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Top-Tier PC Vendors Returning To Comdex

For the first time in years the PC category will be well represented at Comdex with most of the top-tier vendors showing new models.

The unveiling of Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system has helped boost the PC’s importance at this year’s show, but other categories expected to be highlighted are LCD monitors and a variety of rewritable DVD drives and players.

Entry-level PC maker eMachines and its new executive staff continued the company’s Comdex tradition of showing its products off site. The focus of this year’s offering was the introduction of the Windows XP operating system into eMachines’ PCs. The four units, which were unveiled late last month at the XP launch gala in New York start with the $399 (after $75 rebate) T1090. This model features an Intel Celeron 900MHz chip, 128MB SDRAM, 20GB hard drive and 48x CD-ROM drive. The step-up T1100 adds a 1GHz Celeron processor, Ethernet card and CD-RW drive with a $499 suggested retail price, after $75 rebate.

The two higher-end models are the T4150 and T4155. The former has a Pentium 4 1.5GHz processor, 256MB of SDRAM and 40GB hard drive for $699, after $50 rebate. The latter model has CD-RW and DVD-ROM drives for an additional $100.

Compaq, Hewlett-Packard and Sony will all show upcoming and new models at the show, although product details are being held until Nov. 12.

Belkin’s new products for the show are USB connectivity devices and surge protectors. The USB products are the Media Reader/Writer for CompactFlash, estimated street price $29.95; the USB Media Reader/Writer for SmartMedia, $34.95; the USB Dual Media Reader/Writer for CompactFlash and SmartMedia cards, $49.95; and the USB Media Reader/Writer for Multimedia Cards/Secure Digital Cards, $29.95. The SurgeMaster line, shipping in January, will contain 30 SKUs with prices ranging between $5.99 and $59.99.

Two of Samsung’s Comdex offerings will be LCD monitors. The 15-inch SyncMaster 151MP, with a $749 street price, and the 17-inch SyncMaster 171MP, $1,299 street price, will start shipping this month. Other products on hand will be from the laser printer and consumer electronics segments.

Hewlett-Packard will show products from all across its line at the show, including the 15-inch f50 LCD. The f50 is intended to work well as a computer and entertainment display with 1024×768 resolution and an antiglare coating. The display is now available at HP’s online store and will ship this quarter with a $649 suggested retail price, after $100 mail-in rebate.

CTX International’s Comdex offering is also in the LCD area. It is showing the PV-720 17-inch flat-screen with 1280×1024-resolution monitor that will ship in November with a $699 suggested retail price. The PV-720 has an optional wall mount. The other CTX product is the MS-3600VF 36-inch Pure Flat CRT monitor. This HDTV-ready model has a 16×9 aspect ratio and features built in speakers and a subwoofer and will have a $2,999 suggested retail price.

SCM Microsystems will show at Comdex the Dazzle 6 in 1, a Windows XP-ready, USB digital flash card reader. This universal reader can accept six different types of digital media (CompactFlash Type I and II, IBM MicroDrive, SmartMedia, SD card, MultiMediaCard and Sony Memory Stick) in one compact dual-slot design. The two slots work concurrently, allowing direct transfer between the media. For newer operating systems including Windows Me and Windows XP, the Dazzle 6 in 1 is mass storage compliant and requires no additional software drivers to be installed.

The Dazzle 6 in 1 reader will be available at the suggested retail price of $69.99 and comes bundled with Dazzle OnDVD, a software utility that allows consumers to transfer photos from a digital camera to a PC, create a photo slideshow and then burn it on a CD for playback on a DVD player.

Home networking kit maker NetGear will use Comdex to unveil its new Gigabit product family, which will include Ethernet switches. NetGear also will debut a home power line-based home networking kit at the show.

Swiss-based drive maker Vivastar will show its DVD-Recorder at Comdex. The device, including all hardware and software, is manufactured by Vivastar. According to the company, this will enable the company to bring the product in at a very low suggested retail price. Pricing and shipping information were not available.

The Ericsson will introduce its Chatpen next week. The Chatpen, using Bluetooth wireless technology, transmits and stores handwritten text and graphics from what the company calls digital paper to a PC. The Chatpen was developed by the founder of C-Technologies, which has created small, handheld text scanners.

Pioneer will have on hand its current line of DVD-R/RW drives, both the stand-alone component and PC drive variety, and plans to roll out new consumer versions at its booth. Also on hand will be the companies plasma displays, which are for business and retail kiosk applications.