Call it a sign of the times, but don't call it PC Expo. The premier US East Coast computer show opening today is officially not just about computers anymore. Organizers even changed the name to TechXNY, short for Technology Exchange Week New York.
Handheld devices (with or without wireless internet access), home networking equipment and digital entertainment devices are expected to be the focus of attention.
The 50,000 visitors expected at the Jacob Javits Convention Center [sic] in New York won't find the likes of Compaq and IBM showcasing PCs. The big PC makers are emphasizing handheld peripherals such as Compaq's popular iPaq Pocket PC. IBM is showing off the Microdrive technology it is pushing into mobile device markets.
Handheld devices are expected to prompt the biggest buzz. Palm's chief executive Carl Yankowski is delivering one of the three prime speeches. He's expected to announce a series of business deals that Palm hopes will ward off competition from rival Pocket PC manufacturers in what some have said could be Palm's darkest hour yet.
PDAs and PDA accessories abound, both on and off the show floor. Sony, Compaq, and HP are among those expected to preview new handhelds. Palm and Handspring are both hosting sizable partner pavilions for software and hardware accessories.
Palm's arch-rival Microsoft rolled into town in a 45-foot "Mobile Experience Tour" bus with its army of Pocket PC partners, including Compaq, HP, and Casio. Close at hand are hardware and service providers with no shortage of cool Pocket PC accessories, including GPS receivers, 802.11b wireless PC Cards, and MP3 players.
Multimedia peripherals, notably DVDs, are also clearly hot topics this week. Exhibitors such as Sharp and Panasonic are pushing new DVD burners and recorders. Panasonic is unveiling a DVD-RAM/R device.
Digital imaging firms are also well represented, with at least 20 companies showing imaging wares. Canon, Fujifilm, Kodak, and Nikon are among those showing their latest in digital cameras. Toshiba's new sub-$1000 4.2Mp (megapixel) PDR-M81 camera is also on display.