Friday, 29 August 2008

Show and Tell

ComexSingapore hosts 4 consumer electronics events a year; the IT Show (March), PC Show (June), COMEX (August) and SITEX (November).

This week it's COMEX and as for all the shows, it runs Thursday through Sunday. I usually try to go on opening day to avoid the crowds. It works to some extent or maybe you just end up attending with the other people who can choose to avoid the Saturday and Sunday crush.

I've been to all of them now and they are all the same. Same 3 floors of Suntec, same escalator madness, same Sony stand on level 3, same big names on level 4 and same smaller companies on level 6.

This time I was in the market for a big hard disk drive. At the PC Show in June, the best deal was a 3 interface (USB, Firewire, eSATA) 1TB for S$349 (£134). At COMEX, the same item is S$249 (£96), and you could get the same drive in a USB 2.0-only enclosure for S$199 (£76). I whipped out the plastic NETS card.

It's analagous to Moore's Law, which strictly relates to number of transistors on a chip doubling every 24 months but is nowadays quoted for many measures of technical advance including the effective price-per-megabyte of disk storage. In this case, the 29% drop in 2 months is because the manufacturer is likely clearing stock ahead of the next product cycle.

I only go to the shows because the retailers hold back stock specifically to have show sales. Some Sim Lim stores ran dry of drives ahead of the PC Show. After the show, many of the advertised deals are achievable with regular bargaining but the shows work mostly on sticker pricing so it may be less work.

Otherwise I wouldn't bother. Too crowded. Too much tat being hawked as quality gear. There was one stand, I don't know what they were selling, international dialing cards perhaps, that stuck me a having a uniquely simple sales pitch. They had two ridiculously pretty booth girls in micro-skirts handing out leaflets (not answering questions, just leaflets) under a sign reading "Sign up today, get free stuff".

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