DRAM maker A-Data has decided to begin using a new anti-counterfeiting system they are calling “DNA Authentication”. According to the company, the fraudulent selling of fake RAM is a “serious and growing problem" in the tech world.
It seems A-Data has had a lot of troubles with the selling of fake DRAM chips with A-Data logos. According to the company, “…we adopted the DNA authentication technology to protect our intellectual property and our consumers’ interests."
So what does this mean? When you cut through the marketing speak, it’s basically just a new type of ID label on RAM sticks. To verify the authenticity of the chips, consumers can use a black light to reveal the unique code on the sticker. Like many of these ID systems, the label is designed to tear itself to shreds if removed. Will it do much to stop fraud, or will the fraudsters just fake these labels too?
AT&T has a bone to pick with several big-name LCD makers, and it will do it in court. The telco has sued a number of display manufacturers over allegedly fixing the price of more than 300 million mobile LCD screens.
Those on the receiving end of the lawsuit include Samsung, LG Display, Optronics, Sharp, and Chungwa. According to the lawsuit, the display makers "formed an international cartel illegally to restrict competition in the United States in the market for LCD panels."
AT&T called the whole situation a "conspiracy," accusing the defendants of agreeing to eliminate competition and fix LCD panel prices that they knew would be incorporated in LCD products and sold in the U.S.
This isn't the first price fixing scandal to hit the LCD industry, nor is it the first time LG, Chunghwa, and Sharp have been tied to price fixing allegations. All three agreed to plead guilty to similar charges in November 2008 and to pay $585 million in criminal fines.
Toshiba’s $328 million acquisition of hard drive maker Fujitsu is bearing some early fruit. The deal, made earlier this year, was an effort by Toshiba to increase it’s presence in the enterprise storage market. Toshiba acquired all of Fujitsu’s hard drive related business including design, development, manufacturing, and sales.
We've stopped counting the number of rumors suggesting Blu-ray hardware would somehow integrate with the Xbox 360 gaming console, whether as a built-in drive in a revised edition, or as an add-on accessory. The details would vary, but all the rumors shared one thing in common: They were all bogus. So why are we paying it any attention now? Because this time, the rumor's coming straight from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
During a video interview with Gizmodo, Ballmer spent a couple minutes talking candidly about the Xbox 360 and project Natal, but he appeared to be caught off guard when asked if Microsoft would adopt Blu-ray in a bid to take over the home theater.
"Well I don't know if we need to put Blu-ray in there," Ballmer began as he wiped his eye. "You'll be able to get Blu-ray drives, and Blu-ray drives as accessories."
Does this mean a Blu-ray add-on is in the works, or did Ballmer simply not word his answer carefully enough? We don't know, but when Gizmodo pinged Xbox spokespeople about Ballmer's answer, more fuel to the speculative fire was added.
"Our immediate solution for Blu-ray quality video on the Xbox 360 is coming this fall with Zune Video and 1080p instant-on HD streaming. As far as our future plans are concerned, we're not ready to comment."
In the past, Microsoft made it a point to quickly squash Blu-ray rumors, but that isn't the case this time around. Draw your own conclusion on what that could mean.
Perhaps the DRAM market is on the road to recovery after all. Business has picked up as of late, and according to Pai Pei-Lin, VP and spokesperson of Nanya Technology, contract prices for DRAM chips will continue to climb next month.
In a sort of domino effect, Pai said he expects Windows 7 to set in motion a long overdue upgrade cycle that has been stalled the past three years because of disinterest in Vista. This will mean even higher demand for DRAM chips, potentially reaching the DRAM market's peak it in 1995, and ultimately a shortage of chips in 2010 as memory makers reach their limits in capacity output.
According to Pai, DDR2 and DDR3 will likely split the market evenly in the first quarter of 2010, but their could be a pricing disparity. Contract prices for DDR2 chips have been rising since August and finally surpassed DDR3 this month, and that trend looks to continue for at least the next couple of months, Pai noted.
