In December, NCR CORP., one of the world's biggest manufacturers of automatic teller machines and cash dispensers, will spin off part of its subsidiary's ATM/CD business into an independent company that will offer multivendor solution services to financial institutions. J-ATM CORP., to be headquartered in Kawasaki, Kanagawa prefecture, not only will sell NCR hardware but will provide as well multivendor service, installation, remote monitoring and network management. The new company will be staffed by 400 people. It will be looking for revenues of $99.2 million in 1999. The reorganization does not affect ATM/CD development work, which will remain the responsibility of NCR's wholly owned subsidiary.
American competitors continue to position themselves for the time when Japan fully delivers on its ranking as the world's second-largest computer market. For example, HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. reportedly will move final assembly of PCs for local sale to its suburban Tokyo distribution facility from Singapore within 1999. That switch not only will cut transportation costs and shorten delivery times but also will give the company more flexibility to customize products to buyers' requirements and a better handle on inventory. Sources indicate that final assembly of popular desktop PCs will start in February, followed by PC servers in May. HP Japan hopes to double PC sales in the November 1998-October 1999 period from the estimated 90,000 units sold in the just-completed business year.
Doing final assembly in Japan also will make HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. a more efficient OEM supplier of PCs to longtime business partner OKI ELECTRIC INDUSTRY CO., LTD. In addition, it will ease implementation of a recent contract that enables NIHON UNISYS, LTD. to resell and support a range of HP Japan computer products. This deal mirrors the one concluded in June by HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. and UNISYS CORP. Under it, such products as HP Vectra PCs, HP Brio PCs, HP Kayak PC Workstations, HP NetServer systems and HP OmniBook notebook computers will be built to Nihon Unisys customer specifications and shipped directly to the buyer's location. The hardware will carry the logos of both HP Japan and Nihon Unisys.
GATEWAY 2000, INC.'s subsidiary has unveiled a wide-ranging marketing initiative to lift its PC sales. The company is selling machines with preinstalled Internet access software to allow out-of-the-box connectivity. It also has launched a trade-in program that gives buyers of Gateway PCs market prices for machines that are two to four years old. Installment payments now are possible as well. In addition, Gateway's affiliate will send technicians to owners' homes to fix problems.
With increasing numbers of small and midsized companies joining big firms in deciding to outsource the development and the operation of their information systems, IBM JAPAN LTD. has received more requests for assistance than its staff can handle. Help is on the way, however. Under a contract with INTEC INC., the major Toyama prefecture data-processing company will make available as many as 1,000 engineers working at 20 of its nationwide computer centers to set up and run businesses' computer systems. Intec expects the deal with IBM Japan, which will handle the marketing and the administrative sides of the outsourcing contracts, to generate annual revenues of $82.6 million after three years.
A second generation of data center servers from SEQUENT COMPUTER SYSTEMS, INC. based on the Beaverton, Oregon manufacturer's alternative NUMA-Q architecture is available. The industry's first Pentium II Xeon-based server scalable beyond eight processors, the NUMA-Q 2000 scales from four to 64 400-MHz Pentium II Xeon processors utilizing one to 16 four-processor boards or quads, as Sequent calls them. That capability delivers a significant performance improvement on the initial NUMA-Q 2000 family as well as the competition. Pricing also is more aggressive. Moreover, the second-generation product can support as much as 64 GB of main memory and 48 terabytes of connected storage, including the first Fibre Channel direct-connect capability to EMC CORP. Symmetrix Enterprise Storage systems. In the first quarter of 1999, Sequent will extend its NUMA-Q platform down to address the requirements of the midrange market. The NUMA-Q 1000 will be available as a four-processor or an eight-processor system.
