PCR ISSUE 85 OCTOBER 2010
HOW TO WIN A PCR AWARD We bring you a foolproof guide to the nomination and selection process p17
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Issue 85 October 2010 Incorporating
PCR CONTACTS Editor
Andrew Wooden firstname.lastname@example.org
“The core of the PCR Awards remains the same – a celebration of the UK technology industry.”
Matt Grainger email@example.com
ON THURSDAY MARCH 17TH next year, the fourth PCR
Lancaster London. Many things have changed since we
Nicky Trup firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial Production Manager
Awards will open is doors – this time at new venue, the launched the event in 2007. Suddenly everything has a touch screen, Apple has clocked a stronger share value than
Helen French email@example.com
Microsoft, every tech company under the sun is trying to
war with AMD to turn its attention to the security market.
Lisa Foster firstname.lastname@example.org Executive Advertising Manager
Katie Rawlings email@example.com
resurrect the 3D concept, and Intel is taking a break from its All this is why the technology industry is such an exciting and dynamic area to be involved in. You have to be on your toes, or the whole game transforms behind your back. However one thing that never changes is the industry's desire to celebrate the successes of the people who make it
Carly Bailey firstname.lastname@example.org
all happen. The core of the awards remains the same as when it was first conceived – a focused celebration of the UK
Rosie McKeown email@example.com Designer
technology industry and channel, which also takes in every part of the trade. The PCR Awards have always been about the people
Kelly Styles firstname.lastname@example.org
themselves – the community that keeps the cogs of the UK channel turning – about their efforts and ingenuity,
Stuart Dinsey email@example.com
especially in the difficult market conditions we have seen over the last couple of years. We've kept the categories for the 2011 event the same,
Marketing & Circulation
Lindsay Banham firstname.lastname@example.org
having received positive reactions from the trade last year. The awards will be split into three categories – Frontline, Distribution and Vendor, along with the most prestigious prize of the night, the Grand Prix.
Editorial: 01992 535646 Advertising: 01992 535647 www.pcr-online.biz
But we can't do it without your help. Lobbying is now open, so let us know who you think should be a finalist and why. For a full rundown of how the nomination, lobbying and voting process works, take a look at our exhaustive How To Win A PCR Award feature on page 17. You have until Friday November 26th to get your nominations in – email them to me on the address provided below. You've got to be in it to win it…
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October PCR 3
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PCR Contents REGULARS
ISSUE 85 OCTOBER 2010
Comet Head of marketing Bill Moir takes us through the chain’s recent brand refresh and its plans for the future .............28
News ......................7 Appointments .....98 Brigantia ............102 TCA ........................106
Ingram Micro Showcase
How to win a PCR Award We tell you everything you need to know about the event, from how to nominate to who decides the winners
PCR talks to the distribution giant about what visitors can expect from its unilateral trade show ................................30
FRONTLINE 36 | MYSTERY SHOPPER 40 | INDIE PROFILE 39
Pages 45 - 68
Pages 69 - 82
Pages 83 - 94
Industry experts tell us what’s new in the PC monitor market, and just how big 3D technology is set to become
With cyber attacks of all kinds on the rise, protecting your PC is more important than ever. We talk to leading vendors to find out what’s new
PCR looks into the latest generation of e-readers and finds there is much more to the sector than just the Kindle
Digital storage ..........................47 We bring you some of the latest memory products, from USB sticks to cloud storage
Meroncourt PCR talks to the distributor’s sales director Steve Walsh about the history of the company and how it goes about choosing vendors
New iPods Games A rundown of the best-selling PC titles of the moment, along with a guide to the most promising games on the radar .....79
Following Apple’s big launch last month, we check out its latest line of MP3 players to see what’s new
PSA Parts ........................................92 Sales manager Nick Walsh discusses the firm’s plans for global expansion
MP NEWS 96 | PCR RECOMMENDED 119 | OUT OF OFFICE 120 October PCR 5
SIGN UP FOR THE PCR NEWSFLASH SERVICE AT WWW.PCR-ONLINE.BIZ
Security giants circle wagons as Intel readies market assault Kaspersky Lab, Norton and BitDefender rally around a security sector which Intel claims is not fit for purpose G Chip giant hints at further moves on the market following its acquisition of McAfee By Matt Grainger
THREE of the biggest names in PC security have come out in defence of their trade, following further accusations from Intel that software alone is no longer able to handle the threats of the modern age. The hugely wealthy chip giant raised alarm bells within the sector after its acquisition of security specialist McAfee in August, announcing that it would be moving into the market, and claiming that the current offering “does not fully address” the dangers. “Standalone software services have always been broken or bypassed sooner or later, so providing hardware solutions to work with software is the best way to deal with security,” Intel’s general manager for anti-theft services Anand Pashupathy told PCR this month.
With Intel looking ready to park its tanks on the lawns of vendors such as Kaspersky Lab, the Russian firm’s senior security researcher David Emm told us: “We believe that IT security is a specialised business and that
director for EMEA, Con Mallon: “Security is all about a changing threat landscape and the ability to be agile and nimble to respond in an effective and appropriate timescale. Although we do the job of security quietly and
“Protecting a chipset or a device with that chipset has been done before with limited success. It still leaves a computer vulnerable if the protection isn’t good enough or doesn’t offer the functionality that a consumer wants or knows how to use.” Simon Geach, BitDefender specialised vendors, whose primary focus is in securing IT systems against malicious code threats via any network will succeed in the long run.” His words were echoed by Symantec’s Norton product marketing
discreetly in the eyes of the user, security software will always have a front and centre profile in any internet connected platform.” BitDefender’s sales director for the UK and Ireland Simon Geach warned
that Intel might have difficulty establishing itself in what is already a very competitive marketplace. “Choice, trust, functionality and cost will still impact the choices made by a consumer to protect their systems,” he commented. “Protecting a chipset or protecting a device with that chipset has been done before with limited success. It still leaves a computer vulnerable if the protection isn’t good enough or doesn’t offer the functionality that a consumer wants or knows how to use.” Meanwhile, Intel’s Pashupathy told PCR it will be leveraging its considerable financial muscle towards more than just anti-theft initiatives: “There are multiple areas of security that Intel is looking at from a strategic point of view. This new anti-theft technology is just the beginning.”
October PCR 7
3D glasses put off US viewers US consumers are attracted to the immersive quality of 3D TV but are putt off buying one by both the cost and the need to wear special glasses, according to a study by Nielsen. 57 per cent said 3D TV made them feel ‘part of the action’, while 48 per cent said they felt more engaged with what they were watching. However, 57 per cent said they were put off by having to wear 3D glasses. 68 per cent said the cost of the device was an issue, while 44 per cent were concerned by the lack of 3D content. HP settles Mark Hurd lawsuit Hewlett-Packard has settled a lawsuit filed against former CEO Mark Hurd, after he took a job at Oracle weeks after stepping down at HP. Hurd was appointed president of Oracle after leaving his former role amid allegations he had a relationship with an employee and filed improper expense claims. Oracle chief exec Larry Ellison, who initially described the lawsuit as “vindictive”, said the two firms would continue to work with each other.
Entanet is a top 100 hit Wholesale voice and data communications provider Entanet has made the Sunday Times Tech Track 100 for the third year running, securing 89th place in the list of the UK’s fastest growing privately-owned tech, telecoms and digital media companies. Entanet is one of only 31 companies outside of London and the South East to have made the list. The firm was also named for the second year running in The Guardian’s 2010 Tech Media Invest Top 100, which awards innovation and creativite firms in the technology market. Two thirds have experienced cybercrime Around 65 per cent of adults have been a victim of cybercrime, security vendor Symantec has found. The latest Norton Cybercrime Report said that just nine per cent of people feel "very safe" online while only three per cent of internet users think cybercrime won’t happen to them. Symantec said that 51 per cent of users had experienced viruses or malware, ten per cent had fallen foul of online scams while nine per cent had experienced phishing attacks. Seven per cent had also experienced social network profile hacking and a similar number had been struck by credit card fraud.
Digital games overtake boxed The value of the digital PC games market is now far greater than the boxed sector, analysis group NPD has found. According to the report, 11.2 million PC games were purchased in North America between January and June 2010. In the same period just 8.2 million boxed PC games were bought at retail. However, physical products generated better revenues, holding on to 57 per cent of the market. VIP signs Mobilis VIP Computers has signed an exclusive UK distribution deal with mobile IT accessory firm Mobilis. It will see the distie launching the Mobilis Bump range into the UK market. The notebook and netbook bags in the range use the vendor’s patented ‘dynamic spring system’ to absorb shocks and impacts. Dejan Draguljevic, Mobilis’ UK and North America sales director, said: “Within a very competitive market, not only for products but also distributors, Mobilis felt the VIP Computers offering mirrored its own when looking to take products to market.”
8 PCR October
Now PC Answers closes
Kindle beats iPad as an ereader The majority of people prefer reading e-books on Amazon’s Kindle over Apple’s iPad, a survey of 1,000 UK and US users by news navigator OneNewsPage.com has found. 65 per cent said they would choose Amazon’s device, despite the iPad’s ‘compelling’ multi-functionality. The study also found that just over half – 53 per cent – would rather read e-books on holiday than paperbacks. Of those surveyed, 16 per cent said they owned both a Kindle and an iPad.
FUTURE HAS closed popular consumer mag PC Answers, after a review of its entire PC business. The news follows the closure of legendary gaming title PC Zone, which published its last issue in September. The specialist publisher insisted it would continue to support the remaining titles in its PC portfolio. “Following a strategic review of our PC portfolio, we’re sorry to announce that we've taken the difficult decision to close PC Answers,” said publisher Charlotte Morgan. The magazine on sale in October will be the final issue. “The team have done an excellent job in creating a compelling, well-followed magazine, which makes this decision even harder. We are focusing our print efforts on Official Windows Magazine,
PC Plus, PC Format, What Laptop and the continued growth of our bookazine roster. We’re actively seeking other opportunities for the four members of staff affected by PC Answer’s closure. I’d like to thank them for their great work over a number of years.”
Categories, date and venue confirmed for PCR Awards 2011 Date set for Thursday March 17th at the Lancaster London G Lobbying now open THE PCR AWARDS will return for 2011 at the glamorous new location of the Lancaster London. The awards, which will take place on Thursday March 17th, are now in their fourth year, and will once again provide an evening of entertainment, networking, and celebration of the great and the good within the UK trade. Lobbying begins now – if you want to nominate a company email Andrew.Wooden@intentmedia.co.uk. Deadline is Friday November 26th.
“We are moving the PCR Awards to the new location of Lancaster London, which will prove to be a great new venue for one of the most important nights of the year.” Stuart Dinsey, PCR Publisher At this year’s ceremony, over 300 member of the industry gathered to watch Microsoft take home the prestigious Grand Prix award, following the strong execution of its latest operating system Windows 7. EntaTech also performed well, picking up both Sales Team and Distributor of the year prizes in the Distribution category. In the Frontline category, John Lewis, Amazon and Utopia were among the retailers taking home silverware. “Following ever increasing demand, we have decided to move the PCR Awards to the new location of the Lancaster London, which will prove to be a great new venue for one of the most important nights of the year,” said PCR publisher and Intent Media MD Stuart Dinsey.
THE CATEGORIES IN FULL Frontline Awards The Frontline Awards will recognise excellence in retail and reseller businesses, be they on the High Street, online, or B2B segments. The winners of these awards will be those that have best represented the UK technology industry to the wider public, be that in terms of support, advice, or sales. The categories are: Independent Retailer Retail Chain Store Manager Online Retailer Value Added Reseller Service and Support Distribution Awards The distribution awards are designed to acknowledge the hard work put in by the unsung heroes of the channel – the distribution firms which are a vital link between vendors and retailers. The categories are: Sales Team Marketing and PR Specialist Distributor Distributor of the Year Vendor Awards These awards focus on the core of the industry – the manufacturers and publishers that create technology products. Recognition will be given for innovation, commercial success and support of the trade. The categories are: Software Publisher Hardware Manufacturer Gadget of the Year Campaign of the Year Specialist Vendor Grand Prix Awarded to a company which has made a conspicuous contribution to the channel during the previous year. Lobbying The deadline for nominating who you would like to see win a PCR Award is Friday November 26th.You can nominate your own company or a customer now by emailing Andrew.Wooden@intentmedia.co.uk, telling us why the company should be considered a Finalist. Tickets and Sponsorship Packages A variety of sponsorship packages are available now. Contact Carly.Bailey@intentmedia.co.uk to find out more. Table and ticket enquiries should also be made to Hannah.Short@intentmedia.co.uk or on 01992 535 647.
“All the elements that have made the night such as success for the past three years remain, and we hope you can all be a part of it. One of the key drivers of its success is the transparent judging process, which the trade really
appreciates. The fact the event covers all facets of the industry has also made the event tremendously popular, and we were delighted with the response we got from this year’s awards. We look forward to seeing you all there.”
October PCR 9
Comet aims to inject ‘personality’ into retail Kesa-owned retail chain refreshed with more colourful look G Firm looks to move away from techno-babble By Andrew Wooden
HAVING GIVEN its corporate and in-store image a lick of paint, Comet says it is looking to put more ‘personality’ into tech retail, as part of its strategy to snatch customers away from big-chain rivals Dixons Retail and Best Buy. The Kesa-owned retailer, which has 250 stores across the UK, claims jargon-fuelled selling is rife in the tech retail sector, and that customers want more of a personable shopping experience. “A lot of people in the market today just talk about
product features, and don’t actually translate them into customer benefits,” head of marketing Bill Moir told PCR. “What we’re learning from customers is that they really want someone to do that translation for them. “I don’t think anyone stands out particularly as having a personality. This refresh is really focused on having a personality, as well as the knowledge. I think we really want to change our communication now so we come across as more accessible and friendly, and less corporate than we have
been in the past and our competitors are.” The brand refresh is backed up by a new advertising campaign under the tagline ‘come and play’, which will focus on the actual benefits of consumer electronics, as part of Comet’s desire to distance itself from spec-based selling and techno-babble. “Our aim is to help people discover how technology can improve their lives. All that we have done this year and what we do next year will be towards delivering that,” Moir added.
Epson: ‘We’ve been punching below our weight’ EPSON has unveiled its plan to drive into the business market, supported by a new range of devices that have been specifically developed for the office environment. The vendor is targeting what it calls the ‘micro business’ segment – small companies around the UK which employ fewer than ten people – and it has identified a number of areas where it can offer improvements, including wireless networking, paper handling, double-sided printing, running costs and speed. “The business market is an area where we think we’ve been punching below our weight,” Epson’s managing director Chris Price told PCR.
