Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The incredible shrinking Comex

Comex is the annual computers and telecoms exhibition here in Oman. It's basically a tiny, pale immitation of Gitex. I've been going to Comex every single year for the past ten years, and other than a demonstration of ADSL by Siemens 6 or 7 years ago, long before it became a standard, I've never experienced anything new.

My friends make fun of Comex by calling it Kotex, because just like the feminine sanitary towels every year it's advertised as being better and with more features but when you go to Comex the first thing that strikes you is how much smaller it is than the previous year. This year they spread out the stalls to fill the same amount of space, but it's quite evident that there are less exhibitors than last year.

There is no big news this year. The two biggest areas are taken by Oman Mobile and Nawras, and neither of them has anything major to show. Omantel announced their wi-fi service which still isn't entirely ready for launch so for the time being the service will be free. Oman Mobile announced a few services which will be "coming soon" such as Push to Talk, Push email (but not Blackberry), and an upgraded EDGE network. Loay announced that they are now Apple resellers and have tied up with a finance company to sell Apple computers on installments. Other than that, I can't recall anything new.

In the Shopper area, it's the same usual shops selling the same items. What's weird is that a lot of them are selling PCs, even branded ones like HP, without an operating system. They sell it just with a disk operating system and then it's up to you whether you want to go buy an original licensed Windows XP or a pirated one.

As usual, I couldn't find a single stall that had a credit/debit card POS machine. All of them operate on cash only. I wanted to buy an iPod Shuffle 1GB, which goes for RO. 67 at the Mac Centre stall, but I didn't have the cash on me and I couldn't be bothered to go withdraw cash and come back. I'm surprised because the first time I went to Gitex in Dubai, which was way back in 1998, most stalls already had POS machines. If you ask the shops they'll give you a million reasons including the standard "our margins are so thin, why give an additional 3% of them to the bank?" I guess somethings will never change. In Oman, we have dinosaurs selling computers.


Kazablanka said...

I passed by it yesterday.. but I didnt look around.. I just went in and out.. i was only there for like 5 mins cuz then I got bored...

actually the only reason I went was cuz i had to go to the fa7as in Seeb to pay my mukhalafaat and i was like, hey since im in the area let me check it out.. so i go and I get bored.. its boring when u go alone.. last year i went with my dad so i had someone to talk to ..

anyway I wanted to go to work but the street going back was blocked becuz i dont know.. i asked one of the cops that were standing with their big guns in the exit and he told me the reason but he was talking sooo fast and i didnt understand anything.. he was using all these big words i didnt know.. so then i thought i was smart and i was like hey, let me use the side road to go back.. and i was so happy the whole way thinking im the only person who knows about the side road.. only realizing later that other people are just as smart as I am..

why am i telling you this??? god sometimes i really get carried away while typing...

Wardat_il'7leej said...

Comex = Kotex true to the dot lol

I haven't been impressed in the past and I don't expect anything spectacular this year. POS machines...Banker Muscati your talking to mere mortals who don't deal with everyday bank terminology. I am trying to understand here and I think your referring to the machines that allow you to pay via debit/credit card on location (stall) the lil black things that makes shopping so convenient. Well I think another excuse is that the Omani visitor can easily walk to the various ATMs in the exhibition center and withdraw the money needed.
Look at it as a form of exercise lol

muscati said...

Warda, yes sorry, POS=Point of Sale, and it is the machine that swipes credit and debit cards.

Yes you're right that now there's finally an ATM machine inside the exhibition center. But with most of these computers costing hundreds of rials isn't it more likely that a lot of people would want to use their credit cards and charge it instead of paying cash.

Whatever happened to the concept of the impulsive buy?

Wardat_il'7leej said...

SORRY to disappoint ya Mux it doesn’'t exist in Oman only for a elite few...yet somehow everyone get into the buying vibe over Ramadan