Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Comdex Fall '87 Computer Show One of the Most Interesting in Years

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Comdex Fall '87 Computer Show One of the Most Interesting in Years

Article excerpt

LAS VEGAS - The annual Comdex Fall '87 computer trade show held here last week was the biggest and most interesting in years. More than 100,000 people, including computer makers, dealers and buyers, wandered through the Las Vegas Convention Center looking for the next major advances in computer hardware and software.

Despite the stock market crash, the turnout for the show was larger than it had been in years, and major companies were forecasting record sales.

Fifteen hundred companies bought display space. There were scores of new products on the main floor, and there wasn't even time to visit the hundreds of smaller companies relegated to booth space in distant hotels. This year's Comdex was so large the little guy didn't have much of a chance to be seen and heard.

The biggest of the big guys, the International Business Machines Corp., had the biggest announcement: the arrival on Dec. 4 of OS/2, the operating system that will eventually replace the DOS, the current disk operating system for IBM and its clones. Many software developers said they would soon be coming out with new versions of word processors, spreadsheets and data bases that take advantage of OS/2s multitasking capability - running more than one program at once - and expanded memory.

The version of OS/2 that includes the Presentation Manager, a graphical user interface that makes the PC screen look like that of a Macintosh, and that promises to make computing much easier, won't be available until October 1988, IBM said.

Meanwhile, users with 80386-based machines can sharpen their skills with Microsoft Windows 386. If you have a 386, you need Windows, which allows three different programs to be in front of the user at once.

On the applications software fronts, Lotus unveiled a fascinating new program called Agenda, which won't be in the stores until April. Agenda allows users to enter items of text - reminders, memos, notes, outlines, names, etc. - in a natural, unstructured fashion (for example, ``Remind Ron about the meeting next month with Mr. Gorbachev.'') Agenda, using some artificial intelligence techniques, can then arrange, sort and cross-reference the various facets of the item. The resulting data base can be added to, restructured, or manipulated at will.

Agenda is a brilliant concept, but whether the average user thinks it will be worth $400 in its present form is a big question.

While Lotus's attention was on data bases, several companies were introducing spreadsheets that outperform the existing version of Lotus 1-2-3 on price and performance. …

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