Martin Veitch's Weekend Diary

Monday

Intel is hosting a press conference for its MMX processors. Sometimes in this business, the hype can become so overwhelming that you lose interest in really interesting products. Most of us think that MMX chips are going to be A Big Thing but the chit-chat has been building for so long that it's tough to retain the original enthusiasm for devices that will certainly make graphics rendering, video and audio less of a chore. Even today's event is covered by an all-encompassing NDA - heartbreaking PR code for non-disclosure agreement. The big unhappiness for Intel is that these things will (just) miss the Christmas market.

Tuesday

Get a phone call from a contact telling me that Texas Instruments is the latest firm to make an ultra-thin notebook. For me, these things make a stack more sense than sub-notebooks. Those huge high-resolution LCDs matched with slim CD-ROM drives and gigabyte-plus hard disks make a potent combination. Do they do trade-ins for the huge battleship grey Toshibas most of us are saddled with?

Wednesday

Dell has posted a huge financial quarter. I could live a long time without worrying about Q3s of PC vendors but Dell has been on such a roll recently that I had to read on. Huge growth in servers and notebooks. Broad international coverage. Rock solid in desktops. Happy customers. A few years ago they said a company that only sold direct could never be this big. Don't bet against Dell being the world's biggest PC company by the end of the century.

Thursday

AMD is sampling its K6. Intel would do well to be wary of this chip - and Cyrix's 6x86 and GX parts. Nobody is going to come near Intel's volume in the next five years but AMD has real manufacturing capability and the word on the street is that this one is a flier. Add the fastest chip on the block to a broad product range and a big fab and you get a real player. If AMD can execute and Cyrix doesn't fall out with IBM, Intel might not look quite so cocksure this time next year.

Friday

On a Virgin flight to San Francisco at 11am, en route the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas. This time tonight I'll be sipping cold Mexican beer in the bar of the world's biggest hotel, the MGM Grand, surrounded by the great and the good of the PC industry. Looking forward to what should be the most interesting Comdex for several years: Intel's P55C, AMD's K6, Cyrix's M1, 56K modems, DVD drives, Microsoft Office 97. Next week should be busy.

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