News Bits: Core 2 Duo Shortage, Asus W5Fe Dual-Screen Vista Laptop, Fujitsu Battery Recall

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Strong notebook demand causes processor shortage

Notebook makers are scrambling to secure a CPU supply for the Q4 season after an unexpectedly high notebook demand. October is a critical month for notebook makers, where they have to supply enough CPUs for the fourth quarter so they can meet seasonal demand.

The first half of this year saw a weak notebook market, and notebook makers, AMD and Intel took a cautious approach to Q4 as a result. Demand is picking up faster than anticipated, and CPU supply is getting tight. Intel’s product shortage includes the Core 2 Duo (Merom) series, the lower-end Core Duo (Yonah) T2050 and T2250, and some models of the Celeron M line.

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Asus W5Fe dual-screen Vista laptop

A few years ago at the Intel Developer Forum, former Intel CEO Craig Barrett talked about a future series of laptops. Codenamed “Newport”, the laptops were supposed to have a main internal screen and an external one built into the top of the lid. The external display could be used to read emails, check calendars, and similar tasks without having to boot up the machine. The Asus W5Fe is one of the first “Newport” laptops, and has an external display with a power switch, four-way directional pad, and a menu for choosing tasks. The system is powered by a Vista-only technology known as Windows Sideshow, which allows for the activities mentioned above. It can supposedly run for “hundreds of hours without draining your notebook battery”.

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Special thanks to forum member mach_zero for submitting this link.

Fujitsu recalls 287,000 notebook batteries

October 4th – Fujitsu today recalled 287,000 notebook batteries manufactured by Sony for the reason that they can overheat and catch fire. 224,000 laptops sold overseas are affected by the battery recall, spanning 10 models. The other 63,000 span 17 models sold in Japan. Fujitsu spokesman Masao Sakamoto did not know how much the recall would cost Fujitsu.

By now, nearly every major notebook manufacturer has recalled Sony-made Li-Ion batteries due to risks of overheating and catching fire.

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HP, Sony deliver joint statement on battery issues

HP and Sony have reviewed the recent battery issues and have determined that HP notebooks using Sony batteries are not prone to the recent overheating issues. HP will not be joining the global battery replacement program that Sony announced recently. HP has received no reports of batteries issues in any HP notebook using Sony battery cells. Senior vice president and general manager of the Notebook Business Unit at HP said in a statement:

“Customer service and safety are a top priority for HP. After discussing the issues with Sony, we believe that we have the proper charging and circuit protections in place to prevent an overheating episode. While no battery is immune to failure or overheating, battery solutions provided by HP are unique and are designed with a number of HP engineered safety features that are in addition to what is typical in the industry.”

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Asustek notebook shipments exceed 2M in Q4

It appears that Asustek Computer will ship more than two million notebooks in Q4 this year, a 25% increase over the 1.6 million in Q3. In November, Asustek is expected to reach a monthly shipment record for the fourth consecutive month. While Asustek shipped 4 million notebooks last year, they are expected to ship 5.8 million in 2006.

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Maxtor lives on with new products

Seagate announced October 2nd that the Maxtor brand will live on with new products. Maxtor was acquired by Seagate last May, with the future of the brand unknown. Seagate is currently planning to offer Maxtor as a new value brand. Other than the name, there will be little difference between Seagate and Maxtor. Newer technology will take longer to reach Maxtor drives, and they will carry a three-year warranty instead of the five-year offered on the Seagate’s. New Maxtor products include a refreshed DiamondMax 20, 21 and MobileMax products. The MobileMax drives will be Maxtor’s first notebook hard drives, available in capacities up to 80GB and rotating at 5,400RPM. There is no word on availability of the new Maxtor products.

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Valence offers notebook users a battery alternative

October 4th – Valence Technology today announced the N-Charge Power System that notebook users up to 10 hours of battery life with safety provided by Valence’s patented Saphion phosphate technology.

Valence batteries use a patented phosphate-based cathode material unlike traditional cobalt oxide Li-Ion batteries. The use of Saphion technology means Valence batteries can be used safely under normal conditions without being prone to the recent overheating and fire problems plaguing Li-Ion batteries. The N-Charge Power System is a universal, external battery that provides up to ten hours of runtime. It can be used as the notebook’s primary power source instead of the internal battery. A complete list of supported notebook models can be found at www.valence.com. The N-Charge Power System can be ordered directly from the website or by calling 888-VALENCE. The product can also be found at many computer suppliers, such as CDW, Dell, InfoLogix, Insight, and PC Connection.

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Fujitsu shows two concept PCs

Fujitsu presented two new PC designs: the Turn Tablet PC, which uses a magnetic screen for use with a stylus and Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, and the Ultra Mobile compact PMP PDA. See them here.

Special thanks to forum member mach_zero for submitting this link.

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