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Designtechnica’s Comdex 2002 Wrap-up

While this was Designtechnica?s first year at Comdex and we were overwhelmed with everything, according to sources attendance was way down versus previous years. Whether this can be attributed to the September 11th attacks last year or due to the fact that CES is just around the corner we are uncertain of. Rumors circulated that this would be Comdex?s last year, but a quick reply from Key3Media, the company which owns Comdex put to rest those rumors; there would continue to be Comdex in years to come.

Upon entrance to the show, it was very apparent that LCD displays, Tablet PC?s and MP3 players were a very dominant presence at Comdex. Samsung had a large show presence with a full LCD display, Plasma and mobile phone product lines present for display. Another show surprise was BenQ who had a very dominant presence both inside and outside the show, with a large floor exhibit and multiple billboard and taxi ads.

We have compiled a list of what we thought were some of the shows most innovative. This is both from a design and a technology standpoint. We hope you enjoy what is appearing on the technology horizon.

The fastest gaming machines on earth?

VoodooPC has a lot to brag about with the introduction their new M-class laptop computer and their new E-class intercooled desktop. The M-class mobile gaming machine features Voodoo PC?s high-gloss automotive finishes and Intel Pentium 4 processors at up to 3GHZ with a 533 MHz front side bus. The fan blows the heat produced by this laptop out the left side of the computer, preventing heat build up under the system itself. The E-class Intercool uses a hybrid liquid-air cooling system. Their system on display featured a liquid-cooled Radeon 9700 Pro video card.

Another show surprise was BenQ who had a very dominant presence both inside and outside the show, with a large floor exhibit and multiple billboard and taxi ads.


HTPC for the Car and home

HTPC Works has developed an HTPC called the Toba RV specifically for the mobile, recreational and boating community. Although the specifications listed do not mention what type of processor the Toba RV uses, the motherboard is listed as the VIA Eden EPIA mainboard running at 800MHz and using the Apollo chipset. The Toba RV comes standard with 256mb of RAM, a Pioneer DVD/CD ROM, Seagate Barracuda IV 60 GB with two partitions, an ATI TV Wonder VE TV Tuner Card and a Gyration Wireless Keyboard and mouse. The Toba RV comes with Progressive Scan DVD Playback, a GPS receiver and power inverter. All the software needed to take advantage of this system is included. While we admit that a home version constructed to standard home theater component size would have been our recommendation, this is certainly a good start. How would you build this different?

And what do we have here?

These were located over by the VIA display. Here you can see a gas can modified into a computer system. Make sure you use a clean gas can before trying this at home folks. We are still a little unsure as to what this computer with the case off is claiming to be. There was no product material available other than the display sign. We dig the slim keyboard though.

BenQ, the mystery unraveled?

BenQ had an enormous presence at Comdex this year. From LCD displays to networking equipment, cell phones and digital cameras, we had no idea this company produces so many products. This LCD monitor has some huge front firing speakers. Notice the anti-glare screen on the monitor as well; we were very impressed with the picture quality.

These little add-ons are for your PDA giving you a key pad for your games or a QWERTY keyboard for those that do not like to peck with a stylus. Other pictures include some very sleek looking LCD displays, and a digital camera from the numerous cameras available at the show. We somehow lost our pictures of BenQ?s cell phone line, but we did notice that some of their models looked very close in design to those used by Nokia, Motorola and Sony/Ericcson. According to the BenQ representative, they manufacture OEM phones for major companies?..and we thought Nokia?s designs were original!

The Largest LCD in the world!

Samsung had on display the largest LCD in the world. At 45? we cannot argue, but who would want to watch television on an LCD that big anyways? Give us a plasma television anytime. Looks like Samsung wants to show off a little bragging rights, eh?

The 211MP LCD monitor from Samsung looks very cool. The speakers are detachable from the sides of the display. You can also mount the monitor upside down and change the image orientation. Picture quality is outstanding with a resolution of 1600×1200, Horizontal frequency of 30-85Hz and a 500:1 contrast ratio. Inputs include HDTV support, 2 component video inputs, S-Video, RCA, Analog RGB and Cable/Antennae input. Can we please get one for Christmas Santa!?

Neo, the Matrix is alive!
Personal Computing Environments was a huge hit at the show with people lining up to try one of these futuristic looking work centers. Featuring a built in computer system and handling multiple LCD displays, this system would be great for those who could multitask like a pro. One of their display units looked like it was using a Ricarro chair, while another display unit had a built in massage system. We will take the massage thank you?.a numb butt is never fun.

