Bits & Bytes
LOGITECH LOGS ON TO THE MULTIMEDIA MARKET
As prices for basic PC hardware slide, consumers are spending more on add-ons, such as circuit boards that give PCs multimedia capabilities, such as stereo sound. According to Dataquest Inc., nearly 2 million such cards were shipped last year. And with sales expected to top $460 million in revenues this year, it's no wonder that computer peripherals maker Logitech Inc. is jumping in.
Logitech recently announced a partnership agreement with Media Vision Inc., a neighbor in Fremont, Calif., that makes multimedia hardware. To start, Logitech will use Media Vision chip designs in its new multimedia devices. The first product, dubbed the Soundman 16, allows IBM PCs and compatibles to record and play back music, voice, and sound in 16-bit stereo. Like Media Vision's own sound add-ons, the $290 Logitech can be configured from the keyboard using software that comes in the package. Other sound cards, such as Creative Labs Inc.'s Sound Blaster require owners to set switches on the circuit board to make them work with different brands of PCs. Logitech, which is known for its computer mice and trackballs, says the new partnership will introduce more easy-to-use multimedia products soon. EDITED BY PAUL M. ENG