Wednesday, March 31, 2010

iPad: The iPhone on steroids?

USA: The Apple iPad will be shipping April 3, 2010. If you have already pre-ordered, you will get it at that time. If you still need to order the iPad, you will be waiting until after April 12. According to recent news items, the pre-order levels may have exceeded Apple’s initial expectations.

Apple experienced a huge surge in orders the first day pre-orders were available. Pre-orders have fallen to a slow but steady pace ever since. After two weeks of orders it appears that approximately 240K pre-orders are on the books. Now the question is not so much whether Apple can deliver the product on time, but can it deliver on the hype?

There are high expectations for the iPad, but is the hype just Apple’s loyal following? What will Apple offer to make the iPad attractive to the mass market? How will the iPad compete with e-readers and netbooks? What is the market potential for tablet PCs? What are some of the issues for the semiconductor industry and what are the business opportunities for chip vendors?

Semico Research has prepared a market brief, “Apple iPad: A New Computing Paradigm or the iPhone on Steroids?” Semico examines various questions and issues around the iPad and tablet PCs in general. The market segment of tablet PCs has yet to truly emerge. This market brief will address some of the competitive factors that are likely to influence its development.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tyco Electronics CFP-compliant Ethernet connectors in stock at Newark

CHICAGO, USA: Newark a leading multi-channel, high-service electronics distributor in the Americas and part of the global Premier Farnell Group, today announced that it now carries Tyco Electronics’ CFP-compliant 40G and 100G Ethernet connectors, which meet the demanding requirements of the CFP Multi-Source Agreement (MSA) optical transceivers and OEM host line cards.

Engineers with questions about this technology can find answers at element14, Premier Farnell’s popular global engineering portal and community.

The CFP compliant connector, available for same day shipping at www.newark.com, is an ultra-high speed pluggable I/O interface supporting 40 Gb/s and 100 Gb/s Ethernet applications. The 148 position plug connector straddle mounts to the optical transceiver module PCB, and the receptacle connector is SMT-processed to the host board for conventional processing. These connectors are designed to enable belly-to-belly for higher line card density.

“Each week we add hundreds of new products and technologies to our website to continually offer design engineers the industry’s most innovative products, as well as proven solutions,” comments Jeff Uden, Vice President, Product Management, Newark. “Tyco Electronics’ new Ethernet connectors are a superb solution that accepts CFP MSA compliant optical transceivers.”

China eBook shipments to grow 70 percent in 2010

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Spurred by the growing popularity and strong sales of the Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader, Chinese manufacturers and content providers are rushing to join the domestic eBook market, with the device for reading text on electronic displays projected to become big sellers this year in the world’s most populous country.

Shipments of eBooks in China will reach 3.6 million units in 2010, up 70.7 percent from 2.1 million units in 2009, according to iSuppli Corp. By 2014, eBook shipments in China will reach 17.6 million.

“Such a massive show of strength is likely to benefit the various participants of the eBook supply chain, including chip providers, OEMs/ODMs, platform vendors, content providers and telecom carriers,” said Loren Zhao, industry analyst for iSuppli’s China Research service.

“Playing alongside global giants such as Samsung, Google and Foxconn, Chinese firms have entered nearly all nodes of the eBook chain except one segment—the critical area of displays, for which Chinese OEMs lack the technical know-how. Without representation in this key section of the supply chain, Chinese OEMs will not be able to attain greater profits in the eBook market, iSuppli believes, although they might possess the advantage of low cost and quick, flexible response to changing market conditions.”

Global and domestic Chinese eBook players
Among eBook display manufacturers, PVI E Ink is the dominant supplier of Electrophoretic Displays (EPD) to the China market, commanding more than 90 percent market share in 2009. The EPD is a sort of electronic paper or display technology that imitates the appearance of ink on paper.

Trailing PVI E Ink is AUO/SiPix, which has partnered with the Taiwanese OEM/ODM provider Qisda and Beijing-based Hanwang Technology. Despite holding down an enviable second place, AUO/SiPix will not be able to challenge the dominance of PVI E Ink in the foreseeable future, iSuppli predicts.

Other global EPD manufacturers that will supply to the China eBook market include the US firms Plastic Logic and Qualcomm, as well as the Japanese entities Bridgestone Corp. and Fujitsu Frontech.

In another node of the eBook chain, the top providers of processors for eBooks—the so-called eBook chip providers—includes international giants such as Freescale Semiconductor, EPSON and Samsung, as well as Chinese providers like Ingenic and Anyka.

Amazon vs. China Mobile
Although Amazon has achieved great success with its Kindle eBook platform, an equivalent Chinese eBook service by the Seattle, Washington-based giant is currently not available in China. Instead, the G3 Reader by telecom carrier China Mobile seems to be the most possible platform provider of Chinese eBook services at this point in time.

iSuppli believes China Mobile not only hopes to be a mobile pipe provider—a role it already fulfills by being the world’s largest mobile phone operator given its customer base of more than 500 million—it also harbors ambitions to become a central player in the budding Chinese eBook industry. Already, the Chinese state-owned enterprise has established a mobile reading center in the country’s populous Zhejiang province on the eastern seaboard.

Overall, great hopes are riding on the eBook as the future technology of choice for reading in China, iSuppli believes. And while 5,000 years of traditional book reading will not be displaced overnight by the emergence of a newly popular device, the push for continuing wide acceptance of the eBook will likely go unabated.

eBook players—global giants and domestic Chinese startups alike—will find it impossible to ignore the gargantuan revenue potential to be mined from a 1.4 billion subscriber market.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Taiwanese IP STB industry's shipment volume and value will post YoY growth in Q1-10

DUBLIN, IRELAND: Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "The Taiwanese IP STB Industry, 1Q 2010" report to its offering.

This research report presents Taiwanese IP STB shipment volume and value forecast and recent quarter review of shipment volume, value and ASP, manufacturer volume ranking, and shipment by maker.

The report also provides shipment by technology and function; examines price trends, production locations, shipment destinations, business types, and customer portfolios. The content of this report is based on primary data obtained through interviews with IP STB makers.

The report finds that the Taiwanese IP STB industry's shipment volume, which suffered a year-on-year decline for the first time in the third quarter of 2009 since the fourth quarter of 2006, continued to decline sequentially but the pace slowed in the fourth quarter of 2009.

North America and Europe continued to be major shipment destinations for the industry, with their combined share reaching nearly 70 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009, up from 61.2 percent in the third quarter.

It is anticipated that the industry's shipment volume and value will post a year-on-year growth in the first quarter of 2010 and continue to maintain upward growth trends throughout 2010.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Intel Capital invests $23 million in India

MUMBAI, INDIA: Intel Capital, Intel Corporation's global investment organization, today reaffirmed its commitment to Indian entrepreneurship by detailing plans to invest US$23 million in three Indian technology companies:

* July Systems provides mobile Internet solutions which enable media brands to publish, distribute, monetize inventory and personalize services for consumers;

* KLG Systel provides smart grid and energy management and efficiency solutions to power utilities and end-users; and

* MCX, a leading commodity futures electronic exchange in India, has permanent recognition from the Government of India for facilitating online trading, clearing and settlement operations for futures market across the country.

Individual investment amounts were not disclosed. Funding will come from the $250 million Intel Capital India Technology Fund established in December 2005. This fund invests in Indian technology companies to stimulate local technology innovation and the continued growth of India's IT industry.

“Intel Capital’s investment in July Systems, KLG Systel and MCX reinforces our commitment towards fostering Indian innovation,” said Arvind Sodhani, president of Intel Capital and Intel executive vice president. “We believe that India is poised for the next phase of growth. Intel Capital’s investment will help with global resources, knowledge and expertise to assist these companies with their growth and success.”

Investment in July Systems: July Systems developed the industry’s first Mobile 3.0 publishing platform. The company plans to use Intel Capital’s funds to grow its sales, business development and operations teams in North American and the Asia Pacific. In addition, it will deepen R&D investments in the company’s Mi platform, including its cross-platform publishing across mobile web and native applications, rich media advertising technologies, real-time interactive video and micro-payment management systems.

Rajesh Reddy, Founder and CEO, July Systems, commented: “We are delighted to receive investment from Intel Capital. This represents the next phase of our growth and will allow July Systems to strengthen its position by investing in technology, operations and expanding our team. Intel Capital’s strategic investment will help enhance the appeal of our offering.”

Investment in KLG Systel: KLG Systel developed Connectgaia.com and SG 61 technologies, which allow the monitoring and control of electrical devices remotely over the Internet. The company has also developed a software as a service solution, known as Vidushi, for CIS and utility billing and management. The company is developing a Smart Grid and energy efficiency device based around the Intel Atom processor, as well as creating a center of excellence to showcase technology and emerging models.

Kumud Goel, Managing Director, KLG Systel, added: “Investment by Intel Capital shall enable us to access the latest technologies to upgrade our Connectgaia.com and SG 61 technologies on the Intel Atom chipset. We shall be able to provide innovative solutions to address the issues of global warming and CO2 emissions by reducing and optimizing usage of energy across the electricity supply chain.”

Investment in MCX: MCX is a leading Indian electronic commodity futures exchange that trades more than 40 commodities from various market segments including bullion (globally #1 Silver, #2 Gold), energy, metals, fiber, and agro-commodities. Intel Capital has purchased an equity investment stake in MCX via a secondary transaction with an existing MCX investor. Intel and MCX plan to work together to advance technology adoption in hinterland India, where MCX and its sister companies have deep existing reach through an existing network of 4,000 bulk warehouses and extensive broker network.