The first high-end COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP. servers powered by the ultrafast Alpha 21264 (EV6) 64-bit RISC processor will be released in December. The initial members of the AlphaServer GS series, the AlphaServer GS60 and the AlphaServer GS140, replace current AlphaServer 8200 and 8400 systems, providing up to twice the power and application performance. Like their predecessors, the new models will support DIGITAL UNIX, OpenVMS and Windows NT. Pricing of an AlphaServer GS60 with 4 GB of memory starts at $247,900. The AlphaServer GS140 costs $504,100 and up. Compaq's subsidiary expects to sell between 200 and 300 AlphaServer GS series products in their first year on the market for such demanding jobs as enterprise decision support, Internet service and high-performance technical applications. Although no timetable has been released, Compaq will use the Alpha 21264 chip in planned midrange AlphaServers (ES series) and low-end AlphaServers (DS series).
The battle among U.S. companies for share in the Unix server market is just as intense in Japan as it is at home. HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. believes that it can gain ground with two lines of highly rackable, performance-dense enterprise servers tailored for Internet service providers. Both the HP 9000 A-Class Enterprise Server and the HP 9000 R-Class Enterprise Server come integrated with the HP Secure Web Console, which allows ISPs to manage their servers remotely from virtually any location worldwide. The two lines also feature HP Web Quality of Service technology, which delivers peak user management and privilege-based services, thereby enabling ISPs to offer aggressive service-level guarantees. Pricing for the A-Class servers starts at a surprisingly low $5,900. The R-Class, which is designed for ISPs that want extremely high-perform-ance density, superior racking capabilities and scalability, goes for $29,400 and up. The $65,200-plus HP 9000 D-Class Enterprise Server, introduced at the same time, is targeted at applications where scalability is the primary purchasing criterion.
SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC.'s subsidiary parried with the Netra t 1125 server, the first Netra telco platform released in Japan. This carrier-grade system was designed specifically for easy deployment in network environments. Offering a variety of rack- mount options, the dual processor-capable system leverages the latest Sun UltraSPARC technology. A system with a single 300-MHz UltraSPARC-II processor starts at $32,300, while a dual-processor configuration costs anywhere from $54,500.
In a worldwide release, INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP. added two models to its RS/6000 line of Unix workstations that it said set a new standard for the speed of graphics processing. The RS/6000 43P Model 260 runs off the new POWER3 processor. According to IBM, it delivers more raw computing power than the RISC chips powering Unix machines from HEWLETT-PACKARD CO., SILICON GRAPHICS, INC. and SUN MICROSYSTEMS, INC. However, the key to the claimed record-setting graphics performance of the Model 260 is a design that allows the processor to work together with IBM's just-released GXT3000P graphics adapter. IBM JAPAN LTD. has listed the Model 260, its parent's first 64-bit symmetric multiprocessor workstation, at $26,700. The companion RS/6000 43P Model 150 workstation incorporates the fastest 32-bit PowerPC ever, a 375-MHz processor. This power is especially useful for mechanical computer-aided design. The Model 150, which provides twice the performance of its predecessor, also can be used as an e-business server. It is priced at $16,500.
To ensure that it remains one of the fast-growing suppliers of Windows NT workstations, IBM JAPAN LTD. introduced the complete line of graphics-optimized IntelliStation workstations. The entry-level model, the E Pro, costs $4,500. It is designed for companies moving up to Windows NT from Windows 95. The midrange M Pro delivers accelerated two-dimensional graphics, entry-level 3D or advanced 3D. Powered by one or two Pentium II processors running at up to 450 MHz, the M Pro comes with 512 KB of L2 cache and INTEL CORP.'s bandwidth-enhancing 440BX AGPset (accelerated graphics port) chipset. Pricing begins at $5,300. Rounding out the IntelliStation line is the just-released Z Pro. It marks the debut of the 450-MHz Pentium II Xeon processor with its supporting 440GX AGPset chipset in this family. Targeted at compute and graphics-intensive applications, the $12,200-and-up Z Pro is equipped with a full suite of manageability features.
