Friday, April 29, 2011

Video game acquisitions and funding deals rise 36 percent in 2010

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Funding and acquisition deals in 2010 for the worldwide video games market rose a robust 36 percent to a total of 210, driven by developments in the online and social network gaming segments, according to new IHS Screen Digest research.

With 123 funding rounds and 87 acquisitions closing in 2010, the volume of activity last year was up by more than a third from the 2009 total of 154 events. Acquisitions alone doubled last year, with 20 to 24 events occurring every quarter, compared to 49 acquisitions for all of 2009. Total declared funding for 2010 reached $1.89 billion, up a mighty 130 percent from $819 million in 2009.

The numbers cover funding and acquisitions activity in all areas of the games market except mobile gaming, which is tracked separately and pertains to games downloaded for playing on smart phones and similar game-capable devices.

“Two key trends fueled the robust pace of funding and acquisitions in gaming during 2010,” said Steve Bailey, games analyst at IHS. “First, it was driven by burgeoning activity in the fast-evolving sphere of online gaming, with particular emphasis on social network gaming. Second, movement in funding and acquisitions also has ramped up between Western markets and entities in Asia, centered likewise on the growth to be found in various aspects of online gaming. In particular, the global opportunity presented by versatile browser-based content, on both PC and mobile platforms, drove companies in Asia and the United States alike to embrace opportunities presented by each region, as IHS Screen Digest research shows.”

The total declared value of funding deals in the social network gaming segment increased by nearly 300 percent in 2010.

The sky’s the limit
The biggest funding event of the year in 2010 belonged to Digital Sky Technologies (DST), which closed $300 million from Chinese online gaming giant Tencent. DST—which has since been renamed as the Mail.Ru.Group—has investments in both Facebook and Zynga, so its input into social network gaming in the West is tangible.

For its part, Zynga—the largest game operator on Facebook—received $147 million from Japanese investor Softbank. The funding is indicative of Zynga’s wish to penetrate deeper into the Asian market as a gaming operator, targeting the rapidly growing mobile-based aspect of social network gaming.

Other notable funding events include Zenimax Media’s receipt of $150 million from Providence Equity Partners, which led to its game publishing arm Bethesda Software acquiring two new studios, Arkane and Tango Gameworks. The latter is a Japanese developer, headed by “Resident Evil” creator Shinji Mikami, and furthers Zenimax’s aggressive campaign to establish itself as a key publisher in the core gaming space.

Also last year, US-based Flash-gaming aggregator and monetization specialist Mochi Media was acquired by Chinese online gaming presence Shanda for $80 million,
underscoring 2010 as a key year for global interplay between major operators in the online gaming ecosystem.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

Rise of e-book readers to result in decline of book publishing business

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Marking a major inflection point, the book publishing industry has entered a period of long-term decline because of the rising sales of e-book readers, new IHS iSuppli research indicates.

Book revenue for US publishers, including both e-books and paper books, will decrease at a CAGR of 3 percent from 2010 to 2014. This marks a shift from the previous period of 2005 to 2010, when revenue grew slightly.

The overall weakening will be spurred by a 5 percent decrease in the CAGR of physical book sales from 2010 to 2014. While e-book sales will soar by 40 percent during the same period, such an increase won’t be sufficient to compensate for the contraction of the larger physical book market.

Total book revenue will fall to $22.7 billion in 2014, down from $25.0 billion in 2010.

“For the traditional book publishing industry, the implications of the rise of the e-book and e-book reader markets are frightening given the decline in paper book printing, distribution and sales,” said Steve Mather, principal analyst, wireless, for IHS. “The industry has entered a phase of disruption that will be as significant as the major changes impacting the music and movie businesses.”

In 2014, e-books will represent 13 percent of total US book publishing revenue, up from 3 percent in 2010 and 6 percent in 2011. However, average selling prices for e-books typically are 40 percent lower than those of paper copies, driving the deterioration in price.

These trends are expected to spread throughout the world as non-US sales of e-readers increase.

e-book reader shipments fall short
Meanwhile, shipments of e-book readers, also known as e-readers, are expected to more than triple during the period of 2010 to 2014, according to IHS iSuppli research. Global unit shipments of e-book readers will rise to 30 million units in 2014, up from 9.7 million in 2010.

The IHS iSuppli forecast is lower than the consensus outlook of 43.4 million units in 2014. Because of competitive and pricing factors, e-book reader shipments are unlikely to achieve some of the more optimistic forecasts.

“Dedicated e-reader shipments will fall short of some expectations partly because of encroachment from media tablets, which many consumers will use to view e-books,” Mather observed. “Furthermore, price declines for e-book readers will be less than many expect, since makers of such devices already have cut prices to the point where they earn near-zero margins.”

Where are the profits?
From 2007 to 2009, e-book readers had generated healthy profit margins averaging 35 percent. However, margins collapsed when Apple Inc.’s iPad was introduced in April 2010.

To achieve higher profits, e-reader makers must move beyond e-books and offer other items including magazines, enhanced books, and Amazon Singles—or very short books introduced by the online retail giant—as well as games such as Sudoku and Scrabble, and news subscriptions like News Corp’s The Daily, Mather said.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Avantor Performance Materials announces executive promotions and appointments

PHILLIPSBURG, USA: Avantor Performance Materials announces the recent appointment of several new leaders as the company continues to expand its presence in a wide range of industries, including biotechnology and pharmaceutical production; electronics and photovoltaic manufacturing; and in research, academic and quality control laboratories.

Avantor, formerly Mallinckrodt Baker, manufactures and markets high-performance chemistries and materials around the world under several respected brand names, including the J.T.Baker, Macron, Rankem and Diagnova brands.

Avantor is pleased to announce the following appointments:

Sushil Mehta was appointed executive vice president. Mehta will lead Avantor’s global laboratory/clinical business and will also manage the company’s overall Southeast Asia region. Mehta was previously the managing director and CEO at RFCL Limited in India before it was acquired by Avantor in February, 2011.

Paul Smaltz was promoted to executive vice president. Smaltz will lead Avantor’s global pharmaceuticals business and will also manage the company’s overall Americas region. Smaltz was formerly vice president of global marketing.

Brian Wilson was appointed executive vice president of operations. Wilson will be responsible for improving efficiencies in the company’s day-to-day operational activities throughout the global supply chain and will oversee all company operations. Before joining Avantor, Wilson was a senior consultant at Asset Performance Networks and a production leader in the Epoxy, Specialty Chemicals and Dow AgroScience businesses for Dow Chemical.

“We are a growing global organization and our executive appointments reflect our expanded focus,” said Avantor president and CEO Jean-Marc Gilson. “As part of our executive team, these leaders will guide our operations and will contribute significantly toward our goal of becoming a worldwide leader in performance materials.”

Emerson Network Power extends rugged Intel Core i7 portfolio with conduction cooled 3U CompactPCI single-board computer

TEMPE, USA: Emerson Network Power, a business of Emerson and the global leader in enabling Business-Critical Continuity, extended its portfolio of rugged embedded single-board computers based on Intel Core i7 processors with the launch of a conduction cooled variant of its CPCI7203 3U CompactPCI blade.

Designed for a wide range of high performance tasks in harsh environments, the rugged CPCI7203 provides an excellent size, weight and power ratio for high bandwidth military/aerospace, first responder and rugged industrial applications.

Conduction cooling enables the Emerson Network Power CPCI7203 rugged variant to operate in extended temperatures of -40 to +85 degrees Celsius versus the zero to +55 degrees Celsius capability of the commercial grade board. The storage temperature range is also extended to -50 to +125 degrees Celsius. The CPCI7203 is further ruggedized to withstand higher levels of sine and random vibration, shock and humidity than commercial standards. Conformal coating is available as an option.

Emerson Network Power has also increased the memory capacity supporting the 2.0 GHz Intel Core i7 dual-core processor on the CPCI7203. The board now supports up to 8 GB soldered ECC DDR3 memory, increased from 4 GB. The conduction cooled variant also now features an optional 128 GB solid state hard drive. The Trusted Platform Module (TPM) enhances data security and encryption capabilities.

The Emerson Network Power CPCI7203 supports the CompactPCI PlusIO specification (PICMG 2.30) J2 pinouts for USB, SATA and PCI Express. Connectivity includes SATA ports, one universal PCI and four PCI Express (2.5 Gbps) interfaces. An optional rear transition module offers even more connectivity options. Hot swap capability complies with the PICMG 2.1 specification. The Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) supports the PICMG 2.9 specification; the Emerson Network Power CPCI7203 can host the Baseboard Management Controller (BMC) or act as a Peripheral Management controller (PM) node.

The Emerson Network Power CPCI7203 supports a range of operating system and software options including Wind River VxWorks, Fedora 11 Linux, Microsoft Windows and Green Hills INTEGRITY.

Acquisition positions Silicon Image for wireless HD video leadership

EL SEGUNDO, USA: With its planned acquisition of SiBeam, high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) chipmaker Silicon Image has positioned itself to take the lead in the burgeoning market for the semiconductors that are used in electronics products featuring built-in wireless high-definition (HD) video transfer, IHS iSuppli research indicates.

HDMI technology developer and founder Silicon Image this month announced plans to acquire SiBeam, one of the leaders in the emerging market for wireless connectivity for HD video. SiBeam is a fabless semiconductor company that is focused on bringing very high-speed wireless communications technologies to the consumer electronics space—technologies that can approach the performance of wired connections such as HDMI. The company offers a unique 60GHz technology conforming to the WirelessHD standard.

Shipments of products that could use SiBeam’s wireless video technology are expected to rise to 241.1 million units in 2015, up from just 6.6 million in 2010.

These products range from consumer platforms to computers, to mobile devices, to media tablets. Some of the biggest product areas adopting wireless video in the coming years will include flat-panel TVs; notebook and netbook PCs; and mobile consumer electronics devices, such as portable media players, portable gaming devices, 3G/4G mobile communication handsets and HD camcorders.

“This acquisition sets up Silicon Image—the market leader and founder of the now-ubiquitous HDMI audio/video interface standard—with access to technology that could extend the first true wireless HDMI solutions to the market,” said Randy Lawson, manager and principal analyst for display and consumer electronics at IHS.

