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DVD Insider: Computex, Apple Shift to Intel, InfoComm

Coolness abounds, it’s only a computer, newness astounds By Miles Weston

In this edition of DVD Insider, DMN’s Miles Weston looks over the newest gadgets at Computex, ogles the sex and sizzle of the Mac platform shift to the Dark Side of Intel and rounds up infoComm. Weston notices that at trade shows you quickly realize that there is a lot of truth to John Guare’s play and the movie adaptation, Six Degrees of Separation.  There may well be billions of people on this planet but manufacturers and show visitors run in the same circle.  

Computex
This year, in that circle – which grew to about 130,000 people – there weren’t any breakthroughs, just a lot of refinements of the concepts that had been shown at CES and CeBit earlier this year.  By the time the holidays roll around the friends and friends of friends will have wrung most of the costs out of the products so we will have something we can affordably buy.

Once you sifted through the noise there weren’t any killer applications or product breakthroughs you come to expect with major shows.   Many attributed this void to the shortened product lifecyles and the need to squeeze pennies out of the products as prices and margins continue to drop.  When you are at the product development table most managers will make safe incremental bets and enhance current products rather than rolling the dice on high-risk products. 

Here's a 2.5 TB raid array from Hitachi shown at Computex.

Dual-core processors from Intel and AMD created a lot of interest at the show, as did the refinements of liquid cooled processing.  Then, too, there was the integration of more and more technology on the same old products to make them “new and exciting.” 

PCs – desktop and notebook – had cleaner, crisper screens, wireless enhancements, slightly improved batteries, incrementally faster graphic chips, better audio and bigger hard drives.  Portable devices – they can hardly be called phones anymore – had better screens, audio/video download capabilities and yes, more storage capabilities/options. 


Of course these two product categories are important to the industry’s health.  IDC recently announced that we have begun shipping our second billion PCs and that the growth potential remains strong (Fig. 1).  That and Microsoft’s announcement that they will ship at least some flavor of Longhorn this next year which will mean new versions of the application software will be required by users put the sparkle in many eyes.

Fig. 1

While Intel and AMD set the ground rules for the dual-core processor discussions, the companies that could benefit most from the products will probably be Taiwan’s Via, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) and United Microelectronics Corp (UMC) in the audio and video content products.  Both are getting a lot of interest in their video, audio and peripheral chips. Microsoft’s announcement that they will ship at least some flavor of Longhorn this next year which will mean new versions of the application software will be required by users put the sparkle in a lot of people’s eyes.

To build excitement around the system potential of the new chips and product advances, firms showed a variety of cube and notebook home entertainment systems like Intel’s own PC prototype (see figure 1a below) and Asus’ new MC cube (see Fig.1b below).  Some of the systems delivered the same feel as CE products by incorporating InstantON.  On in a flash, they opened the world of home entertainment with audio, photo, video and TV content. 

Fig.1a -- Intel's PC prototype takes on a smaller form factor

Fig.1b -- Here's the new MC Cube from Asus

As you might expect with some of the firms’ ability to mirror ideas (much nicer way to say copy) was the beginning of microminiature PCs. AOpen was one of the first out of the gate with an economic PC Mini (see Fig. 1c below).  By the time the holidays and CES roll around, expect to see a wide array of versions.  We can also expect whole families of complimentary storage – like ADS Tech’s Mini drive kit -- and digital media players.  

Fig. 1c


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Related Keywords:DVD Insider, Miles Weston, newest gadgets, Computex, Mac platform shift, Intel, infoComm, trade shows, Six Degrees of Separation

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