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This Month  PCR takes a look at DSGi’s new stores, new ads, and new focus on user experience p17

COMPUTER & IT RESELLERS • RETAILERS • SYSTEM BUILDERS • DISTRIBUTORS • VENDORS

JULY 2009 ISSUE 70


Acer recommends Windows VistaÂŽ Home Premium.

Acer Aspire 5810T

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Visit acer.co.uk Acer and the Acer logo are registered trademarks of Acer Incorporated. Copyright 2009 Acer. All rights reserved. Microsoft, Windows, the Windows logo and Windows Vista are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. Intel, the Intel logo, Centrino, Centrino Inside, Intel Core, and Core Inside are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. Other trademarks, registered trademarks and/or service marks, indicated or otherwise, are the properties of their respective owners. Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others. Specifications subject to change without notice. Pictures are intended simply to illustrate the product. *SDP relates to Suggested Dealer Price. **Mobile Mark 2007 with default setting of “Energy Star�. Can vary depending on product configuration.


COMMENT Issue 70 July 2009 Incorporating

“Even if Digital Britain doesn’t go far enough, it’s a step in the right direction” WE BROADBAND OF BROTHERS PCR CONTACTS Editor

Andrew Wooden andrew.wooden@intentmedia.co.uk Deputy Editor

Ben Furfie ben.furfie@intentmedia.co.uk Staff Writer

Matt Grainger matt.grainger@intentmedia.co.uk Editorial Production Manager

Helen French helen.french@intentmedia.co.uk Managing Editor

Lisa Foster lisa.foster@intentmedia.co.uk Executive Advertising Manager

Katie Rawlings katie.rawlings@intentmedia.co.uk Advertising Executive

Carly Bailey carly.bailey@intentmedia.co.uk Production Executive

Abigail Fanger abigail.fanger@intentmedia.co.uk Designer

Kelly Styles kelly.styles@intentmedia.co.uk Publisher

Stuart Dinsey stuart.dinsey@intentmedia.co.uk Editorial: 01992 535646 Advertising: 01992 535647 www.pcr-online.biz

PCR - Total average monthly net circulation for January 1st to December 31st 2008: 12,766.

THE JADED British public has always moved swiftly to pour scorn on any high profile Government initiatives, from the spluttering reforms of the NHS, to the joke-from-day-one Millennium Dome, to the current debacle over the Olympic Village, (the farcically large price tag of which seem to imply a sports complex populated exclusively by solid gold hurdles and swimming pools filled with diamond necklaces). Perhaps partially for this reason, the Digital Britain report received a kicking from some quarters almost before it was published. In what read like a pre-emptive move to curb this cynicism, the language of Gordon Brown's commentary within the report is full of unusually uplifting rhetoric, calling on Britain to “lead the world” and of the “vision and dynamism that we have to shape the future”. It was like the St Crispin's Day speech from Henry V, if Shakespeare had written a play about internet speeds. You expected him to start vigorously roaring 'we few, we happy few. We broadband of brothers". Eyebrow-raising enthusiasm aside, the report actually offers up some fairly modest suggestions. It was quickly pointed out that a 2Mb minimum broadband connection by 2012 is actually a pretty low bar to set, and is dwarfed by goals set out by other countries. The other aspect that has been leapt upon is the fact that the proposed revamp of the country's internet infrastructure will be largely funded by a tax on landlines. Any new tax is always met with rigorous opposition. However the £6 a year figure hardly puts it into line with Thatcher's introduction of the Poll Tax during the eighties. However from an industry perspective, a state-sponsored revamp of the country's internet habits should logically provide a boost to hardware and software sales. Most believe this will be a long-term upshot, however, and not a miracle pill to pull the industry out of the effects of the recession. Should it therefore be dismissed? No. Ultimately, it’s a positive move for the trade. Even if some claim it doesn't go far enough, it’s a step in the right direction. As an industry we should welcome anything that might boost sales, to any extent. Let's just hope the proposals aren’t scrapped if the Labour Government is ousted at the next election…

Intent Media is a member of the Periodical Publishers Associations PCR is published 12 times a year by Intent Media - Saxon House, 6a St.Andrew Street, Hertford, Hertfordshire SG14 1JA Fax: +44 (0)1992 535648. © Intent Media 2007 No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior permission of the copyright owners. Printed by Pensord. SUBSCRIPTIONS UK £50 Europe: £60 Rest of World: £90. The international cost applies per subscription and covers airmail dispatch of 12 issues. To order your subscription via Visa, MasterCard, Amex Switch or Delta contact: pcr.subscriptions@c-cms.com or call 01580 883848. Alternatively visit our website www.pcr-online.biz Subscriptions Manager: Hannah Short, Hannah.Short@intentmedia.co.uk

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incorporating

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PCR Contents

ISSUE 70 JULY 2009

PC WORLD PCR talks to DSGi’s category director Jeremy Fennel, marketing director Niall O’Keefe and DSGi spokesman Mark Webb about PC World’s new direction

News 7-12

17 21

Facts and Figures

Appointments 12

Hardware Charts GfK Analysis

Brigantia 74

44 46

Head of the Brigantia trade organisation, Iain Shaw, talks about the success of the recent Channel Expo event and looks forward to next year’s Retail Vision Europe

ACER PCR talks to UK country manager Bobby Watkins about Acer’s new drive

PCA 76 Keith Warburton, CEO of the Professional Computer Association talks about the importance of communication and cooperation for building business

Mac Association 77 Robert Peckham, executive director of the Mac Technology Association discusses dual booting and running Mac OS on a PC

ITACS/NASCR 78 The two trade bodies highlight rules and regulations and first impressions

PRODUCT FOCUS A outline of some of the products available from Enta’s broad portfolio

15

4 PCR July

Games 60 Our regular look at the most anticipated games coming out over the next month, like Batman: Arkham Asylum, Call of Juarez and Need for Speed: Shift

“We believe that we are number one across EMEA, and over the recent months we’ve extended that leadership” Bobby Watkins, Acer www.pcr-online.biz


DELL INTERVIEW After the European launch of its Design Studio, PCR talks to Dell’s vice president for EMEA Phil Bryant and the director of EMEA consumer marketing David Clifton

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24

30

Mystery Shopper

37

Mac Peripherals

52

Symantec Interview

This month, our intrepid shopper visits Lakeside to find out what recommendations could be found in the Netbook market

MARKETPLACE

71

With the Mac enjoying greater popularity PCR takes a look at some of the latest peripherals currently on sale

With the recent release of its Annual Security Report, the vice president of consumer sales, Lee Sharrocks outlines the threat

55

Adult Education

65

Interactive Ideas

A rundown of the some of the products available for the adult education sector, a market that is growing more prominent

After experiencing a record period of growth despite the recession, Interactive Ideas’ managing director Michael Trup talks to PCR about his successful strategy

LAPTOPS DIRECT Company Profile

80

A look at the years steady growth from Laptops Direct, with some help from the company’s marketing executive Nick Glynne

July PCR 5


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NEWS

Industry figures torn on Digital Britain report Labour proposals to make UK the ‘digital capital of the world’ met with mixed responses from the trade

By Andrew Wooden

THE GOVERNMENT’S Digital Britain report has split opinion in the UK trade, with some hailing it as a positive step which will provide a boost to the industry, but others dismissing it as insufficient and ‘short sighted’. The report, put together by Labour’s Communication Minister Lord Carter, lays out plans to dramatically overhaul the internet infrastructure of the country, and connect every single person to the internet. Apart from creating a more techsavvy population and increasing security, many believe such an overhaul will stimulate growth in multiple aspects of the market, boosting sales of the hardware required to realise such goals. “It will have a tangible, positive effect on the market over the long

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term,” said Leila Martine, Consumer Windows Business Group UK lead at Microsoft. “For example, programmes to improve digital inclusion and broadband access over the next few years should encourage more people

IT infrastructure if the developments do go ahead as planned.” Some also predict a resultant boost to the software market. “Hearing that the Government is committed to increasing our communications

“It will have a tangible, positive effect on the market over the long term. Programmes to improve digital inclusion and broadband access over the next few years should encourage more people to use PCs, and therefore lift sales” Leila Martine, Microsoft to use PCs, and therefore lift sales. Initiatives to improve online privacy and security, aimed at making people more comfortable with going online, will further help boost the market.” Duncan McAuley, VIP purchasing director, added: “Technological advancements for IT products won’t be held back by constraints from the

infrastructure is good news for both the IT and software industry,” said Joanna Kemp, head of software sales at Koch Media. “With the increase of our communications structure alongside the lower pricing on hardware that we currently have, we should see more and more homes using multiple internet connections

and using computers for more areas of their lives, thus increasing the need for all areas of software.” Other see the report less sympathetically. Many have focused on the proposed taxation on landlines that will be put in place to fund the new measures, while some think the plans simply don’t go far enough. “It seems very short sighted, and doesn’t give any indication as to the long term benefits on how business can utilise it fully,” said Adam Harris, managing director of VAR Bear IT. Keith Warburton, the founder of the PCA, added: “Such talk is cheap and apparently just about all that we can afford. There seems to be very little Government funding available for this ‘digital investment’, with a levy on existing fixed phone lines being used to provide just a small amount of funding.”

July PCR 7


NEWS

HMV moves into laptop market Entertainment retailer joins the ranks of IT dealers with new PC areas  Trial areas to be rolled out across the country if successful  Natural evolution of product choice offers more to customers By Andrew Wooden

THE UK’S largest entertainment retailer HMV has now expanded into the laptop market, with a trial area already launched in Oxford Circus and more set to follow in Leeds, Bristol Cribbs, the Merry Hill Centre and Dudley over the next few weeks. The trial areas are part of the retailer’s new focus on technology products, and if successful will be rolled out across the wider portfolio. As well as laptops, a full range of accessories and peripherals will be available.

“This is part of the ongoing evolution in the HMV offer – giving people access not just to music, film and games, but also technology” Ricky Gordon, HMV

“This is really part of the ongoing evolution in the HMV offer – giving people access not just to music, film and games, but also to technology and other related products via a range of channels,” said Ricky Gordon, technology manager at HMV. “We’ve also enjoyed considerable success in the iPod and iPod accessories market, so we see netbooks and laptops as being a natural further step in this direction.” When asked what would differentiate HMV’s offering from the growing number of other retailers moving into the market, Gordon told us:

“We’ll be specialising and concentrating on the portable end of the market, which our market research suggests is what customers want and expect to find in HMV. It’s increasingly clear that they see our stores not just as the place to buy music, film and games, but also the hardware and technology to enjoy them on.” He concluded by saying: “Ultimately, however, it will come down to how well we engage with these customers through the retail experience and the quality of service we give them, but I’m very confident we can do that.”

Dell looks to increase Euro growth New design-led initiatives are launched to support European expansion and new product drive PC VENDOR Dell has launched its new Design Studio project in Europe, which is part of its strategy to bring its regional market share back up from its current five per cent figure. The scheme enables consumers to customise the appearance of laptops prior to purchase, and has been initially rolled out in the UK, France and Germany, with further availability across Europe to follow. The move is part of a fresh retail push across Europe, using the UK as a launch pad. Over the last two years, the company has created a retail presence in 30,000 partner stores worldwide, and has recently inked a deal with Italy’s largest IT retailer, Media World.

8 PCR July

“We’re really moving from the UK out,” said Phil Bryant, Dell’s vice president and

relationship a few months ago was with the Dixons group in the UK, but even that wasn’t

closer partnership with them. Our relationship is now heavily integrated – Dell is a

“What we’ve done over the last three or four months is build a closer partnership with Dixons. Our relationship is now heavily integrated – Dell is a featured brand in Dixons” Phil Bryant, Dell general manager for EMEA, speaking to PCR. “Our strongest

as deep as it could be, so what we’ve done over the last three or four months is build a

featured brand in Dixons and PC World. Some of the products that we’ve been

displaying were developed with them in mind.” The firm is particularly confident of growth in the UK, where it tends to be stronger than other European regions. “If you look at the last IDC data, we were up around the 18 per cent in the UK. Since then I think our partnerships have deepened. We’re very optimistic about our growth goals and our share goals in the UK because of the partnerships we have,” added Bryant.

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NEWS

Interactive Ideas sales up 42 per cent Firm looking to expand workforce over the next year with move to new HQ  Recession cited as one of the main factors in recent success By Andrew Wooden

DISTRIBUTOR Interactive Ideas is expanding its UK offices and boosting its stake in Indian associate firm Interfinet Technologies after a storming year which saw sales shoot up 42 per cent. The firm is currently looking to make new hires in the product management and software divisions, and expects to continue the recruitment drive throughout the year. A new larger UK head office is also expected this year. “In two years we have doubled the size of the company and are already

“In two years we have doubled the size of the company and are already running up another 40 per cent this year, although it’s early days. More importantly, our profits have also risen, as has our liquidity, so all in all we are entering this year in great shape” Michael Trup, Interactive Ideas running up another 40 per cent so far this year, although it’s early days. More importantly, our profits have also risen, as has our liquidity, so all in all we are entering this year in great shape,” said MD Michael Trup.

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Microsoft dismisses ITACS accusations SOFTWARE giant Microsoft has dismissed attacks by the UK trade body ITACS, which claims that retailers are being forced to turn away PC repairs because many copies of Windows cannot be verified. The trade body asserts that a growing number of its members are unable to repair laptops because the Certificate of Authenticity stickers have been rubbed away, meaning resellers cannot obtain the licence number, costing them valuable business. When contacted by PCR, Microsoft refuted the claims by ITACS that this is a widespread problem, and that the stickers are the only way of authenticating a copy of Windows. “This is a new issue to us,” commented Microsoft’s senior director for OEM, Alison Dodd. “We have a call centre that takes around 50,000 calls per month and we’ve had around 20 to 25 calls regarding this. I would also like to add that ITACS has not

10 PCR July

made contact with either myself or the press office here. “If a device is sold today with a preinstalled copy of Windows, it includes recovery media and a warranty, which

“This is a new issue to us. We’ve got a call centre that takes 50,000 calls a month and have had around 25 calls about this. ITACS has not made contact with myself or the press office” Alison Dodd, Microsoft should be kept safe. If there’s no recovery media then the device should be sent back to the OEM; it’s a relatively simple process for them to obtain a replacement COA if needed.” However, ITACS chairman Matthew Woolley maintains that the process is

more complicated, and ultimately makes retailers suffer: “The issue for us is that for somebody making repairs, there is no way to recover the licence key. In addition, there’s no legal obligation for the OEM to provide a warranty covering software, so they refer the customer or repair shop to Microsoft and so it goes on. “The fact is that Microsoft is required to sell goods that are fit for purpose and these stickers don’t do that, and Microsoft also says that if the sticker is illegible then it’s counterfeit. It’s really not helpful.” Microsoft has said that partners should contact 0870 607 0700 if they have these issues, while customers can activate – or reactivate – their products on 0800 018 8364, although they will have to answer some qualifying questions.

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NEWS

NewsBytes The Interactive Ideas team

PANDA BUY UK OP The Spanish parent company of Panda Security has purchased the rights to the UK business for £1.4m from licensee Formjet. The deal will see Panda Security SL take over the running of the UK business – which includes consumer and business security products – with Formjet retained for a short period to handle the transition.

The economic climate is cited as one of the contributing factors to the firm’s recent successes, since IT departments have been forced to look at more affordable options. “The recession is certainly helping us by making it easier to hire and acquire assets to grow with,” continued Trup. “From a market point of view, many of our key vendors such as Redhat,

Acronis, Sunbelt and Solarwinds represent cost reduction performance enhancing solutions. The recession has forced corporate IT departments to try and get more for less from their budgets, whereas perhaps 12 months ago they didn’t see that there was any need to do this. On the retail side of the business, e-tail has picked up market share and most of the items we sell are ‘small ticket’ so still within everyone’s budget.”

WINDOWS 7 DOWNGRADE Microsoft has revealed it will ship certain editions of Windows 7 with up to 18 months downgrade rights. The vendor will offer users of Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate the option to switch to Windows Vista or Windows XP until April 1st, 2011. Volume licensees will also be able to downgrade to any previous version of the OS. INTEL REBRANDS SKUS Intel has announced an overhaul of its processor families that will see it consolidate most of its SKUs under the Intel Core brand, after it recognised that it ‘had too many’ in the marketplace. The move is

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Target celebrates best ever six months SPECIALIST distributor Target Components has recorded its best ever six months this financial year, after introducing a number of new product lines and service initiatives to its customer base. Sales are up 38 per cent for 2009 so far, compared to the same period last year, and the firm says it has a number of new schemes in the pipeline. “Q1 was obviously our best ever quarter, although Q2 is only slightly behind and still has a chance of overtaking (again exceptional for a traditionally poor quarter),” said MD

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Paul Cubbage. “Q1 was 38 per cent up on Q1 08, and Q2 is 60 per cent up on Q2 08 so far. In absolute terms we are already well over 30 per cent up on Q2 08 with ten days remaining. “Incidentally, turnover is also up by over 40 per cent. Where other distributors have cut services to reduce costs, we are continually investing in and developing our customer service, and I think this plays a big part – not just in strengthening our relationship with existing customers, but also in enhancing our reputation in the channel and winning new business.”

IPHONE 3GS SALES STRONG Apple has confirmed that sales of its latest iPhone, the 3GS, have hit the one million mark globally – after just three days on the market. On top of the sales triumph, Apple has also confirmed that its 3.0 OS, available to both iPhone 3G and iPod Touch owners, has already been downloaded over six million times.

aimed at simplifying the category to make it easier for consumers and businesses to work out which is the right product for them. 3 SIGNS MICRO-P DEAL 3 will further expand its reach in the IT market, after Micro-P won the network operator’s tender to supply laptops. The deal encompasses both 3’s 295 stores and its direct operation. It will see the distributor handle retail logistics, as well as range selection and stock holding for its direct sales department. DELL TO UP RETAIL PARTNERS Dell is considering drastically upping the number of retailers it works with. It reported a drop of 63 per cent in net income at the end of last month, mainly due to a decline in business sales. The fall prompted chief executive Michael Dell into confirming that the company was considering expanding its retail partnerships by “three to four times the number we have today”. RETAIL CONCERN OVER BROADBAND DONGLES Retailers have expressed concerns over the viability of laptop and mobile broadband packages. Many cite the length of time it takes to get a return on the initial investment as the main issue. Distributors have said that they are working on solutions to give their partners more commission upfront, but often discussions between themselves and operators are failing because of the substantial costs of the laptops. BLUEPOINT LAUNCHES ‘MY BRANDING’ Bluepoint has rolled out a new online tool, intended to help its resellers produce professional looking marketing materials and quotes. Called ‘My Branding’, the tools are split into several modules and have been designed to be as simple as possible to use. “It allows resellers to present a clear and professional email or document director to their own customers,” explained Bluepoint’s Hassan Manji.

July PCR 11


Thermaltake steps up UK plans PC chassis, cooling and power supply specialist to expand UK operation during the summer By Andrew Wooden THERMALTAKE is planning on a significant expansion of its activity in the UK over the next year, bolstering its regional office and launching a larger range of products. The move marks the firm’s tenth year in the market, and it claims that it is undergoing a ‘revolution.’ An active recruitment campaign for retailers and resellers across Europe is also being finalised, supported by an increased marketing push. This drive is being headed up by Chantal Lo who will relocate from the firm’s Taiwan head quarters. “Now that the global crisis of 2008 is behind us and UK vendors are starting to see the green shoots of recovery, Thermaltake believes that the time is right to implement and deploy a series of brand new, well-funded marketing initiatives – designed to help our customers build their businesses ready for the busy Q4 09/Q1 2010 period,” said J J Jan, global sales operations vice president. “Thermaltake has already engaged new specialist PR and Marketing support in the UK and we will be announcing an expansion of our sales for over the summer. The next 12 months will see a significant ramp-up in Thermaltake activity across the UK.”

