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No. 365, February 2000

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Japanese Companies in the US


The inaugural products from NEC COMPUTERS, INC. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 364, January 2000, p. 3) were a pair of Express5800 servers for workgroups and departments. In the hope of making the Express5800/120Ld and the Express5800/120Mc2 stand out in the crowded American server marketplace, the company is touting their advances in the areas of processor (support for Pentium III processors up to 733 MHz with a 133-MHz front-side bus), memory (as much as 4 gigabytes of high-performance 133-MHz ECC (error checking and correcting) synchronous DRAM (dynamic random access memory) and input/output performance (seven free I/O slots). NEC Computers also points to the increased configuration flexibility, enhanced availability features and integrated remote management capabilities of its new servers. The Express5800/120Ld for workgroups starts at slightly more than $2,300, while its departmental counterpart, the dual processor-capable Express5800/120Mc2, lists for $2,700 and up.

The third generation of VAIO Slimtop desktop computers was scheduled to ship in February. The stylish SONY ELECTRONICS, INC. VAIO PCV-L630, which is said to take up 70 percent less space than standard desktop machines, is optimized for digital video editing with its built-in Memory Stick media slot and integrated iLINK ports. This thrust is backstopped by a 600E-MHz Pentium III processor, 128 megabytes of SDRAM standard and a 17-GB hard drive. The new VAIO Slimtop model also features a larger 15- inch active-matrix TFT (thin-film-transistor) LCD (liquid crystal display) screen with a XGA (extended graphics array) resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. The VAIO PCV-L630 has an estimated street price of $2,700.

People interested in digital imaging but at a lower price point — $1,500 to $2,600 — than the latest VAIO Slimtop model have three new VAIO Digital Studio desktop options from SONY ELECTRONICS, INC. These additions span the entry-level PCV-R545DS with a 500E-MHz Pentium III processor and a 20-GB hard drive, the midrange PCV-R547DS, which runs off a 600E-MHz Pentium III and can store 27 GB of data, and the high-end PCV-R549DS featuring a 750-MHz implementation of the Pentium III and a gigantic 40 GB of hard-drive capacity. All three models are equipped with 128 MB of SDRAM memory, plus more multimedia capabilities and new hardware extras.

The Computer Systems Group of TOSHIBA AMERICA INFORMATION SYSTEMS, INC., the subsidiary of the world's leading supplier of portable computers, added two models to its Satellite line of notebooks aimed at value-conscious customers. The Satellite 1605CDS features a 450-MHz AMD K6-2 processor with 3DNow! technology, 32 MB of SDRAM memory and a 12.1-inch dual-scan Color Bright display. The Satellite 1625CDT leverages the power of a 475-MHz version of the processor and comes standard with 64 MB of SDRAM and a 12.1-inch active-matrix TFT LCD display. Common to both systems are a 4.3-GB hard drive, a diskette drive and a 24X CD-ROM (compact disc- read-only memory) drive. The Satellite 1605CDS is expected to go for $1,200, while the estimated price of the Satellite 1625CDT is $1,600.

Catering to business professionals with a variety of high-performance and multimedia computing requirements, SONY ELECTRONICS, INC. unveiled a pair of additions to its VAIO F Series of notebooks. The VAIO PCG-F450 uses a 500-MHz mobile Pentium III processor and provides 9 GB of hard-drive storage, while its mate, the VAIO PCG-F430, employs a 450-MHz implementation of the chip and delivers 6 GB of data capacity. The basic configuration of each has 64 MB of SDRAM memory, a 4X DVD-ROM drive with digital video disc movie playback capability, a 14.1-inch XGA active-matrix display and the many high-end features associated with the VAIO line, such as an iLink port. The VAIO PCG-F450 has an estimated selling price of $2,800; that of the VAIO PCG-F430 is $2,400.

On the heels of this release, SONY ELECTRONICS, INC. announced its first notebook computers incorporating mobile Pentium III processors with INTEL CORP.'s SpeedStep technology. These chips allow the machines to automatically switch between a battery- optimized mode and, when plugged in, a maximum performance mode. The VAIO PCG- F490 employs a 650-MHz mobile Pentium III to power demanding multimedia applications. It ships with 128 MB of SDRAM, an 18.1-GB hard drive, 6 MB of video RAM and a 15-inch XGA active-matrix display. The price of this notebook is about $3,800. Some $500 less buys the VAIO PCG-F480 with its 600-MHz mobile Pentium III processor, 64 MB of internal memory, 12-GB hard drive and the same display as its cousin.

SONY ELECTRONICS, INC. also is bringing out the first notebook computer with a CD- ReWritable drive standard. This innovation is found on the VAIO PCG-XG19, which also features a 650-MHz mobile Pentium III processor with SpeedStep technology, 128 MB of SDRAM memory, 18.1 GB of hard drive capacity, 6 MB of VRAM, a 14.1-inch XGA active-matrix display and hot-swappable multidrive bays. Its partner, the VAIO PCG-X18 shares all these characteristics except that it has a 13.3-inch display. One difference between these systems and members of the VAIO F Series is that they are thinner (1.75 inches) and lighter (about 6 pounds). The two VAIO XG notebooks are expected to go for $4,000 and $3,600, respectively.

Like its competitors, FUJITSU PC CORP. believes that the new mobile Pentium III processors with SpeedStep technology virtually eliminate the performance gap between desktop and mobile computers. This advancement is incorporated in the LifeBook E Series Model E-6550, which is optimized for business applications, and the home-oriented LifeBook C Series Model C-6557. Both notebooks use a mobile Pentium III processor running at 650 MHz and include 128 MB of RAM, a 12-GB hard drive, a modular DVD drive, a built-in modem, an infrared mouse and a 14.1-inch XGA active-matrix TFT LCD display.

People looking for an extremely mobile computing platform have additional choices in the MobilePro line of handheld PCs from NEC COMPUTERS, INC. The MobilePro 780, which runs the Windows CE Handheld PC Professional Edition 3.01 operating system, uses NEC CORP.'s 168-MHz VR4121 64-bit RISC (reduced instruction-set computing) processor. The system weighs only 1.7 pounds and measures 9.6 x 5.2 x 1.1 inches, yet it has an 8.1-inch color, touch-sensitive display with a resolution of 640 x 240 pixels and a 78-key keyboard. Other hardware features include 32 MB of RAM memory, a built-in modem and Type II CompactFlash and Type II PC Card slots. A long list of Windows CE software also is bundled with the $800 MobilePro 780.

Bankrupt MITA INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD., a manufacturer of printer products as well as copiers, has reemerged under the ownership of KYOCERA CORP. as KYOCERA MITA CORP. In the United States, the renamed KYOCERA MITA AMERICA, INC., headquartered in Fairfield, New Jersey, will continue to be responsible for sales and servicing of its immediate parent's document imaging products. It will operate separately from KYOCERA ELECTRONICS, INC., the Duluth, Georgia marketer of the Ecosys line of page printers.

For the first time, owners of current-generation Power Macintosh G3 and Power Macintosh G4 computers can take advantage of the high-speed FireWire (IEEE 1394) capabilities of their machines when printing. The Long Beach, California subsidiary of SEIKO EPSON CORP. is offering an optional interface card that enables these desktop computers to run selected Epson printers at their full engine speed and that also allows multiple users to share printers. FireWire printing is possible with the EPSON Stylus Color 900, EPSON Stylus Color 900G, EPSON Stylus Color 1520, EPSON Stylus Color 3000, EPSON Stylus Pro 5000 and EPSON Stylus Pro 9000.

An exchange rate of ¥105=$1.00 was used in this report.aaaaaa

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