Sony Capitulates; Begins Making And Selling Apple iPod Accessories

February 6, 2007

“Turn your iPod music player into a full-blown stereo system with the CPF-IP001 iPod audio docking station. Enjoy rich, deep sound from your iPod in virtually any room of your home,” Sony’s SonyStyle.com website trumpets.

Sony, trampled, abused, dominated, and now thoroughly humiliated by Apple at home and abroad, finally seems resigned to reality and takes to their rightful place in the portable digital music world: maker of premium iPod accessories.

Sony: like.no.other. (if.you.ignore.ten-thousand.other.ipod.accessory.makers.that.is.)

Boom.

Anyway, Sony’s new, yet-typically-horribly-named, CPF-IP001 iPod audio docking station features a connector that is compatible with a variety of Apple iPod models (1st and 2nd generation iPod nano, 4th and 5th generation iPod, and 1st generation iPod mini models) and allows users to plug in their iPods and just press play to stream the entire library of stored music from your iPod through the attached speaker system.

Sony says, “The system’s powerful S-Master amplifier and included subwoofer provide superior sound while the compact and lightweight design allows you to place this docking station in virtually any room of your home. Control everything from song selection to volume with the supplied remote. An additional line input enables you to connect a second audio source.”

The unit retails for US$249.99. More info here.

David Hng


HP Offers To Help Companies Develop Strategy From SAP

January 30, 2007

ASIA PACIFIC, Jan. 30, 2007 – HP announced that it will offer new services to support an enterprise service-oriented architecture (Enterprise SOA) blueprint from SAP, helping customers achieve better integration and alignment of people, information and business processes across business and technology.

HP also will design and implement services to support key SAP NetWeaver components, including an SAP NetWeaver Portal program for workforce integration, an SAP NetWeaver Exchange Infrastructure (SAP NetWeaver XI) program for process integration, and an SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence (SAP NetWeaver BI) program for information integration.

By offering both Enterprise SOA services and SAP NetWeaver implementation services, HP, which also offers its own SOA solutions, will be better able to help SAP customers improve business process innovation and flexibility.

These SAP-based services complement and extend the robust suite of offerings from HP Software, which provides tools and applications for SOA quality testing, governance, security and management. HP SOA Center, a key component of the offerings that is in use at hundreds of companies around the world, combines HP’s existing SOA portfolio with the recent addition of Mercury and market leading Systinet Registry and Repository. Additional information on HP SOA software offerings is available at www.mercury.com/us/solutions/soa.
HP additionally will offer Composite Application Factory, which will provide customers with rapid and cost-effective customized development of composite applications as well as design and implementation services for SAP NetWeaver components.

These new services are part of HP’s Adaptive Infrastructure portfolio, which helps enterprises reduce costs, improve service levels and increase the speed with which they can introduce change by transforming traditional data centers into automated, virtualized, 24×7, lights-out computing environments. As part of this portfolio, HP offers a full lifecycle of SAP services, from strategy and design through implementation, integration and management, to enable the upgrade of legacy technology and application infrastructure.

“As site of the world’s fifth largest SAP application implementation, HP understands and appreciates the benefits of SAP applications,” said Uday Kumaraswami, Vice President, HP Services (Consulting and Integration), Asia Pacific and Japan. “Based on our experience and close collaboration with SAP in more than 55,000 customer implementations, HP delivers a smooth and cost-effective SAP NetWeaver platform deployment so customers can realize a better return on investment.”

To drive growth, businesses need IT resources and applications that are able to adapt in real time for business value. With its flexible IT systems and services, HP helps customers build and manage computing environments that scale as business needs change.

HP and SAP: strategic partners

The HP services for Enterprise SOA include: Envisioning Service; Assessment Service; Governance & Architecture Service; Enablement Service; Development Service; and Design and Implementations Services for SAP NetWeaver, which include Business Intelligence and Analytics based on SAP NetWeaver BI, Enterprise Portal Solutions based on SAP NetWeaver Portal, Process improvement and Integration Solutions based on SAP NetWeaver XI, Business process innovation based on the mySAP Business Suite, and Management Service.