HEWLETT-PACKARD CO., the worldwide Unix and Windows NT workstation leader, also has brought the speed and the performance capabilities of the 450-MHz Pentium II Xeon processor and the 440GX AGPset chipset to the HP Kayak PC Workstation family. The line's high end is defined by the HP Kayak XW PC Workstation with HP VISUALIZE fx6. HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. has priced this system, claimed to deliver the fastest 3D graphics in a Windows NT environment, from $10,700. The midrange PC workstation market is covered by the HP Kayak XU PC Workstation. HP boosts that the new machine provides best-in-class entry-level 3D OpenGL graphics performance at prices that begin in Japan at $6,900. HP Japan also added a low-end HP Kayak XA PC Workstation built around a 450-MHz Pentium II processor with its accompanying 440BX AGPset chipset. For prices beginning at $3,800, buyers have a choice of graphics accelerators: a Matrox Millenium G200 AGP 2X card for 2D performance or an ELSA GLoria Synergy+ AGP card for 3D applications.
Going head-to-head with these products is the Compaq Professional Workstation SP700. The first product in a new Scalable Performance line of professional workstations, COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP. says that it is designed for users that require scalability, expandability and optimum performance. Like the competition, the SP700 incorporates the latest Pentium II Xeon processor technology and offers dual processor support. Buyers also can choose between a 2D graphics controller, the ELSA GLoria Synergy+, or 3D support in the form of the Compaq PowerStorm 300 card. A 2D-capable SP700 is priced from $7,400, while Compaq's subsidiary has listed the 3D variant at $11,600 and up.
INTERGRAPH CORP. is making its own best-in-class performance claims for the TDZ 2000 GX1 ViZual Workstation family, which now is available with a 450-MHz Pentium II Xeon processor along with the 440GX AGPset chipset and an AGP graphics bus. The Huntsville, Alabama company also boasts that the TDZ 2000 GX1 offers the industry's broadest selection of 2D and 3D graphics options, including its own Intense 3D Pro and RealiZm II 3D Graphics, as well as the lone graphics upgrade program, which will allow customers to upgrade their Xeon-based machines to Intergraph's forthcoming Wildcat 3D Graphics Technology. The com-pany's subsidiary has started pricing of the new TDZ 2000 GX1 system at $9,500.
Servers building on the strengths of the Pentium II Xeon technology continue to appear on the market. DATA GENERAL CORP.'s subsidiary, for instance, released the AViiON AV 3700 department server. It supports up to four 400-MHz Xeon chips and provides 512 KB or 1 MB of L2 cache, an internal memory expandable to 4 GB, a high- performance dual PCI (peripheral component interconnect) bus and a number of high- availability features. Much the same description applies to MICRON ELECTRONICS, INC.'s NetFRAME 6200 server, which starts at $7,800. Both companies' products are being marketed as ideal for such uses as Internet/intranet/extranet and print/file and for groupware applications like e-mail and BackOffice.
More manufacturers also have released departmental servers that take advantage of the price/perform-ance characteristics of the 450-MHz Pentium II processor. These include the dual processor-capable HP NetServer LPr from HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. and the similarly configurable AViiON AV 2700 from DATA GENERAL CORP. The HP product is notable for being the first Windows NT server to be backed by a 99.9 percent uptime commitment. The HP NetServer LPr is priced from $6,300, while the AV 2700, like other DG products, is open-priced. .....Meanwhile, GATEWAY 2000, INC., a relative newcomer to the PC server business (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 349, October 1998, p. 12), has on the market the ALR 7200 for small workgroups. It is powered by one or two 350-MHz Pentium II processors.
The higher number of PCs for the workplace introduced recently would seem to indicate that U.S. suppliers believe the long-awaited upturn in business demand is at hand. The new products include the HP Vectra VL series 8HE line from HEWLETT- PACKARD JAPAN LTD. Powered by a 450-MHz Pentium II processor with 512 KB of integrated cache, this line comes with a 100-MHz bus, the 440BX AGPset chipset, 8 MB of video memory, a 4X DVD-ROM drive, 10.1 GB of hard disk storage and the Matrox Millenium G200 3D AGP graphics controller. The desktop version of the HP Vectra VL/8HE costs about $4,800; the minitower configuration is priced roughly $100 more.
