News Bits: Acer and Compal, MacBook Demand Stretches Supply, Fujitsu Soccer Laptops

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Acer finalizes notebook orders for 2007, Compal takes largest portion


Acer has finalized notebook contract orders with its suppliers for 2007; Compal Electronics took the largest portion, fulfilling 30-35% of Acer’s full-year notebook shipments. Quanta and Wistron both follow, producing around 25-30% each. Inventec will take care of the remaining 10-15%.

Acer estimates they will ship 13-14 million notebooks worldwide next year, a 30% increase over this year. Acer’s sales have also been geographically dispersed – the U.S. market represented over 20% of Acer’s worldwide notebook shipments, and Europe 50%.

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Apple can’t make MacBooks fast enough

Apple is once again facing an all too familiar problem – not enough supply to meet growing demand. Apple is reportedly struggling to fulfil orders for its MacBook notebooks, their most popular new product this year.

Apple, or one of its component suppliers, has underestimated demand; some customers who expected to receive their MacBooks instead got an apology letter from Apple, saying they would be unable to fulfill the placed order in the time-frame they specified. Customers who custom ordered their MacBook are reporting delays of up to two weeks from when the orders were placed.

Generally, Apple’s notebook computer sales have been on the rise this year, with their market share doubling to 12% during the six month period ending in June. Apple has been looking for a third manufacturing partner to compliment the current ones, Asustek and Quanta. Insiders believe Apple may sell in excess of 1 million notebooks during the Holiday season.

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Fujitsu Siemens kicks off the soccer season

Fujitsu Siemens is starting off the soccer (football) season with a set of club color-coordinated notebooks. They are stamped with the club logo, and decorated in the team colors.

The notebooks are aimed at fans of Celtic, Aston Villa, Everton, and Tottenham Hotspur; Fujitsu Siemens also promised other Premiership clubs would bring their colors and logos to the laptops during the season.

All of the soccer notebooks are Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Pi 1536 models with the following specifications:

 

  • 15.4″ WXGA display
  • Intel Core Duo T2400 (1.83GHz) CPU
  • ATI Mobility Radeon X1400 128MB graphics card
  • 1GB DDR2 RAM
  • 120GB 5400RPM SATA hard drive
  • Multi-format DVD writer
  • 802.11a/b/g WLAN, Gigabit Ethernet
  • Firewire, 3x USB 2.0
  • Three-year collect-and-return warranty

The machines start at £1,000 inc. VAT, and are available now

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No HD DVD, Blu-ray support in Vista 32-bit

Microsoft has intentionally crippled HD DVD and Blu-ray support in Windows Vista 32-bit. The announcement was made today during the TechEd 2006 in Sydney, Australia, by Steve Riley. He said in a statement:

“Any next-generation high definition content will not play in x32 at all This is a decision that the Media Player folks made because there are just too many ways right now for unsigned kernel mode code [to compromise content protection]. The media companies asked us to do this and said they don’t want any of their high definition content to play in x32 at all, because of all of the unsigned malware that runs in kernel mode can get around content protection, so we had to do this.”

To sum it up, you need a 64-bit processor and a 64-bit version of Vista to get high-definition playback from HD DVD or Blu-ray formats. 64-bit Vista also means that you must have signed versions of all drivers. It ensures content protection is kept in place – the movie studios had been pushing for that to help combat piracy.

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Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 7 RC1, Vista Build 5536

August 25th – Microsoft released Internet Explorer 7 RC1 to the public, two months after the release of Beta 3. It adds new features to security, application compatibility, and performance. IE7 adds tabbed browsing, integrated RSS, and enhanced printing capabilities on top of IE6.

Windows Vista Build 5536 was also released to beta testers, which includes many suggestions gathered from Beta 2 and Build 5472. A Microsoft staffer said in a statement:

“We have made a lot of progress since Beta 2 and 5472, and we think you will notice the quality improvements that we’ve been seeing in the daily builds. So please install the build, install your apps, invite your wife/kids/friends/etc. to play with it – and then respond to the Mini-Review post with your thoughts / feelings about it.”

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Gateway believes its notebook batteries are safe

The third largest PC maker in America said that it “believes” its notebook batteries are not affected by the same problems that hit Dell and Apple. The company said in a statement:

“Based on available information and our suppliers’ input, we do not believe our systems are at risk for the same malfunctions that caused our competitors to issue battery recalls. It appears that a combination of factors led to the fault requiring the recalls, and this combination is not present in our systems.”

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