Some information already disappearing off the Comdex website – keynote videos, stories. Can shift place but not time.
Booth sales down 15% this year. Only 125,000 people attended, down from nearly 200,000 last year.
Almost everything is at the LVCC
Bad swag (see yesterday)
Koreans getting lots of press
Tie together Listwin and Greenfield talks –
The Web, which might seem to refute the point, actually provides another example. It was far from the first system to provide remote information to ordinary people via a GUI – AOL and Prodigy had it beat by several years. Text-based systems that accomplished the same thing – CompuServe, Delphi, UUNet and networked bulletin board systems like Fido got their start before the original PC was a gleam in IBM’s eye. Further, most of these systems offered the global reach of the Internet (CompuServe was a primary “meeting place” for survivors and their relatives after the earthquakes in Northridge, California earthquake in 1994 and the Kobe, Japan). Most commercial services had cheaper monthly fees and were easier to set up than the multiple programs required to use an ISP and access the Web. And all offered more content, and made it easier to find, than the Web in the early days before search engines.
What made the Web such a success that it eradicated or co-opted every other online information service? I’d argue it was the community enabled by the early Web. Most of the early pages – “home pages” in the literal sense – were essentially personal information and community newsletters. Commercial efforts were “brochureware” that offered information and not much else. Still, people couldn’t get enough of it. Why? Because, unlike any service that came before it, the Web made it possible to
Wireless security panel, eMobility:
WECA (Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance) chair David Cohen admits WEP is breakable. However, nobody wants to give up wireless convenience. Also, the primary wireless security problem is that people forget to turn WEP on.
Public access wireless venues generally don’t use WEP at all. Panel felt they don’t need it (?) thanks to SSL on most secure sites. Other, more secure add-ons exist for corporate applications that need higher security.
Cisco - 802.11a – 54Mbits, demo is 20Mbit/second HDTV served wirelessly to a screen. Primarily an enterprise deployment first. B and A will coexist for a while.
Enhanced security in 802.11b – new announcements.
Bluetooth – specification stable, first products out. Cell phone headset released last week by Ericsson – phone stays in briefcase.
Bluetooth vs. WiFi – BT is about personal devices and equipment – cable killer. 802.11 for networking.
First products – PC Bluetooth integration, cell phones (Ericsson, Nokia, Motorola), headsets, digital cameras, Sony camcorder, printers (HP). All being seen this week at Comdex.
Windows CE .Net, the next release Windows CE, was recently qualified by Bluetooth SIG – MS considers this important. In contrast, they did not include Bluetooth support in Windows XP, dropping the feature late in XP’s development process. MS considers the certification important in convincing manufacturers that MS PocketPCs will interoperate with their products. (http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/stories/news/0,4586,2821262,00.html)
My assessment? Bluetooth will succeed despite its detractors, for exactly the reason its designers intended: people hate cables. It’s cheap to add to a device, and requires virtually no user interaction to make it work. It’s not likely to replace the office LAN, but that’s not what it was intended for – so the people casting it as a head-to-head competitor with 802.11 are looking at it the wrong way. Think of it as a head-to-head competitor for wires – wires that break, get tangled, get lost, get left home. In that arena, its future is virtually assured.
National Semiconductor Origami – conceptual product – wireless mobile handheld information appliance. Keyboard, camera – can be folded into tablet, digital camcorder, CF slot for 802.11 or Bluetooth for wide-area phones. Windows XP. Technology demo, but may be available from some NEC partners in 2H2002.
Gmate Yopy (Korea)– Linux based PDA. Very small and thin. Color, icon-based screen, 6x6 square format keypad, jog control and application buttons built into inside of cover. Includes removable SmartMedia slot, IR beaming support, MP3 player, voice recorder. Wireless CDMA modem for cell phone capability available through backpack module. Also engineering calculator, handwriting recognition. 206MHz StrongARM processor, 240x320 16 bit TFT color display, 64MB RAM. About $440, released in December in Korea and late 2002/early 2003 in the US.. (http://www.gmate.com/english/overview.htm, http://www.infosync.no/show.php?id=1106)
Making keyboards smaller is one of the most intractable barriers to making devices smaller. Screens can be made to look bigger through optical trickery, but fingers aren’t so easily fooled. Voice isn’t likely to become the mainstream means for data entry, for many reasons. So it’s interesting to see the fresh approaches to the input problem that pop up at Comdex every year. Here are two highlights:
Ericsson digital pen and paper – paper has small dots, pen has microcamera and Bluetooth device. Pen was shown last year as simple drawing tool. Camera takes picture of 6x6 dot area, tracks its XY coordinates, maps the movement. New wrinkle this year – character recognition. Email application – pen transmits to an Ericsson phone, transmits to a server, sends the email. Similar to price of phone. Availability undetermined.
Senseboard virtual keyboard – two straps attached to hands – type in thin air. Intended for portable device users. Weird. Price not determined, availability sometime in the spring. (http://www.senseboard.com/products.htm), and use the picture in today’s dispatch.
Shubur Ipsen digital camera - 60 images, video in traditional viewfinder saves battery (can last one to two months), connects directly to phone to upload JPEG files through cell network.
Largan Digital Chameleon Mega digital camera – tiny. 1.3 megapixel and the size of a candy bar. Doubles as PC camera and video camera. Stores 4-10 minutes of video, or about 100 pictures. (don’t use this one)
New Sony plasma TV – first with integrated tuner. Wall and tabletop monitor – hook up video or PC products. Exceptionally thin. Available Jan - $6000 for 32 inch, $800 for 42 inch. Target high-end, commercial market.
Samsung – flat panel SyncMaster 171MP and 151MP monitors – HDTV capability – 4 in one monitor – computing, TV, video input. $1399. Corporate market, high end monitor in home, RV, or yacht. They expect people will want to watch TV on their computer monitors.
Sony Aibo – new model – BRS220 – aggressive Aibo – 21 LEDs, retractable spotlight, 75 word command vocabulary. $1500 – LAN/wireless capability. Download email, websites and read them. Success – sold 100,000 worldwide of all models.