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New Philips/HP ultrasound scanner strives for mainstream popularity

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SD 800 is first product of collaborationPhilips Ultrasound is emphasizing top performance for a modestprice in the launch of sonoDiagnost 800, the first ultrasoundplatform developed through its collaboration with echocardiographymarket leader

SD 800 is first product of collaboration

Philips Ultrasound is emphasizing top performance for a modestprice in the launch of sonoDiagnost 800, the first ultrasoundplatform developed through its collaboration with echocardiographymarket leader Hewlett-Packard.

With prices beginning at $120,000, SD 800 is aimed at mainstreamU.S. hospital customers. Philips' marketing pitch emphasizes versatilityand ease-of-use. Purchasers may choose from any of 12 transducersto cover most diagnostic applications. A cardiac package is designedfor shared services.

The operator interface is simple and intuitive, according tothe Shelton, CT, vendor. Presets cover all modalities, with sub-presetsembedded at a secondary level of the touch-panel control for easyaccess. M-mode, color Doppler and pulsed-wave Doppler are undersingle-button control. SD 800 is equipped with HP's trapezoidimage format, which concentrates 30% more beam-forming power inthe near field than do conventional systems, according to Philips.

What potential customers will not find on the initial releaseis Philips' Color Velocity Imaging and CVI-Quantification, thecompany's touted time-domain velocity imaging techniques. Althoughthe SD 800 platform will support both programs, they were withheldfor introduction as options in 1995.

Philips Ultrasound general manager William Joyce cited productprice positioning for this market move.

"We wanted to build a unit that started out in a price/performancecategory and could grow without limit," Joyce said.

Instead of CVI, SD 800 is equipped with Performance Color Imaging(PCI), a hybrid of color Doppler and CVI, Joyce said. Like CVI,it uses time-domain image processing, but it costs less than CVIand performs color-flow functions at a slower frame rate.

SD 800 was designed by a joint HP and Philips engineering effortthat began in 1992 (SCAN 2/26/92). The system will be manufacturedby HP at its plant in Andover, MA, and sold in the U.S. and internationalmarkets by Philips. It has received regulatory clearance for U.S.sale.

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