Tue, Jan 11, 2005 - Page 16 News List

'Technosexuals' get nerds out of the closet

The evolving tech industry is just the latest business to discover sex sells, as it promises entertainment and information will get to us faster, easier and cheaper

DPA , Las Vegas

Adult film entertainers participate in the 2005 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo at the Sands Convention Center, in the Venetian Hotel , Las Vegas, Nevada.

PHOTO: DPA

Technosexuals -- - the freakish gadget dandies who like their technology as sexy as they are -- were in virtual heaven over the weekend in Las Vegas as the annual Consumer Electronics Show coincided with the porn industry's annual awards bash.

The term technosexuals was invented last year as a backlash to the conventional image of technology geeks as unwashed, uncool men with pizza crumbs stuck in their beards. But it also connotes the growing focus in the technology industry on making products for fashionable lifestyles -- from tiny pink cellphones equipped with MP3 players and digital cameras, to sleek red laptops designed to complement the little red Ferrari in the driveway.

Paradoxically, as the staid stable of tech companies were trying to get sexy, the sexy world of the Adult Entertainment Expo was going more mainstream. Respectable Columbia House, which dominates the book, music and DVD subscription clubs, was at the steamy expo preparing to launch a similar club for connoisseurs of porn.

The porn stars were out on the town more than they were at the packed convention center, mingling in surreal fashion with tech industry insiders.

There was hardly a bar in Vegas that did not feature provocative women with large silicon implants wearing skimpy clothes that seem to be shrinking even faster than the world's average gadget size.

And despite a US$45 (NT$1,450 entrance fee, there was no shortage of CES visitors who somehow found the time to line up for more than an hour to get into the sex-fest, where huge flat panel screens displayed an endless stream of naked flesh and stall after stall proudly displayed the latest and greatest sex toys.

The exhibitors at the CES -- which is regarded as the world's largest gadget show -- were trying their best not to be left behind.

From huge, high definition televisions to tiny handheld gadgets that can communicate wirelessly, play games and movies and do almost everything but the laundry, there were gadgets for every lifestyle.

Even mundane household chores did not escape the world's inventors. On show were ovens, washing machines and other domestic appliances that could all be controlled from your computer's browser.

But the best gadgets were those that were no longer in the experimental stage but ready to take center stage in our evolving digital lives, where for better or for worse our information will be with us wherever we go -- keeping us connected around the clock via the great oracle that is the network.

The Dell Axim x50v is the first Pocket PC with a VGA screen and boasts more power than many desktop computers could boast just a few years ago.

"Like many products at the show, this Axim shows how the evolution of consumer electronics products is enabling all sorts of new applications" said Michael Miller, editor in chief of PC Magazine.

Other mobile gadgets that earned plaudits were the PalmOne Treo 650, the latest version of the cellphone hybrid, which offers PDA functions, wireless e-mail and phone service in a single device. The XM2Go was another miniature marvel: a handheld receiver for satellite radio.

But the mini-device that earned the most attention -- and will probably have the largest sales -- was Sony's new PSP, a handheld gaming machine that the ailing Japanese giant hopes will help it capture the sector from Nintendo's GameBoy line.

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