Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Thailand flooding helps Seagate move into first place in HDD market in Q4

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Seagate Technology LLC recaptured the lead in hard disk drive (HDD) shipments during the fourth quarter of 2011, ousting Western Digital Corp., which suffered heavy losses in the devastating Thailand floods last year.

In the final quarter of 2011, Seagate shipped 46.9 million HDD units worldwide, compared to 28.5 million for archrival Western Digital, according to an IHS iSuppli Storage Space Market Brief.

Seagate suffered a relatively minimal sequential shipment decline of 8 percent compared to third-quarter figures of 50.8 million units. Western Digital, in contrast, took a massive blow as shipments fell 51 percent from 57.8 million units in the earlier quarter.

This reversal catapulted Seagate back to the top of the HDD market—a distinction it hasn’t claimed in at least two years. Offering higher-margin products, Seagate also continues its longstanding status as market revenue leader, a lock on the space that Western Digital has not been able to pry free.

All told, HDD shipments from the industry’s five major manufacturers retreated sharply in the fourth quarter to 123.3 million units, down 30 percent from 175.2 million units the quarter before. Along with Seagate and Western Digital, major players such as Toshiba, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies and Samsung Electronics also posted shipment declines.

The new rankings mean that Seagate in the fourth quarter controlled 38 percent of overall HDD shipments, with Western Digital coming in a distant second at 23 percent. Toshiba had 16 percent, followed by Hitachi GST with 14 percent and Samsung with 9 percent.

“Seagate owes its return to market leadership to a fortuitous accident in geography: Its HDD manufacturing plant in Thailand is located on high ground,” observed Fang Zhang, analyst for storage systems at IHS. “As a result, the company was less impacted by the October floods—the most destructive in the last 50 years for the Southeast Asian country. On the other hand, Western Digital’s HDD manufacturing facilities were engulfed by rampaging storm waters, which effectively slashed its fourth-quarter output to half of the manufacturer’s preflood volume.”

Moving forward, the two HDD titans will continue to battle for the No. 1 spot. Both companies also are engaging in mergers—Seagate with Samsung and Western Digital with Hitachi GST—which would have the general effect of intensifying rivalry between the two.

Gross margins and ASPs rise in Q4
Both Seagate and Western Digital saw their gross margins rise to record highs in the fourth quarter, due to across-the-board price increases in the wake of flood-related HDD shortages.

Seagate, which had a long-term goal to reach gross margins in the 22 to 26 percent range, actually achieved the 32 level in the fourth quarter, thanks to higher average selling prices (ASP) of HDDs. Seagate’s ASP surged from $55 in the third quarter to $68 in the fourth—a strong 24 percent upswing.

Western Digital also attained a company record with gross margins at 32.5 percent during the same period, after its ASP soared to $69, up from $46. Given the expected HDD shortages for the first half of this year and Western Digital’s long road to recovery, Seagate’s gross margin is expected to remain at the 30 percent level throughout 2012.

In general, however, pricing will start to decline at the end of the first quarter this year for some HDD products, with component shortages finally easing and production increases kicking in from plants that had escaped flooding.

Even so, pricing is not expected to return to preflood levels anytime soon, especially because there will be fewer manufacturers left after both Seagate and Western Digital complete their individual buyouts of Samsung and Hitachi GST, respectively. Also, higher pricing can be expected with the relocation of HDD production following the flood, increased component costs from manufacturers impacted by the disaster, and lofty costs in general associated with the continuing development of high-technology drives.

One other factor could impact market values for the rest of the year. If the new, super-thin Ultrabooks promoted by Intel Corp. take off—and there is every indication they will—HDD prices could remain elevated throughout 2012, IHS believes.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

NI establishes new Electronic Design Specialty

Embedded World, NUREMBERG, GERMANY: National Instruments announced the Electronic Design Specialty for NI Alliance Partner Network members with specialized skills in custom electronics.

The Electronic Design Specialty identifies trusted experts for customers looking to extend and customize NI reconfigurable I/O (RIO) hardware products, including NI CompactRIO, NI Single-Board RIO and NI FlexRIO, to meet their application needs. For specific customer applications that require specialized I/O or a unique form factor, these partners build RIO Mezzanine Cards (RMC) for NI Single-Board RIO C Series modules using the CompactRIO Module Development Kit (MDK) and NI FlexRIO adapter modules.

"NI RIO hardware and NI LabVIEW system design software give us an off-the-shelf platform for designing advanced embedded control and monitoring systems," said Terry Coleman Sr., president of Tecnova. "With the openness of the NI embedded platform, as part of the Electronic Design Specialty, we can further customize NI RIO hardware when customers or applications require niche features that the NI platform cannot solve, such as specialized I/O or unique form factors."

Alliance Partners with the Electronic Design Specialty provide comprehensive embedded design services to NI customers working on advanced control and monitoring applications. Requirements for the specialty include business stability, software design capabilities, LabVIEW developer certification, expertise in NI RIO technology and electronics design and manufacturing capabilities. The following Alliance Partners are inaugural members of the Electronic Design Specialty:

S.E.A. Datentechnik GmbH. Troisdorf, Germany
Tecnova, Chicago, Illinois
Cyth Systems, San Diego, California
WireFlow, Goteborg, Sweden
Boston Engineering, Boston, Massachusetts
Step Automation and Test, Six-Fours-les-Plages, France

An integral part of the NI graphical system design approach, NI RIO hardware combined with LabVIEW system design software provides a commercial off-the-shelf solution to simplify development and shorten time to market when designing advanced control, monitoring and test systems. NI RIO hardware, which includes CompactRIO, NI Single-Board RIO, R Series boards and PXI-based NI FlexRIO, features an architecture with powerful floating-point processors, reconfigurable field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and modular I/O.

All NI RIO hardware components are programmed with LabVIEW to give engineers the ability to rapidly create custom timing, signal processing and control for I/O without requiring expertise in low-level hardware description languages or board-level design.

Microsoft announces availability of Windows 8 consumer preview

BARCELONA, SPAIN: Microsoft Corp. announced the availability of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview — the next milestone of the Windows operating system. This latest preview will be made available for download starting today at

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview offers a more robust experience for testing the world’s most popular operating system and is available to the widest range of people yet following the initial release of the Windows 8 Developer Preview late last year. The Developer Preview received more than 3 million downloads.

“With Windows 8, we reimagined the different ways people interact with their PC and how to make everything feel like a natural extension of the device, whether using a Windows 8 tablet, laptop or all-in-one,” said Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft. “The Windows 8 Consumer Preview brings a no-compromises approach to using your PC.”

At a Windows 8 Consumer Preview event in Barcelona that was attended by partners from Europe and around the world, the company shared some key new updates in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview:

* Broad range of product changes and improvements. Since the Developer Preview in September, designed to preview the programming platform, Windows 8 has progressed across every dimension. From completing the user experience for touch, keyboard and mouse to refining the development platform, the Consumer Preview improves performance, quality and reliability across all subsystems. With the added features, it represents a more complete view of the capabilities of Windows 8.

* Windows Store with new apps. The Windows 8 Consumer Preview marks the beta opening of the Windows Store, which is filled with a variety of new Metro style apps from both third-party developers and Microsoft. During the Consumer Preview, these apps are available to try and experience at no cost to users. The Windows Store will offer personalized recommendations, and Windows 8 gives users the ability to take their apps and settings with them across multiple PCs, making it easy to discover and try new apps while offering developers the greatest opportunity of any platform.

* Connecting to the cloud across Windows-based PCs and Windows Phone 7. The Windows 8 Consumer Preview offers seamless integration with the content people care about across their Web services. An optional additional sign-on with a Microsoft account provides access to a host of features, including the ability to roam all settings, use cloud storage, communicate with email, calendar and contacts, and connect to a broad range of services. Your connection to the cloud works across your Windows-based PCs and your Windows 7 phones.

* Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview 5. The best way to experience the Web on Windows is with Internet Explorer 10. The browser has been re-imagined to create a new experience designed specifically for Windows 8 devices. It provides an edge-to-edge user interface that is all about less browser and more Web. Fast and fluid, Internet Explorer is hardware-accelerated to enable Web performance.

* Preview of new hardware capabilities. At the event, Microsoft also showcased Windows 8 running on a wide range of new x86- and ARM-based reference hardware. This hardware will be available to select developers for trial and testing as previously announced.

SonicWALL earns NSS Labs ‘recommend’ rating in 2012 next-generation firewall comparative testing

BANGALORE, INDIA: SonicWALL, Inc., a leading provider of intelligent network security and data protection solutions, announced that NSS Labs, the recognized leader in independent security product testing, gave the SonicWALL SuperMassive E10800 its highest rating of ‘Recommend.’ To achieve this ranking, SuperMassive excelled in one of the industry’s most comprehensive, real-world tests of next-generation firewalls and secured a leadership position in NSS Labs’ Security Value Map (SVM).

The NSS Labs Next-Generation Firewall Product Analysis showed that the SonicWALL SuperMassive E10800 running SonicOS 6.0 is the highest overall protection next-generation firewall to earn the NSS Labs ‘Recommend’ rating.

“Those that consider the SonicWALL brand to be associated with SMB UTM products will need to re-evaluate their opinion,” said Vikram Phatak, CTO at NSS Labs. “For high-end multi-gigabit environments looking to upgrade defenses from their current firewall to a next-generation firewall, the advanced architecture of the SonicWALL SuperMassive E10800 running SonicOS 6.0 provides an extremely high level of protection and performance.”

“There’s no two ways about it: SuperMassive E10800 had the best combination of performance, effectiveness and value of any firewall tested,” said Patrick Sweeney, VP, product management and corporate marketing at SonicWALL. “We’re throwing down the gauntlet and establishing SonicWALL as the leader in enterprise, data center, service provider and government deployed next-generation firewalls!”

