It has been over a decade since I went to a Comdex, the giant Las Vegas computer show that once drew as many as 200,000 away from the gaming tables for four days of blister-inducing walks, indigestion-inducing food frenzies and hostility suites
Computex Taiwan brings those old days back.
Comdex died because it stopped making sense. By the late 1990s everyone knew who made what, and who sold what. Retailing had evolved to big box stores, and the business could be done online.
That's not true here. CompuTex is a complex dance among OEMs and brand-name manufacturers. The former show off what they can do, and look for contracts to do it. The latter have new designs and requirements with them, and are always looking to shave a few dollars off their unit costs.
As I write this the Mayor of Taipei and the show owner (who looks suspiciously like Comdex' Sheldon Adelson did 40 years ago) are holding an opening ceremony for the cameras. It may be all most Taiwanese see of the show. But it's not the show.
The show is four halls, two here and two near the Taiwan 101 tower (tallest in the world – Taiwan's gigantic middle finger to the mainland), filled with down-sized Comdex-like booths and stands. Intel is a major show sponsor. There are literally dozens of Netbooks on display and my son John is currently scouring the show floor looking for those stories. (You will meet him later.)
All else is shuttle buses. We took a bus from the hotel to the Nanjang Center, on the edge of the city. We will need another shuttle to get to the other show site. Each shuttle takes a half hour through Taipei's suffocating mass of cars and motorcycles.
Now that we have set the seen, on with the show. Let me know below what you want me to cover. I am, as they say here, at your service.