Friday, September 30, 2011

Amazon sells Kindle Fire at low profit margin to promote online merchandize sales

EL SEGUNDO, USA: An IHS analysis reveals Amazon’s business model for its new Kindle Fire tablet, with the company willing to settle for a razor-thin margin on sales of devices and digital content in order to achieve the larger goal of promoting merchandize sales at its online store.

A preliminary virtual estimate conducted by the IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis Service places Kindle Fire’s bill of materials (BOM) cost at $191.65. With the addition of manufacturing expenses, the total cost to produce the Kindle Fire rises to $209.63.

When further costs outside of materials and manufacturing are added in—and the $199 price of the tablet is factored along with the expected sales of digital content per device—Amazon is likely to generate a marginal profit of $10 on each Kindle Fire sold.

However, the real benefit of the Kindle Fire to Amazon will not be in selling hardware or digital content. Rather, the Kindle Fire, and the content demand it stimulates, will serve to promote sales of the kinds of physical goods that comprise the majority of Amazon’s business. Amazon doesn’t make a substantial profit on sales of Kindle hardware and content such as e-books and music. Instead, the Seattle-based online-retail giant generates its profits on sales of shoes, diapers, and every other kind of physical product imaginable. Similar to Walmart and other large brick-and-motor retailers, Amazon’s content business is designed to lure in consumers to buy such everyday goods as well as other money-making items.

The importance of this strategy cannot be underestimated. So far, no retailer has managed to create an umbilical link between digital content and a more conventional retail environment. With Kindle, Amazon has created the most convincing attempt at this yet, and it is doing so by using established retail tactics: deploying content to get shoppers in the door, and then selling them all sorts of other goods. This is exactly how Walmart, Target and others use a similar weapon—in their case, DVDs. If doing this means that Amazon must take a loss on the sales of digital content and tablet hardware, it will be well worth it in the end.

This business model is unique to Amazon. No other tablet brand or e-book reader operates such a broad retail service, which generated $34 billion in revenue in 2010. Conversely no other retailer can offer a tablet specifically designed to promote sales of its goods.

With its use of the Android operating system, the Kindle Fire is a multifunction device. Therefore, while its main use is as a color e-book reader, it also has a browser for surfing the Web and the capability to load apps. Such capabilities put the Kindle Fire in the tablet category—although it is more a “super e-book reader” than a low-cost tablet.

This is a critical difference in the perception of the customer and in setting their expectations. While some say the super e-book reader approach of the Kindle Fire means it falls short of the iPad’s capabilities, IHS believes it actually represents an enhancement of the e-book reader, which will serve to expand both the e-book reader and tablet markets. Because of this, IHS believes the Kindle Fire will be a successful product.

With its lower pricing than the iPad, and its positioning as a super eReader, the Kindle Fire may serve in fact to expand the tablet market beyond current expectations. As such, the Kindle Fire potentially could become the No. 2 selling tablet after the iPad.

The Amazon Kindle Fire tablet likely leverages design elements and component selections from the Playbook tablet from Research in Motion Ltd. Both the Kindle Fire and the PlayBook are manufactured by Taiwanese electronics contract manufacturer Quanta Computer Inc. Because Quanta engages in product design, it likely is repurposing much of the expertise it gained from developing the PlayBook for use in the Kindle Fire.

The preliminary virtual teardown of the Kindle Fire estimates that display/touch screen is the most expensive subsystem of the device, at $87. The applications processor in the Kindle Fire likely a dual core device, priced at $15.

The IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis Team plans to conduct a complete physical teardown of the Kindle Fire when the product begins shipping.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Despite media tablet inroads, notebook PC lives on

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Although the media tablet war has inflicted an early casualty on the mobile PC industry with the demise of the netbook, the overall notebook market will live to fight another day, with shipments rising by 100 million units by 2015 partly because of the rising sales of PC tablets, according to new IHS iSuppli Compute Platforms Service research.

Worldwide notebook unit shipments are expected to rise to 324.9 million in 2015, up 104.8 million from 220.1 million in 2011. Although annual notebook shipment growth will slow during the coming years because of rising tablet competition, the notebook market will continue to expand because of the key role that the platform plays among businesses and consumers.Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

“Despite the intense competition from media tablets, notebooks remain a useful tool that has become an essential part of modern life—rather than a luxury item,” said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst for compute platforms research at IHS. “Compared to the consumption-oriented media tablets, notebooks are superior platforms for content creation tasks, ranging from developing websites, to building rich documents, to editing high-definition videos and photos. Because of this, the notebook PC will continue to be an important, expanding market—even if its sales growth will be slower than it was in the past.”

Tablets battle notebooks for consumer mind share
Thanks to its strong brand image as well as astute product and price positioning, Apple’s iPad has enjoyed overwhelming success. As a result, the global media tablet market has exceeded growth expectations since tablets were released to the market at the beginning of the second quarter of 2010.

IHS predicts global media tablet shipments will reach 60 million units in 2011, up 245.9 percent from 17.4 million in 2010. Shipments are expected to increase to 275.3 million in 2015.

“Following the launch of Apple’s iPad and other high-profile devices, consumers have been bombarded with media tablet advertising and press coverage,” Wilkins noted. “And with the media tablet portrayed as providing the same capabilities as the notebook PC, consumers are considering media tablets to be an alternative to notebooks. This has caused notebook sales growth to slow down compared to past years.”

Tablets come as a bitter pill for netbooks
Nowhere has the impact of tablets on notebooks been more apparent than in the once-hot netbook segment.

After enjoying double-digit growth from 2008 through 2010, netbook shipments are set to decline to 21.5 million units in 2011, down 33.2 percent from 32 million in 2010. Shipments are expected to continue to decrease during the coming years and will dwindle to 13.5 million units in 2015.

“A similar user experience to that of the netbook is offered by the media tablet, with both being highly portable platforms allowing convenient consumption of multimedia content, whether offline or online,” Wilkins noted. “Thus, the media tablet is attracting purchases from consumers who otherwise might buy notebooks.”

Tablets go PC
Ironically, the notebook market is expected to find some solace from the onslaught of media tablets in an unlikely place: the PC tablet. PC tablets are slate or convertible/hybrid tablets that incorporate a full PC operating system such as Windows 7 or Linux.

Unlike the great success of the media tablet, the PC tablet to date has only gained limited penetration into the mainstream business segment as an alternative to the notebook PC, along with small success in vertical markets including medical, logistics and education.

However, the launch by Microsoft Corp. of its new Windows 8 operating system in late 2012 will boost the acceptance of the PC tablet in the enterprise segment as well as the consumer market, because of its compatibility with current PC applications and other PC platforms.

As such, IHS predicts that growth of PC tablets will begin to accelerate in 2013—one year after Windows 8 is released—with shipments of 10 million units. PC tablet shipments then are expected to nearly quintuple by 2015, reaching 45.2 million units.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

Sept. 2011 Symantec intelligence report: Polymorphic malware rate peaks at 72 percent

BANGALORE, INDIA: Symantec Corp. announced the results of the September 2011 Symantec Intelligence Report, now combining the best research and analysis from the MessageLabs Intelligence Report and the Symantec State of Spam & Phishing Report.

This month’s analysis reveals that a deluge of malicious email-borne malware has left a clear mark on the threat landscape for September. Approximately 72 percent of all email-borne malware in September could be characterized as aggressive strains of generic polymorphic malware, first identified in the July Symantec Intelligence Report. At the end of July, this rate was 23.7 percent, in August it fell slightly to 18.5 percent, before soaring to 72 percent in September.

“This unprecedented high-water mark underlines the nature by which cyber criminals have escalated their assault on businesses in 2011, fully exploiting the weaknesses of more traditional security countermeasures,” said Abhijit Limaye, director, Development, Symantec.

Further analysis reveals that the social engineering behind many of these attacks has also accelerated, with the adoption of a variety of new techniques such as pretending to be an email from a smart printer/scanner being forwarded by a colleague in the same organization.

“The idea of an office printer sending malware is perhaps an unlikely one, as printers and scanners were not actually used in these attacks, but perhaps this sense of security is all that is required for such a socially engineered attack to succeed in the future,” Limaye said.

Although spam levels remained fairly stable during September, Symantec Intelligence observed the use of identified vulnerabilities in certain older versions of the popular WordPress blogging software on a large number of Web sites across the Internet. Spam emails containing links to these compromised Web sites are also being spammed out. It is important to note that blogs hosted by WordPress themselves seem to be unaffected.

The exploitation of these vulnerabilities to serve spammers’ interests is a stark reminder for the need to ensure software is up-to-date with latest patches and releases.

Additional research also reveals that JavaScript is becoming increasing popular as programming language by spammers and malware authors. JavaScript is increasingly used to conceal where spammers are redirecting, and in some cases, also to conceal entire Web pages.

“For spammers, hosting simple JavaScript obfuscation pages on free hosting sites can increase the lifetime of that site before the site operator realizes the page is being used for malicious activity,” Limaye said. “JavaScript is popularly used for redirecting visitors of a compromised Web site to the spammers landing page. While some of these techniques have been common in malware distribution for some time, spammers are increasingly using them.”

Other report highlights:
Spam: In September 2011, the global ratio of spam in email traffic declined to 74.8 percent (1 in 1.34 emails), a decrease of 1.1 percentage points when compared with August 2011.

Phishing: In September, phishing email activity diminished by 0.26 percentage points since August 2011; one in 447.9 emails (0.223 percent) comprised some form of phishing attack.

E-mail-borne threats: The global ratio of email-borne viruses in email traffic was one in 188.7 emails (0.53 percent) in September, an increase of 0.04 percentage points since August 2011.

