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Tech Talk

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 26, 2001

RealNetworks turns attention to online games

Having carved out a leading role in Internet audio and video, RealNetworks Inc. of Seattle is trying to become a top distributor of computer games. The company plans to expand its fledgling games Web site into a comprehensive service for game developers, making a wide selection of their works available to consumers for downloading or playing online. The new RealArcade software for consumers is expected to be available this summer. Analysts say that few companies are distributing game software online and no one is making money at it, but that's likely to change as high-speed connections proliferate.

HP releases Internet-enabled printers

SAN FRANCISCO -- Hewlett-Packard has released a new line of Internet-enabled laser printers that the company said takes it one step closer to its vision of a world of connected devices. The four models, which cost $399 to $1,099, allow users to beam documents for printing from wireless devices, check the paper and toner levels of printers from a Web page and scan documents directly onto the Internet. Hewlett-Packard of Palo Alto, Calif., hopes the machines will rejuvenate its $20-billion-a-year printing and imaging business, which has suffered during the economic slowdown. Although consumers and corporations are spending less on technology, the company said it thinks the new machines will encourage upgrades.

EarthLink users' e-mails rejected by AOL

ATLANTA -- Hundreds of thousands of e-mails sent by EarthLink Inc. customers to America Online accounts were rejected and lost over a period spanning at least 10 days. AOL spokesman Andrew Weinstein said software designed to restrict junk e-mail, or spam, was to blame. After conferring last week, the companies said the problem had been resolved.

Intel bumps up speed of its laptop processors

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Intel Corp. said it will introduce its fastest processor made for notebook computers, further narrowing the performance gap between laptops and desktops. The mobile Pentium 3 is the first laptop processor to run at 1 gigahertz, or 1-billion cycles of computations each second. The chip giant's previous top mobile processor runs at 50 megahertz, or 850-million cycles a second. Used in full-size and "thin-and-light" notebooks, the chip will improve advanced applications such as those involving digital photography, video processing, voice recognition and 3-D gaming, the company said.

PlayStation 2 sales hurt by continued shortages

Manufacturing problems and shortages continue to plague Sony's PlayStation2 five months after its launch. Analysts predict Sony Computer Entertainment will fall short of its scaled-back goal of shipping 3-million game consoles to North America by March 31, the end of its fiscal year. The most recent sales data from NPD TRST, a New York consulting company, peg console sales at about half that, or 1.55-million units through February. Even Microsoft is reported to be suffering from component shortages for its fall release of its Xbox game system, similar to the problems that hobbled Sony prior to the Oct. 26 launch of PS2. Microsoft has delayed the European launch of Xbox to focus on the North American release.

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