Our annual pilgrimage to Taipei, Taiwan kicks off this week as we come to discover what Asia’s leading computer hardware show has to offer.

Every year we find out what big new toys will be announced, from the likes of Asus, Dell, Intel, Acer, Gigabyte and more. We always know we’ll see a swathe of computers, mobiles, PC accessories and clever network devices. But then it’s the surprises that appear out of nowhere that make things really fun.

Computex has always acted not so much as a trendsetter but as a lightning rod for developing trends. What we see here in Taipei can point to whether or not hardware companies are really seeing the potential in new ideas and whether they are testing the limits of what is possible around new ideas across the tech industry.

While many products fail to hit the market, in recent years we have seen big efforts in everything from Android set-top boxes to wearables to e-ink displays and beyond. What’s really enjoyable is the genuine openness here. The tech world’s biggest trade show CES is so polished, little is revealed that isn’t already going to hit store shelves. Here at Computex we see spaghetti being thrown at the wall. It’s a little messy, but it’s fun. It’s exciting to explore the halls and uncover the cleverness amongst the chaos.

The hottest mess this year? Virtual reality.

Taiwan is home turf for HTC, yet the company has almost never participated in Computex. This year HTC is on the floor plan — its HTC Vive VR system is regarded as the best VR experience around, so any new updates to this platform will have people queueing for hours.

It’s important to note that Intel is typically a spotlight company at Computex. In recent years it announced Thunderbolt aligning with USB-C, its RealSense technology efforts and its push to move toward wireless charging. But now after a tough year with falling sales and job losses, and no new major chipset announcements expected after accepting Moore’s Law is hitting its limits, we see less Intel events on the Computex agenda than in years past and no footprint on the show floor.

In its place, we’re seeing Nvidia claiming hotel ballrooms formerly used by Intel as a week long area to show off its latest ‘Pascal’ graphics technologies with a focus on VR, AI and self-driving cars. A sign of the shift in dominance from the CPU to the GPU?

Stay tuned for all the announcements as they happen. We’ll be bringing you all the big news throughout Computex 2016 from our team on the ground in Taipei, Taiwan.

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Computex 2016 shifts gears as VR heats up in Taiwan – CNET