Web-based malware threats: In September, Symantec Intelligence identified an average of 3,474 Web sites each day harboring malware and other potentially unwanted programs including spyware and adware; an increase of 1.0 percent since August 2011.

Endpoint threats: The most frequently blocked malware for the last month was W32.Sality.AE, a virus that spreads by infecting executable files and attempts to download potentially malicious files from the Internet.

Geographical trends
* Saudi Arabia remained the most spammed geography; with a spam rate of 84 percent.
* Russia became the second most-spammed.
* In China 89.3 percent of email blocked as spam.
* In the US, 74.5 percent of email was spam and 74.1 percent in Canada.
* The spam level in the UK was 75.5 percent.
* In The Netherlands, spam accounted for 76.4 percent of email traffic, 75.5 percent in Germany, 75.2 percent in Denmark and 73.3 percent in Australia.
* In Hong Kong, 73.9 percent of email was blocked as spam and 72.6 percent in Singapore, compared with 71.6 percent in Japan.
* Spam accounted for 74.3 percent of email traffic in South Africa and 77.1 percent in Brazil.

* Phishing attacks in South Africa increased once more position the country as the most targeted geography for phishing in September, with one in 133.1 emails identified as phishing.
* The UK remained the second most targeted country, with one in 221.1 emails identified as phishing attacks.
* Phishing levels for the US were one in 985.9 and one in 317.6 for Canada.
* In Germany, phishing levels were one in 1,125, one in 1,071 in Denmark and one in 377.2 in The Netherlands.
* In Australia, phishing activity accounted for one in 740 emails and one in 1,882 in Hong Kong; for Japan it was one in 12,812 and one in 1,958 for Singapore.
* In Brazil, one in 439 emails was blocked as phishing.

E-mail-borne threats
* Email-borne malware attacks in Hungary climbed to one in 111.2 emails, positioning the country at the top of the table with the highest ratio of malicious emails in September.
* Switzerland was the second most geography under fire in September, with one in 128.2 emails was identified as malicious in September.
* In the UK, one in 129.9 emails was blocked as malicious.
* Virus levels for email-borne malware reached one in 224.8 in the US and one in 164.8 in Canada.
* In Germany, virus activity reached one in 197.9, one in 488.8 in Denmark and in The Netherlands one in 174.9.
* In Australia, one in 341.5 emails were malicious and one in 215.6 in Hong Kong; for Japan it was one in 658.3, compared with one in 307.2 in Singapore.
* In Brazil, one in 363.5 emails in contained malicious content.

Vertical trends
* In September, the automotive industry sector remained as the most spammed industry sector, with a spam rate of 77.8 percent.
* The spam level for the education sector was 77.2 percent and 74.6 percent for the chemical and pharmaceutical sector, 74.4 percent for IT services, 74.3 percent for retail, 74.5 percent for public sector and 74.3 percent for finance.
* The public sector remained the most targeted by phishing activity in September, with one in 125.8 emails comprising a phishing attack.
* Phishing levels for the chemical and pharmaceutical sector reached one in 797.3 and one in 754.6 for the IT services sector, one in 664.5 for retail, one in 156.9 for education and one in 388.6 for finance.
* With one in 61.5 emails being blocked as malicious, the public sector remained the most targeted industry in September.
* Virus levels for the chemical and pharmaceutical sector were one in 104.5 and one in 192.2 for the IT services sector; one in 276.1 for retail, one in 80.1 for education and one in 240.9 for finance.

The September 2011 Symantec Intelligence Report provides greater detail on all of the trends and figures noted above, as well as more detailed geographical and vertical trends.

Launch of Amazon tablet

Adam Leach, Ovum Practice Leader

AUSTRALIA: Amazon unveiled a new range of Kindle devices including its much anticipated move into the tablet market with the announcement of the Kindle Fire. Amazon is going head to head with Apple and the iPad with a consumer-centric media consumption device. Amazon is hoping to attract consumers with a device that has direct access to its huge content library of books, music, films and TV shows.

The company has priced the Kindle Fire at $199. The pricing is critical to gain traction in the tablet market where the iPad has effectively become the defacto standard. Rival manufacturers have failed to attract consumers as they have matched the iPad’s price point without matching its content offering, whereas the Kindle Fire has access to Amazon’s content store and is half the price of the cheapest iPad model.

Amazon’s retail-based business model allows the company to subsidize the device on the premise that consumers will buy more from Amazon, be that physical goods or its digital content. This model is the direct inverse of Apple’s model; Amazon is selling a device in order to sell more content where as Apple sells content in order to sell more devices.

However, the device is still an integral part of Amazon’s proposition; it still needs to be attractive in its own right to consumers. Amazon has opted for a 7” display, the same size as the Blackberry Playbook. This screen size has undoubtedly helped them achieve a lower price point for the device but so far this form factor has not been popular with consumers, we shall see if this is related to other aspects of those devices other than its screen size.

The Amazon Fire is based on Google’s Android operating system; however, it appears that Amazon is positioning its own services above those of Google’s by using the Amazon Android app store and its own mobile browser based on its own dynamic split browsing technology, essentially creating its own variant of Android. This will have significant implications for developers wishing to deploy Android applications to the device if the two platforms do not remain compatible. It will also force consumers to choose if Amazon’s set of services are more valuable to them than Google’s when buying a tablet.

From a standing start in 2010, Ovum expects shipments of tablets and other mobile Internet devices based on “lite” operating systems (OSs) to reach 41 million by year-end 2011, rising to 219 million units in calendar year 2016. This equates to a CAGR of 45 percent across the period 2010–16. Ovum does not see shipments of tablets and other mobile Internet devices significantly eroding the growing demand for smartphones, especially those that are fundamentally similar in their hardware and software technology. The utility of smartphones is simply greater than that of tablets and similar devices for a majority of users.

Apac public cloud services market to hit revenues of $12 billion

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: The Asia-Pacific (AP) public cloud services market will increase five fold over the next five years with revenues of $12billion in 2016, according to Ovum.

In a new forecast, the independent technology analyst finds the market will see CAGR of 34 per cent from the US$2.89 billion it will reach at the end of 2011. Asia-Pacific will increase its share from 16 per cent in 2011, to 18.8 per cent in 2016.

Meanwhile, Europe, the Middle East and Africa will remain the second-largest market over the forecast period. The region’s share will increase from 27 per cent in 2011 to 29 per cent in 2016. Western Europe will grow at a CAGR of 31.2 per cent from 2011 to 2016 to reach $17.2 billion, up from $4.4 billion in 2011. Eastern Europe will grow at a CAGR of 30.7 per cent from 2011 to 2016 to reach $1.5 billion, up from $396 million in 2011. The Middle East and Africa will increase at a CAGR of 31.7 per cent from 2011 to 2016, rising from $114 million to $451 million.

Saurabh Sharma, senior analyst for Market Intelligence commented, “AP public cloud services market will grow at the fastest rate amongst all the regions, growth will be driven by the rapid uptake in SME segment as these enterprises continue to realize the strategic gains associated with the shift to cloud.”

Increasingly favorable economic conditions and the fast improving infrastructure environment will serve as a major enabler for uptake of cloud services in this region. In AP, Australia, New Zealand, China and India will grow at faster rates while Japan remains the top contributor to regional cloud services market. “Recent moves by the major cloud service providers to set up datacenters in AP further underline the increasing strategic importance of the region in the global cloud services market,” added Sharma, based in Hyderabad.

In terms of the cloud computing service lines globally, SaaS will shrink from 87 per cent of the market in 2011, to 62 per cent in 2016, due to the rise of IaaS and PaaS, which will grow from nine per cent and five per cent, respectively, to 23 per cent and 16 per cent, at the end of the forecast period.

According to Laurent Lachal, Ovum’s cloud computing senior analyst, while the market is growing at a fast pace and players such as Amazon and Google are making much progress, the impact of public clouds will not be to render IT departments obsolete, but rather to shift their focus.

He commented: ‘Shifts will include taking a more holistic approach to connecting networks, hardware and software. IT departments will also reduce their emphasis on maintenance and increase their innovation, while being encouraged to take more risks, by giving employees the capacity to tackle high-reward ventures. But as ever, preparation is the key to ensuring that cloud computing delivers a positive outcome.”

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Greenliant now shipping SATA NANDrive

SANTA CLARA, USA: Greenliant Systems, a leader in energy-efficient, highly secure and reliable solid state storage products, has started volume production of its SATA interface NANDrive™ solid state drives (SSDs). The GLS85LS product family has the same pin-out across all capacities—2 GB, 4 GB, 8 GB, 16 GB, 32 GB and higher in the future—which simplifies system-level board design.

Measuring 14mm x 24mm x 1.95mm, in a 145 ball grid array (BGA), 1mm ball pitch package, SATA NANDrive devices are one of the smallest SSDs, giving OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) flexibility when designing data storage into their embedded products. The BGA package can be soldered directly onto the motherboard—no extra connectors are needed—providing added stability to the SSD.

Compatible with the latest generation chipsets, SATA NANDrive combines Greenliant's proprietary high-performance NAND flash controller with up to eight NAND flash die in a multi-chip package. As a fully integrated SSD—when compared to using discrete NAND and a controller—NANDrive improves customers' time-to-market by eliminating the need to procure and qualify multiple chips.

"As NAND flash memory continues to rapidly shrink, making it difficult for embedded products to keep up, a standard-interface storage solution that doesn't require redesigns at each new geometry node is needed," said Michael Yang, Principal Analyst for Memory & Storage, iSuppli Corporation. "The timing is right for BGA package SSDs like NANDrive."

