New products shine at Comdex

A keynote presentation by Intel's Andy Grove and product and technology demonstrations of Intel MMX processors, FireWire devices, and network computers are among the highlights of this year's Comdex.

Brooke Crothers
Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
3 min read
A keynote presentation by Intel's (INTC) president and CEO Andy Grove and product and technology demonstrations of Intel MMX processors, FireWire devices, and network computers by IBM (IBM), Texas Instruments (TXN), Apple Computer (AAPL), Toshiba , and Dell (DELL) are among the highlights of this year's Comdex.

Highlights of events and product and technology rollouts include the following:

Keynote speech:

Intel's president and CEO Dr. Andrew Grove will give the Comdex keynote speech, entitled "A Revolution in Progress." He will discuss what he expects to happen over the next decade in microprocessor and PC technology. He will use a variety of live demonstrations of current and future PC technologies. The event will feature live streaming audio by a RealAudio plug-in. In conjunction with this, Comdex will have as one of its major themes this year "25 Years of Industry Achievement: Celebrating the Impact of the Microprocessor" to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the introduction of the Intel 4004 microprocessor.

Network Computers:

--IBM will be flaunting its new-found prowess in network computers (NCs): The Network Station will be showcased. It features a PowerPC 403 microcontroller, ACTware (by NCD) as the operating system, 8MB of RAM, and no local disk drive. The Network Station is slated to ship in March and will be priced at about $700.
--IBM will also be exhibiting its OEM NC reference platform, based on high-performance PowerPC processors. The PowerPC NC reference platform will be marketed to OEM customers looking to build NCs. It will come as a "kit" and offer support for Microware's OS-9 operating system, Java, and other technologies.
--Network Computing Devices, which will handle production of IBM's Network Station, will also be showcasing its family of NCs.

MMX Pentium processor technology:

--IBM will also be showcasing a ThinkPad notebook PC with MMX technology.
--Toshiba will demonstrate MMX technology on a Tecra series notebook running videoconferencing software.
--Dell and Gateway will also be demonstrating systems with MMX processors.
--Intel's Pentium processor MMX technology is slated to debut on 166-MHz Mobile Pentium processors in the first quarter of 1997. Desktop MMX Pentiums are expected to run at up to 200 MHz.

FireWire 1394 consumer electronics-PC convergence technologies:

--Texas Instruments will be demonstrating its new ultra-thin FireWire 1394-ready Extensa 900 series, which boasts the thinnest profile of any TI notebook to date and the ability to connect to FireWire products such as digital camcorders and VCRs. Models in the 900 series come with a 133-MHz Pentium processor.
--FireWire 1394 product demonstrations will also be made by Apple Computer, the originator of the 1394 specification, showing off prototype printers, digital cameras, camcorders, and high-speed file transfers between Macs.
--Sony, will be showing its FireWire 1394 passport-sized Digital Video HandyCam, as well as a digital cassette recorder and a desktop conferencing camera. A FireWire-compatible Digital Video Capture Board will also be shown.

Windows CE-based handheld computers:

NEC , Compaq, Hitachi, and Philips will be among the vendors exhibiting Windows CE-based handheld PCs. Windows CE is a small-footprint version of Windows 95 for mobile computing, communications, and entertainment devices that connect to the Internet and share information with Windows-based PCs.
--NEC will produce a version of the CE computer that will pack a MIPS processor.
--Hitachi will also be demonstrating a Windows CE handheld model using its own home-grown 32-bit SuperH RISC-based SH-3 microprocessor.
--Compaq will be demonstrating a Windows CE which runs Microsoft word processing and spreadsheet applications among other software.

Other highlights include the following:

--Microsoft intends to show off the "gold," or master version, of its Office 97 for Windows application suite on Monday.

--Lotus will officially announce SmartSuite 97 for Windows 95 and NT on Sunday evening.

--Corel will announce the immediate availability of Ventura 7, a 32-bit upgrade of its desktop publishing suite that allows users to publish to HTML and Java. Corel will also preview Lumiere, a multimedia editor that can combine video, audio, and still images into digital movie clips.

--Hitachi will demo the first prototype MPEG camera. The camera, which is smaller than a conventional camcorder, uses MPEG real-time compression to capture full-motion video or still pictures at 352-by-240 pixels, according to Hitachi. A PC Card hard drive is used to store data, and the information can later be transferred to a PC through an interface kit.

--DVD drive vendors such as Toshiba and Sony will have systems with the new drives.