Contents | < Browse | Browse >

/// CPU Status Report                     Late Breaking Industry-Wide News


SOMERS, NEW YORK -- Hoping to repeat the success of earlier ThinkPad models,
IBM has launched the ThinkPad 750 series, which brings to the notebook line
new multimedia capabilities still rare in portable computers. 

The new notebooks have built-in stereo audio subsystems, with jacks for
microphones, headphones, or speakers. Options promised by early next year
include an add-on device that will let users display a television or video
signal on the ThinkPad 750's screen, and a mobile communications module for
wireless telephone, facsimile, and electronic mail. 

Another option, IBM VoiceType Control speech recognition software, will let
users control the machines with spoken commands. 

The new ThinkPad 750 line includes four models. The basic 750 is a monochrome
notebook, though it can be upgraded to an active matrix color screen or one
that accepts pen input. The 750P accepts pen as well as keyboard input. The
750Cs has a 9.5-inch, dual-scan, passive matrix color display. Finally, the
750C has a 10.4-inch, active matrix color display. 

All four models use a 33-megahertz (MHz) 486SL processor, and come with a
Personal Computer Memory Card Interface Association (PCMCIA) Type III slot, as
much as 20 megabytes (MB) of memory, and a choice of 170-MB or 340-MB hard disk

All four also use the TrackPoint pointing device, a small lever mounted in the
middle of the keyboard to take the place of a mouse or trackball. 

In spite of their special multimedia capabilities, the machines are expected to
appeal to a broad market, an IBM spokesperson said. 

The ThinkPad Dock I docking station provides a full-size Industry Standard
Architecture (ISA) expansion slot, and support for as many as five Small
Computer Systems Interface (SCSI) internal or external devices, with one SCSI
drive bay that can hold an optional compact disc read-only memory (CD-ROM)
drive. The Dock I also includes built-in stereo speakers and a battery charger.

There are also two port replicators meant to allow easy connection to a network
when in the office. The Port Replicator I has a PCMCIA Type III slot, while the
Port Replicator II does not. 

In the first quarter of 1994, IBM plans to provide the ThinkPad TV Tuner
module, a device that will let users plug TV or video feeds into the notebook
and see them displayed on the screen. To use this option, ThinkPad 750 owners
will need to take out the notebook's removable diskette drive. The TV Tuner
module will fit in the space vacated by the drive. 

Users can also remove the diskette drive to lighten the machine when
travelling, IBM said. Without the diskette drive, the basic 750 weighs five
pounds, while the other models weigh up to 6.1 pounds. The diskette drive adds
half a pound to the weight, the company said. 

Removing the disk drive will also make room for another option, a cellular
digital packet data module called the ThinkPad CDPD. This will allow for
wireless phone, fax, or electronic mail communication, and is due to be
available in the first quarter of next year. 

IBM claimed the 750 offers impressive battery life. The company said the 750
and 750P will run for about 12 hours in typical use and the color models will
run about eight hours. 

IBM PC Direct catalog prices are: $3,199 for the ThinkPad 750 with 170-MB hard
disk; $3,749 for the 750 with 340-MB hard disk; $3,749 for the 750P with 170-MB
hard disk; $4,299 for the 750P with 340-MB hard disk; $3,899 for the 750Cs with
170-MB hard disk; $4,449 for the 750Cs with 340-MB hard disk; $4,699 for the
750C with 170-MB hard disk; and $5,249 for the 750C with 340-MB hard disk. 

All models are available now, IBM said, except the 750Cs, which is due to be
available by the end of November. 

The ThinkPad Dock I is also available now at $899, while the Port Replicator I
and II are available now at $299 and $109 respectively. 

The machines have a three-year warranty. 



AUSTIN, TEXAS -- IBM has announced that the OS/2 Online Book Collection,
the first compact disc read-only memory (CD-ROM) compilation of OS/2-related
documents, is now available worldwide. 