12 PCR July

“Thermaltake believes that the time is right to implement and deploy a series of brand new, wellfunded marketing initiatives” JJ Jan, Thermaltake

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NEWS APPOINTMENTS

Tennison takes up the purchasing reins at Gem Former sales boss to lead department following departure of Simon Lee  Nick Graves leaves Apple Europe after 22 years  Asus brings in former Cisco and Sony sales member GEM has promoted TRACEY TENNISON to head of purchasing following the departure of SIMON LEE last month. Tennison joins the purchasing department after running the sales team, with Gem describing her appointment as the ideal opportunity to bring in changes.

“I would like to thank Simon Lee for his contribution to the amazing success that Gem has enjoyed in the last three years,” said Gem MD Chris Peacock. “I am confident that Tracey Tennison will prove to be a more than capable replacement as we continue to develop the business in a more professional and structured manner.”

APPLE stalwart Nick Graves has announced that he will be leaving the vendor after a 22-year career at the company, spanning roles in sales, marketing and business development. Speaking to PCR, Graves said that his biggest achievement had been helping to build Apple's successful range of third party products and that he was now looking for change. “The success of this now established business is assured, and it is time for me to seek new challenges.”

ASUS ASUS has brought in RICHARD LEA to bolster its sales team, after successful spells at Cisco and Sony. Lea joins the company as its new components product manager for networking and wireless. Asus is hoping he will be able to help repeat the success of its Eee PC product line. “I am delighted to have joined Asus during such an exciting time,” said Lea. “The opportunity to bring our award winning networking products from Asia into the UK market is fantastic.”

STONE GROUP STONE GROUP has appointed ROGER BURDETT as its nonexecutive chairman. The group, which is the UK’s largest privately owned computer manufacturer and past PCR awards winner, specialises in supplying the public sector with hardware. Founder and chief executive of Stone, James Bird said that Burdett's experience in management buyouts and running successfully growing companies after, were welcomed by the vendor.

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CONSUMER PRESS

The Press Office Your guide to what the consumer press is telling the general public to buy... PERSONAL COMPUTER WORLD

CUSTOM PC “Despite its age and the large number of new competitors, the Dark Power Pro 650W remains the best mid-range PSU on the market”

“At higher resolutions, the GTX 275 is still a great performer, being within a whisker of the GTX 285, and not far from the 4870 X2 either”

BeQuiet! Dark Power Pro 650W

Zotac GeForce GTX 275 AMP Ed

Product Reviews and Features

Product Reviews and Features

PSUs Premium Grade: Be Quiet! Dark Power Pro 650W Premium Grade: Seasonic M12D850W Premium Grade: Enermax Revolution85+ 1,050W Approved: OCZ ModXStream Pro500W Approved: FSP Everest Pro 1200W Approved: Be Quiet! Dark Power Pro 1,000W

Graphics Cards Editor's Choice: Zotac GeForce GTX 275 AMP Edition Best Buy: His Radeon HD4770 Recommended: His Radeon HD4890 Turbo Recommended: XFX Geforce GTX 295 GX-295N-HHFF High End Choice: Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 X2 2G

Socket AM3 Motherboards Premium Grade: MSI 790FX-GD70 LGA1366 Processors Approved: IntelCorei7-975 Extreme Edition Socket AM3+ Motherboards Approved: Asus M4A78-HTPC Approved: Biostar TA790GX-A2+

Hands Free Sat Navs Editor's Choice: Mio Navman Spirit S500 Recommended: Tomtom Go 940 Live Widescreen Monitors Best Buy: Lenovo L2440X Keyboards Recommended: Keysonic Intuition-XL (ACH-5600 AL+)

Price: £3.99 Pages: 154

Price: £4.50 Pages: 130

COMPUTER SHOPPER

PC PRO “It has more power, better design and superior battery life. The VGN-Z31VN/X is a machine almost without compromise and, consequently, it wins the title of ultimate laptop this month”

“MSI’s Wind is a great netbook thanks to its comfortable keyboard and long battery life, making it an excellent choice for most people” MSI Wind U100

Sony Vaio VGN-Z31VN/X

Product Reviews and Features

Product Reviews and Features

Ultimate Laptops Labs Winner: Sony VAIO VGNZ31VN/X Recommended: Lenovo ThinkPad W700ds Recommended: Sony VAIO VGNAW21XY/Q

Netbooks Best Buy: MSI Wind U100 Best Buy: Samsung N120 Recommended: Samsung N110 Budget Buy: Advent 4211c

Streaming Media Players Best Buy: Philips Streamium NP2900 Budget Buy: D-Link DSM-510 Ultimate: Netgear EVA9150 Digital Entertainer Elite

Rugged Compact Cameras Best Buy: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT1 Best Buy: Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ6 Budget Buy: Samsung WB500

VoIP Services Best Buy: Connexin International Unlimited Budget Buy: Sipgate

Business Projectors Labs Winner: Optoma EP761 Price: £3.99 Pages: 186

14 PCR July

Cloud Storage Services Labs Winner: SugarSync Recommended: Microsoft Live Mesh Smartphones Recommended: HTC Magic Camcorders Recommended: Samsung HMXR10BP

Price: £4.99 Pages: 164

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July PCR 15


INTERVIEW PC WORLD

Saving the

World AT THE time of going to press, DSGi’s financial results hadn’t yet been issued. However taking into account the information over its recent Right Issue and other announcements, many analysts were predicting a less than favourable set of figures. However this shouldn’t overshadow the positive moves the firm has made in recent times. Over 60 stores across the country have been reformatted in the new improved style and more are to follow, bolstered by the largest single advertising campaign the firm has ever put out. New Currys

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With huge numbers of nationwide store reformats, the opening of new unprecedented large megastores and the launch of its largest ever ad campaign, you have to agree DSGi is tackling whatever problems it has with brute force. Andrew Wooden talks to category director for DSGi Jeremy Fennal, marketing director for PC World Niall O’Keeffe and DSGi spokesperson Mark Webb about the firm's recent activity and the future of the market….

megastores will also send a clear message to the yet-to-emerge Best Buy – DSGi is the as-yet unchallenged incumbent and it can do big box stores just as well as any American contender. Whatever the wider financial landscape, the firm has put two fingers up to those who dismissed its Renewal and Transformation drive as pure rhetoric. The new Currys opened in New Malden is the biggest store in your south east portfolio. What are the benefits of larger megastores over numerous smaller sites?

Mark Webb: It is not just the largest store in our portfolio, this is the biggest store of its kind in the south east. The megastore concept underpins all the elements of our Renewal and Transformation in offering an unbeatable combination of value, choice and service for customers. But the scale of all our megastores going forward means that we can represent the entire electrical market in one location, with all the convenience, not to mention the wow factor, that comes with it. You’ll therefore see range extensions in all our major categories,

“The scale of our megastores going forward means that we can represent the entire electrical marketplace in one location” Mark Webb, DSGi

Turn the page for more

>>>

July PCR 17


INTERVIEW PC WORLD

you’ll see us including new ranges such as premium branded coffee machines, CDs and DVDs, plus an extremely impressive hi-fi area to appeal to a broad range of customers and budgets. The impact of the store is profound, with our megastore near Birmingham, for example (which opened last year), very much established as a ‘destination store’ with customers happy to drive up to 90 minutes to get there. And is this the way forward for electronics retail? MW: It forms a key part of our multi channel approach, but as marketleading retailers we have developed a number of formats, all of which have seen impressive returns and all of which will see further rollouts in the coming year. How many more store openings can we expect over the next year or so, across all your brands? MW: We recently announced an accelerated rollout of our new store formats. 63 stores were reformatted last year, and some 140-150 will be completed this year in the UK and the Nordics (and a further 210-215 for FY2010/11). It is important to note that alongside our store reformatting process, our focus on training staff in FIVES, the new customers service sales model, continues with over 20,000 colleagues already trained with an ongoing focus on product knowledge and expertise. You’ve recently spoken of the importance of differentiating netbooks and notebooks. Do you think there is a problem with the public perception of sub-£300 machines and what they can do? Jeremy Fennel: Yes. When netbooks were introduced last year, many people thought they were going to be a cheap and cheerful replacement for the laptop, but we have always positioned them as an additional mobile device – compatible with laptops and PCs. Netbooks are mainly used for web surfing, email and viewing on the move. It’s essentially ‘netbooks are for viewing, notebooks are for doing’ More than ever, customers are interested in getting value for money, but simply buying the cheapest model around does not provide them with all Laurence Painell

18 PCR July

that they want from their netbook. Customers want a decent, usable screen size and keyboard, and a software system they are familiar with. Our biggest selling models retail at around £300. PCs, and especially netbooks, are now sold by a much wider variety of retailers, such as mobile phone operators and supermarkets. Since these firms and their staff are rarely experts in the technology, how do you think this affects the public perception of netbooks, and the wider technology sector? JF: We pride ourselves on offering customers good advice and excellent services to enable them to buy the right product to suit their individual needs and level of technical understanding, with confidence. They do not get this if they buy from nonspecialist retailers and can often be disappointed with their choices. Poor service and advice in nonspecialists leads to high levels of disappointment and customer returns as they find they have not bought the right product for them. Also, as a market-leading specialist we offer an end-to-end service – from help and advice with original purchases to repairs and maintenance services.

The new format PC World megastores are intended to represent the entire technology market under one roof

You’ve sold off the Electro World operations in Hungary; will any other stores/regions be closed? MW: At the same time as we announced the sale of our Hungarian operation, we confirmed that the Czech Republic and Slovakia operations (which had been under strategic review), were to be retained within the group. Only Poland remains under Strategic Review. How would you say the Renewal and Transformation plan is going and how much is left to do? MW: This has been an intense period of activity and the Renewal and Transformation Plan is progressing extremely well, with customer satisfaction rising, impressive returns from reformatted stores and a number of new innovations for the customer such as next-day delivery and timed delivery slots. There is a still lot more to do and plenty more potential we have identified in what is essentially a three-year plan.

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INTERVIEW PC WORLD

“What we’re really confident about is that because this campaign is rooted in people’s passions, we can continue to evolve this” Niall O’Keeffe, DSGi

Would you say PC and technology retail has fared better than some other sectors during the economic downturn? MW: It has been a challenging time to sell discretionary, big ticket items. As we went into the downturn with a strategy in place though, we have been able to focus our efforts on delivering for the customer and developing our Renewal and Transformation plan. We are well placed to emerge stronger from the downturn with a compelling offering for customers that our competitors can’t match. Will 2010 be better or worse? MW: As a business we remain cautious, with management currently assuming negative like-for-like growth until second half of 2010/11. Customers, however, will continue to see the benefits of our Renewal and Transformation Plan and our focus on offering an unbeatable combination of Value, Choice and Service. The ‘Whatever your world, PC World’ ad is your biggest single campaign to date. What are the key ideas it attempts to get across, what do you hope to achieve with it and how significant is this for PC World? Niall O’Keeffe: The campaign is about taking people’s individual passions, and explaining how we can help them indulge them. So we moved on from telling about speeds and feeds to talking about passions. The campaign itself has got four main objectives. One is to force customers to reappraise PC World. Two is to communicate our brand values of being enthusiastic, honest, dynamic and friendly. The other is to say that the computer is at the heart of most of our lives now, they are crucially important to us living our lives. The backbone of the campaign was to humanise this technology and make it appeal to everyone.

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Before the campaign came though we wanted to get our house in order. We’ve relaunched about 60 stores now out of our whole portfolio. There’s a completely new store layout. There’s a much deeper range as well, and the demonstration zones give you an experience of the technology. When you go into a PC World it’s a different experience than going into a multiple grocer and picking a box off the shelf – and ultimately that’s our USP. How will this evolve over the rest of the year? NO’K: We expect to have another burst this year, and then to run another two to three of these a year going forward. What we’re really confident about is that because this campaign is rooted in people passions, we can continue to evolve this. The initial pitch had nine executions, so we feel its something that has a lot of longevity. How much have the transformation plans and the ad campaigns got to do with Best Buy turning up next year? NO’K: Nothing. I was brought into the company in the middle of 2007 to build the PC World brand. This campaign was presented in February 2008, and Best Buy wasn’t really being talked about back then. This is about PC World building its brand, not about anybody else. How much of a threat are they? NO’K: We shall wait and see. Obviously as a business we are preparing plans for whenever they enter the market, and our plans are set to relaunch 60-100 PC World stores and all of the work we’re doing with Currys and the launch of megastores, etc. So we’re continuing our plan and I think we’re going to make it a very hard market place for anybody to compete with us, be it Comet, be it Best Buy. We’ll see what happens.

July PCR 19


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INTERVIEW ACER

Acer’s Bobby Watkins believes that a multi-brand approach is the best way to utlise the buying habits of consumers

A war on three fronts After announcing the relaunch of the Packard Bell brand, Acer is in a process of differentiating its three brand portfolios to tackle different demographics separately, as it looks to increase its UK lead position across the globe. Andrew Wooden talks to UK country manager Bobby Watkins… You recently announced the introduction of your ‘multi-brand strategy’. What essentially is this and how much of a departure is it from your previous way of working? We did a lot of work with consumer focus groups to try to work out how people make a decision in terms of what to buy. We found that clearly consumers make decisions in different ways. Some consumers make decisions on brand, design and the fashion of a product. There are those who make decisions based on technology, while others make their decisions based on a budget. There’s also a group in the

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middle that have to make compromises, and morph between budget, technology and brand. That’s where the multi brand strategy came from, and why we made the call to use different brands to serve different consumer segments. In a practical sense, our eMachines brand is targeted at the group that purely makes decisions based on affordability. For the customer that rates design and brand appeal highly, but is not as concerned with

high-spec technology, that’s where we’d position the Packard Bell brand. For those customers who make their decision based on technology and design, that’s where we’d target the Acer brand. Everything in the middle of those categories is where we’d position the Acer brand as well. How are you looking to market to different consumer segments? We will communicate the brands in very different ways. We have major campaigns

“For those customers who make their decision based on technology and design, that’s where we’d target the Acer brand” Bobby Watkins, Acer

Turn the page for more

>>>

July PCR 21


INTERVIEW ACER

Acer has its sights set on being the number one mobile PC vendor in the world

planned across all the brands. I would say it’s weighted towards the Acer technology and the Packard Bell fashion messages, and it’s an enormous investment. I can’t be specific, but you’ll see it everyday through the second half of the year. We will be dramatically upping the amount of campaigns over the next year. How significant will the newly relaunched Packard Bell brand be to Acer’s overall business, and how is this different from its core product portfolio? Packard Bell is a fundamental part of the Acer group multi-brand strategy. We think certain consumers will make a decision based on what a product looks like, and they will be sensitive to design and brand perception. To touch those consumers isn’t the purpose of the Acer brand, which is more around technology leadership, being first to market and giving long battery life – generally being the biggest and the fastest. To get to these customers who make their decision based on design and brand, Packard Bell is fundamental. In terms of what proportion of the market we can attract with the Packard Bell brand, it’s important to work out what proportion of the consumers buy in that way. We estimate it’s around 15 to 20 per cent of shoppers out there that primarily buy based on design and brand appeal, and who don’t consider technology at all. That should give you an idea of how much of the market we think it’s possible to address with the Packard BellPainell brand. Laurence

22 PCR July

Now that the Acer Point and Acer Affinity business separations have come into play, what will be the main noticeable changes around this restructure of these support services? The big changes will be the resources we’re putting behind both communities. For the Acer Point – the shopfront – there are experienced people investing in marketing the ‘shop-in-shop’ concepts. On the Affinity front the biggest investment is in lead generation activities. This is to support the customers of that programme in making it a serious part of their business-to-business sales. The simplest way to put it is that we’re offering them more support in attracting more sales.

“We think we can strongly extend our lead here in the UK, especially in the consumer arena” Bobby Watkins, Acer

to challenge for the number one spot globally. I think it would be premature for us to say now we’re going to be number one in the global computing market, but the last market data said we were very close to Dell globally in terms of total PC, and really we’re setting our sites on getting to the number one position by 2011.

You’re currently listed as number one for notebooks in the UK, are these changes and this brand differentiation designed to extend this lead globally? We think we can strongly extend our lead here in the UK, especially in the consumer arena. We believe we are also number one across EMEA, and over the recent months we’ve extended that leadership. We’ve also had growth in the USA and Asia, which is giving us the opportunity

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INTERVIEW DELL

Dell’s Design Studio allows users to personalise their devices with customisable designs from a wide variety of artists

Phil Bryant

Designs on the

future “This has come out of our heritage of giving customers exactly what they want.” Phil Bryant, Dell

24 PCR July

DELL RECENTLY used the luxurious surroundings of Versailles to highlight its strategy for the future and to unveil its forthcoming range of consumer laptops, which – for now – must remain under wraps. One thing that was obvious throughout the event was that Dell has a very clear idea of what its customers want and a strong business model for the future. It has spent a great deal of time interacting with its customers, developing its products and building its retail presence to 30,000 footprints

Having recently unveiled its design studio in Europe, Dell is on a drive to make its computers more personal. Matt Grainger spoke to the firm's vice president and general manager for EMEA, Phil Bryant and the director for EMEA consumer marketing David Clifton about design, the cloud and European expansion… in various regions across the globe. A robust consumer portfolio will support this retail expansion and one of the key features for the future is Dell’s Design Studio, allowing customers to personalise the appearance of their device before purchase. “This is part of our heritage,” says Dell’s vice president and general manager for EMEA, Phil Bryant. “If you think back to the early nineties, we called it customisation, but it was all about the inside of the box. Frankly,

what helped catalyse it for me was the time I spent in Japan, talking to Japanese customers and seeing what was around me in terms of design – and the Japanese were known for their cutting edge designs. “As mobility became more and more important, the design became a reflection of your personal style, your personal expression, and this move came out of our heritage of giving customers exactly what they want.” “It really is personalisation because it’s the outside of the box – what

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INTERVIEW DELL

people see you with – and it’s the inside of the box,” says Dell’s EMEA consumer marketing director David Clifton. “It’s not just feeds and speeds, it’s needs and deeds – meaning it’s what people are using it for. So it’s really an outgrowing of our DNA and our heritage, something that we can bring uniquely to the market.” EMBRACING THE CLOUD Another key move for Dell is its commitment to ‘embrace the cloud;’ its current portfolio includes Remote Access software that allows users to access their personal data from anywhere with an internet connection. Dell clearly thinks that there is a bright future in the cloud. “Think about the impact it’s having now,” offers Bryant. “Customers got there before the industry. Look at Facebook, that’s your pictures and information out in the cloud, email is just your email client out in the cloud, music can be downloaded out of the cloud, so I think customers figured it out all on their own. There’s value to this and the people who do it well are going to win in the marketplace. “For some of the core stuff though, people aren’t quite ready to give it up to the cloud and that’s where something like Dell Remote Access stands out, because it allows people to keep their stuff at home but they can still access it from anywhere on a Dell client.” The retail expansion to 30,000 footprints is a huge achievement for a company that had virtually no retail presence five years ago, and is designed to help convey the message about Dell’s products directly to the consumer marketplace. “I guess that’s a continuation of what we started two years ago,” claims Bryant. “When we set down in the Americas we had several choices but we settled on a segmentation strategy that had us working with a few very large partners that addressed specific segments of the market. “Since we came to Europe, we’ve been researching the market, talking to

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partners and really moving from the UK out. As we’ve moved across Europe, we’ve been working in France with Carrefour and now Media World in Italy, so we’ve been moving east and trying to go bigger with the best partners. That’s what we’re doing and where we are now – we’ve tripled our retail footprint in the last four months and we should triple it again this year, that’s where we want to be.” “The decision to do this starts with our customers who wanted to touch and feel the products before purchase,” interjects Clifton. “It’s been a very methodic plan but quite rapid and, I would say, a really well implemented approach. It started as customers saying they wanted to touch the product, to see it and it’s led to us broadening our footprint and broadening our reach to the customer base.” EUROPEAN EXPANSION One of the aims of the showcase in Versailles had been to entice some of the potential partners for Dell’s continued expansion, so what are Dell’s aims for the next year or so? “You know, we’re just scratching the surface in Europe,” believes Bryant. “We have five per cent share according to IDC, in some markets lower. So getting established in places like Germany, or Italy where we’ve really never had a presence at all, that’s pretty important right now. “From just a pure route to market standpoint, over the next eight or nine months you’ll see a steady adding of partnerships all across the region – that includes Russia, the Middle East, Africa, all of those.” “For me the one word would be presence,” adds Clifton. “The next year and on the horizon… it’s all about presence. We’re here, we’re a great brand but we’re not present in many places that you would think we are.” “We’re the number two global brand and I have yet to meet a partner that says they don’t want the brand,” continues Bryant. “That’s the good thing, I’ve never met anybody who says ‘no, your brand doesn’t work here,’ and I’ve been in 25 countries since I got here four months ago.” “It seems that there’s a big demand out there for Dell, which is great,” concludes Clifton.

