PC Solutions Briefs

Atmel scores Siemens' chip plant

Queen Elizabeth II's attendance at Siemens AG's opening of a northeast England semiconductor plant in 1997, was not enough to guarantee its future success. Just two years after its official unveiling, Siemens has announced it will sell the North Tyneside plant to Atmel. In accordance with the contract, Atmel will acquire a number of manufacturing assets from Siemens including the fabrication plant and other equipment. However, the German chip manufacturer has agreed to sell $US1.5 billion worth of products to Siemens over the next four years. Atmel plans to install a CMOS (complimentary metal oxide semiconductor), a BiCMOS and Silicon Germanium process technology in the UK fabrication plant, and will manufacture 0.18-micron 8-inch wafers for nonvolatile memory and microcontroller products.

Laptops cut cords

Hewlett-Packard has struck a deal with 3Com to provide Bluetooth wireless PC cards for HP's OmniBook and Pavilion notebook computers. Along with Bluetooth, HP will also begin rolling out 802.11 wireless LAN (local area network) solutions for its mobile computer offerings. The announcement follows similar moves by IBM and Dell. Both companies plan to offer embedded Bluetooth and 802.11 solutions as options in certain laptops by the end of this year, according to officials of both companies. While HP has kept room inside its OmniBook and Pavilion notebooks designed specifically to house embedded wireless solutions, HP plans to wait for the adoption of Bluetooth and 802.11 to increase before the company begins embedding either wireless solution within the chassis of its notebooks.

Baltimore secures PDAs

At the Global e-security 2000 conference, Baltimore Technologies announced the launch of a range of security development tools for the Palm OS platform. By providing a wireless e-security solution for Palm OS, Baltimore plans to enable the development of secure consumer and enterprise applications accessible by handheld devices. According to the META Group, 20-25 per cent of corporate knowledge workers will be using such devices within the next two to three years. Within the consumer market, growth will continue to be fueled by the development of Web-based entertainment software and other consumer products and services. Researchers predict that global sales of hand-held computers will hit $US7.2 billion by 2003.

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