Panasonic, Samsung release MP3 players

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. have each launched a range of new digital music players that combine numerous functions with head-turning designs that go as far as a diamond-encrusted model.

Optware seeks US vendors to adopt holographic storage

Japan's Optware Corp. announced a detailed roadmap toward commercialization of its Holographic Versatile Disc (HVD) technology on Thursday. It has also set up an alliance to promote HVD and will later this year set up an office in the U.S. to promote the technology with major systems integrators there, it said.

Piracy crackdown nets 5.9 million discs in Asia

In a wide-ranging sweep of the Asia-Pacific region, the Motion Picture Association (MPA) seized 5.9 million pirated optical discs and local police arrested 277 suspected motion picture pirates, the association said Thursday.

EBay 'outraged' at CEO arrest in India

Ebay Inc. is "outraged" at the arrest of Avnish Bajaj, the chief executive officer of the company's Baazee.com subsidiary in India, the company said in a statement issued on Sunday.

China's Lenovo to buy IBM's PC business

China's Lenovo Group Ltd. signed a definitive agreement on Wednesday to acquire IBM Corp.'s personal computing division. Lenovo will pay US$1.25 billion in cash for the business, which is expected to transform it into the world's number three PC maker, the companies announced.

Dual DVD, HD-DVD disc developed

Memory-Tech Corp. will start mass production late next year of read-only discs that can contain data stored in both DVD and HD-DVDs (High Definition/High Density-DVDs) layers, a company executive said Wednesday.

Report: IBM's PC business up for sale

IBM Corp. has put its PC business up for sale, according to a story published on Friday on the Web site of The New York Times. IBM is discussing selling the business to Lenovo Group Ltd., China's largest maker of personal computers, and at least one other potential buyer, according to the article. The price of the sale and the status of the negotiations were not mentioned.

Blu-ray read-only format to be finalized early 2005

Companies backing Blu-ray Disc will finalize the read-only version of the optical-disc format early next year, a Sony Corp. spokesman said earlier this week.

HD-DVD picks up Hollywood support

The group supporting the HD-DVD optical disc format for high-definition video has received a boost in its battle against the rival Blu-ray Disc format with pledges of support from a number of Hollywood studios. The format will be used by Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema, the HD-DVD group said on Monday. It will also be used by HBO, Warner Bros. announced the same day.

Google tests personal search service

Google Inc.'s two founders said on Monday that their company is working on a personal search service, but they remained coy on plans for an instant messaging client or Web browser. "We have our Google Labs people working on 'flavored' searches as one of many new services we'll be offering," said Sergey Brin, Google co-founder and president of technology, in an interview in Tokyo.

Panasonic adds smart card function to SD memory

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., better known for its Panasonic brand, will start selling SD (Secure Digital) memory cards that can be used as smart cards in Japan by the end of 2005, the company said Friday. The move is an effort to promote the widely-used SD format as a platform for noncontact smart cards that can also be used to store large amounts of data. The new card, which is called the Smart SD, will be available in sample quantities in December 2004, Masaki Akiyama, director of Matsushita, said at a press conference.

Sony is developing 200GB Blu-ray storage

Sony Corp. will announce next month that it developed an 8-layer version of the Blu-ray Disc that is capable of storing 200GB of data, according to a company spokesman. The announcement will be made at the International Symposium on Optical Memory 2004, from Oct.11 to Oct.15, in Jeju Island, South Korea, according to Sony. The company further plans to commercialize a 4-layer 100GB version in 2007, said Sony spokesman Taro Takamine.

Sony unveils HDV camcorder

Sony Corp. will begin selling its first high-definition video camcorder in Japan on Oct. 15, and worldwide by the end of the year, the company said in an announcement Tuesday. While the camcorder is compatible with Japan's HDV high-definition digital video format, users cannot store video on Sony's Blu-ray Disc format. The HDR-FX1 camcorder is Sony's first step in promoting high definition video as the standard format for home-use camcorders, but its price makes it too expensive for most families initially, the company said.

Report: Apple offered Sony iTunes deal

Apple Computer Inc. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Steve Jobs offered Nobuyuki Idei, chairman and group CEO of Sony Corp., the chance for Sony to come aboard Apple's iTunes Music Store service, the Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun newspaper reported in its Sept. 2 edition. The offer would have allowed for joint operation of the service, the newspaper said.