Cameras, TVs, and DVDs, oh my! No, not the Consumer Electronics Show, but Comdex. Yes, Windows CE was everywhere (you read about it here first as "Pegasus"), and Microsoft's gigunda booth was literally impossible to avoid, but we here at MSJ thought we'd take a look at the other interesting stuff at Comdex. The stuff that interests the techno-gadget hound in all of us.|
Digital cameras were clearly the Comdex rage. While consumers are going to be happily taking digital snapshots of their baby's first spitup and sending the images to their parents over the Internet, Web page creators are going to be taking photos of their products and getting them on Web pages in much less time (and without fussing around with a scanner). The latest cameras can store dozens of 640X480 24-bit JPEGs in their built-in RAM. Minolta's camera even has a detachable lens on a three-foot cord that approaches a coolness factor seen only in James Bond movies. All of the manufacturer's cameras have LCD preview screens so you can see how your picture will look, and you can scroll through the pictures stored in the camera, deleting ones you've decided weren't really that appealingwe had to delete an incriminating picture of our rental car bouncing off a concrete median while we were looking up at the Stratosphere's barf-o-rama ride.
And those flat panel displays! We saw 20-inch full-color 1024X768 backlit LCD displays everywhere. To up the ante, Pioneer and NEC were showing off prototype 42-inch full-color gas plasma displays. Provided you've got ten grand worth of casino chips in your pocket, you too can have a really large flat panel computer display, or a TV set that you can hang on the wall. Perfect for spotting Dr. Ruth or Elvis in those wedding videos from Geekfest (held where elsein the Little Chapel of the Flowers).
DVD has been the talk of the town for a couple years now, and there was no shortage of them at Comdexbut none were for sale. While lawyers from Hollywood, the computer industry, and the DVD manufacturers duke it out over piracy prevention, we were treated to one of three movies showing in practically every hardware manufacturer's booth. Take your pick: Jurassic Park, Waterworld, or Terminator 2. Maybe by Spring Comdex we'll actually be able to buy one.
So what's up with Comdex looking more like Sears than Computer City? The final acceptance by consumers of computer technology in the home comes to mind, with the Internet leading the way. We saw Sony's WebTV on the right and palm-sized 8GB hard drives on the left. The organizers of Comdex realize this, as the Spring Comdex is now coupled with the Consumer Electronics Show, Windows World, and Expo Comm (a telecommunications convention).
We know we're speaking for the geek community as a whole when we ask: what's with this trend of blowing up obsolete Las Vegas hotels just a couple days after Comdex is over? This year the Sands went down in a giant cloud of dust (although their Web site at http://
www.sands.com lives on!). Not too long ago the Landmark was blown up right after the convention. Some exhibitor should find out about the next demolition and pay off the owners to schedule it during Comdex. Of course, the name of the exhibitor's fiercest competitor would have to be painted on the building. Sell tickets. We'd love to watch.