David Clifton

“The next year and on the horizon... it’s all about presence. We’re here, we’re a great brand but we’re not present in many places that you would think we are” David Clifton, Dell

Above: the Paris venue for the unveiling of Dell’s new portolio and artist Tristan Eaton at work

July PCR 25


E3 PC GAMES

Let the games begin In the wake of Los Angeles' obstinately lavish E3 show, Andrew Wooden takes a look at some of the key PC games releases which will be driving the upgrade market in the next year or so… its games, this title is definitely one to look out for.

Crysis 2

Champions Online ATARI

Crysis 2 EA ONE OF the most critically acclaimed games in the first person shooter genre, the original Crysis was particularly praised for its eye watering graphics and advanced physics engine. Every shooter needs an angle, and Crysis’ was that you were basically the six-million dollar man – if he worked in a military black-ops murder squad. The battle suit that players wore throughout the game allows invisibility, super speed and super strength – allowing for all sorts of fun, such as sneaking up on enemies unawares, then throwing them 300 feet in the air. Details of the sequel are thin on the ground as yet, but the sheer commercial and critical success of the first should ensure strong sales.

Star Trek Online ATARI IF MMOs can be accused of being geeky, then one set in the Star Trek universe must surely sit on top of the pile. Set a few years after Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek Online puts

26 PCR July

players in command of a starship, and leaves them to roam around a sandbox universe, interacting with other players and taking part in numerous missions. Players take control of either a Klingon or a Federation starship, and are able to warp about on their own or form cooperative fleets with others. The well developed story line provided by the Star Trek franchise should make this a hugely popular game with Trekkies and MMO fans alike.

Left 4 Dead 2 MICROSOFT VALVE’S notorious talent for making perfectly balanced, addictive multiplayer shooters was put to the horror genre last year with the original zombie shooter Left 4 Dead. The whole concept of the game was based in multiplayer co-op, with the single player campaign little more than a practice ground. The next installment promises more of the same highoctane, gore splattered action, and should prove a huge success. With the massive online community the original has attracted, plus the following that Valve has always attracted with any of

IT WASN’T so long ago that RPGs were considered by many to be a peculiar niche in the gaming world, enjoyed by only the most hardcore of gamers. The act of changing the model to be completely online has led to an explosion in popularity for the genre, splintering off into new sub-genres. Champions Online pushes the idea of character customisation above all else, offering almost limitless possibilities which developer Cryptic claims will make a unique experience for each player.

Aliens vs Predator 3 VIVENDI PITTING two of the most iconic and popular sci-fi creations against each other in a fight to the death was always going to make popular entertainment. While the Aliens vs Predator films

Champions Online

suffered from relatively poor reviews, the two (unrelated) video game incarnations of the late nineties were hugely popular with critics and fans alike. This new version will almost be a reworking of the original games. Developer Rebellion promises a more visceral outing this time, with complete multiplayer capabilities.

Star Trek Online

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E3 PC GAMES

StarCraft 2 BLIZZARD THE NOW aging StarCraft is one of the most celebrated real time strategy games of all time, gaining particular praise for the balance achieved between the three factions – the Terrans, Protoss and Zerg. The game still has a lively online community, which will be ready to pounce on the sequel. StarCraft 2 promises to continue where the last expansion pack for the original left off, this time with brand new 3D engine, new units and improved multiplayer systems.

humor. The plot will be based on the first four books and films in the series, with users playing as Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The popularity of the Lego series of games and the soaring success of Harry Potter should ensure this title sells bucket loads.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Final Fantasy XIV SQUARE ENIX THE LATEST version of what has to be the longest running series in video game history will be released next year, and promises to continue its trend of reinventing itself by delving into the realms of the MMO genre. Not too much has been announced about this title so far, other than it will be set in a place called Eorzea (which has featured in previous games) and it will get a simultaneous global launch. Could threaten World of Warcraft as the leading fantasy based MMO.

civil war between the Jedi and the Sith, where players can choose either side of the battle. The game will put more emphases on strong narrative, providing sufficient differentiation from the soaring amount of open sandbox-based MMOs on the market.

StarCraft 2

Supreme Commander 2 SQUARE ENIX Lego Harry Potter WARNER BROS THE BUSINESS model of taking popular franchises and translating them into a Lego-based world has proved remarkably popular. This time studio TT Games works its blocky magic on Harry Potter, bringing with it the familiar platform based puzzles and

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Star Wars: The Old Republic LUCASARTS LUCASARTS described this as a ‘story driven MMO’, which is set in the time frame of Knights of the Old Republic, 2003’s celebrated title taking place around a thousand years before Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker were around. The plot follows a massive

The game will put more emphases on strong narrative, providing sufficient differentiation from the soaring amount of open sandbox-based MMOs on the market Star Wars: The Old Republic

The spiritual successor to classic RTS forefather and pioneer of the 3D landscape Total Annihilation, the original Supreme Commander staggered critics and gamers with its vast scale and graphical prowess. Developer Gas Powered Games promises to expand the landscape even further with planetary sized battlefields. The thinking man’s RTS.

July PCR 27


Hardware PCR’s monthly look at recent developments in the hardware market

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MAC PERIPHERALS An overview of some of the extras for Apple’s range, and how they’re selling

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Mystery Shopper

Meroncourt

Ingram Micro

This month, the Mystery Shopper hunts for netbooks at Lakeside

Sales director Steve Walsh talks about Meroncourt’s rebrand

UK director of value business, Cathi Low talks to PCR


HARDWARE  MYSTERY SHOPPER

Mystery Shopper Lakeside Shopping Centre With increased netbook choice in the market over the recent months, our Mystery Shopper visited Lakeside Shopping Centre to research the latest deals, product availability, specification and prices...

COMET THIS COMET STORE was tucked away in a little trading estate just outside of the Lakeside Shopping Centre. There was no need for searching for the devices here; they were straight in front of me as I walked through the store entrance. Without a moment to lose, I was approached by a very cheerful chap who pointed me towards two different types of Toshiba netbooks. Asking for his opinion on both, this is where he really excelled when giving his verdicts. Launching into his sales pitch, he told me that one of the machines, the Toshiba NB100 11R, used Linux, and the other, the Toshiba NB100 12 used Windows XP. This was pretty much all he told me about these models. He finished this chapter by asking me what I was likely to use it for; from my answer he suggested the Samsung NC10. This was the most expensive of the models shown so far and was priced at £319.99. Realising that he might lose a sale, he added that if I wanted a ‘normal netbook,’ than the XP version of the Toshiba model would be okay. He briefly touched on some, ‘price saving packages’ including discounts on Norton Antivirus. He also advised to buy extended cover; the reason given SCORE was that due to its portability, there was a higher probability of damage. To finish, Terry asked me if I would be making a purchase offering to print off product information for the three netbooks discussed.

7/10

30 PC July

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HARDWARE  MYSTERY SHOPPER

Turn the page for more Mystery Shopper results

>>>

TEC 7

CURRYS

(CONCESSION WITHIN HOUSE OF FRASER) THIS CONCESSION within House of Fraser was merchandised to a high standard, pristine in its appearance with a plentiful supply of stock for the potential customer to try out. I was approached by an assistant, who offered, very politely, to help in my potential purchase. I told him I was keen to look at netbook products and to make comparisons between manufacturers, including specification and price. My understanding was that they were smaller and easier to use than laptops. However, as there were so many now in the market, was unsure as to which one to buy. I added the last part to ensure that it elicited a response, which I hoped was going to be full of recommendations. Reflecting on the product range before us, he proceeded to talk me through the specifications of each machine. He asked pertinent and leading questions checking my requirements such as screen and keyboard size and my preference of Windows; XP or Vista. This was impressive as he obviously wanted to make sure I was comfortable buying a product that suited my needs rather than the most expensive machine on sale. Our conversation continued onto screen quality; he was quick to pick up the fact that I was really keen to ensure that the viewing experience was good. I think I gave him the impression that I wanted a laptop due to the fact that I did labour a bit too long the details of screen quality. The sales assistant recommended two machines, these included the following specifications: Toshiba NB1200 12A, 8.9-inch TruBrite WSVGA TFT display, Intel Atom N270 processor, 120GB HDD, 1GB DDR2 Ram, and integrated VGA Webcam at £292.99 Samsung NC10, 10.2-inch WSVGA LED Display, Intel Atom N270 processor, 160GB HDD, with 1GB DDR2 Ram priced at £329.99 The service and knowledge was impressive and I was additionally SCORE given a brochure with full details to take home and consider the options at my leisure.

9/10

www.pcr-online.biz

HAVING BROWSED the netbooks for a couple of minutes, I was approached by a salesman who seemed keen to help and eager to get a sale. To get the conversation going, I told him that I aiming to buy a netbook, asking him to explain the choices before us. I was asked if there was a preference on colour; this seemed a strange question to start the conversation, but I went with the flow. I replied that it didn’t matter too much and that I was more interested in what it could do. Somehow, through his body language, I got the impression that I was going to be shown a Dell Mini 10 first of all. Sure enough, the first product up for demo was indeed this machine, which was the most expensive of the models shown. It had a 10.1-inch Screen, Intel Atom N270 processor, 1GB RAM, 160GB HDD, HDMI Connection, and was available in 6 colours, priced £299.99. Quickly moving on, I tried to bring the conversation around to the other models in the hope that I could reduce the cost; buy a good machine and get a good deal. I reminded him that I thought the first recommendation was too expensive. Still very eager to sell me a machine, he enthusiastically moved over to the Advent 4213. In his opinion it was, ‘the best netbook available’ and boasted a 10-inch screen, builtin SIM slot for mobile broadband, Intel Atom N270 processor, 1GB RAM, 160GB HDD and was priced £279.99. I couldn’t help wondering why didn’t he show me this machine first. Moving on apace, like a true salesman, he reminded me that it was a good size, a somewhat obvious observation and ‘fairly quick.’ Great – thanks for that. If I purchased the netbook today, I would also receive Norton Antivirus with a discount of £30. Plus, Microsoft Office was also reduced to £80 from the standard price of £100. Finally, the cheapest was the Advent 4214, similar specification although without the SIM slot, priced £249.99. The salesmanship and SCORE knowledge was impressive and I forgave him for trying to make that add-on sale of extra software.

8/10

July PCR 31


HARDWARE  MYSTERY SHOPPER

CURRYS.DIGITAL

MARKS AND SPENCER

PC WORLD

THERE WERE four netbook machines on display in this store, one more than the sister company. As in the other stores just visited, I was quickly approached by an eager salesman. After asking him for his recommendation, he politely and dutifully began to recite the product range before us. Again, he started off by showing me the most expensive model. This was the Dell Mini 10, already showed to me in the larger Currys store, which had the 10.1-inch Screen, 1GB RAM, 160GB HDD, priced £299.99 and yes, let’s not forget about the six available colours; although this latter point was laboured on in this store a little too much. Having heard this story before, I was keen to move onto other choices, asking him to tell me what other customers were going for. He answered this question by talking about the most expensive machine again. Informing him that this was a bit too expensive and asking him to show me cheaper models, he moved a notch down in terms of price. It was only £20 cheaper and yes, was another model already shown. The 10-inch Advent 4213, which was priced £279.99. I felt that he was trying to get the most money out of me rather than what I actually needed. Reminding him that it wasn’t going to be used for anything too taxing, he gave in and talked me through the remaining models, ending on the cheapest which was the Advent 4214 with a 10-inch screen, 1GB RAM, 160GB HDD, priced £249.99. Not forgetting the software deals, he reminded me the discounts I could receive when buying Norton Antivirus and Microsoft Office, as he handed me a brochure to help me consider my options. Although the salesman was very polite and helpful I felt that he was trying a little too hard to SCORE get the most money out of the sale that he could, rather than listening to what I really needed.

THIS HIGH street veteran and newcomer to the technology sector only stocked one netbook. The technology department was devoid of customers. This allowed me to spend some time in store talking to the staff member. I told her that I was considering buying a netbook largely to surf the internet on the move. I asked her opinion of these smaller machines. She took considerable time and patience listening to my needs. In her view, there was little point in buying a laptop, if all I wanted to do was surf the internet. This was a refreshing

THIS WAS an impressive store with the new layout now commonplace in the refurbished ‘Winning New Revenues’ store. Having been rushed in other stores visited today, I decided to take my time in looking over the product range of netbooks. I was closely watched by a security guard throughout. After about 10 minutes, I was approached. I told him that I was keen to buy a new netbook, as I felt these were easier to transport and just as versatile as larger laptop machines. He began by asking a strange question. In the same vein as other sales staff today, the pound signs were showing in his eyes. The first comment off his tongue was to ask if I definitely wanted a netbook. If I spent a bit more, in his opinion, I could buy a laptop. I reminded him that a netbook was all I wanted to consider today and asked him to give me his opinion on the models available and recommend a machine. As in some of the other stores today, the machine first up was, yes, the Dell Mini 10 – I think I’ve heard that one before. Having recited the full specification, I was asked if I needed a CD drive. Asking him to explain why, I was reminded that ‘for a bit more money you can get a laptop.’ “Okay, I get the point, but the main reason for buying a netbook was to surf the net and do light tasks,” I said. Returning to the netbooks, he showed me two Advent models, reading the specifications from the point of sale tickets in front of us. These were the same two models previously available in Currys.digital and Currys stores and were the Advent 4213 and Advent 4214, priced £279.99 and £249.99 respectively. I was shown a brochure and then told about the special Microsoft Office 2007 and Norton SCORE 360 install for only £98.66, being informed that I could probably get a good deal on the price.

6/10

“The salesperson took considerable time and patience listening to my needs. This was a refreshing approach and not unexpected from this customer service oriented retailer” approach and not unexpected from this customer service orientated retailer. She answered all my many questions concerning the processor’s speed, hard disk drive and explained the benefits of owning a netbook over a laptop; these were largely the ease of use and portability aspects. The Toshiba machine had a Toshiba NB100 12A, with a 8.9-inch screen, Intel Atom N270, 1GB RAM, 120GB HDD, Windows XP Operating System and was priced £279.00. The mystery shop conducted in this store was excellent; the customer service superb. It’s just a shame the store didn’t stock more models. It SCORE would be beneficial if the selection was increased in the coming months.

6/10

5/10

THE TOP SCORES: 1

TEC 7

4

MARKS AND SPENCER

2

CURRYS

4

CURRYS.DIGITAL

3

COMET

5

PC WORLD

32 PC July

This Mystery Shop was conducted by infinite Field Marketing Solutions, a leading provider of field marketing services to the technology sector. The solutions provided include Training, Market Research, Mystery Shopping, Demonstration Days, Roadshows, Merchandising and Compliance & Data Capture. Visit our website for details and to request a Case Study.

www.pcr-online.biz


HARDWARE  MERONCOURT INTERVIEW

‘Courting

success

Ben Furfie sits down with Steve Walsh, sales director at Letchworth based distributor Meroncourt to talk about the firm's changing role over the years, its rebranding, and where the peripherals market is going… “The market is still very healthy and due to our continual release of new products, sales continue to climb” Steve Walsh, Meroncourt

What was the motivation behind your recent rebranding and what are you looking to achieve from it? We thought a refresh of our image was long overdue and it’s a good way for existing customers to see we are progressing and active in the market. We’re hoping that it will attract new business, but also give our existing customers confidence that Meroncourt, as a company, is here to stay. Before the end of June, we will also launch our brand new website. It has been designed to be much more interactive and more user friendly. What can your customers expect from your new website? We’re hoping that by the end of July it will be fully functional and that our customers can benefit from the changes we have made in terms of navigation and layout. It’s been a long time coming, so we’re excited to be so close to the launch.

Meroncourt’s headquarters in Letchworth Garden City

34 PCR July

How strong is the gaming peripherals business at the moment? It’s good for us and continues to show steady growth. We have plenty of new products coming out over the next few months and we’re sure that the Roccat Gaming headsets and keyboards demonstrated at this year’s Channel Expo will experience huge demand. What’s your best performing product/category in terms of sales? On the PC side, it’s high-end gaming peripherals such as mice, keyboards and mats. We are doing extremely well on multimedia, with products like headsets and speaker systems performing well. Entry-level mice are still showing strong returns, as are everyday items like sound cards and power products, such as laptop battery chargers as well as the batteries themselves.

Has the recession impacted sales of high-end gaming accessories? Not really, the market is still very healthy and due to our continual release of new products, sales continue to climb. The recession has affected our standard PC range more as people look to price point more than quality. That’s really a shortterm response, as when they see the stock


HARDWARE  MERONCOURT INTERVIEW

being returned, they know they have to sell quality to survive. Why are high-end peripherals so attractive to the market? I think the attraction is how great they look and perform these days. Often, they are stuffed so full of technology that for many of us it is difficult to use all of the functions available. But then when you go to a large LAN event, for example, and see the gear being used by the professionals, you begin to understand why they achieve such high demand. Their enthusiasm for new technology is just addictive.

“We have more ideas ready to come out over the next few months, which we anticipate will also make us an even more interesting partner than many other distributors”

to expand our current ranges from existing manufacturers and also to increase the levels of business we carry out on our fulfilment and storage side.

Steve Walsh, Meroncourt

You say that you’re looking at bringing in two or three new vendors. Are they in your traditional gaming market, or are they along the lines of your diversification with netbook accessories? We will bring on vendors who can offer new products or new ideas so long as the quality of their products and support is also there. Put simply, without that we don’t consider them. We’re expecting to sign another gaming brand within weeks and also another brand new to the UK, which will diversify us further into PC cases and cooling solutions. We are also very far progressed with a vendor for entertainment and lifestyle products, with a portfolio that includes MP3, digital cameras, photo frames and HDD multimedia products. We are very fortunate in that our manufacturing partner Speedlink has a diverse range already which is expanding all of the time, they also moved into several new areas over the past twelve months, which is an obvious bonus for us as its UK distributor.

What would you say your current share of the gaming market is? It’s difficult to say – it’s probably around the 15 per cent mark. What is certain is that we’re growing all the time, especially as we bring new brands and new products to the market. Apart from PC, we have a very large console gaming range, which is also performing well.

any profit, but it does help our customers to manage their stock and cash flow better. So it builds loyalty and also shows we are a distributor who thinks more about the whole relationship we have with our customer rather than just working on an order-by-order, deal-by-deal basis.

You recently ramped up your drop shipping service. What has the reception been to that? Drop shipping is not that new to us, we have actually been carrying it out for a small number of customers for 18 months. However, this year we have rolled it out as a concept for everyone to use. It has been well received and is an area that is growing all of the time. It’s not a service that will make us

Have you managed to gain new customers from its launch? Yes we have definitely taken on some new customers, though it’s difficult to say 100 per cent if it’s just because of the drop shipping. I think it’s more because of our whole package. Since our return from Channel Expo we have had an increasing number of new enquiries based around all the initiatives we have to offer. We have more ideas ready to come out over the next few months, which we anticipate will also make us an even more interesting partner than many other distributors. I firmly believe you have a duty to your customers to help them as much as possible; we have to think how we

can make their lives easier and more profitable by using Meroncourt. Meroncourt recently began Twittering. How important is it for you to look at new ways of reaching audiences? Twitter is becoming increasingly important as is our blog site glopipe. They are great ways to give information to people in a straightforward and non-technical way. We think any form of communication can be of benefit to not only to us and our customers but also for end-users. People seem really interested in news, never mind all the product information and long specifications; just give them some brief updates and they are more than happy. Are there any areas that Meroncourt is looking at expanding into in the next 12 months? Our expansion plans for the next twelve months will be to bring on maybe just two or three new vendors,

Where do you see Meroncourt being in a few years time? Definitely still a big presence in the market. Still a distributor who cares about its customers and its products. Still proactive in the technology community as a whole. We have been strengthening our senior management team for the past few years and expect this to continue so we have a really strong and successful company for the future.

