Thanks to my Friday flight back from Taipei, Monday’s public holiday and yesterday’s switch to a new CMS, I haven’t been able to share with you some of the bits and pieces I found over at Computex last week. Until now…
First up, I managed to have a little hands on time with the Sharp netbook with an LCD trackpad. I wouldn’t really call it quality time though – the computer was obviously designed for the Japanese market, and all I could get it to do was have a sparkle follow my finger around in an underwater setting. Still, it was enough to offer hope that there’s a real future for LCD trackpads, especially if it can really become a dynamic secondary display.
I also enjoyed a hands on with a couple of upcoming phones: The Asus Garmin nüvifone and the HTC Snap. First up, the nüvifone:
It looks like a really nice handset. Really nice. The UI is clean and pretty intuitive. Everything revolves around the GPS side of things really, which isn’t surprising considering the Garmin partnership, and that’s nice, but even so, you can’t help but think that it’s going to struggle. Firstly, there’s no app store, and because it’s running a custom UI, that means that you only get what comes with the phone. Or in aother words, disappointment. Secondly, it still hasn’t been released, even though it was announced years ago. The Asus lady reckoned it would be shipping worldwide next month, but couldn’t say one way or another whether Australia was included in this world of hers. Of course, there was a whole comedy of errors in the communication between us there, so who really knows when it will launch.
The second phone was the HTC snap, and truth be told – I reckon I might be able to tolerate Winmo for this phone. It’s gorgeous. It’s extremely comfortable to hold and is built extremely well. The keyboard’s comfortable to type on, and the extra button down the bottom that gives you immediate access to emails from your most important contacts is simple and genius at the same time. Because this one was on the Microsoft stand as part of their Windows Mobile display, nobody could tell me anything about release dates, let alone if we’d see it in Australia. But my fingers are crossed.
The Asus stand was filled with all the Eee PCs and Eee nettops and any other Eee you can think of, naturally, but they also had this pretty funky monitor. At first I thought it was a nettop rather than just a run of the mill display, but eventually I realised that the Full HD screens were simple monitors dubbed “visual artpieces” with a 50,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, HDMI input and a 2ms response time. And the stand is awesome, as you can see.
Finally, what would a trip to Asia be without a robot? MSI provided with their greeting robot, which had five motors in each arm, weighed 40kg and an automatic navigation system, that would let it roam the show floor without going on an inadvertant murderous rampage. Which is pretty impressive, considering it was running XP. The 24V battery gives the robot 2 hours of battery life, while the 20 IR and sonar sensors let it work its mojo on show-goers. Still, every robot needs to recharge, and I caught the MSI right at naptime, as you can see below.
There were a lot of things to see at Computex this year, and this is obviously just the tiniest sample. I have a few more Computex stories to share though, so stay tuned over the next week or so.