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Is Computex losing luster?

Posted: 11 Jun 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Computex 2012? PC industry? ultrabook?

The best part about Computex exhibition is that it is here in Taiwan, where life and philosophy intertwine in a very unique way.

For example, this statue outside the Nangang Exhibit Hall on the outskirts of Taipei City depicts the connection between humanity and the heavens. It also avoids emphasizing the ephemeral nature of technologies and devices on display at Computex and instead focuses on a timeless concept which will outlive any event or technology.

Nangang Exhibit Hall

Which brings us to what I call "The Last Computex"maybe not this year, but based on history, even this successful annual event will inevitably come to an end. As with some of its predecessors like COMDEX, Computex will lose its luster. There were signs during this year's event that the demise of Computex might come sooner rather than later.

As the Taiwan-based PC industry grapples with the disruptive impact of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, there was little if anything on the show floor that was new, different or disruptive. These days, disruptive technology tends to reside in software. The challenge for Taiwan's ODMs is bringing competitive value to the ultrabook form factor that is now over four years old. Whether or not the release of Windows 8 (translated into Mandarin, 8 means "prosperity") will redirect consumers away from the hand-held devices also is a stretch.

Still, attendance on Day 1 of the Computex show was high.

Day 1 of Computex 2012

Big promises
And promises of revolutionary product offerings were reflected in taglines on both the Asus and Intel booths.

Asus booth

Intel booth

While the Asus tagline seems consistent with its constant efforts at differentiation, the statement from Intel could more accurately be read as "sponsors of yesterday" since it has dominated the computing ecosystem for decades. Still, both are being aspirational, so never either count out. If manufacturing the smallest, fastest processors is the key to success, as Intel repeats constantly, then it will remain relevant if not dominant.

Speaking of tomorrow, it is apparent that Intel is gaining some traction with Thunderbolt.


But the commentary here is misleading. With a Thunderbolt cable costing 20 times what a USB cable costs, not counting the unique Intel silicon required on both ends, it seems users should get a lot more benefit than just a doubling of speed. But speed is easy to sell.

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