Despite 7.2 percent drop in Q4 revenue, worldwide server market revenues rise 5.8 percent in 2011

FRAMINGHAM, USA: According to the International Data Corp.'s (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker, factory revenue in the worldwide server market decreased 7.2 percent year over year to $14.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011 (4Q11). This was the first quarterly decline in factory revenue in two years. Worldwide server shipments increased 2 percent to 2.2 million units in 4Q11 when compared with the year-ago period. For the full year 2011, worldwide server revenue increased 5.8 percent to $52.3 billion when compared to 2010, while worldwide unit shipments increased 4.2 percent to 8.3 million units.

On a year-over-year basis, all three classes of servers experienced decreased factory revenue totals in the fourth quarter. Volume systems experienced a 2 percent year-over-year factory revenue decline to $8.8 billion, while midrange revenue decreased 4.6 percent to $1.8 billion when compared to 4Q10. Additionally, high-end system revenue declined 18.4 percent to $3.7 billion in the quarter. This is the first time all three server classes have experienced year-over-year declines in revenue since the third quarter of 2009.

"Despite experiencing the first quarterly decline in factory revenue in two years, the server market was in many ways in alignment with IDC's fourth quarter expectations, which included generally strong year-over-year compares and product lifecycle challenges across several key market segments," said Matt Eastwood, group VP and GM, Enterprise Platforms at IDC. "Although the server market is nearly back to pre-recession spending levels, the market continues to evolve in terms of the technologies and supplier choices being made across core market segments and geographies. IDC believes that server demand will begin to improve in the second half of 2012 following a number of critical product refreshes occurring in the first half of the year."

Overall server market standings, by vendor
IBM held onto the number 1 spot in the worldwide server systems market with 36.5 percent market share in factory revenue for 4Q11, as revenue declined 7.6 percent year over year. IBM experienced continued improvement in demand for its Power Systems while revenue for its System z mainframes declined significantly in the quarter due to the combined effects of a strong year-over-year compare and an end of refresh cycle.

HP held the number 2 spot with 26.4 percent share for the quarter as the revenue decreased 16.2 percent compared to 4Q10. HP experienced demand challenges for both its x86-based ProLiant servers and Itanium-based Integrity servers in the quarter.

Dell maintained third place with 14.8 percent factory revenue market share in 4Q11. Dell was the only top 5 server vendor to grow in 4Q11, experiencing 9.7 percent year-over-year revenue growth due to strength in demand from SMB and enterprise customers. Fourth-ranked Oracle experienced a year-over-year revenue decline of 11.5 percent in 4Q11 to a 5.2 percent share of market, while Fujitsu, ranked number 5, experienced a 10.5 percent decrease in factory revenue holding 3.4 percent revenue share in 4Q10.

Top server market findings
* Linux server demand was positively impacted by high performance computing (HPC) and cloud infrastructure deployments, as hardware revenue improved 2.2 percent year over year in 4Q11 to $2.6 billion. Linux servers now represent 18.4 percent of all server revenue, up 1.7 points when compared with the fourth quarter of 2010.

* Microsoft Windows server demand subsided slightly in 4Q11 as hardware revenue decreased 1.5 percent year over year. Quarterly revenue of $6.5 billion for Windows servers represented 45.8 percent of overall quarterly factory revenue, up 2.6 points over the prior year's quarter.

* Unix servers experienced a revenue decline of 10.7 percent year over year to $3.4 billion representing 24.2 percent of quarterly server revenue for the quarter. IBM grew Unix server revenue 2.5 percent year-over-year and gained 7.9 points of Unix server market share when compared with the fourth quarter of 2010.

"The Unix server market has not returned to pre-recession levels due to a new set of market dynamics," said Jean S. Bozman, research vice president, Enterprise Platforms group at IDC. "Fourth-quarter results show that Unix servers generated 24 percent of quarterly revenue share, and 21.8 percent of 2011 annual server revenue share, compared with 31.6 percent market share in 4Q 2008 and 30 percent of annual revenue share in CY2008. Intense competition between the top three Unix server vendors — IBM, HP, and Oracle — and erosion of the overall Unix server market share due to platform migration have combined to reduce worldwide Unix server revenue in the fourth quarter of 2011."

X86 industry standard server market dynamics
In anticipation of Intel's Sandy Bridge server launch in 1Q12, growth in the x86 server market slowed somewhat in 4Q11, declining 1.7 percent in the quarter to $9.1 billion worldwide as unit shipments increased 2.9 percent to 2.1 million servers. Even with the slowdown, this was still the second highest quarterly revenue ever reported for x86 servers as the architecture accounted for 64.1 percent of all server spending. Although HP's x86 factory revenue declined 11.7 percent, it continued to lead the market with 33.3 percent revenue share.

Dell experienced the sharpest growth and retained second place securing 23 percent revenue share – a 2.4 point year-over-year share gain. IBM continues to hold third place with 18.2 percent revenue share, while Fujitsu and Oracle hold 3.1 percent and 2.7 percent share, respectively. As a result of a strong demand throughout the year, worldwide x86 server revenue for 2011 increased 7.7 percent to $34.4 billion, while worldwide x86 unit shipments increased 3.7 percent to 8 million units.

"This is the first quarter since the height of the recession that x86 server unit shipments have outperformed server revenue," said Reuben Miller, senior analyst, Enterprise Servers at IDC. "Through 2011, there has been an increased deployment of smaller form-factor systems within the entry-level server market, resulting in the overall cost of a server to slightly decline and allow the level of server units shipping to surpass the generated revenue."

Bladed server market results
The blade market continued to experience growth in 4Q11 with factory revenue increasing 8.3 percent year over year, while shipment growth increased by 1.7 percent compared to 4Q10. Overall, bladed servers, including x86, EPIC, and RISC blades, accounted for $2.3 billion in revenues, representing 16.1 percent of quarterly server market revenue.

IDC data shows that 89.6 percent of all blade revenue is driven by x86-based blades, which now represent 22.5 percent of all x86 server revenue. HP maintained the number 1 spot in the server blade market in 4Q11 with 47.4 percent revenue share, while IBM generated 21.5 percent revenue share. Cisco and Dell rounded out the top four blade server vendors with 11 percent and 8.7 percent factory revenue share, gaining 5.3 and 1.3 points of blade market share, respectively.

"While there was softness in other segments, blades remained a strong point and continued as a driver of growth for the server market. The blade server category achieved both its highest reported revenue and revenue share in the fourth quarter of 2011," said Jed Scaramella, research manager, Enterprise Servers. "IDC believes blades are a key element in a server vendor's portfolio as they are a strategic footprint in the datacenter and important for vendor revenue and profitability. A converged blade platform is an opportunity for additional pull-through revenue beyond the server, including storage, networking, software, and services."

Density optimized servers
In November 2011, IDC introduced a new form factor called Hyper-Scale Servers. Beginning with the 4Q11 Tracker, IDC is now referring to these servers as Density Optimized systems in order to reduce confusion with the broader Hyper-Scale market segment which spans large scale, Web 2.0, hosting, and HPC environments.

This category, in addition to Density Optimized servers, also consumes significant numbers of traditional Rack Optimized servers. Density Optimized servers are designed for large scale datacenter environments where parallelized workloads are prevalent. The form factor serves the unique needs of these datacenters with streamlined system designs that focus on performance, energy efficiency, and density.

Density Optimized server demand grew 33.8 percent year over year in 4Q11 to $458 million as unit shipments increased 51.5 percent to 132,876 servers. Density Optimized servers now represent 3.2 percent of all server revenue and 6.1 percent of all server shipments. Dell maintained the number 1 spot in the Density Optimized market in 4Q11 with 45.2 percent revenue share, while HP finished second with 15.5 percent revenue share.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Alere to acquire eScreen

WALTHAM, USA: Alere Inc., a global leader in enabling individuals to take charge of their health through the merger of rapid diagnostics and health management, has entered into a binding agreement to purchase eScreen Inc., a leading technology firm that specializes in toxicology screening and employee health products and services.

The base purchase price is $270 million cash subject to a customary working capital adjustment and follow-on contingent consideration of up to an additional $70 million. The acquisition is expected to close within the next 45 days, but remains subject to customary closing conditions.

Headquartered in Overland Park, KS, with operations in Phoenix, AZ and sales and service offices in Richmond, VA and Calgary, Canada, eScreen deploys a class-leading automated platform and FDA-cleared reader for the collection, provision, management and reporting of regulated and non-regulated urine drug screens. The company also offers a growing portfolio of employee-related health testing products and services, and had revenues of approximately $120 million in 2011.

Ron Zwanziger, CEO of Alere, said: "With the acquisition of eScreen, we not only further our capabilities in the global toxicology market, but also strongly position Alere to deliver a wide-range of diagnostics to US and multi-national employers. The eScreen platform is foundational in our approach, as employers are increasingly shouldering the burden for the care of their workforce and are more directly dictating their health testing needs."

LDRA offers one-stop certification services for safety-critical industrial products

embedded world 2012, NÜRNBERG, GERMANY: LDRA, the leader in standards compliance, automated software verification, source code analysis and test tools, has created a certification services division that helps companies achieve compliance with IEC 61508 - Industrial Safety certification.

Led by industry certification experts, LDRA Certification Services (LCS) assists engineering teams in creating, automating and following a process through to regulatory approval. The synergistic integration of the LDRA tools and the LCS expert IEC 61508 services make up the LCS solution.

IEC 61508 governs a broad range of electric, electronic, and programmable electronic (E/E/PE) safety equipment, whether for controlling life-support systems in tough environments like submarines, or monitoring equipment performance or noxious gas levels in industrial plants. While the standard has always required risk assessment and safety analysis, the 2010 revision to IEC 61508 now requires bidirectional traceability, greatly increasing the regulatory burden on project managers.

While LDRA’s tool suite tracks and automates the links between requirements, code, and tests, the mandate extends beyond software and represents a new discipline for many development teams. Missteps in interpreting the standard can result in compliance failure, leading to cost overruns and product delays.

