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No. 359, August 1999

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Japanese Companies in the US


For the first time, HITACHI DATA SYSTEMS CORP., which offers a broad range of servers, multiplatform storage subsystems and professional services, will use a two- tiered technical distribution sales channel. The HITACHI, LTD. subsidiary already has signed channel partnership agreements with the Greenville, South Carolina Gates/Arrow Distributing unit of ARROW ELECTRONICS, INC., TECH DATA CORP., a Clearwater, Florida company that previously worked with HITACHI PC CORP., and Wyle Systems of Irvine, California, which is part of VEBA ELECTRONICS INC. Hitachi Freedom Storage 5800 systems and Hitachi VisionBase 8880R PC servers are the initial products going through the two-tiered channel. Others will be added in time. Within three years, Santa Clara, California-headquartered Hitachi Data Systems calculates, channel-based revenues will account for 70 percent of its total.

HITACHI DATA SYSTEMS CORP.'s Skyline Trinium family of enterprise servers, designed for the availability requirements of electronic business, soon will have a lower point of entry. Come December, two-way and three-way Trinium servers will be ready in addition to the four-way to 12-way models scheduled for September shipment and the 13-engine to 16-engine models expected to be on the market by the first quarter of 2000.

A PACKARD BELL NEC, INC. trying to get back on a growth track is banking on the success of each and every new product it introduces, whether the Consumer Division's recently announced NEC Z1 high-end home computer (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 358, July 1999, p. 3) or three additions to the NEC Ready line for home or home office environments. With suggested retail prices of $800 to $1,300, this trio offers a choice of processors from the 433-MHz Celeron up to the 450-MHz Pentium III. Buyers also can opt for 64 megabytes or 96 MB of system memory (expandable to 256 MB), an 8.4-gigabyte or a 10.2-GB hard drive, and a 32X CD-ROM (compact disc-read-only memory) drive or a DVD-ROM (digital video disc) drive. Two of the three also come with a CD-Rewritable drive for easy data storage and archiving.

Offering small to midsize businesses the latest portable technology at industry-leading prices is how the Computer Systems Division of TOSHIBA AMERICA INFORMATION SYSTEMS, INC. describes the Satellite 4100XDVD and the Satellite 4090XDVD. The first product features the new 400-MHz mobile Pentium II chip, a 14.1-inch active- matrix TFT (thin-film-transistor) LCD (liquid crystal display) screen, 64 MB of synchronous dynamic random access memory (expandable to 192 MB) and a 6.4-GB hard drive for $2,800. The second product has the same configuration but incorporates a 400-MHz Celeron processor. It lists for $2,400. As their model numbers suggest, the two new notebooks also have a DVD-ROM drive.

Catering to the needs of budget-conscious small businesses, TOSHIBA AMERICA INFORMATION SYSTEMS, INC.'s CSD also released the Satellite 2595 Series. Available in three different configurations, this line shares a 400-MHz Celeron processor, 64 MB of internal memory and an all-in-one design that integrates the hard drive, diskette drive and DVD-ROM or CD-ROM drive for a slimmer form factor. The Satellite 2595XDVD model, which is priced at $2,300, has a 6.4-GB hard drive, a 14.1- inch active-matrix display and a 2X DVD-ROM drive. For $1,800, customers can acquire the Satellite 2595CDT with a 6.4-GB hard drive, a 12.1-inch TFT LCD display and a 24X CD-ROM drive. For buyers on a smaller budget, there is the $1,600 Satellite 2595CDS with a 4.3-GB hard drive, a 24X CD-ROM drive and a 13-inch dual-scan Color Bright display.

For individual buyers, TOSHIBA AMERICA INFORMATION SYSTEMS, INC.'s CSD now is offering the Satellite 2060CDS/2065CDS. These models, which start at $1,400, use the 366-MHz AMD-K6-2 processor. They are equipped with a 4.3-GB hard drive, an integrated 24X CD-ROM drive and a 12.1-inch Color Bright display.