Commenting on the investments, Sudheer Kuppam, managing director, Intel Capital Asia Pacific, stated: “Investing in electronic financial exchanges, smart grid technology solutions and mobile Internet-nabling technology platforms demonstrates Intel Capital’s strong commitment to India’s on-going infrastructure build-out, as aligned with the national agenda. Investing in entrepreneurship within technology sectors vital to the growth of the country will continue to characterize Intel Capital’s activities in India over the medium term.”

Since 1998, Intel Capital has invested more than US$200 million in Indian technology companies across 10 cities, showing the importance that Intel places on fostering entrepreneurship and technology innovation in India.

Sanmina-SCI inaugurates Chennai manufacturing campus

CHENNAI, INDIA: Sanmina-SCI Corp., a leading global electronics manufacturing services (EMS) company today hosted a formal inauguration of its state of the art technology manufacturing campus in the Oragadam Hi-tech Special Economic Zone (SEZ) near Chennai in the state of Tamil Nadu.

The Grand Opening Ceremony held on Sunday, March 28th was attended by the Company’s Co-founder, Chairman and CEO Jure Sola, President and COO Hari Pillai, Executive Vice President, South Asia Pacific, CT Chua and Vice-President and Managing Director for India, Kumaran Subramaniam.The management team was joined by Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. M K Stalin, Tamil Nadu Minister for Labor, T.M. Anbarasan, Andrew T. Simkin, US Consul General, Chennai and many of the company’s local employees, customers and suppliers.

Sanmina-SCI’s investment and footprint in Tamil Nadu began in 2003, with the formation of the Chennai IT Center to support Sanmina-SCI’s global IT systems.

Manufacturing operations started with the signing of an MOU with the Government of Tamil Nadu for the acquisition of the Oragadam Campus in June 2007, in conjunction with the start-up of operations at an interim location at the nearby MEPZ Special Economic Zone (SEZ). Today, Sanmina-SCI has moved all manufacturing operations to its new 100 acre Oragadam Campus.

With over 1,500 highly skilled and dedicated employees in India, Sanmina-SCI offers leading Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) customers a comprehensive array of services ranging from design and engineering, supply chain management, PCB assembly and full system assembly.

Markets served include communications, enterprise computing and storage, defense and aerospace, medical, renewable energy and multimedia markets. The operations are ISO 9001:2008, ISO 13485, ISO 14001:2004, TL 9000, UL and CCC certified to provide the highest manufacturing standards to its customers.

OmniVision completes acquisition of Aurora Systems

SANTA CLARA, USA: OmniVision Technologies Inc., a leading developer of advanced digital imaging solutions, announced the completion of its acquisition of Aurora Systems Inc., a privately-held company incorporated in California.

Aurora is a supplier of LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) devices for use in mobile projection applications and high definition home theater projection systems.

Shaw Hong, president and chief executive officer of OmniVision, said: "We are very excited by the growing popularity of image projection systems in consumer devices. With the acquisition of Aurora, we expect to capitalize on this trend in the emerging video-centric consumer market, expand our product portfolio and offer even more innovative and comprehensive imaging solutions to our customers."

"We are also very pleased that all management and employees of Aurora will be joining OmniVision. Their engineering talent and their expertise in image projection technologies are very important to our strategic development," concluded Hong.

OmniVision acquired all outstanding shares of Aurora for aggregate consideration of approximately $5.0 million. Of this amount, $0.5 million has been placed in escrow for a period of up to one year for purposes of compensating OmniVision for certain specified damages that it may incur.

OmniVision does not expect the acquisition to have any significant impact on its fiscal fourth quarter 2010 revenues and net income per share attributable to OmniVision common stockholders.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fairchild's solutions for LCD TVs simplify designs, reduce component count

SAN JOSE, USA: Fairchild Semiconductor’s solutions for LCD TV power applications provide designers with significant advantages when compared to traditional methodologies in use today. Fairchild’s latest innovation optimizes component count, simplifies design and offers better reliability – all leading up to significant savings.

Through technological advances, Fairchild’s half-bridge solution – the Ultra FRFET family– optimizes designs by providing best-in-class reverse recovery time (trr) of 35ns~65ns and the industry’s smallest reverse recovery current (1.8 ~ 3.1A).

Present LCD TV designs use MOSFETs with two fast recovery diodes (FRDs) and two blocking diodes in a half-bridge circuit to initiate the non-zero voltage switching. The FRDs are used to reduce the reverse recovery current. The blocking diodes prevent the built-in diode of the MOSFET from turning on and eliminate the large reverse recovery current of the diodes.

Fairchild’s breakthrough solution eliminates the need for two blocking diodes and two FRDs in the half-bridge circuit, saving board space and as much as $.20 per design.

Additionally, when compared to alternate solutions offering a typical gate charge of only 16nC, the Ultra FRFET products are instrumental in reducing the turn-on and turn-off losses of the MOSFET through its significantly lower gate charge (Qg(typ) = 11nC).

Fairchild’s Ultra FRFET products also feature a robust dv/dt immunity of 20V/ns, ensuring reliability and strong EMI performance to protect the LCD TVs from interference.

These devices are part of a comprehensive portfolio of MOSFETs that offer designers a wide range of breakdown voltages (-500V to 1000V), state-of-the-art packaging and industry-leading FOM to deliver efficient power management anywhere electronic power conversion is needed.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Axis expands PTZ offering with two dome network cameras and modular control board

ISC West 2010, LAS VEGAS, USA: Axis Communications, a leader in the network video market, announced that it continues to expand IP surveillance into new markets with the release of three new pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) products at ISC West 2010:

* AXIS Q6034 PTZ Dome Network Camera designed for state-of-the-art indoor HDTV deployments;
* AXIS P5532 PTZ Dome Network Camera provides cost-effective PTZ surveillance for indoor deployments;
* AXIS T8310 Video Surveillance Control Board allows simplistic PTZ control for professional surveillance.

“Pan, tilt and zoom capabilities provide security and surveillance departments with the versatility needed to effectively staff personnel and efficiently protect people and property,” said Fredrik Nilsson, general manager, Axis Communications.

“Coupled with HDTV and H.264 compression, image quality is drastically improved all while reducing the cost of storage.”

Kobo expands platform with support for dedicated eReaders

LAS VEGAS, USA: Kobo, the global eBook retailer, has announced support for dedicated eReaders with a new application available through its “Powered by Kobo” partner program for hardware manufacturers and retailers.

Kobo’s application provides a world-class eReading experience and storefront and will be embedded in leading eReaders launching in 2010. The company today also unveiled its Kobo eReader, a dedicated eReading device showcasing its new application.

The launch of the Kobo eReader application marks a first in this emerging market – standard software available for hardware partners worldwide. Kobo has developed a strong global following for its eReading applications for the iPhone, BlackBerry, Palm Pre, and Android-based smartphones, and full color, touchscreen tablets including the upcoming iPad.

“We believe consumers want choice, and the freedom to read on any device. Building great eReading applications and partnering with leading device manufacturers is a recipe for success in this quickly growing market,” said Michael Serbinis, CEO of Kobo.

“Our ‘Powered by Kobo’ program accelerates the time to market for manufacturers of new devices and delivers more options for consumers. By providing a world-class catalog, complementary mobile applications and global infrastructure, partners can start selling eBooks in a matter of days.”

The “Powered by Kobo” program provides a flexible solution for partners to launch an eReader or eBook store offering eBooks, newspapers and magazines to their customers. Partners have access to applications for smartphones, netbooks and laptops, new tablets, and now dedicated eReaders. They also have access to API’s, a software development kit, a mobile storefront, and custom integration options to differentiate their offering. Whether a partner is looking for software, content or everything in between, “Powered by Kobo” can meet their needs.

Kobo’s eReader application allows users to read eBooks in both standard ePUB and PDF formats, and supports eBooks, subscriptions (newspapers, magazines) and documents. Any “Powered by Kobo” eReader application is in sync with a user’s Kobo account and any Kobo-enabled device for continuous reading. The eReader application supports a range of hardware options with various screen types including eInk and LCD screens, as well as various connectivity options – USB, Bluetooth, WIFI and 3G.

The new Kobo eReader showcases the new software and will make eReading more accessible to consumers. This stylized, easy-to-use, and affordable eInk based reader will be available for a limited time through Kobo’s retail partners for $149.

It will be pre-loaded with 100 classic books so consumers can start reading right out of the box. Consumers can easily access Kobo’s catalog of over 2 million eBooks, including today’s bestsellers, newspapers and magazines through USB or wirelessly through Bluetooth.

The Kobo eReader will be available first at Indigo Books & Music in Canada in May, followed by Borders in the US this summer. It will be the first of many dedicated eReaders preloaded with the Kobo eReader software.

HP and Intel detail technology advances to fuel business transformation for workstation customers

GLENDALE, USA: At a recent press event on the DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. campus, HP (NYSE:HPQ) and Intel detailed a path toward performance increases that will help workstation customers transform computing workflows and, ultimately, their businesses.

DreamWorks Animation announced it is leading a business transformation based on the scalable multicore innovations provided by HP and Intel to enable the next generation of filmmakers and beyond. By placing tools that are dramatically faster in the hands of artists, DreamWorks Animation hopes to inspire a new generation of filmmaking.