10 PCR October
“We’re not looking to dominate the market – there’s some very well established players there already – but
“There’s some very well established players in the business market already, but we’ve definitely got the products to make an impact.” Chris Price, Epson we’ve definitely got the products here to really make an impact.” Epson will be launching a number of devices that carry these functions in the next
quarter and since its distribution is entirely dependent on the channel, it relaunched its accredited partner programme earlier this year. Epson will also be drawing on its strong legacy in retail to aid its growth in the business sector. The vendor is currently the number one provider of POS printers in the world, with around half of all sales receipts worldwide coming from its printers. In addition, its ‘Micro Piezo’ technology lets its devices print on almost any surface including canvas, glass, t-shirts and, according to Epson, clay – giving the company a strong route to market via specialist printing services.
Chris Price says Epson will be launching a number of new devices in the next quarter
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200% Christmas growth for e-readers expected Sony predicts annual festive spike to double this year Vendors position new launches for Christmas By Matt Grainger
THE ANNUAL e-reader sales boom fuelled by festive buying will double this year, according to Sony. Talking to PCR, Sony’s category marketing manager Omar Gurnah said that over the last few years the market had recorded sales growth of over 100 per cent during the festive period, but that records are set to be smashed this yuletide. “In the United States, we’ve seen over 100 per cent sales growth every year since 2007 and it has been the same in the UK since 2008,” stated Gurnah. “This year we are expecting to see a 200 per cent growth. It’s the perfect present, so the Christmas period is always the time when this category sees its biggest sales spike.”
Sony’s category marketing manager Omar Gurnah shows off the new Touch Reader
Last Christmas, e-readers were Sony’s largest growth area, with its sales for December 2009 representing four times the value of the same period in
the previous year. In fact, sales were so strong that on Christmas Day people who had just unwrapped an e-reader overloaded Sony’s servers.
Gurnah’s predictions are supported by findings from the market analysis firm In-Stat, which predicted that sales of e-readers would triple by the year 2014, going on to suggest that 12 million devices would be sold this year alone, rising to 35 million in three years time. A number of companies are positioning themselves to take advantage of this annual growth; Sony has recently launched its new Reader models, and Acer will be launching the latest version of its LumiRead device in time for the festive period. In addition, although Amazon has already released this year’s model of Kindle, the e-tailer is supporting its device with a televised marketing drive in the United States and a billboard campaign here in the UK.
Internet Week coming to London SO CALLED ‘crowdsourcing’ event Internet Week will come to London for the first time next month, promising to highlight the city’s digital tech sector and get as many companies – large or small – on board. The event, held from November 8th to the 12th at various locations across the city, will comprise of a myriad of activities ranging from conferences, technology demos, panel discussions, educational programming and meetups to late-night parties. “The idea is that the festival works in the same way as the internet – this means it is open to everyone. No organisation or event is too big or
small and everyone is welcome,” said Penelope Shaw, festival director at Internet Week Europe. “The festival breaks down the traditional industry silos and appeals to anyone who considers the internet to be integral to what they do.” When asked if retailers stand to benefit from the event, Shaw said: “Absolutely! The inclusive nature of the festival gives event partners to unique opportunity to promote their business to a wider audience. We encourage our partners to hold events that work for them, from spreading the word about what they do, holding workshops or meeting new contacts.”
Internet Week took over Times Square in New York City earlier this year
ANALYSIS HOW BIG IS THE 3D MARKET?
Industry Opinions The tech industry is pumping huge sums of money into the research and development of 3D devices, but is there a danger the public won't take to it to the degree that manufacturers are hoping? This month, we ask our panel: Could the revived 3D sector leave some firms seriously out of pocket?
Managing Director, Target Components
GPU and Chipsets Lead, AMD
Chief Executive Officer, Technology Channels Association
IT'S DIFFICULT to see a mass-market application for 3D at this stage, and trying to convince the public that they have a need or desire for 3D TV will likely be an uphill struggle. For most, it is an event, not a necessity. It’s nice to see a 3D movie once in a while, or go to the pub to watch football in 3D, but not the sort of thing you’d feel the need for day in, day out. I don’t imagine we’ll all be sat at home watching TV with 3D glasses on anytime soon. As with all technology, it will develop with time; costs will come down and more compelling applications will be developed, but the returns are likely to be long-term.
3D WAS the hot topic at both CES and IFA this year. We believe 3D is a viable technology and that it will continue to grow. However, the extent of this growth will largely depend on the experience; for some, the need for glasses may be seen as a hindrance. At AMD, we think that the growth and mass-market appeal for 3D devices will depend upon the new experiences offered beyond the current glasses-and-monitor systems available. We believe that if the industry adopts an open standard approach to 3D in these early stages, this will drive the necessary innovation needed for it to become a success.
THE 3D sector is in danger of becoming too fascinated with the latest trend. 3D is not new; it was actually pioneered in the early sixties and was famously used by Alfred Hitchcock, so if the demand was there then surely the manufacturers would have developed the technology at a greater speed. As someone who wears glasses, the experience both at home and in the cinema doesn’t feel natural and is also inconvenient. There is no doubt that 3D, when used properly, can enhance the visual experience and gives some breathtaking results, but one of the issues is that there is too much bad use of the technology.
Product Manager, VIP Computers
Technical PR and Component Product Marketing Specialist, Asus
Business Group Director for Consumer Electronics, GfK
YOU CAN invest as much as you like into the R&D of 3D hardware, but ultimately it will be the availability of content that will determine its success; the popularity of Avatar demonstrated that. Nvidia has been careful to ensure that a huge back-catalogue of PC games can be played with its 3D Vision hardware, even if they weren’t originally written with that intention. Sony is also heavily investing in 3D technology and it has more than enough clout to make sure that there will be plenty of content to give people a reason to buy 3D hardware. Other manufacturers must follow Sony’s and Nvidia’s lead in this respect.
AS WITH any new innovation, there is always a certain amount of risk involved. Without this innovation though, we wouldn’t see as many new products or exciting developments such as 3D or CPUs with inbuilt graphics. A few years ago we could have questioned whether highdefinition content would be successful, or if the public would adopt it as well as DVD or VHS. As we can see now, it’s been very successful. In my opinion, 3D is the next step and is a far cry from the previous iterations of 3D technology that we’ve seen – If you haven’t experienced 3D yet, you’re missing out!
THE LAST TIME the television industry launched a new format like this it was widescreen which took three or four years to reach a substantial volume. Now, 3D TV is already way in advance of this but it will be a gradual take up as prices become more mass-market, 3D software titles become more readily available and more products and screen sizes come to market.
OCTOBER PCR 15
PCR AWARDS 2011 LOBBYING GUIDE
How to win a PCR Award The countdown to the fourth annual PCR Awards has begun, as the trade looks forward to a night of networking, entertainment, and celebration of all the hard work that keeps the industry’s cogs turning. Held at the Lancaster London on Thursday March 17th, the event will once again bring the whole channel together – and here is our foolproof guide on how to be a part of it, outlining all you need to know about the event itself, how to lobby, and who decides the winners… HAVING RECEIVED a great deal of positive feedback, we’ve kept the format of the fourth annual PCR Awards more or less untouched from last year. There are 16 awards up for grabs within the Frontline, Distribution and Vendor categories, while the prestigious Grand Prix remains the top prize of the night, celebrating one particular stand-out firm that has achieved something special over the course of the last year. FRONTLINE AWARDS The Frontline Awards will recognise excellence in retail and reseller businesses, be they on the High Street, online, or B2B segments. The winners of these awards will be those that have best represented the UK technology industry to the wider public, whether that’s in terms of support, advice, or sales…
INDEPENDENT RETAILER Who’s eligible? Any bricks and mortar computer retailer with fewer than ten stores. How is this award won? PCR will take soundings from the industry and consider any direct lobbying from retailers, suppliers, or general readers before announcing a set of finalists in the January issue. The winner is voted for by the Judging Panel, which will consist of up to 100 highly regarded industry executives taken from all sectors of the business. Members of the jury vote in confidence and are only revealed after voting is complete. They cannot vote for themselves or associated companies. Judges will consider the following criteria:
• Product range • Customer service • Value for money How do I make my opinion heard? You can nominate your own company or a customer by emailing Andrew.Wooden@intentmedia.co.uk, by November 26th, telling us why the firm should be considered a Finalist. HIGH STREET CHAIN Who’s eligible? Any bricks and mortar computer retail chain. How is this award won? PCR will take soundings from the industry and consider any direct lobbying from retailers, suppliers, or general readers before announcing a set of finalists in the January issue. The winner is voted for by the Judging
October PCR 17
PCR AWARDS 2011 LOBBYING GUIDE
Panel, which will consist of up to 100 highly regarded industry executives taken from all sectors of the business. Members of the jury vote in confidence and are only revealed after voting is complete. They cannot vote for themselves or associated companies. Judges will consider the following criteria: • Product range • Customer service • Value for money How do I make my opinion heard? You can nominate your own company or a customer by emailing Andrew.Wooden@intentmedia.co.uk by November 26th, telling us why the firm should be considered a Finalist. ONLINE RETAILER Who’s eligible? Any computer retailer that is online only or the online element of a High Street store. How is this award won? PCR will take soundings from the industry and consider any direct lobbying from retailers, suppliers, or general readers before announcing a set of finalists in the January issue. The winner is voted for by the Judging Panel, which will consist of up to 100 highly regarded industry executives taken from all sectors of the business. Members of the jury vote in confidence and are only revealed after voting is complete. They cannot vote for themselves or associated companies.
18 PCR October
Judges will consider the following criteria: • Product range • Customer service • Ease of navigation How do I make my opinion heard? You can nominate your own company or a customer by emailing Andrew.Wooden@intentmedia.co.uk by November 26th, telling us why the firm should be considered a Finalist. VALUE ADDED RESELLER Who’s eligible? Business-orientated VARs and system integrators. How is this award won? PCR will take soundings from the industry and consider any direct lobbying from retailers, suppliers, or general readers before announcing a set of finalists in the January issue. The winner is voted for by the Judging Panel, which will consist of up to 100 highly regarded industry executives taken from all sectors of the business. Members of the jury vote in confidence and are only revealed after voting is complete. They cannot vote for themselves or associated companies. Judges will consider the following criteria: • Product range • Customer satisfaction • Solution innovation How do I make my opinion heard? You can nominate your own company
or a customer now by emailing Andrew.Wooden@intentmedia.co.uk, telling us why the firm should be considered a Finalist. SERVICE AND SUPPORT Who’s eligible? Any PC professional involved in the support and repair of PCs. How is this award won? PCR will take soundings from the industry and consider any direct lobbying from retailers, suppliers, or general readers before announcing a set of finalists in the January issue. The winner is voted for by the Judging Panel, which will consist of up to 100 highly regarded industry executives taken from all sectors of the business. Members of the jury vote in confidence and are only revealed after voting is complete. They cannot vote for themselves or associated companies. Judges will consider the following criteria: • Product knowledge • Customer satisfaction • Success rate How do I make my opinion heard? You can nominate your own company or a customer by emailing Andrew.Wooden@intentmedia.co.uk by November 26th, telling us why the firm should be considered a Finalist. STORE MANAGER OF THE YEAR Who’s eligible? Any store manager running a bricks and mortar computer retailer.
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PCR AWARDS 2011 LOBBYING GUIDE
How is this award won? PCR will take soundings from the industry and consider any direct lobbying from retailers, suppliers, or general readers before announcing a set of finalists in the January issue. The winner is voted for by the Judging Panel, which will consist of up to 100 highly regarded industry executives taken from all sectors of the business. Members of the jury vote in confidence and are only revealed after voting is complete. They cannot vote for themselves or associated companies. Judges will consider the following criteria: • Product range • Customer service • Store layout How do I make my opinion heard? You can nominate your own company or a customer by emailing Andrew.Wooden@intentmedia.co.uk by November 26th, telling us why the firm should be considered a Finalist. DISTRIBUTION AWARDS The distribution awards are designed to acknowledge the hard work put in by the unsung heroes of the channel – the distribution firms which are a vital link between vendors and retailers… MARKETING AND PR TEAM Who’s eligible? The communications arm of any IT distributor. How is this award won? PCR will take soundings from the
industry and consider any direct lobbying from retailers, suppliers, or general readers before announcing a set of finalists in the January issue. The winner is voted for by the Judging Panel, which will consist of up to 100 highly regarded industry executives taken from all sectors of the business. Members of the jury vote in confidence and are only revealed after voting is complete. They cannot vote for themselves or associated companies. Judges will consider the following criteria: • Visibility • Press relations • Channel relationships How do I make my opinion heard? You can nominate your own company or a customer by emailing Andrew.Wooden@intentmedia.co.uk by November 26th, telling us why the firm should be considered a Finalist. SALES TEAM Who’s eligible? The sales team of any IT distributor. How is this award won? PCR will take soundings from the industry and consider any direct lobbying from retailers, suppliers, or general readers before announcing a set of finalists in the January issue. The winner is voted for by the Judging Panel, which will consist of up to 100 highly regarded industry executives taken from all sectors of the business. Members of the jury vote in confidence and are only revealed after voting is complete.
They cannot vote for themselves or associated companies. Judges will consider the following criteria: • Product knowledge • Delivery of service • Channel relationships How do I make my opinion heard? You can nominate your own company or a customer by emailing Andrew.Wooden@intentmedia.co.uk by November 26th, telling us why the firm should be considered a Finalist. SPECIALIST DISTRIBUTOR Who’s eligible? Distributors that specialise in particular types of products. How is this award won? PCR will take soundings from the industry and consider any direct lobbying from retailers, suppliers, or general readers before announcing a set of finalists in the January issue. The winner is voted for by the Judging Panel, which will consist of up to 100 highly regarded industry executives taken from all sectors of the business. Members of the jury vote in confidence and are only revealed after voting is complete. They cannot vote for themselves or associated companies. Judges will consider the following criteria: • Product knowledge • Channel relationships • Innovation
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PCR AWARDS 2011 LOBBYING GUIDE
How do I make my opinion heard? You can nominate your own company or a customer by emailing Andrew.Wooden@intentmedia.co.uk by November 26th, telling us why the firm should be considered a Finalist. DISTRIBUTOR OF THE YEAR Who’s eligible? Any distribution firm that has performed particularly well overall in the last 12 months. How is this award won? PCR will take soundings from the industry and consider any direct lobbying from retailers, suppliers, or general readers before announcing a set of finalists in the January issue. The winner is voted for by the Judging Panel, which will consist of up to 100 highly regarded industry executives taken from all sectors of the business. Members of the jury vote in confidence and are only revealed after voting is complete. They cannot vote for themselves or associated companies. Judges will consider the following criteria: • Product knowledge • Channel relationships • Innovation How do I make my opinion heard? You can nominate your own company or a customer now by emailing Andrew.Wooden@intentmedia.co.uk by November 26th, telling us why the firm should be considered a Finalist.