The strength of the LCS solution is reinforced by a team of renowned industry experts with experience in hundreds of certifications. Leading the LCS team is Todd R. White, a systems and equipment FAA Designated Engineering Representative (DER) with Level A authority on all aircraft systems and equipment for both software and airborne electronic hardware according to DO-254.

White, whose expertise extends into industrial electronic systems and standards, including IEC 61508, is flanked by Dr. Holly Hildreth, a safety engineer with expertise in a wide range of international standards. Dr. Hildreth provides certification expertise in IEC 61508 and related safety disciplines, including complete safety analysis from system-level Preliminary Hazard List, Preliminary Hazard Analysis and Fault Tree Analysis (FTA) to software FTA/Failure Modes, Effects and Criticality Analysis (FMECA).

These analyses of safety requirements, design, code and test are then flowed back up into system-level analysis. The LCS team’s collective expertise in all phases of software, hardware and system development, including the pending IEC 61508 TÜV certification, assures IEC 61508 certification applicants predictable and cost-effective success.

Brocade bolsters investment in Asia Pacific with opening of new regional briefing center

SINGAPORE: Brocade, the leader in fabric-based networking solutions, today expanded its investment in the vibrant Asia Pacific region with the opening of a regional briefing center (RBC) located in Singapore. The new networking-solutions center will showcase leading-edge product demonstrations and facilitate discussions for enterprise, campus and service provider customers throughout the Asia Pacific (APAC) region.

Brocade opened the RBC in a formal ceremony hosted by Brocade CEO Mike Klayko and a number of VIP guests including customers, partners and members of the regional media.

The Brocade RBC in APAC is the newest facility in a global network of briefing centers that Brocade maintains to support customer visits in key markets. It is important to showcase Brocade’s product features and functionalities in the region as many of the key decision makers operate locally. Brocade at present operates an award-winning, world-class facility at its headquarters in San Jose, Calif. that hosts thousands of customers per year.

The opening of its RBC in APAC is a strategic initiative for Brocade as it is directly correlated to the opportunities available in the region. According to Forrester Research, the APAC market for information technologies purchased by government and business was more than $460 billion in 2011, making it the third largest regional market after the US and Western and Central Europe.

Forrester expects total IT investments to exceed $500 billion in 2012, growing nearly 10 percent, “even in the face of economic weakness in other parts of the global economy.”

Pickering Interfaces adds to range of PXI power matrices

CLACTON ON SEA, UK: Pickering Interfaces is expanding its range of PXI power matrices with the introduction of the 40-549 and 40-551. The 40-549 is a 5A matrix available in a variety of 32 and 64 crosspoint configurations with Y axis sizes of x4 and x8. Maximum switching voltage is 110VDC or 250VAC.

The 40-551 is a 10A matrix configured as an 8x4 matrix that switches voltages up to 125VDC and 250VAC and features an optional loop thru facility that simplifies user cabling when the matrix size is expanded through the use of additional modules. The 40-551 is also available in 8x2 and 4x4 configurations.

Both the 40-549 and 40-551 use high quality electromechanical relays (EMR’s), which offer long service life.

Monday, February 27, 2012

American Woodmark selects InfinityQS’ SPC platform to advance Six Sigma initiatives

CHANTILLY, USA: InfinityQS International, Inc., the leading provider of real-time quality control software solutions, announced that American Woodmark Corp., a leading supplier of cabinetry to the remodeling and new construction industries, has selected its ProFicient real-time SPC (statistical process control) software to increase process efficiency and reduce scrap.

American Woodmark will further its corporate quality mission by integrating the ProFicient platform into its already-established lean manufacturing and Six Sigma initiatives, to improve visibility into input/output correlation and process inefficiencies.

Shannon Walton, Six Sigma Master Black Belt, American Woodmark, said: “In order to achieve our corporate vision to be the undisputed leader in total quality for our customers, contractors and do-it-yourself service centers by 2013, it is vital that American Woodmark lives and breathes quality. We selected InfinityQS’ ProFicient because it not only enables us to identify and correct inefficiencies now, but is also a scalable system that will grow as our needs evolve. ProFicient has been so well received at each of our plants that the biggest challenge is tempering the excitement for continued, strategic deployment.”

American Woodmark utilizes natural materials in its manufacturing processes, which creates a wide range of quality characteristics to consider, such as natural abnormalities in the wood or humidity and temperature in the plants—all of which can affect the quality of the final product. By implementing ProFicient to automatically alert appropriate operators and quality managers as nonconformities occur, the company can optimize its manufacturing processes resulting in time and cost savings, as well as higher quality production and enhanced brand confidence.

Samsung launches WB150F camera

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Samsung Electronics, a global leader in digital media and digital convergence technologies, announced the launch of a new camera – the WB150F. Enhanced with the advanced optical zoom and image quality, the WB150 with its Wi-Fi capability facilitates sharing and saving of images, wherever users are in the world. Housed in compact, light and durable body, the new WB150F camera from Samsung makes the perfect travel companion.

“Samsung’s innovative new smart Wi-Fi technology in the WB150F aims to change the way consumers take pictures, share and store them. The built-in Wi-Fi capability makes sharing quicker and easier than ever. From any Wi-Fi hotspot, users can email photos or share them on social networks such as Facebook and Picasa directly from the camera itself in a few simple steps,” said Raj Kumar Rishi, VP, Audio Video Business, Samsung India.

Furthermore, users no longer have to worry about unearthing a tangle of cables to transfer their images – they can use the Auto Backup function or take advantage of integrated free storage space from Samsung’s AllShare Play and Microsoft Sky Drive, to store their most important photos or make their photos accessible anywhere. And with home networking feature like TV Link, users can wirelessly display their pictures on a large TV screen or upload the images to your PC by just one click with Auto Backup feature. With the Remote ViewFinder function allows you to stream video remotely as well as control your camera using compatible Samsung smartphones and tablets, with the phone screen showing you the view through the camera lens.

The WB150F makes it easy to capture incredible detail through its impressive 18x optical super zoom and precision-cut 24mm wide-angle lens that makes it simple to get detailed up-close shots that were once out of reach. While you can get more from your lens, it has to be steady too. That's where the WB150F's OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) comes in handy. The very second you shoot, the image is stabilized.

To top up the experience and achieve instant gratification of reviewing the brilliantly captured moments, the camera is powered with 14.2 megapixels and a 3.0” hVGA LCD screen that provides improved contrast and color reproduction. These let you enjoy a wider and clearer image and its hVGA LCD brightness automatically detects environmental illumination and adjusts the LCD brightness for optimal image viewing. The WB150F artfully combines a professional-grade still camera with a compact HD video camera so you get 720p HD quality video at 30 frames per second and 4x longer recording time than MJPEG video.

Smart Auto 2.0 turns fleeting moments into perfect memories with professional-style results. Smart Auto 2.0 (still and movie) analyzes key elements in the composition and automatically adjusts its 16 photo modes and 4 movie modes to capture the best shot. And since life never stops moving, the camera’s object tracking feature captures subjects that just won’t stand still. The Full Manual feature gives you the ability to take complete control and capture the photos exactly as you want them to be while Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority settings let you experiment with shutter speeds and depth of field, so you can shoot fast-moving images in low light.

The WB150F also has fun features to add a twist to your pictures such as Split Shot, Magic Frame, Picture in Picture and Funny Face. Through Split Shot, camera users can divide the screen into three separate shots and create up to three different photographs by simply blending them together to create a whole new view of their travels.

Using Magic Frame they can position their target in the middle of a pre-designed fun background like movie billboards or posters or erase part of an existing picture to get even more creative! Or use the Picture-in-Picture feature to insert a photo – whether an eye-catching monument or personal portrait into another image or video so users can combine their favorite shots to make a memorable collage. Finally, users can also bend, stretch, and warp pictures of friends and family for big laughs — with the Funny Face feature. Simply press the 5-direction key to enlarge heads or noses, or create hilarious distortions.

When they move the camera, Face Tracking preserves the funny looks just the way they want them. Adding to the fun filled sequence is the Smart Filter 3.0 that offers options like cartoon filter to make any photo look like an animated film scene or Cross Filter that makes light sources appear to have several points of light, like stars. There’s also Ink Painting, Half-tone Dot and other features that will help experiment with your photos.

The Samsung WB150F is priced at Rs. 12,990/- and is available in Black and White. With the launch of WB150F, Samsung has a range of eight digital still camera models priced between Rs. 4,400/- to Rs. 15,990/-.

ActivIdentity’s card management system successfully recertified by FIPS-201 evaluation program

BANGALORE, INDIA: ActivIdentity, part of HID Global, trusted leader in solutions for the delivery of secure identity, announced that its ActivID Card Management System (CMS) has completed a Service Pack 2 (SP2) update and has been recertified by the FIPS-201 Evaluation Program to be compliant with NIST SP800-73-3.

These updates will enable users to store their key history along with up to 24 certificates on their smart cards. This will allow customers to read older encrypted emails and documents even after a credential has been updated or replaced. These updates also include optional storage of the Iris Images Object and Discovery Object.

Among the solution’s new features, CMS now simplifies the process of applying future upgrades for customers with the most stringent security policies. The user environment for CMS has also been updated and refreshed to ensure a simplified and familiar user experience that easily integrates and adapts to all common platforms, including those that are most current.

The ActivID Card Management System was also recertified to ensure FIPS-201 compliance in accordance with HSPD 12, a Homeland Security Presidential Directive, which established policy for common identification standards for federal employees and contractors in 2004. The ActivID Card Management System is listed on the FIPS-201 Evaluation Program Approved Products List as item 451. US Federal Government customers managing over a million PIV cardholders have already upgraded to Service Pack 2.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Facebook gaming boom ends, posing challenges for operators

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Facebook’s days as a boomtown for game operators appear to have come to an end, with the total number of users stagnating amid rising barriers to entry, increasing competition and an intensifying fight for consumer mindshare with other social networking activities, according to a new IHS Screen Digest Media Research Insight.