The disk contains the text and graphics of more than 100 product manuals,
publications, and white papers, all published by IBM, a spokeswoman for the
company said. According to the company the contents would cost about $1,000 if
purchased separately, but the list price for the CD-ROM is $49. 

The CD-ROM also contains the IBM Library Reader, which lets users view books
under OS/2 or DOS and provides search and retrieval functions. Tools included
on the CD-ROM let users upload books to a workstation hard disk or a mainframe,
the company said. 

"Now, instead of paging through books, users and developers can find the
answers they need through a quick CD-ROM search," said Wally Casey, director of
marketing for IBM's Personal Software Products business unit, in a prepared

Books are grouped into "bookshelves" such as OS/2 Product Documentation, OS/2
Technical Library, Communications Manager, LAN Server, and Transmission Control
Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) for OS/2. Users can also create customized
bookshelves that contain only the books they refer to most often, IBM said. 



MENLO PARK, CALIFORNIA -- Intuit claims the best new feature in Quicken 3 for
Windows is its new calendar that looks like a paper calendar and can be used
to schedule automated payments, record past activity, or just mark an
upcoming event. Intuit claims the calendar metaphor is not only easier to
use, but eliminates much of the repetitive data entry involved in using a
financial program. 

Intuit says its research decidedly showed a universal dislike for data entry.
The new Quicken 3 product is aimed at eliminating as much data entry as
possible. Some transactions must be entered, but Quicken says once they are,
users can simply pick those transactions off a memorized list and drop them
onto the calendar. 

Users who like the checkbook metaphor will be glad to know that it remains in
the product. 

The calendar can also be used to track birthdays and special events, just like
a paper calendar, the company added. Recurring transactions can be set up for
automatic entry as well, with or without the requirement for the approval of
the user before the transaction is posted. 

The program can also track investments via built-in spreadsheets so users no
longer have to export the information to a spreadsheet product in order to view
investment performance, the company said. Different views of the spreadsheets
offer the ability to look at investments from varying viewpoints, such as
estimated income, return on investment, percentage yield, market value, market
value change, and percent market value. Views may be customized as well. 

In addition, the Quickzoom feature, originally introduced to show the numbers
behind graphs and reports, has been expanded to the register so users may
create summary reports from their register transactions. A Quickreport feature
offers standard report layouts, and a new Comparison Reports feature has also
been added. 

Visual representation in the forms of graphs is available via the Financial
Planning Graph feature so users can see projected net worth, cash flow, and
future account balances. Trends in the current financial situation can be
viewed as well, and different what-if scenarios can be created and saved,
Intuit said. The program can even earmark funds for future financial goals and
let you know if current spending will impede those goals. 

Intuit says it offers better loan tracking in Quicken 3, so users can review
and manipulate all the information on their loans in one place. For those with
variable rate loans, anticipated interest rate changes can be forecasted and
stored and projected loan payments may then be calculated. 

Quicken also exports financial data to tax programs such as Turbotax from San
Diego, California-based Chipsoft. As a matter of fact, Intuit recently
announced it is purchasing Chipsoft, for an estimated $225 million and the
companies are boasting this merger will have the long term effect of making
financial integration and tax reporting even easier for users. 

Quicken 3 for Windows requires Windows 3.1 and 2 megabytes of random access
memory (RAM). The product is shipped on 3.5-inch disks, but users have the
option of receiving 5.25-inch disks by mail. 

The new version is retail priced at $69.95. Those upgrading from previous
versions of Quicken who purchase the product through retail channels get a $10
rebate, and new users get a $5 rebate. However, current users will find they
receive a substantial savings by ordering the product directly from Intuit for
$29.95 plus $5 shipping and handling. 



REDMOND, WASHINGTON -- Toshiba is the second company to actually license the
Microsoft at Work (MAW) operating system, according to an announcement made
by the two companies. 

