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Asia's largest and the world's second largest computer expo marks 30 years in Taipei on Tuesday. The much-hyped portable tablet computers were the highlight of the show, as hardware makers hope to take advantage of the buzz surrounding Apple's newly launched iPad.

The iPad hit overseas store shelves on Friday, with buyers storming Japanese and Australian shops to snap up the long-awaited tablet PC.

At Apple's flagship store in Tokyo's Ginza shopping district, about 1,200 people formed a line stretching half a mile.
At this year's Computex, which runs through Saturday, Acer, Micro-Star International, Asustek and China's Hanwang Technology showcased their own tablet designs and electronic reading devices, or e-books.

The Wind Pad, a tablet PC designed by Micro-Star International, features facial recognition and costs 450 U.S. dollars, around 100 U.S. dollars less than Apple's iPad.

[Shih Yun-yao, Product Manager]:
"The web camera and flash are usually used on PCs. If this is compared to the iPad, their user groups are completely different, and their usage could also be very different. But the iPad has a very competitive price, and that influenced our prices, too."

These tablets, with bright LCD touch screens, longer battery lives and wireless connectivity, will share the stage with a line of high-end all-in-one desktops and sleek laptops that allow users wearing special shutter glasses to play 3D games.

But other buyers are looking into better content and portability.

[Wilson Chan, Computer Retailer]:
"I think content matters. It's like the iPhone. Most people use the iPhone not because it is a better cell phone, but because it has a lot of applications. Tablet PC came out two or three times already, it was there in the 1990s, but Microsoft was not successful. This time Apple focuses on content."

Taipei's organizers said over 1,700 exhibitors are at the show this year, slightly more than last year.

(Source: June 2010)

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