22 PCR October
VENDOR AWARDS These awards focus on the core of the industry – the manufacturers and publishers that create technology products. Recognition will be given for innovation, commercial success and support of the trade… HARDWARE MANUFACTURER Who’s eligible? Any firm that produces IT hardware, such as laptops, graphics cards, or peripherals. How is this award won? PCR will take soundings from the industry and consider any direct lobbying from retailers, suppliers, or general readers before announcing a set of finalists in the January issue. The winner is voted for by the Judging Panel, which will consist of up to 100 highly regarded industry executives taken from all sectors of the business. Members of the jury vote in confidence and are only revealed after voting is complete. They cannot vote for themselves or associated companies. Judges will consider the following criteria: • Product desirability • Channel innovation • Visibility How do I make my opinion heard? You can nominate your own company or a customer now by emailing Andrew.Wooden@intentmedia.co.uk by November 26th, telling us why the firm should be considered a Finalist.
SOFTWARE PUBLISHER Who’s eligible? Any firm that produces PC software. How is this award won? PCR will take soundings from the industry and consider any direct lobbying from retailers, suppliers, or general readers before announcing a set of finalists in the January issue. The winner is voted for by the Judging Panel, which will consist of up to 100 highly regarded industry executives taken from all sectors of the business. Members of the jury vote in confidence and are only revealed after voting is complete. They cannot vote for themselves or associated companies. Judges will consider the following criteria: • Product desirability • Channel innovation • Visibility How do I make my opinion heard? You can nominate your own company or a customer now by emailing Andrew.Wooden@intentmedia.co.uk by November 26th, telling us why the firm should be considered a Finalist. SPECIALIST VENDOR Who’s eligible? Firms that specialise in one particular field. How is this award won? PCR will take soundings from the industry and consider any direct lobbying from retailers, suppliers, or
PCR AWARDS 2011 LOBBYING GUIDE
general readers before announcing a set of finalists in the January issue. The winner is voted for by the Judging Panel, which will consist of up to 100 highly regarded industry executives taken from all sectors of the business. Members of the jury vote in confidence and are only revealed after voting is complete. They cannot vote for themselves or associated companies. Judges will consider the following criteria: • Product desirability • Channel innovation • Visibility How do I make my opinion heard? You can nominate your own company or a customer now by emailing Andrew.Wooden@intentmedia.co.uk by November 26th, telling us why the firm should be considered a Finalist. GADGET OF THE YEAR What’s eligible? Any gadget or piece of consumer electronics, such as an MP3 player, mobile phone or GPS device. How is this award won? PCR will take soundings from the industry and consider any direct lobbying from retailers, suppliers, or general readers before announcing a set of finalists in the January issue. The winner is voted for by the Judging Panel, which will consist of up to 100 highly regarded industry executives taken from all sectors of the business. Members of the jury vote in confidence and are
24 PCR October
only revealed after voting is complete. They cannot vote for themselves or associated companies. Judges will consider the following criteria: • Product desirability • Channel innovation • Visibility How do I make my opinion heard? You can nominate your own company or a customer now by emailing Andrew.Wooden@intentmedia.co.uk by November 26th, telling us why the firm should be considered a Finalist. CAMPAIGN OF THE YEAR Who’s eligible? Any vendor in the IT/technology sector. How is this award won? PCR will take soundings from the industry and consider any direct lobbying from retailers, suppliers, or general readers before announcing a set of finalists in the January issue. The winner is voted for by the Judging Panel, which will consist of up to 100 highly regarded industry executives taken from all sectors of the business. Members of the jury vote in confidence and are only revealed after voting is complete. They cannot vote for themselves or associated companies.
How do I make my opinion heard? You can nominate your own company or a customer now by emailing Andrew.Wooden@intentmedia.co.uk, telling us why the firm should be considered a Finalist. GRAND PRIX Who’s eligible? Any company active within the UK IT channel that has enjoyed commercial and critical success, while showing the highest levels of support and efficiency at trade level. Finalists for this award are chosen entirely by the PCR team and are not revealed to anyone until the awards night on Thursday March 17th. Judges will consider the following: • Commercial success • Marketing commitment and effectiveness • Customer service • Retail support • Commitment to driving the industry forward
Judges will consider the following criteria: • Channel relationships • Visibility • Commercial success
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PCR AWARDS 2011 LOBBYING GUIDE
Need to know When are the awards? Thursday March 17th at the Lancaster London Hotel When is the deadline for submissions? The deadline for nominating who you would like to see win a PCR Award is Friday November 26th.You can nominate your own company or a customer now by emailing Andrew.Wooden@intentmedia.co.uk, telling us why the company should be considered a Finalist. What is the judging process? The winner is voted for by the
Judging Panel, which consists of at least 100 highly regarded industry executives taken from all sectors of the business. Members of the Jury vote in confidence and the panel is only revealed after voting is complete. They cannot vote for themselves or associated companies. Tickets and Sponsorship Packages A variety of sponsorship packages are available now. Contact Carly.Bailey@intentmedia.co.uk to find out more. Table and ticket enquiries should be made to Hannah.Short@intentmedia.co.uk or call 01992 535 647.
Last year’s winners Over 300 retailers, resellers, distributors and vendors descended on Kensington's Royal Garden Hotel for the PCR Awards 2010, for an evening of celebration and networking at the only celebration that takes in every aspect of the trade Utopia Computers
Grand Prix – Microsoft
FRONTLINE Independent Retailer – Utopia Computers Retail Chain – John Lewis Store Manager – Neil Stewart, CCL Computers Online Retailer – Amazon Value Added Reseller – Stone Computers Service and Support – Geeks on Wheels DISTRBUTION Sales Team – EntaTech Marketing and PR – Gem Creative Specialist Distributor – Interactive Ideas Distributor of the Year – EntaTech VENDOR Software Publisher – Microsoft Hardware Manufacturer – Acer Gadget of the Year – Apple iPhone 3Gs Campaign of the Year – Microsoft – Windows 7 Specialist Vendor – Kingston Technology GRAND PRIX Microsoft
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PCR October 27
blazing Following a solid set of financials in its last financial year, Comet is refreshing its 250-strong store portfolio with a new look as part of its drive to give technology retail ‘more personality’. Andrew Wooden talks to head of marketing Bill Moir… “We really want to change our communication now so we come across as more accessible and friendly, and less corporate than we have been in the past – and that our competitors are.” Bill Moir, Comet
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Can you give us a run down of what the brand refresh involves? The main elements of it are about trying to shift our personality and our tone of voice in order to broaden our appeal and give customers more of what they want. There’s a change of logo, which will be rolling out to over 100 stores this side of Christmas. We’re also launching a new advertising campaign, including the new TV ad tagline ‘come and play’, inviting customers to come and try products in store and learn about technology. We’ve also been refreshing POS in our stores, so now there are bright colours all around. We’re changing the uniforms, which are still professional but they’re going to be less formal. We will be getting colleagues to take their ties and jackets
off and wear an open-necked shirt, which will be in a number of bright colours – green, blue and pink. It will bring some colour and life and fun into our stores, and make them a bit more welcoming and friendly. So it’s more of a lick of paint than a total overhaul? It’s changing our communications stance. We’re now communicating more of our personality to broaden our appeal. We actually are quite different in what we do, we just haven’t necessarily communicated that as effectively as we’d like. Why have you decided to do this now? A lot of it stems from research we did at the back end of last year. We asked about 2,000 customers how they use electricals
and what their attitude towards them is. They told us that they want to enjoy the shopping process more, and they want someone to really focus on the benefits of technology. A lot of people in the market today just talk about product features, and don’t actually translate them into customer benefits. What we’re learning from customers is that they really want someone to do that translation for them. We thought that was an ideal opportunity because we’re a full service company anyway. That’s how we’re changing our communication in store. What is it that differentiates Comet from the other major technology retail chains, Best Buy and Dixons? I don’t think anyone stands out particularly as having a personality.
The retail chain is increasingly focusing on staff training and its new, more casual, uniforms are designed to “bring colour and life” to the stores
This refresh is really focused on having a personality, as well as the knowledge. We’ve been making sure our colleagues are all well trained, and that means we can give excellent customer service; that’s something we’ve invested a lot in. I think we really want to change our communication now so we come across as more accessible and friendly, and less corporate than we have been in the past – and that our competitors are.
the UK. One of the things we want to do with the brand refresh is broaden our appeal, and attract a wider audience, so in that sense yes we do. And this refresh will help you take customers away from Dixons and Best Buy? Certainly I expect us to appeal to a wider set of customers, yes.
Do you think this ‘corporate’ stance is a put-off for shoppers? I think we’d like to be more engaging, we’d like to talk to them more on their level, use less jargon, less corporate language and be a bit more real. We certainly want to soften and broaden our approach by being more welcoming to people. If you look at the market as a whole, it can be quite functional in the way it communicates.
Are there any more store openings planned? Any other expansions here or abroad? We’ve been very active in terms of our store refits this year, and our focus is really making sure that our heartland stores are up to scratch and have all the latest interactive displays. We’re currently refitting our smaller core stores at the moment; 34 will be completed by Christmas and there’s a few store openings as well.
Can you grow to be a larger player in the UK market? We already are a large player in the market, we’re one of the top brands in
Will there be more next year? The plan this year has been really successful actually, so I imagine that will continue next year.
What products will be the major drivers at retail over the coming year? One of the biggest drivers this year obviously has been 3D TV, which has been hugely successful for us. I think as prices come down it’s going to get more and more popular. The iPad has been very successful, and I imagine that will continue into its first Christmas. The new range of iPods will be doing well, as they always do. There’s a couple of new things coming out which look like they’re going to perform well – such as the Microsoft Kinect and PlayStation Move.
buy into it as much as the tech industry is hoping it will? It has been very popular with us – we’ve sold thousands since it launched. It’s one of these stories that continues to grow and grow, as more things comes out to support it. The launch of the Sky TV channel will add more momentum to the 3D market. The launch of the Panasonic camcorder and other 3D cameras helps as well. There are more and more of these products launching on the market, which is keeping the growth going on 3D.
Do you think tablets will take over from netbooks? They take up a very similar space in the market. The main tablet at the moment is the iPad, and it’s still a lot more expensive than netbooks, so it’s not going to take over on its own, but you do have a lot of other products coming out with lower price points. It will start to steal from the netbook market, certainly.
Where do you see Comet in five years’ time? Our aim is to help people discover how technology can improve their lives. We’re focusing that on our communications, on how we grow a true multi-channel experience, and really driving our service message – that’s the key to making us go from strength to strength. We haven’t got any specifics about where we expect to be in terms of market share, but certainly in terms of what we need to do with the customer we’ve got a good plan.
You also mentioned 3D – do you think the general public is going to
Comet's new TV ads feature the 'come and play' tagline, and star 24 members of staff from across the country demonstrating products in a lighthearted and imaginative way
October PCR 29
SHOW PREVIEW INGRAM MICRO SHOWCASE
With solo trade exhibitions on the rise, Ingram Micro is looking to leverage its position as the largest IT distributor to show off its huge range of product lines with its Showcase event on Wednesday October 6th – and has booked out a series of London venues to host it. Andrew Wooden takes a look… THESE DAYS, many distributors and vendors put on unilateral exhibition events. While you’re not going to exert the same sort of pull as an industrywide trade extravaganza, if you can get enough people in the room, there are certainly advantages to being the only show in town. However, few of these solo gigs are quite as ambitious in terms of location as Ingram Micro’s Showcase – taking place around the London Eye, the London Film Museum, 360 Altitude, the Millbank Tower, the Cumberland Hotel and Carbon Bar. As the world’s largest IT distributor, Ingram Micro exerts influence and boasts a vendor range beyond that of many of its competitors – and so its solo events of the past have often seemed like mini-trade shows in their own right. Some of the bigger names booked for this year’s show, held on Wednesday October 6th, include Microsoft, Toshiba, Adobe, Sony, Kyocera, Blackberry, CA, Cisco, Trend Micro and Canon. And Ingram Micro itself is not being
30 PCR October
shy about the scale of its event. “The Ingram Micro Showcase will be the biggest IT Channel event of 2010, bringing together vendor partners and resellers to discuss a huge breadth of technologies and industry trends,” says Lewis Daniels, senior campaign manager for Ingram Micro.
create and cement productive relationships with useful contacts.” The distributor has also booked a string of key speakers for the event, including Andy Brocklehurst, Cisco’s regional sales manager for small business in the UK and Ireland; Microsoft’s SMB and distribution
“The Showcase’s key differentiator is the opportunity for resellers to attend VIP flights on the London Eye and network with leading channel representatives from our top vendor partners.” Lewis Daniels, Ingram Micro “We are confident that attendees will find it a great event to support and grow their business. It also gives resellers an exceptional opportunity for one-to-one meetings with Ingram Micro staff and key representatives from leading vendors. Events organised by a distributor body, such as Ingram Micro, allow resellers to make the most of the tangible benefits available at the show. These include exclusive offers and the opportunity to
director for SMS&P Simon Aldous; Symantec’s EMEA director of product marketing Kevin Bailey; Quocirca's senior analyst Clive Longbottom; GfK's business group director Greg West; Context co-founder Jeremy Davies and NBG’s MD Phylip Morgan. “The Showcase will highlight views of key speakers from all areas of the channel, giving attendees a unique opportunity to hear about the latest
industry developments,” adds Daniels. “This, coupled with information and demonstrations of the latest products and technologies, will give resellers and retailers the best and latest information, enabling them to grow their business in today’s competitive environment. Of course, a key differentiator is the opportunity for resellers to attend VIP flights on the London Eye and network with leading channel representatives from our top vendor partners.” The exhibition will be followed by an invite-only dinner, with an awards ceremony presented by comedian Hugh Dennis. While this is the first event of its kind and therefore something of an experiment for the distributor, it says it is committed to these types of shows going forward. “Ingram Micro realises the huge benefit of enabling face-to-face meetings and conversations between reseller and vendor partners that would not be possible without events such as Showcase, and we will continue to invest and work with key partners now and in the future,” Daniels concludes.