July PCR 35


CONTACTS

HARDWARE  MAC PERIPHERALS

A M Micro 01392 823 366 Computer 2000 0870 060 3344 Entatech 0870 770 9588

[

Micro-P North: 01282 776 776 South: 01256 707 070

CINEMA DISPLAYS INGRAM MICRO, WESTCOAST

]

Available in 24-inch and 30-inch models, Apple’s Cinema Display monitors are high quality screens, designed for use by professionals in the creative industries, as well as anyone who wants a colour accurate second display.

Ingram Micro 0870 166 0160 Westcoast 0118 912 6000

A bigger bite of the

Apple “Like all of Apple’s products, its own peripherals are an absolute joy to use and are hard to match” Darren Tobin, Ingram Micro

www.pcretailmag.com

With sales of Apple hardware on the rise, it could be the ideal time to get involved in the market. Ben Furfie takes a look at the sector and what makes it different to the rest of the computer channel…

APPLE has continued to see strong sales over the last year, despite predictions that the recession would dent its momentum. Its sales – though down – have been resilient enough that the vendor has returned to the top five best-selling PC vendors in the UK, according to recent figures from IDC. With sales stronger than some rivals, and the stylish image of the brand, now might seem like a great time to start selling Apple products. However, it is well known that Apple’s hardware carries low margins, so what about the peripherals market?

Just as with Windows and Linuxbased systems, peripherals are a strong margin maker. Perhaps this is even more true for Apple products, thanks to a fan base willing to pay more for design. However, that desire for design, as well as function, means it can be harder to sell peripherals if you stock the wrong ones. Luckily, unlike the PC industry, there are fewer concerns over compatibility, allowing retailers to concentrate on which products will sell and which won’t. “Like all of Apple’s products, its own peripherals are an

Please turn the page for more products

>>>

July PCR 37


HARDWARE  MAC PERIPHERALS

[

RAINDESIGN MSTAND A M MICRO

]

Intended to mimic the foot of the iMac and Cinema Displays, the Raindesign mStand is ideal for situations where a MacBook will be used as a desktop replacement. It also acts as a heatsink to dissipate heat generated by the laptop.

[

KEYBOARD AND MOUSE INGRAM MICRO, WESTCOAST

]

Available in both wired and wireless variants, Apple’s mice and keyboards have been designed especially for use with all Macs, including its MacBook range. Its keyboards are also available in a range of different languages.

[

TIME CAPSULE INGRAM MICRO, WESTCOAST

]

Available in 500GB and 1TB models, Time Capsule is a wireless hard drive that works with Leopard’s Time Machine feature. It is a fully enabled wireless networking hub, with dual band support.

>>>

absolute joy to use and are hard to match,” explains Ingram Micro’s senior business manager for Apple, Darren Tobin. “That said, there are many third party vendors with some fantastic peripherals and obviously when connecting these to your Mac you know they’re likely to work straight out of the box without worrying about drivers.” Another area where Apple and its third party partners’ products often differ from their PC counterparts is in the packaging. While it may seem like a minor detail, effective visual

38 PC July

merchandising is a well-known method of boosting sales. “Vendors often pay particular attention to the finer details when it comes to the product and packaging of their Mac compatible range due to the type of customer they are trying to market to,” adds Tobin. As mentioned previously, one strong area of Apple’s marketing is in its brand and many of those who purchase the products are willing to buy into that brand – at a premium. However, as Tobin adds, it is crucial that retailers and resellers recognise that when looking to attract Mac users’ attention:

“Apple’s end users are not afraid of spending good money on peripherals, but they do need to be good products.” Another area that is performing well is education, claims Westcoast’s marketing director, Alex Tatham. “Sales are up, especially in areas such as the Isle of Man and the Channel Isles where the tax breaks mean the cost of Apple equipment is much lower. However, there are also sales on the mainland, especially in Academies.” He adds that where they are buying Apple hardware, there are opportunities to up-sell peripherals

that go with them. However, there are other potential benefits to schools increasingly purchasing Apple equipment, namely children using the products and then wanting them at home. “Where that filters down to the consumer market will depend on how successful children are at getting their parents to spend more than they normally would on a computer,” he said. “Possibly Apple’s most popular products at the moment is its range of iPod and iPhones, which consumers want or need accessories for,” adds

www.pcretailmag.com


HARDWARE  MAC PERIPHERALS

[

CANON PIXMA PRO9500 MKII INGRAM MICRO, WESTCOAST, MICRO-P

]

One of the areas Macs that are particularly strong in is the creative industry. Canon's professional range of printers is ideal for a range of creatives, from photographers through to designers, who need high-quality A3 colour printing.

[

DVI ADAPTORS INGRAM MICRO

]

Apple has a number of cables designed to allow Mac users to connect a second display to their Macbook, iMac or Mac Pro. Amongst them are both the full sized and mini versions of the DisplayPort and DVI standards.

[

WESTERN DIGITAL MYBOOK STUDIO ENTATECH, INGRAM MICRO, MICRO-P

]

Created and formatted for Mac, the MyBook Studio range is available in sizes from 500GB through to two terabytes. Ideal for professionals, the devices come with support for Firewire 400 and 800. They are also compatible with Apple’s Time Machine function.

[

BELKIN HIGH SPEED USB 2.0 ‘MAC MINI’ HUB INGRAM MICRO, WESTCOAST, MICRO-P

]

[

]

With the ability to support up to 50 concurrent users, regardless of whether they are using a Mac or PC, Apple’s Airport Extreme Base Station has been designed for a variety of environments ranging from home use, through to office and educational environments.

Another issue with some Macs is the small number of USB ports. Designed to stack with the Mac Mini – but fitting in with all of Apple's hardware – is Belkin’s Hi-Speed hub offers six USB ports and an additional Firewire port.

Richard Nuttall, networking and product specialist at Enta. “From Enta’s point of view iPod and iPhone accessories are also proving to be very popular with resellers and therefore consumers too. Belkin have a strong portfolio in this area and are bucking the trend, in terms of sales, during the current recession.”

AIRPORT EXTREME BASESTATION INGRAM MICRO, WESTCOAST

THE QUICK SELL Of course, many retailers and resellers are cautious in the current climate. So when looking at expanding into new areas you may want to know which product is currently performing well and will therefore be a minor risk. “Storage is performing very well at the moment,” claims Tobin. “Mice and

keyboards are also performing well.” Much of this can be put down to the recent boom in sales of laptops as desktop replacements – something that was highlighted by GfK recently. “We’re also seeing a big upsurge on sales of networking peripherals in the Mac market.” However, Tatham is coy about

naming a particular sector that is performing well. “Yes, certain areas are doing well, but I would strongly advise against dipping your toes into the Mac market. If you are interested, then becoming authorised by Apple is vital, otherwise you won’t receive the discounts that your rivals will, and you’ll be out

>>>


HARDWARE  MAC PERIPHERALS

[

TRUST 2.1 SPEAKER SET INGRAM MICRO, ENTATECH

]

While the MacBook and iMac’s speakers are okay, for decent sound, Apple users will need dedicated speakers. Trust’s 2.1 speaker system provides the benefits of dedicated speakers, while fitting in with the Apple look.

[

GRIFFIN ELEVATOR OPEN Designed to raise Apple’s MacBook – as well as any other laptop – to a suitable height to avoid back strain, the Griffin Elevator has also been designed to fit in with the styling of Apple’s products.

] [

>>>

competed on price. Yes, Apple’s customers are willing to spend more on the same product category, but that doesn’t extend to individual products, and they are still just as likely to look for the cheapest deals as their PC using brethren are.” GAME, SET AND MATCH Recent months have seen a number of incentives and schemes launched to help retailers and resellers diversify into Apple hardware, with the latest example being Ingram Micro’s Match

40 PC July

IOMEGA MINIMAX 500GB INGRAM MICRO With the same sleek lines as the Mac Mini, the Iomega Minimax external hard drive will fit in with any Apple-based suit. Because of its design, it can be stacked under the Mac Mini or Airport Extreme Base Station allowing customers to keep their desks clutter free.

] [

LOGITECH DINOVO MAC EDITION INGRAM MICRO

] [

There are few non-Apple keyboards out there that are specially designed for use with Macs. Logitech’s diNovo keyboard is one of them and comes with the full set of Maconly keys including Command and Option.

“Yes, Apple’s customers are willing to spend more on the same product category, but they are still just as likely to look for the cheapest deals as their PC using brethren are” Alec Tatham, Westcoast

marketing programme. “We have developed an integrated marketing campaign called ‘Match’ to promote Apple and complementary vendors that builds on Apple’s

premium position in the market place,” explains Tobin. Much of the focus of the new scheme is to drive attention of new and existing products to current Mac

TRUST ALL-IN-ONE CARD READER FOR MAC ENTATECH, INGRAM MICRO

]

One of the few downsides with Apple’s hardware, aside from the new MacBook Pro models, is the lack of card readers. That is easily rectifed with Trust’s all-in-one card reader, which supports all commonly used cards, including the latest generation of SDHC.

resellers, as well as Ingram’s wider PCfocused customer distribution base that could benefit from moving into the Mac arena. “The aim is to increase the awareness of specific brands and increase product sales within the Apple community. Match will also educate and enable resellers to sell Apple-led solutions and encourage attached sales by highlighting the complete Apple compatible range and portfolio of products carried by Ingram Micro, and demonstrate how this represents an opportunity for growth.”

www.pcretailmag.com


HARDWARE  INGRAM MICRO

30 years of good

service This month Ingram Micro celebrates 30 years in the distribution business. Andrew Wooden talks to its UK director of value business Cathi Low about the company and its achievements… AFTER 30 years in the business, Ingram Micro is now the world’s largest technology distributor. The company is ranked highly in the Fortune 500 listings and retains over 14,000 employees across the globe with a turnover of more than $35 billion last year. Having been named Distributor of the Year by Juniper Networks and posting solid results for the first quarter of 2009 despite the financial downturn, the steady growth of the last 30 years looks set to continue. Where was Ingram Micro set up and by whom? The Company’s earliest incarnation was started in 1979, a California corporation named Micro D Inc. Micro D was founded in July 1979 by husband and wife Geza Czige and Lorraine Mecca, who were both school teachers. Today, Ingram Micro is the world's largest technology distributor and a leading technology sales, marketing and logistics

42 PCR July

company. As a vital link in the technology value chain, Ingram Micro creates sales and profitability opportunities for vendors and resellers through unique marketing programs, outsourced logistics services, technical support, financial services and product aggregation and distribution. What was the business’ main focus back then? Ingram’s initial focus was reselling IT equipment and remains today the best way to get technology from the people who make it to the people who use it. How did it change over the years? Ingram continued to expand its product portfolio, competencies and global reach, becoming the leading distributor today in four of the five continents. The economies of scale we enjoy enabled us to focus on reducing the cost of doing business for our partners and increasing value. What would you say were the key milestones in its evolution? Since its beginnings in 1979, Ingram Micro has connected technology solution providers with vendors worldwide, identifying markets and technologies that shape the IT industry. Today, Ingram Micro remains at the forefront of the global technology marketplace, bringing the

www.pcr-online.biz


HARDWARE  INGRAM MICRO

Ingram Micro’s marketing department

latest products and services to market and finding new ways to bring value to our customers. The company offers a broad array of solutions and services to nearly 160,000 resellers by distributing and marketing hundreds of thousands of IT products worldwide from nearly 1,400 suppliers. Through Ingram Micro Logistics, the company provides customizable services for order management and fulfilment, contract manufacturing, contract warehousing, product procurement, product pack out and cartonisation, reverse logistics, transportation management, customer care, credit and collection management services, and other value chain services. Ingram Micro serves customers in more than 150 countries and is the only global broad-based distributor with operations in Asia. How has the wider market changed in that time? Our industry today is hardly recognizable! 30 years ago Microsoft recorded its first $1 million revenue year and Visicalc and Wordstar were both released 1979, when software was manufactured to order. HP introduced the HP-85 Personal Computer, which had just 16kb of RAM and a five inch

www.pcr-online.biz

“Today, Ingram Micro remains at the forefront of the global technology marketplace, bringing the latest products and services to market” Cathi Low, Ingram Micro CRT but cost a little over $3000, and Apple had sold the same number of Macintosh II’s in their history as they sell in a day today! In addition to this, the first ever Computer Dealers Exposition – COMDEX – was held in Las Vegas in 1979. Also that year, Ingram Micro revenues chalked up just $3.5 million, compared to $38 billion last year. Technology today dominates business in a way that wasn’t possible back in the seventies. As the pace of development and convergence continues, technology is a prerequisite and differentiator in business. So the focus on excellence, supply chain and getting it right first time is an increasingly important point. With close vendor relationships, we can ensure we are always offering cutting edge technology and enabling our resellers to be first to market by offering, for example, 99 per cent same day order shipping, with 99.6 per cent accuracy.

Do you think it’s harder or easier for the average PC retailer/reseller now compared to when you started? The current market is exceptionally challenging, so yes, things are harder. Every reseller has to confront today’s tough trading environment. Ingram Micro works hard with vendors to ensure its resellers are kept up to date with regular training and events, are offered the very best promotions and pricing, and especially for retailers offering point of sales product on consumer electronics. You’re now the biggest worldwide IT distributor, what would you attribute the success to? Our success comes from a being a business that has strong values based behaviour. Our values are teamwork, respect, accountability, integrity and innovation and combined with our customer-centric approach and strong partnerships with vendor and reseller partners, we continue to offer our

associates and shareholders worldclass financial and business strength. What advice would you give to retailers currently struggling with the current economic climate? We would of course advise retailers to ensure they partner with Ingram Micro and take advantage of our reseller proposition and enabling programmes. We offer a specific Credit Builder programme, facilitate zero per cent finance on specific vendors and continually improve our ability to help retailers and resellers alike take costs out of their own business by outsourcing logistical elements such as direct shipments and configuration. Ingram focuses on adding value to resellers with elements such as webstore hosting; our latest development is our Agency Ingram Micro marketing portal. This is a website where our resellers can get access to channel marketing tools and materials and send reseller branded messages and promotions to their own customer base to help generate interest and demand. In short, even in the tough climate, Ingram Micro is continuing to support businesses to ensure they can manage the downturn and help them prepare for the future.

July PCR 43


HARDWARE  CHARTS *From April 2009 data GfK provides market research consultancy to manufacturers on the technologies markets and also operates a reseller partnership that provides market research information to dealers in the channel. For further information on GfK please contact Sean Fellows on tel: 0870 603 828 or email: sean.fellows@gfk.com Models listed are non-exclusive: Neither sold as a tradebrand nor sold exclusively within one retailer or retail group

LAPTOPS

1

DISPLAYS

1

SAMSUNG

NC10

ACER

X193W

KEYBOARDS

1 LOGITECH

MICE

LOGITECH

1

ULTRA FLAT KEYBOARD

V220 CORDLESS OPTICAL MOUSE FOR NOTEBOOKS

2

ACER ASPIRE 5735Z-343G25MN

2

SAMSUNG SYNCMASTER T220

2

MICROSOFT WIRED KEYBOARD 500 BLACK

2

LOGITECH V150 LASER MOUSE

3

TOSHIBA SATELLITE P300-1CN

3

SAMSUNG SYNCMASTER 723N

3

MICROSOFT COMFORT CURVE KEYBOARD 2000

3

LOGITECH VX NANO CORDLESS LASER MOUSE

4

EMACHINES D620

4

SAMSUNG SYNCMASTER 943BW

4

LOGITECH CORDLESS DESKTOP EX 110

4

LOGITECH MX 620 LASER CORDLESS

5

HP 6735S GW694AV

5

HP W1907V

5

TRUST DS-3400D WIRELESS OPTICAL DESKSET

5

LOGITECH U96 OPTICAL WHEEL MOUSE BLACK

6

TOSHIBA SATELLITE L300-20D

6

SAMSUNG SYNCMASTER 943N

6

LOGITECH CORDLESS DESKTOP EX 100

6

LOGITECH V450 LASER CORDLESS NOTEBOOK

7

TOSHIBA SATELLITE L350-20G

7

SAMSUNG SYNCMASTER 923NW

7

KENSINGTON 1500109 VALUE KEYBOARD BLACK

7

LOGITECH V220 CORDLESS OPTICAL MOUSE

8

TOSHIBA L300-217

8

LG 1942S

8

LOGITECH DELUXE 250 KEYBOARD OEM

8

MICROSOFT U81-00008 COMPACT 500 USB

9

ACER ASPIRE 5735-644G50

9

BENQ G700AD

9

MICROSOFT MESSENGER KIT

9

MICROSOFT BX3-00020 WIRELESS NOTEBOOK

10

ACER ASPIRE 5535-723G25

10

LG W2242S

10

MICROSOFT WIRELESS OPTICAL DESKTOP 1000

10

TOSHIBA PA3706E-1

GAME CONTROLLERS

1

DVD WRITERS

1

SAITEK

P380 DUAL ANALOG PAD

LG

GH-22NP

INKJET PRINTERS

LASER PRINTERS

1 HP

1 HP

DESKJET D1560

LASERJET P2055DN

2

LOGITECH 963291-0914 WINGMAN ATTACK3 USB

2

LG GP08NU

2

CANON PIXMA IP2600

2

HP LASERJET P1005

3

LOGITECH WINGMAN EXTREME 3D

3

LG GH-22LP

3

CANON PIXMA IP1900

3

HP LASERJET P1009

4

LOGITECH 963290-0914 EXTREME 3D PRO USB

4

LG GP08LU

4

EPSON STYLUS S20

4

BROTHER HL 2035

5

LOGITECH 963339-0914 FORMULA VF USB

5

LG GE-20NU

5

HP PHOTOSMART D5460

5

HP LASERJET P2055D

6

LOGITECH WINGMAN PRECISION GAMEPAD

6

LG GH-22NS

6

CANON PIXMA IP4600

6

SAMSUNG ML 2240

7

LOGITECH 963326-0914 CORDLESS RUMBLEPAD 2

7

SAMSUNG SH-S223F

7

EPSON STYLUS PHOTO R285

7

HP COLOR LASERJET CP1515N

8

LOGITECH CORDLESS RUMBLEPAD 2

8

LITEON ESAU208

8

HP PHOTOSMART A526

8

SAMSUNG CLP 315

9

BELKIN NOSTROMO N52 SPEEDPAD KOMBI

9

PIONEER DVR-216

9

HP DESKJET 6940

9

HP LASERJET P1006

10

SAITEK ST290 USB

10

LG GE-20LU

10

HP DESKJET D1470

10

SAMSUNG CLP-315W

44 PCR July

www.pcr-online.biz


HARDWARE  CHARTS *From April 2009 data GfK provides market research consultancy to manufacturers on the technologies markets and also operates a reseller partnership that provides market research information to dealers in the channel. For further information on GfK please contact Sean Fellows on tel: 0870 603 828 or email: sean.fellows@gfk.com Models listed are non-exclusive: Neither sold as a tradebrand nor sold exclusively within one retailer or retail group