Both Microsoft and Toshiba said they plan to work closely together in order to
make the Windows operating system and its graphical user interface (GUI)
off-shoots, such as MAW, work smoothly in consumer and computer hardware from

While the companies say they will work together on notebook and handheld
devices, specifically handheld devices that use MAW, Microsoft representatives
said today's announcement should not be viewed as a product announcement by
Toshiba. International Data Corporation (IDC) says Toshiba is the leading
vendor in the US portable computer market with 16.2 percent of the volume for
1992 and leads the notebook market with 20.7 percent of the sales 1992 volume. 

Microsoft announced MAW, internally known at the software giant as "Winpad," in
June of this year in New York. Over 65 companies announced support for MAW and
Compaq has licensed it for use in a planned handheld device. 

MAW is an operating system for smart office machines. The idea here is to make
products where all the features of the product are available via a graphical
user interface (GUI), instead of users having to learn to use the device
standing at the machine with the manual in one hand. Microsoft describes MAW as
a real- time, pre-emptive multitasking operating system designed to
specifically address the requirements of the office automation and
communication industries. MAW will hopefully offer digital connections between
the various types of office devices, such as fax machines and photo copiers, as
well as with personal computers running Windows. 

Specifics of the agreement are sketchy, but are outlined by Toshiba and
Microsoft as cooperation on: the next generation of Microsoft's operating
system software, currently planned to contain mobile services for notebook
computer users; handheld computing devices incorporating MAW software "Plug and
Play," which allows hardware and software to automatically configure the system
with minimal user involvement; and product support and marketing programs that
include technical support and marketing communications. 

This announcement is on the heels of an announcement by Sharp that it plans to
incorporate the GUI DOS-compatible Geos operating system in its next handheld
device, the PT-9000. Expected for fourth quarter introduction this year, Sharp
is calling the PT-9000 a Personal Information Assistant (PIA) and says the
steno-pad sized pen-based unit will have a detachable keyboard. Casio and Tandy
have already announced adoption of the Geos operating system for the Zoomer, a
personal digital assistant (PDA) expected for introduction later this month. 

Microsoft representatives said there have been no plans announced to
incorporate Windows into the hardware of Toshiba notebook computers.
Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft introduced a palmtop computer, the Omnibook, in
which Windows is incorporated into the hardware of the notebook in much the
same way Apple Computer has incorporated its operating system into the
read-only memory (ROM) hardware of its computers. 

Toshiba Computer Systems (TAIS) is headquartered in Irvine, California and
boasts $1 billion annually in sales. It is owned by Toshiba America, a
subsidiary of the $39.9 billion Toshiba Corporation of Japan. Microsoft is the
world's largest software company, headquartered in Redmond, Washington. 



LONDON, ENGLAND -- Rupert Murdoch, the millionaire magnate behind the
British Sky Broadcasting (BSB) satellite TV network in the UK, has
revealed he has signed a deal to develop a common international satellite
TV system. 

"We have been for some time developing the means with which people will access
the almost infinite wealth of programming and services (which) digital
compression will bring the consumer," Murdoch said, adding that he has now
signed a contract with National Transcommunications Limited (NTL), the UK
telecom research company, as well as Comstream, the US high technology firm. 

The contract was signed last between News International, Murdoch's media
company, and NTL plus Comstream. 

Although Murdoch has given no further details of the agreement, industry
sources suggest that the digital TV system will be tested on the Astra 1D
satellite which is scheduled to begin transmissions some time next year. The
Astra 1A, 1B and 1C satellites, which between them, carry 48 satellite stations
across Europe, work to analog standards. 

Using digital transmission standards could, in theory, increase the number of
channels per transponder from one to eight, meaning that a 16-transponder
satellite such as Astra 1D could carry as many as 128 different channels. 

In the short term, there are unlikely to be many broadcast channels available,
Newsbytes notes. Instead, what is likely to happen is that the same movie will
be transmitted on eight different channels, each channel staggered by 15
minutes from the others. So, no matter what time a viewer tunes in to a movie,
s/he would wait no longer than 15 minutes for it to start. 

   The preceding stories (c) 1993 NewsBytes.  Reprinted with permission.