Computex 2016 Preview: 6 Things to Watch
Next week, the eyes of the tech world will turn to Taipei, Taiwan, as the city hosts Computex, one of the largest and most influential trade shows in the world. At past shows, we've witnessed major product announcements from the likes of Intel and Asus, gone hands-on with important products that won't ship to consumers for months, and seen some very innovative devices from smaller companies.
This year's Computex should be an exciting one. Laptop and Tom's Guide will be on the ground, covering the events from press day (May 30) through the end of the week (June 3). Here are six important things we expect to see at Computex 2016.
New Computers from Asus, MSI, Gigabyte and Acer
All four major tech vendors are based in Taiwan and have huge presences at the show. Asus is holding a news conference on Monday (May 30) at 2 p.m. local time and we hope to see some interesting new laptops, tablets and peripherals there. Perhaps we'll also see phones, though Computex is not a big show for handsets.
Asus has already teased a possible 24-inch gaming laptop that promises blistering graphics performance that beats the Nvidia GTX Titan X card. This means we could be looking at the first notebook with Nvidia 1080 GPU. We'll have to see if it's a mobile part or a desktop chip.
Intel Previewing New CPUs
On Tuesday (May 31), the company will be giving its annual Computex keynote, this time with Navin Shenoy, its GM of the Client Computing Group, and Diane M. Bryant, its head of the Data Center Group. We expect to get at least a peek at some new laptop and desktop CPUs in action. At last year's show, the chipmaker unveiled its powerful Broadwell H processors for desktops and showed off some notebooks with the company's then-upcoming SkyLake CPU.
The company also says it will show how its technology is powering the Internet of Things, and data centers, which enable all kinds of machine learning. So we'll expect to see at least a couple of cool demos involving artificial intelligence or helpful devices for the home.
AMD Unveiling its New Processors
At its news conference Wednesday (June 1), AMD will give details about its upcoming 7th-generation APUs (an APU is what AMD calls its CPUs, because of their integrated graphics). We don't expect the new processors to set speed records (AMD rarely challenges Intel at the high end), but they could enable better values in mainstream and budget laptops. Hopefully, we'll also see some cool reference designs as we have in previous years.
Virtual Reality Gets Serious
At prior Computex shows, we saw some interesting headsets that weren't quite ready for prime time. However, with Oculus / HTC now offering really strong desktop VR systems, and Samsung / Google providing great mobile VR products, we expect to see more VR-related products at the show. We will definitely see a ton of VR-ready laptops and desktops that work with the Rift and Vive, including a VR-capable mini PC from Zotac. MSI plans to demonstrate its "BackPack PC," which lets you wear a VR-ready desktop on your back, and which could be good for walking around with the HTC Vive. It's also likely that we'll see at least a couple of mobile headsets that pair with your phone, though these may be prototypes from small vendors.
USB Type-C Joins the Peripheral Party
Computex is always a great show for peripherals, and this year should be no exception. From customizable gaming mice, to couch-friendly keyboard trays and tiny USB projectors for your phone, last year's show had a motherlode of great products to pair with your PC or mobile device. This year, with USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3 going mainstream, we expect to see some products that take advantage of these new interfaces. Perhaps we'll even see some monitors that can send power and data to your laptop over Type-C.
Another Look at Windows 10 Anniversary Edition and HoloLens
Microsoft is giving its own keynote on Wednesday, and while we don't expect any major announcements, the company could give us a closer sneak peek at its upcoming Windows 10 "Anniversary Edition," which is due out in July. We're also hoping to see a cool HoloLens demo or two.