“SiBeam and its technology should prove a valuable asset for Silicon Image because the wireless video interconnect technology plays directly into the fastest-growing market opportunity for Silicon Image and high-definition video interface technology.”
During the past year, Silicon Image tallied $191 million in semiconductor and IP licensing revenues, up 26 percent from 2009. The company represents one of the largest interface/connectivity-focused suppliers to the consumer electronics industry.

For Silicon Image, the SiBeam acquisition is key to its continued growth.
While growth rates are expected to slow for standard HDMI-based semiconductor technology in traditional consumer electronics devices in the coming years, demand for wireless HD solutions will begin ramping up. HDMI semiconductor suppliers are seeing increased opportunities in the mobile PC and wireless communications spaces, markets that SiBeam’s 60GHz technology should allow Silicon Image to better address.

Mobile devices and consumer electronics spur wireless video demand
Sales of smart phones and media tablets are rising strongly. Furthermore, there is increasing adoption of not only wired, but now wireless broadband service, which is causing a surge in mobile media consumption.

All this is promoting content sharing and the adoption of video interface technology on a growing list of mobile devices, including smart phones, consumer laptops and media-consumption tablets. Together, these factors are expected to help spur adoption of wireless high-speed interface solutions like Wireless HD in mobile platforms.

This rapid expansion in the market of mobile consumer electronics devices parallels the trend of increasing adoption of Internet-media access and connectivity features in Blu-ray players, video game consoles and digital televisions. The convergence of ubiquitous media access, along with Internet-ready television sets that support multiple codec formats, will promote the adoption of wireless HD video technology into a wide range of products during the next few years.

Setting the standards
SiBeam was the founder and promoter of the WirelessHD standard. And although there is no official standard that can be called "Wireless HDMI,” the acquisition of SiBeam could allow Silicon Image to establish the standard wireless version of HDMI.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

Consumer electronics ownership, spending in Brazil ranks highest among eight countries

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL: According to Accenture, research across eight countries, Brazilians have the highest consumer electronics ownership and spending in 15 product categories. More than half (55 percent) of Brazilian consumers have bought a mobile phone during the past year, compared to the international survey average of 32 percent. Similarly, 40 percent of Brazilian consumers plan to buy HDTVs this year compared to 25 percent internationally; and 20 percent intend to buy 3DTVs this year compared to 12 percent internationally.

“Brazilian consumers are outpacing the rest of the world’s consumers in electronics usage and spending,” said Petronio Nogueira, senior executive with Accenture’s Communications and High-Tech Group. “Now as never before, Brazil has become a global epicenter for consumer electronics business opportunities.”

Consumers in Brazil also posted the highest percentages of mobile phone ownership (89 percent), DVDs (79 percent), TVs (69 percent) and netbooks (32 percent) of consumers in the survey. They also ranked the highest among all countries in the purchase of HDTVs (28 percent), digital photo cameras (28 percent), netbooks (19 percent), global positioning satellite systems (GPS) (15 percent), portable music players (12 percent) and game consoles (12 percent). This same group ranked highest overall in purchases of GPS systems (18 percent) and game consoles (8 percent).

Enthusiasm among Brazilians for consumer electronics devices in the workplace is especially intense among 18-to-27 year olds -- the “Millennial” generation. Two-thirds (66 percent) of 18-to-22 year olds expect to use their consumer devices of their own choice at work—a higher percentage than Millennials in Belgium, France and the Netherlands.

Dissatisfaction with communications service provider retail experiences
Despite the strong demand, there are challenges in the Brazilian retail channel. Only 38 percent of Brazilians hold a favorable impression of their communications service providers based on their experiences in the providers’ retail stores—well below the international average of 55 percent. Only 22 percent rated providers as performing “well” or “very well” in the “speed of services in the store”; and a mere 20 percent rated them as performing well or very well in providing them with the “opportunity to try products in the store.”

Yet, Brazilians highly value the retail experience. Sixty percent indicated the quality of the store experience is a major factor in their decision to do business with a particular provider. By contrast, an international average of only 38 percent cited this as a major factor.

Brazilian companies lagging in use of customer analytics for pricing and delivery
Brazilian companies are on par with firms in other countries in their use of customer analytics for marketing, sales and customer services. But these firms have room for advancement in using such analytics for pricing, delivery and new product development. Only 9 percent of Brazilian executives use data from third-party providers— lowest among the countries surveyed by Accenture, which also included Canada, China, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States; and a mere 12 percent use input from social media channels—again the lowest percentage among executives surveyed.

“The enthusiasm of consumers in Brazil is clearly being dampened by their discontent with the consumer retail store experience,” added Nogueira with Accenture. “Yet, at the same time retailers are struggling to keep pace with consumer demand and keep their customers happy and are not leveraging customer analytics as much as they should.”

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

NI unveils NI LabVIEW for LEGO MINDSTORMS robotics

USA: National Instruments introduced LabVIEW for LEGO MINDSTORMS, a new education-focused version of the company’s professional LabVIEW graphical system design software.

Developed specifically for secondary school students to use with the LEGO Education robotics platform in classrooms or competitions, LabVIEW for LEGO MINDSTORMS is a teaching tool that helps students visually control and program MINDSTORMS NXT robots, while learning the same software used by scientists and engineers.

The high-school-focused programming environment joins the already successful line of LEGO Education robotics platforms, which includes LEGO Education WeDo software for elementary students and LEGO MINDSTORMS Education NXT software for middle school students.

“LabVIEW for LEGO MINDSTORMS completes the National Instruments and LEGO Education ‘robotics for all ages’ learning platform,” said Stephan Turnipseed, president of LEGO Education North America. “We now can deliver a framework of age-appropriate, hands-on learning technology and curricula that continuously progress with student skill level and learning objectives, from elementary all the way through university.”

LabVIEW for LEGO MINDSTORMS is optimized for classroom use with instructional videos, tutorials and teaching resources created exclusively for high school students and teachers using LEGO MINDSTORMS Education and TETRIX by Pitsco. It introduces students to advanced concepts such as autonomous robotics and scientific measurements using real-world examples and replacing obscure syntax with an intuitive graphical interface. Because of this, the software is ideal for teachers seeking to engage students with technology in a fun, hands-on way.

“My students learn better when they learn by doing,” said Tim Jump, director of advanced competitive science at Benilde-St. Margaret’s college-preparatory school in St. Louis, Minn. “Incorporating the hands-on learning of LabVIEW and LEGO robotics into my classroom makes it possible for me to explore and experiment right along with the students. The platform not only makes learning engineering fun, but it makes teaching it fun too.”

The software also provides consistency for students participating in FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) extracurricular robotics programs, making it possible for students to learn robotics using a singular programming platform across all levels of competition as well as in their classrooms. This learning continuity helps cultivate valuable career-ready skills and proficiency with the LabVIEW platform, which students can use in university and, ultimately, in industry.

LabVIEW for LEGO MINDSTORMS is available for purchase exclusively through LEGO Education and its authorized resellers. Additionally, through a new website,, National Instruments helps teachers share curriculum materials and connect to a community of educators and technical advisors.

Orbital selects Integral Systems to provide turnkey ground segment for MEXSAT-3

COLUMBIA, USA: Integral Systems Inc. announced that it has received an Authorization to Proceed from Orbital Sciences Corp. to provide the major ground segment elements for the MEXSAT-3 satellite program.

MEXSAT-3 is being built by Orbital for Boeing Space &Intelligence Systems as a part of a three-satellite, turnkey geomobile satellite system awarded to Boeing in December. An Orbital STAR2 satellite will provide the complete Fixed Satellite Services (FSS) of the MEXSAT satellite system for the Federal Government of Mexico.

To support MEXSAT-3, Integral Systems will provide primary and backup satellite control centers incorporating its industry leading EPOCH Integrated Product Suite (IPS), as well as executable satellite procedures and displays. Integral Systems will also provide primary and backup Telemetry, Tracking and Control (TT&C) stations located in Mexico, and deliver its COMPASS Network Management System (NMS) from Newpoint Technologies, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Integral Systems.

A turnkey carrier monitoring and frequency planning system based on the Monics Carrier Monitoring and Interference Detection solution from SAT Corp., also a wholly-owned subsidiary of Integral Systems, will be installed at two locations in Mexico. Integral Systems Europe (ISE), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Integral Systems, will provide all antenna and radio frequency aspects of the ground segment.

"Orbital is pleased to contract with Integral Systems to support the ground segment that will serve MEXSAT-3, and looks forward to providing the end user, SCT, with a product that allows them to maximize their goals and objectives through an established teaming relationship that combines the best of Orbital and Integral Systems," said William Cook, Orbital's MEXSAT program director.

Integral Systems' commercial clients using EPOCH IPS include the Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT), SKY Perfect JSAT, AsiaSat, KT Corporation, Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT), Indovision, SingTel/Optus, Intelsat, SES, Telesat, EchoStar and Hellas Sat, while government clients include the National Space Organization of Taiwan, European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), NASA, the US Air Force and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) among many others.

"Our long-standing partnership with Orbital will provide the MEXSAT-3 program with an efficient and cost-effective satellite ground system in a fraction of the deployment time commonly required," said Mark Schmitt, Vice President of American Operations at Integral Systems. "The combination of EPOCH IPS, COMPASS and Monics brings the power of three industry-leading, commercial-based command and control, equipment monitoring and interference monitoring and detection systems together to support the MEXSAT program's needs now and in the future."

Dwindling growth of single-purpose electronic devices spurs Cisco to close Flip division

EL SEGUNDO, USA: With the closure of its Flip camcorder group, Cisco Systems Inc. has shrewdly exited the slow-growing market for single-purpose consumer electronics devices, but the company may have missed out on an opportunity to cash in the division’s value, according to IHS iSuppli research.

Cisco in March 2009 placed a $590 million dollar bet on the consumer’s interest in shooting high-definition video with the purchase of Pure Digital, the company that produced the Flip Video camera. Just two years later, in April 2011, Cisco announced it was closing the division as part of an overall restructuring of the company’s consumer products business.

