by Rick Smith and Jim Bennett
(November 23, 1998)
At Comdex 98, flatness ruled!
Flat technology was everywhere and more affordable than last year. New monitors ranged from more efficient flat screen CRTs to a pervasive display of sizzling LCDs. Flat is in - very in. Portable, free standing or wall hanging.
The portable flat screens are found in many different pen computers. They have different form factors and operating systems. These form factors range from palm sized units, to convertibles and to the larger traditional tablet units. Operating systems were proprietary, Java, Windows 95, Windows CE, Windows NT. Manufacturers of these units ranged from small startups and "pre-IPO" companies to large multinationals.
The free standing and wall hanging units were found on two different monitor styles. There were the conventional style monitors with truly flat fronts. These were so flat that they initially appear to be curved inward because we so used to monitors that curve outward. The other style was flat LCD monitors which were in the range from 14 inch to 50 inch (35.5 cm to 127 cm) The larger 50 inch (127 cm) HDTV monitors were stunning, approaching near reality in their representation. The price is high, but will probably drop as production ramps up.
More video cards with high speed 3D graphics rendering capabilities were introduced.
Other developments included text to speech rendering, speech to text recognition using conveniently small handheld devices, faster desktop PCs, smaller, lighter and thinner notebooks, larger backup and storage devices, wireless home networks and digital cameras everywhere (both still and video).
On the enterprise front, net terminals still exist, Office 2000 approaches, affordable color printing for the workgroup, LINUX continues to win converts, and SQLServer 7.0 is released.
© 1998 Rick Smith and Jim Bennett All rights reserved.