It seems everything at Comdex has been half-hearted this year, and that includes the highlights. One of the star turns of the information technology trade's annual gala of glamour is the Best of Comdex awards. Held mid-way though the event, the Best of Comdex marks the point at which the geeks, consumers and star keynote speakers depart and the exhibitors are left to concentrate on making deals. This year's awards were organised by global IT publishing giant IDG. And though it must be a tough job to pick winners from the hundreds of entries, they really might have tried harder to impress. When it came to enterprise systems, the judges picked some impressive devices. The Best New Concept Product went to Finnish company Patria Ailon for its wireless base station featuring wireless local area networking with both 802.11b and a Bluetooth GSM/GPRS (global system for mobile/general packet radio services). That has to be a cool product. But in the gadget realm, they really slipped up. Starting with the good stuff, the prize for Best Notebook went to Fujitsu for its excellent Fujitsu Lifebook P Series. This ultra-compact laptop runs on an 800MHz Transmeta Crusoe processor, and can run for up to six hours on a single charge. It has built-in Ethernet, plenty of ports and an internal DVD/CD-RW. All in all, it's a worthwhile buy. The Best Internet Software award went to Senseboard Technologies for its Virtual Keyboard - a strange but impressive device. The Senseboard VK has a pair of sensors which are strapped to your hands and software to connect your hand movements to the soft keyboard on your PDA (personal digital assistant). The user types on a flat surface and each hand movement is transmitted to the PDA via cable or Bluetooth wireless connection. If you touch type, the Senseboard could make a great replacement for a PDA's handwriting recognition. The prize for Best User Storage went to CMS Peripherals for its Desktop ABS with USB 2.0, while the winner for best desktop PC was the Compaq D500 Ultra-Slim Desktop. This isn't an easy category because the competition is so similar. But the deciding factor, said the judges, was the connectivity. 'It's got more ports than the eastern seaboard,' said one. Best Mobile/Handheld System should have been a tough choice. The prize went to Handspring's Treo 180. A year ago, the Treo would have been a star. A Palm-based PDA with built-in keyboard and GSM phone, the Treo does deliver some of the features that Palm users have been longing for. But the Treo has a monochrome screen and just 16MB. And to top everything, The Best of Show prize went to the Fujitsu Lifebook. The Lifebook may be a great product but it is just a notebook, with only 4MB of video Ram and little to distinguish it from similar products. If this is the best Comdex can come up with, maybe they should forget the ceremony and leave the buyers to sort out the cool from the cold.