"By offering NANDrive with a SATA interface, we are providing our automotive, industrial, medical and enterprise networking customers an essential building block for their embedded systems," said Bing Yeh, CEO of Greenliant Systems. "Products that use NANDrive—such as robotics, ruggedized tablets, blade servers and car infotainment systems—have unique storage requirements. They need SSDs that will reliably preserve data integrity, with long operating life and 'military-grade' security options, which are Greenliant's areas of expertise and where NANDrive excels."

The addition of SATA II-compliant GLS85LS devices builds on the success of Greenliant's PATA (GLS85LD and GLS85LP) products, expanding its portfolio of NANDrive embedded SSDs.

AuthenTec’s FIPS 201-compliant TouchChip sensor adds strong fingerprint security to Dell Latitude E6520 notebooks

MELBOURNE, USA: AuthenTec, a leading provider of security and identity management solutions, announced that its FIPS 201-compliant TouchChip fingerprint sensor module is now available on the Dell Latitude E6520 notebook PC.

The addition of AuthenTec’s new TCETB1 TouchChip module makes the Latitude E6520 well suited for applications where the Federal Information Processing Standard 201 (FIPS 201) is required for personal identity verification of federal employees and contractors. The TCETB1 module includes AuthenTec’s TCS1 TouchChip sensor, the world’s only silicon-based fingerprint sensor certified to meet FIPS 201 specifications for image quality and fingerprint authentication.

The Dell Latitude E6520 is a business-rugged laptop that features a military standard-tested metal case and highly durable display. It represents the second generation of Dell notebooks to incorporate an AuthenTec TCS1-based TouchChip module with a personal identity verification- (PIV-) compliant smart card reader enabling multi-factor authentication. The Dell Latitude E6520 offers government agencies and contractors a complete endpoint security solution for complying with US government standards.

"Our newest TouchChip module is ideally suited for mobile ID terminals and notebooks offering strong security, such as the new Dell Latitude E6520,” said Mike Chaudoin, AuthenTec’s director of Marketing for Government and Access Control. “We are pleased to expand our relationship with PC industry leader Dell into their new generation of Dell notebooks using our widely accepted TCS1 TouchChip product. We believe that IT administrators who demand strong security and end users who want one-touch simplicity will appreciate what our TouchChip solution brings to this new Dell platform.”

AuthenTec’s new TCETB1 TouchChip module integrates a low profile conductive metal bezel which reduces device thickness to approximately half of the prior generation allowing it to fit into more devices and simplifying design integration to lower bill of materials costs. The TCETB1 offers a rugged yet thin package, on-board memory for sensor calibration data, a USB controller and other features that deliver a self-contained, easy-to-integrate USB module for notebooks, keyboards, smartcard readers, mobile ID terminals and access control devices. AuthenTec’s TCETB1 is significantly thinner than bulky optical fingerprint readers and offers greater power efficiency, making it ideally suited for battery operated mobile devices that must be small and portable yet meet government fingerprint standards.

Whether authenticating holders of national ID cards or securing access to government facilities, AuthenTec technology is used around the world to provide high levels of security. AuthenTec's complete security offering includes fingerprint sensors, identity management software, hardware IP, and encryption software for mobile and networking applications. AuthenTec’s solutions ensure security and user identity from the client to the cloud, and are deployed by the world’s leading companies.

ONPATH and QualiSystems to deliver powerful lab automation

MARLTON, USA: ONPATH Technologies, the leader in scalable connectivity and monitoring solutions for high performance networks, and QualiSystems, a global provider of lab management, device provisioning, and test automation software solutions, have been chosen by a number of large carriers in North America to deliver an integrated advanced test automation and lab management solution.

The joint interoperability of QualiSystems' TestShell lab management and automation software, with ONPATH's UCS platform and HorizON software, offers a comprehensive and cost-effective platform for optimizing network testing labs.

With centralized device inventory management and tracking, scheduling and reservations, dynamic port connectivity, simpler automated configuration of devices, and easy setup validation, this complete solution empowers customers to boost lab performance, optimize equipment usage across teams and sites, and reduce both test setup operations time and capital expense.

The ONPATH/QualiSystems solution is quickly being adopted by Fortune 500 joint customers. Most recently, two North American Tier 1 Carriers with focus in the areas of telecommunications, media, and information technology, have chosen to implement the joint solution for the automated management of their test lab environment.

The solution provides the Carriers with highly scalable physical layer switching for high-performance connectivity and monitoring, as well as features such as resource scheduling, built-in control of leading-brand test and networking equipment, and advanced equipment management and utilization tracking. The combination of TestShell software with the UCS platform enables the Carriers to automate connectivity and testing within their labs or from remote locations, allowing them to save valuable time, space, power, and capital, and to improve product quality and shorten release time for their products.

ONPATH's Universal Connectivity System (UCS) portfolio delivers unprecedented scalability – to over 4,000 non-blocking ports of connectivity in a single switch fabric. It is the only solution on the market capable of supporting legacy networks, running at speeds from less than 1Mbps, proprietary single mode optical protocols of any type, as well as today's faster networks running up to 100 Gbps, and beyond.

Facilitating automated network reconfigurations, failure simulation, and regression testing, the UCS platform delivers the industry's most flexible, scalable, and secure technology. It enables customers to significantly improve the visibility and agility of their networks, in order to create test automation infrastructures that conserve time, increase utilization, and save money.

QualiSystems' TestShell is an end-to-end software framework for lab management, device provisioning, and test automation. The software is used by carriers, network service providers, data centers, enterprises, and device manufacturers. TestShell provides complete lab management, resource scheduling, automated device provisioning, topology creation, test automation and comprehensive reporting and analysis. The software framework helps organizations to improve product quality, optimize lab performance, and shorten release time to market.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fujitsu driving PCB design standard

RICHARDSON, USA: Fujitsu announced its participation in the IPC-2581 Consortium, comprised of printed circuit board (PCB) designers, developers and manufacturers. The Consortium is dedicated to accelerating the adoption of IPC-2581, a vendor-neutral global standard reducing errors in PCB development by automating the exchange of data among supply chain participants.

Traditional approaches to PCB design and manufacturing have relied on a manual exchange of data between collaborating companies. Instructions and component specifications are often transferred between companies using spreadsheets, hand drawn diagrams or notes made during the course of discussions. This unsophisticated approach results in errors due to misunderstandings or the extra step of transferring data and instructions from an unstructured format, i.e., handwritten notes or spreadsheets, to the applications used to layout the elements of and manufacture each PCB.

The purpose of the IPC-2581 standard is to remove those opportunities for human error by creating a universal schema for the automatic sharing of data between PCB design applications; electronic manufacturing services; and fabrication, assembly and test companies.

“From the earliest stages of product design through customer implementation we remain focused on achieving the highest possible quality,” said Hans Roehrig, senior VP of operations and manufacturing, Fujitsu Network Communications. “We are pleased to participate in the IPC-2581 Consortium and we call on others in the PCB supply chain to do the same. At the end of the day, industry providers will profit from fewer mistakes and a faster time to market. Most importantly, customers will receive the products they need with the quality they expect.”

The IPC-2581 Consortium operates under the purview of the IPC—Association Connecting Electronics Industries, which since 1957 has guided the electronic interconnection industry. A global trade association dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its more than 2,900 member companies, IPC represents all facets of the industry including design, PCB manufacturing and electronics assembly.

US flat-panel TV pricing declines in August for first time in four months

EL SEGUNDO, USA: After rising continuously during the previous four months, US flat-panel television prices declined slightly in August, as economic uncertainty and high inventories took their toll on the market, according to the IHS iSuppli US TV & Specifications Tracker.

The average price in August for flat-panel TVs, a category covering both liquid crystal display (LCD) and plasma technologies, fell to $1,145, down $5—or 0.4 percent—from $1,150 in July. Although the decline was less than 1 percent, it was significant because it represented the first decrease since March, when prices fell $21.60 from February.Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

The retreat in pricing was apparent especially among larger-sized TVs. Pricing was down 1 percent in the 30- to 39-inch range, down 3 percent in the 40- to 49-inch group, and down 2 percent in the larger-than- 50-inch category.

“Larger-sized televisions have been hard to sell given the slow economy and the absence in general of a big-enough price decline to motivate consumers to buy,” said Riddhi Patel, director for television systems and retail services at IHS.

For those few companies that dared to offer aggressive price reductions, consumers rewarded them with an increase in sales. This was case with Japan’s Sharp Corp., whose 60-inch TV sets sold well in the American market after discounting, even taking share away from 55-inch sets offered by rival companies.

In the 3-D television segment, pricing in the 30- to 39-inch group dipped below the $1,000 level in August for the first time since the size group was made available in 3-D in March. Other TV sizes in the 3-D category also suffered a dip in pricing, ranging from less than 1 percent in the over-50 size to 3 percent for both 30- to 39-inch and 40- to 49-inch models.

Only two categories of flat-panel TVs saw pricing increase in August—the 20-inch and smaller sector, as well as the 21- to 29-inch group. This was because advanced features like light-emitting diode (LED) technology were finally being offered on smaller sets, such as the 18.5-inch and 19-inch sizes.

Interest is rising in smaller-sized televisions, which are being placed by consumers in secondary areas of the home like the kitchen or the dining room, IHS research has determined.