“The multiplier effects of multicore processing in HP workstations will be transformational, turning hours into seconds, days into minutes and years into quarters,” said Jim Zafarana, vice president and general manager, Workstations, HP. “The spec wars are over – multicore parallel processing is steamrolling all previous processes and changing the way we assess compute power.”

“We will release an unprecedented three films this year, each of them with the aspiration to push the state of the art in CG (computer generated) filmmaking. Redesigning our software to tap the power of multicore will ensure our artists have the very best technology to practice their craft,” said Ed Leonard, chief technology officer, DreamWorks Animation. “Our rearchitecture effort is the largest technology initiative we’ve ever taken on and one that has the most promise to transform our core business.”

The proprietary software used by DreamWorks Animation artists in the process of content creation and animation touches everything from character creation and cinematography to lighting, special effects, environments and stereoscopic 3-D.

Most software today is designed to run on one core at a time, limiting the user’s ability to improve workflow. DreamWorks Animation’s ambition is to rewrite its software to take advantage of the power of Intel’s multicore technology using industry-leading HP Z-Series Workstations.

The ability to scale solutions to efficiently utilize many cores is creating a new class of high-performance workstation applications, and DreamWorks Animation and HP are leading the way. By rewriting its suite of software to run parallel projects using HP Z Workstations with up to 12 cores (and potentially more in the future), DreamWorks is turning upside down the economics of its filmmaking machine.

“It’s rewarding to see how quickly DreamWorks Animation is benefiting from rearchitecting and optimizing their software flow using Intel® Software Development Products and engineering talent,” said Anthony Neal-Graves, general manager, Workstations, Intel. “Through this collaboration and the efficiency gain on Intel multicore processor-based platforms from HP, we’re moving animators closer to their goal of seeing the results of their creative efforts in real time.”

“Providing our customers with tools to dramatically increase productivity and create engaging experiences is a top priority for us,” said Bill Hensler, chief technologist, Creative Suite Business Unit, Adobe. “Adobe Creative Suite software takes full advantage of multicore systems, allowing users to benefit from HP’s and Intel’s new advances in computing power and save valuable time.”

Danish computer-aided design and manufacturing company and event presenter HSMWorks ApS expressed excitement over the new technologies.

“We are already seeing major performance gains with the new HP Z workstations and advances in multicore from Intel,” said Tom Mortensen, founder and chief executive officer, HSMWorks ApS. “HSMWorks was designed from the ground up to fully utilize multiple cores, so without us having to change a single line of code, we expect customers who upgrade to the new Z workstations supporting six-core processors will immediately see a reduction in processing times of machining tool paths.”

Starlight to expand digital entertainment product category under Polaroid brand

MINNEAPOLIS, USA: PLR IP Holdings, LLC (PLR), the owner of the Polaroid brand, has announced the signing of a five-year licensing agreement with leading consumer electronics manufacturer and distributor, Starlight Marketing Ltd (Starlight), a wholly owned subsidiary of Starlight International Holdings Ltd, for the US and Canada.

Under the terms of the agreement, Starlight will develop a wide range of Polaroid-branded consumer electronics including standalone DVD and Blu-ray players, portable DVD players, e-book readers, iPod docking stations and home theater systems. Polaroid products from Starlight are initially expected to contribute an estimated $500 million in sales in the next six years.

Starlight has over 30 years of manufacturing experience, designing high-quality and innovative consumer electronic products for reputable leading importers and retailers. The agreement with Starlight will help provide a wider range of consumer electronics products, expanding the Polaroid experience for both existing and new customers.

“We continue to break new ground in introducing simple, fun and real products to existing and new fans of the iconic Polaroid brand,” said Scott W. Hardy, president of PLR. “We’re impressed with Starlight’s innovative product mix and R&D team who share our vision to expand into more digital product categories that embody the spirit of Polaroid.”

In the past year, PLR has assembled a family of Polaroid partners for product development, marketing distribution and licensing. Building upon the rich history, the Polaroid partner network will support fans and users of classic products and deliver new products to a new generation of Polaroid customers while staying true to the brand’s long-standing values of fun and simplicity.

Consumers can expect to see new Polaroid-branded digital entertainment products from Starlight at major retailers in the US and Canada later this year.

NI intros new low-cost USB device to simplify temperature measurements

USA: National Instruments announced the NI USB-TC01, a USB data acquisition (DAQ) device that measures and records temperature data from a thermocouple.

The new device combines a quick and easy plug-and-play setup with the high-quality capabilities and features of NI DAQ products. The USB-TC01 thermocouple measurement device features NI InstantDAQ technology, which helps customers to instantly take temperature measurements with no set-up time or driver software installation.

Additionally, the USB-TC01 features a standard miniplug connector that helps customers use different thermocouples to meet their specific application needs. Priced at $99 USD, the USB-TC01 is ideal for all types of labs and adds convenience to making temperature measurements.

The new USB-TC01 device offers instant setup for a wide breadth of temperature applications for use in scientific labs; heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) units; cryogenics; industrial ovens and furnaces; engine exhaust and combustion systems; building monitoring; and many other environments.

In addition to saving time and resources in system setup, the new device also exhibits the overall accuracy and reliability of more complex measurement systems.

With traditional stand-alone data loggers, measurements are made independently of the PC so data can only be viewed offline. The USB-TC01 is always connected to the PC so customers can take live measurements and view results displayed instantly on the PC monitor.

Customers also have the option to expand upon the basic functionality of the USB-TC01 by downloading additional, free ready-to-run applications from www.ni.com. For further customization, customers can build their own applications by combining the USB-TC01 with NI LabVIEW graphical system design software and NI-DAQmx driver software.

HPC server market declined 11.6pc in 2009, return to growth expected in 2010

FRAMINGHAM, USA: Factory revenue for the high performance computing (HPC) technical server market declined by 11.6% in 2009 to $8.6 billion, down from $9.7 billion in 2008, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide High-Performance Technical Server QView.

Unit shipments dropped 40 percent year over year during the recession year. IBM and HP ended the year in a statistical tie with 29.3 percent and 28.6 percent of overall factory revenue market share respectively.

A bright spot was the "Supercomputers" segment for HPC systems priced at $500,000 and up, which grew by 25 percent to reach $3.4 billion during the difficult year. Fueled by multiple transactions in the $100 million range, the top bracket in this segment, for HPC systems priced above $3 million, grew even faster, expanding by a whopping 65 percent to reach $1.0 billion.

At the other end of the price spectrum, revenue from "Workgroup" HPC systems priced below $100,000 slid 33 percent to $1.7 billion as buyers delayed or canceled some planned acquisitions in this segment that is characterized by purchases based on shorter sales cycles and more discretionary spending.

"IDC expects the HPC technical server market to begin recovering from the impact of the global economic recession in early-2010, with year-over-year growth projected at 5 percent to 7 percent. And just as the recession affected HPC market segments unequally, so too will the recovery," said Earl Joseph, program vice president for HPC. "Many firms have been so battered that they will maintain capex restrictions even in mission-critical areas such as HPC."

"On the other hand, HPC is such an entrenched part of the R&D process in leading oil and gas companies, in government, and in some entertainment and consumer product firms, that budget cuts during the recession have been rare and HPC growth plans are already in place," said Jie Wu, research director for Technical Computing.

"Government and university spending, which together make up about 65 percent of all HPC server revenue, declined less than the overall market in 2009 and with some help from the US Government stimulus funding should remain another bright spot during the recovery."

Vendor Highlights
* IBM took the lead in the Supercomputer segment with 45 percent market share and, compared to the prior year, IBM's revenue in this segment was up 37 percent. The growth was fueled by both IBM's traditional focus on the high-end of the market and the resilience of this particular segment to the overall economic conditions.

* HP maintained its leadership position in the sub-$500K market with 33 percent revenue share, although its revenue in this segment was down 32 percent year over year. The drop in sales in this part of the market was mainly caused by cuts in customers' discretionary spending during the recession.

* Dell held on to its number three position overall with nearly 13 percent market share. Year-over-year revenues were down by slightly more than 29 percent. As a cluster vendor with its primary focus on the mid-to-low end of the market, Dell was hurt by the major budget contractions in these segments.

* Sun captured 4.1 percent revenue share and was ranked in the number four position, finishing the year in a statistical tie* with Cray. Sun's overall revenues were down 25% year over year. Both the Oracle-Sun merger and the down economy had a negative impact to the company's sales in 2009.

* Cray, the supercomputer company, took 4 percent market share overall and finished the year in the number four position, tied with Sun. The company had a nice recovery from 2008 with year-over-year growth of 57 percent, thanks to its strong focus on the very high end of the market, which remains somewhat insulated from economic conditions.

Worldwide Technical Computing Hardware Server, 2009 Top 5 Vendor Revenue and Market Share (revenues in millions)Source: IDC Worldwide Technical Computing QView, February 2010.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Economic recovery drives IT hardware market in Q3

BANGALORE, INDIA: MAIT, the apex body representing the hardware, training and R&D services sectors of the IT industry in the country, announced the findings of its Quarterly Industry Performance Review for the quarter October-December (OND) of fiscal 2009-10. 

The total PC sales between October and December 2009, with desktop computers, notebooks and netbooks together, were 2 million (20 lakh) units, registering a growth of 42 per cent over the same period last Fiscal. The sales of desktops stood at 1.35 million (13.5 lakh) units, while netbooks and notebooks taken together recorded a consumption of 0.66 million (6.6 lakh) units growing 27 percent and 90 percent, respectively, on a year-on-year basis.
 