More information on HP’s support for an Enterprise SOA based on SAP NetWeaver is available at www.hp.com/go/sap/eSOA.

“SAP shares HP’s vision of enabling businesses to adapt to change in real time,” said Stephan Rossius, senior vice president, Global Partner Management, SAP AG. “By combining HP’s services with our Enterprise SOA strategy, we can help customers improve business process innovation and flexibility.”

In addition to expanding its partnership with SAP, HP also will leverage relationships with Intel and IDS Scheer to deliver complete products and services. Alongside with HP and SAP, Intel will support go-to-market activities and the technology refresh of servers, while IDS Scheer enhances SOA success with superior business process knowledge and will provide ARIS Platform technology for solution design and business process management consulting services to complement HP’s application and technology services.

David Hng


IBM To Buy Softek

January 30, 2007

By Kevin Komiega

January 29, 2007—IBM announced today it has signed an agreement to acquire long-time technology partner and data mobility specialist Softek for an undisclosed sum. Once the deal is done, which will be some time within the next few months, IBM will offer Softek’s technology in several ways, all of them services-oriented.

Softek will become part of the Storage and Data Services business unit in IBM Global Technology Services. IBM plans to integrate Softek’s data mobility technology, best practices, and personnel into Big Blue’s own storage and data services.

The crown jewel of the Softek product portfolio is its Transparent Data Migration Facility (TDMF) solution, which enables non-disruptive movement and management of data across heterogeneous storage platforms and operating system environments. The Softek solution can move data while keeping data online and applications available for end users.

Softek TDMF migrates data globally and locally at the block and volume level in both mainframe and open systems environments without disruption. The process is mainly targeted at customers looking to perform storage or server upgrades and consolidating or relocating data centers.

Softek also offers a number of other data mobility products, including the Softek Logical Data Migration Facility (LDMF), which migrates data sets at the volume level in mainframe environments, Softek Replicator, an asynchronous replication tool that copies block and volume data over any distance without disruption, and Softek DR Manager (DRM), which automates, validates, and speeds up recovery to satisfy business continuity and audit requirements in the mainframe environment.

Furthermore, IBM will now own Softek’s offering upon the altar of Storage Resource Management (SRM) software, the Softek Storage Manager, or SSM. SSM monitors and forecasts capacity trends and utilization rates to aid in the migration planning process.

Softek joins a number of other vendors recently acquired by IBM as the company continues to build out its services portfolio. Other recent IBM buys include Internet Security Systems, MRO Software, and FileNet.

IBM will sell Softek’s solutions as either a stand-alone technology license, a project-based service, or as a subscription-based managed service to its customers. As always, how end users take advantage of the IBM migration menu will depend on their business requirements.

“Smaller companies will probably opt for the one-off engagement because the need for that type of data migration may not occur all that often,” says John Webster, principal IT advisor and senior analyst, Illuminata. “[On the other hand,] the Fortune 500 companies may subscribe to a managed services offering because data migration is a more frequent occurrence or they may buy the license and do it themselves because they have the staff.”

Softek made its bones by building an extensive roster of solutions partners, of which there are many. Many companies deploy Softek’s Nonstop Data Mobility solutions as part of their professional services and solutions offerings. Several other vendors serve as original storage manufacturers or systems integrators by taking Softek’s products to market through sales or services organizations.

The partners include Abtech Systems, Accenture, Adexis Cranel, Advanced Financial Solutions (AFS), Advanced Technology Solutions, Brocade, Comparex, CSC, CSS Nordic AB, EMC, Forsythe, Fujitsu Ltd., Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi Data Systems, IBM, IMS Systems, Lewan & Associates, Mainline Information Systems, Marketex, McData, Microsoft, MSI, Northrop Grumman, Oracle, Sandpiper Data Systems, Savail, Selesta, Siemens Business Services, Sirius, Sun, Teksys, Veritas (Symantec), and ViON.