Following fast growth during the previous two years, the number of Facebook gamers languished in 2011. At the end of 2010, about 50 percent of Facebook’s monthly active users (MAUs) were gamers. At the end of 2011, the absolute quantity of gamers changed little, and the percentage of Facebook MAUs that were gamers slipped to just 25 percent.

MAUs for perennial Facebook game leader Zynga actually declined during the fourth quarter of 2011 to 225 million, down from 266 million at the end of the third quarter.

“Facebook rocketed to prominence as a gaming platform in 2009 and 2010,” said Steve Bailey, senior analyst for games at IHS. “However, with equal speed, the market then settled into a state of maturity in 2011, with conditions becoming markedly more challenging for game operators. While Facebook remains a worthwhile opportunity for companies able to meet these challenges, the tone of the market in 2012 will be somewhat muted compared to the optimistic outlook of the past few years.”

Used users
There are several reasons why Facebook gaming will encounter challenges this year.
First, the task of acquiring users has become more difficult.

With more operators vying for attention and user expectations rising, the cost of acquiring users is growing. Viral channels for finding users aren’t as abundant as they were before, so it has become necessary to engage in cross-promotional networks or direct advertising.

Expenditures for these activities are putting pressure on the lifetime value of users, so there’s now far greater incentive to improve retention and monetization capabilities. Along with the increase in marketing costs for purchasing users, there’s also a development overhead to consider: As with any maturing video game marketplace, production values will also need to step up a notch.

Otherwise engaged
The second challenge for Facebook gaming is intense competition, which means that user engagement is under pressure. As seen in 2011, there’s been a trend away from the most accessible game genres and toward play styles that require greater player commitment or skill, in return for deeper senses of engagement.

These have been typified by slow yet steady increases in the presence and quality of strategy, action and traditional/casino games. Such a progression is crucial in order to match the experience requirements of players.

Not so special
A final challenge is Facebook’s status as a non-specialist games platform. As well as competing with other game operators, companies competing in the Facebook environment must jostle for user attention across a landscape of non-gaming functionality. The play styles of social network gaming have evolved in such a manner as can be best slotted in and out of a wide spectrum of priorities for Facebook users.

As of December, for instance, about one-quarter of Facebook’s monthly active users were gamers. That’s much less voting power than what audiences and publishers have been able to command on specialist game platforms.

Facebook needs to implement changes to provide enhancements for its entire user base. Even if the company has to inhibit its role as a game platform, the ultimate priority is obvious. This already happened in early 2010, when viral channels for user acquisition were dampened in order to silence the flood of near-spam that game apps were broadcasting into user activity streams.

The introduction of Facebook Credits as the compulsory payment platform has placed further pressure on revenues. Events such as these serve as reminders of the vulnerabilities that companies are exposed to when operating under the wider agenda that non-specialist platforms pursue.

Honeymoon’s over
There’s copious opportunity in shifting Facebook gaming to complementary devices or markets. Smartphones are regarded as a viable conduit for growth, although this area is already occupied with established content and competition.

There are also strong prospects for growth in Asia’s online gaming market. However, this territory is crowded with entrenched competition and game-seasoned consumers. To gain footholds in this market, game providers must enter partnerships with major operators.

While opportunity is certainly available in smartphones and in Asia, social networking game providers will not be able to recreate the intoxicating ski-ramp growth they enjoyed during Facebook gaming’s heyday.

For companies that stick with the social network, the challenge will be to create and maintain games that successfully encourage deeper involvement. If they can do this, the rewards will translate into improved retention and rising monetization of users.
Undoubtedly, Facebook will remain a powerful player within the gaming landscape, but it’s now part of an emerging multichannel, cross-platform approach to connected gaming.

Facebook has implemented multiple minor initiatives to improve the platform for game operators, along with some major ones, such as its mobile-app software development kit (SDK) in late 2011. The social networking site will continue to make improvements throughout 2012, but the aforementioned issues are unlikely to be fully dispelled.

Despite these challenges, even small independent game teams with compelling offerings can still find traction, but there will be a greater onus on them to find publishing partners to help overcome the hurdles that have arisen.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

Samsung’s ultra-slim Bezel LED TVs featured in architectural digest greenroom on Hollywood’s most glamorous night

HOLLYWOOD, USA: When all eyes are on the red carpet during one of Hollywood’s biggest nights, celebrity’s eyes will be on the virtually edgeless picture delivered by Samsung’s flagship LED TV. For the second consecutive year, Samsung will bring its stunning 8000 Series LED TVs to the Architectural Digest Greenroom, the exclusive backstage lounge for awards-night presenters and honorees.

Inspired by Hollywood of the 1930s and 40s, this year’s Architectural Digest Greenroom will be styled by distinguished designer Waldo Fernandez, who will bring his signature California style and subtle sophistication to create an atmosphere that’s both relaxed and enchanting. In total, thirteen of Samsung’s ultra-slim 55” D8000 LED TVs will be displayed throughout the room.

As celebrities enter they will be greeted with a gorgeous visual display of nine TVs showcasing iconic images from the past eight decades. The virtually edgeless design and stunning high-definition picture quality will produce a breathtakingly real view into Hollywood’s golden era and create a video wall unlike any other. The four remaining TVs will play the live awards telecast for all guests, presenters and honorees that enter.

This year the Greenroom will also feature one of Samsung’s newly announced 2012 LED TVs. The 55” ES8000 LED TV – complemented by a new metallic U-shape stand that forms a harmonious composition of straight lines and curves – will be a centerpiece and social media hub throughout the night. Building off Samsung’s ultra-slim bezel design first introduced in 2011, the ES8000 pushes the boundaries of minimalist style and innovative technology bringing rich colors, bright pictures and high contrast ratios to a large screen, for a truly immersive and eye catching experience.

Each Samsung TV will be fashioned to the wall with Samsung’s Ultra Slim Wall Mount – the innovative cord-and-disc system – that virtually hugs the wall for an undisruptive, uncluttered and sleek finish.

The Samsung ES8000 LED TV, releasing in March 2012, will feature Smart Interaction technology that enables users to communicate with their TVs via voice control, motion control and face recognition. Through a built-in HD camera the ES8000 recognizes movement in the foreground and two unidirectional array microphones recognize voice at an incredibly accurate rate. The ES8000 also features a wealth of smart content, including hundreds of Samsung Apps, as well as AllShare Play, which enables consumers to easily access personal content across multiple device screens – anywhere, anytime.

ViewSonic unveils ultraportable LED projectors

NEW DELHI, INDIA: ViewSonic Corp., a leading global provider of computing, consumer electronics and communications solutions, launched its new ultraportable and energy-efficient LED projectors – PLED-W500 and PLED-W200. Fitting for the corporate or domestic setting, ViewSonic PLED projectors will make a statement, be it a presentation or party. Petite and powerful, the projectors are truly multifunctional – lightweight for on the road business presenters and supreme for home entertainment.

Featuring small form factors and 20,000 hours of long LED lamp life, the PLED-W500 and PLED-W200 open up a new category of ViewSonic projectors. Supporting 3D technology with 120Hz frame rates, the ViewSonic PLED projectors present exciting three dimensional visuals and can project 33 to 40-inch screens from a one metre distance. Moreover, the ViewSonic PLED projectors are equipped with versatile USB connectivity, while the built-in Microsoft Office/PDF viewer and SD/SDHC card reader can display documents and play multimedia files without needing a PC.

Ajay Sharma, country manager at ViewSonic India, said: “The ViewSonic ultraportable LED projectors transforms the projector from a cumbersome gadget to an incredibly lightweight, compact device that can be carried anywhere. With high-brightness, long-life lamps, the PLED projectors are superior to others in the same class and certain to meet all your projection needs.”

Measuring 214 x 164 x 42 millimetres, the PLED-W500 is compact and weighs only 1.18 kilograms. With a 500 ANSI lumens, superior in the LED pocket projector category, the PLED-W500 provides 20,000 hours of brightness, at the same time operating powerfully yet economically. The 1.4:1 short throw ratio projects a 33-inch screen from a one metre distance with high native WXGA resolution, plus 1GB of onboard memory allows users to store documents and multimedia files, enhancing presentation efficiency.

Enjoy home theatre style viewing or widescreen gaming by simply connecting the PLED-W500 via HDMI 1.3 to a PC, tablet or other computing device, or be blown away watching smooth 3D video with a 120Hz refresh rate using optional 3D glasses and 3D processor. The PLED-W500 is a unique media streaming device – a projector with internal storage that also offers media player capabilities. Sporting a piano-black mirrored surface and geometric inset buttons, the PLED-W500 appears modern and sleek, ideal for running presentations and experiencing multimedia.

US TV buyers now prefer LED-backlit TVs

EL SEGUNDO, USA: For the first time, more American TV buyers are choosing to purchase televisions featuring light-emitting diode (LED) backlighting rather than the older cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) technology that has ruled the market for years, according to an IHS iSuppli US TV Consumer Preference Analysis report.

Those consumers who decided from the onset of the purchasing process that they would buy an LED-backlit LCD TV jumped to 54 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, a big increase from just 22 percent in the third quarter. The gains made by LED were at the expense of sets featuring CCFL technology—the slightly bulkier predecessor of the LED. This time, however, the share of CCFL-backlit LCD TVs plunged to 25 percent, down from the previous 56 percent.

Of those consumers who had made up their minds to obtain an LED TV set, a full 54 percent then went on to actually purchase the TV. More telling, an overwhelming 81 percent of those who had initially expressed preferences to buy a CCFL model ended up buying the LED rival.

LED and CCFL are the two technologies for backlighting LCD televisions, with CCFL being the older light source. However, LED requires less energy than CCFL tubes, lasts longer and is more environmentally friendly in that it does not contain mercury, lead and other chemicals. LED backlighting also produces brighter whites and a wider contrast range.

“American TV buyers are becoming more technologically savvy,” said Lisa Hatamiya, TV research analyst for IHS. “For years, LCD had dominated the TV space, but buyers for a long time did not perceive the advantages of LED backlighting, even after widely publicized reports came out touting the advantages of the new technology. All that is quickly changing, however, especially as LED-backlit prices decline and as retail channels swing perceptibly toward highlighting the new models in their showrooms.”