However they are described — personal organizers or personal digital assistants — handheld computers are becoming ever-more sophisticated. For instance, the ePlate from HITACHI AMERICA, LTD. offers the powerful connectivity of the Windows CE Handheld PC Professional Edition, Version 3, operating system, a 7.5-inch resistive- touch color flat-panel display with a VGA (video graphics array) resolution of 640 x 480 pixels and handwriting recognition, a 128-MHz SuperH SH-4 RISC (reduced instruction-set computing) processor and 16 MB of RAM memory for $1,200. This price also buys a battery with an estimated use time of nine hours and a package that weighs just 29.6 ounces.

Users of HITACHI DATA SYSTEMS CORP.'s enterprise-level Hitachi Freedom Storage 7700E storage subsystems now can access any data on any computer, anywhere, at any time. The Hitachi Freedom Storage NanoCopy is described as the storage industry's first hardware-based remote copy solution with full data integrity. It copies data between any number of primary subsystems and any number of secondary subsystems. The copies can be of any type or amount of data and can be recorded on subsystems anywhere in the world.

Whatever the storage requirements of desktop and portable PCs, one of the hard disk drives recently introduced by FUJITSU COMPUTER PRODUCTS OF AMERICA, INC. probably fits the bill. Its Desktop 27 family, which incorporates third-generation giant magneto-resistive heads, spans 10 models ranging in capacity from 6.4 GB to 27.3 GB with rotational speeds of either 5400 RPM or 7200 RPM. All are Ultra ATA 66- compatible so that they can take advantage of the latest drive-system interface for transferring data. Four high-performance models, grouped as the Desktop 27 XP series, offer a record-fast data transfer rate of 40.7 MB per second. Three Desktop 27 XV models, which have transfer rates of up to 30.4 MB per second, are optimized for audio/visual and Internet applications, while three others are designed for cost- conscious consumer PC users. For manufacturers of value-class PCs and entertainment devices for budget-minded buyers, the San Jose, California supplier also introduced a pair of entry-level desktop hard drives. Available in capacities of 4.3 GB and 8.4 GB, the XV8 models are 5400-RPM drives with transfer rates of up to 34.4 MB per second and average seek times of 9.5 milliseconds, the same as the Desktop 27 XV products. According to Fujitsu Computer Products, it is the first company to release a single-platter 8.4-GB drive and a single-head 4.3-GB desktop drive.

FUJITSU COMPUTER PRODUCTS OF AMERICA, INC. also is helping notebook computer users pack more data into thinner machines. Its new Mobile 18 XP Series of 2.5-inch drives includes storage capacities of 6, 9, 12 and 18 GB in 9.5-millimeter and 12.5-mm heights. All feature third-generation GMR heads and a transfer rate of 22.4 MB per second. The Mobile 18 XP Series also is said to be the first in its class to offer the UDMA 66 interface, which enables faster transaction speeds.

Not forgetting the growing ranks of APPLE COMPUTER, INC. buyers, FUJITSU COMPUTER PRODUCTS OF AMERICA, INC. added to its family of DynaMO magneto- optical drives two external products for G3 and iMac customers that are compatible with the high-speed FireWire/IEEE 1394 peripheral connection interface. The DynaMO 1300FE provides 1.3 GB of removable, rewritable capacity on a single 3.5-inch disk, the highest MO capacity in the industry, the company claims, while the DynaMO 640FE provides 640 MB of storage. Fujitsu Computer Products also announced the external DynaMO 640USB for systems like the G3 and the iMac that have a universal serial port. All three products are hot-pluggable.

The second product in RICOH CO., LTD.'s line of CD-Recordable/CD-Rewritable drives (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 358, July 1999, p. 4) is designed specifically for laptop computers. Available from the firm's Tustin, California subsidiary, the portable MediaMaster MP8040SE combines 4X CD-R recording and 4X CD-RW rewriting with a 20X CD-reader. It has a suggested price of $550.

An exchange rate of ¥120=$1.00 was used in this report.aaaaaa

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