Commenting on the industry performance, Vinnie Mehta, MAIT Executive Director, said: “The impact of the global economic recession is now well behind us and the IT hardware industry in India is once again on a growth path. All segments of the IT hardware industry – computers, peripherals and networking products recorded impressive growth in the Q3/2009-10 over the same period last year. 

"The corporate sector, which had displayed significant caution in IT-spending over the past five quarters, led the growth in consumption in the OND quarter. Among the verticals,consumption in the IT market was led by telecom, banking, education, SMEs, BPO/IT-enabled services and the e-governance initiatives of the Centre and the state government. Vibrancy in consumption in households and smaller towns was also visible in the quarter. The industry is hopeful that the sales would further improve in the fourth (January-March) quarter. Overall PC sales for 2009-10 are expected to cross 7.3 million (73 lakh) units, registering a 7 percent annual growth.”
 
MAIT’s Industry Performance Review -- ITOPs, conducted by leading market research firm IMRB (Indian Market Research Bureau), is bi-annual and aims to address the hardware sector’s efforts to manage the business environment, gauge the market potential and consumer trends. The module to monitor the industry performance every quarter alternates with the half-yearly review, using the supply side estimation model involving data collection from the top IT vendors and leading channel players. This round of the quarterly study (October-December 2009-10) involved data collation from the major vendors and around 400 resellers/vendors in the top sixteen metros in India. The quarterly review covers the market size estimation for desktop PCs, notebooks, servers and peripherals – printers and UPS.
 
As per the MAIT-IMRB study, the assembled desktops – the smaller lesser known regional brands and unbranded systems, accounted for thirty-five per cent of the desktop sales in Q3/2009-10, while the proportion of the branded desktops was 65 per cent. MNC brands accounted for 52 percent of the market, while the Indian brands accounted for the rest 13 percent.

With improving business sentiment and to meet the demands of growing business, the establishments segment invested in enhancement of their existing network capabilities and modernization of their IT infrastructure leading to a thirty per cent growth in the servers deployment in Q3/2009-10 on a year-on-year basis. Over 27,000 units of servers were consumed in the third-quarter of 2009-10.

Printers market also bounced back in Q3/2009-10.  Led by high sales in the establishments segment, consumption of Laser printers witnessed an impressive growth of 70 percent. Consumption of Dot Matrix printers (DMP), on the back of robust institutional sales, grew by thirteen percent in OND 2009-10 compared to the same period last year.

Sales of Inkjet printers grew 17 percent in the OND 2009-10 quarter over that of the last year. While households and small businesses have been the traditional drivers of consumption of inkjet printers, the retail segment also emerged as a significant consumer of the Inkjet printers.

With improved consumption in the establishments and the households alike, the UPS market grew by 28 percent on an annual basis in the third quarter of 2009-10 registering 0.56 million (5.6 lakh) units in sales.

Optus launches hosted video conferencing service

Claudio Castelli, Senior Analyst, Ovum

AUSTRALIA: This announcement strengths Optus' position in video collaboration for enterprise, especially in the mid-size market as it addresses some important trends, the need of opex-based models and the integration with desktop applications.

Our research shows that most medium companies in Australia prefer to have a predictable monthly recurring charge instead of investing up-front. It also shows that the biggest growth in videoconferencing is expected to derive from desktop applications. The solution may be expanded also to desktops across Optus' ISDN, IP VPN and public Internet. However it is not yet integrated with its Telepresence 2010 which is a gap in the interoperability concept.

In addition, through partnerships Optus will offer HD video in public rooms, which we think is a good way to convince more customers on the benefits of vide collaboration.

Jabra expands India focus; inks partnership with Redington

CHENNAI, INDIA: Jabra, the flagship brand of G N Netcom, a world leader in innovative headsets solutions is significantly enhancing its focus on India. H.E. Ole Lonsmann Poulsen, Danish Ambassador to India formally launched the Jabra GO 6400 Series headsets marking the company’s expansion into the upper end of the CC&O segment.

To support the new product range and its expanded focus on India, the global major announced the appointment of Redington as a distributor to help address the growing demand of hands-free audio communication products and solutions in the call centre and enterprise markets.

Under the agreement, Redington, a leading IT distribution player in the Indian, Middle-East and African regions with over 16,000 channel partners will market and deliver the Jabra brand of headset offerings and Bluetooth technologies to customers. GN Netcom also shared on the occasion that it will open two new offices in India.

The new range of headsets are first to offer true triple connectivity1 and user-friendly touch screen controls that incorporate Bluetooth, and USB phone technologies and will be immediately available in India.

Globally, the CC&O market is expected to triple in the next four years according to a Frost & Sullivan report driven by the Unified Communications market with India being a key growth market for the same. The company is optimistic about the Indian market projecting 50 percent year-on-year growth.

H.E. Ole Lønsmann Poulsen, Danish Ambassador to India, said: ”Denmark has a number of large global brands like Jabra which are driven by design and innovation which have a growing and readymade market in India. Jabra’s presence here and the optimism about the Indian market is good for Indo-Danish business relationship as it will encourage more and more Danish brands looking to expand their global footprint to do the same. We at the Danish Embassy here are actively encouraging Danish companies to invest in India and expand here. Am happy to hear about the Redington partnership and wish both companies success.”

R. Srinivasan, MD and CEO, Redington, said: “We are excited to partner a technology innovator like GN Netcom and we are confident that our channel partners and customers will appreciate the tremendous value of the Jabra portfolio of quality products and breakthrough designs. Through our excellent geographic reach and on-ground resources, we hope to realize maximum growth potential in the Indian market for Jabra’s offering.”

Dinesh Malkani, VP and GM, GN Netcom, added: “We registered a remarkable 30 percent growth in India last year even as the overall industry declined. The new range strengthens our capability to improve business competitiveness of Indian enterprises through UC solutions that are offered in partnership with Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, Avaya and Siemens among others. Redington’s huge partner network, credentials and domain experience sharpens our market penetration in India besides shortening our time-to-market and also making new products and innovations for this region much closer in synch with global roll-outs and releases.”

According to Ralph Ede, Regional Managing Director, GN Netcom South Asia: “The workforce in India today is far more mobile, uses more types of phones and is demanding devices with high usability. The new range will allow mobile-centric and office-centric workers to seamlessly manage calls from their computer (IP telephony), desk and mobile phones and thus enjoy uninterrupted productivity.”

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Panasonic selects CSR's SiRFstarIII for new range of mainstream hybrid digital cameras

CAMBRIDGE, UK: CSR announced that its SiRFstarIII architecture features in Panasonic's new DMC-ZS7 and DMC-TZ10 hybrid digital cameras targeted at mainstream consumers.

SiRFstarIII enhances the travel photography experience by providing end users with the ability to not only geo-tag their images with longitude and latitude information, but also enabling access to real-time location information on the country, city or landmark where the camera is being used during both capture and play back modes.

SiRFstarIII architecture, with its low-power, high-performance satellite signal processor, is one of the most widely deployed GPS architectures, powering a broad range of portable devices. With its SiRFInstantFix technology, SiRFstarIII boasts an extremely fast time-to-first-fix (TTFF) in most environments and even in areas of weak satellite signals.

Integrated into the new DMC-ZS7 and DMC-TZ10 models, SiRFstarIII provides end users of Panasonic's hybrid models with proven and reliable location awareness and functionality, without significantly impacting the battery of the camera.

"With GPS functionality a must-have in new cameras, we needed a chip that would not only provide a quick and accurate position fix, but be able to do this in busy urban environments and without draining the battery," said Tomozawa, Group Manager, Panasonic.

"CSR's SiRFstarIII chip is a proven technology that not only met, but actually exceeded all of the criteria we were looking for. As leading providers of GPS functionality, CSR's SiRFstarIII will importantly provide our customers of the DMC-ZS7 and DMC-TZ10 cameras with real-time location information for their content."

"Location functionality has quickly become a must have feature in nearly all portable devices and SiRFstarIII is one of the most widely deployed architectures for these applications today," said Anthony Murray, Senior Vice President of CSR's Audio and Consumer Business Unit.

"Panasonic's latest cameras are a great example of devices that will actually enhance their customers' experiences, not only providing users with geo-tagging functionality, but also with real-time location information on the landmark they're shooting or the city that they're in, and it's SiRFstarIII makes this all possible."

The GPS functionality of the DMC-ZS7 and DMC-TZ10 make them ideal for travel photography and video capture. The geo-tagging feature with embedded longitude and latitude information allows users to share and upload content to maps on social media websites for sharing with friends and family.

The ZS7 also shows the name of the county, city, and landmarks using the internal data to give users real-time information when taking shooting content and also during play back modes. The GPS works with the internal clock of the camera to automatically adjust it to the local time and to change again when you return home.

The DMC-ZS7 and DMC-TZ10 cameras are available now.

Seagate maintains top ranking in HDD market in Q4

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Seagate Technology LLC in the fourth quarter of 2009 maintained its perch at the top as the world’s largest manufacturer of Hard Disk Drives (HDD), fending off a strong challenge by perennial second-ranked Western Digital Corp.

Shipping approximately 49.9 million HDD units—up 8 percent from third-quarter levels of 46.3 million—Seagate in the last quarter of 2009 controlled 31 percent of the market. Revenue rose 14 percent to $3.03 billion in the fourth quarter, up from $2.66 billion in the third, translating into a 34 percent share of market.