Seagate shipped 46.3 million disk drives during the quarter, up 14 percent over the previous quarter, but down some four percent from the previous year. Still, Seagate CEO Steve Luczo is a happy camper: "The company has returned to its operating model well ahead of our expectations of six months ago and now expects to sustain gross margin of 22-26 per cent.”
Seagate is confident enough in it’s financial position to start a more aggressive push on its line of Solid State Drives (SSDs). These SATA-interfaced SSDs will be targeted initially to businesses, particular in the broad volume server market. Seagate is not looking at SSDs as replacements for hard drives. In fact, Seagate will be promoting it’s new single-platter 2.5-inch drive, which sits a mere 7 mm high, for upcoming ultra-thin notebooks, such as the Dell Adamo XPS.
Surprise, surprise - Acer, the same company who not too long ago bemoaned Google's open-source Android platform as not being suitable to run netbooks, has gone ahead with just such a device anyway, even though most other vendors are content to wait for Pine Trail before releasing more netbook models.
Acer did, however, play it safe by pairing Android with Windows in a sort of dual-boot environment (Android has to be booted first and acts like a sort of instant-on SplashTop replacement), but that's more than the other top tier OEMs have done. According to news and rumor site DigiTimes, that's because other OEMs are taking a more conservative wait-and-see approach and will re-evaluate things once the final quarter of 2009 shakes out.
After seeing sequential growth to the of tune of 20 percent in the last two quarters, DigiTimes notes that netbook shipments from Taiwan notebook vendors is on target to backslide 8 percent in Q4. Part of the reason, analysts surmise, is waning demand as customers eagerly await the arrival of Windows 7, but vendors are also trying to keep inventory levels down on the verge of Intel's upcoming Pine Trail platform, due to arrive in early 2010.
It still remains to be seen how many OEMs will embrace Android on netbooks, whether as a standalone OS or in conjunction with Windows. So far, Acer's dual-booting Aspire One AOD250, which was only recently announced in the U.S., is the only one consumers have to choose from here in the States. Other markets will also see the AOD250, but not until after the launch of Windows 7, DigiTimes reports.
By launching a full line of music-streaming products, including the Director DMC250 reviewed here, Cisco clearly has the Sonos Digital Music System in its sights; unfortunately, it’s fallen well short of the target.
Our biggest complaint has to do with the convoluted setup process, which includes installing Cisco’s LELA (Linksys EasyLink Advisor) on at least one PC. LELA isn’t a bad utility—if you’re completely terrified by the prospect of setting up a home network. If you’re an old hand, it’s a waste of computer resources.
The default installation also forces you to set up a user account on Cisco’s website. A spokesperson tells us this is because Cisco needs to act as an intermediary between you and Rhapsody. Really? What if you already have an account with Rhapsody? What if you decide you don’t want anything to do with it? There’s apparently some way of installing the Cisco media server software without LELA or divulging your email address to Cisco, but the documentation doesn’t mention it.
Whether it's your smartphone, e-book reader, or portable media player, the multi-touch trend is taking over just about every possible segment, and that now includes the computer mouse. Not surprisingly, it's Apple -- not Logitech or Microsoft -- who's able to lay claim to the world's first multi-touch mouse.
Dubbed the Magic Mouse, Apple's latest rodent comes with a single button and sports a hard acrylic multi-touch surface on the top. It also boasts wireless connectivity, a low profile design, Bluetooth, and a claimed four-month battery life.
Those who have ever navigated a Mac trackpad will feel right at home with the ability to perform two-finger swipes, but the Magic Mouse also allows single-finger horizontal and vertical scrolling and software-based inertia. What you won't find, however, is pinch-zoom support.
The Magic Mouse goes on sale today for $69 and comes standard with every new iMac.
Acer has already been working with Far EasTone Telecommunications in Taiwan. Agreements have also been reached with Bouygues of France, Wind of Italy, and CSL of Hong Kong. Acer expects to begin working with North American telecoms in 2010. Could this mean that the Acer A1, with its Snapdragon CPU, will grace American shores in 2010? By then, it might be just another Android phone.