Product hits

BenQ unveils Vista-approved LCD monitors

BenQ Corp. has unveiled new flat-panel monitors that have been qualified to work with Microsoft Corp.’s upcoming Windows Vista operating system. Two of the monitors have received Microsoft’s Works with Windows Vista logo. A third is expected to be awarded Windows Vista Premium Certification, BenQ said. With the Works with Vista products, called the FP93GX and FP93GS, BenQ said it achieved a crisp moving-image quality by reducing response time across color scales. The FP93GX is a 19-inch monitor with a 700:1 contrast ratio and two millisecond response time. The FP93GS is also 19 inches across but slightly less expensive. The third screen, expected to get the “premium” certification, is a 24-inch monitor called the FP241VW.

Availability: Early December Pricing: Suggested retail prices, FP93GX at US$299, FP93GS at US$260, FP241VW at US$1299 URL:

Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 7

Microsoft has released the final version of Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP and made it available for free download. IE7 is a significant upgrade to IE6, and offers tabbed browsing, an antiphishing toolbar, a redesigned interface, and a variety of security features, including increased protection against rogue ActiveX controls. It includes features for IT staffers to better manage the browser on user desktops, including enhanced support of Active Directory Group Policy, so that IT managers can deploy and centrally manage the browser on desktops. Group Policy can manage both the Windows XP and Windows Vista version of IE7, so that IT staffers don’t have to manage each version of the browser separately. IE7 for Windows XP is available in English and runs on Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows XP 64-bit Edition and Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1.

Availability: Available now Pricing: Free to download URL:

Firefox 2 hits the Web

The next generation of the open source Firefox Web browser, version 2.0, has been released and is sporting a slew of feature and security enhancements. As one of the first browsers to include tabbed browsing, Firefox will now by default open links in new tabs instead of new windows, and each tab will now have a close tab button. Furthermore, it is now possible to resume a browsing session with the “session restore” feature which restores windows, tabs, text typed in forms, and in-progress downloads. Inline spell checking is now built into Firefox which helps Web surfers check the spelling of text entered into Web forms without the need for a separate application. Other enhancements include interactive search capabilities, more flexible handling of RSS Web feeds, “Live Title” bookmarks with a summary of the Web site, and support for JavaScript 1.7 and SVG text.

Availability: Available now Pricing: Free to download URL:

Dell puts four-core processors in servers, workstations

Dell Inc. has begun shipping its first servers and workstations running quad-core Intel processors in a two-socket configuration. Dell features the Quad-Core Xeon 5300 processor from Intel Corp. on its PowerEdge rack and blade style servers, and in Precision workstations, which a Dell executive said is a better performing configuration than a dual-core, four-socket setup. Dell claims quad cores in a dual-socket server configuration can deliver 63 per cent better computing performance, and 40 per cent better performance per watt, than dual-core processors in four sockets.

Availability: Available now URL:

SGI ships two NAS appliances

Silicon Graphics Inc. has emerged from five months of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with two product families of network-attached storage (NAS) appliances designed for both the high- and low-end markets. The InfiniteStorage NAS 4550 is intended for high-performance, data-intensive applications and comes in two models — the Streaming version for applications that use continuous data, and the Ultra, for batch data such as databases. The InfiniteStorage NAS 4050 is a low-end model intended for less expensive second-tier storage and comes in two models: a Serial ATA server version and a Maximum Capacity version. The NAS 4550 has eight cores, 48GB of RAM, 12 Gb Ethernet ports and four 4Gbps Fibre Channel ports. The NAS 4050 has four cores, from eight to 24GB of RAM, four or eight Gigabit Ethernet ports, and two or eight 4Gbit/sec. Fibre Channel ports.

Availability: December 2006 Pricing: NAS 4050 starts at US$92,000, NAS 4550 starts at US$200,342 URL:

Business Objects updates tool set

Business Objects SA has unveiled an update to its current tool set. The new BusinessObjects XI Release 2 Productivity Suite is an update to the company’s tool set that is designed to make it easier for business users to access the analysis and reports they need on a daily basis. The upcoming suite will not require users to migrate to new software but will be available as an add-on to XI Release 2, said the company. The update includes added search capabilities, new visualization tools and a faster OLAP client. The new search capabilities are designed to allow users to perform a keyword search to quickly retrieve relevant information from multiple tools, including reports, Web reports and dashboards.