Was Cisco’s assessment of consumer attitudes regarding high-definition video recording wrong? The answer is yes and no, IHS iSuppli research indicates.

“Consumers very much want to shoot and share video, evidenced by the billions of YouTube videos viewed,” said Jordan Selburn, lead analyst, consumer electronics, for IHS. “However, consumers are becoming less interested in buying devices focused uniquely on taking such videos when this capability is increasingly available in other electronics systems already in the consumer’s pocket, purse, backpack or briefcase—such as a smart phone or personal media player (PMP). Because of this, over the next few years, there will be relatively little growth in the dedicated camcorder market, such as the Flip.”

After rising by 6.1 percent in 2010, global camcorder shipment growth will decelerate to 4.1 percent in 2011 and then to 1.7 percent in 2012 and 2.2 percent in 2013, as shown in the attached figure. While shipment growth will rebound somewhat in 2014 and 2015, the market will expand at a relatively anemic CAGR of 4.4 percent from 2010 to 2015. And even this growth primarily will be driven by sales of 3-D camcorders, rather than 2-D models like the Flip.

The slowdown of the camcorder segment reflects wider challenges for all consumer electronics products that are focused on a single task.

“The single-task device is becoming an endangered species in the consumer electronics market,” Selburn said. “For example, the PMP is under increasing pressure from smart phones—and the e-Book reader market will encounter more competition from media tablets. The trend toward multi-tasking consumer electronics devices is one of the dominant forces shaping the industry, and Flip Video appears to be an early casualty.”

Another factor driving the decision to close Flip concerns Cisco’s overall strategic direction.

“Cisco has been, and remains, a networking company at heart—and in the wallet. And this move appears to be a way to strengthen that focus,” Selburn said. “Flip never really fit into any of Cisco’s other product lines, including consumer products such as the Linksys home networking and the former-Scientific Atlanta’s set-top box products.”

Cisco’s set-top box group is not completely consumer facing, as the products are sold to cable and Internet protocol television (IPTV) operators rather than directly to the customer. Linksys, although a retail product, is quite closely aligned with Cisco’s networking focus. These factors made Flip the odd man out in the company’s product offerings.

While the Flip closure made sense from these business and market perspectives, Cisco may have left some money on the table.

“The most surprising aspect of Cisco’s decision was the move to simply close Flip, rather than sell it or spin it off as an independent company to get at least some return from their investment,” Selburn said.

“It would not be surprising at all to see Flip resurrected in some fashion, however, with the assets perhaps reacquired by the founders or bought by another company at a steep discount. Despite Cisco’s actions and the overall market trend away from dedicated single-function devices like the Flip, the market has not gone away entirely and the value of a good product still remains strong.”

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

Avantor Performance Materials to acquire POCH S.A. from Kulczyk Holding

PHILLIPSBURG, USA: Avantor Performance Materials announced a definitive agreement to acquire POCH S.A. from Kulczyk. Completion of the sale is dependent on obtaining the necessary clearance from the Polish competition authority, and is subject to customary closing conditions. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Avantor Performance Materials, formerly Mallinckrodt Baker, manufactures and markets high-performance chemistries and materials around the world under several well respected brand names, including the J.T.Baker, Macron, Rankem and Diagnova brands. Avantor products are used in a wide range of industries including biotechnology and pharmaceutical production; electronics and photovoltaic manufacturing; and in research, academic and quality control laboratories. The company is owned by an affiliate of private equity firm New Mountain Capital.

Based in Poland, POCH S.A. manufactures products designed for use in classic and instrumental analysis, filtration and microbiology. POCH S.A. also sells laboratory equipment and laboratory glass. Moreover, POCH S.A. also manufactures solvents for liquid and gas chromatography and spectroscopy as well as anhydrous solvents. Its markets include pharmaceuticals; food and feed; chemical and petrochemical; environmental protection and research and analytical chemistry.

“The transaction is part of Avantor’s strategy to strengthen its presence in the global market by growing both organically and through acquisition, expanding into new markets and geographies,” said Avantor president and CEO, Jean-Marc Gilson. “POCH fits this strategy because of its established and expansive manufacturing presence and distribution channel in Poland and Eastern Europe.”

“This acquisition will allow for synergies in market and production know how and enrichment of the combined product portfolio, significantly increasing the level of expertise dedicated to various industry sectors,” said POCH S.A. CEO, Jaroslaw Bieszczad. “It will also enhance the competitive standing of POCH, enabling us to offer the high-quality Avantor product lines to our customers, while also giving us new markets for our products through the global Avantor organization.”

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP and Wardynski & Partners acted as legal advisors to Avantor and New Mountain Capital.

DC Advisory Partners acted as the sole financial advisor and Clifford Chance as legal advisor to Kulczyk Holding.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

DuPont invites iPad Users to ’Get Connected’ to Color with One-of-a-Kind mySurface App

USA: DuPont Building Innovations recently expanded its popular mySurface iPhone application (app) to the Apple iPad platform, making it the first DuPont app for the iPad.

“We were the first in the industry to have an app for iPhone users, and now we’re expanding our reach with a new iPad app,” said Tim McCann, president of DuPont Building Innovations. “To make it even easier for our customers, both our iPad and iPhone versions now have improved search functionality, a fresh selection of photos in the design gallery, and sharing tools for posting colors and images to Facebook and Twitter right from the application.”

With the iPad app, homeowners can match countertop colors with their kitchen and bath walls and cabinets. Likewise, architects and designers can visualize surface color and texture while on the job, in any location, for any design scenario.

“The mySurface app has generated interest among homeowners, architects and designers who tell us it inspires them to experiment and imagine the design possibilities of DuPont surfaces,” McCaan said. “So far, more than 15,000 users have downloaded the mySurface app, and they literally now have our brands at their fingertips every day.”

The mySurface app works by allowing users to search for DuPont Corian solid surface and DuPont Zodiaq quartz surface colors by hue, providing a color swatch that fills the screen along with options to share or save the color. The mySurface app is available for free in the App Store of 68 countries and in multiple languages for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.

Apple spurs 154.6 percent increase in DisplayPort interface shipments in 2011

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Fueled by Apple Inc.’s adoption, the DisplayPort digital display interface standard is gaining rapid momentum in 2011, with shipments in PC-related equipment expected to rise by a triple-digit percentage this year, according to new IHS iSuppli research.

Global factory shipments of DisplayPort-enabled PC equipment will amount to 78.9 million units in 2011, up 154.6 percent from 31 million units in 2010, as presented in the figure.Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

The year will represent a peak period of DisplayPort growth. Growth in 2011 will exceed the 2010 expansion of 136.5 percent and also outpace next year’s anticipated 137 percent increase. While growth rates will taper off during the following years, annual shipments of DisplayPort-equipped devices will rise to 445.2 million units by 2014.

“Although DisplayPort had been around for several years, the technology achieved only sporadic usage until 2009, when Apple began to support the interface as a standard feature of its notebook and desktop designs,” said Randy Lawson, manager and principal analyst for display and consumer electronics at IHS.

“This provided the essential momentum to drive DisplayPort beyond the nascent stage and into the mainstream. With the strong adoption of DisplayPort from system and chip vendors, and declining support for the existing video graphic adapter (VGA) standard, the new technology will experience rapid growth in the coming years.”

As the long-awaited replacement for the decades-old VGA interface, DisplayPort is being used in the computing equipment market for devices including mobile PCs, desktop PCs, graphics cards, flat-panel monitors and business projectors. DisplayPort derivatives such as internal DisplayPort (iDP) and embedded DisplayPort (eDP) also are designed to provide a simpler, lower-cost serial interface alternative to the older, bulkier solutions based on low-voltage differential signaling (LVDS), a system for transporting video and graphics data from PC and TV motherboards to the integrated LCD panels.

Prior to the adoption by Apple, only occasional sightings of DisplayPort had been made in the market. Early supporters included Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co., which offered a smattering of DisplayPort equipped notebook and desktop PCs. Furthermore, Lenovo Group added DisplayPort into a few product lines for the ThinkPad docking station.

Since then, DisplayPort has made additional headway. In particular, all three major vendors of PC microprocessors and graphics processing units—Intel Corp., AMD Inc. and nVidia—have moved to integrate DisplayPort into their current product lines, with the companies signaling a five-year horizon to finally end support for VGA.

Mobile PCs lead the DisplayPort charge
The DisplayPort interface will find its widest application this year in mobile PCs. About 41.8 million notebooks will ship with the interface in 2011, compared to 14.7 million last year. The penetration will exceed 72 percent by 2014, with processor designs and slim form factors forcing a rapid transition away from VGA, IHS iSuppli figures show.

The second-largest application of DisplayPort will be in graphics cards, shipping with 14.7 million units this year, up from approximately 7.0 million in 2010. Desktop PCs are third, with DisplayPort-enabled shipments this year of 12.3 million.

Combined shipments of DisplayPort-enabled PCs will jump from 20.1 million units in 2010 to 54.1 million this year, on their way to a projected 341.2 million units by 2014. An inflection point will occur from 2013 onward as DisplayPort deepens penetration in PCs very quickly and as VGA is phased out of motherboard designs, IHS predicts. And by 2016, the adoption rate of DisplayPort for desktop and mobile PCs likely will be more than 90 percent—and conceivably could hit a full 100 percent.

In contrast to the widespread adoption of DisplayPort in the PC sector, its penetration will be much slower into the monitor segment, which typically has longer product refresh cycles than desktop and mobile PCs. Also, a number of obstacles will serve to delay monitor adoption, including thinner profit margins as well as legacy support requirements for video and graphics source devices. VGA, though declining in volume, will remain a common interface on monitors for some time to come, IHS iSuppli research indicates.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

Kopin offers new plug-n-play Ruby display module with SVGA resolution

TAUNTON, USA: Kopin Corp., a leading manufacturer of microdisplays for commercial and US military markets, will launch the Ruby Module, a new plug-n-play, digitally interfaced display module, at the Defense, Security, and Sensing 2011 Symposium.

The Symposium, which opens today through Thursday at the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort & Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, is sponsored by the Society for Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE), an international organization advancing the science and application of light.

