Prognostication Still Thrives at Comdex

By Spencer F. Katt  |  Posted 2002-11-25

Though the week was preceded by news of Comdex producer Key3Medias announcement of possible bankruptcy protection, the fall show went off without a hitch. Like days of old, the event was filled with CEO predictions, barbs and behind-the-scenes demos.

National Semiconductor CEO Brian Halla gave the Vegas confab a good deal to talk about as he pinpointed the day the tech industry will turn around: June 21, 2003. During his keynote speech, Halla claimed his isnt just a random guess but rather the finding of a scientific prediction by a Stanford University professor using complex mathematical equations based on past economic cycles.

Scott McNealys keynote started off with a giggle as Key3Media CEO Fred Rosen introduced the Sun chairman by saying, "Whether on a hockey rink or in the corporate bedroom—I mean, boardroom—oh, heck, its Las Vegas." Once on stage, McNealy wasted little time in getting his prerequisite jabs in at Redmond by stating that there were really only three choices in server architecture—"IBM; Sun; or, at the lower, 32-bit end, Microsoft."

After proclaiming that Microsofts integrated system solution was "welded shut," McNealy went on to declare that IBMs integrated strategy was also "unintegratable." Suns "integratable" system was more of "a Lego-like environment," according to the CEO.

"Does that mean you keep finding pieces of it under the couch?" cackled the kitty.

Earlier in the week, Bill Gates keynote confidently predicted that a terabyte of storage will be the norm for desktop PCs before the end of the decade, prompting a disgruntled attendee sitting near the Kitty to mutter, "Yeah, and we still wont have decent versioning options for Microsoft application files."

This certainly wasnt your fathers Comdex—plenty of hotel rooms available, cabs fairly accessible and fewer company-sponsored evening extravaganzas. Rather than complaining about the town being overrun by nontipping geeks, the local service folks last week seemed miffed at the low attendance.

A product Vegas attendees were buzzing about is a forthcoming removable flat-panel display, the Smart Display, from ViewSonic. But what really jazzed the Katt was a new remote control technology under development and due next year that will let users switch from computing to TV to DVDs on the fly and from anywhere. "High-tech couch potatoes. Now youre talkin," purred the Furry One.

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