A 42-inch 1080p, 120Hz LED in the fourth quarter of 2011 commanded an average price of $862, compared to $755 for a CCFL LCD TV with the same specifications. Only a year ago, the disparity was much greater, at $1,049 for LED vs. $800 for LCD.

For those buying an LCD TV, price remained the top consideration, with picture quality and screen size also emerging as important purchasing criteria, according to the IHS survey. In comparison, Internet connectivity has fallen in esteem, as consumers report having experienced difficulty with integrating the feature into their existing viewing platforms.

Other survey findings revealed that 32-inch was no longer the most popular size for LCDs—that honor ceded instead to the 40- to 42-inch-size category. And while the majority of newly purchased TVs still were being placed in the primary areas such as the living room, family room or master bedroom, 10 percent now found their way into a designation known as “other” bedrooms—a record high.

The most highly recommended brands in the fourth quarter were Sony, which grabbed the top spot from LG Electronics, along with Samsung and VIZIO. All three brands, according to consumers, continued to offer innovative, value-added features that emphasized the user experience.

Among retailers, Amazon and Costco scored highest with consumers, who increasingly are turning to online retailers in order to purchase high-quality and larger-sized screens, the survey report found.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

OVCC nearly doubles as eight new members join

SAN RAMON, USA: Open Visual Communications Consortium (OVCC), a group of leading service and solution providers, is creating the blueprint to deliver high-quality video collaboration that connects any vendor, any network and any device, anywhere.

Since its incorporation in October 2011, eight new industry stakeholders have joined the OVCC group to contribute to and implement the OVCC technical and commercial blueprint, leveraging established standards and best practices to accelerate and commercialize business-to-business video communications. OVCC members are committed to providing video around the world to enable enterprise users to place and receive video calls beyond corporate firewalls and across standards-based and proprietary video platforms.

The consortium welcomes its new members, which represent a cross-section of industry leaders and strengthen the group’s collaboration:

AARNet Pty Ltd – AARNet operates Australia’s Academic and Research Network and provides high-capacity leading edge Internet services for the tertiary education and research sector communities and their research partners, serving more than 1 million end users and advocating improved telecommunications facilities and services.

Acme Packet – Acme Packet is a leader in session delivery network solutions. It enables the delivery of interactive communications – voice, video and multimedia sessions – and data services across IP network borders. Session border control is a service delivery architecture encompassing many different product categories.

Glowpoint – Glowpoint provides cloud managed video services that make delivery of consistently high-quality video conferencing and telepresence service as simple as the Internet, between any endpoint, network and business.

PCCW Global Ltd – PCCW Global serves the voice and data needs of multinational enterprises and telecommunication service providers. Covering more than 1,600 cities and 120 countries, PCCW Global’s network supports a portfolio of integrated global communication solutions based on the latest Ethernet, IP, fiber, satellite transmission technologies, in particular to emerging markets in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

Sabre Travel Network – Sabre connects travel buyers and sellers through the world’s largest travel marketplace, the Sabre global distribution system (GDS). And, through advanced technological solutions and services, it brings travel to life for millions of people each year.

SingTel Group – SingTel is Asia’s leading communications group, providing a diverse range of communication services and solutions, including fixed, mobile, data, Internet, info-communications technology, satellite and pay TV.

XConnect – XConnect offers the most comprehensive and reliable federation-based ENUM registry and next-generation multimedia interconnection and peering services, enabling fixed, mobile and Web 2.0 service providers to deploy rich multimedia IP communications such as HD voice and video on a cross-network basis while reducing costs and increasing service quality. XConnect also operates the Video Interconnection Exchange (VIE), the world's first neutral, vendor agnostic, cross-network global video federation.

YorkTel Corp. – Yorktel designs, integrates and manages world-class video solutions that enable visual communications – anytime, anywhere, anyway – including video conferencing, managed services, video production media services and digital signage. System interoperability is a core innovative strength of Yorktel.

The new members join OVCC founders and existing members, including some of the world’s largest solution and service providers in the video communications ecosystem: AT&T BCS Global; Bharti Airtel; BT Conferencing; Dialogic, Inc.; Masergy; Orange Business Services; Polycom, Inc.; Teliris; Telstra and Verizon.

Automotive infotainment electronics market set for growth in 2012

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Following expansions in 2010 and 2011, the global market for automotive infotainment systems is set to expand by another 3 percent in 2012, driven by rising car production and increasing electronic content in vehicles.

Automotive infotainment revenue in 2011 amounted to $32.5 billion, up 3.4 percent from 2010, according to an IHS iSuppli Automotive Infotainment Semiconductor Market Tracker report. This was on top of a 4.6 percent rise in 2010.

Revenue this year is projected to surge to $33.5 billion, and growth will be even stronger in the next four years, ranging from 4.7 to 6.4 percent. By 2016, the market will reach $41.2 billion.

Automotive infotainment equipment represents a range of electronic devices concerned with a vehicle’s delivery of information and entertainment content to its occupants. The field includes areas like navigation systems, premium audio, telematics, fuel efficiency, safety and connectivity solutions.

“The vehicle infotainment market has defied the impact of the natural disasters in Japan and Thailand,” said Luca De Ambroggi, senior analyst for automotive infotainment at IHS. “The industry is set to achieve good growth in 2011 and 2012 as car sales continue to expand and as automakers add more electronic features into their vehicles. Also, a surge in automobile production is pushing up global revenue for the vehicle infotainment market, with connectivity and telematics options as well as low-cost navigation solutions embedded into car dashboards on the rise.”

Car market on a roll
Car infotainment revenue in 2011 rose on the strength of an 11 percent expansion last year in global automotive production to 76.5 million units, with production increases occurring in North America, China and the collective region embracing Europe, the Middle East and Africa known as EMEA. The only area where car production fell was in Japan, the site of the earthquake-tsunami disaster in March 2011.

Automotive production was also affected to a smaller extent by the October floods in Thailand, with plant closures from damaged facilities serving to interrupt an intricate supply chain.

Nonetheless, a quick upturn in automotive production translated into a solid market last year for automotive infotainment.

That’s infotainment
The most important trend within the market continues to be the greater integration of infotainment features into vehicles’ central head units in the dashboard or front console. This is true especially for both wired and wireless connectivity features such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and USB, as well as for navigation and telematics functionality—all likely to be deployed on an increasing number of in-dash central and instrument cluster displays, IHS predicts.

Such head-unit centralization is creating significant market opportunities for those semiconductor suppliers taking on the role of system integrator at the silicon level.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

Digicom Electronics’ Diamond Track process enhances product and process control, productivity and quality

IPC APEX 2012, OAKLAND, USA: Digicom Electronics Inc., a technology and quality driven electronic manufacturing services company, introduced its new Diamond Track Process, a multifaceted approach to quality and productivity, at IPC APEX 2012, Booth 3717.

Diamond Track processes include design services, advanced cleaning, selective soldering, process control, inspection and testing, and certification and process validation. Diamond Track activities enhance productivity, product control, quality, and integrity of the product that’s built.

“There is a gap in the market caused by new technologies that make it more difficult to ensure circuit board integrity,” explained Mo Ohady, GM Digicom Electronics. “With our Diamond Track Process we approach design, cleaning, manufacturing, quality, and reliability in a comprehensive new way and are closing the technology gap to deliver excellence.”

Diamond Track Design Services include an early stage customer design review with an emphasis on mitigating factors in the design that might cause manufacturing and quality issues. It’s a beginning-to-end analysis that includes such things as component spacing and interface of the design and preparation for prototyping and volume manufacturing.

Digicom’s Diamond Track Advanced Cleaning reinvents the "art" of cleaning. It is especially effective for cleaning the most severe conditions and is a major approach to handle the short and long term challenges of harsh environments. The cleaning process results in long-term durability and reliability. The most advanced equipment is combined with a scientific approach to washing and cleaning boards.

“Today's new chemistries in fluxes and solder, plus the closeness of components, make cleaning more difficult,” said Ohady. “After much research we developed a process that not only uses the latest equipment, but that incorporates our scientifically focused method and testing to ensure the cleanest possible boards."

Diamond Track Selective Soldering automates soldering for lead and lead-free processes across all through-hole areas under nitrogen conditions, whether inert, green, or no dross. It increases both productivity and process control. Diamond Track Process Control demands consistency and reliability and accelerates productivity, increases throughput, is environmentally friendly, and reduces waste.

Diamond Track Programs in inspection and testing and certification and process validation ensure that products designed and manufactured at Digicom Electronics are of the highest quality and are built to last. Digicom has ISO 9001:2008, ISO 13485 medical device quality, and quality system regulation 21 CFR 820. Digicom's certifications make it easier for our customers to get certification. Complete process validation services are offered.

Samsung launches Ultra notebooks in Indian market

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Samsung Electronics announced the launch of its new Series 5 Ultra notebooks. A family of extremely portable, no compromise Ultrabooks, the Samsung Series 5 boasts a slim design profile with a rich feature set and an Intel Core i5 processor.

The Series 5 Ultrabooks, available in 13” and 14” screen sizes, redefine the computing experience by offering users top-of-the line performance, with near instant starts using FastStart and the innovative ExpressCache storage, all in a stylish yet sturdy design. Designed with consumer feedback in mind, the 14” model is also one of the first in the market to feature a built-in DVD drive and SD card slot, giving users the ability to easily access software, movies, photos and more.

Performance alone is insufficient without enough space to store your data. Despite the recent trend of cloud storage, local storage is still preferred among users on a daily basis. The Series 5’s performance is matched by its storage capacity, with the 14’’ model delivering up to 1TB of storage capacity and the 13” model delivering up to 500 GB, thus ensuring that users never need to carry additional storage devices with them. The performance has been further enhanced by the extended battery life.

