Archive for June, 2010

Cisco is an unlikely tablet vendor but the company has just done the unthinkable by announcing a tablet of its own. The Cisco Cius will not be competing in the consumer market, though. The company is hoping that the Android-based tablet will prove to be just the ticket for businesses looking to equip mobile workers with devices that  let them “access and share the content they need from any place on the network.

Equipped with a 5-megapixel rear facing camera and a 720p HD camera on the front, the 7-inch tablet is being touted as potent collaboration and communications platform by the company: “Cisco Cius offers HD video streaming and real-time video, multi-party conferencing, email, messaging, browsing, and the ability to produce, edit and share content stored locally or centrally in the cloud.”

As for connectivity, only 802.11 a/b/g/n and 3G will be supported at launch (first quarter of 2011), with a 4G variant set to follow later. Cisco has promised that the Cius would be priced below $1000.

Image Credit: Cisco

Notebook makers are going to have a tough time moving units in the second half of 2010, says Joanne Chien, senior analyst of Digitimes Research.

According to Chien, one of the culprits is weaker-than-expected back-to-school demand, which means kids will have to rough it the old fashioned way – with pen and paper.

It doesn’t stop there, however. Sales are likely to stay low for the end-of-year holiday shopping season, at least compared to last year, Chien noted. This will be true in both Europe and the U.S..

How tablets fit into all this remains to be seen. Apple’s iPad has already jumped out of the gates with a strong start, and several competitors are lining up slates of their own for release in the second half of 2010. Depending on who releases what, and for how much, tablets could end up one of the hottest selling tech items this holiday season.

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ECS may not be on your radar when shopping for new computer parts, but it may end up in your system anyway. According to reports, Asus plans to outsource a portion of its production of motherboards and videocards to ECS. If true, it’s somewhat of a curious decision, given that the two companies are rivals of sorts, but apparently Asus wants to wean itself off of Pegatron Technology, at least partially, industry sources say.

None of this is official yet and Asus is keeping tight lipped, but the company did recently add Foxconn and Quanta as production partners for notebooks and Eee PCs, as well as employed Foxconn as its OEM maker of Garmin-Asus smartphones.

While Asus is looking to expand its production relationships, Pegatron has been picking up the slack by soliciting business from motherboard and videocard orders from Gigabyte, the sources added.

Image Credit: Asus

The battle for network convergence heated up last week as QLogic announced that HP has selected the QLogic ‘Bullet’ FCoE Switching ASIC to power its Virtual Connect FlexFabric switch module for the company’s new BladeSystem platforms.

Hard drive makers living high on the hog will find themselves in a bit of rut in the second half of 2010, which sources say is the result of Europe’s ongoing bond crisis. Both third and fourth quarter HDD shipments are now expected to be 5-10 percent lower than originally forecast.

This is the same time period that’s traditionally been considered the peak season for the IT industry, but hard drive makers are already starting to feel the pinch. Citing a research firm’s figures, shipments once expected to reach 165 million units in the second quarter have now been reduced to 152-155 million.

If there’s a silver lining, it’s that 2010 has been particularly strong overall. Even though none of the HDD players are likely to reach their original shipment goals for the second half of 2010, shipments for the entire year should still end up seeing growth compared to 2009.

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