The Ruby Module is a commercial off the shelf full-color SVGA (800 x 600), plug-&-play display module in a compact, low power package. It accepts a wide range of digital input standards including VESA SVGA and VGA 60Hz, and is capable of operating in SVGA and VGA modes with image X-Y shifting capability to support accurate sensor alignment. Available in both military (ITAR) and commercial (EAR-99) version, Ruby is a high-performance display module suitable for a wide range of product applications.

“The purpose of our new Ruby Module is to simplify system integration of Kopin’s industry leading display products into non-custom applications,” said Tony Bacarella, Kopin’s Director of Business Development, Government Programs.

“The Ruby module, measuring 25.9 mm x 25.9 mm x 9.4 mm and weighing less than 6.5 grams, is sealed to prevent foreign particles and comes with precision mounting features to ensure accurate image alignment. The module is fully calibrated and tested for consistent performance over the entire military operating temperature range and dimming range from <0.1fL (foot-Lambert) to >100fL in order to provide our customers superior image quality in demanding situations. The module is ideally suited for applications such as binocular helmet-mounted displays (HMDs), clip-on thermal systems and overlay fusions products.”

“We are delighted to add the Ruby Module to the Kopin family of display products,” said Kopin president and CEO, Dr. John C.C. Fan. “Advancements in our display packaging technology and our ASIC developments have enabled us to offer OEMs a seamless solution to display system integration. We expect Ruby’s compact form factor to open new solution spaces in a wide range of products from video eyewear for consumer applications to HMD and weapon sights for the military.”

In addition to the Ruby module, Kopin will be demonstrating its latest displays including the CyberDisplay SXGA LBC (full color 1280 x 1024 resolution in 0.97”), CyberDisplay SXGA LVS (full color 1280 x 1024 resolution in 0.77”) and CyberDisplay1280M (monochrome 1280 x 1024 resolution in 0.97”) displays.

Kopin will also exhibit standard off-the-shelf eyepiece solutions based upon the CyberDisplay 640M LVR (640 x 480) microdisplay, an ultra-low-power active matrix liquid crystal display (AMLCD) with near instant-on capability. This eyepiece product offering has been fully qualified in the US Army’s Thermal Weapon Sight Bridge (TWS-IIB) program on an array of weapons. The fully integrated eyepiece solution is in volume production and available to qualified customers.

Advanced Diamond Technologies’ UNCD Electrodes reduce water treatment costs by a factor of ten

ROMEOVILLE, USA: Advanced Diamond Technologies Inc. (ADT) announced the immediate availability of UNCD Electrodes for advanced electrochemical water treatment applications.

Compared to conventional electrodes and incumbent boron-doped diamond (BDD) technologies, UNCD Electrodes deliver the power of diamond to the water treatment industry with a combination of long operating lifetimes and high current density capabilities which lower costs. ADT is also pleased to announce that it has entered into a distribution agreement with Klaris Corp. to promote and support the implementation of the UNCD Electrode technology worldwide.

Current industrial and municipal wastewater treatment technologies have become increasingly challenged by the growing presence of chemicals that cannot be broken down. Electrochemical treatment technologies used to treat such wastes require robust electrodes that can generate powerful oxidants. UNCD Electrodes meet that challenge and reduce the cost to purify contaminated wastewater due to their extreme efficiency and low operating costs.

Diamond has many attributes that make it attractive for electrochemical applications including: high efficiency oxidant generation, high chemical stability, environmental compatibility, and resistance to fouling and scaling. UNCD technology offers lifetimes that are orders of magnitude superior to previously available technologies and can be operated at high current densities; thus, reducing the size and cost of the electrochemical cell needed for specific applications.

“UNCD Electrodes can run for hundreds of hours in conditions well beyond what other electrode materials can withstand,” said ADT co-founder and chief technology officer, Dr. John Carlisle. “This is a game-changing technology—UNCD Electrodes can reduce treatment costs by more than a factor of ten.”

Diamond is attractive for water treatment technologies that utilize electrochemical processes to generate powerful yet environmentally friendly green oxidants, such as ozone. “Finally, UNCD technology delivers a robust diamond electrode technology that really works and we’re excited to get them in the hands of others who are developing electrochemical technologies for water treatment,” said Dr. Thomas Urbanek, vice president of research and development, Klaris Corporation.

Mitsubishi Electric to sell 40Gbps DQPSK quad PD module

TOKYO, JAPAN: Mitsubishi Electric Corp. announced the launch of a compact, power-saving 40 giga-bits per second (Gbps) differential quadrature phase shift keying (DQPSK) photodiode (PD) module for optical signal reception in transmission devices used to send large data volumes between metropolitan areas. Mitsubishi Electric will launch the FU-387SPP commercially on June 1 and expects to sell about 500 units per month.

The 40Gbps DQPSK Quad PD module integrates four photodiodes and two trans-impedance amplifiers in one package, which will contribute to the downsizing of optical transmission equipment. The energy-efficient device also features industry-leading low power consumption.

As optical communication networks transmit increasingly large amounts of data over long distances, needs are mounting for higher transmission speeds and densely spaced wavelength division multiplexed channels using multi-level formats such as DQPSK.

Transmission devices commonly use two PD modules as a set, each comprising two photodiodes and two trans-impedance amplifiers, but Mitsubishi Electric's new module combines these components in a single, smaller and integrated package.

NI intros industry's highest performance PXI digitizers

AUSTIN, USA: National Instruments released the industry's highest bandwidth PXI digitizer, complementing the rapidly expanding suite of performance instrumentation available in PXI.

Co-developed with Tektronix, the world's leading manufacturer of oscilloscopes, the NI PXIe-5186 digitizer employs Tektronix, Enabling Technology to achieve up to 5 GHz bandwidth and 12.5 GS/s sample rates. The company also announced the NI PXIe-5185, which delivers 3 GHz bandwidth along with 12.5 GS/s sample rate. Both digitizers are part of the National Instruments PXI-based hardware and software platform, which provides optimized performance for automated test applications.

"We are excited about our work with Tektronix to jointly develop a product that combines the strengths of both companies: Tektronix for high-speed digitization and NI for software-defined instrumentation," said Dr. James Truchard, president, CEO and cofounder of National Instruments. "These new digitizers further demonstrate the impact of Moore's Law on test applications, bringing higher performance to smaller footprints such as PXI."

Proprietary Tektronix performance oscilloscope ASICs in the new digitizers provide the foundation for high-speed signal acquisition with low noise and high linearity, and are based on the highly-reliable IBM 7HP SiGe process. An example of the superior signal fidelity delivered by Tektronix, Enabling Technology is the incredibly low sampling jitter of the digitizer.

The very low 500 fs RMS integrated jitter of the digitizers results in a remarkable 5.5 effective number of bits (ENOB) at 5 GHz. National Instruments proprietary technology delivers high-data throughput for faster test execution and precision multimodule timing and synchronization for building high-channel-count, integrated test systems. Designed for the 3U PXI Express platform, the digitizers can stream at rates as fast as 700 MB/s and synchronize channels on multiple modules to within 160 ps resolution. These capabilities make the digitizers ideal for applications such as automated production test, semiconductor ATE and high-energy physics measurement systems.

"As the world standard in oscilloscopes, Tektronix is committed to delivering technology that meets our customers' needs, including automated test users whose production test applications require a card-modular instrument format," said Kevin Ilcisin, chief technology officer for Tektronix. "Customers benefit from our industry-leading signal acquisition technology complimented by world class instrument control via National Instruments, the pioneer of the PXI standard and the world leader in instrument automation."

The digitizers work with NI LabVIEW graphical design software for instrument control and automation, the NI LabWindows/CVI ANSI C software development environment and Microsoft Visual Studio .NET development tools for a wide range of programming options. Engineers can program the digitizers using the NI-SCOPE instrument driver or the new LabVIEW Jitter Analysis Toolkit, which offers a library of functions optimized for high-throughput, jitter, eye diagram and phase noise measurements.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Dolby Digital Plus delivers surround sound for online content with Cyberlink PowerDVD 11 Ultra

SAN FRANCISCO, USA: Dolby Laboratories Inc. announced that Cyberlink PowerDVD 11 Ultra supports playback of online entertainment content featuring Dolby Digital Plus surround sound.

“As consumers enjoy more and more of their entertainment content online, Dolby aims to help provide an overall experience that matches what has become standard on Blu-ray and DVD. This includes great audio quality and surround sound,” said Robin Selden, senior VP, Marketing, Dolby Laboratories. “With Cyberlink PowerDVD 11 supporting online content featuring Dolby Digital Plus, consumers can get that great entertainment experience right from the Web.”

Dolby Digital Plus enables premium audio, delivering the compelling cinematic surround sound experiences that content creators intended. Efficient and flexible, Dolby Digital Plus complements HD video delivery and supports up to 7.1 channels of audio. As online entertainment evolves, Dolby Digital Plus allows for playback compatibility with existing and future home entertainment equipment.

“Dolby and Cyberlink have a longstanding relationship delivering high-quality multichannel audio to consumers no matter how they consume their PC entertainment,” said Alice H. Chang, CEO, CyberLink Corp. “We are excited to offer the first playback software using Dolby Digital Plus for Internet-delivered content and we are eager for consumers to experience immersing surround sound from downloaded entertainment on their PCs with PowerDVD 11.”

Global 3D TV shipments to witness sharp growth

NOIDA, INDIA: The global consumer electronics industry is set to witness phenomenal growth in near future after the moderation of tough economic conditions. The digital technology revolution has enabled the industry to earn profit from the growing interaction of digital applications, such as camcorders, DVD player/recorder, digital camera, etc.

Among the products of consumer electronics market, 3D TV is anticipated to show highest growth rate. According to our new research report “Global Consumer Electronics Market Forecast to 2013”, the 3D TV segment is expected to grow at a CAGR of around 84% during 2011-2013.

Our study says that, the volume sales will grow at a rapid pace in a short period as manufacturers have started to implement 3D as a standard feature across their HD flat-panel product lines. The availability of 3D standard feature at a slightly higher cost will encourage consumers to opt for 3D capable TVs. Further, it is expected that the US, Japan, and Western Europe will be the key markets for 3D TV sales in coming years.

