It's the annual Dubai event that makes local techies cheer and anyone else trying to get a cab on the Sheikh Zayed Road groan. It is, of course, GITEX. But it's not all ill-fitting grey suits and complicated acronyms, because the region's biggest IT event has brought us GITEX Shopper, the frenzied eight-day consumer electronics spectacular that has become renowned for offering some of the best bargains you'll find. And, perhaps with one eye on those taxis, this year's GITEX Shopper, starting this Saturday, is on a good two weeks before GITEX, meaning even IT bods will have time to peruse the discounts. Just so long as they can take all the loud "look how powerful this speaker is" mayhem.
GITEX Shopper (sorry if it sounds like shouting) has previously been held in the Dubai Airport Expo, but this time will be moving to the Dubai World Trade Centre, which is no doubt a blessed relief for those of you who don't live on 'that' side of the creek. It also means it'll be the biggest yet, with 25 per cent more exhibitor space (so 25 per cent more bargains?) for the likes of Samsung, Dell, Bose and Fujitsu, HP and numerous others, along with all of the major electronics stores.
Exhibitors are remaining secretive about the particular savings they're going to be offering, but we have discovered that Intel will be running a competition called Excited Temptations (which does indeed sound like a range of shampoos) in which participants have the chance to win a prize (the top one being a 3rd Generation Intel Core Ultrabook). Apparently to enter you simply have to show your excitement for an Ultrabook. Judging by last year's similar event, this basically involves waving your arms around a lot and looking foolish. Perhaps if we write VERY EXCITED in capitals they'll give us one. Another nugget of info we've unearthed is that HP will be offering unlimited music streaming and free downloads to anyone who buys one of its notebooks or desktops at the show thanks to a collaboration with Universal Music.
For some idea of the sort of GITEX Shopper discounts take a look at last year's event, where Jacky's Electronics was offering a BlackBerry Curve and a Playbook for under Dh2,000 and Etisalat was offering a BlackBerry Bold 9900 for almost half-price if you signed up to a postpaid package. Traditionally, it's all been about the bundle deals and extra freebies, so expect to be thrown chargers, Bluetooth wotsits and kitchen sinks with many purchases.
Like the exhibitor space, the opening hours have also expanded to enhance your bargaineering opportunities. The show will be open from 11am-10pm from Saturday, September 29 through Wednesday, October 3, and from 11am-11pm from Thursday, October 4 through Saturday, October 6. By our calculation, that's 102 solid hours. And if anyone lasts that long amid the not-exactly-peaceful GITEX Shopper atmosphere they definitely deserve an Ultrabook (and not just to use as a pillow) in our, er, book.
Tickets to GITEX Shopper cost Dh30 per person, per entry. For more info visit www.gitexshopperdubai.com