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Call our sales team on 0845 375 21 28 PCR October 31
PCR AWARD WINNERS ENTATECH
Double whammy We’ve been talking to the winners of this year’s PCR Awards to see how business has been since the ceremony earlier this year. This month, EntaTech’s commercial group vice president Jon Atherton discusses winning two of the prestigious prizes – the Sales Team award and Distributor of the Year… "This is a testament to EntaTech’s dedication, and supports our core strategy – an innovative and pioneering approach, which is fundamental to our success." Jon Atherton, EntaTech
ENTATECH is one of the UK’s leading IT distributors, providing hardware, software, networking and security products. At the PCR Awards 2010 we were lucky enough to win two prestigious categories – one of which (the Sales Team award) we have received for three consecutive years, which certainly supports the success of our company structure. Our aim is to be the first to supply innovative products from our vast portfolio through our friendly, knowledgeable staff, online e-commerce and account management facility. We assign customers their own dedicated account manager, with whom they can build a business relationship and have a personal point
of contact. Expert product specialists, who cover all our major categories such as CCTV or networking, can be contacted at all times for any specific need or query. The second PCR Award EntaTech won was Distributor of the Year, which we feel was partly down to our focus on constantly growing and evolving to meet the needs of our customers. We always seek to provide innovative products for the future, which will allow customers to maximise margins and potentially create other revenue opportunities. This, combined with our continuous marketing and sales support, differentiates us from the competition. Since the awards in March, EntaTech has witnessed strong growth,
now reaching a turnover of approximately £100 million, with an ever-expanding team of over 90 staff, including our dedicated product category specialists. EntaTech’s customer base also continues to grow, and we now deliver to over 2,000 customers each month. This is partnered with an everincreasing product portfolio, and the addition of more and more vendors, including many who distribute exclusively through us, such as Billion, Shuttle, Gainward and Swann Security. This is a true testament to EntaTech’s dedication, and supports our core strategy – an innovative and pioneering approach, which is fundamental to our success.
October PCR 33
PCR’s monthly look at the issues facing the retail sector
FRONTLINE Statistics and analysis about the month’s bestselling products and wider retail trends P 39
INDIE PROFILE We chat to Alan Stacey of Ottery Office and Computer in Devon P 40
MYSTERY SHOPPER PCR hist Solihull in search of an external hard drive
October PCR 35
RETAIL FOCUS FRONTLINE
From the Frontline This month Infinite Field Marketing has visited 250 stores across the nation to gather real ‘grass roots’ feedback and opinion on the bestselling products in-store and the issues affecting the industry... BACK TO SCHOOL PERIOD BOOSTS LAPTOP SALES LAPTOPS HAVE performed particularly well over the past month, boosted by the stream of kids and students heading back in to education. HP has two of its G62 notebooks in this month’s entry. The G62-105 is a fairly well specced machine, offering 250GB of storage powered by an Intel Core i3 processor and supported by three GB of RAM, which is expandable to eight GB if needed. The G62 a02SA on the other hand, utilises a dual core AMD Athlon processor with two GB of RAM and 250GB of storage. The entry of the Toshiba L650 is a first for these charts. It has a higher price point than the HP machines, but the device carries an Intel Core i5 processor with 250GB of storage and the minimum two GB of RAM required to run Windows 7. Dell’s Inspiron 1545 is a regular entry to the laptop charts. It’s a fairly solid device that has the added advantage of coming in a choice of colours. In the desktop chart, the top seller is the Compaq SG3. Currently available via Tesco Direct at the (possibly less than cost) price of £299. It carries a 2.7GHz AMD Athlon II X2 processor, backed up by four GB of RAM, 750 GB of storage and an ATi Radeon 3000 series graphics card. If I was a less scrupulous man, I’d say buy one and mark it up. Another interesting development in the sales charts is the entry of Kaspersky’s Antivirus 2011 in to the top selling security listing. This is the first of the ‘next generation’ of security software to enter our charts this year, but more will follow as the annual product refresh period continues. firstname.lastname@example.org
36 PCR October
2. TOSHIBA L650-12P
2 LOGITECH M215
3. HP G62 02 SA
3. LOGITECH MX3200
4. DELL INSPIRON 1545-GB
4. LOGITECH V150
5. ADVENT ECLIPSE
5. PC LINE WIRED MOUSE
NORTON 360 V4
2 HP SLIMLINE S5508 UK
2 KASPERSKY ANTIVIRUS 2011
3. ACER ASPIRE X3400-215
3. NORTON ANTI VIRUS 2010
4. PACKARD BELL IMEDIA 5202
4. AVG INTERNET SECURITY 9.0
5. APPLE IMAC
5. MCAFEE ANTIVIRUS PLUS 2010
MICROSOFT CURVE 2000
ATI RADEON HD5750
2 LOGITECH MK300
2 NVIDIA GEFORCE 9500GT
3. MICROSOFT WIRED
3. PNY NVIDIA GEFORCE GT240
4. LOGITECH COMPACT K300
4. ASUS ATI RADEON HD5570
5. LOGITECH ULTRAFLAT
5. BFG GEFORCE 9800 GT
RETAIL FOCUS FRONTLINE
Infinite FMS is a specialist field marketing provider delivering bespoke solutions purely for the technology sector. With over ten years experience, we understand how to support manufacturers with the execution of their below-the-line campaigns, ensuring brands are reinforced, product messages are effectively delivered and sales objectives are achieved. Our services include product training, compliance & data capture, promotion & demonstration activity, Mystery Shopping & Roadshows. To learn more about how we can support you, please contact us on 01793 686504 or visit our website at www.infinitefms.com
Do you think Apple is going to become a much more dominant force in the technology market? An overwhelming majority of respondents think that Apple will become even more dominant in the IT market than it already is. Having grown to almost monopolise the MP3 player market, successfully opening up the tablet sector to the mass consumer market, and currently driving widespread HTML5 adoption, Apple certainly has a track record in market dominance. Yes 68% No 22% Don’t know 10%
NEWS BYTES EMPTY SHOP FIGURES REVEAL NORTH-SOUTH DIVIDE The increase in the number of retail vacancies in Great Britain is slowing, but the North is faring worse than the South, according to research from The Local Data Company. Town centre vacancy rates have risen from just over 12 per cent at the end of 2009, to 13 per cent at the end of June 2010. While stores in London and the South East are holding up comparatively well, large northern and Midland cities are suffering more retail closures.
JOHN LEWIS REPORTS STRONG HALF-YEAR PERFORMANCE
KEY RETAILER COMMENTS
John Lewis has revealed its results for the first half of 2010, reporting strong gross sales results of £1.4 billion, an improvement of 14.5 per cent. Like-forlike sales grew by 12.3 per cent, while overall operating profit was boosted by £15.6 million – representing growth of 76.8 per cent. John Lewis’ online trade also grew by 36.1 per cent. “John Lewis traded well ahead of expectations, with johnlewis.com growing at twice the market rate and excellent growth in fashion,” said the chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, Charlie Mayfield.
DIXONS SALES RISE SLIGHTLY
“Apple is doing extremely well, the iPad is selling out fast, but you still really need a PC as well.”
Dixons Retail's total group and like-for like sales were up three per cent for the 12 weeks ending July 24th. The retail giant, still technically known as DSGI, claimed its UK operation gained market share thanks to the World Cup and the iPad. Total internet sales were up 12 per cent, apparently driven by ‘multichannel’ and reserve and collect’. The partnership with Phones4U is also taking shape, with the group announcing that 50 mobile store-in-stores to be open in time for Christmas.
“Laptops are big at the moment due to the fact it is the back to school period.” “Sales are good. And we are about to start to see things get even better. It’s a good time to be a customer.“ “Sony E series laptops are good, as they are giving students the Microsoft package; competitors should follow suit.”
KESA ELECTRICALS ENJOY A Q1 REVENUE BOOST
“Great stuff on the market at the moment, Intel i3 is selling well.”
Kesa Electricals has revealed that it grew its revenue by 8.2 per cent during the first quarter, driven by a successful campaign to push HD and 3D TV sales during the World Cup. In addition, the company experienced 28 per cent growth in web generated sales, with strong double digit increases in all markets, especially France.
October PCR 37
Welcome to the Green Zone NEW Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 & Anti-Virus 2011
Koch Media have been working with Kaspersky Labs Ĩor over ϯ ǇearƐ and theǇ ƉůaǇ a crƵciaů Ɖart in ƐƵƉƉorƟng oƵr brand within the retail, online and independent sectors 'eŽī radůey cƟng ,ead oĨ Zetail
Come to PC Indie for all your Kaspersky 2011 requirements
COMING SOON : Kaspersky MicroSite launching Nov 2010
RETAIL FOCUS OTTERY OFFICE & COMPUTER
Indie Profile This month Roger Humm talks to Alan Stacey, managing director of Ottery Office and Computer in Devon…
OTTERY is now in its eighth year and continues to be the neighbourhood ‘one stop shop’ for small business operators and the home office user. “We provide local essential office supplies, products and services from pens and paper to all computer-related equipment,” says MD Alan Stacey. In this ever-changing environment Stacey is continually looking for new ways to improve the service and product range. Ottery currently has a staff of six, who Stacy claims are all enthusiastic in their approach to customer service and always prepared to go the extra mile. The main face behind the counter is Maggie Stacey, who looks after the stationery and consumables side of the business. Since Ottery was founded in 2002, many improvements have been made to the shop floor area and layout of the displays. The workshop can handle repairs of up to five PCs and three laptops at any one time, and the store has plans to improve the workspace so that it makes workflow more efficient. “We are extremely proud of our main PC repair technician, Tom Heath, as he is not only very good at what he does, but he has done test studies for Gigabyte and had results published,” Stacey comments.
Recently, Ottery has also introduced a t-shirt, mouse mat and mug printing service. In August, the store also began selling pay as you go Vodafone Cameraphone Zone devices.
Year established: 2002 Number of outlets: 1 Number of staff: 6 Regular vendor lines: AMD, Brother, Canon, Epson, Gigabyte, HP, Intel, JetTec, Microsoft, Solwise & Sony Contact name and address: Alan Stacey, Ottery Office & Computer Limited, 28 Mill Street, Ottery St. Mary, Devon EX11 1AD Telephone: 01404 814 946 Email: email@example.com Website: www.otteryoffice.com Roger Humm is Head of Membership Relations at Brigantia Computer Experts – firstname.lastname@example.org
RETAIL FOCUS MYSTERY SHOPPER
Solihull This month our ever-hard-to-please Mystery Shopper is looking for an external hard drive to back up media and data, and potentially stream content to a TV…
HOUSE OF FRASER - TEC7 I HAD been looking around the Tec 7 section of the store for a few minutes and couldn’t see any HDD units anywhere, when I was approached by a member of staff who politely asked whether I needed any assistance. I told him what I was after and he retrieved a 1TB Toshiba external hard drive from behind the sales desk, costing £89.99. He told me this was the only one in stock. “I would like the option to stream movies and music if possible,” I said. He said it wasn’t sure anything like that was available. A colleague remarked that he thought I would probably be able to find one in the local Currys.
40 PCR October
RETAIL FOCUS MYSTERY SHOPPER
Turn the page for more Mystery Shopper results
The first assistant tapped busily away on the internet to search for a product fitting my requirements. “I’ve found one on Play.com, its a 1TB multimedia HDD unit by Dane-Elec for £119.99,” he said. During my visit I received little in the way of useful information regarding external hard drives, and I was a little shocked to find a sales person openly referencing an online shopping site rather than talking up the benefits of what they had SCORE available in store. Helpful to me, but maybe not to the Tec 7 bottom line.
I EASILY found the HDD display at the end of an aisle. As I began to examine the range a member of staff came over, but rather than asking if I needed any help, he promptly picked up a crate and began replenishing the shelves. After a brief search I found a trio of sales assistants gathered together, so I approached them. One of them walked back to the HDD display with me. “Would you want the HDD to be portable?” he asked. “The more portable devices are smaller and neater in style and would only need a USB cable to power them. The larger units are more for desktop usage and need to be plugged in.” I replied that I simply wanted the best option. The sales assistant informed me that he felt Western Digital was probably the best brand because of the reviews on the Tesco website. “The reviews are independent – you can visit the site and read what real customers thought about their purchase and experiences,” he told me, adding that he himself used a WD hard drive and had had no problems. I asked about protection, and he started to look for the relevant information on the display models, which was not easy as they were all in plastic cases. He couldn’t find anything about security on the WD products, so we looked at other brands. Both Hitachi and Iomega clearly stated how the user could back up content and create password protection if needed. The staff member helping me was knowledgeable and happy to offer his experience in support of a sale. He asked questions to ascertain my needs and the product range available was comparable to other stores. The combination of low prices and the SCORE information provided would have definitely encouraged me to buy.
I HAD a good look at the range of HDDs displayed in three distinct areas of the store. There was a promotional aisle end stocked with Seagate models and standard shelves containing multiple boxed products from Iomega, Western Digital, EMTEC, Slingbox and Netgear. Above this was an out of box display, which allowed customers to handle units. Memory sizes ranged from 320GB to 4TB and prices were between £44.99 and £389.99. Netgear’s EVA9100 Digital Express Media Player (£99.97) and EVA9150 Digital Entertainment Elite Media Player (discounted £180 to £149.97) were highlighted on a separate aisle end. A sales assistant approached me, but didn’t ask any questions as to what I might want an external hard drive for, so I explained. With this information he proceeded to tell me that “using them is as easy as dragging and dropping”, assuming I understood what he meant. I hinted at the potential for streaming media and my concerns with protection, to which the member of staff reviewed the packaging and recited the key relevant points from each, stopping at the Iomega HD Media Player and informing me this would be suitable. I specifically asked about the great offer being made on the EVA9150, with its mega saving of £180. All he said was, “Yeah, looks like it will do it”, as he looked at the back of the box – but no further information followed. This was a disappointing visit. With a wealth of products and no particular budget, the options were endless – I would have loved to have heard about data encryption, or maybe streaming to a separate computer when I am away from home. The potential SCORE to get me excited about these products was completely missed.
October PCR 41
RETAIL FOCUS MYSTERY SHOPPER
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.
THE PRODUCTS in this Store were in protective cases to prevent theft, but the hazy plastic stopped me from reading anything about them. I browsed the display, looking at Seagate, Western Digital and Iomega products with prices from £39.99 to £199.99, and sizes from 250GB to 1TB. I located a member of staff and he began by asking simple questions as to why I wanted a HDD and what I would do with it. He explained that Western Digital was the favoured range in Currys and most stores carried a good selection. After I enquired about streaming media, I was told that all the WD units in stock only had USB ports and I would need an HDMI connection or wi-fi. “Netgear has brought out a new wireless storage box with HDD,” he suggested. “We don’t have it in stock here but I’m sure the Wednesbury store would have it, or PC World over the road.” I asked about protecting and backing up my data. The assistant pointed out what was on the boxes – that most of them had password protection and backup facilities. He didn’t elaborate any further. I was given reasonable advice regarding the WD products, but no comparisons were made to other brands. Storage size was never SCORE mentioned despite the member of staff knowing I was going to store movies.