All told, those numbers were enough to keep Seagate, nominally based in the Cayman Islands with a large operational office in Scotts Valley, Calif., in the No. 1 position in both shipment and revenue share of the HDD market in the fourth quarter of 2009.

“The tenacious hold at the top for Seagate surprised many observers who thought Western Digital would bypass its primary competitor in the fourth quarter of last year,” said Fang Zhang, analyst for storage systems at iSuppli.

“Despite shipping a record 49.5 million HDD units—a 12 percent expansion from the earlier quarter—Western Digital was unable to dislodge Seagate and had to settle once again for second place, finishing close behind with approximately 30 percent market share.”

Revenue during the fourth quarter for Lake Forest, Calif.-based Western Digital rose 19 percent to $2.57 billion, up from $2.16 billion in the third quarter—also amounting to about 30 percent of the market, like its unit share.

Other companies that placed in the Top five during the fourth quarter include Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, Toshiba/Fujitsu and Samsung Electronics.

The table presents the top five HDD manufacturers for the fourth quarter of 2009, ranked according to global shipment levels.Source: iSuppli, USA

Hard competition in hard drives
Moving forward, iSuppli expects Seagate to uphold its peak ranking in the first quarter of 2010, with Western Digital to remain in its now-familiar spot as runner-up.

Both companies are expected to increase capital expenditures this year—to an estimated $750 million for Seagate, up from $550 million in 2009; and to a projected match of $750 million for Western Digital, up from $650 million.

Given the seasonal nature of the market, overall HDD shipments in the first quarter of 2010 will decrease slightly, even though industry supply chains will remain tight until the second half of the year in view of continuing strong demand for product, iSuppli is forecasting.

By then, both companies will expect their capacities to have come down to the mid-90 percent level, maintaining a balance between supply and demand.

Source: iSuppli, USA

China TV shipments to rise 11 percent in 2010 despite disappointing New Year sales

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Following a decline in 2009, China’s television market is set for a solid recovery in 2010 despite disappointing sales during the New Year holiday season, according to iSuppli Corp.

Shipments of televisions in the world’s most populous country will reach 41.3 million units in 2010, up a robust 11 percent from 37.3 million in 2009. The strong growth projected for this year represents a complete reversal of the situation in 2009, which saw China’s television shipments dip by 2 percent from 38 million in 2008. The next four years will continue the positive trend of 2010, with annual growth ranging from about 5 percent to 6.7 percent, iSuppli estimates.

The figure presents iSuppli’s shipment forecast of television shipments in China from 2008 to 2014.Source: iSuppli, USA

Leading the way in 2010 are LCD-TV shipments, which are estimated to reach about 36 million units, or 87 percent of the total China television market. Reflecting the rest of the world’s infatuation with the slim sets, China has been unable to resist the manifold attractions of LCD-TVs. This was evident in the sales spike of more than 70 percent during the Chinese New Year period in January and February, compared to the same time a year ago.

“The strong New Year sales presage a heartening return to health for China’s television market,” said Kathleen Zhang, a senior analyst for iSuppli’s China Research service. “However, the Lunar New Year sales were approximately 15 to 20 percent less than what TV OEMs had hoped for—mainly because of overly aggressive projections.”

With factory shipments exceeding demand, inventories of unsold televisions in China at the end of February were about two weeks higher than average, Zhang said. Nonetheless, the inventory situation for LCD panels is manageable.

“Inventory levels for LCD panels remain healthy because the television market is set for high growth in 2010,” Zhang added.

Besides LCD-TVs, other television types comprising the China TV market include CRT-TVs, plasma displays and rear-projection TVs. However, shipments of the older CRT sets are declining. Meanwhile, rear-projection televisions largely disappeared from the Chinese market in 2009 due to aggressive competition from LCD sets. Finally, plasma television shipments are set to hover at the 1-million unit per-year level through 2014.

Favorable conditions aid market rebound
A number of factors will contribute to the resurgence of China’s television market in 2010, including official government support, expanding consumer interest and a busy real estate market.

On the part of the government, a new market stimulus program providing a 10 percent subsidy when users replace old appliances is expected to encourage more urban consumers to buy television sets. The program will expand to include even more regions in China by June.

The government’s move ties in with the increasingly widespread trend among the populace to replace older-generation sets with new televisions. While consumers in the rural market swap antiquated CRT-TVs with flat-screen models, their urban counterparts are not only replacing flat-panel TVs with newer feature-rich versions, but in many instances also acquiring a second—or even third—flat-screen unit. About 5.5 million LCD-TVs with advanced features such as LED backlighting will ship in 2010—accounting for almost 15 percent of the total China TV market for the year.

A third factor contributing to the growth of China’s television market is the continuing boom in the country’s real estate market.

“In China, a move to a new house by people often is accompanied by the purchase of a new television,” Zhang said. “The large number of move-ins in 2010 will result in an increase in television demand.”

Source: iSuppli, USA

Comtech wins $1 million order for transceivers and LNAs

MELVILLE, USA: Comtech Telecommunications Corp. announced that its Tempe, Arizona-based subsidiary, Comtech EF Data Corp., won a $1 million order for satellite communications equipment. A government agency will utilize the equipment to support their satellite-based communications network requirements.

The order includes the CSAT-5060 C-Band transceivers and the CLNA C-Band low noise amplifiers (LNAs). The CSAT-5060 C-Band transceivers feature superior phase noise performance and long-term reliability.

Packaged in a single unit chassis, the units allow quick and easy installation. The CLNA C-Band Low Noise Amplifiers are compact and rugged, making them ideal for transportable applications and severe environments. The low noise amplifiers have a comprehensive set of options to accommodate systems ranging from VSATs to major earth stations.

"This order demonstrates Comtech's ability to support mission critical applications with our frequency conversion and amplifier solutions," commented Fred Kornberg, president and CEO of Comtech.

Monday, March 22, 2010

LCD update: A strong market and an upcoming game of musical chairs

USA: According to Converge Market Insights, despite an improvement of 17 percent over the same period last year, the sales figures on LCD TVs during Chinese New Year failed to impress panel makers. Most manufacturers had hoped to see improvement in the neighborhood of 30 percent prior to the holiday.

The factory pricing on LCD TVs remains largely unchanged for the month of March as a result. The sixth-generation line, which is responsible for building 26-inch through 37-inch TV panels, is still keeping busy, with full production capacities scheduled through most of the second quarter.

The 7.5-generation line, which builds 40-inch and larger TV panels, reveals the realities of a different market segment. Current factory lead time for 40-inch or larger panels is around four weeks, down from the six to eight weeks in previous months. This is indicative of weakening demand due to seasonal factors. A price correction is now starting to appear imminent for TV panels of 40 inches and larger.

Desktop panels are experiencing price increases of 4-6 percent in March due to sustained shortages, in particular on mainstream sizes of 18 inches through 22 inches. Personal computer makers are also getting ready for a healthy back-to-school buying spree.

Strong demand and material shortages continue to push the desktop panel pricing higher with minimum four-to-six-week lead time. The situation is similar for notebook panels, with factory pricing expected to keep creeping up in the second quarter. Two of the more allocated sizes are 15.6 and 17.3 inches. For the month of March, there is a $1-$2 increase on most mainstream sizes. Unless the market changes due to unexpected factors, notebook panels will likely see a modest shortage through this summer.

The industrial panel market would have seemed uneventful had it not been stirred by the recent speculation that Toshiba will be selling its TMD (Toshiba Mobile Display) division due to repeated, hefty losses over the years.

According to market insiders, Toshiba is currently evaluating its TFT product offerings and planning to retire panels of certain form factors within the next 2 quarters, which include 5.7, 6.5, and potentially 12.1 inches. Toshiba is planning to bump the 12.1-inch pricing from the current level of $120 to $150-plus as the panels transition to end of life. One or more of the production plants in Japan is scheduled to shut down in July as a result.

Eventually, Toshiba will exit the TFT industry altogether. A number of panel makers from Japan and Korea are reportedly in talks with Toshiba to take over the TFT business. Converge will continue to monitor its progress and its market impact in the near future.

Report on Taiwanese IP STB industry, 1Q 2010

TAIWAN: This research report from the Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute presents Taiwanese IP STB shipment volume and value forecast and recent quarter review of shipment volume, value and ASP, manufacturer volume ranking, and shipment by maker.

The report also provides shipment by technology and function; examines price trends, production locations, shipment destinations, business types, and customer portfolios. The content of this report is based on primary data obtained through interviews with IP STB makers.

The report finds that the Taiwanese IP STB industry's shipment volume, which suffered a year-on-year decline for the first time in the third quarter of 2009 since the fourth quarter of 2006, continued to decline sequentially but pace slowed in the fourth quarter of 2009.

North America and Europe continued to be major shipment destinations for the industry, with their combined share reaching nearly 70 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009, up from 61.2 percent in the third quarter. It is anticipated that the industry's shipment volume and value will post a year-on-year growth in the first quarter of 2010 and continue to maintain upward growth trends throughout 2010.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Quartics develops low bandwidth HD video solutions for network providers, OEMs

SHANGHAI, CHINA: Quartics Inc. has developed a new HD video solution with the ability to deliver to consumers in China and around the world an “HD and beyond” video experience while only using a fraction of network bandwidth for IP Set-Top Box and Internet HD TV applications.

The new solution is based upon the programmable Qvu video enhancement technology from Quartics, and will be available for incorporation into a range of consumer electronics products for OEMs within China and elsewhere.

