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My 10 years at Computex

Commentary: Computex has been a big part of my decade-long career writing about tech, and it's been a great ride so far. Wait -- it's been 10 years?


This PC case mod is all kinds of impressive but it doesn't (yet) fly.

Aloysius Low/CNET

Time flies when you're having fun, and in a blink of an eye, it turns out I've been covering Computex for 10 years now. I should feel older and wiser, but the Taiwanese trade show, one of the largest exhibitions about PC hardware and electronics, continues to surprise, making each visit feel like the first time I covered the show.

Computex takes place in two big exhibition halls, but back in 2007 it was limited to just one venue. Memory cards, RAM, USB flash drives and the once-ubiquitous power supply units (I know, dazzling huh?) have fallen from the show floor, giving more room to exciting processor chips, graphic cards, motherboards and PC cases. 

I've seen the rise and fall of Android tablets from the show -- they used to be a big deal, and have all but vanished from the booths of major manufacturers. Instead VR is all the rage now, but will it be a fad that lasts just a few years like tablets? 

And while there have been some big fundemental changes, like startups getting more and more space to show their stuff, there has been one decade-long, controversial constant: scantily clad booth babes.

Unlike other trade shows though, they aren't just there as eye candy. Many that I spoke to had great insight into what they were promoting, able to answer technical questions and were apparently quite well-regarded compared by promoters, being addressed as "senior sister," a term of respect. Some are also bilingual, hosting events at the booth with great enthusiasm in both Mandarin and English. Which makes you think: Why are they not wearing more clothing?

In the last few years, old and new gaming accessory makers have come out in force, offering a wide range of mechanical keyboards (these were a rarity back then) and mice with all sorts of dazzling colors to astound the eyes. I do wonder, though, how many will survive the coming years, where competition to sell better products for less will be fiercer than ever. 

As gaming comes to the forefront this year, I got a pleasant surprise when my favorite competitive game, DoTA 2, made an appearance in the form of the $100,000 Zotac Cup. Big-name teams from around the world played to an unfortunately almost-empty crowd, as most attendees were busy doing business deals or covering the show floor. Hopefully, it returns at a better location next year. Given everything esports has become, I suspect this won't be the last time we see a high-stakes tournament at Computex. 

I'm liking how Computex is changing with the times, looking forward to not just focus on components, but on the more exciting consumer stuff. The boring bits that most don't care about are still in there, but the packaging is so much more interesting. 

Here's to a decade of Computex: I can't wait to see where the show is in 2027. 

Check out the rest of CNET's Computex 2017 coverage here.