Availability: First half of 2007 URL:

Colour printing for the enterprise user

Lexmark Canada has introduced the new Lexmark C530 colour laser printer series for the SMB and enterprise workgroup market. Devices in the series print at up to 22 ppm in colour and up to 24 ppm in monochrome, and all support the upcoming Windows Vista OS from Microsoft. The C530dn offers two-sided colour printing capabilities while the C532n offers one-sided printing only but adds more paper handling and more cartridge options for higher-usage customers. The C532dn combines the power of the C532n with two-sided printing. The C534n, C534dn and C534dtn are designed for larger workgroups and enterprise customers, and boast a 7,000-page colour toner cartridge that can be replaced less frequently, and a USB port that can print PDF and image files directly from a USB flash drive.

Availability: Available now Pricing: Range from $549 to $1449 URL:

NetApp targets EMC with hybrid array

Network Appliance Inc. has announced a new storage array model that is intended to compete more directly with the higher end of EMC Corp.’s midrange arrays. The Fabric Attached Storage (FAS) 3070 model comes in two versions, the FAS3070, and the V3070, which contains a storage processor that users can put in front of other vendors’ storage to virtualize it, said the company. NetApp intends to use the array to compete more directly with EMC and its Clariion CX3-80 array. The company also said it had enhanced its manageability software offerings with its new Protection Manager, a backup and replication tool, and Command Central Storage, a storage resource management and policy management product.

Availability: Available now Pricing: Starts at US$115,600 URL:

BEA unveils latest SOA integration tools

Middleware vendor BEA Systems Inc. has announced the first three members of its Enterprise Integration Portfolio (EIP), tools aimed at helping users at different stages of their SOA (service-oriented architecture) deployments.

The EIP consists of upcoming releases of two existing products — WebLogic Integration (WLI) 9.2 and AquaLogic Service Bus (ALSB) 2.6 — and a new bundle combining WLI and ALSB. Over time, BEA may add other tools to the portfolio as it builds more interoperability between its products. Called AquaLogic Integrator, the new bundle will initially bring together the current versions of WLI and ALSB, 8.1.6 and 2.5, respectively. The new releases of the WLI and ALSB tools will be rolled into the bundle when they become available later this year.

Availability: Available now URL:

IBM’s virtualization dashboard launched

IBM Corp. is introducing a new tool to manage virtualized data centres even if the centre is running different types of virtualization software. IBM’s Virtualization Manager uses a Web-based dashboard for managing different portions of a data centre as one whole system, the company said. Virtualization Manager will simultaneously run virtualization software from vendors such as VMware Inc., Microsoft Corp., XenSource Inc. as well as for IBM’s System p and System i servers and storage devices. Because Virtualization Manager is Web-based, the data centre can be managed from wherever an IT manager has Web access, said IBM, and the easy-to-navigate user interface helps reduces operating as well as capital expenses.

Availability: Available now Pricing: Free download for customers who already operate IBM servers on their networks URL:

Google preps mobile app for Gmail

Google Inc. is improving access to Gmail via cell phones with an application that enhances its performance and interface in mobile devices. Google has launched a new downloadable application for Java-enabled mobile devices that acts as a client for Gmail, letting users read, create, delete, search, send and receive e-mail messages. People have been able to tap into their Gmail accounts from mobile browsers for months, but this new application provides faster access to messages and a more intuitive and feature-rich user interface, Google officials said.

The Gmail application will also allow users to open attached files like photos and documents in a way that is properly formatted for the mobile display. All actions users take in the mobile application are synchronized with the server, so that when users access Gmail via a PC, the changes are reflected. Unlike the PC Gmail version, this application displays no ads along with the messages and isn’t integrated with the Google Talk instant messaging service.

Availability: Available now Pricing: Free download URL:

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