Tue, Apr 15, 2014 - Page 13 News List

Wearables to star at computer expo

WATCH OUT:About 150 companies are participating in the exhibition, including 13 makers of such wearable devices as smartwatches, wristbands and glasses

By Helen Ku  /  Staff reporter

A woman stands next to a display of wearable devices during a press conference yesterday for the Taipei Softex Show spring computer expo, which is organized by the Taipei Computer Association and is scheduled to open on Thursday.

Photo: CNA

Visitors to this year’s Spring Computer Fair will be able to try a slew of wearable devices other than PCs and handsets as more tech firms jump on the mobile bandwagon.

Wearables that will be on display include smartwatches, wristbands, glasses and bicycle helmets with signal lights.

“This year, we invited many tech firms to exhibit their latest innovative products at the Spring Computer Fair,” said Enoch Du (杜全昌), secretary of the Taipei Computer Association (TCA, 台北市電腦公會), organizer of the exhibition.

“It turns out that wearables can be developed for various kinds of interesting applications, and I believe many people are excited about them and cannot wait to put on the devices at the expo,” he told a press conference.

Du said about 150 tech firms are set to join the exhibition, which will take place at the Taipei World Trade Center Exhibition Hall 1 from Thursday through Monday next week.

The number of local and international visitors to the expo is expected to reach 400,000, about the same from last year, he added.

Jay Cheng (鄭名傑), sales manager of iBiz Technology Corp (艾比茲), which distributes US tech startup Omate TrueSmart’s standalone smartwatch products in Taiwan, said smartwatches cannot replace smartphones or tablets because of their smaller screen sizes.

However, considering the long-term trend that more devices will be connected and perform different tasks on open platforms, app developers will need at least one smartwatch to test whether their programs contain bugs and can also work on other wearable devices.

“We are targeting a niche market,” Cheng said in an interview with the Taipei Times at the press conference.

“Potential buyers of smartwatches, or any other wearable devices, are mostly app developers or people who exercise frequently,” Cheng said.

“Wearables are like tools that are useful, but not necessarily required for daily living,” Cheng added.

Taiwanese video camera maker Mika Enterprise Co Ltd (恆美) said it plans to showcase two smartglasses products at the expo.

Though the two smartglasses models cannot carry as many applications as Google Inc’s standalone Google Glass does, they are equipped with communication systems that enable users to pick up calls to their phones using Bluetooth technologies and make films on the go, the company said.

TCA said 13 companies had registered for booths to showcase their wearable products at the fair. The association expects the number to increase at this year’s Computex expo in June, as more firms explore this new market.

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