A surprising development was an increase in the price of non-LED models—specifically, LCD TVs still featuring the older cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) technology—predominant among flat panel televisions before the advent of the currently more fashionable LED sets. Except for the 40-49-inch category, all other sizes for CCFL-based LCD TVs saw pricing increase in August, suggesting that the less-than-cutting-edge models continued to have a place in the market. Until CCFL models are phased out—expected within the next few years—brands will continue to ship them, especially because they are less expensive than their LED counterparts.

In the plasma flat-panel television segment, pricing in August fell by an average of $80 for 50-inch-and-larger sets and by $21 for 40- to 49-inch sizes, compared to their levels in July. Among consumers, only 21.5 percent chose to replace a plasma set with another plasma model—which means that the majority, or 78.5 percent, abandoned plasma for a different technology, such as LCD, according to a second quarter report from the IHS iSuppli US TV Consumer Preference Analysis Service.

In comparison, 90 percent of consumers chose to replace an LCD TV with another set of the same type of display technology that sported either CCFL or LED backlight technology.

Plasma 3-D TV prices suffered the same slippage occurring in other flat-panel TV areas, although they retained greater stability compared to pricing for non-3-D plasma sets, and were also cheaper than their 3-D LCD rivals.

Overall, inventories in August for flat-panel TVs increased to a manageable seven to eight weeks on average. For the 55-inch and larger models, however, inventory levels were much higher than normal, especially as they already were at 10 weeks by July, compared to an otherwise normal level of six to eight weeks for that size range.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

AutoBuzz – amazing JTAG/boundary-scan tool for debug and repair

EINDHOVEN, THE NETHERLANDS: The makers of JTAG Live Buzz and Buzz-plus are proud to announce AutoBuzz, the most exciting addition yet to their no-netlist-required range of JTAG/boundary-scan test and debug tools.

AutoBuzz is an amazing tool that uses a unique ‘seek and discover’ feature to scan completely a compliant design and then perform comparative tests using JTAG/boundary-scan.

With only JTAG scan-chain information plus BSDL models of the JTAG/IEEE std 1149.1 compliant parts (available from manufacturers’ web-sites), users of AutoBuzz will be able to connect to their designs via a number of compatible JTAG interface options. AutoBuzz can then be set to gather a complete ‘connectivity map’ of any board’s boundary-scan to boundary-scan pin connections (where these can be direct or via ‘transparent’ devices such as series resistors).

AutoBuzz supports just two simple operating modes: Learn and Compare. With AutoBuzz in Learn mode a ‘known good’ sample PCB is initially scanned to establish a reference connectivity map. Suspected faulty boards can then be scanned by AutoBuzz in Compare mode, and a comparison is automatically made of their connectivity maps. Differences between the two maps are highlighted to indicate possible faults such as interconnect short-circuits, open-circuits or ‘stuck-at’ faults.

3DVIA users can now buy Mixamo-provided bundles of characters, animations and textures

BANGALORE, INDIA: Dassault Systèmes, a world leader in 3D and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions, announced a partnership between its 3DVIA brand and Mixamo, the online, 3D animation service. As a result of the partnership, some 270,000 3DVIA account holders can purchase Mixamo animated characters through the online store for easy use in 3D development projects.

“Mixamo’s animated characters will open doors for 3DVIA’s community of 3D application developers,” said Lynne Wilson, CEO of 3DVIA, Dassault Systèmes. “These animations will not only help developers shorten dev cycles, but provide them with compelling, pre-made content.”

Eighty Mixamo animations with characters are currently available on the Store, with plans to add more from the thousands available on the Mixamo Web. Characters range from humans to animals and are searchable via a “Mixamo” and “Animations” link from the top-level “Store” tab on 3DVIA’s home page. All Mixamo animations, which are bundled with their corresponding characters and textures at the time of download, have been optimized for easy use in 3DVIA Studio, 3DVIA’s powerful, yet easy-to-use, development tool for creating online, 3D applications.

“Like 3DVIA, Mixamo prides itself on providing accessible 3D solutions that aide in the development processes,” said Stefano Corazza, PhD, CEO of Mixamo. “We’re excited to extend our offerings to the 3DVIA community and look forward to further integration of our offerings.”

3DVIA is Dassault Systèmes’ brand for online 3D lifelike experiences. It establishes 3D as a universal media for consumer and professional communities, and allows anyone to imagine, play and experience products and services used in our daily lives.

China’s three leading TV makers edge into global top 10

TAIWAN: According to WitsView, a research division of TrendForce, and Chinese research institute, Σintell, top six China TV brands July shipment have increased to 2.924 million units with MoM growth of 12.5 percent and YoY growth of 33.7 percent; another 16 percent YoY growth is expected in August.

The weak market demand during the same period last year, the price cutting promotions launched by main brands in China in July, and follow-up stocking for holidays are all contributing factors to this growth. In contrast, the LCD TV panel procurement has been sliding to 2.79 million units with MoM regressed demand of 8.2 percent.

WitsView has modified the worldwide LCD TV demand to 201.4 million units this June, and the latest number has indicated the YoY growth of merely 7 percent of the overall demand. Due to the current global economic status and the fact that “house appliance to the countryside” subsidies will be gradually terminated (three provinces by the end 2011 and nine provinces in 2012), the growth in China is expected to drop from 15 percent this year to 10~12 percent in 2012, and the overall growth of wolrdwide LCD TV next year will be around 7~10 percent.

July shipment status for top six brands
WitsView Assistant VP, Burrell-Liu, indicates that the July shipments for the top six Chinese brands are as follows: TCL ranked top one with 25 percent growth, followed by Changhong’s 16 percent of growth, Hisense increased its shipment by 15 percent, while Skyworth and Konka increased by 13 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, Haier suffered the sole drop of 13 percent.

In terms of the July shipment ratio for all brands, Hisense is ranked number one with 25 percent of shares followed by the TCL’s 21 percent, Skyworth’s 19 percent. Haier’s market share dropped to 8.5 percent, and ranked last. Most notably, Hisense, TCL, and Skyworth ranked from number 8 to 10 among the Top 10 global LCD TV brand market shares.

Table 1: Market shares of global LCD TV shipments in first half of 2011Source: WitsView, Taiwan.

The penetration rates for six LED TV major brands in July are around 48 percent, while the average penetration rate of LED TV from January to July is around 40 percent. According to WitsView survey, the overall LCD TV penetration rate is approximately 42 percent, while the average penetration rate among top six brands in China is roughly 45 percent.

The domestic and international shipment ratios between January and July shipments for six major brands was approximately 76 percent to 24 percent, while the shipment ratio between China and international markets was about 73 percent to 27 percent. In July, there was a MoM growths of both shipment ratio and shipment quantity of domestic market for the first time since May, and the high shipment level has been maintained for export.

July panel procurement status for top six brands
In July, CMI accounted for 38 percent of the shipments of the top six panel brands and maintained the leading position for three consecutive months, with YoY growth of 56 percent and MoM growth of 13.5 percent. LGD ranked 2nd with 24 percent of total shipments (regressed 16 percent from the previous month).

AUO and SAMSUNG ranked third and fourth with market shares of 17 percent and 15 percent, respectively. As of July this year, the top four of the six major panel makers, CMI and LGD have secured first and second place with 29.5 percent and 29.2 percent, respectively, while SEC and AUO took 17.7 percent and 17.2 percent of shares, respectively.

WitsView’s assistant VP, Burrell Liu, indicated that with the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day Holidays in China, the overall shipments among six major brands are estimated to grow by 19 percent in Q3. Despite the significant increase in shipment expectation, the six major brands must carefully control their TV and panel shipments with a current inventory of six weeks. Moreover, while market demand in China has been relatively robust compared to the markets in other parts of the world, China only accounts for about 20 percent of the global market, hardly enough momentum to drive the demand and other international brands in the remaining 80 percent of the markets.

WitsView has also estimated the global LCD TV growths at around 15 percent in both Q3 and Q4. This number may appear decent, but it has been modified several times with reduced demands. With the excessive production capacity, the growth hardly alleviates the oversupply situation and price decline.

From the suppliers perspective, Korean makers maintained about 80% of average utilization rates, after taking into consideration of their customer bases and marketing strategies. The reduction of utilization rate is necessary to prevent further price decline and to maintain a balance of the overall production and sales. The price decline can only be stopped if Taiwanese makers reduced their production capacity to a extreme of 50 percent as in 2008. However, a consensus in production reduction among panel makers is necessary for panel price to be stabilized both in Q4 or in the future.

SMTC completes acquisition of ZF Array Technology

TORONTO, CANADA: SMTC Corp., a global electronics manufacturing services provider, has completed its acquisition of ZF Array Technology Inc., a privately held electronics manufacturing services provider with operations in San Jose, California.

ZF specializes in manufacturing complex electronics equipment and providing systems integration services for some of the world's leading telecommunication, wireless and life science equipment manufacturers.

Co-CEO Alex Walker stated: "We are very excited about the opportunities for growth that this acquisition creates. I'd like to welcome ZF to the SMTC team, and I am looking forward to integrating both companies' offerings together to provide both our new and existing customers with synergistic engineering and operational capabilities."

Monday, September 26, 2011

ANZ business software market to hit $7.3billion

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: The Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) business software market will hit $7.3 billion in 2015, driven by impressive growth across all software categories, predicts Ovum.

In a new report, the independent technology analyst company finds that the business software market is expected to experience a CAGR of 8.4 per cent by the end of the forecast period, mainly attributed to increasing demand for business intelligence, business process management, and enterprise resource planning solutions.

Ovum technology analyst Sandeep Mishra commented: “ANZ has been among the front runners in technology adoption in Asia-Pacific (AP). Against a backdrop of slowdown in economic growth, enterprises are following a cautiously optimistic approach to investment in business software. With increasing data complexity and rising security concerns brought about by the growing number of IT platforms, enterprises across ANZ are expected to invest more in information management and security solutions.”