MFDS

GRAPHICS CARDS

EPSON

1

STYLUS SX100

TECHNOLOG GEFORCE 9800 GT

PNY

TV CARDS

1 HAUPPAUGE

VIDEO CARDS

DAZZLE

1

WINTV HVR-900

VIDEO CREATOR PLATINUM

2

HP DESKJET F2280

2

PNY TECHNOLOG GEFORCE 7200GS 128MO

2

HAUPPAUGE WINTV HVR-900

2

DAZZLE DVD RECORDER DVC 101

3

EPSON STYLUS SX105

3

PNY TECHNOLOG GEFORCE 6 6200

3

DAZZLE DIGITAL USB TV STICK

3

V-STREAM XPER DVD MAKER USB2.0

4

HP PHOTOSMART C4580

4

PNY TECHNOLOG GF 6200

4

HAUPPAUGE WINTV NOVA-T-STICK

4

KWORLD XPERT DVD MAKER USB 2.0

5

HP PHOTOSMART C4480

5

XFX GEFORCE 9400 GT

5

HAUPPAUGE WINTV NOVA-S-USB

5

PINNACLE SYST VIDEO TRANSFER

6

EPSON STYLUS SX600FW

6

INNO3D FX5200

6

HAUPPAUGE WINTV NOVA-T 500

6

DAZZLE DIGITAL VIDEO CREATOR 150

7

HP DESKJET F2180

7

INNO3D 9500GT-I4F3D GEFORCE 9500GT

7

HAUPPAUGE WINTV NOVA-T-USB2

7

LEADTEK WINFAST VC 100

8

EPSON STYLUS SX200

8

PNY TECHNOLOG. GEFORCE 9400GT

8

PINNACLE SYST PCTV NANO STICK

8

HAUPPAUGE HD PVR

9

HP DESKJET F4280

9

POWERCOLOR RADEON X1650 PRO

9

AVERMEDIA AVER TV DVB-T

9

CANOPUS ADVC 55 VIDEO INPUT ADAPTER FW

10

EPSON STYLUS OFFICE BX300F

10

PALIT GEFORCE 9500GT SUPER

10

HAUPPAUGE WINTV NOVA-TD

10

HAUPPAUGE IMPACT VCB

MODEMS/ROUTERS

WEBCAMS

BELKIN

1

F5D8231 N1 WIRELESS ROUTER

LIFECAM VX-1000

MICROSOFT

PC SPEAKERS

SCANNERS

1 SAMSUNG

1 CANON

ASP-600S

CANOSCAN LIDE 100

2

NETGEAR DG834G MODEM ROUTER

2

LOGITECH QUICKCAM E 3500

2

JBL ON STAGE MICRO BLACK

2

CANON CANOSCAN LIDE 200

3

BELKIN F5D7632_4A WIRELESS G MODEM ROUTER

3

MICROSOFT LIFECAM VX-3000

3

LOGITECH X-140

3

EPSON PERFECTION V 300 PHOTO

4

BELKIN F5D7231_4 WIRELESS CABLE/DSL ROUTER

4

LOGITECH QUICKCAM E2500

4

LOGITECH X-240 2.1 SYSTEM

4

HP SCANJET G2410

5

NETGEAR WGR614 WIRELESS ROUTER

5

CREATIVE LIVE! CAM VIDEO IM PRO

5

GEAR4 STREETPARTY III BLACK

5

CANON CANOSCAN LIDE 600F

6

NETGEAR F5D8633_4 N WIRELESS ROUTER

6

LOGITECH QUICKCAM PRO 9000

6

LOGITECH Z-4 2.1 SPEAKER SYSTEM

6

FSC SCANSNAP S510

7

BELKIN F6D4230_4 WIRELESS N ROUTER

7

LOGITECH QUICKCAM FOR NOTEBOOKS DX

7

BOSE SOUNDDOCK BLACK

7

CANON CANOSCAN 8800F

8

BELKIN F5D7234_4 WIRELESS G ROUTER

8

TRUST CHAT AND VOIP PACK CP2100

8

SONY ERICSSON MPS-30 BLACK/PURPLE

8

HP SCANJET G2710

9

BELKIN F5D7230_4 WIRELESS G ROUTER

9

LOGITECH QUICKCAM S5500

9

JBL ON STAGE III BLACK

9

EPSON PERFECTION V 500 PHOTO

10

LINKSYS WRT54G2 4PORT

10

LOGITECH QUICKCAM FOR NOTEBOOKS

10

BOSE SOUNDDOCK II BLACK

10

CANON CANOSCAN 5600F

www.pcr-online.biz

July PCR 45


HARDWARE  ANALYSIS

Written by GREG ALLEN

UK INTERNET SALES UNIT SHARE SALES UNITS % RETAIL CHANNELS ONLY. APRIL 09 Notebook Netbook Desktop Computer Monitors Comm. Cards Comm. Devices Keying Dev. Pointing Dev. Webcams Storage Image Displays Media Gateways Non-Game Box Software

Internet channel proves key to

IT success “As consumers are looking to cut costs they are becoming more savvy at utilising all mediums to find the best deal for the goods that they want.” Greg Allen, GfK

46 PCR July

YES, SALES are being squeezed, consumers are hesitant about spending and everything seems glum. However, the internet is proving to be a good hunting ground for increased sales across most of the durable markets. For the total IT market, although sales were down 4.8 per cent in April 2009 compared to April 2008, the internet portion saw a solid eight per cent growth over the same time period. As consumers are looking to cut costs they are becoming much more savvy at utilising all mediums to find the best deal for the goods that they want. The internet now comprises 25 per cent of the value in the total IT market, and represents a key tool for them to save a few pennies in an otherwise challenging time. With key growth of the internet distribution channel in the total durable goods market currently coming through mobile computers and non-game box software, the IT market is one sector

pushing the internet as an opportunity to reach consumers. In particular, media gateways and storage are the two IT categories benefitting the most from the internet. As of April 2009, 43 per cent of all storage sales are now being made online as the consumer looks to capitalise on key deals for external HDD. Media gateways stand out, with almost 84 per cent of sales being made via the web. This is incredibly interesting given that this product is still in its infancy. Furthermore, with early adopters and tech-hungry consumers out there looking to increase the quality and the speed of their home networks, this area could yet see a much greater expansion of sales. If we look towards the internet growth in the latest month, mobile computers continue to drive forward. Within this, web sales of netbooks increased by over 500 per cent in

GfK’s Greg Allen examines how the internet is encouraging growth even in these darkest of days, as consumers seek out bargains... April 2009 compared to the same period last year. The online growth is currently now outstripping that seen for netbooks within the traditional physical retail environment. For nongame box software the market is also seeing growth at two per cent – with new products due onto the market, sales of older software packages are experiencing revival. So what can be said about the internet as a tool for sales? I believe it’s clear that the internet has been playing a greater role for manufacturers and retailers alike to improve their sales for some time. Right now, where the High Street is suffering, internet sales are going well. The ‘bargain-hunting’ consumer of the recession is finding the internet a key tool to find and purchase products. And finally, it’s a mark of the IT sector’s sophistication that the consumer is using this tool to make important home computing decisions.

www.pcr-online.biz


HARDWARE  MONARCH LapCabby has been designed with the modern education sector in mind. Rounded edges improve safety while vibrant colours aid the visually impaired.

LapCabby As IT becomes an increasing part of modern education, more and more resellers are looking to tap into the lucrative schools market. Phoebe Oldham takes a look at Monarch's new LapCabby range…

“LapCabby is unique in terms of looks, design features and most of all cost” Marvin Douglas, Monarch

LapCabby’s pull out shelves improve accessibility

48 PCR July

MONARCH has made a name for itself in the education sector with its LapCabby range – lockable units that securely store and recharge laptops, with a power supply included. The new line of LapCabbys now come loaded with a brand new energy saving power management system, which helps the enviroment, plus an adjustable seven-day timer. The main security feature is the dual point locking system. When the key is turned, the doors on both the top and the bottom of the LapCabby lock simultaneously which makes the laptops twice as secure. This locking system is operated from the top of the unit so that the keys are kept out of harm’s way. Another key feature in the design is the venting system. All of the LapCabby models include a

specifically designed and tested air flow system, which keeps charging laptops cool while the unit is locked. To keep the unit temperature down, a mesh base is provided to maintain the security of the unit whilst at the same time increasing ventillation. It also has separate electrical compartments that can’t be accessed directly from the main

laptop storage area, only by hidden door releases which prevents young children from getting in to it. Marvin Douglas, IT furniture sales manager at Monarch said: “LapCabby is unique in terms of looks, design features and most of all cost. These three key elements make the range one of the most sought after products with education presently. A key area for us was to achieve good functionality in terms of the ease in which laptops could be stored, charged, and accessed during the busy environment of a classroom. All the units manufactured, whether they be Vertical or Horizontal, have either pull out shelves or trays making laptop accessibility easier, coupled with dedicated compartments away from the laptops themselves for the AC adaptors. This assists with any heat dissipation and furthermore provides a safe place away from the laptops should younger children interact with the cabinets.”

www.pcr-online.biz


we protect your digital worlds

ÂŽ

DEFENDING YOUR CUSTOMERS AGAINST VIRUSES, MALWARE AND HACKERS. ESET Version 4 Leaner. Faster. Superior. Ian Dow, Group Information Systems Manager: "I have been so impressed with the high knowledge, clear instructions and professional attitude displayed by all. There is no doubt that I will continue to promote such a fantastic product with what can only be described as the best support we could hope for and have never received elsewhere." For more information on becoming a reseller, call us on 0845 838 0836 or visit www.eset.co.uk/partners.

Antivirus Antispyware

Š 2009 ESET. All rights reserved. Trademarks used herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of ESET.


Software

PCR’s monthly look at recent developments in the software market

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

p 55

ADULT EDUCATION A look at some of the adult education software on the market

p 60

GAMES A rundown of the biggest games due to come out over the next few months

P 52

SYMANTEC INTERVIEW Matt Grainger talks to the vice president for EMEA consumer sales, Lee Sharrocks

>>>


SOFTWARE  SYMANTEC

The

Shield With an average of 245 million malicious codes detected in every month of 2008, it is clear that internet security is a constantly growing issue. Matt Grainger talks to Symantec’s vice president of consumer sales for EMEA, Lee Sharrocks about the company, malware and the future of internet security… SINCE ITS founding in 1982, Symantec has grown to become one of the world’s leading IT security businesses, operating in 200 countries across the globe. Originally a creator of development tools, its acquisitive nature and a strategy that emphasises quality has seen Symantec develop in to a multi-national company with a broad portfolio.

Symantec’s headquarters in Cupertino, California and (left) Symantec’s ‘green campus’ at Culver City

52 PCR July

As the PC reaches an ever-growing segment of the consumer population, the security industry has been presented with a change in the threat presented by malware. While the traditional image of a hacker has been that of isolated individuals seeking to make a name for themselves online, the modern threat focuses on identity theft and the money that can be made from selling personal data. “The older generation of PC users learnt the ropes as they went along,” says Symantec’s vice president of consumer sales for EMEA, Lee Sharrocks. “The younger generation has been using computers since day one; they grew up using these machines. They’re far more tech savvy but at the same time can be extremely complacent about security. “This is unfortunate, because threats have become far more sophisticated and stealthy than ever before. The emphasis is on stealing personal data and doing so without being detected. The challenge for us now is to tackle attitudes to security and people’s perception of it.” With 27 years of experience under its belt, Symantec is in a very good position to highlight how threats have changed over the years. “Traditional forms of attack, like viruses and trojans, are still out there,” continues Sharrocks. “We see a far more refined approach being used, such as drive by downloads, and our security software has had to evolve to

www.pcr-online.biz


SOFTWARE  SYMANTEC

Symantec is proud of its current portfolio, which it says is faster and more efficient than its rivals

meet these challenges.” Sharrocks is keen to highlight the way that the software has changed to meet the more subtle nature of identity theft and phishing scams. “We’ve gone from simply providing an antivirus scan to a full security suite like Norton 360,” says Sharrocks. “We’re aware that if you just cover one aspect of security then you’re still leaving all the other doors open. The challenge is to cover existing threats and to anticipate future ones, so our products have become faster, lighter and more intelligent. We’ve had a huge leap forward in terms of definitions and can now offer up to the minute protection to our customers.” Offering fast and efficient protection is a key emphasis for Symantec. In today’s fast paced world, a minor threat can become a major incident very quickly, and Symantec is committed to spotting these problems before they can proliferate. “We have a 24/7 security response centre that monitors feedback from the

240,000 local monitors in 200 countries across the globe,” continues Sharrocks. “These centres monitor traffic trends, allowing us to see the issues as they happen and giving us a chance to identify the specific nature of the threat. “It’s becoming more and more

track and the people who are doing it are getting fairly significant criminal gains. We don’t just track the data, where possible we do work with the relevant authorities to make sure these people are apprehended.” Despite having a strong reputation in the security sector, only a third of

“We’ve spent the last two years redeveloping our portfolio and our products for 2009 are far faster and have a smaller footprint than any rival software” Lee Sharrocks, Symantec important for us to do this, as we’re finding that a great deal of our feedback and analysis centres around what we call the underground economy. Software writers develop the malware and sell it to people who then use it to extract personal details. Criminals can then obtain these personal details, which are sold by the kilobyte for pennies. “It’s very sophisticated, very hard to

Symantec’s revenues are generated by sales of security software. Since its acquisition of remote data backup firm Swap Drive, Symantec now hosts over 30 petabytes of secure data, with over seven million active users. “This is an ongoing concern for us,” adds Sharrocks. “With PCs and mobile devices becoming more integrated, remote access will be more prevalent and the data must be safe and secure.”

The future of data protection and security is something that Symantec is keeping a close eye on and Sharrocks is aware that a recession is a good time for the company to position itself for the coming years. “I think it’s fair to say that a few years ago, our products fell short of what we expected,” says Sharrocks. “We’ve spent the last two years redeveloping our portfolio and our products for 2009 are far faster and have a smaller footprint than any rival software. We’re due another release around September, which is going to put us even further ahead of our rivals, many of whom are slowing down and stalling at the moment. “I think that over the course of the next year, we’ll see a shakeout of the vendors, some are likely to fail, other will probably be acquired. As a business, Symantec is in a very strong position – our consumer division is larger than McAfee – so expect us to continue to develop great products and make good acquisitions.”

THE THREAT: KEY FINDINGS FROM SYMANTEC’S ANNUAL SECURITY REPORT  Of all the vulnerabilities identified in 2008, 63 per cent affected web applications, up from 59 per cent a year ago  Six of the top 10 countries where web-based attacks were prominent were from the EMEA region – these countries accounted for 45 per cent

www.pcr-online.biz

of the worldwide total, more than any other region

exported user data, up from 74 per cent in 2007

 Spain was the top-ranked country in EMEA for bot infections in 2008, with 15 per cent of the total

 Russia was the top country for bot command-and-control servers in EMEA, with 20 per cent of the regional total

 In 2008, 78 per cent of threats targeting confidential information

 Over the past year, Symantec

observed a 192 per cent increase in spam detected across the internet as a whole.  In 2008, Symantec detected 55,389 phishing website hosts, an increase of 66 per cent over 2007, when Symantec detected 33,428 phishing hosts

July PCR 53


SOFTWARE  ADULT EDUCATION

Life Lessons Adult Education is something that every consumer is likely to have considered at one point. Offering a genuine chance to improve the lives of customers, this software is something that can offer extra margin all year round. Matt Grainger educates himself… ALTHOUGH it represents a small part of the overall education market, adult education is an area that should not be overlooked. The importance of the sector can be seen by the amount of learning and retraining courses currently being offered on television. The consumer end for this market can be divided into two categories: casual and professional learners. Language training may appeal more to casual learners, who may be looking to

www.pcr-online.biz

brush up on their skills before going on holiday, while professional learners may look for more job centred skills, such as accounting, typing or programming. “Adult education software has remained healthy in a tough economic environment,” says the sales director at Avanquest, Steve Powell. “We have seen growth in a number of retailers and it continues to be an important sector for us as a company. We do

know that key categories in adult education are growing. “Many of the products appeal to a mature market with more time, disposable income and the desire to learn new skills. The driving test market, for example, offers huge potential; it is a self-fulfilling market, delivering retailers a new set of customers every year, resulting in a high annual demand.” “The great thing about the adult

“Adult education software has remained healthy in a tough economic environment” Steve Powell, Avanquest

Please turn the page for key products

>>>

July PCR 55


SOFTWARE  ADULT EDUCATION

[

LEARN MICROSOFT OFFICE 2007 AND VISTA ESSENTIALS IN JUST 90 MINUTES Koch Media SRP: £19.99

]

[

[

]

This software teaches users the Java programming language. These products are narrated by experienced users and this ensures an understanding of the features and benefits. Secondly, the voice over is in a British English accent, which is well respected worldwide and ideally suited to resell in the UK.

>>>

education range is that it appeals to a really diverse demographic. From seventeen year old school leavers who are learning to drive, to senior citizens who are learning to speak Spanish for their holidays,” says Focus Multimedia’s PR and marketing manager Grant Hughes. “Many people will also need to retrain and refresh their skills during this recession, and we have products that

56 PCR July

]

Learn to Touch Type offers a professional British typing tutor for all ages that it claims will deliver results in as little as 90 minutes. The software teaches users how to learn to type and master their computer keyboard. The interactive, multimedia typing tutor software uses a revolutionary learning method without the need to resort to repetitive drills and games.

This training CD ROM for Microsoft Office 2007 and Vista promises to deliver success in minutes. The KAZ Microsoft training clips allow users to choose from Word, Excel, Outlook email, Internet Explorer web browser and Windows Vista operating system and the individual clip they want. The software offers a series of concise, easyto-follow training clips, which users can use at their own pace.

MASTER IT JAVA TUTORIAL Bluepoint SRP: £14.99

KAZ LEARN TO TOUCH TYPE Koch Media SRP: £19.99

[

OFFICE TUTORIALS WINDOWS VISTA AND OFFICE 2007 MEGA PACK Interactive Ideas SRP: £29.99

]

This comprehensive training package offers tutorials on how to use Microsoft’s Office suite, including Outlook, Excel, Powerpoint, Word and the Vista operating system. Users can pick the topic they want to study and sit back and watch as an expert demonstrates exactly how it's done. An interactive tutorial allows users try out the task in a simulated environment before using the real programme.

will help them do that with very little investment, except time.” RECESSION AND NEW SKILLS “The recession has definitely had an impact on the adult education sector,” agrees SJ Software’s sales director James Jennings. “We have found many new customers looking to re-train or to complement their existing skills due to redundancies.”

[

MASTER IT ADOBE FLASH TUTORIAL Bluepoint SRP: £14.99

]

Master IT is a range of interactive training titles that have been launched exclusively by Bluepoint, the sole UK distributor. This product teaches users how to create flash images, perfect for those considering a future in website design.

[

Koch Media’s head of software sales, Joanne Kemp highlights the continued consumer interest in the sector, despite a decline in interest from retailers: “We have seen retailers reducing their ranges over the past years, but on the whole online sales stay stable.” The two potential customer groups are an important factor when considering sales. Language skills may see a boost in early summer, as people

BERLITZ ITALIAN PREMIER Interactive Ideas SRP: 29.99

]

Berlitz is the market leader in language software, and this product promises to help learn Italian the easy way. The unique, proven learning system can be used on a PC or Mac or can be used as an audio only option in a car stereo or can be downloaded to an iPod.

plan for holidays or students leave university and think about travelling. On the other hand, it is when times are hard that professional learning may see an increase. Many people will be looking at training the necessary skills to either keep a current job or find a new one. These two factors combine to offer good sales all year round. “Adult education is an evergreen category that delivers consistent sales all

www.pcr-online.biz


[

SAGE 50 PAYROLL SJ Software SRP: £145 (stage 1 and 2)

]

There are two levels of the Sage 50 Payroll self study CD workbooks and both include Sage Certification, the industry standard Sage qualification. Each level contains a working copy of Sage 50 Payroll software, three self-study workbooks with ‘read it and try’ sessions and access to an online version of the Sage certification exam.

