Asia’s “big tent” Computer expo will likely to disappoint — because most companies have already let the cat out of the bag.
What’s next for the future of computing? You’ll probably find out at Computex. The “big tent” show for Asia — CES in the heart of OEM/ODM country — remains relevant solely because it happens on the home turf of so many companies that play a key role in the tech sector.
But this year will be different. In all likelihood, this year’s Computex will be remembered as a show without a defining announcement. That’s not to say that the show is drifting out of relevancy like CES; it’s just that this year the big x86 and GPU players have already had made their announcements prior to the show or simply don’t have anything to show off. Keep in mind: Computex will remain relevant simply because of its long tail of releases, and because it’s the meeting place between customer and ODM, but this year the pickings will be slim for the press.
A processing non-revolution
Intel, for example, has already lifted the kimono on its plans for the next year. A refreshed Haswell and Z97 chipset has already been announced and shipped, while Devil’s Canyon and the Pentium anniversary edition got their big reveal at the Game Developers’ Expo earlier this year. This Computex will show, indeed, that the desktop is alive and well but we heard that weeks ago. Along with the announcement of a deal with China’s Rockchip. We can expect an announcement about an upcoming announcement about a 14nm version of Broadwell Y-series, but the juicy details won’t be available until this fall’s Intel Developer Forum. But Intel’s President, Renee James, who’ll take the podium for Computex’s first official keynote might drop some interesting surprises — but don’t expect a dozen mobile wins (in contrast MediaTek, Qualcomm and Rockchip will have conveyer belts of hardware wins).
Instead Intel will likely highlight its effort in the “Internet of Things” during its keynote. It pulled the same stunt at CES in January when it had nothing else to say. We’ll see if Intel has something of substance to unveil, or if it resorts to this.
On another note, what will be interesting is to see if vendors are demonstrating DDR4 RAM on the showfloor of Computex’s Nangang Convention Center. The amount of vendors with DDR4 units on display could be indicative of how aggressively Intel is demonstrating its X99 platform behind closed doors.
No country for old GPUs
AMD and Nvidia are in a precarious place this Computex. Already, the second-highest powered cards from both companies can work their way through the most demanding games at 4K resolution. Thus, in order to move product and clear out excess silicon both companies have shipped dual-core video cards that are far in excess of what the market demands. The Radeon 295X2 will have a place in highly niche, but low-volume, boutique PCs — not something that will dramatically alter the market.
Last year at Computex AMD announced that its Kaveri APU would be shipped by the end of 2013 (reiterating a promise from that year’s CES). Despite these promises VR-Zone was able to report that Kaveri would be released in 2014, something that AMD began dropping hints on as the year progressed. This year, AMD’s Computex press conference will likely be defined by the launch of Kaveri’s mobile iteration. We’ll likely see a handful of wins in second notebooks and the embedded space, but as AMD’s Bernd Lienhard told VR-Zone at AMD’s APU tech day in Beijing tablet wins would not be happening. The same goes for Mullins, but, in the end, anything could happen.
Windows non grata
Microsoft, for its part, has already announced its next version of the Surface at a press event earlier this month. With no new Windows on the horizon, its keynote entitled “Microsoft Devices and Services: Partner Opportunity and Customer Value” will likely be a sure miss. Some non-selling Windows mobile devices may be introduced, but it won’t be as exciting as Computex 2011 when Microsoft gave us a first look at Windows 8.
The show before the show?
This year’s Computex could very well be defined as the show where everything important was announced pre-show. It’s understandable why companies might want to skip the cacophony of the big tent show, but if the press is all gathered in one place it’s important to give us something. Historically, Computex is known as the more technically important event than CES. Hopefully there will be some surprise announcements this year that will keep it that way. Otherwise, this year’s show is looking like the doldrums.
Check back all this week for coverage of Computex from Taipei.