The show is considerably smaller than it was before 9/11 when it attracted 800,000 visitors. Yet it is starting to make a comeback as the economy and the tech sector start to rebound.
Listen to Larry Magid's interview of Art Paredes, President and CEO of Hanover Fairs USA, Inc.
Traditionally CeBIT is a business-to-business show but it is also starting to encroach on the territory of the Consumer Electronics Show that's held in Las Vegas every January. One new feature this year is the Digital Living Pavilion where exhibitors will show off personal electronics not just to the trade visitors but to the public, who are invited to visit this one pavilion for a $12 admission fee — about a fourth of the cost of visiting the rest the show. Overall about 1,300 exhibitors are showing personal electronics products, according to show spokesperson Anja Brokjans. Mobile phones is an example of a category of products where the distinction between business and personal electronics is starting to blur.
The most highly anticipated announcement is from Microsoft and a host of partners, who are expected to announce the actual products behind the "Origami Project." These are widely expected to be handheld tablet PCs that run the Windows operating system yet are smaller than today's tablet PCs and laptops. It is expected to have wireless connectivity and a touch screen and to turn on instantly. It is expected to cost about $1,000 initially.
By Larry Magid