Brace yourself

Faster than a speeding bullet they’re coming - the pinnacle of Gitex season, the time at which the product wheat and the product chaff are ripped apart - that’s right, we’re just a few weeks away from the Windows Middle East Awards 2006. And this year we’re introducing a new ‘category of categories’ – named ‘Editor’s Choice - Product of the Year’ - which I reckon a new music master stands a fair chance of bagging…

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By  Matthew Wade Published  September 25, 2006

|~||~||~|Yes indeed folks, in just a few weeks, Windows’ editorial team will stride the Gitex halls to hand out 2006's Windows Awards and in doing so, heap well deserved praise upon the makers of this region’s greatest consumer and SMB kit. From notebooks and consumer PCs to security software, LCD displays and storage devices, we’ll nail every category by explaining exactly which releases have been category killers and why. We’ll also big up the companies that have led the way in terms of customer service, by going beyond the call of duty to give the region’s customers the kind of support they can usually only dream of. As with last year’s awards, the majority of these categories will be decided purely by our testing team (in that it’s their job - week in, week out – to test this stuff), based specifically upon how products scored against their direct competitors in our lab tests. However we’ll also be following up last year’s successful ‘Reader Voted’ category by again giving you guys and gals the chance to chip in and tell us which kit floated your respective boats. (Keep your browsers pointed at for more details as we'll be kicking off the online voting shortly.) Awards evening itself is a time fraught with tension and excitement (and not just because our WinLab rats are so unaccustomed to wearing ties), because when it comes to objective product testing, Windows magazine is where the Middle East buck stops with a thud. And it’s that geeky integrity that is already making our new ‘Product of the Year’ category such a hot topic of debate. At Windows Towers our review team, which includes yours truly, has already begun having what I believe diplomats call ‘intense discussions’ about which product offerings wobbled our worlds the most in 2006. Could Intel’s benchmark-shattering Core 2 Duo CPUs be in with a shout? One reviewer is adamant it should be. What about the dazzling winners of next issue’s PDA and smartphone grouptest (which we’ve just finished being ‘wowed’ by)? These mobility stars are leading the way in their field at present, but did they make our jaws drop further than anything else throughout the whole of this year? Hmmm. Meanwhile I personally am raving about the latest iPod challenger to hit the market, in the form of Sandisk’s Sansa MP3 player (read all about that too in next month’s issue). In my humblest of opinions, it’s everything the original iPod Nano should have been: sleek, memory upgradeable, with a dazzling display, and capable of showing videos and photos, and playing back crystal clear sound. The clock is ticking, the debate rolls on… -------------------- UAE VoIP UPDATE In case you're wondering, I've not received responses to my VoIP questions from either the TRA or Etisalat to date (although Etisalat staff did confirm in the local press recently that the organisation would launch its own consumer VoIP service at some point in the future). Interesting stuff eh? Arguably more intersting however are the current standings of this month's Windows Middle East Quick Poll. Run on, this poll asks site visitors: "Do you feel the current VoIP (voice over internet) restrictions in the UAE are limiting your business's potential growth?" To date, 78.8% of our 760 respondents have clicked 'Yes, very much.' You're not alone folks! -------------------- ||**||

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