HD content has up to five times more detail and provides a much crisper, more colorful and higher resolution picture than standard definition (SD) content. However, an HD movie can take three hours to download while an SD version of the same movie can take only 30 minutes.

To achieve goal of delivering low bandwidth HD video – considered to be one of the most critical issues faced by carriers and consumers alike –- Quartics is applying new and innovative techniques that promise to reduce the strain on China’s network infrastructure while still providing unsurpassed levels of HD video quality. Quartics also is planning to apply this novel technological approach to other regions, such as the United States and Europe.

“Our new low bandwidth HD video solution is another significant innovation based upon Quartics Qvu technology, and promises to help spur our business development efforts in China,” said Sherjil Ahmed, CEO and founder of Quartics.

Qvu video enhancement experience
Qvu is bringing about a revolution in how consumers experience video. Whether watching streamed content from YouTube, viewing locally stored video or using next-generation applications such as HD telepresence devices, Qvu provides a cost-effective, high definition experience that surpasses anything available on the market today.

Qvu is the world’s first programmable video processor unit (VPU) that is universally applicable to all OEM and ODM device platforms. Its unique and patented technology significantly improves battery life and extends viewing time, while offering a single platform that can be repurposed for use in multiple applications to handle all video processing tasks.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Roller coaster ride continues in LCD panel and equipment

NEW TRIPOLI, USA: TFT-LCD equipment, which grew 28 percent in 2008, dropped 16 percent in 2009, according to a new report titled LCD Market: Technology Directions and Market Analysis from The Information Network.

LCD manufacturers had announced capex reductions of about 50 percent for 2009 in response to the global economic crisis, but the equipment market managed to drop only 16 percent as unit shipments ramped.

The Information Network forecasts array processing equipment to increase more than 50 percent in 2010 to meet demand from resurgence in purchases of TVs, notebooks, and desktops.

Large-size TFT-LCD panel shipments increased 21 percent from 436.6 million units in 2008 to 528.3 million units in 2009. Revenues decreased 15 percent from $72.7 billion in 2008 to $61.8 billion in 2009.

LG Display led the market based on shipments with nearly a 25 percent share, taking the lead from Samsung. The latter company let the market based on revenues with more than a 27 percent share.

Panel makers are stringently controlling costs while improving the technology innovation at this time.

Consumers boost spending on hot electronics in 2009, despite drop in income

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Despite an unprecedented decline in global per capita income in 2009, global revenue for hot electronic products increased for the year, reflecting a fundamental shift in how consumers are prioritizing their spending, according to iSuppli Corp.

Worldwide per capita income in 2009 declined by 2 percent to $10,500, marking the first annual decrease during the post-World War II era, according to US government data. In contrast, iSuppli estimates global revenue from shipments of smart phones rose by 9.6 percent for the year, while LCD-TVs experienced a 14 percent increase and netbook PCs surged by a stunning 90 percent.

The figure presents 2009 annual percentage growth for global per capita income and for revenue from shipments of LCD-TVs, smart phones and netbooks.

“There’s been a measurable shift in how consumers are spending their disposable income,” said Derek Lidow, president and chief executive officer of iSuppli. “In a time of great economic distress, when people had less money and spending on essentials like food and rent declined, consumers surprisingly used a disproportionate amount of their money to purchase new consumer electronics products.”

In terms of worldwide unit shipments, LCD-TVs rose by 42 percent in 2009, while smart-phone shipments increased by 13.2 percent in 2009 and netbooks rose by 100.8 percent.

“For global consumers, the latest electronic products have become top-priority spend items,” Lidow said. “They are willing to spend on these products at the expense of other desirables, such as jewelry, vacations and dining out. This trend will continue as the economic recovery gains momentum, causing global revenue for consumer electronic products to rise in 2010 and beyond.”

Global factory revenue from shipments of consumer electronics devices, a category that includes LCD-TVs, will rise by 3.2 percent in 2010 and will grow by another 7.8 percent in 2011, iSuppli forecasts. The wireless communications segment, led by smart phones, will experience a robust rise of 10.8 percent in 2010, and a 13.1 percent increase in 2011. The computer segment, partly driven by sales of popular netbook PCs, will rise by 7.8 percent in 2010 and 7.9 percent in 2011.

One major factor allowing consumers to increase their spending on certain electronic products is decreased expenditures on vacations.

“Rather than spending on travel, people are opting to take ‘staycations,’ where they stay home during their vacation time,” Lidow noted. “To make their staycations more enjoyable, consumers are buying products to entertain themselves in their homes, including LCD-TVs.”

Other factors also augmented the strong spending on certain consumer electronics products in 2009. China’s stimulus efforts helped promote spending on various consumer products in the nation, most notably on LCD-TVs.

Consumer connectedness is another trend that the global economy could not deter.

Consumers around the world have been increasing their spend, in spite of the economy, on devices that enable them to be connected to the Internet as they move from place to place. Consumers in the developing world spent a larger share of their income on becoming first-time cell-phone subscribers.

“The importance that consumers are placing on these electronic products when it comes to spending is very positive development for the global technology industry and should be a cause of optimism in the years to come,” Lidow observed.Source: iSuppli, USA

Content vital to sales of 3D-enabled TVs: CEA/ETC study

ARLINGTON, USA: Increased availability of 3D content is vitally important to sales of 3D-enabled TVs in 2010 and beyond, according to new consumer research from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and the Entertainment and Technology Center (ETC) at the University of Southern California.

Content remains the key component in future adoption of 3D in the home. Two-thirds (67 percent) of those planning to buy a 3D-enabled TV within the next three years say they will be more likely to buy if they can receive and watch 3D television programs through an antenna, cable, satellite or fiber-to-the-home.

Most say the primary reason to buy a 3D-enabled set is to watch 3D movies at home; 65 percent want to watch movies, 36 percent want to play 3D video games and 33 percent want to watch television programming.

“2010 will be an important year for 3D in the home, with 3D-enabled sets on store shelves today and content continuing to evolve and expand,” said Shawn DuBravac, CEA’s chief economist and director of research. “3D content in the home shows potential as 3D-specific cable channels continue to be announced and more movies and sporting events are slated to be transmitted in 3D in the coming months.”

The study also shows that interest in 3D technology continues to grow as consumers experience the technology. Roughly 27 percent of online U.S. adults saw a 3D movie or event in the last year, with half (49 percent) of these individuals seeing more than one. Eighty-five percent of US online adults were satisfied with their 3D experience, with 81 percent reporting being satisfied with both the overall experience and the quality of the 3D images and effects.

Consumers also prefer 3D technology over 2D when given the choice. More than 40 percent of U.S. online adults who have seen a 3D movie or event in the last year say they would prefer to watch movies and television shows in 3D vs. 2D across all content types, if available. Nearly one-third of all online adults say they would like to watch all their television programs in 3D.

“Consumers who have seen digital 3D know that the current state of the art is unlike any 3D they have seen in the past,” said David Wertheimer, CEO and executive director of the Entertainment and Technology Center at USC. “It’s no surprise, given the choice, consumers want a high-definition 3D experience in their home. However, broad availability of 3D content is critical to mass adoption.”

STB shipments to continue brisk growth in 2010

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Shipments of set-top boxes will continue to rise during the next few years as consumer viewing patterns shift and as TV content delivered via the Internet becomes more popular, setting the stage for providers to acquire new revenue in the ferocious battle for the digital home, according to iSuppli Corp.

A total of 147.8 million set-top boxes will ship worldwide in 2010, up 11.5 percent from 132.6 million units last year. Shipments will continue to rise in the next few years and reach 193.9 million units by 2014, as presented in the figure.Source: iSuppli

The continued growth of set-top boxes coincides with projections for a big boost in worldwide subscribers to Internet Protocol TV (IPTV), or digital television delivered through the Internet and a broadband network, according to Jagdish Rebello, iSuppli senior director and principal analyst for wireless research.

Global IPTV subscribers will increase to more than 123 million units by 2014, up from about 33 million at the end of 2009—rising at a CAGR of almost 30 percent.

“The rise in numbers in both set-top boxes and IPTV subscribers bears profound implications for consumers and OEMs, signaling a major paradigm shift in TV viewing,” Rebello said. “With IPTV, consumers are able to watch what they want at the time and place of their own choosing, and the set-top box—currently the device that brings TV content from an external signal source—will continue to be the consumer device for delivering such material.”

Battle shapes up among players
Given the radical change in the way consumers watch and handle video content, the set-top box sits at the critical junction of what industry participants call the broadband residential gateway, noted Jordan Selburn, iSuppli principal analyst for consumer platforms.

Because of this, providers as diverse as telephone companies, cable operators and satellite dish companies are realizing that the gateway will be the means through which they can extend their networks into the digital home—and in the process gain control of the distribution of data, voice and video.

Furthermore, by charging for value-added services like video on demand, music, interactive gaming and peer-to-peer content sharing, providers can acquire new streams of revenue to augment declining or stagnating income in other parts of their business, such as voice revenues in the case of telephone companies.

“Residential gateways will incorporate services for digital home management, becoming the critical battleground among various players and serving as the beachhead within the home to launch new offerings and “suites” of services,” Selburn said. “And if the residential gateway is successfully integrated into a consumer electronics device—such as a set-top box—that the customer values, the service provider will be difficult to dislodge.”

To this end, set-top boxes must be considered the leading candidate for residential gateway systems—not only providing a bridge from the house to the outside world but also serving as a conduit within the home among network-attached appliances, including telephones, digital video recorders, PCs, game consoles, storage devices and security systems, Selburn noted.

