Net app vendor changes direction

Net app vendor changes direction

Change is definitely not a dirty word for Internet appliance vendor S3.

If S3 rings more bells as a chip set manufacturer, or as the organisation which in October last year took over graphics accelerator company Diamond Multimedia, don't be too alarmed. The company itself is finding it difficult to balance its change in direction with the brand name strength of its products.

"We want to reposition the company as an Internet appliance and digital home appliance company instead of just graphics," said S3 country manager for South Asia and Australia, Kenny Kua.

In September, S3 will also announce a change in name as part of its reworking of company image and strategy.

"We need a new name for the company; Diamond is too strong a name in the graphics business and S3 too strong in the chip sets," said Kua.

S3 transferred its chip set business to Via earlier this year, although it still has a share in the venture. Kua said that despite the change in direction, the company would still support its graphics card business.

"It is back to the old Diamond days," he said. "We are keeping that part of the business but it will not be our main focus.

The company is now looking to establish partnerships with graphics manufacturers.

In the meantime, the focus has moved to Internet appliances and home networking products that in future will include broadband connectivity. The company plans to launch PowerLine in partnership with Intel by the end of this year, which will allow users to transfer data through electric cabling at 11Mbps. Kua said the company was having no problems marrying the graphics side of the business with the new direction.

"Today when you talk about IT, everyone is talking the Internet. It has a huge potential in terms of software and hardware."

The company last week launched its Rio 600 MP3 player, part of an aggressive marketing move by the company which includes partnerships with the likes of Dell and Nike.

The player also supports Windows WME format and will retail for around $400. It is available immediately through Ingram Micro, Chips and Synnex.

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