Our report provides an analysis on 3D TV along with other video equipments including Digital TV (DTV), High Definition TV (HDTV), Internet Protocol TV (IPTV), Personal Video Recorder (PVR), and Digital Video Recorder (DVR). It has also analyzed other products of the market under television market, high definition consumer electronics, audio products, telephone equipments, computer products, and portable navigation devices. It has also analyzed the consumer electronics market across various key countries including the US, the UK, Germany, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

IEEE initiates standard-making process for key smart grid fiber-optic components

PISCATAWAY, USA: IEEE, the world's largest professional association advancing technology for humanity, announced the formation of three working groups to develop technology standards that will assure improved performance by key fiber-optic components in the Smart Grid.

Proposed standard IEEE P1591.1 – Standard for Testing and Performance of Hardware for Optical Groundwire (OPGW) – provides numerous processes and procedures for hardware that will be used with OPGW (Optical Ground Wire) cables. It covers construction, mechanical and electrical performance of the hardware as well as test requirements, environmental considerations, and acceptance criteria for qualifying the hardware.

The standard enables the best use of OPGW by assuring that users will have complete and accurate information about the types of hardware, specifications for hardware and acceptance testing for qualifying hardware. It will simplify procurement practices and standardize testing to assure product quality.

Proposed standard IEEE P1591.2 – Standard for Testing and Performance of Hardware for All-Dielectric Self-Supporting (ADSS) Fiber Optic Cable – will address the lack of a hardware standard that has resulted into ADSS cable failures caused by using hardware incorrectly.

The proposed standard will standardize testing and other aspects of hardware to be used with ADSS systems, which in turn will simplify procurement and assure product quality.

Proposed standard IEEE P1591.3 – Standard for Qualifying Hardware for Helically-Applied Fiber Optic Cable Systems (WRAP Cable) – will address mechanical and electrical performance, test requirements, environmental considerations, and acceptance criteria.

WRAP cable is designed to be helically wrapped around a conductor or other messenger on overhead power facilities and will be a major component in the Smart Grid.

Friday, April 22, 2011

IPC elects new members to board of directors

BANNOCKBURN, USA: The Nominating and Governance Committee of the IPC Board of Directors presented one Board candidate for re-election and three new Board candidates for election at the IPC Annual Meeting, on Tuesday, April 12, 2011, in conjunction with IPC APEX EXPO in Las Vegas. All four candidates were elected as board directors and will serve four-year terms, covering April 2011 through April 2015.

The four board directors are:

* Shane Whiteside, chief operating officer, TTM Technologies. Whiteside, a returning nominee, was elected to the IPC Board in 2007. Prior to joining TTM Technologies, he served as director of operations at Power Circuits and was previously employed by Technica USA, serving in the areas of product management and technical sales. He holds a B.A. degree in economics from the University of California at Irvine.

* Bhawnesh Mathur, CEO, Epic Technologies. Prior to joining EPIC in June 2008, Mathur was chief supply chain officer and senior vice president of supplier marketing and asset management for global components at Arrow Electronics. His nearly 30-year career in the electronics industry also includes work at Sanmina-SCI as executive vice president of global supply chain, and he spent more than 20 years at IBM in various roles. Mathur received an MBA from the University of Arizona and a BSChE from the University of Florida.

* Ray Sharpe, CEO, Isola S.a.r.l. Before assuming his current position as CEO in June of 2004, Sharpe was CEO of Cookson Electronics and a board director of Cookson Group Plc for more than 10 years. He also served 10 years as director for SPS Technologies, a manufacturer of specialty materials for the aerospace industry. Sharpe is a graduate of East Carolina University and has more than 27 years of experience in the electronics industry.

* Mark Wolfe, vice president, quality supply management, Phoenix International Corp. Wolfe joined Phoenix International in February 1995 as vice president of sales and marketing. In March 1999, he assumed the role of general manager, Fargo Operations. Beginning in November 2001, Wolfe served as vice president of operations and then vice president of quality and supply management in 2004. Mark received his B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1983.

Medical device communications standard to be updated and enhanced by IEEE

PISCATAWAY, USA: IEEE, the world's largest professional association advancing technology for humanity, announced that the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) Standards Board has approved projects for the revision of two health informatics standards to reflect advances and changes in the technologies that implement point-to-point medical device communication.

IEEE P11073-10101 – Standard for ISO/ 11073-10101:2004, Health informatics - Point-of-care medical device communication - Nomenclature – serves as the data dictionary for present a future medical device data communications. Its revision is part of an ongoing periodic process to keep the user community abreast of new terms and to establish a common usage and meaning for those terms.

The revision will bring the standard up to date with the definitional gaps identified in the IHE Patient Care Devices Rosetta Terminology Mapping project, 11073 Personal Health Device term definitions, and coordination with groups with similar interests.

IEEE P11073-10101 places its emphasis primarily on acute care medical devices and patient vital signs information. The nomenclature also supports an object-oriented information model for medical device communication.

IEEE P11073-20101 – Standard for ISO/11073-20101:2004, Health informatics - Point-of-care medical device communication - Application profile - Base standard – establishes a base for services and protocols involved in information exchange under the ISO/IEEE 11073 standards for medical device communications (MDC).

Thursday, April 21, 2011

SAMSUNG launches ultra-slim notebook series 9 in India

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Samsung Electronics announced the launch of its ultra-premium and ultra-slim Notebook Series 9 in the Indian market.

With a weight of only 1.31kg (2.89lbs.), measuring a mere 16.3mm (0.64inches) in depth and with a screen size of 13 inches, the Samsung Notebook Series 9 combines the latest technology with mobile computing experience to drive the market forward in terms of design, display and overall capabilities. The product was unveiled at CES 2011 in January and captured the attention of the global audience as one of the thinnest and most elegant mobile computing devices ever created.

Crafted from duralumin, a lightweight material that is twice as strong as aluminum and normally used in advanced aircraft design, the Notebook Series 9 underwent an exhaustive testing process to ensure it is durable enough for use at home and on the go. In terms of design, the sophisticated beauty of the flowing line on the side of the Notebook Series 9 is a key design concept that gives it an aerodynamic and sleek style much like a premium sports car.

Additionally, the notebook’s SuperBright Plus display with 400nit brightness, which is two times brighter than conventional displays, as well as its vibrant Color reproduction (16 million colors) and Super Contrast ratio (1,300:1), makes it one of the most beautiful notebook displays on the market. To ensure high performance, it uses a Second Generation Intel Core i5 Processor. Notebook Series 9 is priced at Rs 1, 00,990/-.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

InvenSense unveils SmartMotion platform with 9-axis MotionFusion engine

SUNNYVALE, USA: InvenSense Inc., the leading solution provider of MotionProcessors for consumer electronics, announced its latest software solution platform with the introduction of SmartMotion 4.0 for the mobile handset and tablet market.

SmartMotion 4.0 is a complete software platform that in combination with the InvenSense flagship MPU-6000 MotionProcessor will deliver robust, well-calibrated 9-axis sensor fusion data using its field proven and proprietary MotionFusion engine.

Market adoption of motion sensors in leading consumer electronics products has sky rocketed in the past year. However, many handset and tablet manufacturers have realized that the mere integration of motion sensor components, such as, gyroscope, compass and accelerometer in their products does not translate to a truly functional motion enabled device.

SmartMotion 4.0 brings real solution value to OEMs by enabling rapid integration of MotionProcessing technology and providing complex 9-axis sensor fusion algorithms, robust multi-sensor calibration and integration with leading mobile OS APIs to deliver responsive gaming experiences and predictable navigation heading performance while at the same time reducing processor load by 10X.

Application developers are learning to use sensor fusion data to design more immersive applications that fully leverage the capabilities of the gyroscope, accelerometer and compass sensors. High quality sensor fusion data must first start with well-calibrated sensors. SmartMotion 4.0 combines InvenSense's expertise and experience in gyroscopes with the expertise of AKM and Aichi Steel, two leaders in compass technology, to provide the market's most robust compass calibration solution.

To start, SmartMotion 4.0 uses the integrated libraries from AKM and Aichi Steel to provide calibrated compass data into the MotionFusion engine for accurate 9-axis sensor fusion calculations. However, in everyday use, compass sensors are highly sensitive to stray magnetic fields which can affect navigation heading accuracy.

To solve this problem, InvenSense has developed patent-pending adaptive algorithms that use the gyroscope to reject stray magnetic fields and provide stable heading guidance to the application. SmartMotion 4.0 addresses further calibration challenges, including a patent pending algorithm for gyro-assisted fast compass calibration, accurate sensor bias calibration and run-time gyro bias calibration while also adjusting for field corruption and tilt compensation issues.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Miniature invisibility ‘Carpet Cloak’ hides more than its small size implies

WASHINGTON, USA: Invisibility cloaks are seemingly futuristic devices capable of concealing very small objects by bending and channeling light around them. Until now, however, cloaking techniques have come with a significant limitation—they need to be orders of magnitude larger than the object being cloaked.

This places serious constraints on practical applications, particularly for the optoelectronics industry, where size is a premium and any cloaking device would need to be both tiny and delicate.

An international team of physicists from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), the University of Birmingham, UK, and Imperial College London, however, may have overcome this size limitation by using a technology known as a “carpet cloaks,” which can conceal a much larger area than other cloaking techniques of comparable size.

The researchers achieved their result by using metamaterials, artificial materials engineered to have optical properties not found in nature. They describe their approach in the Optical Society’s (OSA) open-access journal Optics Express.

Jingjing Zhang, a postdoctoral researcher at DTU’s Fotonik Department of Photonics Engineering and Structured Electromagnetic Materials, and an author of the Optics Express paper, explains that the team’s new carpet cloak, which is based on an alternating-layer structure on a silicon-on-insulator (SOI) platform, introduces a flexible way to address the size problem.

“This new cloak, consisting of metamaterials, was designed with a grating structure that is simpler than previous metamaterial structures for cloaks,” she says.

Grating structures channel light of a particular wavelength around an object. A grating structure is simply a series of slits or openings that redirect a beam of light.

