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20 Jan 05. Intel launched the second generation of its Centrino technology designed for mobile computing and announced there had been double the uptake by laptop manufacturers compared with the first version. The latest Centrino features double the graphics power of its predecessor and improved audio capabilities including the ability to play Dolby 7.1 surround sound. Intel hopes its high-definition video and gaming capabilities will persuade more consumers to buy laptops for entertainment, while business users will appreciate better performance and security from the new chip. Sonoma also includes higher speed wi-fi. Intel said the number of wi-fi hotspots where users could connect wirelessly to the internet had increased from 45,000 to 137,000 worldwide since Centrino first launched. (Source: FT)

20 Jan 05. ASML, the Dutch chip-equipment maker, plans to open a new front in its battle with Japanese rivals Nikon and Canon by entering the market to supply tools to LCD computer and television screen manufacturers. The company, which leads the Japanese duo in the supply of lithography equipment to semiconductor companies, is in discussion with potential customers and has ambitious plans to eventually secure 50 per cent of a market worth €1bn-€2bn ($1.3bn-$2.6bn) annually. Speaking at the company’s full-year results presentation, Eric Meurice, chief executive, said: “We have a proven concept [for a machine], but the decision [to begin production] hinges on the level of [customer] commitment. I will not take a rash decision with shareholders’ money without the certainty of a minimum return.” While 70 per cent of ASML’s chip equipment sales are made in Asia – the heartland of LCD manufacture – among its customers only Samsung of Korea is also active in the flat-panel display sector.ASML must therefore lure clients from Nikon and Canon, who currently supply all of the estimated 100-200 machines used by LCD manufacturers. Mr Meurice told the Financial Times that clients would save “millions of dollars” per machine if they defected to ASML. (Source: FT)

10 Jan 05. Radstone Embedded Computing announced Octegra3, a video and graphics processor. Targeted at a broad range of applications including C4I (Command, Control, Communications, Computers & Intelligence), Octegra3 provides a seamlessly transparent technology insertion for its predecessor, Octegra2.
Designed for demanding video and graphics applications in which one or more video/graphics sources are to be acquired, processed and distributed, Octegra3 leverages proven technology with state-of-the-art components and Radstone’s significant expertise and intellectual property in video processing systems, built up over a number of years. Availability is scheduled for first quarter 2005. Octegra3’s increased performance derives from the uprating of virtually every component on the board. A Freescale Semiconductor (a subsidiary of Motorola) PowerPC G4 7447A processor running at 1 GHz (with integrated 512 KBytes L2 cache) replaces the 400 MHz G3 750 processor; a 3Dlabs P9 VPU with 128 MBytes of double data rate SDRAM replaces two 3Dlabs Permedia 3 VPUs; the computing node of Octegra3 uses 256 MBytes of double data rate (DDR) SDRAM, compared with Octegra2’s use of single data rate (SDR) memory; wider, higher speed bus architectures are implemented; and Octegra3 offers support for Gigabit Ethernet. The substantially reduced cost of Octegra3 is a result of a high degree of component integration, coupled with the use of a much simpler non-sequential manufacturing process compared to Octegra2’s sequential manufacturing process. Octegra3 is uniquely flexible in that it features the ability to support up to eight simultaneous video inputs (via discrete Video Input Modules); dual independent channel output, allowing support of two separate displays; support of a range of ‘standard’ video formats (input a

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