One of the more fascinating things about stalking the show floor at Computex is picking up on the large scale trends happening in the industry. Two years ago everyone had 80 plus rated power supplies, last year it was SSDs, this year it looks like smartphone and tablet accesories are all the rage.
It was one thing that kept coming up today as we met with manufacturers. Thermaltake, Coolermaster, XFX and Antec were all showing off various cases, stands and chargers for portable devices. Some have been doing it a while, Thermaltake with its Luxe brand and Coolermaster with its now defunct Choixx brand, but the others are new players in the market.
There are some seriously innovative designs on show, as well as some so outlandish that we doubt they'll ever actually reach production. But there were some really easily identifiably trends as well - everyone seems to being making portable chargers. These devices pack a battery and USB ports and are designed to allow for a charge or two of a smartphone or tablet while away from power. These aren't the first products of their type (this author always travels with one of these devices, which are a godsend when spending long hours at a trade show), but the sheer number of new products make us wonder just how many of these manufacturers will see success.
This charge from Pine's AViiQ brand impressed, if only because of its vast array of cables
iPhone and iPad stands present a serious dilemma. We saw some really innovative options, like Thermaltake's inductive charging case, which not only adds an expanded battery but enables charging when placed on a flat dock. But there were also a lot of cases with small stands and the like - so there is even a lot of competition in what could already be considered niche areas.
But there were also some very different moves being made as part of this push towards accesories. Antec's portable travel router for example, which is designed to take a cable based internet connection in a hotel and generate a wireless network to attach the plethora of other devices in one's arsenal. This may sound redundant but given the often poor wireless performance in hotels having one's own network makes a lot of sense.
Antec's travel router is designed to take an Ethernet connection and generate a wireless network for up to 3 devices (and also comes with Ethernet passthrough for a fourth).