Monday, June 18, 2007

Blockbuster to focus on Blu-ray

Film rental firm Blockbuster is to rent high-definition DVDs only in the Blu-ray format at 1,450 US stores.

The move is viewed as a blow for the rival Toshiba-backed HD DVD format - which has been battling against the Blu-ray format, supported by Sony.

Blockbuster said that consumers have chosen Blu-ray over HD DVD in the 250 stores where both were available.

The limited choice of titles in the HD DVD format was also a factor in focusing on Blu-ray, Blockbuster said.

"The consumers are sending us a message. I can't ignore what I'm seeing," Matthew Smith, senior vice president of merchandising at Blockbusters, told the Associated Press news agency.

Mr Smith added that most studios were offering films on Blu-ray, with the exception of Universal which has been supplying films on HD DVD alone.

The North American HD DVD Promotional Group said Blockbuster's move was short sighted, and had been prompted by the success of films released exclusively in the Blu-ray format in early 2007 such as Casino Royale and Spider Man.

"I think trying to make a format decision using such a short time period is really not measuring what the consumer is saying," said Ken Graffeo, co-president of the group.

The HD DVD format will still be available at Blockbuster in 250 of its stores as well as via the internet.

Blockbuster to focus on Blu-ray by BBC News

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Intel steps up cheap laptop race

Intel has teamed up with the world's largest maker of computer motherboards to produce laptops for the developing world.

The laptop has been dubbed the Eee PC - and will sit alongside Intel's Classmate which is also aimed at the developing world.

The partnership with Asustek is the latest twist in a developing battle between the chipmaker and rival group, the One Laptop per Child foundation.

Both plan to offer sub-$200 laptops.

War of words

The Eee laptop will use one of Intel's mobile processors - although exactly which one has not been specified. It will have a seven inch (18cm) display, weigh in at 2lb (0.89kg), with a flash memory hard drive and wireless capacity.

The laptop will sell for around $200 (£100).

Both this and Intel's forthcoming mass produced Classmate will be in direct competition with One Laptop Per Child 's (OLPC) robust green and white machine, which although known as the $100 laptop will initially sell for $176 (£88).

The race to provide cheap laptops to the developing world has turned into a bitter war of words in recent days. Web pioneer Nicholas Negroponte, who heads up the OLPC foundation, has accused Intel of trying to undermine his initiative.

Professor Negroponte, who also founded the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's famous Media Labs, believes that the decision of his not-for-profit organisation to use processors designed by Intel's main competitor AMD lies at the heart of the conflict.

Intel denies that its efforts undermine the work of the OLPC team.

"We are going to need hundreds of millions of machines and that's going to take a whole industry to provide. There is plenty of room for numerous vendors, " said George Alfs, a spokesman for Intel.

Intel Laptop News by BBC News