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Opera eyes mobiles

Carel Alberts
By Carel Alberts
Johannesburg, 01 Mar 2004

Opera eyes mobiles

Opera Software of Norway has taken on Microsoft as it attempts to get a hold on the emerging mobile phone Internet browser market, reports Australian IT.

As Microsoft prepares to post $US35.6 billion in revenue for 2003, Opera Software scraped by with about 0.03% of that last year. But, with only 140 employees, it quickly took aim at this narrow niche market, and has already taken an extraordinary lead. Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and Symbian have already agreed to allow Opera to equip some of their phones with its browser.

Eight million Internet users have also turned up their nose at Internet Explorer (Microsoft) and Netscape (AOL) and have instead chosen Opera`s downloadable browser, which it claims is compatible with virtually every operating system.

Is iPod Mini worth $249?

Is $249 a mass-market price tag for a portable music player? That`s the debate raging in consumer electronics circles after Apple debuted its latest version of the iPod, reports Reuters.

Some observers are concerned that Apple`s asking price for the Mini - which weighs 3.6 ounces and holds 1 000 songs - freezes out many casual music fans who otherwise would be interested in buying the device, especially after pre-announcement rumours of a $100 retail price.

The other side of the argument is that pricing on hard-drive players is still ruled by manufacturing costs - preventing Apple and others from pricing portable devices more cheaply.

Germans protest RFID chips

Activists in Rheinberg, Germany, this weekend planned to stage a protest outside the Metro Extra Future Store, the world`s fifth-largest retailer that`s also a test site for Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tracking and other technologies.

p2pnet.net reports that RFID chips have been discovered by customers in the store`s customer loyalty cards as well as products for sale, including goods from IBM, Gillette and Procter & Gamble. RFID chips are also set to replace bar codes.

"Metro failed to notify customers that they were being tracked," a Wired story states. "Although Metro told activists the chips worked only while customers were inside the store, activists discovered that a kiosk used to deactivate the chips didn`t completely disable the tags."

Server market posts growth again

TechWeb reports that the worldwide server market posted growth for the third consecutive quarter at the end of 2003, with Linux use continuing to accelerate.

Market-research firm IDC says revenue for manufacturers of servers increased by 11.4% to $13.7 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with the same period a year ago. Unit shipments for the quarter jumped 22%.

It was the third consecutive quarter of positive revenue growth and the first time since the economic downturn began in 2001 that sales were up in all major categories of servers, IDC said.