The Icebox without ice
One of the coolest products at the show had to be the Icebox Flip Screen. This internet appliance is perfect for the kitchen. With a flip out LCD monitor, built in television, radio and DVD/CD player, what else could you ask for? A built in RJ45 jack keeps you connected to the net so you can check your e-mail, stocks, news or whatever. Our wives would probably kill us for not paying attention during breakfast?.use with precaution.

Media Center PC
Alienware had their media center PC on display at the show. At first we were in awe with its design but then we noticed that Shuttle was selling the same computer case that Alienware was using, and thoughts of building our own came to mind! Still a very cool system for sure, and with it coming from Alienware you can rest assured it has been built solid. HP has also teamed up with Microsoft to produce a very similar product although it is much larger in size.

Video cards oh my
While ATI was showing off a year’s worth of awards and great success with their ATI Radeon series, NVIDIA has a card of their own up their sleeve, literally. Called the Geforce FX this new graphics card is capable of 8 pixels per clock cycle, uses DDR2 memory at 1GHz and supports the new AGP 8X standard. NVIDIA made it very clear that the goal of the new Geforce FX video card series is to portrait a sense of cinematic quality. The demonstrations they had on display were nothing short of breath taking. You can check out the same demos we saw here.

We also got a chance to check out NVIDIA?s Personal Cinema and new NVDVD . We liked the GUI design of the new NVDVD software and the features of the Personal Cinema. Does that remote control look familiar to you? If you have an ATI All-In-Wonder card it should, because it appears to be manufactured by the same company.

Air panels and tablet PC?s
The Viewsonic suite had a lot to show in the form of air panels and tablet PC?s . An air panel is similar to a web tablet, but acts as a removable monitor. Say you are working on a paper and your wife says ?come down for dinner!? simply pull the Air Panel (which you are using as a monitor) out of its display stand and take it with you downstairs. Using the touch screen and a stylus, you can continue to surf the web or do whatever wirelessly. We also were able to sneak a snap shot at one of Viewsonic?s top of the line LCD displays. With a 9.1 Mega pixel resolution, no LCD display comes close. So if you have a cool $20K to throw around, think of this as a serious contender. Sorry for the bad angle, there were a lot of people hording around the exhibit.


Vroom Vroom
For those that love music on the go, there is nothing better than being able to play hundreds of MP3?s in your very own car. Designed as an add-on to your existing car radio, the Music Player 3 from Dension is the perfect fit. Touted as the first PC mobile rack compatible hard disk based MP3 player, it is designed to be mounted in any car, connected to most computers, can be added to your home-theater or even used as a stand alone player (we are not sure how though?).

Like magic it blends in…
CaseArt and Chieftec shared a booth at Comdex and had some pretty cool things to show off. CaseArt provides custom paint jobs on Chieftec cases, and are sold through Chieftec. If you notice the woodgrown paint, the woodgrain is continuous and matching, even on the grills and drive bay covers.

More than a display
Some of the best looking LCD displays came from the folks over at Neovo. While the technical specs of their displays were nothing out of the ordinary, what set them apart was their NeoV Crystal Optic Filter. This filter provides visual difference in the colors and image quality. The overall design of their monitors is very contemporary.

Philips
We were treated to a special private showing of some of Philips new products. The new Jack Rabbit32 from Philips is an external DVD/CD-RW drive. The JackRabbit32 can play DVD movies on any video source with the correct inputs. With a built in 5.1 decoder, Dolby digital sound is capable as well. You can check out our complete First Look here.

Other standouts include Philips new LCD display line. This includes LCD displays in 16:9 formats, others with integrated speakers and HDTV support and all include their stylish new designs.

Here is a picture of one of Philips new projectors. Models have been designed for both home theater and presentation uses. Philips offers an affordable home theater projector price at under $2500 dollars.

And the useless toy of the show goes to?.
iSeePet and Fujitsu have a computerized feeding bowl. With a built in camera, you can connect to the internet via your computer, PDA or mobile phone and watch your pet eat their food in real time and remotely administer food into the bowl for your pet. One good thing about this device is that you can feed your pet while you are away; another is that it saves you from getting out of your chair thus giving you more time to browse our website!

While many other publications may have found Comdex lacking this year, since this was our first time there as a company, we found the show to be exhilarating. There is nothing like being surrounded with cutting edge technology, with the magnificent dream of owning it all. Next on the map is CES, again a Designtechnica first trip; does Christmas come around 3 times in a year?sure feels like it does to us!

Look for more in-depth information on products as we get them from the manufacturers.

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