[

SAGE INSTANT ACCOUNTS SJ Software SRP: £99

]

There is one level to the Sage Instant Accounts self study workbooks and this includes Sage Certification, which is an online exam providing users with the only industry standard Sage qualification. The self study pack and exam addresses all aspects of the Sage Instant Accounts software and enables users to learn in their own time, at their own pace and then take the exam when they feel ready.

year round, with great margin potential from both premium and budget titles,” continues Powell. “We do see peaks at key periods throughout, often when they are used as part of a targeted promotion such as ‘New Year, New Skills’ for example. “Summer sees an increase in language titles as people try to brush up on their skills ahead of their summer holiday, with tutorial software

www.pcretailmag.com

such as Berlitz. A lot of these products also make perfect gifts, so naturally the busy period in the run up to Christmas sees a healthy increase in sales.” “Adult educational software has always been a stable software seller throughout the years,” adds Kemp. “We work in partnership with Gotham Please turn the page for more products

>>>

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

SOFTWARE  ADULT EDUCATION OPINIONS “We have seen growth in a number of retailers and adult education continues to be an important sector for us” Steve Powell, Avanquest STEVE POWELL, Avanquest

“The great thing about the adult education range is that it appeals to a really diverse demographic” Grant Hughes, Focus Multimedia

GRANT HUGHES, Focus Multimedia

“Adult education software has performed well so far thos year. We have experienced steady growth on 2008 sales” James Jennings, SJ Software JAMES JENNINGS, SJ Software

“It’s all about being able to present the benefits and highlight how easy the products are to use” Joanna Kemp, Koch Media

JOANNA KEMP, Koch Media

July PCR 57


SOFTWARE  ADULT EDUCATION

[

MAVIS BEACON TEACHES TYPING PLATINUM Interactive Ideas SRP: £29.99

]

Despite a complete redesign, this software promises to deliver the same level of excellence when it comes to typing instructions and practice that users have come to expect. Offering dynamic personal instruction, which utilizes Mavis Beacon’s Adaptive Response Technology, a practice area, typing games and multi-lingual modes.

[

LIFE IN THE UK CITIZENSHIP TEST Interactive Ideas SRP: £9.78

]

From the makers of Driving Test Success, this includes practice questions based on all the official topics from the government’s Life in the UK Test. Learners can transfer questions and answers to their mobile phone or iPod using the powerful Learn on the Go feature. The complete official Home Office study guide ‘Life in the United Kingdom: The Journey To Citizenship’ is also included in e-book and audio book format.

>>>

New Media and with the expansion of their product range we expect a good increase in sales by bringing new products to market and opening up new areas of business for ourselves.” Despite its status as an evergreen market, adult educational software is something that must be actively sold to customers in order to gain the maximum margin possible.

58 PCR July

[

WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? Interactive Ideas SRP: £9.78

]

[

The software automatically searches Ancestry.co.uk, the UK’s largest collection of family history records online, helping usersu track down information on distant relatives. The user can then bring their family history to life by creating a whole host of trees, charts, reports and even albums to share with family and friends.

[

MINDSCAPE MATHS TRAINER Interactive Ideas SRP: £9.78

]

Maths Trainer is an enjoyable new way for people to test their maths ability. Challenge number skills using specially designed exercises that will improve mental arithmetic at work, school or in a daily routine. Includes 12 fun activities to improve your mental arithmetic skills and eight daily test activities.

“We have always seen greater sales of the product online and from people who have tried a demo product before, or who have been told about the product,” confirms Kemp. “It’s all about being able to present the benefits and highlight how easy the products are to use.” “Adult education software has performed well so far this year,” says Jennings. “We have experienced steady

growth on 2008 sales. We feel that the recovery market will represent a big opportunity in increasing sales of products like our Sage Accounts adult education packages.” DRIVING SALES “The best way to sell these products is by offering customers a wide range of titles and covering the key areas of education such as languages, office

EMEDIA GUITAR METHOD Interactive Ideas SRP: £34.99

]

Guitar Method is packed with 165 comprehensive lessons, covering basics like strumming the guitar, playing melodies and finger picking. Offering over 50 full motion video instructions, audio can be slowed down to match any tempo, while the animated fretboard shows song fingering as the music plays. The revolutionary teaching style will have users playing songs, chords and riffs within minutes, with over 70 songs including hits from artists such as Bob Dylan, Grateful Dead and Steve Miller.

[

THINK POSITIVE! Interactive Ideas SRP: £9.78

]

Think Positive markets itself as brain training, fun and relaxation all rolled in to one package. The award winning software has been designed to help reduce stress and is based on a decade of scientific research. This features four training games, which are designed to refocus the way the mind perceives the world and measures stress levels, attention span and subconscious reactions.

tutorials, music training, typing and driving,” concludes Powell. “Retailers also need to offer products for different levels of ability and at different price points depending on the needs of the customer. By stocking both entry level and comprehensive versions of products, retailers will appeal to a wider customer base and capture both impulse and considered purchases.”

www.pcr-online.biz


SOFTWARE  GAMES

GamesReleases This month sees the launch of the latest game to tie in to the Harry Potter franchise – Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince – as well as the new Call of Juarez title and the acclaimed Batman: Arkham Asylum...

GAME OF THE MONTH HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF BLOOD PRINCE  Centresoft: 0121 625 3388  Contact: sales@centresoft.co.uk  Available: July 3rd  Price: £29.99 THERE are few franchises in recent times that can compete with the crossmarket success of Harry Potter. What started out as a simple children's book has spawned into a vast merchandising business. The computer games have had particular commercial success

TITLE

across practically every platform going. This latest title once again follows the adventures of the bespectacled wizard himself, as he tries to stop various evil doings wreaking havoc on Hogwarts. As with previous games in the series, the gameplay will be varied, with players flying on a Quidich broom one minute and throwing sparks from a magic wand the next. Expect this title to do particularly well alongside the cinematic release soon.

GENRE

PUBLISHER

TELEPHONE

DISTRIBUTOR

DATE

Brain College: Call Of Atlantis

Self-Improvement

City Interactive

0845 362 7769

Trilogy

Brain College: Magic Shop

Self-Improvement

City Interactive

0845 362 7769

Trilogy

July 3 2009

Call Of Juarez: Bound In Blood

FPS

Ubisoft

0845 362 7769

Trilogy

July 3 2009

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince

Action

EA

0121 625 3388

Centresoft

July 3 2009

Rygar: The Battle Of Argus

Action/Adventure

Rising Star Games

01582 433700

Centresoft

July 3 2009

Flying Club II

Simulation

Just Flight

0845 234 4242

Mastertronic

July 17 2009

Calvin Tucker's Redneck Jamboree

Mini-games

July 3 2009

Zushi

01279 822 800

Gem

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ON THE RADAR

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood Ubisoft Trilogy: 0845 362 7769

Batman: Arkham Asylum Eidos Centresoft: 0121 625 3388

Need for Speed: Shift EA Centresoft: 0121 625 3388


Consumer

Electronics PCR’s monthly look at recent developments in the consumer electronic market

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p 65

p 68

INTERACTIVE IDEAS

PRODUCT FOCUS

Managing director Michael Trup talks about the firm’s record breaking results

Kingston’s new range of memory components for Macs

www.pcr-online.biz

July PCR 63


CONSUMER ELECTRONICS  INTERACTIVE IDEAS

Successful Ideas After a record financial year for UK distributor Interactive Ideas, Andrew Wooden talks to MD Michael Trup about how the firm is managing to gain so much success in a full blown recession… “Our profits have risen as has our liquidity, so all in all we are entering this financial year in great shape” Mike Trup, Interactive Ideas

You’ve just finished the financial year, how was it? We just finished a record year with sales up 42 per cent versus last year. In two years we have doubled the size of the company, and are already running up another 40 per cent so far this year, although it’s early days. More importantly our profits have also risen, as has our liquidity, so all in all we are entering this financial year in great shape – famous last words! Is this the best set of financial results ever for Interactive Ideas? Yes. Our sales declined three years ago when we pulled out of the games software market, but two years ago we beat our previous peak healthily and

then last year we eclipsed it, increasing by over 50 per cent. What do you attribute this rise to? We pulled out of games software because the console market was so consolidated that as a distributor, you couldn’t make any decent margin, but we were running some big risks. We decided then to focus on our corporate licensing business through the reseller segment and expanding our peripherals for our e-tail customers, where we add a lot of value. We felt that boxed software would go into decline due to digital distribution, although e-tail has won so much market share it has offset this and is still a growing area for us. We

looked for those areas of distribution that we could really add value to, and amount to value-added distribution – especially around Linux, open source and up and coming technologies while also providing promotion and content management for e-tail. So far these bets have all paid off handsomely. How are you planning on capitalising on this going forward? Any plans for expansion? We are currently hiring for two new positions in product management around open source and software services. We anticipate creating another four to five positions during the course of the year here and probably some other technical Turn the page for more

>>>

www.pcr-online.biz

July PCR 65


CONSUMER ELECTRONICS  INTERACTIVE IDEAS

Interactive Ideas made a successful gamble when it decided to include PC peripherals in its portfolio

capabilities at our Indian associate company, Interfinet Technologies, in which we own a stake. I would anticipate that we would be moving into larger offices over the next 12 months as we are pretty much out of space and also extending our stake in Interfinet. There’s currently a recession on, would you say there’s any elements of the financial situation that have helped Interactive Ideas? Competitively, we entered this recession in very good shape with a rock hard balance sheet, no debt and in growth mode. It’s not that we are smart, we just had our individual problems three to four years ago and addressed them radically. The recession is helping us by making it easier to hire and acquire assets to grow with. From a market point of view, many of our key vendors like Redhat, Acronis, Sunbelt and Solarwinds represent cost reducing, performance enhancing solutions. The recession has forced corporate IT departments to try and get more for less from their budgets, whereas perhaps 12 months ago they didn’t see the need. On the retail side of the business, e-tail has picked up market share and most of

66 PCR July

the items we sell are ‘small ticket’ – so still within everyone’s budget. You’ve just celebrated your 15 year anniversary, how has the firm changed in that time? We are now 40 people and are increasingly a knowledge based business. Our corporate reseller sales team has deep technical knowledge and our marketing department is integral to the provision of value added services to our vendors and customers in both retail and reseller segments. We are now seeing strong growth, more than at any time in our history, and of course when you are starting with a large number even a slow growth rate means adding millions of sales a year. As we grow we are becoming increasingly professional. We don’t want to lose our friendly efficient image and our ‘relationship’ culture, but it is difficult as you grow rapidly to preserve the things that make us unique, but I know it is vitally important that we do. Do you think the channel will be in a better position economically by the end of the year? Yes. There will continue to be some consolidation in the channel but I

think the economy will actually turn quicker than people are expecting. There is a lot of cash sitting on the sidelines earning nothing, just waiting for assets to stop depreciating. I think we are at that turning point. However employment will continue to decline for the next six to nine months and marginal firms will be squeezed by funding shortfalls. The financially strong however, will be investing in cost reduction strategies and acquisitions.

“We are now seeing strong growth, more than at any time in our history” Mike Trup, Interactive Ideas

INTERACTIVE MARKETING One of the initiatives Interactive Ideas attributes to its fiscal success to is its recently launched retail magazine, which gives its customer base the latest information on new products and services. The publication is produced every six months, offering more in-depth vendor information than is usually available on a select number products. It bolsters the other marketing tools the firm has put in place of late, including a YouTube portal and regular retail update email. The latest version celebrates the firms 15th anniversary, and features Saitek, Snakebyte, Subsonic, Trust, F-Secure, Magix, IOLO, Avanquest and Focus.

www.pcr-online.biz


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CONSUMER ELECTRONICS  PRODUCT FOCUS

Kingston’s Apples Vendor stocks Mac memory KINGSTON’S new retail focussed Apple system memory packs are designed to be easier to install than previous components, providing Mac users a simple way to boost power. Utilising its Licensed Apple Partner status, Kingston’s new range of products are compatible with MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks, Mac Mini and Intel iMac systems. The close relationship with Apple also means no warranties are invalidated by opening up the machines in order to install the new components. Kingston also says that the design of the products makes the installation itself particularly simple. For retailers that means there’s no in-store technical help required – and a clear mark-up system

68 PCR July

The close relationship with Apple means no warranties are invalidated by opening up the machines in order to install the new components means returns should be kept to a minimum. Round the clock support from Kingston is also offered. For customers the simplicity of the products means the option of upgrading is now open to more than just the super tech-savvy, which could be particularly lucrative in a market where more and more people will be looking to save money by upgrading rather than buying

a brand new machine. The vendor is also positioning the components as a useful purchase for those customers who are buying brand new computers, offering a cheaper alternative to buying a more expensive, higher spec machine up front. They come in 2GB single packs or a 4GB set. Speeds for the DDR2 are 800MHz, while the DDR3 offers speeds of 1066 MHz. The DDR3 RAN31066/2GB retails at a price of £64.99, the RAN3-1066K2/4GB for £114.99, while the DDR2 RAN2-800/2GB goes for £59.99, and the RAN2-800K2/4GB for £109.99. Here in the UK, they can be picked up from Computer 2000, Hammer, Ingram Micro, Northamber and Simms.

www.pcr-online.biz


Stock up now to meet the back to school demand Optical Drives

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Displays

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CCI Part No. 31718 LG Part No. M1994D

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Consumer Electronics

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The LG XF1 is a mobile home theatre solution, store and view your media content on this ultra stylish portable device. • Full HDMI connectivity • Supports MPEG 1/2/4, AVI (MPEG4, Xvid), MOV (MPEG4) • 500GB storage capacity • Play and Play USB connectivity

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>>> THE PLACE FOR BUSINESS

MARKETPLACE

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ADVERTISER CONTACTS Bluepoint 0870 121 8001

bluepoint.net

Solwise 0845 458 4558

solwise.co.uk

Kaspersky 0871 789 1632

kaspersky.co.uk

SJ Software 01282 865 500

sjsoftware.co.uk

Ideal Software 01767 689 720

idealsoftware.net

Agency Sales 01623 473 040

www.aslweb.co.uk

A One xxxx

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CD Writer 0208 293 0777 Interactive Ideas 0208 805 1000

cd-writer.com

interactiveideas.com

Wasp 0845 430 1971

waspbarcode.co.uk

Brigantia 01765 603 300

brigantia.com

Broadband first 0800 027 0346

broadbandfirst.co.uk

TADL 0845 370 8668

tadlassist.com

SDA 0161 819 1515

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Laptops direct 0844 412 4513

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Computer gear 0121 503 0666

computergear.co.uk

GEM 01279 822 822

gem.co.uk

VIP 0871 622 7500

vip-computers.com/uk

Cartridge Expert 01489 795 668

cartridgeexpert.co.uk

Keyboard Co 0845 205 5555

keyboardco.com

Enet 07801 818 815

enetcomputers.net

To advertise on these pages please call Carly Bailey: 01992 535647 carly.bailey@intentmedia.co.uk

www.pcr-online.biz

July PCR 71


MARKETPLACE  NEWS

CCI strengthens storage offering Distributor to handle Hitachi’s desktop and mobile lines and Transcend’s SSD range CCI is to boost its presence in the storage market, signing Hitachi GST and Transcend’s product ranges. The Harrogate-based distributor will handle all of Hitachi’s range of portable and desktop external hard drives in the UK channel. Hitachi said that expanding its dealings with CCI was vital to increasing its market share. “Our relationship with CCI has been successful,”

said Hitachi GST’s EMEA vice president, Stephen Pereira. “CCI’s continued commitment to customer service – and its ability to go above and beyond the norm to ensure that our brand values are upheld – will help us as we grow our branded business in the UK.” CCI’s sales director Nick Preston said that the company was keen to ensure its entire reseller base was up to speed

with Hitachi’s range. “We’re delighted that it has selected us as a UK distributor.”

“We’re delighted that Hitachi has selected us as a UK distributor” Nick Preston, CCI The firm also struck a major deal with Transcend to

carry its entire range of SSD storage products. “As a customer-driven technology company, we look for partners that share the same high-performance quality philosophy,” said Transcend’s UK general manager Norman Hsu. “This partnership will enable us to not only significantly grow our brand in the UK, but also to ensure that the market sees the benefits of SSD.”

EntaTech signs new Billion deal Comms vendor Billion appoints Telford distributor as lead partner in the UK with ‘master’ status ENTATECH has secured the coveted ‘master distributor’ status with communications vendor Billion. The new arrangement between the two firms is a sign of how closely aligned their customer bases are, according to Billion’s UK sales and marketing director, Julian de Selincourt: “We’re delighted to appoint EntaTech, one of the

most respected players in the SMB market, as our lead distributor in the UK. It makes an ideal strategic partner for future growth. The Billion range fits well within its portfolio and we are looking forward to building on our success to date and positioning the brand as the premier fixed and mobile router manufacturer for home,

SOHO and SME customers.” EntaTech claims that Billion’s product portfolio of modems, wireless routers, 3G routers and VPN gateways are well placed to take advantage of current market trends.

“We’re very pleased to be working with Billion who complement our

communications portfolio perfectly,” said EntaTech group vice president, Jon Atherton. “They have clear USPs and the demand for secure VPN and high performance networking products is growing at a fast pace.”


MARKETPLACE  NEWS

NewsBytes CCI’s Harrogate headquarters

INGRAM GETS WACOM Wacom has signed a distribution deal with Ingram Micro to carry its products in the UK, as it launches a major drive to improve its presence in the market. The vendor said that Ingram Micro’s size and access to strategically important resellers was the key to the deal.

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SEASHELLS BY THE SEASHORE VIP has begun a drive for the latest launch from Asus – the Seashell 1008HA. “The 1008HA is the most attractive Eee PC in the range, however, it is not just all looks, with the latest N280 processer and weighing just 1.1kg this really makes it stand apart from the competition – expect demand to be high,” said VIP product manager Chris Bloxham.

Nvidia and Spire form partnership NVIDIA has teamed up with distributor Spire to encourage independent retailers and resellers to get behind its new Ion netbook platform push. Central to this drive is Asrock’s latest netbook offering: “The Asrock Ionstar 330 is a terrific little system that offers a truly exciting opportunity for the channel,” said Spire’s sales and marketing director, John Appleton. “Spire has provided excellent

foundations for a retail SKU solution, with great potential to tap into a wide variety of markets,” added Nvidia’s Northern European sales manager Louis Belcuore. He was also enthusiastic about the model’s potential outside of retail. “Thanks to its small size, low power consumption and competitive price point, the Ionstar 330 will be an attractive prospect not just for customers, but sectors such as education and enterprise.”

CUSTOMERS STILL SPENDING The recession has failed to significantly impact consumer spend on gaming hardware, according to the latest figures from research house JPR. It noted that while all parts of the gaming industry had seen a slow down in activity, PC gaming was amongst the least impacted areas. However, it did concede that it was likely to see further contraction during the course the year of around seven per cent or $1.4bn (£876m).

SONICWALL SIGNS COHORT SonicWall has signed a distribution deal with Cohort Technology to introduce its secure networking technology to the UK channel. “As part of the ongoing evaluation of our distribution strategy, we have appointed Cohort Technology Ltd to help us become more dominant in the UK market,” said Andy Zollo, sales director for Northern Europe. KRAMER TARGETS UK MARKET Kramer has appointed True Colours as its UK distributor. The cable specialist has made its range of amplifiers, switchers, control systems, room connectivity, cables and connectors available to the UK channel. It has also announced that it will offering resellers a 25 per cent margin on RRP for all products and up to 40 per cent off cabling. BLUEPOINT RESELLER ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE Bluepoint has rolled out a new online tool, intended to help its resellers produce professional looking marketing materials and quotes. Called My Branding, the tools are split into several modules and have been designed to be as simple as possible for them to use. “It allows resellers to present a clear and professional email or document director to their own customers,” explained Bluepoint's Hassan Manji. AMD LAUNCHES GRAPHICS SCOUT COMPATIBILITY TOOL AMD is confident that its new website, dubbed 'Graphics Scout' will be a success, after it noted a ‘very positive’ response during its trial period. The tool has been designed to help mainstream consumers identify compatible graphics cards, and to remove many of the barriers to getting involved in DIY upgrading.


MARKETPLACE  BRIGANTIA

Join the Club This month Brigantia’s Iain Shaw celebrates a successful Channel Expo 2009 and recommends visiting Channel Expo and Retail Vision Europe next year...