THE HDD display was clearly signposted, if a little untidy. The available products included Omega and LaCie, with prices ranging from £49.99 to £129.99, and sizes from 320GB to 1TB. An assistant came over and offered his help. Once he understood what I was asking for, he recommended Iomega products as they’d received positive reviews in Which? reports. “If you want to stream media you have stored, an Xbox might be the best option. You’ll need the Media Centre Extender kit to do this though – a quick search on the internet will explain what you need.” I found all this interesting but what I needed was already on the shelf and hadn’t been spotted – the Omega Screen Play HD Media Player 1TB priced at £129.99. Finally noticing the relevant product, the member of staff talked me through the information described on the packaging. “This could be a viable alternative to an Xbox,” he said. I had hoped for more detail during my conversation – useful information regarding the Which? Award winners and what made them the best was not offered. With the variety of products available I SCORE expected much more and felt this was definitely a missed sales opportunity.
AFTER I requested some assistance from the customer service desk, an assistant came over looking keen and eager to offer his advice. “Good afternoon, I understand you would like help with hard drive products,” he said. Viewing the HDD display, he pointed out a 1TB Iomega model. “If you wanted to stream anything you would need to go for an HDD with media drive capability,” I was told. This simply meant I could connect it to a TV or Laptop using an HDMI cable and be able to view, watch or listen to whatever was stored on it. “The Iomega range offers reliability and good value, and the other brands wouldn’t be able to connect up like Iomega. For instance, if you chose a Western Digital unit you would need a separate streaming device as well,” the sales assistant said. I prompted him to advise me about what sort of protection I might get with an HDD device. He reassured me that nearly all of them came with backup protection and password protection if needed. The information I received was simple and to the point. I was given appropriate advice that met my request and SCORE I would have purchased, but I would have liked an overview of a few products in more detail.
[SUMMARY] With a wide variety of external hard drives to choose from it was interesting to see that only a few selected brands were recommended by store staff. Many of the sales assistants I spoke to found it necessary to read information directly from the product packaging, which in the dedicated stores was more than a little disappointing.
42 PCR October
Currys’ apparent favour towards Western Digital products was interesting, particularly as the devices didn’t cover all my needs. Meanwhile, John Lewis’ recommendation of an Xbox when I had gone in for an HDD was somewhat bizarre, considering that the store did stock exactly the sort of product I was looking for. Tesco put on a good show – they could
take on the dedicated stores with a little more focus, but Comet was the obvious winner, with a decent solution backed up by good knowledge and straightforward conversation. Over all, the visit was slightly disappointing, and a few of the stores could have stocked a wider range of HDDs.
THE NEW ARRIVALS... now showing at vip computers
Contact the VIP Sales team on 0871 622 7500 or buy online at www.vip-computers.com/uk © Copyright VIP Computer Centre Limited. 2010. Information correct at time of publication E&OE
Hardware PCRâ€™s monthly look at recent developments in the hardware market
DISPLAYS Following a major drive for HD adoption and the introduction of innovative technologies such as 3D, the display market has enjoyed a return to growth. PCR takes a look at this flourishing sector
ÂŠ Copyright VIP Computer Centre Limited. 2010. Information correct at time of publication E&OE
As the digital storage market diverges between cloud and hardware-based solutions, we examine key products in this important and changing market
Having observed a 200 per cent rise over the last year, GfKâ€™s account executive Mehryar Hamid looks at the reasons behind the growth of ther media gateway and network accessed storage market
AMD Phenomâ„˘ II X6 1055T AM3 Processor
AMD Phenomâ„˘ II X6 1090T AM3 Processor Black Edition
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Sales: 0871 622 7500 www.vip-computers.com/uk
Cases t CPUs t Displays t Flash Memory t Hard Drives t Networking t Notebooks t Peripherals t Software t Video Cards
Notebook Accessories, Prices Worth taking Note of! Why is it Important to Buy a Notebook Cooler? A notebook cooler isn’t an expensive investment, but it could turn out to be an expensive mistake if not purchased... By keeping a notebook cool, its lifespan can be prolonged by preventing the adverse effects of heat from happening. Not only that, but a cooler notebook is a better performing notebook – heat causes notebooks to stutter and struggle. With a Notebook Cooler, these issues are addressed, and what’s more, notebook coolers offer valuable extra margin. Antec offer the most complete range of Notebook Coolers on the market, check out these great prices: Notebook Cooler Mini - VIP Code: 102630 USB powered 80mm blower quietly cools & ﬁts notebooks up to 17”. Notebook Cooler Designer - VIP Code: 102631 110mm blower quietly operates at 800RPM & ﬁts Mac or PC notebooks up to 15”. Notebook Cooler - VIP Code: 0489 Low power consumption, USB powered cooler operates at just 25.9dB. Notebook Cooler S - VIP Code: 173556 Light weight, low power consumption, USB powered cooler. Notebook Cooler 200 - VIP Code: 100458 200mm Antec Big Boy fan with 2 speed settings & blue LED illumination.
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Why Choose Antec for your Next Power Supply? When it comes to power supplies, Antec know what they are doing. They make power supply units for laptops and desktops, and also have a range of Notebook Power Adapters. Make sure you take advantage of some great prices: NP 100-GB Notebook Power Adapter (100W) – VIP Code: 255608 A versatile notebook power adapter that works with virtually any notebook. NP 90-GB Notebook Power Adapter (90W) - VIP Code: 102627 Compatible with models from Dell, Toshiba, Acer, HP, Sony, Fujitsu, Compaq, ASUS & more. NP 65-GB Notebook Power Adapter (65W) - VIP Code: 102628 Compatible with models from Dell, Toshiba, Acer, HP, Sony, Fujitsu, Compaq, ASUS & more.
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Contact the VIP Sales team on 0871 622 7500 or buy online at www.vip-computers.com/uk © Copyright VIP Computer Centre Limited. 2010. Information correct at time of publication E&OE
HARDWARE STORAGE SOLUTIONS
CONTACTS CMS Peripherals: 020 8960 6000 EntaTech: 0333 101 1000 Gem Distribution: 01279 822 822 Hama: 0845 230 4262 Interactive Ideas: 020 8805 1000 KMS Components: 02920 713 713 Meroncourt: 01462 680060 Peak Development: 01489 796979 Realtime Distribution: 01480 435 881 Spire Technology: 01202 828444
VIP Computers: 0871 622 7500
FUJITSU 500GB 3.5-INCH EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE
SRP: £31.50 Distributor: KMS Components They say: Fujitsu Siemens HDD and storage device technology continues to push mobile PCs, automotive applications and consumer electronic devices to new performance heights
Specs: 500GB capacity, USB interface, 7200rpm rotation speed, 32MB cache
The external storage market is at an interesting stage. Many users are turning to the cloud to keep their files safe, while others remain dedicated to physical backup solutions. Nicky Trup takes a look at this changing sector… “The advantage of USB sticks is that they can be used anywhere. They are a small, safe and secure way to transfer data from one computer to another or simply to back up important data.” Daniel Bennett, Realtime Distribution
WHEN SONY announced earlier this year that it intends to stop selling floppy disks in March 2011, most of us shared a nostalgic smile, before giving a collective shrug and asking, ‘so what?’ The technology has become so irrelevant that many were unaware that the 3.5-inch disks were still being sold. The obvious reason for floppy disks’ banishment to the world of defunct technologies – along with CRT monitors and cassette tapes – has been the rise of newer alternatives. According to IDC, the external disk storage market experienced 18.6 per cent year-on-year growth in the first half of 2010, which the analyst firm
believes shows ‘continued customer investment and importance’ placed on the external memory market. While many consumers now keep an external hard drive at home for backing up important documents and media files, the most common storage product is undoubtedly the USB flash drive, with everyone from school children to professionals carrying one. “The advantage of USB sticks is that they can be used anywhere. They are a small, safe and secure way to transfer data from one computer to another or simply to back up important data,” says Realtime Distribution’s product manager Daniel Bennett.
What if it gets lost? Here in the UK, the Government and public sector bodies seem to lose the personal data of hundreds of Brits on a worryingly frequent basis, with a lost USB stick being blamed more than once. Bennett says that files on encrypted USB sticks are as protected as ‘paper in a safe’, but another growing alternative is cloud-based storage. The worldwide storage software market generated revenues of nearly $3 billion in Q2 this year, up 3.3 per cent on the same period in 2009, IDC figures show. While this does seem like impressive year-on-year growth, it is a 2.3 per cent decrease
October PCR 47
HARDWARE STORAGE SOLUTIONS
SANDISK ULTRA BACKUP
SRP: £26.99 (8GB) – £177.99 (64GB) Distributors: Gem Distribution, Peak, Hama They say: The first USB flash drive with a backup button. No wires. No fuss. Just an easier way to protect your favourite photos, videos, songs and more
SANDISK MICROSD AND MICROSDHC SRP: £7.99 (2GB) – £143.99 (32GB) Distributors: Gem Distribution, Peak, Hama
Specs: Available in four sizes from 8GB to 64GB, password protection, AES hardware encryption and backup button
They say: About a quarter of the size of an SD card, specifically designed for use with ultra-small mobile phones and other devices Specs: Available in five sizes from 2GB to 32GB, can withstand a ten-foot drop, compatible with a range of devices
BUFFALO TECHNOLOGY MINISTATION LITE
SRP: £59.99 (320GB), £79.99 (500GB) Distributor: Meroncourt, EntaTech
SRP: £39.95 Distributors: Gem Distribution, Interactive Ideas, CMS Peripherals They say: Designed to make backing up and recovering files, folders, email, Windows 7 libraries, or even a user’s complete system, easier than before
ACRONIS TRUE IMAGE HOME 2011
CORSAIR FLASH VOYAGER GTR SRP: £84.99 (32GB), £259.99 (128GB) Distributor: Realtime Distribution
Specs: Online backup, drag and drop shortcut, integrated with Windows 7, wizards and one-click protection to help users configure the best settings for their needs
They say: Rugged, stylish, compact, and reliable – ideal for transporting MP3s, digital images, presentations and more Specs: Available in 32GB and 128GB capacities, up to 34MB/s read speed, up to 28MB/s write speeds, rugged design, USB 2.0 and 1.1 compatible
They say: Store, back up and transport digital images, music and other files without taking up space on your PC’s hard drive Specs: USB powered, 320GB and 500GB capacities, automatic sync option and both PC and Mac compatible
CORSAIR FLASH SURVIVOR – 32GB SRP: £84.99 Distributor: Realtime Distribution
They say: Flash Survivor is an extremely durable, water resistant, drop-tested flash USB memory drive Specs: 32GB capacity, encased in aircraft-grade aluminium, water resistant to 200m, vibration and impact protection, USB extension cable and dog tags included
from Q1 2010, perhaps representing a wariness from some customers. Paul Turner, sales manager at Spire Technology, agrees that physical and cloud storage are likely to be used sideby-side. “Demand for storage size is increasing. With growing confidence in the cloud and storage limits keeping up with this demand, I feel the two will complement each other,” he comments. “I think businesses are hesitant about posting confidential information in the
cloud. This will change when overall confidence grows in security.” “In my experience people prefer to keep a hard copy on a USB stick. This means they don’t have to go online to access the data, and ensures that the files are secure and not in cloud storage, which is open to hackers,” adds Lucy Newcombe, KMS Components’ purchasing product manager and memory specialist. However, potential security threats are not the only drawback to some
online storage services. “Certain cloud storage facilities have restrictions on file sizes,” notes VIP product manager Darren Jackson. “Until people have fibre access at home, and until they can truly benefit from super fast broadband, I believe storing data on HDDs or flash will continue.” Storage products are not just for backing up documents and files. Memory cards are an invaluable accessory to digital cameras. Leading memory vendors SanDisk and Kingston
“People prefer to keep a hard copy on a USB stick. This means they don’t have to go online to access data, and ensures that files are secure and not in cloud storage, which is open to hackers.” Lucy Newcombe, KMS
October PCR 49
HARDWARE STORAGE SOLUTIONS
SANDBERG FINGERPRINT HARD DISK BOX 2.5
SRP: £24.99 Distributor: Interactive Ideas They say: A unique way of ensuring that only you have access to your personal data and information Specs: USB 2.0 interface, supports 2.5-inch HDDs, aluminium material with plastic frame, fingerprint verification and backup button
KINGSTON DATATRAVELER 102 – 8GB SRP: £12.99 Distributor: Spire Technology, EntaTech
SEAGATE FREEAGENT GO – 1TB SRP: £116.60 Distributor: VIP Computers
They say: The ultimate portable storage solution with the world’s first hard drive docking station for easy access to all your stuff
They say: For quick and convenient storage, sharing and transferring of data
Specs: 2.5-inch external HDD, 1TB capacity, USB 2.0 interface, automatic backup and encryption technology
Specs: 8GB capacity, plug and play, five-year warranty
ISTORAGE DISKGENIE SRP: From £79 Distributor: CMS Peripherals
They say: The world’s most secure, compact and affordable portable hard drive
LIVEDRIVE ONLINE BACKUP SRP: £36 Distributor: VIP Computers
Specs: Available in five sizes from 250GB to 750GB, 128 or 256-bit AES hardware encryption, PIN code access, USB 2.0 connection, brute force hack defence, allows up to ten passkeys
Specs: Online backup, no limit on storage space or bandwidth, secure web portal, military grade encryption, easy restore at any time, both PC and Mac compatible
believe the most exciting development in the sector has been the introduction of extended capacity SD memory cards. “The big news in the card storage market is the SDXC standard, which breaks the capacity limitations of SDHC. With a capacity of 32GB, the limit for these cards is now set at 2TB. Big amounts of data require fast speeds to transfer it in reasonable time and to provide the ability to seamlessly capture extremely high quality content,” says Steve Hall,
50 PCR October
CNM MISTRAL 250GB 2.5-INCH EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE
SRP: £27.79 Distributor: KMS Components
They say: Takes minutes to install, and works silently in the background to backup your files as you work
“The ultra-thin tablet and mobile computer markets are expected to experience tremendous growth over the coming years, and advanced platforms will introduce new requirements for storage solutions.” Nikki Willcock, SanDisk
They say: Easy installation and lightweight design makes the Mistral drive an excellent partner for all your portable storage needs Specs: 250GB capacity, 5400rpm rotation speed, 8MB cache, includes over £90 worth of free software
Kingston Technology’s EMEA product development manager. “The new SD card is ideal for capturing and storing massive 1080p high-definition video files and transferring them quickly to a computer,” adds SanDisk’s regional marketing manager, Nikki Willcock. The storage sector is also set to cash in on the tablet boom. “The ultra-thin tablet and mobile computer markets are expected to experience tremendous growth over the coming years, and
advanced platforms will introduce new requirements for storage solutions,” suggests Willcock. “The new embedded SSDs are smaller than a postage stamp and offer higher capacities and performance than existing storage solutions. The SanDisk iSSD is designed for use in tablet PCs and ultra-thin notebooks.” As demand for more content and media grows, so too it seems, has the industry’s ability to provide new ways of storing it.