“The way [Softek] enables its capabilities is by working with multi-vendor interfaces. We anticipate having those relationships going forward, including the relationship with Veritas, which can sometimes be cooperative competition,” says Steven Murphy, currently president and chief executive officer of Softek and soon-to-be vice president of data mobility solutions for IBM.

“We have shipped over 10,000 software licenses and we have over 800 renewable maintenance contracts. I have been talking on the phone with our channel partners domestically and internationally and they are looking forward to [the deal]. We are encouraging them all to recommit,” Murphy says.

Paul Fried, vice president, storage and data services, IBM Global Technology Services, says IBM itself is committed to maintaining and growing the relationships Softek is bringing into the fold.

“We fully intend to extend these capabilities to our business partners that are within IBM PartnerWorld,” says Fried. “We want to embrace the partner community and we want to drive bigger, stronger relationships.”

David Hng


With Intel Increasing Its Technology Lead, Will AMD Become More Creative?

January 30, 2007

On the heels of Intel announcing breakthroughs in transistor design, Taiwan-based motherboard makers indicated that Intel should be able to increase its technology lead over AMD, and in order not to further endanger its market position, AMD should look to develop innovative solutions instead of competing head to head with Intel.

In the first quarter 2007, Intel plans to increase the production ratio of its 65 nanometer (nm) products to 80% and minimize 90nm products such as the Pentium D 800 series to less than 5%. In the second quarter, Intel is due to phase out its Pentium 4 600 series processors, and the ratio of 65nm products will increase to 90%.

On the other hand, AMD has only recently started to implement a 65nm process on its Athlon 64 X2 processor lineup and the company will not release 65nm-based Athlon 64 or Sempron CPUs until later this year, noted the motherboard makers.

In addition, Intel just announced that it is will use two new materials to build the insulating walls and switching gates of its 45nm transistors, which should help it extend its technology lead over AMD. For its 45nm production, Intel will use a new material with a property called high-k for the transistor gate dielectric, and a new combination of metal materials for the transistor gate electrode. Intel claims that the combination of the high-k gate dielectric with the metal gate for its 45nm process technology provides more than a 20% increase in drive current, or higher transistor performance.

AMD partner IBM made a similar announcement but Intel stated it will begin implementing its new technology this year, while IBM indicated it will not use the high-k technology on 45nm until next year. A Bank of America report noted that IBM provided fewer details than Intel did concerning its high-k developments, drawing some question as to whether IBM can meet its target date for producing chips using the technology. The report also pointed out that Intel usually has 6-18 month lead over AMD in terms of manufacturing technology and that lead should now become bigger.

According to Taiwan motherboard companies, AMD needs to focus on improving its supply situation and, concerning technology development, leverage its relationship with ATI Technologies to quickly bring move innovative solutions to market, including chips integrating CPU+GPU functionality.

David Hng


IBM Unveils Transistor Technology

January 30, 2007

IBM has announced that it has found a way to construct a critical part of microchip transistors with a new material, which could lead to chip circuitry that is smaller, faster and more power-efficient.The company worked with AMD, Sony and Toshiba to develop the technology, which can be incorporated into existing chip manufacturing lines with minimal changes to tooling and processes.

According to IBM, the technology is expected to have widespread impact, leading to improvements in electronic systems of all kinds, from computers to consumer electronics. IBM has inserted the technology into its semiconductor manufacturing line and will apply it to products with chip circuits as small as 45 nanometres starting in 2008.

The technology, called ‘high-k metal gate,’ substitutes a new material into a critical portion of the transistor that controls its primary on/off switching function. The material provides superior electrical properties compared to its predecessor, enhancing the transistor’s function while also allowing the size of the transistor to be shrunk beyond limits being reached today.