For their part, service providers realize that the company that controls the residential gateway to the home will be in the best position to manage—and monetize—not only the home network but also content distribution within the home.

The future is waiting
Already, the integration of residential capabilities into set-top boxes has begun. Service providers like Iliad in France have launched a commercial product called the AliceBox—a single device that integrates a TV set-top box and a broadband modem.

Other than the set-top box, however, iSuppli does not see in the immediate future any other consumer electronic device integrating the residential gateway function. Video game consoles and PCs could evolve to support the role of content servers, but these devices will not include the critical bridge action that is required to fulfill gateway operations—at least, not during the forecast period.

Source: iSuppli

Dimension 3: International S-3D and new images forum

SÈVRES, FRANCE: From June 1-3, 2010, the International Forum Dimension 3 will gather professionals and experts from all round the world to see the latest creation and visualization solutions in the world of 3D images and new images.

Dimension 3, organized by Avance Rapide Communication and sponsored by the General Council of Seine-Saint-Denis will take place at the Pullmann Dock in the Plaine Saint Denis studios (North of Paris). The Forum will offer three days of demonstrations, conferences, workshops and screenings. As a part of the event, several cinemas in the area will screen films in 3D throughout June.

The 4th edition of the Dimension 3 Forum will be the most important event of the year in Europe for the 3D and image industry. It offers a platform for interaction for all the businesses, research facilities, universities and schools who have chosen to include new images into their develoment strategy. Dimension 3 is a must-attend event for many industries: cinema, television, gaming, entertainment, advertising, communication, telecom, mobile networks, science, medicine, architecture, etc.

Dimension 3 2010 offers a number of highlights in the following categories:

* 36 conferences and workshops over 3 days, gathering some sixty international experts from all sectors (scientists, developers, producers, artists, engineers, manufacturers, technicians, directors). Some subjects: new filming processes and broadcasting in S-3D, augmented reality, 3D visualization for medical imaging…

* A 2,000+ m² exhibition area where manufacturers, publishers, contractors and producers will offer demonstrations and real-life product presentations. A special area, Dimension 3 Immersion will open its doors to visual experimentation devoted to video games, telephony and 3D marketing tools.

* A Training session, S3D Campus, designed for an international public with the european MEDIA certification in 2010. S3D Campus training session will be held from May 24 to 28, 2010, just before the Forum. This one-of-a-kind training course, organized by 12 international experts, have been developped to learn everything about the technological, artistic and financial aspects of stereoscopic 3D - In 2009, the Campus gathered participants from the USA, Europe and Asia, offering sessions on S-3D, from filming to screening.

* An International film competition: Dimension 3 Festival that will bring together a large range of contents. Since its first edition, in 2007, the festival further grows, now featuring a competition with 6 categories and 3 special prizes. The competing programmes will be looped in the screening auditorium during the Forum and the winners will receive Dimmy’s Gold awards during a special evening.

The Forum will also include 3Discovery, an educational event on S-3D, open to the general public from June 5-15, 2010. 3Discovery will be partnered by Nwave Pictures and Walt Disney Pictures this year.

Teradyne intros GRADE-X OTX Editor for interoperable automotive diagnostics

NORTH READING, USA: Teradyne has introduced the GRADE-X OTX Editor, an authoring environment for the emerging ISO13209 Open Test eXchange (OTX) standard, at the CTI conference in Stuttgart, Germany.

Built on the widely used GRADE-X diagnostics platform, the GRADE-X OTX Editor enables users to create, edit and test diagnostic sequences that can be reused across design, manufacturing and service groups and thereby help automotive companies improve diagnostic effectiveness and reduce costs.

The GRADE-X OTX Editor is a powerful graphical authoring environment that stores data in the native OTX format (a dialect of XML). The new tool offers automatic layout for OTX documents from any source and allows for specification and implementation views while providing protection from schema changes. It can be used as a stand-alone tool used to create and modify tests or be integrated into complete toolsets, like the GRADE-X Diagnostic Toolset. Teradyne has shipped multiple platforms to automotive customers in Europe.

“The GRADE-X OTX Editor enables our customers to leverage the power of OTX today, while insulating them from future changes to the ISO standard,” said Brian Westhead, OTX Editor architect, Teradyne. “Our editor helps authors create complex, reusable test sequences without worrying about programming or XML formats.”

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Eclipse CCTV releases world’s first domes with strobe technology

TAIPEI, TAIWAN: Eclipse CCTV Inc., one of the world’s leading suppliers of high performance electronic security equipment for over 15 years, has introduced many breakthrough products that have been released. The ECL-557 Series domes are the first cameras in the industry to offer onboard strobe technology.

“We received rave reviews from installers and integrators during our initial market test and soft launch. The strobe technology has caught on with many end users and customers.”

The strobes are used as deterrents and remind those entering a building or residence that they are being monitored and recorded. Installers will have a choice of activating or deactivating the strobe function via a dip switch on the domes.

“During our initial research and case study we found that 92 percent of the people entering a building with our strobe technology immediately looked directly at the cameras. This allowed our DVRs to record a perfect picture of the person's face as they entered. A common problem within the industry is the inability to obtain a facial recognition image with ceiling mounted cameras.”

The ECL-557 Series also offers Smart IR Technology which allows the dome camera to automatically adjust the IR strength according to distance. As an object gets closer the Smart IR Technology automatically reduces the amount of IRs used to eliminate white wash and produce a true color picture.

Bullet: The strobe technology is also offered in the form of a bullet camera. The ECL-599H and HT models. These models offer 1/3-inch high resolution Sony CCD sensor built into a water proof case. Features include auto exposure, aperture correction, anti-color rolling and a vandal-resistant housing made of zinc alloy built to withstand attacks.

Alarm: Integrating the ECL-599T/HT bullets with the new Nubix RT DVRs allows for emergency strobe activation. The normal state of the strobes would be off but in the event of motion sense, alarm or sensor trigger the strobes would immediately begin flashing all at once indicating an alarm has occurred.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

GENIVI Alliance marks first anniversary with unprecedented accomplishments

SAN RAMON, USA: The GENIVI Alliance, an automotive and consumer electronics industry association driving the development and adoption of an open In-vehicle Infotainment (IVI) reference platform, celebrated its first anniversary, and its noteworthy accomplishments.

Launched at CeBIT in March 2009 with just eight charter members, the GENIVI Alliance now boasts over 60 members.

Membership now spans the entire automotive ecosystem across all major geographies, including five OEMs, key first tier suppliers, and the majority of semiconductor providers to the In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) market.

Through its membership, GENIVI is redefining the boundaries of the automotive ecosystem by engaging consumer electronics-related companies in the IVI market.
Also during its first year, the GENIVI Alliance, while maintaining its rapid growth, developed and released to members its first version of the Alliance Platform just nine months after launch. The platform was demonstrated publicly for the first time at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January.

Most importantly, the GENIVI Alliance has triggered the transformation of the automotive IVI industry and the way that IVI solutions will be developed in the future. With the continuing success of the Alliance, the acceptance of an open source software approach for automotive applications has reached new levels.

By focusing on "pre-competitive" layers of the IVI software stack, GENIVI has facilitated cooperation among competing companies across the value chain.

"GENIVI's performance for our first year has exceeded expectations thanks to the cooperation and efforts of our member companies," said Graham Smethurst, GENIVI president. "The short development time for the first GENIVI platform version and the CES demonstrations serve as tangible proof points that GENIVI's approach will deliver on its promise of shortening product development cycles and reducing costs while maintaining high quality and supporting product differentiation. Our industry needs GENIVI now more than ever."

"GENIVI promises to permanently change the way the automotive industry develops products, values components, and collaborates to build both," said Roger Lanctot, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics.

"The first products built around GENIVI code are just now entering development and industry participation in the alliance has grown from a small core of industry leaders to nearly universal participation."

In January 2010, ARM joined GENIVI to work directly with their licensees to ensure the applicability of the GENIVI stack across multiple microprocessor architectures. As GENIVI moves into its second year of operation the Board of Directors has been expanded and strengthened through the election of ARM, MontaVista Software and Renault.

Hybrid and electric vehicles promoted by new OEM strategies

BOSTON, USA: Because improvements in conventional powertrains are deemed insufficient at meeting tightening fuel economy and emission mandates, some automotive OEMs have had to adopt strategies aimed at raising the proportion of hybrid and electric vehicles in their range.

The Strategy Analytics report, “Hybrid and Electric Vehicles: OEM Strategies Reviewed,” assesses this latest business and technical activity from the world’s leading volume car makers.

OEMs will be enabled to meet near-term mandates with the recent, rapid growth of cost-effective efficiency systems—like advanced variable valve timing, downsizing engines with forced induction and stop-start systems tied to conventional powertrains.

However, tougher long-term mandates—such as the European 95 g/km carbon dioxide emission standard for 2020—require further improvements that can only be met by electrifying the powertrain. Yet growth of electrified powertrains will be hindered by cost and complexity.

According to the author of this report, Kevin Mak, Industry Analyst in the Strategy Analytics Automotive Electronics Service, “Car makers have to overcome these powertrain cost challenges by collaborating with other players, utilizing cost-effective components and designing flexible powertrain platforms in order to bring about economies of scale and widen the appeal of hybrid-electric vehicles.”

Mak adds: “Batteries will still impose barriers to mass market adoption. But with these new strategies, hybrid and electric vehicles will have a platform on which they can be further developed.”