Seagate and Samsung announce broad strategic alignment

SCOTTS VALLEY, USA & SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA: Seagate Technology plc and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Seagate and Samsung will significantly expand and strengthen their strategic relationship by further aligning their respective ownership, investments and key technologies. Major elements of the agreement include:

* Samsung combining its hard disk drive (HDD) operations into Seagate.
* Extending and enhancing the existing patent cross-license agreement between the companies.
* A NAND flash memory supply agreement under which Samsung will provide Seagate with its market-leading semiconductor products for use in Seagate’s enterprise solid state drives (SSDs), solid state hybrid drives and other products.
* A disk drive supply agreement under which Seagate will supply disk drives to Samsung for PCs, notebooks and consumer electronics.
* Expanded cooperation between the companies to co-develop enterprise storage solutions.
* Samsung receiving significant equity ownership in Seagate.
* A shareholder agreement under which an executive of Samsung will be nominated to join Seagate’s Board of Directors.

The combined value of these transactions and agreements is approximately $1.375 billion, which will be paid by Seagate to Samsung in the form of 50 percent stock and 50 percent cash.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mitsubishi Electric launches 5-inch WVGA color TFT LCD module

TOKYO, JAPAN: Mitsubishi Electric Corp. announced the launch of its new 5.0-inch, WVGA color TFT LCD module. This industrial-use model is suitable for outdoor applications such as portable terminals, and features industry-leading high brightness, a super wide viewing angle and slim, lightweight dimensions.

Mitsubishi Electric's AA050MG01 model features a luminance of 800cd/m2, making it the brightest 5.0-inch WVGA color TFT LCD module on the market.

In recent years, TFT LCD modules have come to be widely used in various applications. Demand for high brightness 5.0-inch-class color TFT LCD modules has increased due to the proliferation of portable terminals that require high brightness LCD screens for good visibility even in bright, outdoor environments. Mitsubishi Electric's AA050MG01 is ideal for use both outdoors and indoors, such as warehouse and store inventory control.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Blu-ray 3D spending booms this year in US and major European economies

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Propelled by encouraging market developments and increasing audience interest, consumer spending on Blu-ray Discs 3D (BD3D) in 2011 is forecast to rise 533 percent across the four markets of the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and France, according to new IHS Screen Digest research.

Combined consumer spending on BD3D across these territories will reach $213.9 million this year, up slightly more than sixfold from $33.8 million in 2010, BD3D’s launch year. The 2011 expenditure is the result of a collective purchase of 7.5 million BD3Ds, a significant increase from the 1.1 million titles sold last year to consumers.

In 2014, BD3D consumer spending on BD3D is projected to reach $909 million, slightly more than four times the figure anticipated at the end of 2011, as shown in the attached chart. Some 41 million BD3Ds will be bought by consumers in 2014, a hefty increase of more than 445 percent from 2011.

“Consumers are snapping up BD3D titles because of a number of positive occurrences in the home 3-D segment,” said Richard Baxter, research analyst, video, at IHS. “These developments include increasing consumer awareness of 3-D technology, rising 3-D hardware sales and an expanding catalog of 3-D films for the home environment. Meanwhile, the arrival of more BD3D titles in retail stores will enhance the technology’s profile among consumers and encourage 3-D hardware adoption. BD3D-enabled households are also likely to buy more BD3D titles if they have a larger slate to choose from.”

BD3D-enabled households are defined as homes having a 3-D TV connected to either a Blu-ray Disc 3D player or to a PlayStation 3 video game console from Sony Corp., with the required glasses on hand in order to view content.

The BD3D titles discussed in this release are those that conform to the Blu-ray Disc Association’s BD3D trademark covering an explicit set of rules on what qualifies for the standard, such as the delivery of left- and right-eye images sequentially in full high-definition 1080p. As such, the consumer spend forecasts exclude any Blu ray Discs that may play 3-D images but do not adhere strictly to the association’s BD3D criteria, such as those using anaglyph images and disposable red/green glasses.

New BD3D titles in the offing
The increased number of BD3D titles is an important factor in boosting the public’s demand for home 3-D. The number of titles at retail was limited until September 2010, when more BD3D titles began to hit retail stores.

Movie studios are readying a slew of BD3D titles this year, with IHS forecasting more than 65 titles for the US market. The Walt Disney Co. alone is planning to release at least 15 titles on BD3D, including the blockbusters “Tron Legacy” and “Tangled,” along with “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Lion King,” which have been converted from 2-D to 3-D. These Disney titles will offer further incentive to upgrade to home 3-D hardware.

Warner Bros. will release the final installment of the enormously profitable Harry Potter franchise, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two” in theatrical 3D in the summer of 2011. Reports that WB will convert three earlier films from the franchise have not been confirmed by the studio.

US market is largest, but big three in Europe also to grow rapidly
By far, the largest BD3D market in 2011 among the four Western countries discussed in this release will be the United States, accounting for 75.2 percent of consumer spending at $160.8 million, up from $28.4 million last year. US consumers will buy 5.7 million BD3Ds this year at an average per-title price of $28.33, compared to the roughly 900,000 titles bought in 2010 at the higher price of $31.09. Some 3.2 million US households in 2011 will be BD3D-enabled, compared to 790,000 last year, with the number expected to exceed 22.5 million in 2014, IHS Screen Digest research shows.

The United Kingdom, which is expected to have about 60 BD3D titles available by the end of 2011, will be the second-largest BD3D market of the four Western territories this year. U.K. consumer spending on BD3D will reach $25 million, up from $2.5 million last year. By 2014, spending will reach $91.2 million.

Germany will be the third-largest BD3D market out of the four countries in 2011 with $15.8 million in consumer spending, followed by France with $12.3 million. By 2014, consumer spending in Germany will reach $88.9 million, compared to $46.8 million in France.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

Aegis unveils industry’s first iPhone/iPad app for manufacturing operations

LAS VEGAS, USA: Aegis Software unveiled its next industry-first technology in the form of the only iPad and iPhone integrated manufacturing software system for electronics assemblers. Visitors to the Aegis booth are entered in an iPad giveaway to celebrate the ultimate factory speed, control, and visibility solution.Source: Aegis.

inSite brings simple, instant, and mobile access to quality, WIP, performance, and traceability information. Forward and reverse traceability is immediately available for viewing and to share direct from your device via email. View active WIP, shipment information, and detect process bottlenecks.

Quality Paretos with interactive drill-down all the way from customer level through product and down to individual pin information. inSite even recalls and displays the product image directly on your device. The massive reservoir of process, product, and materials information within the Aegis MOS system is now accessible right in the palm of your hand.

Since 2000, Aegis has led the technology in manufacturing operations software. First to offer a web-based MES system. First to use IPC standards for machine monitoring. First to make reporting and dashboard creation simple for the customer. First to integrate and project through
NSA-level 128 bit security.

Still the only to offer a singular system spanning NPI through shop floor control, materials verification, quality, test, packout, dashboards, and reporting built by one company. And now, the unparalleled information within the Aegis Manufacturing Operations System is accessible via iPad and iPhone applications now available on the Apple App Store free of charge to Aegis customers.

Panasonic and other CE leaders act to triple annual recycling by 2016

SECAUCUS, USA: Panasonic joined other leaders in the consumer electronics industry to launch the first-ever, industry-wide, nationwide electronics recycling initiative in order to recycle one billion pounds of electronics annually by 2016. One billion pounds reflects more than a threefold increase over the 2010 level of electronics recycling. One billion pounds of electronics would fill enough 50-foot tractor trailers to stretch some 475 miles.

“Panasonic is pleased to support this ground-breaking industry-wide initiative,” said Joe Taylor, chairman and CEO of Panasonic Corp. of North America. “We have worked collaboratively for many years with other manufacturers and with our retailer partners and we look to this initiative to even further expand recycling opportunities available to Panasonic’s customers—and to those who wish to recycle any other brand, too.”

The eCycling Leadership Initiative represents a unique collaboration of consumer electronics manufacturers, retailers, collectors, recyclers, non-governmental organizations and governments at all levels, coordinated by the CEA (“Consumer Electronics Association”). It seeks to grow consumer awareness of the more than 5,000 collection sites already sponsored by industry and to continue to grow the number of site; to enhance the ease of drop-off and other collection opportunities; and dramatically increase the amount of electronics recycled responsibly, including by providing even-more transparent metrics on industry’s eCycling efforts.

Starting with voluntary collection and recycling efforts in 1999, Panasonic has led the industry in creating responsible recycling opportunities for its customers. Today Panasonic supports over 1,200 recycling drop-off locations and has recycled over 30,000,000 pounds of end-of-life electronic products. The company announced plans earlier this year to achieve at least 1600 convenient sites by 2012.

Acting to expand its own long-standing recycling programs, Panasonic joined with Sharp Electronics Corporation and Toshiba America Information Systems Company to create the Electronic Manufacturers Recycling Management Co. LLC, the first manufacturer-managed electronics product stewardship organization in the United States. Also known as MRM, the organization now works with more than 30 manufacturers to manage collection programs in 15 different states, and expects to expand this role further in 2011 and beyond. Panasonic expects MRM to play a complementary role in supporting the eCycling Leadership Initiative.

Panasonic is pleased that the initiative will follow the best practices of industry, including practices that prohibit the use of recyclers and downstream processors who dump end-of-life electronics in developing nations. The company is also pleased that this powerful, industry-led approach transcends the sometimes conflicting and unnecessarily costly offset of individual state recycling regulations with an aggressive and publicly-measurable set of industry collection targets and responsible recycling standards. The initiative is a step toward a national recycling solution which could better serve both the public and the environment.

Update on Epson’s response to Tohoku area earthquake

TOKYO, JAPAN: Epson issued another update on the situation surrounding its employees and businesses in the aftermath of the earthquake that struck the Tohoku area of Japan on March 11.

1. Epson employees
Epson deeply regrets that one employee from the Epson Toyocom Fukushima Plant died in the earthquake at Minami-Soma. The company has confirmed the safety of all other staff.

2. Major Epson facilities affected
Epson plants located in the Tohoku area were all affected by the power cut following the strong aftershock that occurred on April 7. However, the company has resumed production at all these plants with the exception of the Epson Toyocom Corporation Fukushima Plant, which is within the evacuation zone around the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station.

