News Bits: Waterproof Panasonic Notebook, IE 7 Beta 2 Available, New Intel Merom Processors for August, Dell Squeezes Suppliers

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Matsushita/Panasonic’s Waterproof Notebook

Matsushita (known in the U.S. as Panasonic) will next month introduce a waterproof notebook in Japan. The notebook is called the “Let’s Note CF-Y5”, it has drainage ducts and a waterproof sheet, effectively protecting it from “light rain” and spills. The CF-Y5 can also withstand up to 220 lbs. of force.

The laptop will go on sale in Japan on May 19th for US$2,000. It is unknown whether or not the product will be available in North America.

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Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 Available

Microsoft has released the Beta 2 version of its new Internet Explorer 7 for public download. It has all of the features which will be available in its final release. IE7 now runs on XP Pro 64-bit Edition as well as Server 2003 SP1.

Download Link

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Dell asks notebook manufacturers to pay back percentage of revenues

“Dell last month was said to be asking notebook makers in Taiwan to pay back 3% of their revenues generated from shipments to Dell in exchange for orders for next year. Although Quanta has agreed to the demand, it is only willing to pay 1.5% instead of 3%, the sources said.”

Wistron and Compal have refused to comply, saying that they deserve “reasonable profits.” Quanta, as a result of its promise to Dell, will receive an order for two million entry-level Dell consumer notebooks. Previously, those had been contracted by Wistron, and made up their largest segment of their notebook shipments to Dell.

However, it’s not all a loss for Wistron – Dell is shifting two low-to-high-end model orders from Quanta to Wistron, totaling 800,000 to 1M units. Overall, Quanta is adding about 2M units to its shipments for the next year according to the latest deals. Dell has been switching orders to cut prices according to sources.

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Intel next-gen GPU to support Shader 4.0

Intel is planning to integrate its latest GMA graphics core into the upcoming 965 “Broadwater” chipset family. A leaked presentation slide, which supposedly came from one of the chip giants shows that the new core will support the next-generation Shader Model 4.0 in addition to the current 3.0.

The G965 supports DirectX 10 through the Windows Graphics Foundation 2.0 API, and will also work with OpenGL 2.0. Hardware-accelerated vertex shaders will also be built into the new GPU, unlike today’s GMAs. The G965 will be able to share up to 256MB of system memory for its frame buffer, double the current GMA950’s. Other improvements include support for 16X AF and 4X AA, as well as raising the floating-point precision level from the current 24 bits to 32.

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Intel to Ship Dual Core 64-Bit Processor “Merom” in August

And more with Intel.  In a meeting with financial analysts today Intel CEO revealed that the new 64-bit Dual Core mobile processor from Intel will ship in August to coincide with manufacturers doing a notebook refresh.  As part of its restructuring (again) Intel said it is very focused on getting products out on time and promise this chip will deliver on time.  AMD is promising their dual core Turion by summer, and probably July, so the release dates for mobile 64-bit dual core processors from each company promise to be very close.

The new Merom processors will be part of the Core Duo series.

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New CardBus Controller enables eSATA, TB storage, TiVO, RAID 5 on notebooks

Addonics Technologies announced a new CardBus controller which enables notebook users to have high-performance SATA technology, TB storage capability, and RAID 5 via their new CardBus eSATA RAID5/JBOD adapter.

The CardBus adapter has two built-in eSATA ports in addition to RAID5/JBOD firmware. Two hard drives can be attached and configured as RAID 0, RAID 1, or even one large drive. Up to 5 hard drives in external enclosures can be attached to each eSATA port, using the built-in port multiplier as the Addonics Storage Tower.

The Addonics CardBus controller can also be connected to some personal video recorders (PVRs) such as TiVO with an optional cable.

MSRP of the controller is $79.95.Addonics products are avaliable through their online store – Link

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