Las Vegas Prepares For Comdex Fall 2002

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Microsoft founder Bill Gates' keynote address will once again mark the start of Comdex Fall, with show organizers hoping for a rejuvenated show compared with the smaller-than-normal event that took place last year.

Following Gates is a list of industry executives that will kick off each day of the show with keynote addresses, including HP's CEO Carly Fiorina and Hector de J. Ruiz, AMD chairman and CEO.

The Sept. 11 terror attacks and their aftermath cast a long shadow over the 2001 event, with thousands of attendees deciding to skip the show and exhibitors limiting the number of people allowed to attend. Comdex organizer Key3Media is confident that the 2002 event will again see a large turnout with more than 125,000 people visiting 1,000 exhibitors.

In addition, a large number of companies will conduct business off-site at hotels up and down the Vegas Strip.

Products being introduced and displayed at the show once again run the gamut from basic computer accessories to monitors and optical drives. Here is a quick list of what will be on hand at the show.

Samsung will introduce products in its SyncMaster computer monitor and optical drive lines. The SR-T03 is a combination DVD-RAM/CD-RW drive with 2x DVD-RAM, 12x CD-R, 8x CD-RW speeds and can read DVD-ROM media. It will ship in the first quarter of 2001 with suggested retail price of $349. It will be joined by the SW-252 CD-R/-RW drive with 52x write, 32x rewrite and 52x read speeds and will ship in December. Pricing has not been set.

Samsung's primary monitor introduction is the SyncMaster 1100DF, a 21-inch CRT that features the company's Highlight Zone and Highlight Zone II brightness controls. It started shipping this month with a $689 suggested retail price. The company will also introduce the HLM617W HDTV. This is a 61-inch rear-projection set that is two feet deep and weighs in at 120 pounds. It will ship early next year with a $5,999 suggested retail price.

Also from Samsung is the i330 PDA/cellphone. The i330 has a 3G phone allowing high-speed e-mail and Internet access, a combination desktop cradle and charger with USB connectivity, speakerphone capabilities and various ring tones (see p. 30 for more details).

Plextor will show its PlexWriter CD-RW 24/10/24U drive next week. It features 24x write, 10x rewrite and 24x read speeds and is fully portable, weighing in at just under one pound, and uses a USB 2.0 to connect to a notebook. The drive is shipping this week with a $199 suggested retail price.

SimpleTech will join the key-chain style removable flash storage market with the introduction of the Bonzai USB mini drive. The company will have products containing up to 512MB of storage. Pricing and shipping were not available. SimpleTech will also show its FlashLink All-in-One USB flash memory card reader and the 5GB Mini-Traveler PC Card hard drive SimpleDrive Deluxe USB 2.0/FireWire external hard drives. Pricing and shipping information was not available.

Ricoh will show its next-generation, higher speed DVD+RW/+R drive for PC OEM market, a slim-line DVD+RW/+R drive for notebooks and possibly a DVD+R/+RW player for the home market.

Software maker PentaWare will show the PentaSuite Windows file management software. It is immediately available via electronic download for $49 and will ship to retail in the first quarter of 2003. Retail versions will cost an additional $10.

Professional audio maker turned consumer multimedia speaker vendor Telex will show a new 5.1 surround system during Comdex. Telex introduced its first products into the consumer retail market earlier this year.

US Robotics will show a 22MBps wireless cable/DSL router featuring a two-port Ethernet switch, integrated 802.11b access point and integrated print server. It has just started shipping with a $179 suggested retail price.

Hard drive maker Maxtor will introduce an internal hard drive kit based around 250GB hard drive. This is the follow-up to an external upgrade kit announced on Oct. 8.

Ikebana will show a line of USB 2.0-based portable hard drives that will come in 20GB, 30GB and 40GB capacities. The pocket-size drives are powered through the USB connection. Pricing and shipping was not available.

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