Why Attend a Trade Show?
There are five things I look to get out of any trade show experience.
- An eye on new products, vaporware or otherwise
- Something to write about
- Readers interested in what I have seen and ultimately talk about
- Vendors excited about what they have to offer
- Good social opportunities
The first reason is obvious, why go to a trade show if there isn’t anything new to see. In the past, maybe 6+ years ago, companies made a concerted effort to have their new products available for Computex. CMOS Reloaded stands out in my mind as a perfect Computex launch of a new technology that paved the way for what seems to be a common overclocking feature. Many case manufacturers would release their fall designs at the show along with custom coolers and power supplies. Motherboards and video cards launches have always been hit or miss depending on when ATI/AMD, Intel and Nvidia decided to release their chips.
When speculating a trade show, or guessing what will be shown, you will encounter three basic scenarios and I have seen them all. The one we all want to see is the 0-Day hardware launch where Intel would announce a new product and the mfg would have a big press event. After that everyone was good to show their products and the media was happy. Another common launch is one that happens weeks before Computex complete with full product launches thus making the show completely moot. The final and most annoying of the three is the complete polar opposite where a product launches late (after the show) and everything on display is exactly the same as it was the year previous.
Of course you cannot control what a chipmaker does and they tend to play their cards close to their chest in an attempt to stifle rumors and maintain any competitive advantage they may have. The unfortunate side effect is what happens to the hardware media covering major events like this. If there isn’t anything to write about then their effort was for nothing.
This brings me to something I don’t agree with.
Don’t get me wrong I realize that Journalistic integrity is dead. It went away at the exact time when advertising dollars vaporized and hardware companies realized that they needed to show a return on investment (ROI).
However, with that being said a defining principle of hardware review sites is to remain impartial and provide unbiased reviews and it is up to the reader to decide if they agree. Of course unbiased is a rather loose term and anytime there is a rival association people assume there is a hidden agenda and will discredit whatever is being said.
Herein lies the problem. This year at Computex 2015 I noticed a good number of Tier 1 hardware websites in attendance, normal sites like Anandtech and Toms Hardware. These sites tend to drive media speculation and it would be weird if they didn’t make an appearance. I know there are a few exceptions but for the most part Tier 2 websites were not present at Computex. Since Tiers can be interpreted differently I won’t include any names but will qualify it by saying large websites with localized editorial staff. In this case it is safe to say many popular US based hardware sites didn’t bother coming to Computex and actually made a point NOT to mention it in their daily news. Lastly we have Tier 3 websites and there were a good number of these in attendance. I will be humble and say Hardware Asylum falls into this category along with a few others from around the world.
In addition to the normal hardware media websites a good number of YouTube channels made it to Computex this year and every one of them had their own agenda. I mention this because YouTube is a growing segment in the hardware world and while the young hosts may not know what a PCI debug card is they do get most of their information from established hardware and news sites.