Software, Peripherals Dominate Trade Show

Article excerpt

LAS VEGAS - There may not have been many new computers announced at the recent Comdex trade show - but there was no shortage of new products and new ideas here as nearly 250,000 attendees jammed the annual event.

The emphasis was on peripherals, software and components, all designed to enhance computer use and operations, both in the office and at home.

Some highlights:

SOUND STRATEGIES

Environmental audio is the promise of Creative Labs, whose "Sound Blaster Live" card can produce sounds with a wide variety of effects. At a demonstration, effects included renderings of sounds as if they were being played in a concert hall, a long tunnel and even a bathroom. The effects are different, dramatic and sparkling, particularly when four speakers and a subwoofer are used.

The basic card costs $99 and includes the ability to produce a wide range of sounds from any source; add $100 and you can handle both digital input and output with the card, a feature that would cost hundreds of dollars in a separate product.

Creative Labs of San Jose, Calif., is promoting the sound card, a graphics board, a digital video-disk player and the speakers as the ultimate multimedia enhancements for low-cost personal computers.

The result, said company Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Sim Wong Hoo, is an entertainment system more powerful and realistic than home audio/video setups costing thousands of dollars more.

With increased emphasis on using PCs for more than just spreadsheets, Creative appears to have several items that might be of interest to users. Expect a review of the "Sound Blaster Live" card in this space. In the meantime, check out www.soundblaster.com for more details on the firm's products.

SPREADSHEET SPEAK

Both Corel Corp. (corel.com) and Microsoft (microsoft.com/office/2000/office/CPP/default.htm) are bringing forward the latest versions of their productivity suites. Corel will begin a private beta test of its software soon, while Microsoft is offering a "public beta test" for anyone willing to fork over $19.95.

In each case, the firms are offering more Web functionality to users.

Corel has linked up with Trellix, a Massachusetts-based software publisher, to make it easier for users to publish their documents on line. …