As a result, the use of this material could allow the industry to continue on the path defined by ‘Moore’s Law,’ the chip industry axiom that predicts a doubling of the number of transistors on a chip every 12-18 months, thereby allowing chip performance and function to increase as well. The semiconductor industry has been able to maintain this rate of improvement for decades, but was reaching the limits of current technology, threatening a slowdown in further advancements.

David Hng


iPhone Having Lots Of Competition: A Study

January 26, 2007

The world has suddenly gone touch-screen mad!

Ever since Apple launched the iPhone, all the talk has been about its new touch-screen display. Then LG announced their iPhone rival, the Prada phone which also has an entirely touch-screen user interface.

iphone official.jpg lg prada phone screens

Let’s face it, the only feature that comes close to justifying Apple’s claim that the iPhone is “five years ahead of the competition” is the screen.

It uses a new technology called Multi-touch, which, unsurprisingly involves the screen recognising more than one point of contact at a time. This allows for a greater range of commands than simply pressing and letting go with a single point device such as a mouse or a stylus. For example, on the iPhone it will be possible to zoom in and out of objects such as webpages or photos by “unpinching” and “pinching” them, that is drawing apart or closing together two fingers as if stretching or squeezing the image.

The touch-screen also enables the use of a virtual QWERTY keyboard which will appear on the screen whenever necessary, and which hopefully should provide greater comfort than typing using the dinky little QWERTY buttons on a Blackberry.

Samsung, meanwhile, are not to be left behind in the touch-screen race. They say their new W559 is the first screen to offer “tactile feedback”. The VibeTonz system allows the buttons onscreen to feel more like mechanical ones, making the phone easier to use when the screen isn’t clearly visible. It can also be configured to throb in different ways when receiving messages from different people!

Mitsubishi D800iDS.jpg

The Japanese network DoCoMo have gone one better still. While launching the D800iDS (above), a new touch-screen device that bears more a passing resemblence to the Nintendo DS, they also unveiled a phone that appeals to the senses in a different way. It gives off a relaxing scent! The Sony Ericsson SO703i comes with “replaceable scented sheets” to relax the user while making calls, and features nine different aromas!

So it seems that touch-screens are the future, and why the hell not, if it means manufacturers are going to be producing models like this one from Nokia. The Aeon, unfortunately is only a prototype at the moment, but there should be a worldwide campaign to get it into production. Its the best-looking phone I’ve ever seen!

Nokia Aeon.jpg Nokia Aeon

David Hng


Palm Brings Microsoft Direct Push Technology To Palm OS Based Treo Smartphones

January 26, 2007

Palm, Inc. is releasing the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync Update for Palm OS devices for the Palm Treo 680 and Treo 700p smartphones. Those Palm OS based Treo smartphones have long been able to use Exchange ActiveSync to access Microsoft Exchange Server information using Palm’s VersaMail email client, but the new update enhances VersaMail by adding Microsoft’s Direct Push Technology, which gives users connected to an Exchange Server automatic wireless updates of email, calendar and contact information.

The new feature requires a server running Exchange Server 2003 with Service Pack 2 or Exchange Server 2007. Wireless e-mail using Direct Push Technology reduces the need for third-party software and infrastructure, thereby reducing cost, maintenance requirements and staffing needs, according to Palm.

New security features for IT administrators include over-the-air password policy enforcement and remote wipe for lost or stolen devices. Users also have the benefit of accessing their company’s Global Address List (GAL) over-the-air, providing them with quick access to colleagues’ contact information.

The update can be downloaded over-the-air for Treo 700p and Treo 680 customers.

With the Exchange ActiveSync Update for Palm OS for the Treo 680 and Treo 700p, the entire current line of Treo Smartphones support this feature. Palm’s Windows Mobile based Treo products including the Treo 700w, Treo 700wx, and the recently announced Treo 750 already offer these features. The new software will allows companies to run a mixture of Windows Mobile and Palm OS Treo smartphones with the same Direct Push Technology experience to their users regardless of which OS their handsets are running.

David Hng


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