Going after the networking part of the market, GATEWAY 2000, INC.'s subsidiary released a series of Windows 95 managed PCs. Approximately $1,400 buys the E- 1200 entry-level client machine, which runs off a 333-MHz Celeron processor with 128 KB of cache. It has 32 MB of SRAM, a 3.2-GB Ultra ATA hard drive, a 3.5-inch 1.44-MB diskette drive, a 13X CD-ROM drive, a graphics accelerator and a 15-inch color monitor. The new line also includes the E-3200 managed PCs, which use either a 350-MHz, 400-MHz or 450-MHz Pentium II processor with 512 KB of cache. These machines are equipped with 96 MB of SDRAM expandable to 384 MB, a 6.4-GB Smart II Ultra ATA hard drive, the same diskette and CD-ROM drives as the E-1200, a 17-inch monitor and a powerful graphics accelerator. Pricing for the E-3200 line begins at less than $1,700.
The SOHO market is the primary target of MICRON ELECTRONICS, INC.'s refreshed line of value-priced Millennia PCs. The six models include the Millennia 450 MicroTower, which features a 450-MHz Pentium II processor with a 100-MHz system bus and SDRAM memory along with the 440BX AGPset chipset, and the 333-MHz Celeron-powered Millennia C333 MicroTower with a 440EX PCI chipset.
In what would seem like a case of overkill, GATEWAY 2000, INC.'s subsidiary announced a PC for the home powered by the ultrafast 450-MHz Pentium II Xeon processor. The company acknowledges, however, that the fully featured, multimedia- oriented GX-450 is aimed at the real computer enthusiast, the person in search of the ultimate PC.
In time for the Christmas shopping season, COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP.'s subsidiary unveiled seven desktop models in its home-oriented Presario family as well as a pair of Presario notebooks. All of the machines are value-priced, thanks in part to the use of processors from ADVANCED MICRO DEVICES, INC. The four low-end desktops cost from under $1,200 to less than $1,600. The three higher-performance desktops range from $1,800 to $2,300. Typical of the latter models is the Internet-optimized Presario 5150, which runs off a 350-MHz AMD-K6-2 processor with 3D Now! technology and comes with a 100-MHz system bus and 512 KB of L2 pipeline burst cache. The two notebooks, priced from under $1,700 to $2,500, include the Presario 1235. Billed as the affordable Internet notebook, it uses a 266-MHz AMD-K6-2 MMX Enhanced mobile processor.
Affordability also is IBM JAPAN LTD.'s marketing theme for the new ThinkPad i series multimedia-optimized, all-in-one notebooks aimed at the individual buyer. The ThinkPad i is available through mail order with a 266-MHz mobile Pentium II processor for $1,900 or with a Pentium processor with MMX technology for $2,200.
IBM JAPAN LTD. also is shipping a new line of ThinkPad notebooks designed specifically for small and midsized businesses. The ThinkPad 390 series provides an integrated all-in-one design, compatibility with Windows NT Workstation 4.0 and a number of high-end features packaged in the slim form (1.8 inches) much in demand in Japan today. The ThinkPad 390 also is aggressively priced. A model with a 233- MHz Pentium processor with MMX technology, a 12.1-inch active-matrix TFT display, 32 MB of internal memory, 3.2 GB of disk drive storage, a CD-ROM drive and an integrated 56K modem costs $2,500. A machine with a 233-MHz mobile Pentium II processor also is available, as is one with a 266-MHz mobile Pentium II processor, a 14.1-inch active-matrix TFT display, a 4.3-GB hard drive and 64 MB of system memory. The latter goes for $4,100.
The follow-on to the DIGITAL HiNote Ultra 2000 series of notebooks is shipping. COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP.'s Armada 6500 Series has a profile of just 1.4 inches and weighs under 6 pounds. Powered by the 300-MHz mobile Pentium II processor, the line has a 14.1-inch active-matrix TFT screen, 64 MB of SDRAM memory, 512 KB of L2 cache, a 6.4-GB hard drive, a 24X CD-ROM drive, integrated communications and enhanced AGP graphics. It lists for $5,800.
COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP.'s subsidiary also has introduced the Armada 3500 Series, the company's thinnest (1.3 inches) and lightest (4.4 pounds) notebook to date. For added strength and durability, the line incorporates a magnesium alloy enclosure around the 13.3-inch or 12.1-inch active-matrix TFT display. Four Armada 3500 models are available. Two use a 266-MHz mobile Pentium II processor, while the other pair runs off a 300-MHz mobile Pentium II chip. Prices start at $3,300 for a model with Windows 95 preinstalled.
In a simultaneous release, the local COMPAQ COMPUTER CORP. unit added two models to its all-in-one, value-priced Armada 1700 Series. One features a 300-MHz mobile Pentium II processor, a 14.1-inch active-matrix TFT screen and a 5-GB hard drive. The other is built around a 233-MHz mobile Pentium II chip and comes with a 12.1-inch monochrome display and a 3.2-GB hard drive.
A collaborative effort between HEWLETT-PACKARD CO. and information-processing system developer TOHO BUSINESS MANAGEMENT CENTER has yielded a pen- based tablet system. Using a special ballpoint pen with a built-in pressure sensor, information written on paper placed over an electronic tablet produces both a hard copy and an electronic record. The data later can be transferred to a PC. HP was responsible for the hardware, while Toho Business Management Center developed the software.
The pioneer in the field of electronic books, NUVOMEDIA, INC., has teamed with SHARP CORP. to develop lighter appliances compatible with its Rocket eBook electronic reader that also deliver a sharper image. The Palo Alto, California start-up's Rocket eBook basically allows people to take a small library with them wherever they go. The current product, which was to be launched in the United States in early November, is a 22-ounce handheld device that can hold at least 4,000 pages the equivalent of about 10 novels of text and graphics at a time. Being digital, books read on the Rocket eBook can be browsed, searched, annotated, highlighted, bookmarked, linked and referenced. NuvoMedia's original Rocket eBook incorporates Sharp's new, more readable LCD technology.
In back-to-back moves, EMC CORP.'s subsidiary launched remote monitoring of its enterprise-class storage subsystem and backup equipment (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 349, October 1998, p. 14) and announced two more sales and service bases. The first, located in Takamatsu, Kagawa prefecture (Shikoku island), already is open. An office in Hiroshima will be in business in the spring of 1999. Like EMC's other local offices, the new facilities promise to respond to clients' service problems within an hour.
First-year sales of 200 units are being projected for a new line of network file servers from AUSPEX SYSTEMS, INC. Two versions of the Auspex NetServer NS 8000 are available. The enterprise-class NS 8000/850 features increased storage density using the Santa Clara, California company's network-attached storage subsystem. It can scale from as little as 100 GB of storage up to 3.6 terabytes on a single system. Auspex also is touting the product's increased system performance, support for Gigabit Ethernet and Year 2000 compliance. The entry-level Auspex NetServer NS 8000/350, designed for workgroup and departmental environments, offers the same functional advancements as the NS 8000/850 but scales to 760 GB of storage.
In an expansion of its line of automated tape backup solutions, HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. introduced the $20,900 HP SureStore DLT Autoloader 718 for enterprise local area networks using Windows NT, Windows 95, NetWare or Unix system servers with 18 GB to 70 GB of overall networked data capacity. Working with a DLT (digital linear tape) 7000 drive, the new product can transfer 5 MB of data a second in native mode and 10 MB per second compressed. This speed, it is claimed, makes the HP SureStore DLT Autoloader 718 the fastest autoloader currently available. It provides a total capacity of 280 GB (native) and 560 GB (compressed). HP Japan figures that it can sell 900 autoloader 718s in their first year on the market.
