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Computex 2014 round-up: Intel Core M, Kingston fabs and electric toilets

The good, the bad and the ugly at Asia’s biggest computer trade show
Mon Jun 09 2014, 09:10

TAIPEI: THIS YEAR marked the 34th year of Computex, held in the Taiwanese capital of Taipei and welcomed the usual throng of hardware exhibitors, partners, visitors and of course press from across the world.

Computex is renowned for its knack for overwhelming any foreign attendee who's not used to it, whether it's the multitude of hardware announcements, humid temperatures, the jetlag or just the crazy press parties, and the conference this year was no exception.

Computex 2014 Exhibition hall

As predicted, there were stacks of announcements from most of the world's biggest names in computer hardware at the show, such as hometown OEMs Acer and Asus and a few newcomers to the Asian trade show like Dell.

Here are The INQUIRER's picks of the best and worst things we saw at Computex 2014, in no particular order.

The Good

Intel had the biggest presence of all the companies attending Computex this year, and probably bigger than it has before at the Taiwan computer conference.

Kirk Skaugen talks up Intel at Computex

Not only did Intel take the opportunity to unveil its latest Core M chip, but it also demonstrated some exciting innovations on stage in a keynote, such as A4WP wireless charging technology, which got us excited when Intel said the standard will appear in laptops and tablets within the next two years. Intel mostly stole the show at Computex this year, keeping us busy with so many announcements.

Dramatic press conferences
With each year that we come to Computex, we always forget how crazy the press conferences are in comparison to those in London. The Taiwanese don't do boring when it comes to product announcements. They like to make sure the press is entertained and take any opportunity they can to turn a product launch into a theatrical display.

Take Kingston's press event held on Thursday, for instance. Never before have we seen memory chips and SSDs shown off in such a dramatic fashion. The spaceship-themed launch event, which featured models in white wigs and LED trimmed jumpsuits, was definitely a sight to behold, albeit a little distracting.

Friendly people
Although Computex 2014 will remain in our memories as the time when we sweated out darting from press conference to company booths in 35 degree heat, we won't forget the friendliness of the always-smiling staff on the show floors who ushered us clueless visitors the right way, or chased us down the road when we'd left our pen in the press room. The people never failed to lift our spirits when it all got a little too much.

Taipei MRT
No technology trade show is possible without transport to get journalists from one press event to the next, and luckily for industry hacks at Computex, no mode of transport was better than Taipei's Mass Rapid transit (MRT) system.

Not only reliable, laid back and easy to navigate, the MRT was efficient, environmentally friendly and unique compared to any other subway system that we've used before, mainly through its use of plastic coins instead of gate tickets.

Fab tours
Seeing as how most of the world's computer chips are made right here in Taiwan, it's only natural that their makers would want to invite the press to have a wander around inside their fabs to show off how they do what they do.

Kingston's FAB in Taiwan

So the week of Computex 2014 saw a few big chip companies open their doors of their respective factories to a select few journalists and naturally, The INQUIRER was invited.

We had a snoop around Kingston's fab, just a 30-minute high-speed rail journey out of Taipei, where we got to see what goes into building SD card memory and SSD drives. Fascinating stuff. We'll be posting more about our fab plant tour soon, so check back for that soon.


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