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Demo '97, Palm Springs: A show unlike any other

Guy Kewney, reporting live from Palm Springs, California
Written by Guy Kewney, Contributor

The orthodox perception of a computer exhibition is that there are new products which you can go and see, and they are all going to ship. At Demo, no such certainty exists. The new ideas shown here in Palm Springs, California each year may well be launched within days or weeks of the show. Then again, they may be canned within days of being launched, or even before they can be manufactured

You'll read stories in various publications purporting to be simple product announcements. Somewhere in the body copy after the typical "Presents new methodology for buzzword generation" introduction will be a phrase like "here at Demo" which tells you that the announcement is based on a press release sent to reporters who couldn't make it here.

In fact, some products announced genuinely are product launches. But the truly interesting stuff at Demo each year is the stuff which is work in progress" - ideas, research projects, feasibility, and pre-alpha code.

This year, under new management, Demo has a lot of genuine launches - more than usual. But though these stories are worth reading, the stuff that really matters is the trend-setting stuff, and it's important to remember when reading about these that their chance of abject failure is very high.


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