Sunday, November 15th
by Rick Smith and Jim Bennett
(November 15th, 1998)
A few years ago, the Sunday before Comdex week was a laid back day to collect your badge at registration, get a feeling for the location and meet colleagues, but this year Sunday has become a real part of the Comdex week in Las Vegas.
Bill Gates Keynote Address Tonight, Sunday, November 15th, 1998, Bill Gates gave his keynote address at the Barron Room of the Las Vegas Hilton. He provided an overview of Office 2000, Cleartype technology, new Windows CE devices, a new Flight Simulator version and a new Motocross game. It was obvious from the start of the presentation with some Washington D.C. parodies that Bill Gates was very relaxed. This carried through the rest of his keynote address and the interview session afterwards. Bill was clearly enjoying talking about immediate and future computing development.
Office 2000 has more integrated web functions, better interoperability between programs, multiple language support in the same document and easier text flow around tables. Check back with Reviews Online to see how these new versions hold up as we put them through their paces.
Bill Hill, a Microsoft typography expert and researcher, demonstrated Microsoft Cleartype which dramatically improves on screen readability of small typefaces. This technology increases image resolution of most existing LCD panels 200 to 300 percent using software alone.
Gates also put Microsoft's gaming wares on the runway, literally, as he introduced a new Flight Simulator that now lets you strap weapons to your Learjet (or other favorite plane) and engage in blistering dogfights over the terrain of your choice since the new version remains compatible with the plane models and city data of the previous version.
Another realistic, interactive, 3D simulation game, Motocross Madness, can be controlled by Microsoft's next-generation game controller that is completely untethered from the desktop. The combination of responsive controls with the excellent 3D imaging of Motocross Madness could prove to be a wickedly involving experience.
Bill Gates also demonstrated a number of CE devices with unusual and innovative form factors. These included a car radio style, a tablet style, the conventional palmtop and a new convertible style from Vadem. The Vadem Clio device can operate as a both a laptop or a pen tablet.
At the Media/Analyst Preview (hosted by Conexant), Tim Bajarin, Cheryl Currid and Frank Dzubeck discussed innovative technology at Comdex. We will be providing further information this week, but most notable were the new pen based computers such as the Cyrix MediaGX based WebPAD and the Vadem Clio convertible.
Philips Product Preview
Philips Electronics demonstrated new products which facilitated digital interconnectivity, convergence and mobility. Introducing one of their new Net Display thin client products, the 151N is a small footprint 15.1 inch color flat panel LCD with built in MIPS R5000-166 processor, 4 megabytes of flash memory, 4 megabytes of RAM, state-of-the art video acceleration and high speed Ethernet (10/100 BaseT) connection. Intended primarily for the corporate market, this Windows CE device retails for $1,299 and will be available during the first quarter of 1999.
Philips announced that they are shipping their first rear projection high definition digital television (HDTV), a 64 inch diagonal unit with a maximum display of 1080x1920 lines of resolution and a 16:9 wide screen format. The result is over 2 million pixels of picture quality compared to the current analog standard of 250 thousand pixels.
© 1998 Rick Smith and Jim Bennett All rights reserved.