Hamamatsu Photonics intros CMOS-based ORCA-Flash2.8 scientific camera

HAMAMATSU, JAPAN: Hamamatsu Photonics K.K. has introduced the ORCA-Flash2.8, its first high-sensitivity digital camera based on advanced scientific CMOS image sensor technology.

Designed for low-light imaging, the ORCA-Flash2.8 offers users an affordable way to capture high-resolution images at high frame rates and with low noise. It is suitable for a wide variety of scientific imaging applications, as well as semiconductor inspection and industrial imaging.

The first public display of the ORCA-Flash2.8 will be at the Analytica 2010 exhibition in Munich, Germany, from March 23 to March 26 (booth A2 420). In April, Hamamatsu Photonics will begin receiving orders for this new camera from Japan-based and international customers.

Videoconferencing poised to transition from experiment to asset as enterprises weigh Benefits and technology matures

FRAMINGHAM, USA: IDC predicted that 2009 would be the year of the great enterprise videoconferencing experiment, and despite the macroeconomic challenges that enterprises faced, the worldwide market (including telepresence) managed to achieve 16.7 percent growth over 2008.

With the global economy now in recovery, IDC expects the enterprise adoption of videoconferencing to accelerate, driving revenues for videoconferencing equipment from $1.9 billion in 2009 to more than $8.7 billion in 2014.

"The videoconferencing market is in the midst of a transition – from meeting over video as an option of last resort to an alternative that's preferred over traveling," said Jonathan Edwards, research analyst, Enterprise Communications Infrastructure.

"The cultural shift toward video as a good enough 'across the table' replacement for in-person meetings will accelerate swiftly through the next decade as more companies utilize the technology to accelerate decision making and time to market as well as improve team collaboration, customer service, and employee work/life balance."

IDC believes three factors will shape the enterprise videoconferencing market over the next five years:

* Technology capability and market awareness. Although there is growing awareness of videoconferencing's capabilities, the technology has only recently begun to offer the quality, productivity, and level of engagement per interaction that are the keys to enterprise adoption. IP- video technology has been fundamental to this shift.

* Bandwidth availability. The most significant impediment to videoconferencing adoption is bandwidth. The overall costs of investing in videoconferencing remain high, with significant network upgrades required.

* Interoperability. There are multiple levels of interoperability that will take time to address (system type to system type, legacy to next generation, vendor to vendor, carrier network to carrier network, business to business, etc.), but all will significantly impact adoption and help accelerate enterprise adoption.

It is unlikely that videoconferencing will become an impromptu communication tool that is seen as an alternative to instant messaging or voice over the next five years. Instead, IDC expects the usage of videoconferencing to be primarily driven by scheduled meetings, corporate communications, and training activities.

To help overcome cultural barriers to adoption, enterprises need to leverage self-service capabilities for videoconferencing assets while encouraging its use as an alternative to travel.

"Ultimately, enterprises must consider videoconferencing in the same context as larger IT initiatives and service delivery, such as virtualization, unified communications, and how video will be used beyond conferencing," added Edwards.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

PC market rebound will drive double-digit growth through 2014

FRAMINGHAM, USA: After a severely constrained first half, steeply discounted PCs along with improving economic conditions steered the global PC market back into the black in the latter half of 2009. According to IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, the yearly growth rate for the worldwide PC market in 2009 was 2.9 percent.

Portable PCs remained the key market driver, with shipments increasing 18.4 percent in 2009 compared to 2008. Consumer purchases of portable PCs were the sole driver of the market, growing at 38.5 percent. Commercial shipments were severely strained but showed signs of life near the end of the year as fourth quarter growth came in just under 1 percent, providing a glimpse of an anticipated commercial refresh in 2010.

As a harbinger that the pace of ASP declines will moderate, mininotebook growth slowed in the fourth quarter as the volume of other notebook categories grew 22 percent year over year.

With the recovery picking up, the PC market is expected to resume expansion in 2010 with global growth of 12.6 percent. Emerging regions, which have been instrumental in reviving the market, are expected to maintain course; growing 18.5 percent in 2010 and overtake mature markets in volume during 2010 and beyond. Mature markets should see 2010 come in at 7.2 percent, with double digit volume growth resuming in 2011.

Portable PCs will remain the driver of growth across consumer and commercial segments, reaching a 70 percent share of PCs by 2012. In the meantime, desktop PCs will see a decline across all regions except Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan), resulting in slightly positive yearly growth throughout the forecast period.

Set against the backdrop of a positive shipment outlook, market revenue will recover at a slower pace. 2010 should see revenue growth; albeit at 5 percent and nearly 7 percent in 2011. However, compared against the record revenues seen in 2008, PC market revenue is not expected to surpass the 2008 number until 2012; and will need a shipment total 140 million units higher than the 2008 market.

"PC volume continued to grow in 2009 – fairing much better than in 2001, when a smaller recession produced a decline in PC volume. The positive 2009 results reflect lower prices and the fact that PCs are increasingly a must-have product," said Jay Chou, research analyst with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker.

"With lean margins and further market consolidation remaining a harsh reality for the foreseeable future, vendors are increasingly looking to a mix of volume and specialized products to grow revenue, including new combinations of portability, performance, and the intriguing possibilities of touch computing. Overcoming challenges, such as synchronizing data across multiple devices, will be an important step in enabling adoption of more devices and expanding market growth."

“IDC is keenly focused on the forthcoming tablet device market,” said Bob O’Donnell, IDC vice president, Clients and Displays.”However, we don’t expect these products – which do not meet the current IDC definition of a PC – will stunt the strong growth in PCs we’re expecting to see this year.”Source: IDC

Premium automotive audio market to double by 2016

EL SEGUNDO, USA: After a decline in 2009, worldwide shipments of high-end premium audio systems for cars are set to rise by a double-digit percentage in 2010, paving the way for the market to expand by a factor of two by 2016, according to iSuppli Corp.

Global automotive premium audio shipments are projected to rise to 6.7 million units in 2010, up 12.9 percent from 5.9 million in 2009. This follows an 8 percent decline in 2009. By 2016, shipments will rise to 13.7 million units, about twice the 2010 total.

The figure presents iSuppli’s forecast of global shipments by region of premium audio systems in car head units for the period of 2007 through 2016.Source: iSuppli, USA

iSuppli defines premium audio as a system that includes any combination of one or more of these three features: 5.1-channel discrete surround sound, eight or more speakers and power amplification of more than 400 watts.

“Premium audio systems primarily are used in luxury and high-end autos,” Mark Boyadjis is an analyst for automotive electronics at iSuppli. “This is due to the large number of channels, which require many speakers and amplifiers—and sometimes more. Other factors driving up costs include the customization of car interiors to accommodate the large number of speakers and the use of well known brand names for such systems, such as Bose.

“However, premium audio is beginning to trickle down into the middle-market segment and even into some entry-level cars. Sales also are rising as the auto industry as a whole recovers from the 2008-2009 recession.”

Because of the improved audio quality yielded by CDs and digital music devices, demand has risen for premium systems cable of doing justice to these audio sources.

Killer audio
Music long has been the killer application for automotive head units, starting with the introduction of AM radio more than 70 years ago. The only real change in this portion of the in-vehicle infotainment experience is the ever increasing diversity of audio choices in the car.

While radio will continue to be the most important and most widely available feature in car head units, music delivered via removable media will increase in importance. Music on removable media has transitioned from cassette tapes to CDs, and now is moving to devices compatible with the USB interface.

The last five years also have seen the huge impact made by Portable Media Players (PMPs) on the audio head-unit market. To adjust to this trend, auto manufacturers have added interfaces that work with iPods and other PMPs. Furthermore, some audio head-unit suppliers have begun offering “mechless receivers” that include radio receivers, USB interfaces and a dial—but have no CD or cassette slots at all.

North America leading
North America is the largest region for premium audio systems in car head units. OEM premium audio unit shipments in the region are forecasted to grow to 4.6 million units in 2016, up from 3.3 million units in 2007.

Shipments in the Asia-Pacific region are forecasted to grow to more than 4.0 million units in 2016, up from 1.2 million units in 2007.

Source: iSuppli, USA

Hard drive market to continue growth in 2010 it saw in 2009

NEW TRIPOLI, USA: Hard disk drive (HDD) manufacturers repositioned themselves in this Great Recession, managing to show growth in 2009, according to the report “The Hard Disk Drive Industry: Market Analysis and Processing Trends, by The Information Network.

The market grew nearly 11 percent on a unit basis in 2009 and is slated to grow another 11 percent in 2010 according to our analysis. Desktop PC sales at present are stronger than many observers and industry executives had expected.

What happened in Q4 2009 was a big rush to desktop PCs. There was strength in China. Full-size desktop PCsa are a status symbol in that nation, as compared with smaller notebooks or netbooks.

The market for 2009 was about product mix. Seagate led in the desktop and the enterprise markets, while Western Digital focused on non-desktop applications, primarily the 2.5-inch form factor for mobile and CE, which were strong in 2009.

Seagate ended the year as the market leader again, with shipments of 174.8 million drives, slightly ahead of Western Digital which shipped 165.2 million drives. Seagate and Western Digital have also benefited from paring costs in the downturn, helping to make the profit turnaround so dramatic.Source: The Information Network, USA

The 1.8-inch form factor drives used in the smallest mobile devices took the greatest hit. Shipments dropped in half to less than 11 million units, as solid state drives have taken over the sector.