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Not only is the A3 market continuing to grow, but Brother is investing €10 million across Europe on a fully integrated campaign (including TV, press, outdoor, online and more) to promote the highly successful A3 multifunction inkjet printer range to small business owners.
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The campaign will tell customers just how much of a difference affordable A3 printing, faxing, copying and scanning can make to their business – and with demand about to take off even more, it’s a great opportunity to make a big difference to your business too.
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www.exspect.co.uk UK - 01782 74 87 32 Non UK - 0044 1782 74 87 21 Due to the company’s policy of constant improvement, the company reserves the right to alter speciﬁcation. “Exspect” and the Exspect logos” are registered trademarks of GEM Distribution Ltd. All trademarks and copyrights are property of their respective owners. ‘iPhone” is a registered trademark of Apple Inc. This product is not licensed or endorsed by Apple Inc.
CONTACTS BLUEPOINT: 0844 571 8001 HANNSG: 0871 666 0850 KMS COMPONENTS: 02920 713713 MIDWICH: 01379 649200 SPIRE TECHNOLOGY: 01202 828444 VIP COMPUTERS: 0871 622 7500
SAMSUNG BX2240W LED MONITOR
SRP: £184 Distributor: Midwich They say: Stunning, seamless motion imaging presents movies, games, and internet streamed content with precision and without motion judder, blurring or ghosting
All on display
Specs: 22-inch LED monitor, 5ms response time, 1680 x 1050 resolution, ultra-slim design
With new technologies such as 3D and multi-monitor gaming moving from niche markets into the mainstream, the PC monitor sector is set to cash in. Nicky Trup takes a look… “3D will become mainstream very soon, but not with glasses. I am confident that the technology to bypass glasses will be available in the near future.” Asad Verona, Bluepoint
DESPITE WHAT some may think, the PC display sector is alive and well. According to GfK Retail and Technology, over two million units were sold in the UK in 2009, and figures for the second quarter of 2010 suggest sales were up slightly on the same period last year. As new technologies mature and a wider selection of quality content
becomes available, users will look to upgrade their displays. The biggest new tech to really break through in 2010 has undoubtedly been 3D, with every major name vendor rushing to talk it up and provide the hardware and software to cater to this growing market. According to Gary Baldwin, Asus’ LCD country product manager, there are now over 400 games that work with
3D vision, with publishers like EA heavily investing in the sector. “The forecasts for 3D TVs is 2.5 million units in 2010, growing to 27 million in 2013. This is a clear indication that 3D is here to stay,” he says. Midwich business manager Lee Baker agrees: “Our consumer electronics division is doing a roaring trade in
October PCR 55
HANNSG HL231 SRP: £159 Distributor: Direct
They say: Combines the energy efficiency and design advantages of LED technology with HannsG’s own proprietary display technologies Specs: 23-inch widescreen TFT display, LED backlight, 17.5mm thick, unique sloping design on the back, black mirror finish, anti-glare surface, 1920 x 1080 resolution
HANNSG HW173A SRP: £74 Distributor: Bluepoint
They say: Bursts with delicious images in vibrant colours and compelling brilliance Specs: 17-inch LCD widescreen, active matrix TFT, 1440 x 900 resolution, anti-glare surface
ACER ASPIRE GD245HQ 3D MONITOR SRP: £305 Distributor: Bluepoint
They say: The radical design, ultra-high performance and immersive 3D visuals take gaming to the next dimension
SRP: £279 DISTRIBUTOR: Direct
Specs: 23.6-inch widescreen LCD display, 3Dready, TFT active matrix, 1920 x 1080 resolution, 2ms response time, inbuilt stereo speakers
They say: Displays HD content in its true entirety, delivering crisp, sharp images without lag for the best multimedia experience Specs: 28-inch widescreen, active matrix TFT, 1920 x 1200 resolution, glossy black finish, anti-glare surface
>>> 3D televisions and peripherals. In terms of PC displays, gaming is clearly a big market opportunity and Nvidia has already been pushing it for some time,” he notes. The Consumer Electronics Association is currently working with leading manufacturers including Sony and Samsung to create a universal standard for infrared active shutter glasses, so they can be used
56 PCR October
interchangeably across all brands. The trade body recently told PCR that the technology would not have massmarket appeal until this was achieved, but Bluepoint’s product manager Asad Verona takes the idea even further. “3D will become mainstream very soon, but not with glasses,” he claims. “I am confident that the technology to bypass glasses will be available in the near future.”
Indeed, Philips and Dutch firm Dimenco showcased their glasses-free 3D technology at the IFA show in Berlin last month, promising a professional display for sale within the coming months. Martin Kent, Hannspree UK’s territory manager for the UK and Northern Europe, believes that while 3D will be the future of the display sector, there are plenty of advantages to
the current generation of products. “LED technology allows for lower power consumption [than LCD], and LED displays have less hazardous and more recyclable materials to cater for the environmentally-friendly market trend,” he comments. “LED technology also helps to reduce the overall thickness of a monitor, which translates into better looking, slimmer designs.”
HKC 2249A 23.6-INCH LCD MONITOR
SRP: £119.25 Distributor: KMS Components SPECS: 23.6-inch widescreen LCD display, 1920 x 1080 resolution, 2ms response time, multimedia speakers, 16.7 million colours
HKC 2219A 21.6-INCH LCD MONITOR SRP: £93.99 Distributor: KMS Components
Specs: 21.6-inch widescreen LCD display, 1920 x 1080 resolution, 2ms response time, multimedia speakers, 16.7 million colours
SRP: £210.99 Distributor: VIP Computers They say: Asus Smart Contrast Ratio Technology automatically adjusts the luminance of the backlight for better displays according to the image contents Specs: 23.6-inch widescreen LCD display, 1920 x 1080 resolution, glossy piano-black front bezel, built-in stereo speakers, cable manager, game mode brings up hard-tosee areas
SRP: £459.99 Distributor: VIP Computers They say: Enter an immersive three-dimensional full HD 1080p world of games and movies Specs: 23-inch widescreen monitor, 3D-ready , 1920 x 1080 resolution, 2ms response time, compatible with Nvidia 3D Vision kit
“Schools look for hard glass over the normal screens to avoid damage by students. It also has better visibility compared to normal screens.” Martin Kent, Hannspree
One technology that is seeing its popularity grow among dedicated gamers is multi-monitor gaming. KMS Components’ product manager and display specialist Kie Cooper says tech such as ATI’s Eyefinity, which was unveiled last year, can give players a competitive edge. “Eyefinity allows the field of view to be spread across three or more monitors, giving greater scope,” he says. “For the more avid gamer, by combining Eyefinity
with ATI’s Crossfire technology, this can be expanded across a panel of up to an 24 monitors.” But the market for monitors is, of course, not limited to gamers and home PC users. According to Verona, some features appeal more to the education sector. “Schools look for hard glass over the normal screens to avoid damage by students. It also has better visibility compared to normal screens,” he says.
Kent adds: “We put great efforts into R&D to tackle niche requirements. HannsG is one of the only manufacturers to produce hard glass monitor solutions, which offer protection from wear and tear, ultimately increasing a monitor’s life span. These monitors are favourites with schools and establishments with public computer suites, such as libraries, which endure a lot of prodding and poking.
October PCR 57
HARDWARE GRAPHICS CARDS
EDGE 10 T171 17-INCH LCD MONITOR SRP £139.83 Distributor: Spire Technology
They say: The special glass improves the visual experience to the user by raising the colour intensity and enhancing the sharpness of the image.
EDGE 10 T193 19-INCH WIDESCREEN LCD MONITOR SRP: £120 Distributor: Spire Technology, Bluepoint
They say: The ideal monitor for schools and colleges that need an affordable widescreen LCD monitor with toughened glass
Specs: 17-inch TFT LCD display, 8ms response time, 1280 x 1024 resolution, integrated speakers, VGA and DVI interface
Specs: 19-inch widescreen TFT LCD monitor, 5ms response time, 1440 x 900 resolution, integrated speakers, VGA interface
IIYAMA PROLITE LED E2472HDD SRP: £206 Distributor: Midwich
THEY SAY: Combines all the benefits and improvements LED technology offers, including energy saving, panel uniformity and improved life expectancy SPECS: 24-inch LED HD display, 1920 x 1080 resolution, 2ms response time, slimline design, triple input connectivity
LG M197WD SRP: £159 Distributor: Midwich
They say: You’ll get the most from your monitor whether you’re using it for a TV or PC, listening to music, gaming, or watching films Specs: 19-inch LCD Monitor, widescreen format, 1366 x 766 resolution, built-in Freeview, two HDMI inputs, multimedia speaker, 5ms response time
“There are many additional monitor markets, nearly all of which have specific requirements. Other fields of application include military and industrial, which have set standards that have to be met when making purchasing decisions.” In terms of the basic selling points of any monitor, VIP Computers’ product manager Mark Lynch claims it tends to come down to two key aspects – resolution and response time. “With more and more people watching movies on their PCs, monitor resolutions that support full
58 PCR October
HD movies are becoming a must. And with gaming becoming more popular, and games becoming so fast paced, response times have to be fast to keep up,” he says. “Other than screen size, the major selling points of PC displays include multimedia capabilities, connectivity, ergonomics, response rates, contrast and USPs such as robust hard glass, LED technology and energy saving innovations,” adds Baker. “It is very important that retailers can clearly explain the benefit of choosing a display for its features and functionality rather than its price.”
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©2010 Lexar Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Information is subject to change without notice. Lexar, the Lexar logo, JumpDrive and When Memory Matters are trademarks of Lexar Media, Inc. Crucial, and the Crucial logo are trademarks of Micron Technology, Inc. All other trademarks, registered trademarks and service marks are property of their respective owners. Lexar Media, Inc. is a subsidiary of Micron Technology, Inc. Promotion participants will be responsible for all taxes. Award recipients waive any and all claims of liability and hereby release, indemnify and hold harmless Lexar Media, Inc. and its afﬁliates, subsidiaries, distributors, advertising and promotional agencies for any loss, accident or injury occurring as a result or consequence of this program or any award received through the program. Lexar Media, Inc. reserves the right to add, modify or delete any of the policies and/or awards at any time, with or without prior notice. No substitutions allowed. Neither Lexar Media, Inc. nor Crucial is not responsible for omissions or errors in typography or photography.
HARDWARE MERONCOURT COMPANY PROFILE
Order in the
court Despite its relatively small size, Meroncourt Europe is a global player in the tech channel. From its origins as a provider of technical support and refurbished imaging products, the distributor now offers a broad range of devices across a variety of sectors. Commercial director Steve Walsh tells Nicky Trup about the firm’s recipe for success…
SO FAR, 2010 has been a busy year for Meroncourt Europe. Since January the distributor has added seven new vendors to its portfolio, and is due to launch a number of new ranges into the market before Christmas. The Hertfordshire-based firm has come a long way from the early days when it simply acted as a customer service centre for imaging vendor Agfa. “Michael Mason formed the company in 1993 and I joined in the first week as a consultant for the business and I’ve been here every since,” says sales director Steve Walsh. Back then there were only a handful of staff, but the firm quickly grew as it began to offer refurbished Agfa products. “That’s when customers started asking what else we could sell them – new stuff and current lines,” says Walsh. “And then [peripherals vendor] Speedlink approached us and asked if we could represent them in the UK.”
Since signing Speedlink, Meroncourt has landed exclusive deals with vendors including Sitecom, Roccat, Ozone and more recently Ricatech (see Marketplace News, p. 96), as well as a non-exclusive agreement with storage specialist Buffalo Technology. So how does the distributor go about choosing its partners?
that we tend to work in areas that the larger distributors don’t concentrate on, so it opens up new opportunities for Buffalo products.” Meroncourt, which moved into its current premises in Letchworth six years ago, now has 15 employees. The firm shipped over 400,000 units last financial
“We do a lot of research before we decide to bring new brands into the UK. Normally they have something else to bring to the market – it’s no good bringing in things that look the same as someone else’s.” Steve Walsh, Meroncourt “We do a lot of research before we decide to bring new brands into the UK. Normally they have something else to bring to the market, either technically or visually. It’s no good bringing in things that look the same as someone else’s but with a different brand label,” Walsh comments. “The reason Buffalo was interested in us is
year, and expects to see about the same again this year, if not more. “We’ve got the busiest quarter coming up, so we may well exceed that,” Walsh says. The distributor’s customer base ranges from independent retailers to etail powerhouses Amazon, Play.com and eBuyer, and, thanks in part to its drop-shipping facility, covers not only
Europe but countries including the US, Australia and China. A large part of Meroncourt’s portfolio consists of PC gaming peripherals, a sector Walsh believes is going from strength to strength. “A lot of people said PC gaming would never grow because it’s so niche, but in actual fact it’s been one of the fastest growing sectors of IT ever and still continues to show a lot of growth,” he says. “The brands that we represent truly focus on PC gaming itself, so their product ranges are aimed at and designed for gamers.” Another sizeable chunk of the distributor’s business is taken up by storage and networking devices, but according to Walsh the firm is increasingly turning its attention to licensed products, with Disney and X Factor lines due later in the year. “Licensed products should be a significant growth area for us,” Walsh concludes.
October PCR 61
GFK ANALYSIS HARDWARE
The rise of content As our media consumption has increased, devices that facilitate the streaming of content have also enjoyed a surge in popularity. GfK’s account executive Mehryar Hamid takes a look… “A market which was previously only occupied by a couple of players is now a dynamic industry with numerous brands fighting for a slice of the category’s success.” Mehryar Hamid
62 PCR October
FOLLOWING THE global financial crisis, which saw consumer and business spending fall significantly, growth in the first six months of 2010 was a breath of fresh air. The second half of the year also started on a high note, with the market up 7.4 per cent in value terms, compared to the same time last year. A key driver of this growth has been the media streaming device market, which includes media gateways and consumer NAS. Media gateways have
grown in excess of 200 per cent on average throughout the past 12 months, and is the fastest growing product category in the IT market. Growth rates for consumer NAS with media have also peaked over the past year, averaging at around 70 per cent. At a time when online content is multiplying day by day, these devices that sit between a television and a computer, allowing content from one platform to be accessed on the other, have been in high demand – especially among technology savvy consumers. A market which was previously only occupied by a couple of players is now a dynamic industry with numerous brands fighting for a slice of the product category’s success. As new brands have entered the market, the industry has become increasingly competitive – pushing average prices down by 35 per cent from July last year. The average price of a media gateway now stands at around £65, down from £100 in July 2009. Consumer NAS with media, on the other hand, is priced much higher in comparison to media gateways, given its ability to store data, but prices for that have also dropped to £170 from around £210 last year.