CONTACT IAIN SHAW  info@brigantia.com  0870 160 3215  www.brigantia.com Iain invites opinions from PCR readers and will respond though this column

I THOUGHT the feedback on my May column was impressive but my inbox and mail bag have both been full after the June edition. It seems that everyone has got their own story to tell about dealing with the great British unwashed public, and we have been laughing our socks off at the Brigantia office. I will publish some more amusing indie-reported stories in PCR’s December edition to give

Westcoast, AVG and Intel who joined us. I was very pleased with the number and quality of the potential new members who came to say hello, and I know Chris Speight was delighted with the interest from vendors and service providers, who all seemed to be looking for new and innovative ways of engaging with the indie channel. I would thank Intel for once again allowing us use of their brilliant

“Channel Expo 2009 was a great success for the Brigantia team, with many people visiting our Club stand. I was very pleased with the number and quality of the potential new members who came to say hello” everyone a good laugh over Christmas and New Year. Channel Expo 2009 was a great success for the Brigantia team, with many members visiting our Club stand to talk with our management and our friends from NASCR, ITACS, Enta,

74 PCR July

Formula 1 simulator, which generated much interest from those visiting our stand. Matt Woolley from ITACS held the lead in our timed competition for much of the event but in the end the winner was Nick Walsh (lap time: one minute 1.59 seconds) from distributor

PSA Parts, closely followed by runner up Stuart Stokes of Syn Star UK (lap time: one minute 2.89 seconds). Walsh won our first prize of a Navman S50 satellite navigations system, and Stokes won £50 in John Lewis vouchers. Our thanks go to Brigantia associate distributor Westcoast for donating the prizes and also to AVG for the many copies of its excellent software given away to those visiting the stand. Lorna Osgood, our stand manager, was kept busy throughout the event and described the stand as being the busiest she had worked on for a number of years, which speaks volumes for the organisers. All at Brigantia look forward to taking our Club stand to London next year for Channel Expo 2010. I read in the June edition of this magazine that some are worried about having Channel Expo 2010 and Retail Vision Europe both in London and a week apart next year. Frankly, I think this is great, as although they target two distinct sectors of our market, it will be very convenient for vendors and service providers to have these events running one after another. To vendors and service providers, I would thoroughly recommend Channel Expo for the breadth of its offering to UK and Irish indies and channel players, and Retail Vision Europe to those wanting to target pan-European buyers from etailers, multiples, supermarkets and buying groups. Next month, with the help of Brigantia associate Croner Consulting which provides our free business and legal support line to members, I intend to tackle the thorny topic of consumer rights, which seems to have been the hot topic in June within the Brigantia members forum. Anyone who would like to raise any specific questions for us to answer should email me directly and I will endeavor to incorporate the questions and answers in the August column.

www.pcr-online.biz


INDIE PROFILE/EVENTS  MARKETPLACE

INDIE PROFILE This month Roger Humm visits Cardiff and Dinas Computers. Dinas has been established nearly two decades, and has been operating from its present premises in Crwys Road for the last ten years... LIKE MANY people in the PC trade, Dinas owner Wyn Williams has had to adapt the way the business operates. His shop serves a range of home and business users, and being close to the local university, the student market is also important. This sector has mushroomed over the last five years – there are upwards of 30,000 students in Cardiff – with most of them having some kind of IT requirement. “Things in the computer industry have changed massively over the years. I remember selling top spec PCs for £5,000 twenty years ago, now you are lucky to get £400. However people and

FACT BOX Year Established: 1989 Number of Outlets: 1 Wyn Williams outside his shop, Dinas Computers, in Cardiff

businesses will always need their machines serviced and repaired, and that is what we have been increasingly concentrating on over the last few years. It’s become a bit like the car industry, the likes of Dell, Tesco and PC World are your main dealers, and we’re your back street garage that picks up the pieces when things go wrong." “There is a strong community spirit among the traders here, and many of us trade with each other on a regular basis. It’s a difficult job competing with the out of town shopping centres and internet sites, but a few years ago we were faced with the council planning to

Number of staff: 3

introduce a Controlled Parking Zone in five areas across the city. “That would have been a disaster and would have probably led to me closing down and selling up. We formed an action group based around local traders and community groups, and with the threat of a local referendum hanging around their necks, the council caved in.” Williams strongly believes that the high street indie computer shop is here to stay, but what it will look like in another ten years he says is anybody’s guess. We look forward to visiting him again in 2019 to see.

Regular Vendor Lines: Acer, HP, Viewsonic, Fujitsu, Toshiba, Norton, Microsoft, Belkin, Dlink Contact name and address: Wyn Williams DINAS Computers, 106 Crwys Rd, Cardiff CF24 4NQ Telephone: 0800 052 9445 Email: wyn@dinascomputers.co.uk Website: www.dinascomputers.co.uk

Roger Humm is Head of Membership Relations at Brigantia Computer Experts – roger.humm@brigantia.com

MOBILE MUSIC NOW

STORAGE EXPO ‘09 www.pcr-online.biz

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DIARY DATES 2009 The UK’s channel calendar is full of important events. Here are some upcoming highlights…

JULY 2009

OCTOBER 2009

MOBILE MUSIC NOW July 9th BAFTA, London This unique conference hosted by PCR sister magazine Mobile Entertainment will be the highlight of the summer for everyone involved in digital music. Representatives from every link in the value chain will speak at the July 9th conference, presented in association with 24-7 Entertainment. There will be a keynote presentation by Barney Wragg, formerly head of digital at EMI and a senior VP at Universal. Having been a label insider and now a consultant on the ‘outside’, he should have some fascinating insights into label culture and its approach to mobile.

STORAGE EXPO 2009 October 14th–15th Olympia, London Storage Expo is the UK's leading storage event, with all the major names in the channel present. Designed for both resellers and CIOs, Storage Expo is a melting pot of IT professionals, providing the ideal opportunity for resellers to not just find out about the latest products and developments in the channel, but also network with companies that are actively seeking a new storage solution. The event also has a number of educational programmes designed to boost your knowledge and understanding of the market, as well as discuss solutions with experts and peers.

LONDON GAMES CONFERENCE October 27th BAFTA, London The London Games Conference will take place during the increasingly popular London Games Festival on Tuesday October 27th at BAFTA in Piccadilly. Organiser Intent Media, which publishes MCV and PCR, expects up to 200 delegates. It is also introducing a different concept to previous games seminars. One key element of the London Games Conference is value for money, with the walk-up rate for the day being only £229. This is half the price of last year’s Games 3.0 conference. Members of the ELSPA and TIGA trade bodies will be able to gain a further discount, bringing the cost to under £200 per delegate.

If you would like to promote your event, please contact: andrew.wooden@intentmedia.co.uk This information is believed to be correct, but potential visitors should confirm details with show organisers before making arrangements to attend

July PCR 75


MARKETPLACE  PCA NEWS

Engaged?

Mark Lambert (left) and Adam Harris (right), of Bear IT

You should be Keith Warburton, chief executive of the PCA, examines how communication and co-operation can build businesses... HERE’S A COMPLAINT that I frequently hear from independent resellers: “Vendors and distributors just don’t want to listen to us little guys.” And how’s this for a moan I get from just about every vendor I talk to: “It’s virtually impossible to engage with the resellers.” Does it strike you that there might be some common ground here? Let’s toss in another little group of factettes. PCA member Bear IT was originally set up seven years ago; it now has enough business to support 12 staff – mostly technicians. It has won a raft of business awards both locally and nationally. The two directors attend every PCA event without fail and are now on first-name terms with key people from leading vendors and distributors, and their views are sought by suppliers and industry publications alike. Should we consider Bear IT’s success to be merely a spookily strange anomaly worthy of Mulder and Scully, or is there a simpler, more prosaic explanation? My vote is on the latter option. Here’s what Adam Harris of Bear IT has to say about it: “PCA membership has been absolutely great for us – it has opened doors that otherwise we’d never have known existed, and it has facilitated business in several different areas. We’d never dream of missing a PCA fostered networking opportunity.” Harris’ business partner Mark Lambert is equally enthusiastic. “Our very modest PCA membership fee has been paid for many times over by the benefit we’ve got from being part of the channel’s trade association. Anyone who wants to know more is welcome to contact me or Adam directly on 0870 4436 967. I’m always up for a bit of networking, whether it’s with suppliers or fellow resellers.” As Lambert indicates, a key part of building your business is building relationships with your suppliers and

76 PCR July

elsewhere in your industry. Anyone can do it, and like anything else the results you achieve are in direct proportion to the investment you’re willing to make. That investment isn’t so much nakedly financial as about budgeting your time. Of course, time is an ultra-scarce resource for most people – including, it has to be said, the directors of Bear IT. But they have made the investment and are now reaping the reward. Over recent years it has become increasingly apparent to many people in the channel that the market is changing and they need to change their attitudes accordingly. The ‘at each other’s throats’ view of business competitors has been replaced by the concept of ‘cooperation’ – competitors co-operating because failure to do so would hasten the demise of both. Networking with each other whenever the opportunity presents is an important way to build relationships. From the vendor’s point of view, engagement or ‘mind-share’ with resellers is vitally important to the development of their business. The PCA, as an organisation for the whole of the IT channel, and from its inception having had the slogan ‘keeping the industry as strong as possible for as long as possible,’ is naturally keen to foster good relationships in the marketplace. And with that in mind we’ll be building on the success of our recent Scottish meeting and holding a series of regional networking and business development events in the autumn. They will be evening events that will largely replace our day-long national annual conference. Furthermore, they’ll be open to all resellers; you don’t have to be a PCA member in order to attend. If you want to be on the invitation list and invest in some worthwhile networking, then let me know at kw@pcauk.org

“PCA membership has opened doors that otherwise we’d never have known existed, and it has facilitated business in several different areas” Adam Harris, Bear IT

Keith Warburton is the CEO of The Professional Computing Association, the 15-year-old, not-for-profit trade body with membership made up of businesses from all parts of the channel. Visit www.pcassociation.org for more information orcall 0845 634 9245.

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MAC TECHNOLOGY ASSOCIATION  MARKETPLACE

ROBERT PECKHAM is the Executive Director of the MAC TECHNOLOGY ASSOCIATION, which began life as The UK Mac–Dealer Association five years ago, and re–branded in 2007 to reflect the changing, consultancy and services–driven business model that many Apple resellers have now adopted.

>>> WWW.MACTECHNOLOGY.ORG.UK >>> INFO@MACTECHNOLOGY.ORG >>> TELEPHONE: 08717 177264

See Apples through

Windows This month, Robert Peckham looks at running an OS designed for one machine on another...

Macs can run Windows and now it transpires that Dell is enabling users to run the Mac OS on netbooks, too

I’M WELL aware that most of my readers are actually Windows resellers who are considering a venture into the minefield of selling Apple computers, so here’s one for all of you. Did you hear the one about the Apple computer that ran Windows faster than its arch-enemy, the PC? You didn’t? Well you’re likely to be hearing a lot more about this one, because apparently it’s true. When Apple shipped the current Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard last year, the improvements under the hood included enhancements to Boot Camp, the Mac OS kernel that allows installation of Windows XP or Vista (and also Windows 7 when it ships) onto a Mac, and then lets the Mac boot-up as a Windows PC. But there are an increasing number of reports that a Mac running Leopard’s Boot Camp and Windows actually out-performs any equivalentspec PC. DELL PUTS ON A MAC I think I’ll leave this thought-provoking statement hanging for a month and return to it in the next issue with more details. But in the meantime, did you hear the one about the Dell Mini

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Netbooks that run Mac OS X? You didn’t? The Dell Mini 7 and 9 (and probably the 10 also) can be easily modified with a small software download which allows the user to install and run Apple’s Mac OS X v10.5. And it runs very well, too. Although this is actually quite old news, there’s an interesting aside to this that could have major implications. APPLE’S APPROVAL The question that begs asking in light of that is why is Apple are allowing this? The software download comes from Dell itself – not some small independent ‘hackintosh’ developer, and full instructions are available via Dell’s website. It’s very unlikely Apple would allow this without approving it, and there’s no Apple alternative to Dell’s excellent ‘Mini’ series of netbooks – not yet, anyway. But at the same time, Apple is preparing to do battle with three very small clone makers who have got Mac OS X running on Wintel hardware using a similar software modification to Dell’s. So if Dell is allowed to broadcast the fact you can run the Mac OS on its netbooks via its website, I have a feeling that the legal teams for the clone makers will be watching developments very closely.

July PCR 77


ITACS NEWS

INDEPENDENT TRADE ASSOCIATION OF COMPUTING SPECIALISTS YOU CAN CONTACT ITACS ON 08445 763 760 OR VISIT WWW.ITACS.ORG.UK

Rules and

regulations Matthew Woolley, chairman of ITACS, explains the regulations you need to understand... LEGAL requirements for traders are there to protect consumers and with several stories in the press at the moment it is a good time for a quick review of them. There are four acts that you need to be aware of and understand: (1) Sale of Goods Act 1979; (2) Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982; (3) Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994

regard as satisfactory, having taken into account the price and any description. Goods must be free from minor defects and this includes the appearance and finish. Goods must also be durable and safe. Should the goods not conform to contract at the time of sale then it is important to remember that it is the seller, not the manufacturer, who is

“Goods must be as described, fit for purpose and of satisfactory quality. Or, to put it another way, reach the standard a reasonable person would regard as satisfactory having taken into account the price and any description” and Sale; and (4) Supply of Goods to Consumer Regulations 2002. And, if you are selling items via the internet or mail order, for example, then you should also familiarise yourself with the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000. Together, these acts offer consumer protection in excess of EU law, but according to Trading Standards, UK law takes precedent. The Acts state that goods must ‘conform to contract’ – this means they must be as described, fit for purpose and of satisfactory quality. Or, to put it another way, reach the standard a reasonable person would

78 PCR July

responsible for the goods. This means that you as the seller may have refunded the consumer in full (or in part, depending on use and abuse) within a reasonable time. Goods must last a reasonable period of time. Depending on the item, this could be up to six years. Should you sell an item that produces a fault within six months it is deemed faulty from new. (Unless you can prove otherwise.) After six months it is up to the customer to prove it was faulty from new. This has been a brief introduction so talk to your local Trading Standards who can give you advice pertinent to your business.

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MARKETPLACE

NASCR NEWS

A funny story... NASCR committee member Geoff Carr emphasises the importance of first impressions and asks for funny stories...

“Imagine one shop wallpapered with offputting rules for refunds, then a competitor that has welcoming notices about its fantastic service. Which would you choose?”

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SPECIALIST COMPUTER RETAILERS YOU CAN CONTACT NASCR ON 08456 440715 OR VISIT WWW.NASCR.ORG

EVERY INTERACTION that a person has with a business builds up a picture of that company. Every little thing affects it: how the phone is answered, how bright and tidy the place is, and the quality of any information given out by the shop, such as opening times. Imagine one shop wallpapered with off-putting rules for refunds, then a competitor that has welcoming notices that tell you about the fantastic service you can expect – where are you going to spend your time and money? I’d like to discover which offers work for people in the real world of IT. Ones like these: no call-out charge, no fix no fee, free estimates, free data back-up, same-day call-out, free insurance quotes, while-youwait service, etc. Do you use these or similar offers, and how well do they work for you? Don’t feel you’re giving away your ‘trade secrets’ as I got this list out of the Yellow Pages. If I get even a couple of responses, I’ll share them in this column. And now for something completely different… Within our high tech world, unexpected things happen to make us laugh. We get funny requests from customers, such as: “I need a scarf (SCART lead) for a PlayStation.” Or we have to work with very bad Japlish installation instructions, or get impossible and hilarious Windows messages popping up. Please pass on your true but funny IT stories and let’s see if we can get enough for a regular feature. Here’s one before I go. It seems Yahoo Groups moderators are being given the power of life and death according to a message they receive: “Pending members require your approval. If you take no action, they will automatically expire after 14 days.” Please send me your feedback by email to geoff@nascr.net.

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MARKETPLACE  COMPANY PROFILE

Straight and Direct

CONTACT Phone: 0870 167 0818 Web: www.laptopsdirect.co.uk

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Laptops Direct has enjoyed growing sales over the past 12 months, due to its emphasis on price point, products and customer service. Matt Grainger talks to marketing executive Nick Glynne about the company and its ongoing strategy…

LAPTOPS DIRECT was created in 2000 as a subsidiary of Huddersfield based supplier Buy It Direct to be the specialist etailer and distributor of its growing laptop portfolio. Buy It Direct has a proven record in turning around failing businesses and returning them to profitability and the company now employs 100 staff with an annual turnover of £80 million. Its three main customer groups are consumers, small and medium-sized enterprises, and the education sector. Buy It Direct’s managing director Nick Glynne has attributed the success to good cash management, a focus on good products and special offers, simplicity and a fanatical level of customer care. Operating primarily through its dedicated web portal, Laptops Direct offers a very broad range of products at aggressive prices. “We have a specialist buying team

offers is another key to driving sales. “We have a great sales team who can help our customers identify exactly what kind of computer they need and give them the information they need to make the most of their money,” claims Glynne. “We can ensure that people are provided with information, we can identify their needs and we can provide the products and prices to meet them.” The combination of price point and customer service has meant that Laptops Direct has enjoyed an uptake in business during the recession, and the company is expecting a 30 per cent increase in sales and corresponding revenue over the course of this year. “It’s a tough time for everyone,” confirms Glynne. “People are looking harder for good bargains and so they tend to stumble across us in the course of these searches. Larger companies are going to struggle as their overheads will prevent them from offering a lower

“People are looking harder for good bargains and so they tend to stumble across us in the course of these searches” Nick Glynne, Laptops Direct

which is able to buy the products at highly competitive prices,” says Glynne. “We pass these savings down the line, which means that our customers can be assured that they’re getting the best price point possible. In many cases, our resellers can get better prices than they would from the distributors. “The pricing is a key focus for us, we want to offer the most competitive prices that we can. Other retailers will offer a few selected products with one or two deals whereas, as a specialist supplier, we can offer a massive range of products and offer all the deals that are of the most benefit to our customers.” As well as competitive pricing, Glynne also feels that the standard of customer service that Laptops Direct

price point to cash-conscious consumers. “We’ve also started to handle refurbished laptops, which can be bought and sold at lower prices but offer a much better profit margin,” adds Glynne. “This something that we’re encouraging our resellers to do as well, as everyone in the chain is looking to make savings where possible, and refurbished hardware is a great way to do that.” Looking forward, Laptops Direct will be continuing the strategy that has made it a successful company that has appeared in The Sunday Times Fast Track report for three consecutive years. “Our parent firm is a constantly expanding company that offers simple solutions to specific markets,” says Glynne. “It recently launched Servers Direct, another online portal that will provide small businesses with low cost

www.pcr-online.biz


COMPANY PROFILE  MARKETPLACE

server and network technology. It also offers IT support as part of the package including installation, data migration and ongoing management.” “Laptops Direct is always going to focus on laptops, and the products are our primary concern,” concludes Glynne. “We’re always going to have the best product ranges and the most

competitive pricing; all we need to do is make it as easy as possible for the customer to get the best value they can, through our channels. “There’s no real need to change our strategy at this point, we’re still making great profit margins, and we’ve got a market beating business model. We’re looking forward to the future.”

“We’re always going to have the best product ranges and the most competitive pricing, all we need to do is make it as easy as possible for the customer to get the best value they can, through our channels” Nick Glynne, Laptops Direct

Nick Glynne in front of the Laptops Direct offices

www.pcr-online.biz

July PCR 81


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MARKETPLACE

Apple updates MacBook Pro range Launches new smaller model, updates others at this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference APPLE HAS introduced an £899 13inch model to its MacBook Pro line, and updated the existing 15 and 17inch models. Announcing the upgrades at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple said that the introduction of the smaller model would make its professional range of laptops more accessible. Other upgrades to the range

include the introduction of SD card slots and a more advanced LED screen, which the company said will offer up to 60 per cent more colours than previous models. The new 13-inch and existing 15inch models will also come with Apple’s built-in battery, originally debuted in the 17-inch MacBook Pro. Apple claims that the new batteries provide up to 40 per cent more life

than the previous removable ones. All of the laptops feature Nvidia’s GeForce 9400M chipset, however only the larger 15 and 17-inch models also have discrete graphics in the form of the GeForce 9600M GT. The 13-inch model is available in two models: one with a 2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive, and another with a 2.53 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB of

RAM and a 250GB hard drive. The 15-inch has three available SKUs: a 2.53 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo system with a 250GB hard drive; a 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo system with a 320GB hard drive, and a 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo system with a 500GB hard drive. Finally, the 17-inch mode features a 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and a larger 500GB hard drive.

