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PC Briefs: Palm, Pentium, Samsung

Palm cuts more jobs

Palm has laid off about 50 people at its hardware unit in response to declining demand for handheld computers. The cuts brought the total workforce reduction at the Palm Solutions Group, the hardware section of Palm, to just over 100 jobs in the third quarter of the company’s fiscal year 2003, which ended last week. Combined with the layoffs announced earlier at operating system subsidiary, PalmSource, the cutbacks over the past three months amounted to about 19 per cent of the total combined workforce.

Pentium M arrives

Intel will launch a major foray into the notebook computer market this week with the launch of six new processors under the name Pentium M. The announcement will kick off a multi-million dollar marketing campaign that pushes both the chips and also its new Centrino architecture, that includes the Pentium M, the companion chipset and a wireless LAN adapter. The first Pentium M processors, which pack about 77 million transistors, will be available at speeds of 1.6GHz, 1.5GHz, 1.4GHz and 1.3GHz as well as a low voltage version at 1.1GHz and an ultra low voltage version at 900MHz, Intel said. The vendor will also launch a new chipset, that will be available in two versions, the 855PM and 855GM.

Samsung’s thinnest drive

Samsung Electronics has developed an optical disc drive for notebook computers that is 25 per cent thinner, lighter and more efficient than existing drives. The new drive, now available to notebook PC makers, weighs about 35 per cent less than most current drives and features a power-saving mode that can cut power consumption by about 20 per cent over current drives. The SU-408 drive can write to both CD-R and CD-RW discs at 8X speed, but cannot write to DVDs. It can read several types of DVD and CD including DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-Rom, DVD-Video, CD-R, CD-RW and CD-ROM.