According to Mishra, ANZ is the second-largest business software market in AP after Japan and offers a great deal of opportunities for vendors operating in the region. Therefore, software vendors should look to increase their revenues by targeting the small to medium-sized enterprise segment through channel partners and online sales.

From a category perspective, resolving data complexity and data security issues will be the top priority for enterprises, and Ovum expects the information management and security software markets to increase at CAGRs of 11.4 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

The market growth will also be driven by cost control and increasing demand for emerging technologies.

Mishra added, “Demand for technologies that offer better analytical capabilities and increase mobility factor for users, as well as cost control initiatives laid out by enterprises, are expected to drive growth in ANZ during the next few years.“

Several key indicators will be applied during the forecast period, with cost control and efficiency as the major drivers in enterprise software buying decisions across all sectors in the region.

Mishra concluded: “On-demand solutions are expected to prove cost effective for businesses to manage their entire operations. ANZ is one of the largest markets for SaaS-based solutions in Asia-Pacific, and expected to grow faster than the market for on-premise solutions.”

Facebook changes

Eden Zoller, Principal Analyst, Ovum

AUSTRALIA: Facebook is acting as a powerful gravitational force on the web for both consumers and media players and this is a worrying prospect for rivals that are increasingly struggling to keep up.

Facebook is a lot more than a social network and ultimately wants to be the premier platform on which people experience, organise and share digital entertainment.

Facebook knows that ramping up on numbers alone – 800 million counting - is not enough to build a sustainable business in the long-term. Positioning itself as an entertainment hub means new revenue opportunities around content distribution and advertising. The growing portfolio of music, video and news services it is offering are attractive to users and are hook to keep them engaged with Facebook and for longer, which is good for advertisers that want to be where consumers spend most time.

In parallel with this is Facebook’s determination to redefine the online experience by creating an immersive platform that will be the centre of people’s digital lives. This is where the new timeline concept comes into the frame that is essentially a digital scrapbook that allows people to organise and share their lives as far back as they choose.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Apple will have free run in tablet market holiday season as competitors continue to lag

STAMFORD, USA: Worldwide media tablet sales to end users are on pace to total 63.6 million units, a 261.4 percent increase from 2010 sales of 17.6 million units, according to Gartner, Inc. Media tablet sales will continue to experience strong growth through 2015 when sales are forecast to reach 326.3 million units.

Apple’s iPad is projected to account for 73.4 percent of worldwide media tablet sales in 2011, down from 83 percent share in 2010. Beyond Apple iOS and the Android operating system (OS), Gartner does not expect any other platforms to have more than 5 percent share of the tablet market in 2011.

“We expect Apple to maintain a market share lead throughout our forecast period by commanding more than 50 percent of the market until 2014,” Carolina Milanesi, research VP at Gartner. “This is because Apple delivers a superior and unified user experience across its hardware, software and services. Unless competitors can respond with a similar approach, challenges to Apple’s position will be minimal. Apple had the foresight to create this market and in doing that planned for it as far as component supplies such as memory and screen. This allowed Apple to bring the iPad out at a very competitive price and no compromise in experience among the different models that offer storage and connectivity options.”

Android tablets are on pace to ship 11 million units in 2011 (see Table 1), accounting for 17.3 percent of media tablet sales. This is up only slightly from Android’s 2010 market share of 14.3 percent. Gartner’s forecast for the Android OS has been lowered by 28 percent from last quarter’s projection. The reduction would have been greater had it not been for the success of lower-end tablets in Asia, and the expectations around the launch of Amazon's tablet.

Table 1
Worldwide Sales of Media Tablets to End Users by OS (Thousands of Units)
Source: Gartner, USA.

“So far, Android’s appeal in the tablet market has been constrained by high prices, weak user interface and limited tablet applications” Ms. Milanesi said. “Google will address the fragmentation of Android across smartphone and tablet form factors within the next Android release, known as ‘Ice Cream Sandwich,’ which we expect to see in the fourth quarter of 2011. Android can count on strong support from key OEMs, has a sizeable developer community, and its smartphones application ecosystem is second only to Apple’s.”

Gartner analysts said Research In Motion’s QNX OS is a promising platform, but it is still in the early stages of development. RIM’s main challenge will be to attract more support from application developers as the company is going through a tough period, with considerable pressure on its smartphone business.

The current buzz around Windows 8 driven by the demonstrations seen at the Build conference might be short-lived if Microsoft’s push to use the new OS across devices comes at a compromise in usability. Moreover, the late arrival might limit its appeal, especially to consumers, as Apple and Android will be more entrenched by then. Microsoft’s platform will find its biggest opportunities in the enterprise segment, where IT departments could benefit from smoother integration with existing Microsoft software.

As more vendors will arrive in 2012, Gartner analysts said it’s important they concentrate on delivering a rich user experience based on a strong tie between smartphones and tablets, a good set of apps, an intuitive user interface, and the ability to share content easily between devices.

“Most of Apple's competitors are struggling to meet Apple's prices without considerably sacrificing margins. Screen quality and processing power are the two hardware features that vendors cannot afford to compromise on,” said Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner. “They should consider everything else ‘nice to have,’ rather than essential, in order to keep bills-of-materials costs competitive with those of the iPad.”

Business Software Alliance (BSA) capacity building program for Karnataka PSUs

BANGALORE, INDIA: Business Software Alliance (BSA), in partnership with the Center of E-Governance, Government of Karnataka, announced the closure of the program “Relevance of Software Asset Management (SAM) for Public Sector Undertakings”, effectively training 10 state owned enterprises on the business benefits of adopting good and robust IT Governance practices. The program was concluded today with a ceremony in Bangalore, making Karnataka the only state in India to have engaged PSUs on the principles of Software Asset Management.

M.N. Vidyashankar, principal secretary, IT and E-Governance, Government of Karnataka said: “PSU’s play an important role in providing critical products and services to citizens, hence, it is important that they are educated and trained on optimization and proper deployment of software assets which are a critical tool for production and citizen transactions. This will protect PSUs from tangible risks such as security breaches, system breakdowns and liabilities associated with usage and deployment of illegal software. Karnataka is a leading state in the usage of IT and we are extremely pleased that we have also led the way for PSU’s to avail the full benefits of the internationally recognized ISO Standard of Software Asset Management.”

Lizum Mishra, director, BSA, shared her experience about working with the state PSUs: “The core objective of this program was to ensure that Karnataka state owned enterprises understand the importance of software in their everyday functioning and are able to better manage their software assets to stay competitive, secure and productive. We have been fortunate to get the Center of E-Governance, Government of Karnataka’s undivided support in this initiative and are certain that the learnings will enable state PSUs to use the benefits from these trainings to perform efficiently and create significant cost savings on software as well as IT processes and infrastructure.”

VK Shetty, MD, Karnataka Fisheries Development Corp. Ltd, said: “We are privileged to have been given the opportunity to able to participate and complete this program. Participation by our organization in this initiative led by Center of E-Governance, Government of Karnataka and Business Software Alliance shows our commitment towards adopting best practices in organizational compliance and we recognize that software is a critical aspect of this process. We are certain that through the adoption of these principles into our operational lifecycle, we will aim towards continuous compliance, procurement-cost management and risk reduction.”

The program was aimed to train State based PSUs in Karnataka on the principles of the internationally recognized ISO Standard of Software Asset Management (SAM), its salient features and its core business benefits to government organizations. These principles involve building capabilities on optimizing the purchase, deployment, maintenance, utilization, and disposal of software applications within an organization, reducing information technology (IT) costs and limit business and legal risk related to the ownership and use of software, while maximizing IT responsiveness and end-user productivity.

Can Meg Whitman spark growth in HP services?

Jens Butler and John Madden, Ovum Services Analysts

AUSTRALIA: HP’s services business has struggled for years with flat to single-digit quarterly revenue growth, the result of a drawn-out and arduous integration of its EDS acquisition, and a strategy that has failed to meet market and customer expectations. Even as HP endures another leadership change with the appointment of industry veteran Meg Whitman as its new CEO, the company insists that services, particularly its outsourcing and global delivery capabilities, will play a critical part in HP’s future.

Whitman lacks experience running a global enterprise IT vendor, but she does have experience as an enterprise IT customer (as CEO of EBay), and understands the value of consulting services (having started her career at Bain). After years of starts and stops, will Whitman be the leader that can bring a fully realized HP services strategy to market and spark greater revenue growth?

Google anti-trust case

Carter Lusher, Ovum Chief Analyst

AUSTRALIA: The bipartisan grilling of Google Chairman Eric Schmidt by members of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Anti-trust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights was just the latest skirmish between Google and governments. It won’t be the last by any means. In many respects the scrutiny on Google is starting to resemble the actions directed at IBM starting in 1950s (and continuing today) and Microsoft in the 1990s.

Google is coming under increasing scrutiny by a variety of governments such as the European Union, Korea, US Federal anti-trust authorities, and US states attorneys general for a variety of reasons, all of which are typical and predictable. First, it has become the dominate player for a vital part of the Internet and ecommerce. Not just the largest player, but a truly dominate one whose activities can dramatically impact the fortunes of other companies.

Second, Google is hugely profitable and cash rich which means it has the resources to do acquisitions and invest in initiatives that put competitors at a disadvantage and scares those competitors. Third, Google’s dominance and financial strength is causing competitors – both individually and in loose cooperation – to use high powered law firms to lobby regulators and attorneys general to open investigations into its activities. Fourth, there is an element of political philosophy at play as Democratic presidential administrations are more likely to initiate anti-trust investigations than Republicans.

