Monday, September 05, 2005

Rise of the consumer

I was at the Comex exhibition yesterday (an annual end-user computer exhibition like the annual Comdex in the US). I can only remember a few exhibitors who where selling PC and PC-related products - Maxtor, Dell, Chamoxa, Pluto, Linksys. Most of the big name companies such as HP, Toshiba, Compaq were selling Notebooks and Printers. IBM was entirely missing if not for its Thinkpad. Panasonic was selling its DECT phones at generous discounts, and its PC Notebook - the first time I'm seeing this from Panasonic. All of only ONE exhibitor was selling Linux (Xandros) - and that only as a sideshow. The major software vendor was represented by Microsoft (then again, selling mostly X-boxes). There were a few other smaller software vendors plying software such as the Hans Chinese language software and I saw a promoter outside the exbition hall carrying some flyers on Peachtree accounting software. External hard disks are hot, although by no means new. It reminded me of external hard disk-like drives I was playing with some 16 years ago in my then organisation.

But the rest of the exhibition was overrun by exhibitors selling consumer electronics products, really, with brand names like HP (sells more cameras and printers nowadays), Canon, Olympus, Samsung, Fuji Camera, Nikon, etc. Even printers are considered consumer electronics nowadays. I came away from the exhibition with a greater impression of the tons of digital cameras, video cameras, Cellphones and MP3 players (plus speakers mainly from Creative Technologies) on offer. Starhub was literally giving away the O2 phones for new sign-ups and there was a perpetually long queue. Too bad I am already a Starhub subscriber!?

Will consumer electronics take over Comex one day? Is software dead? Is the open source / Linux a fluke? It doesn't seem profitable enough to afford exhibition space?

The times they are a'changin... (Bob Dylan, 1964)

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