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To advertise in this section, please contact Carly Bailey

Tel: 01992 535647 Carly.Bailey@intentmedia.co.uk 84 PCR July

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MARKETPLACE

New Packard Bell range emerges First SKUs unveiled since purchase by Acer in 2007 THE FIRST of the new Packard Bell products have emerged since PC vendor Acer acquired the brand in 2007. The range is apparently targeted at those who don’t have an encyclopaedic knowledge of IT, but use a PC often. While retaining the ‘i’ prefix for many of the products, such as the iMedia and iXtreme, new sub-brands such as EasyNote for its laptops, Dot for its netbooks and Maestro for its monitors have also emerged. Dot has two devices launching: the S, which has a 10.1-inch screen, and the M, which has an 11.6-inch screen. Both feature multi-gesture touchpads, Wi-Fi, optional Bluetooth, optional 3G wireless, a VGA webcam and Dolby headphones included as standard.

The range is apparently targeted at those who don’t have an encyclopaedic knowledge of IT, but use a PC often

The EasyNote Butterfly is aimed at the ultra-mobile segment, is less than one-inch thick and weighs 500g less than a standard laptop. The TR series is targeted at the

designer market, with a glossy cover, matt interior, silver coloured touchpad and ramp speaker. It comes with a 15.6inch screen and features Dolby’s Sound Room technology.

Lastly, its NJ, TJ and LJ series are one and the same, with the different names referring to screen sizes. The NJ is the 14-inch model, the LJ the 15.6inch model and the LJ is 17.3-inches.

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July PCR 85


MARKETPLACE

Lenovo unveils latest Ideapad The S12 is slated to launch later this year, replacing its current S10 and S9 models  First netbook to feature Nvidia’s Ion technology LENOVO launched its latest netbook at this year’s Computex show, loaded with Nvidia’s Ion graphics platform. Due to arrive in the US in August (the UK date is yet to be announced) the S12 is the follow up to the S10 and S9 Ideabook models. Both those SKUs performed well sales-wise for Lenovo. At 12.1 inches, the device is close to a full sized laptop, and with Nvidia claiming Ion is comparable to its

GeForce 9400M chipset, it can be considered almost as powerful. Indeed, the graphics vendor is claiming that Ion-based netbooks will be more than capable of playing some of the latest games, including Spore, Call of Duty 4 and World of Warcraft. Surprisingly, considering the purported power of the device, it is only 1.14-inches thick and weighs in at

1.36KG for the six-cell model. Both the Ion and Ion-less models come with 1GB of DDR2 RAM, a 160GB HDD, a 1.3 megapixel webcam and 802.11b/g wireless capability. Lenovo has also managed to pack in an express card slot, three USB 2.0 ports, a multitouch trackpad, a HDMI port on the Ion-based model and a full sized keyboard.

Nvidia is claiming that Ion-based netbooks will be more than capable of playing some of the latest games

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86 PCR July

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MARKETPLACE

Dell steps up gaming with

Alienware Prices start at £1,699 for what is officially the most powerful gaming laptop on the market DELL USED this year's E3 event to launch its first Alienware laptop of the year – the M17x. At 17-inches, it is bordering on a desktop replacement, but has more than enough power to do so competently. It also has a number of features built in to reduce strain on the battery, prolonging its life on the move. The model is available in a number of configurations, with either single or dual 1GB GeForce GTX 280M graphics, Intel Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Extreme quad core processor, 4GB or 8GB of DDR3 RAM, and 512GB to 1TB of solid-state disks. It is available in a choice of silver or black.

The device also borrows from technology originally debuted in Apple’s new MacBook range – integrated graphics in addition to the discrete cards, designed to reduce strain on the battery when the 280Ms aren’t needed. In addition, the M17x comes with a slot loading optical drive – which can be upgraded to Blu-ray if desired – as well as a nine-cell battery, four USB ports, eSATA, Firewire, HDMI and surround sound. It also comes with support for 802.11n wireless networking. Prices start at £1,699 for the basic model and go up to £5,000 for the top of the range spec.

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MARKETPLACE

HP targets mobile communicators Latest netbook features technology intended to keep users in the loop with optional wide area network HP HAS unveiled the latest netbook in its Compaq brand, the Mini 110C. Building upon the Mini 700, the new model has been designed for communicating on the move. The device has a built-in webcam and microphone, WLAN, as well as optional WWAN. HP is promoting these features as key, positioning the 110C as the ideal netbook for business travellers who need to be able to videoconference while on the move. The 110C itself is a 10.1inch netbook, weighing in at 1.17KG for the three-cell option. It also has a 92 per cent full size keyboard, three USB ports and a 5in-1 card reader. The latest Intel Atom processor

definition video accelerator as an optional extra. “Our Compaq Mini 110c packs an awesome array of features in to a coollooking and ultra-mobile design that goes easy on the wallet,” says HP’s consumer business development manager in the UK, Ben Perrins. “This makes it the perfect companion PC for cost and style conscious mobile consumers looking for supreme connectivity and a familiar Windows experience that can be taken anywhere.”

“Our Compaq Mini 110c packs an awesome array of features in to a cool-looking and ultramobile design that goes easy on the wallet” powers the device, while Intel’s GMA 950 integrated chipset provides the graphics. It also has a 160GB hard drive and can be bought with a high

Ben Perrins, HP

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NEW LOOK, SAME SOLID VALUE. 88 PCR July

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MARKETPLACE

Android enters the PC marketplace Acer looks to shake up the OS market  Google mobile platform to offer alternative to Windows

“The Android operating system offers incredibly fast wireless connection to the internet; for this reason, Acer has decided to develop Androidbased netbooks” Jim Wong, Acer

ACER HAS announced that it will begin shipping Google’s Android as an optional operating system on its Aspire One range of netbooks from the third quarter of 2009. Acer claims it allows faster connection to the internet and increased efficiency while on the move. The firm expects the addition to boost demand for its range of netbooks. It also revealed its first business class netbook, the Aspire One Pro 531. Designed for mobility and long use, it has a 10.1-inch screen, weighs little over a kilo and has over 7.5 hours of battery life. It is also slim at just 2.5cm thick.

In addition, it offers an 89 per cent standard size keyboard, 802.11g wireless networking and Bluetooth. It can also be configured to have integrated 3G, opening up its use as part of a connected business solution. “Netbooks are designed to be compact in size and easy to connect to the Internet wherever you go,” says president of IT Products Global Operation, Jim Wong. “The Android operating system offers incredibly fast wireless connection to the internet; for this reason, Acer has decided to develop Android-based netbooks for added convenience and connectivity to our customers.”

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July PCR 89


Logitech takes to the skies with latest launch New G-series flight sim peripherals package designed to provide most realistic experience to date

“There’s nothing ordinary about the G-Series gaming peripherals, and the G940 is no different” Ruben Mookerjee, Logitech

90 PCR July

INSPIRED BY real life aircraft and helicopters, Logitech’s latest peripheral launch is being targeted at flight simulation enthusiasts. Launched at last month’s E3, the G940 is the latest in Logitech’s high end G-series of controllers. Composed of a joystick, dual throttle and rudder pedals, the package is one of the most comprehensive on the market and the company has high hopes for it in the high-end gaming market. The controller is also the company’s first force feedback launch in its flight sim department. Logitech claims that the introduction of the technology was driven by its desire to make using it as close to the real thing as possible. “There’s nothing ordinary about the G-Series gaming peripherals, and the G940 is no different,” commented Logitech’s director of product marketing for gaming, Ruben Mookerjee. “We approached this project with the goal of redefining the flight sim experience. Whatever you’re flying, the G940 behaves and feels like the real thing – from takeoff right through to landing.” The pack is expected to launch in September with an RRP of £279.

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MARKETPLACE

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Western Digital beefs up My Book Studio range Mac-focused dual external drive boosted to 4TB  Device is aimed at creative professionals WESTERN DIGITAL has updated its My Book Studio line, with the launch of a four terabyte external hard drive. Designed to work seamlessly with Apple Macs, the new range is targeted at creatives and comes with a variety of connections, including eSATA, Firewire 800, Firewire 400 and USB 2.0. It also has Western Digital’s GreenPower technology to conserve power usage. Western Digital has said that the larger size would appeal to professionals. “The new My Book Studio Edition II is

the best choice for creative professionals who require massive capacity and extrafast performance,” commented the vice president of marketing for Western Digital’s branded product group, Dale Pistilli. “With four terabytes of capacity, photographers, graphics artists, videographers and home video enthusiasts alike will have the space they need to store hours of high definition video as well as the performance they need to run those demanding video editing applications.”

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July PCR 91


MARKETPLACE

Team targets fashion conscious fans Latest USB dongle designed to entice the stylish consumer with up to 16GB storage TEAM IS hoping to change the way people look at technology with the launch of its new Diamond Disk USB memory stick. At less than 30mm long, the memory stick has been designed for everyday use. However, rather than just be functional, the team behind the devices development has also aimed to add a hint of style. Emblazoned with a Swarovski crystal, the device is aimed at the market that wants high technology, but also wants it to be fashionable. To that end, the device has won an award from the international iF design team at this year’s Computex Awards. “It has been universally admired, by both men and women,” claims distributor Target’s marketing manager, Caroline Spillane. “We have seen men buying them for themselves, as well as for their partners.” However, the actual look of the

“We’ve seen men buying them for themselves, as well as for their partners” Caroline Spillane, Target

memory stick isn’t the only aspect of the product that has been carefully designed. “The Diamond has a huge capacity, but at the same time is small enough to carry in the pocket of the

most fitted outfit and not show.” It is available in a variety of sizes, from 2GB, right the way through to the 16GB option and comes with Team’s lifetime warranty.

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92 PCR July

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MARKETPLACE

Roccat boosts range

New monitor bag, headphones and earphones look to corner the lucrative event gaming market ROCCAT HAS set its sights on hardcore LAN gamers with its latest product launch, the Tusko. Designed to protect flatscreen monitors, it is aimed at gamers who take their own equipment with them to events. The monitor bag offers several features intended to prevent damage to the display while on the move, such as rigid plastic plating to resist shocks, strong clip hooks and water repellent material. It fits monitors ranging from 15-inch to 19-inch and thanks to the clip hooks, the bag can be tightened or loosened to ensure that the display is held snugly. Alongside the ability to hold displays, the bag has several pouches

designed to hold keyboards, mice and other accessories. The vendor also has a number of other products launching this month, including its Kave 5.1 gaming headset. This offers real 5.1 sound surround, as well as a vibration function. The product is flexible, with comfort and high quality microphone reception for competitive gaming, but also clear sound reproduction for movies and music. It is launching a pair of smaller earphones. The Vire earphone have stereo sound, inline earphones and ergonomic design, and are ideal for

when a full headset is either impractical or not allowed. They can also be used with mobile phones and MP3 players. These new gaming products are available from Meroncourt.

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July PCR 93


Cable to Go looks to break UK market New UK entrant launching wireless USB to VGA adapter for TVs and projectors

94 PCR July

US FIRM Cables to Go is looking to move into the UK market with its line of TruLink Wireless USB to VGA adapter kits. The products broadcast the signal from a PC to either a remote monitor or projector, removing the need to deal with wires. With a range of up to ten metres, the kit is aimed at a wide variety of uses, from classrooms to conferences, as well as living rooms or shop windows. The product is based on the USB and VGA standards, meaning that almost all computers and displays will be compatible. It also means that users of laptops and desktops don’t need to be restricted to a point near to the device. “We have seen a huge demand for wireless VGA solutions in training, classroom and conference room settings, where customers want simple connectivity from anywhere in the room, as well as supporting several users,” commented the president of Lastar – Cables to Go’s parent company, Bill Diederich. He is confident that the device can fulfil the needs of many customers, and that it is an example of how the company isn’t solely tied down to selling wired solutions. “The Wireless USB to VGA adapter is a demonstration of Cables to Go’s ability to provide quality connectivity solutions, that are both wired, and wireless.”

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ePens looks to change writing habits New product ranges digitise written words and drawings for archiving and use on a computer...

“ePens provide the perfect compromise of traditional and digital, enabling us to continue using our pen and paper but with the advantage of being able to store, share and retrieve our work digitally” Alan Newman, ePens

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EPENS HAS launched a duo of new SKUs designed to revolutionise the way that people take notes and input them into their PC. Aimed primarily at students, business users, designers or artists, the ePen range enables hand written notes and drawings to be digitally transferred to a PC, either in real time through the base unit or stored on the pen for extraction at a later date. ePens is pitching the product as a device that not only enables digital capture of notes, but also helps to cut down on paper waste. It works by attaching the base unit to the top of a paper pad, linking that to a PC with installed software, and then writing away. “ePens provide the perfect compromise of traditional and digital, enabling us to continue using our pen and paper, but with the advantage of being able to store, share and retrieve our work digitally,” comments ePens’ managing director, Alan Penman. The two packages – Mobile Notes and Create – are compatible with a wide range of software. Mobile Notes is the vendor's handwritten to digital package, and can also be turned into a mouse when needed. Create is its writing, drawing and photo editing solution, and provides a genuine alternative to expensive graphics tablets.

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July PCR 95


OFF THE RECORD

Off the Record THIS MONTH: CCI plays football, Enta wins an award, and a Persil box PC

CCI DISTRIBUTION CHARIT Y FOOTIE MATCH or CCI STORAGE AND multimedia distribut ity char a d nise orga Distribution recently e ogat Harr w fello football match for ey for St businesses, in order to raise mon e. hom care l loca a Michaels’s Hospice, beam Horn the in part Ten teams took CCI Charity Football Competition, with s. fielding two team double “St. Michael’s Hospice is aiming to by for s care it le peop l the number of loca lved invo get to keen very 2012, so CCI was CCI’s said ,” hand ing help a and try to provide des, Rho s Chri ager man warehouse assistant delighted to who organised the event. “We’re ile cause.” hwh wort a such to have contributed net sales inter n, Eviso Paul is Left and below le), purp the (in ager and marketing man Club. lth Hea ield Nuff from tackling a player

96 PC July

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OFF THE RECORD

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Send your pictures to: andrew wooden@intentmedia.co.uk

ENTA WINS AWARD

Jon Atherton and Lindsay Fish

A day in the life Paul Cubbage nts Target Compone

rded DISTRIBUTOR ENTATECH was awa ’ at year the of or ibut the ‘software distr rds, awa Aces pe osco the recent Micr am, held in the Hurlingham Club, Fulh West London. Jon EntaTech’s group vice president r rviso supe g ketin mar Atherton and the Lindsey Fish (pictured) picked up t. prize on the nigh

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CLEAN COMPUTING ALTRINCHAM BASED IT repair and retail store Fathom IT has put together a recycled PC, with a Persil washing powder box as its chassis. Apparently, the theory behind the creation was to highlight the ‘make do and mend’ philosophy. Modelling the device is Tony Lane from partner Harold Sharp accountants (left), and MD Nathan Evans (right).

“A large part of my time is spent bouncing ideas around with clever people who can make things happen. We typically have a number of exciting projects in progress” NO TWO days are ever the same, but the main – and most exciting – part of my role is to constantly seek ways to improve Target as a business. One of the great things about Target is that over the years we have developed a team of people who give us the ability to turn ideas – even the madcap ‘wouldn’t it be great if’ ones – into reality. We may reject some ideas because they don’t make commercial sense, but we have never rejected an idea because we couldn’t find a way to do it. And this has resulted in us being the first to market with so many new initiatives over the years.

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NEW PCA RECRUIT THE PCA has made Ori Yiassoumis (right) from Barking bas ed Hi-Grade Computers and honorar y fellow. Founder Keith Warburto n (left) said: “Ori Yiassoumis’ track record in successfully leading the company through sev eral evolutionary stages of the marketplace is an excelle nt example of the responsi veness needed by all business es, especially in these trying times.”

In house We also design, develop and maintain all of our systems inhouse, which means that if we want to completely change the way we work in any part of the business - whether it be how we source products, manage inventory, set prices, communicate with customers etc – we simply sit down, decide what we want to achieve, work out how to do it, and implement it. This also means that a large part of my time is spent bouncing ideas around with clever people who can make things happen, and at any point in time we will typically have a number of exciting projects in progress. We have a current project, for example, that we believe will be the first of its kind in the UK and will revolutionise the way product information is rolled out to customers. Madcap ideas When we’re not bouncing around madcap ideas, I tend to spend my time on a variety of different things, depending what’s happening at the time. At the moment we’re organising our Open Day in August, and we have a Customer Focus Group meeting next week, so we’re working on a number of things for both.

July PCR 97


In the

T A E S T O H local John ing director of fixIT ag an m , th on m is Th R... Carter bears all to PC in three words Describe yourself To the point. away from work? How do you relax ays a good way A game of golf is alw ess. I’m also a to relax, and do busin ugh I’m not sure keen Spurs fan, altho ‘relaxing’. if I’d describe that as rite What’s your favou m? lbu game/book/film/a n by a game – ea m u Depends what yo mes of ‘Spoof’ I’ve played more ga ember and I’m than I’d care to rem e of cards – always up for a gam aded never to though I’d be persu far as books go, As ! gamble of course Do It – as much for son’s Screw It, Let’s I liked Richard Bran n the Rocky else. On the big scree the title as anything by The Boss (aka CD player, anything movies and on the Bruce Springsteen). computer? What was your first ds twee now but odore Pet – it soun m m Co The first was a business PCs. The r of a lot of today's it was the forerunne T Sirius 1 – which s PC I had was an AC first proper busines e and ran two tim at the same bit 8d an it -b 16 th was bo /M was thought to Digital Research’s CP s; m ste sy g tin era op -DOS. I seem to e to Microsoft’s MS be superior at the tim mess DOS’ at the er describing it as ‘A remember a review they know? time - still what did in the emory from working What’s your best m industry? computing and IT -figure growth we were seeing three en wh The early days t times we’ve had at but in more recen rates are hard to be with resellers ses working closely some great succes fixITlocal. through DMSL and ? person you’ve met Who’s the funniest hilarious! Sir Alan Sugar – he’s nel today? admire in the chan Who do you most who can stick yo gs to mind. An ne rin sp al du ivi ind e No on but still be flexible d their partnerships an es ipl inc pr eir th to eds of the market d change to the ne enough to adapt an that many people not sure if there are deserves credit. I am y. ake that claim toda around who can m younger (and do when you were to nt wa u yo did t Wha why)? for Spurs so I unger, centre forward When I was much yo on, I wanted to k past Arsenal! Later could stick a hat-tric e things I felt th s so that I could do run my own busines s. ult and would get res needed to be done 98 PCR July

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Quote

UNQUOTE “The industry should focus on simplicity and get away from bells and whistles. The majority of customers are not tech heads. They just want a good experience and good things to happen. Categories that are introduced which are too complicated won't come into the market. This industry thrives on innovation, but the faster the customers understand the technology, the faster it reaches more customers.” Walmart senior vice president and general merchandise manager Gary Severson tells this year’s CEO Summit in the US that innovating for the sake of adding stuff isn't the best way to do things.

“The majority of customers are not tech-heads. They just want a good experience” Gary Severson, Walmart “A very sad day indeed, a complete shock considering its subcriber base was still at 50,000! All the best to the staff, some of which have been in the industry for decades and become close personal friends to many. You will be greatly missed.” “This is a sad day. PCW is a magazine that has bucked the trend in most PC magazines and provided interesting articles and projects, rather than just hundreds of reviews of articles most will never buy.” Just a couple of the comments (from Kerri Chard and Jeff Smith) made on PCR-online.biz upon the announcement that Incisive Media was closing consumer PC stalwart Personal Computer World. Editor Kelvyn Taylor described working on the magazine as "a real labour of love".

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PCR Issue 70, July 2009  

Computer & IT Resellers, Retailers, System Builders, Distributors, Vendors

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