(1) Epson Atmix Corp. (Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture: manufacture of powdered metals, components manufactured with metal injection molding, and artificial quartz): Epson steadily resumed production of components manufactured with metal injection molding and artificial quartz from April 4. Manufacturing was temporarily halted as a result of the aftershock on April 7, but has since resumed. The company plans to restart production of powdered metals at the end of this month.

(2) Akita Epson Corp. (Yuzawa, Akita Prefecture: manufacture of printer components, crystal devices, and ultra-precision components): Manufacturing was temporarily halted as a result of the aftershock on April 7, but production of all product lines has since resumed. We will continue production while constantly assessing the power supply situation.

(3) Seiko Epson Corp. Sakata Plant and Tohoku Epson Corp. (Sakata, Yamagata Prefecture: manufacture of inkjet printer components and semiconductors): Although manufacturing was temporarily halted as a result of the aftershock on April 7, we resumed production of inkjet printer components and partial production of semiconductors on April 11. We will continue production while constantly assessing the situation regarding power and components procurement.

(4) Epson Toyocom Corporation Fukushima Plant (Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefecture: manufacture of crystal devices): This plant has been closed indefinitely.

3. Impact on other businesses
Production may be affected by issues relating to procuring certain components. Epson is now looking to minimize the impact by procuring alternative components and making technical adjustments.

4. Impact on business results
Production may be affected by issues relating to procuring components. Epson is now looking to minimize the impact by procuring alternative components and making technical adjustments.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Silicon Image signs definitive agreement to acquire SiBEAM

SUNNYVALE, USA: Silicon Image Inc., a leader in advanced, interoperable HD connectivity solutions for consumer electronics, announced the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire privately-held SiBEAM Inc., a fabless semiconductor company headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA.

SiBEAM is the leading provider of high-speed wireless communication products for uncompressed HD video in consumer electronics and personal computer applications, a founding member of the WirelessHD Consortium and an active member of the Wireless Gigabit Alliance (WiGig).

The purchase price of the acquisition will be $25.5 million in cash and Silicon Image stock. The proposed transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2011. For 2011, the acquisition is anticipated to be dilutive to Silicon Image’s non-GAAP earnings by approximately $0.06 - $0.08 and neutral to earnings for 2012. The company intends to finalize its estimates of the transaction’s financial impact as well as the accounting for the transaction upon deal close.

“The acquisition of SiBEAM underscores our stated mission to be the leader in advanced video connectivity solutions and SiBEAM’s 60GHz wireless technology will enable us to rapidly bring the highest quality of wirelessly transmitted HD video and audio to market,” said Camillo Martino, CEO of Silicon Image.

“Silicon Image has a proven history of establishing successful global connectivity standards, including DVI, HDMI, and most recently MHL and we are looking forward to driving WirelessHD as a global connectivity standard and to delivering “standards plus” products supporting both wireless and wired HD connectivity standards.”

SiBEAM’s wireless technology has the ability to deliver true uncompressed, lossless high-definition digital video for a broad range of consumer electronics and personal computer applications. The company’s 60GHz Radio Frequency (RF) technology with multi-gigabit data rates offers the highest throughput of any mass market wireless solution available today and is compliant with both the WirelessHD and WiGig standards.

“Silicon Image's market leadership in developing and scaling consumer and PC solutions will help accelerate the growth of SiBEAM's 60GHz products,” said John LeMoncheck, president and CEO, SiBEAM. "Increasingly, CE, PC, and mobile device manufacturers are looking towards 60GHz solutions for high-speed A/V and data connectivity. The combination of SiBEAM's wireless technology with Silicon Image's strength in HD connectivity solutions for mobile and consumer platforms makes this acquisition a natural fit for both companies.”

Consistent with its “standards plus” strategy, Silicon Image plans to continue to promote and actively engage with the WirelessHD Consortium and the WiGiG Alliance to further advance standards development for 60GHz wireless connectivity.

LDRA and TASKING tool integration offers compliance for automotive, control and avionics markets

WIRRAL, UK: LDRA, the leading provider of automated software verification, source code analysis, and test tools, joins Altium in integrating the LDRA tool suite and the TASKING VX-toolset for C166.

The integrated solution brings compliance to safety standards such as MISRA, IEC 61508, and DO-178B to small-footprint microcontrollers like Infineon’s C166 family. Designed for scalability, the combined solution maximizes code reuse and process compliance for safety- and mission-critical software across automotive, industrial and avionics markets.

With the increased call for compliance to safety standards, development teams need integrated solutions that ease the challenge of proving compliance through all stages of the development lifecycle from requirements through coding, test and verification. LDRA stands alone in providing standard compliance across all stages of the lifecycle, whether for automotive with MISRA and ISO 26262, industrial with IEC 61508 or avionics/military with DO-178B. Thanks to an Eclipse-based framework, the LDRA-TASKING integration encompasses the entire C166 family and its derivatives.

Seamless integration between the TASKING compiler and the LDRA tool suite avoids tedious configuration challenges and enables developers to easily apply LDRA’s analysis and testing capabilities from within TASKING’s IDE.

With a simple right click in TASKING’s IDE, developers can directly invoke LDRA analysis phases, gaining access to static analysis violations and code coverage, or quickly generate test cases, executing code on the target or TASKING simulator. With complete integration, all LDRA tool suite capabilities—from analysis to verification—can aid the TASKING developer in achieving certification compliance.

we45 delivers powerful security testing services

BANGALORE, INDIA: we45 Solutions India Pvt Ltd announced the launch of its in-depth enterprise security testing services for critical enterprise IT deployments to protect critical IT infrastructure from myriad attacks and ensure compliance with various regulatory and industry compliance requirements like HIPAA, DPA, ISO-27001 and PCI DSS.

Now enterprises, government agencies and consultants using we45’s Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing services can benefit from having their critical IT infrastructure assessed in-depth for security vulnerabilities and protect themselves before attackers can compromise their infrastructure and their business critical data.

Several enterprises today run vulnerable IT components in their IT environment - over 53 percent of Indian enterprises report a cyber attack against their organization, either internally or externally, What is at stake is nothing less than the security of an organization’s sensitive information like R&D Information, Financial Information, Customer Data among others.

A critical requirement for most companies is to identify whether their existing IT deployments are vulnerable to attack. An in-depth security testing is the first step towards identifying an organization’s vulnerable IT deployments and subsequently correcting the vulnerabilities. This will provide assurance that an organization’s critical information assets will stay protected against the constantly evolving threats in cyberspace.

The PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) is one of the most stringent Data Security Requirements in the world. The standard mandates rigorous security testing in the form of Vulnerability Assessments and Penetration Testing both internally and externally in Requirement 11 of the standard. We45 is well versed in performing in-depth Vulnerability Assessments and Penetration Testis for enterprises undergoing PCI compliance to ensure that they meet and exceed the requirements of this standard.

we45 provides comprehensive Vulnerability Assessment services to ensure the organization’s IT infrastructure is covered extensively. The Vulnerability Assessment techniques, derived from world-class assessment techniques like the OWASP Testing practice, utilize a combination of bleeding-edge manual and automated testing procedures to ensure that all the vulnerabilities present in an organization’s IT infrastructure are identified. we45’s Penetration testing services include network, operating system, web application as well as social engineering testing procedures.

Japan earthquake has minimal impact on large-sized LCD panel market pricing

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Pricing in April is projected to decline marginally for large-sized liquid crystal display (LCD) panels, apparently suffering minimal disruption despite the Japanese quake and tsunami disaster, according to new IHS iSuppli research.

Across the three major large-sized LCD panel applications for televisions, monitors and notebooks, pricing as a whole will fall 0.5 percent in April from their previous perch in March. The drop will be the smallest in several months, indicating a growing reluctance among panel suppliers to slash pricing any further especially at this time of the year, which is normally considered the slow selling season.

Pricing developments varied among the three large-sized LCD panel applications.
In the television segment, large-sized LCD pricing declined by 0.8 percent—the only application to post a decrease. In comparison, notebook panel pricing inched up by 0.2 percent, while monitor panel pricing rose by 0.4 percent.

“The slight decrease overall in large-LCD panel pricing shows that the segment has not yet suffered major impacts from the Japanese disaster,” said Stacy Wu, senior analyst for displays research at IHS. “Despite materials plants being shut down immediately after the quake, many manufacturing lines have recovered and production has returned. And though Japan’s dominance in several key materials for panels might indicate potential vulnerability, suppliers are carrying approximately four to six weeks of inventory. The net effect of this inventory has been to limit supply disruptions to a minimum.”

Suppliers have warned, however, of potential trouble down the road.

“If assorted troubles—including the power outages now plaguing the country—continue and become prolonged, demand for panels may suffer, causing suppliers more difficulties,” Wu noted.

How individual large-sized LCD applications performed
For TV panels, weak sales in the United States and Europe, along with lukewarm inventory replenishment in China, combined to reduce pricing in March, IHS iSuppli research indicates. Another slight decline in April is expected, given that TV panels are still in a state of oversupply.

Among monitors, end demand remains weak, especially in Europe, and the slight price increase of 0.4 percent for the segment was smaller than suppliers expected.

Tightness in supply is being reported for the 20-inch-wide and 21.5-inch-wide models,
especially for light-emitting diode (LED)-backlit monitors, while the previously tight 18.5-inch-wide is seeing supply open up somewhat, IHS iSuppli data shows.

For notebook panels, output from Korean suppliers is constrained as production shifts to manufacturing panels for currently red-hot tablet devices. As a result, brands relying on the Korean suppliers are buying up panels to mitigate any shortage risks they might encounter in the future.

Among individual models, average pricing is flat at $40 for the mainstream 14.0-inch-wide and 15.6-inch-wide segment, though several Tier 1 brands are seeing even lower levels of $36 to $38.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

3M to expand capabilities in flexible circuit markets

ST. PAUL, USA: 3M announced the launch of its newly formed company 3M AST Ltd, based in Cheonan, Korea, which will provide advanced sputtering and plating services, materials and manufacturing capabilities for flexible circuits for the mobile hand-held, touch-screen panel and display markets.