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP. continues to cram more capacity into its small-form-factor Travelstar hard disk drives for notebook computers. Its latest record-breaking drive, the Travelstar 14GS, holds 14.1 GB of data about four times more than today's typical notebook hard drive contains in a drive not much thicker than a cassette tape at 17 millimeters high. Announced at the same time was the Travelstar 6GN, the world's highest-capacity (6.4 GB) 9.5-mm hard drive for ultraportable computers, and the Travelstar 10GT, a 10-GB drive for the mainstream notebook market that measures just 12.5 mm thick. All three drives also represent the first implementation of IBM's Drive Fitness Test, which lets users quickly and easily check out the health of their drives. IBM JAPAN LTD., which will manufacture the new products for certain of its ThinkPad notebooks as well as for other computer vendors, is sampling the Travelstar 14GS at $1,300, the Travelstar 6GN at $660 and the Travelstar 10GT at $990.
The Optra Color 1200 page printer, which LEXMARK INTERNATIONAL, INC. developed with CASIO COMPUTER CO., LTD. (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 349, October 1998, p. 4), will debut in Japan at the end of December. The $7,400 network system outputs up to 12 pages per minute, or about twice as much as most color printers on the market, with a resolution of 600 X 600 dots per inch. At the same time, Lexmark's subsidiary will start shipping the Optra Color 45. This $1,400 machine can print 4 ppm from the network on a wide variety of media.
The first color laser printers are shipping from HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. The HP Color LaserJet 4500 Series delivers 4 ppm in full color and 16 ppm in black and white with a resolution of 600 dpi. Like other printer manufacturers, HP Japan is hyping its machines' ease of use, exceptional print quality and ability to print on various media. The HP Color Laser Jet 4500 lists for $4,100, while the network version goes for $4,800.
HEWLETT-PACKARD JAPAN LTD. is marketing the Asia-only HP DesignJet 488CA large-format color printer. This entry-level, fully localized solution is intended primarily for graphics professionals. It includes a driver-like software raster image processor for PostScript 3 compatibility under both the Macintosh and the Windows operating systems. The A1-size version of the HP DesignJet 488CA is priced at $4,500, while a model that can make poster-size prints (36 inches wide or A0) costs $5,800.
Print shops now have an alternative source of large-format color printers: EASTMAN KODAK CO. KODAK PROFESSIONAL Large Format 2042 and 2060 Printers support virtually all types of media up to 42 inches or 60 inches wide, respectively, with a resolution of 300 X 300 dpi. Moreover, they utilize both extended gamut pigmented inks for outdoor/indoor applications or new, high-quality dye inks for indoor materials. Designed to work with both Macintosh and Windows (95 and NT) machines, the printers use POSTERJET RIP software from DIGICOLOR CORP. Kodak's subsidiary priced the 2042 at $31,400 and the 2060 at $35,500.
A 3D laser scanning system developed by REAL 3D, INC. is available through Tokyo distributor GENETEC CORP. The Orlando, Florida company's RealScan 3D enables users to capture complex texture and geometric data of any real world object. The resulting model then can be edited and manipulated using RealScan 3D's Tribeca model-editing software. The digital models are exported in several popular industry- standard formats. The two versions of RealScan 3D, which works with a Windows NT OpenGL-class workstation, are priced around $32,000 and $41,300, respectively.
Shipments were scheduled to begin in late November of what SILICON GRAPHICS, INC. says is the highest-resolution flat panel monitor commercially available. The 17.3- inch (diagonal) monitor displays 16.7 million colors in a 1,600-pixel X 1,024-pixel format. The Silicon Graphics 1600SW also features a second-generation OpenLDI digital interface. SGI's subsidiary is marketing the $3,200 monitor for use with its O2 workstations.
LINKSYS's subsidiary is marketing the PC Combination, a localized version of the Irvine, California company's ProConnect CPU Switch. The $245 product lets the buyer control two or more PCs from a single keyboard, monitor and mouse. They can be accessed with the press of a key. Alternately, the switch's cycling feature can be used to switch automatically among the machines at preset time intervals.
Under an OEM deal, MITSUMI ELECTRIC CO., LTD. is manufacturing the CEM-D10 for sale by INTEL CORP. The Tokyo-headquartered maker of computer peripheral equipment currently is turning out monthly 50,000 of the card-edge connectors for AGP buses, but in the near term, it will boost volume to 200,000 CEM-D10s a month.
An exchange rate of ¥121=$1.00 was used in this report.