However, some of the senators at Wednesday’s Senate hearings and state attorneys generals are Republicans. Fifth and finally, Google is perceived as being very arrogant and has demonstrated a tin ear when it comes to understanding how its moves will be perceived by the public, regulators, politicians, competitors, and the legal system. Adding all these points together means that it is guaranteed that Google will be scrutinized by anti-trust regulators now and in the future not only in the US, but also in Europe, China and other jurisdictions.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

API receives $1.9 million order for microelectronic subsystems

ORLANDO, USA: API Technologies Corp., a provider of electronic systems, subsystems, RF, and secure solutions for the defense, aerospace, and commercial industries, announced that its RF Solutions/Spectrum Control division has received a new $1.9 million order from a Fortune 500 aerospace and defense contractor for a microelectronic solution to be used in the Heads Up Display (HUD) on a major US military fighter aircraft.

Bel Lazar, API Technologies' president and COO, commented: "This order is further proof of our focus on being the go-to supplier for specialized RF and microwave solutions. It is gratifying to see that our engineering capabilities and superior products are valued by our growing customer base both in the US and overseas."

Agilent expands low-cost in-circuit tester capabilities for electronics manufacturing lines

SANTA CLARA, USA: Agilent Technologies Inc. announced a series of new capabilities on its low-cost U9401B model Medalist i1000D in-circuit test system for boosting productivity in the high-volume electronics manufacturing environment. The new functional test suite on the i1000D ICT system includes the following.

External applications integration: This allows manufacturers to easily integrate new external applications onto the i1000D system. For example, manufacturers running tests for LEDs can now use the i1000D for current measurement and analysis of test results. Other application areas include integrity tests for automotive electronics boards and various consumer electronics products.

Customizable post-test actions: The i1000D can now be easily programmed to provide customized follow-up actions based on the pass/fail test results of the printed circuit board assemblies being tested. For example, automated prompts can be linked from the i1000D to external devices to separate defective boards from good ones. Audio and visual signals can also be incorporated to aid production operators with the necessary follow-up protocols.

Automatic board handler: Responding to various manufacturers’ requests for inline board handling, the i1000D now offers an inline use model to boost throughput by 20 percent, and can be easily integrated into surface mount technology lines.

“We have been working with customers across various electronics industries to broaden the capabilities of the i1000D, and it is interesting to note the system has proven its own versatility,” said NK Chari, marketing director for Agilent’s Measurement Systems Division.

“Customers can expect to see new applications enabled on the i1000D. This is a proven way of helping our customers achieve low cost of test even as they enjoy higher throughput and wider test coverage,” he added.

Bluestar Silicones intros latest generation of SILCOLEASE Optima concept

LYON, FRANCE: Bluestar silicones will introduce the latest additions to its SILCOLEASE Optima Concept product family at Labelexpo Europe Brussels from September 28th to October 1st.

The Optima Concept is the SILCOLEASE way to tackle all issues of cost, profitability or productivity linked with label and release liner manufacture. Existing SILCOLEASE range products can be combined with new Optima components to meet the following challenges: Pt reduction, low temperature cure (LTC), and fast running speeds - fast cure and low misting.

The Optima concept is a means to optimise release liner production through fine tuning of the coating formulation by changing components or, where appropriate, introduction of a complete new system. Developed over the past two years and tested at full industrial scale the latest Optima II products achieve performance across a wider range of substrates and machine conditions.

Global market manager, Sean Duffy, said: "The versatility of these new products allows us to target a new level of running and cost efficiency for our customers. Whether remaining best in class for Pt reduction or achieving high running speeds the Optima range has the formulation adapted to industry needs. We have been particularly careful in the development of this new range to ensure that all applications and substrates are covered and our target is to move the entire industry standards to the next level of performance."

4.9 percent MoM growth for August large panel shipment

TAIWAN: According to the survey on large-size panel shipment in August announced by WitsView, a research division of TrendForce, the large-size panel shipment in August 2011 reaches 59.21 million units with month-over-month (MoM) growth of 4.9 percent and year-over-year (YoY) growth of 14 percent.

From the perspective of five major applications, TV panel shipments for the China market has been driven by both Mid Autumn Festival and National Day Holidays demands: the total TV panel shipment in August reached 16.79 million units with a growth of 6.9 percent from last month. With tight control over inventories among downstream customers and no excess stocks, the seasonal demands in IT market have driven monitor panel shipment in August to 16.12 million units with MoM growth of 8.5 percent.Source: WitsView, Taiwan.

The NB panel shipment has reached 16.43 million units with MoM growth of 5.1 percent, while the tablet PC panel shipment has dropped to 7.06 million units with slight MoM regression of 0.5 percent. Netbook panel shipment has also dropped to 2.79 million units with MoM regression of 10.9 percent.

According to WitsView research manager, Jian-An Chen, when comparing the panel shipments for TV, monitor and NB in the first half of this year to those of the same period of last year, excluding applications with smaller ratio of panel production capacities such as Tablet PC and netbook, the YoY variations of panel shipments of three major applications are 2 percent, 6 percent and 2 percent, respectively. The weak global economy has significantly affected the end market demands, leading to depressed panel shipment momentum in the first half of the year.

However, in July and August, there have been two consecutive months with YoY growths of 15~20 percent of NB panel shipments due to gradual digestion of end market inventories and growing seasonal demands. Even though there has been YoY regressions of monthly monitor panels shipments for the first seven months of this year, this August we see the first YoY growth at 6 percent stimulated by seasonal demands.

In contrast, due to the relatively sluggish panel shipments in the first half of this year, originally, TV panel demands were predicted to improve in the second half of this year with the regional hot season promotions. However, there were three consecutive months of YoY regressions at -1 percent, -9 percent and -7 percent in June, July and August, respectively. This is an indication that hot season demands in China have not been sufficient to fill the void created by sluggish European and US markets.

The original hope for balanced market supply-demand status by Q3 with to production reductions among panel makers starting from July no longer applies, and the timing for TV panel price hitting rock bottom may have to be pushed further back.

Therefore, if the demands in Q4 were to shed any light at the end of the tunnel for the panel industry, the focus will be on the sales performances between Mid Autumn Festivals to National Day Holidays in China and on the Black Friday before Christmas in Europe and the US. If the sluggish market condition persists, WitsView indicates that panel makers may have to increase the production reduction scale and duration to alleviate the harsh environment of panel over-supply and for panel prices to have any chance to bounce back.

HP potentially to replace CEO

Carter Lusher, Research Fellow, Ovum

AUSTRALIA: HP is flailing, causing more uncertainty and increasing the risk of doing business with it. As a consequence, CIOs should beware of the downsides of making major commitments to HP products and services.

It was widely reported on Wednesday that HP’s Board of Directors was meeting to decide whether or not to oust CEO Leo Apotheker. Regardless of whether or not the rumor is correct or not, the damage has already been done. This rumor and any actual action that the Board might make only reinforces that HP is a company that is in severe disarray. That the Board would be considering a change in CEO less that 10 months after Apotheker took over as CEO is a damning indictment of not just the new CEO, but also the Board itself.

These periods of turmoil at major vendors are never good for the company, the employees, and most especially the customers. The employees at HP are demoralized after thirteen years of severe cost cutting, layoffs, and drama so it is possible that key executives and staff are getting ready to leave or are mentally out the door. Other ways this turmoil impacts HP includes critical initiatives that stall, strategy and messaging change once more, and sales drop off as customers delay signing contracts. If Apotheker is fired then investors would start demand that the company be broken up to unlock the value of the components, leading to even more uncertainty.

The scenarios for HP and its customers range from poor to bad to worse. Ovum recommends that CIO and IT organizations assign a “risk premium” to dealing with HP demanding that HP respond with better discounts, pricing, or packaging. CIOs should also explore new terms and conditions that protect the company should HP be broken or experience major disruption to its business.

Google+ opens to public

Eden Zoller, Ovum Principal Analyst

AUSTRALIA: The Google+ social network has been a long time coming and fills a missing piece in Google’s ever expanding portfolio of services. Google has been slow to formulate a coherent social networking strategy, which is more than an oversight given the assets Google has in this area, and the fact that strong social networks have scale, thriving developer communities, big audiences, and a monetization strategy based on advertising. This is core to Google’s own interests – and of course other social networks already established in the market.

The biggest challenge for Google is how it can differentiate its social network against Facebook. Google needs to show people that it is more than a Facebook clone and can offer features that are unique or do things better than Facebook. This won’t be easy as Facebook is quick to introduce new features and has had the benefit of being able to watch the trial of Google + prior to its beta launch this week.

However there is no question that Google will give Facebook a run for its money as Google has a wealth of social media assets to draw, some of the more obvious being YouTube, Picasa, Orkut, Google Friend, Google Blog Search, Google Latitude and Maps. We would also expect Google to weave gaming into the social media mix, particularly around mobile where it has made several social gaming related acquisitions such SocialDeck. In fact, mobile will be a key card for Google given the rapidly growing base of Android devices.

AVer launches HVC310 and HVC110 HD video conferencing solutions

MILPITAS, USA: AVer Information Inc., the leading provider of presentation, security and communication technology, announced the release of the HVC310 and HVC110, its next generation of video conferencing solutions.

Designed as easy, affordable and accessible video communication solutions for SMB and education, AVer Video Conferencing systems combine high quality, easy-to-use features and flexibility in an out-of-the-box communication tool at a fraction of the cost of comparable models.

