A Look Back at Comdex Fall 2003

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A few years ago, the fall Comdex was huge, both in terms of attendance but also in significance, as large numbers of new products debuted. Just last year, HP announced the iPAQ h1910 and h5450, while Dell introduced the Axim X5 series. However, its importance has been waning and most companies have stopped waiting until late November, when this show is held, to introduce products for the holiday shopping season. Still, there were a few significant developments related to handhelds and other mobile devices.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates gave his twentieth keynote address at the show, in which he talked about seamless computing, which will allow software to work together, whether it is two company’s billing systems or a PC and smart phone sharing their user’s information.

Mr. Gates also demonstrated the new Motorola MPx200, which runs Microsoft’s operating system for smart phones and was released in the U.S. last month. (Read more)

Also on Monday, PalmSource announced that PerComm had licensed the Palm OS and was planning to use it in cellular-wireless devices. (Read more) PalmSource also introduced the Palm Powered MobileWorld program, which it created to improve the Palm OS as an operating system for smart phones and increase the number of applications being wirelessly downloaded directly to smart phones. (Read more)

On Wednesday, PalmSource CEO David Nagel used his keynote speech to talk about the advantages of the Palm OS for IT departments. He also spoke about how Palm OS 6, which will be available to licensees by the end of this year, has been designed with the features businesses want, like security and the ability to work with Microsoft’s business software. (Read more)

Later in the week, AT&T’s Chairman John Zeglis announced that his company was rolling out EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution) service over its GSM/GPRS wireless network. This will increase data transfer speeds to between 100 kbps to 130 kbps.

While at Comdex, Michael Dell said in an interview that his company has no plans to release handhelds running the Palm OS any time soon. A Dell executive had said last year this was a possibility. He also confirmed an earlier report that Dell has no short-term plans to make a device that runs Windows Mobile for Smartphone. (Read more)

Late in the show, the winners of the Best of Comdex awards were announced. The winner in the the Mobile Devices category was MSN Direct, Microsoft’s Wireless Data service for SPOT watches. Among the finalists were HP’s iPAQ h4355 and palmOne’s Treo 600. (Read more)



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