Given the fact that the product categories go hand in hand with storage devices, it is no surprise that up to 95 per cent of sales are dominated by the computer specialists and mass merchandiser channels. The specialist nature of the products and their appeal to tech savvy consumers has resulted in up to 68 per cent of the sales coming from online channels. However, over the past few months, sales have started to trickle through the consumer electronics stores channel, where most of the high value sales have been recorded. This highlights the fact that the in-store experience, coupled with a better understanding of the product category, are key to winning over the majority of customers. As consumers start getting to grips with converging product categories and the continuously evolving landscape of content availability, this product category is set to skyrocket in the coming months, especially as we move into one of the most promising Christmas sales periods in recent years. If you would like further details please contact Mehryar Hamid on 0870 603 8143.
CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SWEEX COMPANY PROFILE
The orange revolution Dutch firm Sweex has had a long and successful history in the technology space, and is getting ready to set up a dedicated office here in the UK next year. Andrew Wooden talks to CEO Hans Helloâ€Ś
Hans Hello says the firm will concentrate on the European market before looking further afield
ÂŠ Copyright VIP Computer Centre Limited. 2010. Information correct at time of publication E&OE
SWEEX started life 33 years ago as a small local family-owned wholesaler operating out of the Netherlands. Founded in the Hague, the firm was originally called Ropla, and dealt with electrical components. After years of slow but steady growth, the company changed its name to Sweex in 2002, changing it again shortly after to Sweex Europe. The firm now has several sales offices across the continent and a purchase office in Taiwan. â€œThe company changed over the years from being a small local wholesaler to being an importer and finally a manufacturer of computer components, peripherals and
accessories, all under our Sweex brand name,â€? says CEO Hans Hello. The firm now deals in a wide range of product areas, including branded peripherals, power adapters, graphics cards, e-readers and tablets. It is currently concentrating on growth in Europe, but will be looking to expand across the rest of the globe later on. â€œOur target for the short to mediumterm is to strengthen our foothold in the European marketplace,â€? comments Hello. â€œAlthough the creation of the EU has simplified things and certainly has broken down barriers, we see that Europe still consists of many individual countries, each with specific
requirements, like for example the UK Power plug. Once we have the feeling our domestic (European) growth potential is diminishing, we will look towards other continents.â€? In terms of the UK, the firm will be setting up a dedicated building next year in order to better serve the region. â€œSince the UK is historically an important market for us we have long since named it as one of our top target countries,â€? says Hello. â€œIn 2011 we plan to open a local sales and marketing office in the UK, in addition to the local representatives weâ€™ve already had working for us for a long time. This office will be targeted to support and facilitate our growth strategy here.â€? As the market appears to be at the tail end of the recession, Hello is optimistic about sales this Christmas, and even has an eye on sponsorship within the Premier League here in the UK. â€œWe will see a rise in spending from last year, I expect. The signs that global and local economies are slowly recovering are getting stronger. People will be less hesitant to spend money,â€? he claims. â€œIn five yearsâ€™ time we will be a strong, well recognised household brand in computerrelated electronics, with a firm position in the UK market. We will constantly invest in improving our assortment, in quality as well as design and specifications. We hope that we will sponsor a Premier League team by then. Any preference?â€?
â€œIn five yearsâ€™ time we will be a strong, well recognised household brand in computerrelated electronics, with a firm position in the UK market.â€? Hans Hello, Sweex
Sweex has branched out into a plethora of product areas, including graphics cards
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Contact the VIP sales team on 0871 622 7500 or buy online at www.vip-computers.com/uk ÂŠ Copyright VIP Computer Centre Limited. 2010. Information correct at time of publication E&OE
Software PCRâ€™s monthly look at recent developments in the software market
SECURITY SOFTWARE We examine the latest threat developments within the security sector and talk to some of the market leading companies to find out how they are meeting the challenge
GAMES RELEASES We take a look at the latest games releases and chart the best selling titles in the full price and budget categories, as well as provide a full list of forthcoming products to hit shelves over the next few months
October PCR 69
BullGuard Internet Security – the new version’s out! The new BullGuard offers superior protection with catch rates you won’t see anywhere else, and minimal intrusion from alerts and pop-ups. We’ve taken BullGuard to the next level, introducing technology that positions BullGuard as the end user champion in the fight for digital liberation. We continue to push the envelope to provide advanced technology to everyday users and serve it up in a user-friendly and intuitive design.
For more information visit www.bullguard.com/partners
One thing hasn’t changed: Our Revenue Share is still the best in the industry at 25% for the life of the product. Contact your BullGuard distributor today to stock up on BullGuard.
Blue Solutions: 0118 9898 222 CMS Peripherals: 020 8960 6000 Computer 2000: 0871 880 3000 Gem Distribution: 01279 822822 EntaTech: 0333 101 1000 Koch Media: 0870 027 8700 Ingram Micro: 0871 973 3000 Micro-P: 01282 776776 Northamber: 020 8296 7066 Securedis: 0845 658 7009 Spire Technology: 01202 828444 Target Components: 01977 739300 Westcoast: 0118 912 6000
LIKE MOST of the IT market, the security sector is in a state of change. As the number of people who are using the internet and connected devices rises, so does the threat from cyber-criminals. According to the latest Norton Cybercrime Report, two thirds of people have been a victim of cyber crime and the threat rises every day. These findings are supported by research conducted by German security software firm G Data, which claims that during 2010, a recordbreaking 1,017,208 new malware programs were released in to the public domain. “The biggest threat right now is the total amount of malware that is being created: We are receiving 55,000 new malware samples every single day,” reveals Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs. “Out of these 55,000 samples, 70 per cent of them are trojans, with the most dangerous type being banking trojans.” BullGuard’s chief technology officer, Claus Villumsen, highlights the increasingly sophisticated tactics being used by cyber-criminals: “Earlier this year, researchers at Google estimated that rogue antivirus software currently accounts for fifteen per cent of all web-based
Security Guards As the world becomes increasingly connected, the threat posed by online scammers, hackers and identity thieves becomes ever more potent. Matt Grainger talks to some of the industry’s leading figures to find out what’s happening in the security world…
malware and that it is growing in prevalence,” he says. “But perhaps the real threat is RAM scrapers. RAM scrapers have been around for years, but very few people have ever heard of them, including people within the security industry. They have in fact been around for years, but recent indications lead industry analysts to believe they may well be the next real threat in 2010 and 2011.”
“The use of signaturebased solutions alone is no longer sufficient. A raft of proactive technologies have been developed in response to the changing threat landscape.” David Emm, Kaspersky Labs In the face of such seemingly insurmountable odds, ensuring the safety of internet users has become a more intensive task than ever before, with many security specialists having to revolutionise the way they detect and combat malicious algorithms. “As in many areas of life, public perception tends to lag behind reality,” observes Kaspersky Labs’
senior security researcher David Emm. “Most people understand the need for anti-virus software to protect their computers. However, the use of signature-based solutions alone to deal with today’s complex threats is no longer sufficient. In recent years, a raft of proactive technologies have been developed and refined in response to the changing threat landscape.” The complexity of these newer threats has led every security company to update their detection software. PandaLabs, for example, has created a system called collective intelligence, which according to Corrons is “an automatic system, hosted in the cloud that detects, analyses, classifies and creates the signature file for every single new sample we receive, giving protection practically in real time against these new threats.” Symantec, meanwhile, has opted to take a more instantaneous approach. “Security has to be done in real time and as such we have to
>>> October PCR 71
Think there’s little difference between competing Internet Security vendors? Think again. Introducing AVG 2011. Lose the delays, interruptions and frustrations Introducing AVG Smart Scanning – not only x3 faster but cleverly only performs scans when the PC is not in use. Q Dramatically enhanced, intuitive user interface for less ‘pilot error’. Q E nhanced Silent / Game / Movie Mode means protection that won’t get in the way.
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BITDEFENDER TOTAL SECURITY 2011 SRP: £59.99 Distributor: Gem Distribution, EntaTech
SRP: £69.99 Distributor: EntaTech, Gem Distribution, Koch Media, Ingram Micro
They say: BitDefender starts working and keeps working – around the clock and around the globe, continuously protecting your privacy and defending your digital world
They say: Renders your PC highly immune to cyber-threats of any kind
Features: Proactive protection, privacy safeguards, two-way firewall, parental controls, online backup, webpage flagging
Features: Kaspersky Internet Security functionality, enhanced anti-malware and anti-spam protection, control centre, password manager, advanced parental controls, file shredder, data backup and restore, data encryption
NORTON INTERNET SECURITY 2011 SRP: £49.99 Distributor: Computer 2000, Ingram Micro, Gem Distribution
They say: Helps prevent cybercriminals from stealing your identity and your hard-earned money when you go online Features: Parental controls, proactive performance alerts, anti-phishing, pulse updates, smart two-way firewall, IM monitoring
“Intel’s acquisition of McAfee is generally positive for the internet security industry. It demonstrates that Intel sees performance, connectivity and security as the three pillars of the future of computing.” Claus Villumsen, BullGuard
WEBROOT INTERNET SECURITY COMPLETE SRP: £49.95 Distributor: Gem Distribution
SRP: £39.99 Distributor: Computer 2000, Ingram Micro, Gem Distribution They say: Detects and eliminates viruses, spyware, and other threats lying in wait to infect your PC, so you can chat, email, and share files safely
They say: Protect your identity, privacy and personal information for complete protection at home or on-the-go Features: Anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall, online secure storage, system clean-up, fast scanning, password management, identity protection
make precise, informed decisions instantly,” says Con Mallon, Symantec’s Norton product marketing director for EMEA. “Reputation-based security is the answer. It is a radical new approach. The old model for security was to go looking for the bad stuff and assume that everything was good. We cannot assume this now. We have to look at every file that is making its way onto your PC and determine its reputation.” BullGuard, however, has invested in technology that analyses the behaviour of a piece of software, in a process that can identify malicious code before it
NORTON ANTIVIRUS 2011
Features: Reputation-based security, proactive performance alerts, control centre, pulse updates, IM monitoring
ESET MOBILE SECURITY SRP: £29.95 Distributor: Westcoast
They say: Protects your online communications, sensitive data and privacy on the go. It effectively eliminates emerging mobile exploits and security breaches and keeps your inbox clear of unwanted SMS and MMS messages Features: Proactive protection, light footprint, fast scanning, SMS anti-spam, remote wipe, SIM matching, security audit, intelligent firewall, messaging black/white lists
harms a PC. “To deal with the volume and increased complexity, BullGuard has introduced behaviour-based detection of viruses as an addition to our signature-based virus detection. This enables us to counter what in the industry is known as ‘zero-day attacks’,” explains Villumsen. Another recent development within the security industry has been the acquisition of McAfee by US hardware giant Intel. This has two implications for the wider market: Firstly, one of the world’s largest component builders considers security to be an important
part of any PC, and secondly it prompts the question as to whether security will be an integrated component in the future. “We believe that IT security is a specialised business and that specialised vendors, whose primary focus is in securing IT systems against malicious code threats via any network will succeed in the long run,” states Emm. Villumsen is more philosophical about Intel’s latest foray in to the security sector: “We believe that Intel’s acquisition of McAfee is generally positive for the
October PCR 73
AVG ANTIVIRUS 2011 SRP: £29.99 Distributor: Koch Media
They say: If you use your computer every day, you need protection that’s always there, constantly keeping you safe Features: High-speed scanning, enhanced virus detection, active surf shield, search-shield, email scanner, link scanner, anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-rootkit
G DATA ANTIVIRUS 2011 SRP: £24.95 Distributor: Securedis
They say: G Data’s best-in-test protection without any loss of computing power. Use of self-learning fingerprinting and whitelisting means increased scan speeds and reduced memory requirements Features: Proactive detection, behaviour analysis, white listing, light footprint, cloud updates, parental controls, spam block, anti-spyware
internet security industry, and certainly leaves room for other vendors. We believe it demonstrates that Intel feels security is an important part of the connected future – so it sees performance, connectivity and now security as the three pillars of the future of computing.” However, David Harley, senior research fellow at ESET, notes that this is not the first time Intel has dipped its toe in to the security market: “Intel is not actually a stranger to the anti-virus marketplace: It sold its previous
74 PCR October
AVG INTERNET SECURITY 2011 SRP: £34.99 Distributor: Koch Media
They say: Provides multiple layers of protection for everything you do online, which means you don’t have to worry about identity theft, viruses or visiting harmful sites
SRP: £39.99 Distributor: Securedis
Features: Antivirus, anti-spyware, anti-phishing, firewall, spam filter, backup, social media protection, behaviour detection, safe browsing, password protection, file inspector
SENTRYBAY PERSONAL DATA PROTECTION SUITE
SRP: £29.99 Distributor: CMS Peripherals
They say: The G Data TotalCare all-in-one solution is the benchmark security package against which all others should be measured Features: Virus protection, ‘silent’ firewall, data backup and recovery, security tuning, parental controls, anti-spam, email and messenger protection, online transaction protection
corporate-targeting product line to Symantec in the nineties. “While it’s interesting to see them re-enter that marketplace, I’m not sure it’s an indication of a seismic event, or Intel has had a master plan for integrating security technology with some of its other interests. I wouldn’t really expect to see McAfee for motherboards, for instance. “That said, I’ve always been a proponent of security as built-in rather than added on, and security as multilayered, rather than relying on a single point of success or failure: the days of
SRP: £44.95 Distributor: EntaTech, Gem Distribution, Spire Technology, Target Components
They say: Introducing technology that positions BullGuard as the end user champion in the fight for digital liberation
Features: Firewall, anti-spam, identity protection, social networking protection, link scanner, online shield, smart scanning
G DATA TOTALCARE 2011
BULLGUARD INTERNET SECURITY
They say: Provides the most effective protection from online identity theft by safeguarding all sensitive data entered into websites and proactively preventing users from visiting scam phishing sites Features: Real-time protection against identity theft, neutralises key logging, PhishLock antiphishing technology, EntryProtect, data scrambling
up-to-date AV being all you need for a home system are long over.” Corrons also feels that the acquisition could have long-term benefits for end users. “McAfee’s cloud technology has been a key area of interest for Intel, as we know well; cloud detection has major benefits for components if technology is available to the manufacturer,” he says. “My prediction is that developing hardware-enhanced security will be a longer-term focus, enbabling benefits for consumers, governments and businesses.”