The formation of 3M AST (Advanced Substrate Technologies) is the result of 3M’s recent acquisition of AP&T Co. Ltd., which builds on an existing strategic relationship between the two companies established in March 2010.

3M AST uses proprietary plating and sputtering techniques for the creation of flexible circuits. This gives customers improved performance of their flexible circuits and materials used in flexible electronics by providing excellent uniformity of the metalized surface and one of the highest adhesiveless bond strengths between the substrate and the deposited metal forming the flexible copper clad laminate (FCCL).

“This new entity expands our offering of flexible circuits and related materials providing new options for customers to achieve finer pitch circuit designs,” said Voyl Divljakovic, vice president and general manager, 3M Electronic Solutions Division. “3M AST’s capabilities combined with our expanding portfolio of high-speed copper interconnect products will help us to better serve our customers in the total interconnect market – by providing a broader offering of cost effective interconnect solutions.”

The 3M Electronic Solutions Division offers innovative solutions to the global electronics market, such as static control products; copper interconnect systems; cables and cable assemblies; carrier and cover tapes; flexible circuits; embedded capacitor materials, and Textool brand test and burn-in sockets. 3M’s flexible circuit options include a global flexible circuit design and manufacturing solutions that help customers in the imaging, medical, mobile and printing industries achieve increased routing density for smaller devices and electronic equipment.

HID Global intros next gen Asure ID card personalization software

BANGALORE, INDIA: HID Global, a trusted leader in solutions for the delivery of secure identity, announced the release of Asure ID 7, the latest update to its industry-leading card personalization suite of software.

Building on the popular Asure ID 2009 software, Asure ID 7 features new navigational enhancements and advanced printing capabilities designed to simplify the entire process of card issuance from entry-level uses to more sophisticated secure credential applications.

HID Global's Asure ID 7 is a complete line of card personalization software that is simple to learn and incorporates features to improve the issuance and management of photo IDs for any type or size of organization. The latest software release includes new features and enhancements to the highly intuitive user interface, while still utilizing a familiar Microsoft Ribbon look and feel that is built on the Microsoft .NET technology platform for stability and interoperability.

New Asure ID 7 features include the addition of Swift IDä template importing, resin panel capabilities, iCLASSÒ encoding support and an industry-unique feature which automatically notifies users of updates. Significant enhancements have been made to the reporting engine and to the iDIRECTOR module that allow users to build custom reports and easily integrate unique applications to both iCLASS and MIFARE cards.

Toshiba launches wipe technology in self-encrypting 2.5-type HDDs

TOKYO, JAPAN: Toshiba Corp. announced the launch of the world's first series of Self-Encrypting Drives (SED) equipped with Wipe Technology, Toshiba's proprietary suite of security functions that bring an unsurpassed level of data protection to IT equipment.

Wipe Technology allows users to determine a range of security settings, including invalidation of encryption keys and data invalidation when a drive is removed from its housing or connected to an unauthorized host system.

The five models in the 2.5-type MK6461GSYG family range from 160 gigabytes (GB) to 640GB and are designed for use in copiers, printers, POS systems, PCs and other IT devices. Sampling will start from the end of April with mass production following at the end of June.

IT departments must contend with various security risks, from lost and stolen PC through to compliance with increasingly strict privacy laws and regulations governing data security. These concerns also go beyond PCs. Today, most office copier and printing systems utilize HDD capacity and performance to support productivity and the security of recorded document image data that must be maintained. Furthermore, data invalidation required overwriting for hours or physically disrupting until now.

Wipe Technology directly addresses these concerns. In August 2010, Toshiba announced development of the Wipe Technology that offered users two levels of control, which achieved great interest from the IT industry. Reflecting voice of customers to meet varying using conditions, MK6461GSYG family drives not only offer the latest version of Wipe Technology adding the third level of control, but also configure areas for invalidation and encryption, achieving an optimized solution for data security.

US online TV growth accelerates in 2010

EL SEGUNDO, USA: US online television revenue growth accelerated in 2010, rising by 34.2 percent, up from 31.2 percent in 2009. Total revenue in 2010 amounted to $1.6 billion, up from $1.2 billion in 2009. Growth was driven by a reinvigorated online advertising market that expanded by 64.7 percent to reach $719 million in 2010, up from $436.8 million in 2009.

Revenue growth was propelled by more effective monetization of online television content, given that the market—measured in terms of consumption—delivered far more modest gains. In terms of views, however, ad-funded clips and shows from broadcasters’ own services—including the Hulu streaming video service—expanded by only 10 percent to reach 3.6 billion. Meanwhile, electronic sell through (EST) television remained flat at 97 million transactions.

“The relatively modest growth in the streaming video area reveals a still tentative approach toward the Internet from some big media companies, which are reluctant to jeopardize their lucrative cable carriage deals by aggressively pursuing online opportunities,” Cryan said. “The result is that broadcasters are not engaged in heavy on-air promotion of their online offerings. Consequently, broadcasters in the United States are at risk of ceding territory to Netflix as the go-to destination for television on the Internet.”

Nonetheless, even in this conflicted market, revenue was up thanks to the proactive attitude of a handful of players, including Hulu and the CW Television Network, which have managed to expand revenue even as consumption growth has leveled out.

The biggest beneficiary was Hulu, which managed to double its ad revenue year-on-year to reach $200 million. The improved advertising market allowed Hulu to improve the way it monetized its audience, generating more revenue per stream than it did in 2009. Online TV viewing on the site was up a little more than 10 percent.

The CW also grew revenue effectively, owing to an aggressive advertising strategy that saw the channel offer an average of 23 ads per show, which resulted in a more than 300 percent increase in revenue to reach $16.5 million, from a 50 percent growth in consumption.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

Khronos to create new open standard for advanced device and sensor input

SAN FRANCISCO, USA: The Khronos Group announced a new initiative to create an open, platform-independent, royalty-free standard for accessing a wide diversity of advanced input devices including depth cameras, motion-tracking sensors, touch-screens and haptic devices.

In response to requests and proposals from multiple members, Khronos has created a ‘StreamInput’ working group that TransGaming Inc. has offered to initially chair. This royalty-free standard will be developed under the proven Khronos development process aiming for a first public release within 12 months.

Any interested company is welcome to join Khronos to make contributions, influence the direction of the specification and gain early access to draft specifications before public release. The StreamInput working group will commence work during April 2011.

The Khronos StreamInput working group will drive industry consensus to create a cross-platform API to provide applications with both high-level semantic input as well as low-level device management capabilities, enabling significant innovations by sensor and device manufacturers - while simplifying portable application development.

The new API will support a general-purpose framework for consistently handling new generation sensors and traditional input devices such as keyboards, mice, track pads and joysticks. The API will also provide system-wide sensor synchronization for advanced multi-sensor applications such as augmented reality, and will use Khronos’ proven extension mechanisms to enable new types of input devices to be easily added and supported.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

New content restrictions from Starz and Showtime unlikely to hurt Netflix much

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Recent moves by Starz and Showtime to restrict the content they are providing to Netflix represent maneuvering to gain advantage in upcoming contract negotiations, rather than a life-and-death battle over subscribers that some believe it is.

Showtime announced that it will remove some of its original programming from Netflix’s streaming library starting this fall. Under the new arrangement, Netflix will keep the streaming rights to shows that have already ended their first run on the pay-TV network, such as “The Tudors” and “Sleeper Cell.” However, the rental company will no longer be able to stream older seasons of Showtime’s running original series, such as “Dexter” and “Californication.”

Starz, one of Netflix’s longest and most important content partners, is changing its policy as well. Starting on April 1, Starz will institute a 90-day delay before Netflix subscribers can stream the latest episode of newly debuted original series such as “Camelot,” which premieres April 1. This change will not affect new episodes of existing series, such as “Spartacus.”

According to conventional wisdom, the Showtime and Starz policy changes were prompted by the networks’ fears of losing traditional subscribers because of the availability of their content through Netflix. The moves also have been attributed to the video rental company’s recent foray into original programming, which presumably has cemented its status as a direct competitor. The networks, accordingly, aim to accomplish the dual goal of protecting their traditional TV subscriptions from cannibalization while slowing down Netflix’s momentum by depriving its streaming service of timely high-quality content.

Indeed, Netflix’s subscriber base has been rapidly outgrowing those of premium networks like Showtime and Starz. Netflix’s subscribers rose by 30.6 percent in 2009 and accelerated to a 59 percent expansion in 2010, compared to single-digit growth or decline for the premium networks.

However, IHS Screen Digest doesn’t believe the changes in the policies represent a fundamental battle over subscribers for two reasons.

First, there is no indication that greater engagement with Netflix degrades the traditional TV subscription business for premium networks. In fact, Netflix serves not only as an additional revenue stream but also as a powerful promotional tool for those networks that choose to engage and use the relationship to their advantage.

Second, the moves by Showtime and Starz are unlikely to have lasting impact on the health of the online service’s content library. Showtime, for one, can only withdraw old seasons of the series it produced. The popular show “Weeds,” which currently runs on the premium network, is produced by Lionsgate, which owns the streaming rights to older seasons. It is ultimately Lionsgate’s decision whether to make those seasons available to Netflix’s viewers or not, and this decision will depend in large part on Netflix’s offer and the amount of push-back from Showtime, being the first-run licensee of the series.

In light of these factors, rather than casting the current differences between Netflix and the two premium networks as a death match, IHS Screen Digest views the back-and-forth as an old fashioned carriage fight, not unlike the common disputes between networks and subscription-TV operators over affiliate fees.

Starz, for example, is flexing its muscles in the renewal negotiations with Netflix to bring the expiring sublicensing deal more in line with the one obtained by the premium network Epix late last year, which not only came at a higher price tag but also grants the network a 90-day exclusive window for new releases.

Showtime likely is pushing for such a deal instead of the simple content licensing agreement it currently has. Netflix, for its part, appears to be pushing back against these demands. Empowered by its impressive subscriber growth over the past year and the strength of its brand and multi-screen presence, Netflix is increasingly comfortable with a more aggressive posture in dealing with network owners.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.