The Samsung Series 5 Ultra delivers up to 6.4 hours of battery life on a single charge, to make sure users enjoy the ultra features throughout the day. The Samsung Battery Life Plus is a true anti-aging battery technology which keeps 80 percent of the cell’s original capacity in a life cycle lasting up to 1,500 charging cycles / three years. This ensures that the battery can last up to five times longer than other notebooks.

ExpressCache features enhanced overall performance, including the ability to boot up in just 20 seconds and wake up in around two seconds, as well as faster start times for frequently used programs and up to 2x quicker web browsing.

5.4 percent PC growth forecasted for 2012, ultrabook market share to hit 10 percent

TAIWAN: According to DRAMeXchange, a research division of TrendForce, suffering from the traditionally weak first quarter and the HDD supply shortage that will not see full recovery until the end of this quarter, 1Q PC shipments fell by 5.3 percent QoQ.

Affected by the decreased number of business days due to Chinese New Year as well as the HDD shortage, January PC shipment volume was approximately 22 million units, a monthly decrease of 11.4 percent. After February, with the continual HDD recovery and the unveiling of Intel’s new Ivy Bridge platform, shipment volume should gradually increase. Therefore, 2Q shipment growth is forecasted at 10.8 percent QoQ.

From the market perspective, ultrabooks and Windows 8 are expected to provide momentum for PC growth this year. With the back-to-school effect in June, the holiday season in the second half of the year, and the potential wave of commercial upgrades in 2H12 (commercial upgrades have not occurred on a large scale since the financial crisis in 2008), PC growth is forecasted at 5.4 percent for 2012.

Rise of affordable Ultrabooks to provide main PC growth momentum in 2012
Intel introduced the Ultrabook concept at Computex in June 2011, introducing consumers to a new computing experience with thinner, lighter form factor, longer use times, and faster boot and connection features (AOAC - Always On, Always Connected).

In 4Q11, ASUS, Acer, Lenovo, and Toshiba all introduced new ultrabook products, but all price tags exceeded $1,000. In comparison to standard notebooks’ average retail price of $680, not to mention Apple’s similarly priced Macbook Air, the new ultrabook models were unable to attract consumers; ultrabook market share was a mere 2 percent in 2011.

As Intel’s management of the supply chain enables cost reduction in 2012, ultrabook retail price will likely be driven down below $800, or even $700. New models will continue to hit the market in 2H12, which should stimulate purchases. Looking at price, standard notebook ASP is around $650 in 2012; thus, ultrabook price needs to dip below $700, as a $50 price gap would be acceptable to consumers. At such a price point, the new models would be approximately $300 cheaper than the most basic MacBook Air model, which would attract price-guided consumers, as system performance is similar. Therefore, TrendForce expects the PC market will benefit, and the notebook shipment 1H:2H ratio is estimated at 45:55.

Ultrabook shipment volume is forecasted at 20 million units, a significant increase from last year. As for 2013, 55 million ultrabook shipments are projected, putting market share at 25 percent. Hopefully, ultrabooks will be able to take over for standard notebooks and provide support for PC market growth.

Secure Device Solutions and charismathics bring hardware independence to PKI market

MUNICH, GERMANY & PARIS, FRANCE: Secure Device Solutions, the new European PKI token vendor, and charismathics, the world leading expert in PKI middleware, announced their co-operation aimed at offering 4D customer freedom.

Domino-Key from Secure Device Solutions is much more than just another PKI stick. It stands out from the crowd to many extents: it is smart card neutral as a SIM card reader can be, but compact in size as a USB key; it is not affected by flash memory price fluctuations and does not even oblige the customer to buy this add-on: the user can in fact utilize his own USB mass storage device and simply plug it into this token; and unlike most solutions around it does not interface with laptops only, but also with smart phones and tablets, basically with all other peripherals that support USB OTG/Host.

Such a versatile concept matches extremely well charismathics vision. Since it was founded the company has stood up for customers’ right to select the PKI architecture that over time proves the most effective, and therefore the right to modify some of its elements without losing the initial investment. Whether the user should be upgraded from one operating system to a different platform, or shifted from one smart card operating system to a new one, or if a PKI application should be changed, charismathics smart security interface would remain stable and would keep on interacting with legacy products as well as new evolutions.

After several years of experience gained in the IT security field and long time spent supporting directly charismathics agnostic middleware, Secure Device Solutions Managing Director, Michel Chapot, felt the market was in need of additional independence from a hardware perspective, also in view of nowadays massive deployment of new communication devices, like tablet PCs and smart phones.

He declares: “We therefore came up with the idea, which we then patented, of turning a passive USB cap into a technological piece of the structure, a USB hub, eventually featuring AES on the fly encryption too, which would open the way to more savings and options for the customer.”

charismathics' director Product Marketing, Daniela Previtali, adds: “We all have seen CSSI growing as a PKI democratizer in this industry; with Domino-Key from Secure Device Solutions we can further expand the concept and supply customers with even more flexibility than ever before.” Security standards remain actually at the top while the client is fully empowered to create his own puzzle, selecting exclusively the one and only components that best fit with the corporate and/or national requirements, reducing thus logistic and support costs and keeping up with current times.”

Together charismathics and Secure Device Solutions will be able to address new market opportunities especially in areas that are newer to PKI introduction and more sensitive to cost savings.

Government agencies are stuck in a game of ICT snakes and ladders

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: Developing and maintaining ICT capabilities is a perpetual challenge, according to the independent market analyst, Ovum.

In a recent report, Dr Steve Hodgkinson, Research director for Ovum’s Asia-Pacific IT research says: “Cloud services offer an edge in an unsustainable game of ICT snakes and ladders being played by many government agencies.”

Hodgkinson states: “Ovum's assessment of the pattern of audit reports in recent years is that many government agencies are stuck in a game of ICT snakes and ladders, unable to sustainably develop strong ICT capabilities because of funding, resource and skill constraints. Governments’ demands for ICT-enabled policy and service innovation are outstripping their capacity to fund the ICT capabilities of agencies. Mature, enterprise-grade cloud services provide a solution to this dilemma. They deliver a cloud innovation edge to agencies, enabling them to benefit from access to sustainable world-class ICT capabilities at a lower cost than would otherwise be possible.

“The benefits of the cloud model revolve primarily around a range of attributes, which distinguish cloud providers from the internal ICT capabilities of all but the very largest and most capable agencies. This can be thought of as the cloud innovation edge. The key attributes of the cloud innovation edge are scale, focus, multi-tenancy, resilience, and iterative evolution, the use of SOA, social and mobile technologies, Internet-age security, self-service, usage-based charging, and vendor ecosystems.

“Agency ICT departments aspire to many of these attributes but can seldom achieve or sustain all of them due to resource and skill constraints and the challenges of supporting diverse and fragmented legacy infrastructure and applications. Cloud service providers have the advantage of being able to define a catalogue of services that are optimised to run in a standardised infrastructure to world-class best-practice levels of performance.

“The cloud innovation edge is an important strategic perspective on the long-term benefits of the cloud computing model versus in-house ICT for selected applications and infrastructure services. In the medium term, Ovum expects that the maturity and sophistication of the leading cloud providers will increase rapidly and sustainably. Unfortunately, the outlook for the maturity and sophistication of the in-house ICT capabilities of most agencies is a continuation of snakes and ladders development. Increasing fiscal austerity further compounds the likelihood that this will be the case.”

Hodgkinson recommends that agencies:
* Include cloud services in their ICT strategy. A strategic perspective is required to position cloud services as part of a transformation of the agency's approach to sourcing and managing ICT.

* Discover the cloud services available from trusted enterprise ICT vendors. Agencies may find that the most expedient way into the cloud is to leverage and evolve with existing trusted vendor relationships and procurement arrangements.

* Analyse application and data portfolios to identify cloud services opportunities. One of the advantages of cloud services is that they create both the imperative, and the opportunity, for agencies to focus on information and data rather than technology and software.

* Get hands-on experience with cloud services. Agencies should put selected applications and/or infrastructure services to the test and see the reality of cloud services for themselves.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

UltraViolet accounts rise to 800,000 in the US

EL SEGUNDO, USA: UltraViolet (UV)—the studio-backed effort to recharge retail sales of films by enabling ubiquitous digital access to purchased movies—has achieved a milestone of 800,000 household accounts in the United States, according to the IHS Screen Digest US Video Market Intelligence Service.

The UV initiative has made rapid progress since the first UV-enabled DVD and Blu-ray Discs (BD) were sold in October. At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) UV consortium disclosed that 750,000 US accounts had been established. Since then, the number of UV accounts has expanded by another 50,000, IHS Screen Digest believes. Furthermore, for each account established, consumers have redeemed digital rights to 1.25 titles, meaning US consumers now have added more than 1 million films to their digital film collections via UV-enabled discs.

“One million may not sound like much compared to the 504 million movie discs sold in 2011,” noted Tom Adams, principal analyst and director, US media, for IHS. “However, we have projected that only 19 million digital film files were sold during the entire year of 2011 by electronic sell-through (EST) vendors like iTunes, Xbox Live and Vudu. This suggests that if UV can continue to gain momentum this year, it could encourage consumers to buy more movies. Movie purchasing represents an important priority for movie studios, which have seen their film sales dwindle in the face of growing physical and digital rentals and streaming services like Netflix.”

The rental business has dramatically outperformed the purchasing segment in recent years, with the number of US digital rentals amounting to more than three times the total for digital purchases in 2011.

Consumers spend more per movie watched when purchasing a film than when renting one, on top of which as much as 80 percent of consumer movie purchase spending flows through to studio top-line revenue, whether of physical discs or of digital versions. Retailers and distributors keep the majority of rental and subscription spending, rather than passing it back upstream to studios.

UV is a common file format and digital rights authentication system designed to allow a digital copy of a film or television show bought from any vendor—physical or electronic—to be played on any one of 12 devices owned by up to six members of a household, either via download or streaming from the cloud. The UV ecosystem is designed to allow users to view the content they have purchased – on disc or online – on a growing number of Internet-connected devices, including UV-enabled BD players, TVs and media tablets.

