Linux steals the show

Brian Smith, design director of PDD, reports from the annual Las Vegas computer show.

This years Comdex Fall was smaller and quieter despite expanded floor space at Sands and the Las Vegas Convention Centre.

200,000 people tramped through 1,000,000ft2 of exhibits, and dozens of conferences took place in the wings. It kicked off on Sunday when 16,000 visited the MGM Garden Arena to hear Bill Gates open with his first Keynote as Microsoft’s Chief Software Architect.

He delivered a relaxed, predictable, iterative set of updates and then introduced the Microsoft ‘Think in Ink’ project. It is, according to Mr Gates, the project that everyone at Microsoft wants to be involved in; and it was obvious why: an ink simulating software that is designed to be used on A4 full screen tablets which is both editable and movable. The hardware to support this is already available from a number of manufacturers (Wired Pen).

Carly Fiorina, CEO of HP, delivered Monday’s Keynote despite the premature release of HP’s earnings slump. She spoke engagingly and passionately of her belief in the coming of the second renaissance, and the risks to us all if history is repeated.

Whilst this was not at first clear to the capacity crowd who attended, it did not take long on the show floor to see where she was heading. Linux (open architecture operating software) has come from nowhere in two years to occupy nearly 30% of the floor area at Sands.

One of the most exciting and busiest stands was Toshiba’s, futures section, which featured 16 or so next generation products designed to titillate the taste buds for next year’s new product releases. The trend through both Toshiba’s projections and the many other companies that were showing future based concepts is towards high value, precious products using metals and metallised polymers in an attempt to give increased value.

Is the day of the green translucent computer coming to an end?

Best of Show Award went to the Anoto’s Tablet PC, with a pen based input device from a subsidiary of C Technologies taking second place. Well deserved if not on the large side! It’s going to be interesting to see if Mr. Gates still manages to take centre stage next year!

PDD is currently seeking a strategic partner for its own patented e-Pen product.