Apparently, 40 minutes is too late by several hours.
I was far too late to score a new HP Touchpad (either the 16GB or 32GB version), because both were sold out at COMEX 2011 within minutes of the opening of the computer show, which runs from 1st to 4th September at the Suntec Convention Centre.
With limited availability of 200 devices total per day, it’s no wonder that the TouchPads were sold out. It was highly anticipated and queues had started forming way before the show started, according to our friends over at Digital Life.
Said Gin Lee on DL’s Facebook channel: “People were apparently queuing from 4am.”
The photo above does not do justice to the crowd at the HP booth. Here’s a better one.
Please note that it’s just the first hour of the first day (!) and the alleys around the booth were thronged with people. It was so packed that you could hardly move, and the emcees had to repeatedly make announcements every few minutes that the HP TouchPad is sold out.
You can certainly expect a repeat of this every single day the show is running. It’ll probably get even worse over the weekend on Saturday and Sunday. Unless you queue up in the wee hours of the morning, don’t expect to get your HP Touchpad.
On HP’s end, they can and should definitely do better crowd management. Already there are complaints on blogs and Facebook that the queue for the HP Touchpad wasn’t well managed this morning. People who queued for hours walked away empty handed.
Beyond the mania over the HP Touchpads, COMEX 2011 is the biggest IT show in Singapore ever, according to the organizers.
Every COMEX sees rivalry between the telcos, where they compete to see who can draw the biggest crowds. Typically StarHub and SingTel have the biggest booths and crowds, but this time M1 has pulled out all the stops.
M1 was particularly aggressive. I had barely come out of the turnstiles at the Esplanade MRT when I met their show staff inside the station, where I was given a pamphlet of their bargain broadband price plans, available only during COMEX 2011.
They booked a big convention room and floor space on the second floor, obviously expecting a large crowd to turn up over the weekend. Given the pre-buzz in the social media space around their cutthroat pricing plans, I wouldn’t be surprised if M1 will be proven right.
Lastly, I passed by the Nubox booth on the 3rd floor, who had earlier sent Techgoondu a press release on their special promotion plans for Apple iMac, Macbook Air, and Macbook Pro products.
They are touting special bundles with savings in the hundreds — for example, Windows 7 Home Premium and Parallels Desktop 6 at a special price of S$249, off from the usual price of S$318
— and discounts in accessories up to 70 percent.
More interesting though, is that Nubox is doing a tie-up with Universal Music to promote UK boyband “The Wanted”. The first 200 customers who spend above S$300 at the Nubox COMEX 2011 booth will get to redeem The Wanted’s eponymous debut album at Nubox@Raffles City from 10th to 16th September.
They also get a chance to win showcase passes to see the pop group perform live in Singapore on 17th September.