PC Briefs: Apple, handhelds, Intel

PC Briefs: Apple, handhelds, Intel

Apple sues scanner maker

Apple Computer has filed a lawsuit against handheld-scanner manufacturer Unova, alleging the infringement of six Apple technology patents. Apple wants the courts to prevent Unova from selling products based on the patented technologies. Bloomberg reports Apple’s claims that Unova’s Intermec unit is using the technology in handheld or vehicle-mounted software and scanners used in warehouses. The suit follows a filing by Unova in May 2002. The company alleged that Apple, Fujitsu, Gateway, NEC, Matsushita and Dell are infringing its smart battery patent used in notebook computers. This patent monitors the use and recharging of portable computer batteries.

Handheld shipments fall

Shipments of personal digital assistants (PDAs) and handheld devices slowed in 2002 according to Dataquest, an arm of Gartner. Vendors shipped 12.1 million PDAs and other handhelds in 2002, down 9.1 per cent from 2001. Shipments of Palm PDAs dropped 12.2 per cent but Palm still shipped nearly three million more units than its nearest competitor, Hewlett-Packard (HP). Palm’s lower prices and ease of use explained its healthy lead over HP’s iPaq devices since 70 per cent of all handheld sales were made to consumers, Dataquest said.

Intel to update Xscale

Intel plans to release an update to its XScale processor with a faster system bus and improved battery performance for personal digital assistants. The speed of the system bus, which controls the speed at which data is exchanged among components on the processor, will be increased from 100MHz to 200MHz, Intel spokesperson, Mark Miller, said. The new chip will be known as the PXA255, replacing Intel’s current top of the line chip, the PXA250. The PXA255 will run at the same clock speeds as the PXA250 — 200MHz, 300MHz, and 400MHz — for the same prices, Miller said.

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