View from the East

We round up some of the more interesting gadgets and gizmos from this year's Computex technology show in Taipei, Taiwan.

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By  Peter Branton Published  June 16, 2007

Despite the unseasonably heavy rainfall early in the week (storms claimed four lives across the island), this year's Computex trade show in Taipain proved to be the most successful ever, organisers claimed.

The event, held earlier this month in Taipei, was the 27th edition of the show; once a relatively minor event attended by contract manufacturers and components firms, it has now evolved into one of the most popular technology trade shows in the world, alongside CeBit in Germany and Dubai's Gitex event.

With Taiwanese firms such as Acer and Asustek well established on the world stage, Computex also played host to some major international names; Intel and AMD both made their presence felt at this year's show, while companies such as Toshiba, Hitachi and SanDisk also attended.

In total, some 1,333 firms occupied 2,926 booths, attracting around 103,000 local visitors and 33,000 overseas guests, according to figures released by Computex organiser TAITRA. It said the top ten countries to visit Computex were the US, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Germany, Malaysia, India and Russia.

China's presence on the list for a Taiwanese trade fair is very much a sign of the times: next year will see Chinese firms participate officially for the first time.

Computex has developed a reputation over the years for showcasing the latest technology, and this year was no exception: a number of firms were displaying ultra mobile PCs (UMPCs), a new form factor being promoted by Intel and Microsoft. Smaller than even the most portable laptop, working devices were on display with screen sizes from 4.8-inch to 7-inches.

While the UMPCs were new, the emphasis on mobility at this year's event highlighted a continuing them for the industry: Intel promoted its WiMax technology at the show, and a number of products were available with the newer 802.11n wireless standard.

The "digital home", beloved of computer makers for several years, was also featured heavily, with media centre devices a common theme.

Other key technologies that were heavily featured were internet radio and digital photo frame solutions. Internet radio products were displayed by a number of vendors, suggesting that this sector could move beyond being a broadcasting niche.

Digital photo frame products also attracted a lot of attention, with several different models on display. With research suggesting that a third of all digital photos are never printed this is perhaps not surprising: Asus, FIC, Ritek and Genius were among the manufacturers to have products on display, with screen sizes ranging from 1.1-inch to 8-inches. Input connections included USB ports and flash memory.

Finally, with global warming gathering ever-more attention, plenty of IT vendors were keen to demonstrate just how environmentally-friendly they could be: Genius demonstrated a solar-powered keyboard to visitors.

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