Beyond the large number of accounts achieved in less than four months, the quickening pace of commercial activity around the UV format has heartened studio execs in recent weeks. Recent developments include:

• Flixster–the Warner Bros.—owned web site and iPad app—announced that its UV-enabled movie application will be available on Panasonic’s line of Viera Connect devices, including HDTVs and Blu-ray Disc players later this year.

• Samsung, in conjunction with Flixster and Rovi, announced it would release BD players later this year that will offer consumers the option to put a copy of previously purchased non-UV-enabled BD and DVD programs into their UV collection in the cloud, for a nominal fee to be set by participating studios.

• Amazon announced that it has signed a deal with an unnamed studio to offer electronic sell-through (EST) of UV-enabled movies later this year. Paramount became the first studio to offer EST access to titles in late January, offering a high-quality slice of its catalog, including all three “Mission Impossible,” “Godfather” and “Beverly Hills Cop” movies, plus the most recent “Star Trek.”

• Neustar, the database-management company that developed and operates the digital-rights clearing house underlying UV, showed off its Catalyst white-label UV storefront, with which retailers can quickly put themselves into the business of providing UV streaming and downloading services.

Each one of these announcements is a step in addressing one or more of the key challenges facing UV, Adams noted. These challenges include providing living room access, jumpstarting consumers’ UV collections by allowing them to put existing disc-based content into the cloud and expanding retailer support for the format.

Source: IHS iSuppli, USA.

DTS and Sharp bring superior sound to new line of network-connected TVs

CALABASAS, USA: DTS Inc., a leader in high-definition audio, announced a partnership with leading consumer electronics manufacturer Sharp Corp.

Sharp has integrated DTS high-definition audio technology into its new line of network-connected PRC-model televisions, released in the first quarter of 2012. This partnership marks the first time a licensee has incorporated DTS 2.0 Channel and DTS 2.0 + Digital Out in televisions capable of delivering superb surround sound and stereo playback for digital content.

Collaboration between Sharp and DTS showcases an ongoing trend of televisions evolving into the home entertainment hub by incorporating new technologies. This trend delivers a superior entertainment experience with high-quality DTS encoded content to the consumer.

“As digital media consumption continues to evolve, DTS is constantly working to enhance the listening experience, regardless of the platform,” said Brian Towne, executive VP and COO of DTS. “From mobile phones to the latest TV innovations, our technologies create a high-quality entertainment experience that is both adaptable to the digital media ecosystem and supports content delivery across multiple screens. We’re dedicated to partnerships with leading manufacturers, such as Sharp, that continuously innovate their televisions to deliver cutting edge technology to provide consumers with a high-definition viewing experience and exceptional audio.”

Sharp’s new network-connected PRC-model televisions integrated with DTS high-definition audio technology enable rich, high-definition audio to accompany high-quality digital content. DTS 2.0 + Digital Out decodes DTS encoded content for two-channel stereo playback directly from the TV, turning the device into a home entertainment media hub and offering an immersive audio experience without additional requirement of a digital media player or set-top box.

The DTS Digital Out also provides compatibility with external devices, such as an AV receiver or home theater system in order to deliver immersive surround sound for the ultimate movie watching experience.

2012 enterprise software market predictions

NEW YORK, USA: Uptick in real-time analytics, transformation of green IT and cross platform messaging are among the top market trends observed by practice leads at DataArt, a custom software development firm that builds advanced solutions for select industries. Domain experts across Cloud, Financial Services, Healthcare, Green Tech, Mobile and Travel shared their predictions based on customer feedback and industry research of this year’s major areas of growth and concentration for enterprise development. These include:

Real-time analytics joins big cloud family: With 150 percent cloud-related client growth in 2011, DataArt expects 2012 to be the year of the “Big Cloud Family”. Members include Cloud, Mobile, Embedded, Big Data and Data Analytics which are concurrently accelerating in evolution and popularity. Real-time analytics was formerly an outsider as tools were not productized in contrast with those designed for cloud technologies. However, this year presents a potential shift as industries and consumers realize the vast benefits from simplified decision making to deepened transparency. Availability will broaden, underpinning projects related to Big Data, Data Analytics and Social Web Mining.

Personalized travel: 65 percent of DataArt’s travel clients requested mobile and social media applications in 2011. This year, companies will tap into additional creative strategies, experimenting with burgeoning engagement channels to create a personalized experience for the end traveler. Savvy start-ups are pressuring larger enterprises for access to invaluable data previously locked. Facilitators like Facebook and Twitter have opened the information floodgates, users want more and large legacy companies struggle to change at pace.

Hosted services maturation: Last year, DataArt saw the consumerisation of mobile platforms spur a web-based products explosion. Cloud hosted services have set the stage for continued momentum. Highly availability Infrastructure as Service platforms will remain the preferred hosting solution for Mobile Application and Services enabling application scalability, rapid deployment, faster ROI and predictable cost. Cross-platform messaging systems providing two way on-demand device-aware messaging capabilities will also support cloud based systems for targeted advertising and other engagement initiatives.

Clinical data transparency: The industry demand for data sharing improvement will be a high priority for healthcare IT solution providers. Health Information Exchange organizations will be tasked to provide safer and more timely access to clinical data to advance coordination of care, support real-time decision making and provide data to identify high risk groups/individuals and support analysis of doctor’s performance.

Transformation of Clean Tech and Embedded markets: Green energy popularity has steadily grown and became more affordable due to the mass production of formerly customized solutions. With increasing availability of System on Chip (SoC) solutions and with growing support of development community energy saving and monitoring solutions are moving from a luxury to common household practice. In the embedded world, manufacturers of SoC will continue to promote their solutions to the development community, particularly for home automation and energy monitoring solutions.

The support is available in form of subsidized development boards, better access to technical documentation, tutorials, wiki and community driven content. Many of recent developments are focused around removing the boundaries between hardware and software that would help develop better-integrated solutions and apply modern software development practices in the world of embedded solutions and inspire software developers to explore embedded systems.

New generation of market data providers: From the financial sector, DataArt anticipates technology spend will continue to be influenced by regulations in credit risk and capital management, presenting the range of challenges exclusive to the financial services industry. A new generation of market data providers requiring development initiatives in OTC and complex derivatives will emerge, driving the need for real-time applications. There will also be an increased push toward the cloud, particularly towards public cloud and PaaS providers along with upturn in interest in mobile tablet applications.

“Today’s developers are open to considering multiple platforms available in the framework ecosystem,” said Artyom Astafurov, SVP and chief innovation officer of DataArt. “With further commoditizing of technology platforms, industry knowledge is the key and utilizing the most current methodologies is a vital step. The greatest challenges for developers this coming year will be to use the variety of excellent technologies available to solve business problems in a lean fashion and deliver quality solutions when project stakeholders and development teams are distributed across various geographies.”

Stable, long-term policies urgently required for domestic IT-market growth: MAIT

NEW DELHI, INDIA: MAIT, the apex body representing India’s IT hardware, training and designs and manufacturing, in a memorandum to the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, has stressed upon the need for a stable policy regime and growth-oriented measures to boost IT hardware industry in the country.

MAIT president, Dr. Alok Bharadwaj, commented: “With lower-than-expected consumption of IT products in the Financial Year 2011-12 owing to the Thailand flood and Rupee devaluation, we are now hoping for a long-term growth-oriented & investment friendly policies to provide much needed drivers.”

While pointing out the need for rapid expansion of IT hardware industry, Dr Bharadwaj said, “In India’s economic transformation, IT is a big enabler. MAIT members have repeatedly emphasized that a long-term, holistic fiscal policy framework is the need of the hour to encourage manufacturing and a much-needed investment fillip to the IT industry in India.

“India’s IT hardware industry was $ 16 billion or Rs 70,000 cr size in the year 2010-11. Less than one third of this was India manufactured. This must change. Hence providing appropriate incentives for IT manufacturers, finished products and components in India would have a positive impact on IT manufacturing investments.”

On the same lines, Sabyasachi Patra, executive director, MAIT said: “Manufacturing is an idea whose time has come. We need to realise our strengths and focus on those to take the manufacturing to the next orbit.”

The MAIT memorandum to the finance ministry includes seven vital recommendations for Union Budget 2012-13, some of which are:

* Removal of anomaly in Inverted duty structure and abolition of 4 percent special additional duty (SAD).
* Withdrawal of MRP based assessment for IT products.
* Custom duty correction for lenses and accessories.
* Abolition of MAT and continuance of exemption benefits on manufacturing in nominated areas as well as schemes.
* Correction of double taxation in AMCs (Annual Maintenance Contracts) as both goods and as services.
* Confirmation on GST implementation timelines.
* Clear guidelines on transfer pricing to eliminate ambiguity and unpredictability to enhance investor’s sentiments.

MAIT also announced new initiatives as an expansion of its charter and goals for 2012.

* Launch of E-waste information exchange portal, in 90 days.
* Expansion of membership to include recyclers, SI, SME, Channels Associations, Sectoral skill development centres, R&D centres etc.
* Creation of specialised vertical chapter in MAIT as house with in a house. Launching Green IT chapter and –e-waste recycler chapter.

Dr. Bharadwaj added: “In order to expand the reach of MAIT’s agenda, we are on a drive to expand the membership base to include all elements of IT ecosystem including design centres, recyclers, Skill development centres, application developers, system integrators as well as SME’s. In order to build a sustainable and environment friendly IT industry in India, MAIT is happy to announce the launch of e-waste information exchange portal to help members on better compliance.”

Elaborating on new initiatives, Patra concluded: “While striving to remove the disabilities afflicting the entire ICT manufacturing ecosystem and promoting domestic manufacturing so that the imports doesn’t exceed the oil import bill, MAIT realises that the proliferation of various consumer premise equipment (CPEs) and personal handheld devices requires a focused effort in creation of standards to promote energy efficiency and reduce our carbon footprint. MAIT will undertake initiatives to raise consumer awareness about safe disposal of eWaste.”