The HVC110 is an H.323 720p HD 30fps endpoint solution with a 5 MP PTZ camera, full duplex audio and echo cancellation, external 3rd party mic support and an included directional microphone. The HVC310 adds an integrated MCU for connection of up to four locations plus content sharing, meeting recording to a USB Flashdrive, and two included directional mics.

New for the HVC series are offline video recording, RS-232 support for control center integration, HDMI output for full HD, ability to connect up to four directional microphones for larger room coverage, and the VCLink app for iOS and Android for full remote video conference control from a smartphone or tablet.

In addition to the extensive features and functions, the HVC Series offers the industry's only three-year warranty, including one-year hotswap included in the cost of the system. With no recurring service or maintenance fees required, investments are protected immediately without additional cost. Customer and technical support are US based via phone, email and live chat.

"The new HVC310 and HVC110 were designed to offer an easy-to-use, full feature conferencing solution to businesses and classrooms where comparable solutions were previously out of reach," said Eric Yu, product management director, AVer Information Inc. USA. "These solutions allow companies and schools to reduce cost and minimize resource requirements while enhancing communication overall."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dramatic shift to self-encrypting hard disk and SSDs by 2017

ORLANDO, USA: Data storage industry analyst Dr. Thomas Coughlin, Coughlin Associates, revealed the industry’s first forecast examining the adoption of self-encrypting drives (SEDs). Self-encrypting drives, most of which are based on specifications created by the Trusted Computing Group, automatically and continuously encrypt all data in the drive itself, protecting it from loss, theft or attack.

Coughlin addressed attendees in an Emerging Technologies session at the NSA (National Security Agency) Trusted Computing Conference and Expo.

Coughlin’s research found that:

* Within two years (by 2013) SED capability will be in over 80 percent of SSDs and likely in almost all SSDs within three years (2014).
* By 2017, almost all HDDs will include SED capability.
* By 2016 the high, median and low estimates for security adoption for SED HDDs are 411 million, 315 million and 122 million units.

Coughlin notes that a number of factors will foster adoption. These include cost parity of SEDs to non-self encrypting storage devices; no performance impact on individual systems with SEDs compared to software-based encryption; no performance overhead compared to software encryption running on the host; and possibly longer useful drive life than drives used in a software encrypted system, due to increased reads and writes with SW encryption.

The report also notes additional benefits of SEDs. These include:

* The encryption key is stored on the storage device and cannot be accessed through host hacking, which is a typical and common attack on systems with software encryption.
* SEDs are less complex to implement in storage array encryption solutions.
* Increasing legislation and regulations favor the use of SEDs, particularly those with FIPS 140 certification.

Pickering Interfaces @ productronica 2011

CLACTON-ON-SEA, UK: Pickering Interfaces, a leading PXI/LXI supplier, has continued in 2011 to regularly release a steady flow of new products in both the LXI and the PXI platforms.

In addition all Pickering Interfaces LXI products are now fully LXI compliant to the latest 1.4 specification. Pickering Interfaces is committed to following the LXI standard’s evolution and adopting its newest features to improve user experience of Ethernet controlled instrumentation.

There is a demand for high pole count multiplexers in PXI based test systems where the test system will test multiple devices in sequence with minimal operator handling. The ability to move 10, 20 or more signals simultaneously from one device to another improves the efficiency of a test system.

In addition, the market is demanding new matrix configurations, including these that do not fit easily in a single slot 3U module. Matrices can be expanded to make up larger configurations but the methods used are time consuming for the user to configure, often have performance implications and add costs. In addition all Pickering Interfaces LXI products are now fully LXI compliant to the latest 1.4 specification. Pickering Interfaces is committed to following the LXI standard’s evolution and adopting its newest features to improve user experience of Ethernet controlled instrumentation.

There is a demand for high pole count multiplexers in PXI based test systems where the test system will test multiple devices in sequence with minimal operator handling. The ability to move 10, 20 or more signals simultaneously from one device to another improves the efficiency of a test system.

In addition, the market is demanding new matrix configurations, including these that do not fit easily in a single slot 3U module. Matrices can be expanded to make up larger configurations but the methods used are time consuming for the user to configure, often have performance implications and add costs.

NI announces Measurement Studio 2010 upgrade for increased stability in test, measurement and control

INDIA: National Instruments announced the NI Measurement Studio 2010 Service Pack software upgrade for increased dependability. The release, which addresses 15 improvements to Measurement Studio 2010, is an exclusive update for members of the NI Standard Service and Volume License programs and can be downloaded now from the NI website.

Measurement Studio is an integrated suite of programming tools for Microsoft Visual Studio that extends the Microsoft .NET framework to help Visual C# and Visual Basic .NET developers create solutions for a variety of engineering challenges. Measurement Studio increases developer productivity by offering off-the-shelf, customizable measurement and automation classes and user interface controls to create Windows Forms or Web applications for test and automation.

Engineers can use Measurement Studio 2010 to develop in the latest version of Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and take advantage of the latest advancements in development techniques and tools. With the new intensity graph, engineers can display 3-D data using color to show the magnitude of the third dimension. Measurement Studio 2010 also features user interface code snippets to speed development time and easily customize user interface controls.

Asia-Pacific BPO market to reach revenues of $17.47 billion

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: Asia-Pacific’s business process outsourcing (BPO) market will reach revenues of $17.47 billion in 2015, a CAGR of 9.3 per cent from the US$11.18 billion it hit in 2010, predicts Ovum.

The independent technology analyst finds that strong growth in emerging economies such as India, Greater China (includes Taiwan and Hong Kong) and South Korea is driving the global market forward, as businesses in these regions wake up to the benefits of BPO.

According to Ovum’s forecast, the BPO market in Greater China will increase at a CAGR of 16.1 per cent from over the forecast period (the end of 2010 to the end of 2015). Meanwhile India and South Korea’s market will increase by 15.7 and 14.6 per cent for the same period, respectively. Among the developed economies in Asia-Pacific, Australia and New-Zealand’s BPO market (ANZ) shows the most traction with a CAGR of 7.4 per cent over the forecast period.

Ovum analyst Hansa Iyengar commented: “In the post-recession business environment, it has become imperative for enterprises to keep costs under tight control to maintain competitiveness. BPO eliminates the need to invest in people and systems to manage non-core processes, potentially reducing costs and increasing efficiency. By outsourcing these processes, enterprises can focus their resources on growing their core business.

“Moreover, BPO is also gaining ground in areas such as HR, engineering design, and research and development outsourcing. Enterprises are realising that outsourcing these areas can also be an effective way to achieve reduced costs, increased efficiencies, and faster go-to-market for new products, much in the same way that outsourcing back office processes can.”

According to Iyengar, it will be developed economies that will exploit these new BPO areas most, with emerging markets newer to the arena adopting first generation outsourcing such as customer care, payroll processing and help desks.

According to Iyengar, to take advantage of the predicted growth in outsourcing, vendors will need to be aware that pricing of contracts is the major issue at the negotiating table in the current scenario. She added: “Enterprises are moving away from multi-billion dollar, single vendor deals, and spreading out their investments and risks.

“Meanwhile, the small-to-medium sized enterprise segment is rapidly opening up to outsourcing and vendors need to be prepared with a game plan to meet this segments demand for low-priced, highly-flexible and scalable solutions, which are accompanied by the option to customise offerings and personalised customer service.”

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Trusted Computing Group enables true machine identity in systems with Trusted Platform Module

NSA Trusted Computing Conference and Exposition, ORLANDO, USA: Trusted Computing Group (TCG) has released new specifications that will make the Trusted Platform Module easier to deploy and will enable attestation of a platform via existing Trusted Network Connect network protocols.

The first specification, the CMC Profile for Attestation Identity Key (AIK) Certificate Enrollment, provides a standard way to request a TCG AIK certificate from a Certificate Authority (CA). The new protocol is built upon an existing IETF standard certificate enrollment protocol known as CMC, adding support for issuance of TPM-resident keys used for attestation. By residing in the TPM, the key is made resistant to common software-based attacks, such as theft by malware.

Attacks or theft of keys stored in software is a leading contributor to compromised systems. With the TPM, keys are protected even in use and are not accessible via the operating system, at boot-up or while the system is otherwise in use.

The second new specification layers upon existing network security protocols in the Trusted Network Connect (TNC) architecture from TCG. The specification, called the TCG Attestation - Platform Trust Services (PTS) Protocol: Binding to TNC IF-M, allows remote parties to obtain TPM-based attestation information using the TCG Platform Trust Services (PTS) software on the system being assessed.

The resulting information, signed by the TPM, can prove that the platform has not been changed or is not under the influence of malware. Combined with existing TNC assessment capabilities, the new PTS protocol increases the level of trustworthiness of a TNC assessment.

The strongSwan open source IPsec VPN software includes an implementation of the new PTS protocol to augment their TNC assessment of the VPN client platform. This assessment leverages the TNC protocols carried within an Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) tunnel as part of the Internet Key Exchange (IKE) version 2 protocol. The inclusion of the PTS Protocol allows both TNC software and TPM-based measurements of the client system to be obtained and verified during the establishment of the IPsec tunnel.

“TCG continues to integrate the TPM’s hardware protected capabilities with software used to solve key customer problems. With the AIK enrollment specification, we make it simpler and faster for IT users to obtain certificates associated with TPM-protected keys in a scalable manner,” noted Paul Sangster, co-chair, TCG Infrastructure Work Group. “Also, the TPM can now play a key role, via the PTS Protocol specification, ensuring the TNC architecture can detect systems attempting to get on the network that are trying to misrepresent their software state, thereby preventing compromised systems from connecting.”

