Taking mobile web access to a new extreme is the aim of aircraft maker Boeing and luxury car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz, which are demonstrating their ideas of computing on the go.
The two companies, although unfamiliar exhibitors at Comdex, are providing attendees with a new perspective on what to expect the next time they are squashed next to strangers in aeroplanes or stuck in traffic jams.
The aircraft company showed off Connexion by Boeing, a set of interactive services that enable travellers to access the internet and corporate intranets, and view live TV at 40,000 feet.
Users would be able to make online purchases, interact with flight crews and receive up-to-date information from their own laptops. Users plug into the service using standard ethernet or a universal serial bus local area network connection.
The system is expected to be installed in Boeing's US aeroplanes at the end of next year, but is already available for private jets. The company expects the cost of the subscription-based service to be the same as that of mobile phone services.
Demonstrating another form of mobile access was Mercedes-Benz, which is also one of the sponsors of this year's Comdex Fall show. At his keynote address, the final at this year's show, marketing vice president Ken Enders told attendees to expect more car manufacturers to target computer trade shows.
While its neighbours were vying for delegates' attention by giving away T-shirts and stress balls, Mercedes turned one of the massive outdoor car parks in Las Vegas into a professional circuit for attendees to test-drive some of its high-powered cars.
Among other technologies being demonstrated by the car manufacturer was its Tele Aid in-car information system. The service uses global positioning satellite systems to pinpoint the exact location of a car, and provides a cellular link to Mercedes' 24-hour emergency assistance.
As well as safety features, Tele Aid provides web-based information such as stock quotes.
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