JouleX launches v3.0 of enterprise energy management platform

ATLANTA, USA: JouleX, a leading innovator in enterprise energy management systems for data centers, distributed office environments, and facilities, announced the general availability of version 3.0 of its award-winning JouleX Energy Manager (JEM) platform.

Responding to global demand from large multi-national, and multi-language distributed enterprises, JouleX Energy Manager now adds a more scalable, centralized reporting and management layer to its architecture; dashboard enhancements and new reports; and threshold alerting and auto response, among the newest features and functions.

Available for the JouleX PC, distributed office, Cisco EnergyWise and data center product lines, JEM is the first network-based, agentless energy management system that measures the energy consumption and utilization of all network-connected devices and systems to provide visibility into power usage across the enterprise.

iTAC Software AG and Yamaha Motor collaborate in SMT assembly system segment

DERNBACH, GERMANY: iTAC Software AG and Japan-based Yamaha Motor IM are collaborating on the development of an SMT assembly system machine interface which will facilitate online communication between the Yamaha machines and the iTAC SMT interface.

Yamaha entered into the collaboration so that it can meet all future customer traceability requirements in compliance with the strict German regulations and remain competitive on the international market. A bi-directional connection on the iTAC.MES.Suite will unite all the best features of both products and seamlessly integrate them in the customer's manufacturing structures.

Peter Bollinger, COO, iTAC Software, said, “Having Yamaha Motor IM as a customer adds another market leader to our customer base and underlines our benefits as system partner in the MES market.”

Nobuyuki Nishizawa, MD of Yamaha Motor IM Europe GmbH, added, “Not only are we enhancing the potential of the Yamaha Motor IM in the demanding automotive market, we now also have access to the know-how of the strongest MES provider in the market.”

UFO Moviez and Dolby to bring Dolby surround sound to UFO cinemas

MUMBAI, INDIA: UFO Moviez India Ltd and Dolby Laboratories Inc. announced a collaboration to bring a major transition in the audio experience across UFO’s digital cinema screens in India, bringing high quality cinematic surround sound to UFO cinemas across the country.

Dolby will assist UFO with setup for the digital encoding and mastering workflow for UFO Moviez and provide UFO-Dolby co-branded CP750 cinema processors, delivering a complete end-to-end digital sound process and helping to provide an authentic audio experience in the theatres.

Currently, sound in many digital cinemas in India goes through multiple conversions from digital to analog and back, resulting in loss in sound quality at each conversion. Additionally, audio alignment and calibration of theaters is planned to be conducted, ensuring a premium entertainment experience for movie-goers in UFO cinemas.

VMware signs 40 service provider partners to deliver public cloud solutions

BANGALORE, INDIA: VMware Inc. has signed on 40 Service Provider Partners in India under the VMware Service Provider Program (VSPP). The program has been uniquely designed to help service providers develop, promote and sell their cloud products, services and solutions.

The VMware Service Provider Program is helping address the increasing demand for on-demand computing in India.

The model, introduced in 2010, is fast emerging as a preferred option for Indian companies, both large and small, who are looking at subscription based hosted IT services to easily address their dynamic business requirements, while maintaining control and security of their IT environment.

KolorKode installs India’s 1st HP Indigo W7200 digital offset press

BANGALORE, INDIA: Hewlett-Packard announced the launch of its 1st HP Indigo W7200 Digital Offset press for the Indian market. KolorKode grabs the first mover advantage to enhance its digital printing capabilities by installing the press in its printing press located in Bengaluru.

KolorKode Digital Press is a reputable name in the printing industry in India. Established since 2008, the company holds excellence in constant innovations by offering wide range of printing solutions. The company offers 360 degree printing assistance that includes end-to-end solutions like binding, punching, case-making and lamination services. The company in a short time has evolved to become a one stop solution provider in printing and communication specializing in delivering fast, custom, short –run, on demand solutions.Celebrating the launch, Kayu Dhanbhoora, MD, KolorKode Digital Press, commented: “We enjoyed great success with the HP Indigo press 5500, installed in 2008, but we simply needed more capacity. With the installation of India’s 1st HP Indigo W7200 we will be able to take on larger volume runs and provide a faster alternative to offset printing. We’re also attracting new business by promoting the capabilities of the new press.

"We would largely cater to segments which includes on-demand, short-run books, journals, manuals, brochures, catalogues, marketing collateral, yearbooks and magazines with unmatched offset quality and High-impact, high-volume personalized direct marketing campaigns in full color.”

The company now sets a stage of entering into new commercial printing arena with HP Indigo W7200 that offers breakthrough productivity and digital color printing. They will now be able to offer their customers a variety of value – added services and applications, such as print – on – demand services for books, journals and manuals, as well as variable data printing capabilities for personalized direct marketing, self-mailers, inserts, postcards and transpromo statements.

With its robust productivity the HP Indigo W7200 Digital Offset Press gives the ability to address a wider range of long run jobs. It will be able to deliver a broader range of jobs for a dynamic market place meeting the demands of monochrome to 7-color jobs, from spot to highlight color during a single run, without stopping or changing the settings.

Puneet Chadha, director, Graphic Solution Business, HP-IPG, said: “We are elated to announce this new press, which is considered as a powerhouse of digital printing, and is also the fastest ever press from the HP Indigo Portfolio. We aim to transform our print partners to grow in their role and become leaders of printing solutions by creating a high-definition digital printing environment and an evolution in commercial market ecosystem where personalized short-run prints can be delivered on-demand, linked to a customized web-to-print workflow.”

Steve Donegal, director, Strategic Account Program, Graphic Solution Business, HP APJ, said: “HP Indigo W7200 Digital Offset Press being the 1st one in India will revolutionize the print industry with its robust productivity. It gives Kolorkode the ability to address a wider range of long run jobs. It will also enable green printing which will save the environment by reducing paper usage for highly variable every page is different runs.”

Microsoft launches Explorer Touch Mouse in India

MUMBAI, INDIA: Microsoft Corp. India Pvt Ltd launched the Explorer Touch Mouse. Sleek and sassy, the Explorer Touch Mouse is targeted at the tech savvy user who wants both great comfort and great style.

Compatible with Windows and Mac, the new mouse speeds up everyday tasks with a Touch strip optimized for quick vertical and horizontal scrolling. The Explorer Touch Mouse keeps things snappy; helping the user to super speed everyday tasks, making it ideal for fun activities like surfing the web and great for practical tasks like managing Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.

Priced at Rs. 2,399/-, built low like a delightfully sleek racing car, the Explorer Touch Mouse fits beautifully into the user’s hand. Its Blue Track Technology is far superior to the ordinary optical and laser based mouse which means that you can use the mouse on just about any surface be it wood, marble, granite or even a carpet.

The Explorer Touch Mouse also has five customizable buttons (for everyday tasks like cut, copy, paste and open new window) and three scroll speeds that use haptic feedback (light vibration that signals scrolling speed). With a battery life of up to 18 months, the Explorer Touch Mouse is for users who no longer want to grapple with the old-fashioned click and point mouse and yet want the comfort and ease of using a mouse with touch technology.

Hitachi GST shipping Travelstar Z7K500 hard drive

SAN JOSE, USA: Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi GST) has shipped more than 25 million Travelstar Z-series, 7 millimeter (mm) z-height, 2.5-inch hard disk drives (HDD), enabling a new era of thin and light portable computers, ultra-compact CE devices and industrial systems.

The company also announced that it is now shipping its new 500GB, Travelstar Z7K500 drive – the industry’s fastest and highest capacity, one-disk, 7,200 RPM HDD. All Hitachi GST Z-series drives can serve as a direct replacement for standard, 2.5-inch 9.5mm hard drives. They feature common connectors and mounting points for simple integration into existing systems, and enable greater design flexibility to differentiate and meet market demands for new, thinner, lighter and more robust devices.

Embraced by many of the top PC OEMs, the Ultrabook specification authored by Intel offers opportunities to create a compelling tablet-like computing experience in an ultra thin laptop design. In addition to providing a thin and light design, instant-on capabilities, and an extended battery life, PC OEMs must also create high-quality, cost-effective solutions to help drive competition, differentiation and mass adoption.

To help achieve this goal, a key part of Intel’s Ultrabook specification is combining a 7mm HDD with a SSD cache, giving OEMs the ability to explore the limits of modern ultra thin and light designs without sacrificing capacity, performance, battery life or quality. For instance, a Hitachi 7mm HDD combined with an SSD cache can help OEMs meet the Ultrabook specification for performance and start up times, while providing a high-capacity, space-efficient, and cost-effective solution. Based on Hitachi’s OEM customer plans, this combination is expected to ship in a significant majority of Ultrabooks in 2012.

The new 7,200 RPM Travelstar Z7K500 family delivers on the company’s proven strengths of reliability, high-performance, low-power, exceptional shock resistance and quiet acoustics. With an industry-first 6Gb/s SATA interface, as well as a 32MB cache and 7,200 RPMs, the new thin and rugged Travelstar Z7K500 delivers up to 33 percent more performance¹ in PCMark® Vantage testing than other 2.5-inch hard drives on the market.

Delivering the right balance of power and acoustics, the new 7,200 RPM Travelstar Z7K500 family features 1.8 watts (W) read/write power and 0.8W low-power idle, and delivers a nearly silent operation at 2.3 idle/2.4 seek bels. They also feature Advanced Format, which increases the physical sector size on HDDs from 512 bytes to 4,096 (4K) bytes, thereby improving drive capacity and error correction capabilities.

Optional Travelstar Z7K500 drive models are available, including a self encrypting drive (SED) designed to meet the highest standards for protecting data, and an enhanced-availability (EA) model for applications needing around-the-clock data access in lower-transaction environments.

The Travelstar Z7K500 family comes in 500GB, 320GB and 250GB capacities. Qualification samples of the Travelstar Z7K500 family have been shipping since January; volume shipments will begin in March.