Gears of War 3: The Final Battle Begins

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Roll the dice, set your sight, hold your breath, lock your fingers on the controller, take your chances – the wait is over.

Microsoft India has launched the much-anticipated Gears of War 3 for Xbox 360, the final installment of one of the most-awarded sci-fi third person shooter video game and single most popular franchises in the history of Xbox.

Developed by Epic Games exclusively for Xbox 360, Gears of War 3 takes you into an engaging and harrowing thriller of hope, survival and brotherhood. The game will be available Standard and Limited editions at an estimated retail price of Rs. 2,499 and Rs. 3499 respectively. Further, the blockbuster title will be available for multiplayer action on Xbox Live.

Gears of War 3, the conclusion to one of the most innovative shooting games of the century features the series’ deepest and most expansive multiplayer experience yet, delivering genre-defining action across an arsenal of competitive and cooperative modes, including versus multiplayer, four-player campaign co-op, Horde 2.0 and Beast mode. New recruits will enjoy the finely balanced game play and accessible game types, which allow anyone to instantly jump into the action.

The Games of War first two series have already sold more than 12 million copies worldwide, and the launch of Gears of War 3 is expected to spawn another.

Actis to intro comprehensive unified communications to India

BANGALORE, INDIA: Actis Technologies is introducing comprehensive unified communications to India. Actis, with a 40 year legacy, is a pioneer of high-end, high-definition communication and collaboration technologies like 3D telepresence, HD videoconferencing, edge-blending, interactive training centers among others.

Actis will be incorporating Unified Communication Solutions with platforms like Microsoft Lync - an integration of Voice, IM, Presence, Video and Email, into its Enterprise Collaboration Solutions. This is a first-of-a-kind offering for the rapidly growing Unified Communication space.

Currently, Unified Communications is largely constrained to IT systems but now this offering makes it possible to seamlessly unify high-quality and face-to-face quality communication across your entire ecosystem which includes IT, AV (meeting and conferencing facilities) and Telephony infrastructure -- with maximum compatibility.

The offering will also enable for the first time, the integration of meeting and conferencing facilities to hardware platforms like Cisco and Polycom, thus preventing the obsolescence of the legacy hardware systems. Unified Communication Solutions uses the power of software to streamline communications between people and organizations, regardless of medium, platform, device, or location.

For eg., you could connect with an external organization from lync- to -lync, lync to a web platform or lync to an external messaging service. Actis also provides a Room Scheduling system along with the UC system which is an important piece of the UC puzzle. Room Schedulers ensure that room bookings are managed without conflict, making life simple for facility management teams.

This is also available for a demo at the Actis Experience Centre, where it has been deployed for the benefit of client who wish to see a proof-of-concept. Unified Communications is in its nascent stages in India but adoption is gaining momentum rapidly

Steelcase media:scape – integrated video conferencing

USA: As business collaboration becomes more virtual, the easier it is to get “up close and personal,” the better. It’s important that people can quickly become productive in virtual meetings by allowing all participants to contribute their ideas equally, quickly and seamlessly.

Recognizing the rise of technological advances, including HD video conferencing, and the demands of constant connectivity in today’s workplace, Steelcase - the global leader in office furniture industry in order to meet these collaborative demands has introduced media:scape - an integrated technology and furniture solution designed to enhance collaboration.

This collaborative solution designed by Steelcase will help enhance extremely essential non-verbal cues such as gestures, eye movements, overall body language, tone of voice, etc. which can’t come through in emails or conference calls while collaborations.

media:scape is the result of human-centered design methodology that included behavioral research and ethnographic video to understand the unmet needs of people collaborating at work. Based on its research, Steelcase developed media:scape, a hybrid of innovative furniture design and workplace technology that provides seamless
collaboration via videoconferencing.

The company’s IT team conducted extensive research into high definition video conferencing (HDVC) systems, which became the impetus for much of this product line that is now benefiting Steelcase employees and customers around the world. Thus, media:scape will surprise users with its incredible blend of interactive technology and furniture design to augment collaboration at Indian workplaces.

With collaborative work increasing significantly and now representing over 80 percent of today's activities in the office, Steelcase designed a solution to help workers solve increasingly complex problems with teams who are distributed across the globe.

Having won Edison and NeoCon awards, media:scape creates dynamic settings for distributed teams to view each other and co-create content simultaneously. Most videoconferencing environments are formal meeting spaces, with little emphasis on sharing and developing content. In contrast, media:scape environments encourage engagement, and allow access to and sharing of information by any meeting participant with the touch of a button.

Brocade strengthens application delivery switching performance and security for cloud-optimized data centers

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Brocade expanded customer control with the introduction of the Brocade ServerIron ADX 1000F compact application delivery switches, which includes the benefits of combined copper and fiber connectivity.

This extension to the award-winning Brocade ADX 1000 Series is designed to deliver increased customer choice and flexibility for cloud-focused service providers, financial institutions and governmental agencies while also setting the industry benchmark for application delivery switching performance, scalability and investment protection. The result is up to 50 percent power savings and improved data transmission reliability and security while also dramatically consolidating data center rack footprint.

Modern data center requirements have become increasingly stringent and demanding. The need to significantly reduce power consumption while also delivering greater performance, carrier-grade reliability and secure data transmission has caused network managers to scrutinize their application delivery solutions. Compounded with increasingly complex application requirements, massive client access growth and the requirement for maximum performance, the importance of anticipating the future capacity requirements has become a critical factor.

Monday, September 19, 2011

China’s Lenovo becomes third largest PC OEM in Q2; Apple and Samsung post strong growth

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Capitalizing on strong sales in China and the United States—as well as on a weak performance by close rival Acer Inc.—Lenovo Group Ltd. in the second quarter rose one rank to became the world’s third largest PC brand, according to the new IHS iSuppli Compute Platforms Q3 2011 Market Tracker.

Lenovo posted the strongest percentage growth among the world’s Top 5 PC makers in the second quarter, on both a sequential and annual basis. The Chinese company’s 10.2 million shipments in the second quarter were up 25.6 percent from 8.2 million units in the first quarter, and also represented an increase of 23 percent from 8.3 million in the second quarter of 2010.

On the other end of the spectrum, Taiwan’s Acer in the second quarter suffered the only sales decline among the Top 5. Acer’s 8.9 million shipments declined 4 percent from 9.2 million in the first quarter, and fell 20 percent from 11.1 million in the second quarter of 2010, as presented in the table.Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

The two companies’ diverging fortunes caused Lenovo to rise to third place in the global PC business, up from fourth in the first quarter—while Acer dropped one rank to fourth.

“Beyond the continuing strength in its home market of China—where the both the economy and PC demand continued to expand vigorously—Lenovo’s performance in the second quarter was boosted by rising sales in other regions,” said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst, compute platforms for IHS. “These regions included the broader Asia-Pacific area, as well as the United States, with Lenovo performing well in those places because of demand from the enterprise segment. Meanwhile, Acer suffered from inventory problems, particularly in Western Europe, which lowered its shipments and resulted in lost market share.”

Acer began a process in the second quarter to improve its channel inventory management. However, because of weaker PC consumer demand, channel inventories did not deplete as quickly as hoped, resulting in reduced need for restocking by the company.

Lenovo’s rise to third place ties its highest ranking ever, with the company previously having ascended to that position for a few quarters in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Acer’s drop to fourth place represents a stunning reversal of fortune for a company that was the No. 2 PC brand in the world during a three-quarter period in 2009 and 2010.

Apple’s growth ripens in Q2
Besides Lenovo, only two other PC brands achieved double-digit year-over-year growth in the second quarter: No. 7 Apple Inc. of the United States and No. 8 Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. of South Korea.

Propelled by strong growth in its desktop and notebook business, Apple’s PC shipments amounted to 3.8 million, up 13.6 percent from 3.3 million in the second quarter of 2010. Apple recorded the third highest year-over growth in desktop shipments among the Top 10 PC original equipment manufacturers, with only Lenovo and another Chinese company, Haier, experiencing larger expansions. Apple also posted the third largest growth in notebook shipments, bested only by Lenovo and Samsung.

“Apple’s growth is attributable to its products being highly desirable and continuing to appeal to consumers, despite the weaker consumer demand environment,” Wilkins stated. “The company’s performance was so strong that Apple now is less than 1 percentage point away from having sufficient market share to enter the Top 5 rankings.”

Meanwhile, Samsung posted the highest growth of any Top-10 PC brand in the second quarter, with its shipments rising by a stunning 31.3 percent to 3.1 million units, up from 2.4 million during the same period in 2010.

Asus enters the top 5
Taiwanese PC brand Asustek Computer Inc. (Asus) shipped 4.6 million PCs in the second quarter, up 5.3 percent from 4.3 million in the first quarter and an 8.4 percent increase from 4.2 million during the second quarter of 2010. This impressive growth allowed Asus to overtake Japan’s Toshiba Corp. and become the No. 5 brand.

“Asus delivered strong growth in emerging markets—including Eastern Europe and Asia-Pacific—allowing the company to rise one rank and enter the Top 5,” Wilkins said.

PC market returns to growth
After contracting on a sequential and annual basis during the first three months of the year, the global PC market returned to growth in the second quarter, with total shipments of 85.6 million units, up 3.7 percent from 82.6 million during 2010, and increasing 6 percent from 80.8 million in the first quarter of 2011.

The PC industry at present is enjoying strong demand driven by efforts among information technology (IT) departments of corporate entities to refresh their hardware. The healthy corporate demand allowed the Top 2 PC vendors—Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Inc.—to maintain their leadership positions.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.