure in the industry despite the small advances being made by the rival solid state drive technology, HDDs continue to be the main storage device of choice in both the consumer and enterprise segments.

iSuppli expects HDD prices to remain flat through the remainder of the year as pricing pressure eases in the wake of continued strong demand, especially in the enterprise sector, and as manufacturers maintain tight control of inventory.

HDD rankings hold
Among the HDD suppliers, the rankings are expected to remain unchanged in the fourth quarter, with Western Digital Corp. preserving its leadership position in shipments for what will be the third consecutive quarter. A perennial runner-up in the past, Western Digital seized the top spot earlier this year after reaping the benefits of its lean operating model. The company will continue to try fending off the previous leader Seagate Technology LLC, now ranked second, from regaining the pinnacle.

Western Digital is expected to ship 51.5 million HDD units in the fourth quarter, up 1.7 percent from 50.7 million units in the third quarter. In comparison, Seagate is expected to ship 49.5 million HDDs, up a smaller 0.6 percent from 49.2 million units during the same period.

On the revenue side, the rankings are reversed, as Seagate is predicted to maintain its lead in the fourth quarter with sales of $2.8 billion—up 3.7 percent from $2.7 billion in the third quarter. Western Digital, which sells product in the consumer segment at high volumes but at lower prices, is expected to remain at No. 2 with revenue of $2.4 billion, up a scant 0.2 percent from $2.39 billion in the third quarter.

Hard drive challenges
Both Western Digital and Seagate have had their share of trouble. Seagate experienced some order weakness at the beginning of the third quarter, mainly from the consumer market in the United States and Europe, but then saw orders pick up at the end of the quarter.

Western Digital believes that lower-than-expected demand early in the third quarter brought about high inventory for all HDD manufacturers. And while Western Digital was able to meet its low-end quarterly expectation, the company’s shipment and revenue market share actually declined from the previous quarter.

Rounding out the top five—with their rankings identically replicated across both the shipment and revenue categories—are Hitachi Global Storage Technology in third place, the combined entity of Toshiba/Fujitsu in fourth and Samsung Electronics in fifth.

Given the projections for a busy holiday season and solid enterprise demand, the rest of the year is likely to prove especially beneficial to Seagate and Hitachi. For the enterprise segment in the third quarter, Seagate enjoyed a 65 percent market share, while Hitachi had a 27 percent share.

Western Digital, on the other hand, can take consolation in knowing that pricing will stabilize as the year ends, which should temper the financial losses it suffered from pricing erosion in the third quarter.

Source: iSuppli, USA.