Although there are benefits to integrated security, Webroot’s EMEA consumer business development director David Bennett feels that the key focus must be on the cloud, as users increasingly store their data and interact online. “Intel doesn’t run on all the PCs; the majority of threats are in the web sphere. There will still be the requirement for dedicated security suites that are able to protect you however, and wherever you connect online,” predicts Bennett. “Defence has to move into the cloud and sit
SOFTWARE SECURITY OUR PANEL OF EXPERTS Roger Thompson AVG
Con Mallon SYMANTEC
ESET SMART SECURITY SRP: £39.95 Distributor: Westcoast
They say: Combines an advanced management console and award-winning ThreatSense engine with a firewall and antispam. Features: Light footprint, advanced archive scanning, encrypted communication protocols, enhanced mobile PC support, email client support, media access control, improved cleaning
PANDA 2011 CONSUMER RANGE
Simon Geach BITDEFENDER
SRP: Antivirus Pro 2011 £40.99, Internet Security 2011 £50.99, Global Protection 2011 £61.99 Distributor: Blue Solutions, Micro-P, Northamber They say: Protects your online world, providing maximum protection with minimum impact, and 50 per cent improved performance in Windows 7 compared to previous Panda versions
David Bennett WEBROOT
Features: Virtual keyboard, safe browser, home network manager, remote PC access, file encryption, file shredding, anti-malware, firewall and anti-phishing filter
David Emm KASPERSKY LABS
““The best products in the future will be based around layered defences involving web scanning, behaviour blocking, and traditional signature scanning. If you adopt this approach, each layer only has to be 80 per cent effective.” Roger Thompson, AVG
76 PCR October
within the broadband infrastructure, giving effectively a ‘clean pipe’ to the users, irrespective of the device being employed.” With new developments coming from both sides of the security divide, it’s clear that the industry is in a continual state of change as the technology develops and the ‘cops and robbers’ seek to gain the upper hand. In addition, as internet usage grows, security is likely to become an increasingly prominent issue. “Endpoints remain the principal repository for the data that is the lifeblood of the ‘dark economy’,” notes Emm. “However, the use of smartphones is growing steadily. The more we use them to conduct financial transactions online the more attractive they become as a target. We have seen a steady growth in the sophistication of mobile malware threats and the number of such threats is likely to increase moving forward.” In a similar vein, BitDefender’s UK and Ireland sales director Simon Geach notes that the increasing use of wireless networks could present problems. “A good start for the future points of security would be to secure both wired and wireless networks. For example,
inside corporations, system administrators do a good job at securing their premises, but there are plenty of unsecured wireless networks out there that leak confidential information,” he comments. Harley suggests that the complex nature of modern malware threats has prompted a range of multifaceted solutions. “There’s a clear trend away from single layered technologies. There isn’t really such a thing as a true antivirus package any more: even the most basic packages cover a whole range of threats and nuisances, most of them non-viral,” he says. AVG’s vice president of web threat research Roger Thompson elaborates: “I think the best products in the future will be based around layered defences involving web scanning, behaviour blocking, and traditional signature scanning. If you adopt this approach, each layer only has to be 80 per cent effective, because the proportion that one layer misses will be caught by the next. “Think about Swiss cheese. Each layer has lots of holes, but if you place two slices on top of each other, they cover up most of the holes. Place a third layer on top, and there are no holes left.”
Luis Corrons PANDALABS
Claus Villumsen BULLGUARD
David Harley ESET
*URZ\RXUEXVLQHVVE\KHOSLQJ\RXUFXVWRPHUVLQFUHDVHWKHUHOLDELOLW\ ÁH[LELOLW\DQGHIÀFLHQF\RIWKHLUVHUYHULQIUDVWUXFWXUHV :KDW·V1HZLQ:LQGRZV6HUYHU5"
7HO VDOHV#HQWDWHFKFRP ZZZHQWDWHFKFRP
GAMES NEW RELEASES
Game On PCR looks at the best-selling PC games and those due for release over the coming months...
GAME OF THE MONTH SID MEIER'S CIVILIZATION V Publisher: 2K Games Distributor: Gem Released: Out Now There are few games with as wide a scope as the Civilization franchise â€“ offering the gamers the entire breadth of human history to play with. The series has has grown in popularity since the first release in 1991, while remaining a critical success. Players start out controlling a single settler unit which can found a city, and
are then tasked with building on that to create a long standing empire that dominates the world. In order to do this, players steer their nation through the ages, creating new military units and buildings in order to further the cause. This edition has a number of tweaks designed to simplify gameplay, though it remains one of the most complex games available. For strategy fans, Civilization V is the Holy Grail, and is sure to be one of the format's biggest titles this year.
ON THE RADAR
Sid Meier's Civilization V
History Great Battles: Medieval
0121 625 3388
Tanker Truck Simulator
Challenge Me: Brain Puzzles 2
Challenge Me: Word Puzzles
Front Mission Evolved
020 8987 5706
James Pond: Codename Robocod
0121 625 3388
John Daly's ProStroke Golf
0208 987 5706
World Rally Championship
0121 506 9585
Flight Deck 6
First Class Simulations 01869 338833
Medal Of Honor
0121 625 3388
Darkness Within: 1+2
0121 506 9585
DC-3 - Legends of Flight
0845 234 4242
Fallout: New Vegas Publisher: Bethesda Distributor: Bethesda
PES 2011 Publisher: Konami Distributor: Open
FULL PRICE TOP 5
BUDGET TOP 5
STARCRAFT II: WINGS OF LIBERTY
FOOTBALL MANAGER 2010
THE SIMS 3
WORLD OF WARCRAFT: BATTLE CHEST
THE SIMS 3: AMBITIONS
THE SIMS 3: DESIGN & HIGH-TECH
BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2
FALLOUT 3: GAME OF THE YEAR
ROLLERCOASTER TYCOON 3: DELUXE
The top five charts are based on monthly sales figures supplied by Chart Track, charts are for August 2010
*ABC-certified distribution 102,010 Jan-Dec 05
Copyright ÂŠ 2010 Symantec Corporation. All rights reserved. Symantec, the Symantec Logo, Norton and the Norton Logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Symantec Corporation or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.
PROTECTION AGAINST IDENTITY THEFT AND CYBERCRIMINALS.
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Every click matters. Viruses, cybercriminals and other online threats can make the Internet a dangerous place. Protect yourself with Nortonâ„˘ Internet Security 2011. Fast and light, Norton Internet Security protects PCs without slowing them down. It helps prevent cybercriminals from stealing your identity and your hard-earned money, so you can surf, shop and bank online safely. And it detects and eliminates online threats, letting you email, chat and download files without worry. For more information, visit www.nortonportal.com
Protect yourself and get in touch with your distributor to order now!
Copyright © 2010 Symantec Corporation. All rights reserved. Symantec, the Symantec Logo, Norton and the Norton Logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Symantec Corporation or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.
FAST, POWERFUL PROTECTION AGAINST VIRUSES AND SPYWARE.
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Every click matters. Stay a step ahead of threats to your PC with fast protection. Norton™ AntiVirus 2011 detects and eliminates viruses, spyware and other threats lying in wait to infect your PC, so you can chat, email and share files safely. It provides rock-solid protection without slowing down your PC’s performance. For more information, visit www.nortonportal.com
Protect yourself and get in touch with your distributor to order now!
Electronics PCR’s monthly look at recent developments in the consumer electronic market
E-READERS With a slew of new devices ready to hit the market later this year, we take a look at this increasingly strong market and talk to some of its key players
APPLE’S NEW IPODS We provide the highlights from Apple’s latest product launch, including details of the new iPod Touch, Nano and Shuffle
October PCR 83
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CONSUMER ELECTRONICS E-READERS
CONTACTS Amazon: www.amazon.co.uk Bluepoint: 0844 571 8001 CCI Distribution: 01423 704700 Northamber: 020 8296 7066 Realtime Distribution: 01480 435881 Spire Technology: 01202 828444 Sony: 0845 600 0124 Westcoast: 0118 912 6000
A brand new chapter E-readers are enjoying a real boom at the moment, with major names such as Amazon, Sony and Acer all entering the fray. So what makes these devices so attractive to consumers? Matt Grainger investigates...
"When you build a general purpose device it’s not going to be as good for reading because you make sacrifices in order to allow for the multiple functions.” Laura Bonney, Amazon
DESPITE fears of a threat from the tablet PC category, the e-reader market seems to be well establishing itself. With several major vendors putting their weight behind their respective devices, supported by a drive towards content creation, the sector is increasingly looking like a strong stand-alone segment. A recent survey conducted by OneNewsPage found that 64 per cent of respondents preferred reading e-books on Amazon’s Kindle over the Apple iPad, showing that users are increasingly aware of the benefits of the screen and battery life that a dedicated device can offer. In addition to this, the market analysis firm In-Stat predicted that sales of e-readers would triple by 2014, with around 12 million devices to be sold this year. The key to the sales growth of the e-reader segment is the Christmas season. With relatively low price points – which are predicted to drop below the $100 mark for a wide range
of devices – e-readers provide particularly good gift sales during the festive period. “In the United States, we’ve seen over 100 per cent sales growth every year since 2007,” says Sony’s category marketing manager Omar Gurnah. “It has been the same in the UK since 2008. This year we are expecting to see 200 per cent growth. The Christmas period is always the time when this category sees its biggest sales spike.” The importance of the Christmas market is highlighted by Acer’s decision to launch its new LumiRead device during this period. “Earlier this year we entered the e-reader market with LumiRead,” said an Acer spokesman. “The first launch of the new version will be between the last quarter of 2010 and the first of 2011. The goal is ambitious in terms of sales, we expect to sell between ten and 15 million units.” Acer’s high sales targets reflect a growing certainty that the e-reader category can cut it as a standalone
market, something that is reflected by the clearly defined Christmas sales boost. The entry of Acer into this market, coupled with Amazon and Sony’s strong progress, indicates that these vendors are committed to the sector, and it’s no stretch to suggest that companies have the marketing clout to push these devices further into the minds of consumers. Amazon’s recent Kindle advertising campaign highlighted the benefits of dedicated e-readers compared to tablet PCs, specifically citing the e-ink screen’s capabilities in direct sunlight. The technology behind the screen has been one of the driving forces in the success of the e-reader as a standalone category. The high-contrast, non-reflective panel has been developed to mimic the appearance of paper and ink as closely as possible, and has helped its developer, E Ink Holdings, to post ever-increasing profit growth. The benefits of the screen, coupled with the
October PCR 85
CONSUMER ELECTRONICS E-READERS
ACER LUMIREAD SRP: TBC Distributor: TBC
They say: Recently showcased at IFA, Acer has high hopes for this device, which represents its first foray in to the e-reader market Specs: Six-inch e-ink display, qwerty keyboard, 3G connectivity, 2GB of flash memory, MicroSD card slot, ISBN scanner, will ship in late 2010
SONY READER TOUCH EDITION SRP: £200 Distributor: Direct
AMAZON KINDLE SRP: £149 Distributor: Direct
They say: Amazon’s number one bestselling item for two years running. It’s the most-wished-for, most-gifted, and has the most five-star reviews of any product on Amazon.com
Specs: High contrast e-ink screen, no glare, six-inch display, battery life of a month, storage for up to 3,500 books, fast downloads, PDF reader, integrated dictionary, web browser
They say: The new Reader Touch Edition PRS-650 features a full touch screen for fast and intuitive navigation of books Specs: Six-inch full touch display, expansion slots for up to 32GB of memory, optical touch screen can be operated by finger or stylus, reduced glare, USB input, three weeks of use between charges, simple interface, integrated dictionaries
“The availability of an innovative and revolutionary product doesn’t guarantee its success. It is only when it is accompanied by the ability to use it that people understand the real value." Acer Spokesman
86 PCR October
enviable battery life and low price point makes for an extremely well-rounded product with a range of unique selling points. “E-readers like the Kindle offer an uncompromised reading experience,” comments Amazon press officer Laura Bonney. “Readers love Kindle’s highly readable electronic paper display, the long battery life, the light weight, free 3G wireless, global wireless coverage, no wireless bills or annual contracts, and our great £149 price.
“Kindle is purpose-built for reading, tablet computers aren’t. There are some limitations when you build a general purpose device and it’s not going to be as good for reading because you make sacrifices in order to allow for the multiple functions such as watching video.” Another key factor in the success of the e-reader category has been the drive to create content, without which the devices would be little more than an expensive notepad.
“Content is essential,” states Acer’s spokesman. “The availability of an innovative and revolutionary product doesn’t guarantee its success. It is only when the availability of an innovative product is accompanied by the actual ability to use it that users understand the real added value. “The e-reader’s technological innovation has led to a transformation of the publishing industry. Worldwide publishers are taking steps to make their products available in e-book form. In
CONSUMER ELECTRONICS E-READERS
SWEEX EBOOK READER SRP: Distributor: CCI Distribution, Realtime Distribution, Bluepoint, Northamber, Spire Technology
They say: The Sweex Ebook Reader comprises all the benefits of print, yet offers a simple solution for the possible disadvantages. From now on, bulging bookcases and stacks of magazines are things of the past Specs: Six-inch e-ink display, battery charge for 8,000 page turns, 2GB SD card slot, available in black or white
SONY READER POCKET EDITION SRP: £160 Distributor: Direct
They say: The new Reader Pocket Edition PRS-350 easily slips into a handbag or jacket pocket for convenient on-the-go reading
Specs: Five-inch e-ink display, 2GB of memory, optical touch screen can be operated by finger or stylus, reduced glare, SD card slot, USB slot, three weeks of use between charges, simple interface, integrated dictionaries
“You have to have the books to ensure the success of a device. You can’t do it without content. We’ve been working with publishers to get more books available in digital format.” Omar Gurnah, Sony
88 PCR October
the first half of 2010, sales of electronic books have increased by about 180 per cent.” As part of a drive to create content, Sony has negotiated a deal with public libraries in the United States and here in the UK, which will see e-books loaned out for a limited period for free in the same way as traditional textbooks. “This is a deal that we have pushed to bring over from the States and as far as I know Sony is the only company to include the necessary
BEBOOK NEO SRP: £183.90 Distributor: Widget
They say: A new reading revolution with a great sense of usability, the BeBook Neo has an integrated Wacom touchpanel and wi-fi connectivity
Specs: Wi-fi connectivity, battery charge for 7,000 page turns, 512MB flash memory, 3.5mm audio jack, USB 2.0, SD card slot, ability to add annotations
software in its devices,” reveals Gurnah. “You have to have the books to ensure the success of a device. You can’t do it without content. We’ve been working with publishers to get more books available in digital format. We’ve got around 600,000 titles now available for the Sony Reader.” Amazon, on the other hand, has set its sights even higher: “Our vision for Kindle is to offer every book ever written, in any language, in print or out of print, all available in less than
60 seconds,” comments Bonney. “We are laser-focused on this vision. We started with 200,000 books and less than ten months later we offer over 400,000. That includes tens of thousands of books you can only find in the Kindle Store.” With an appealing price point and clear USPs driving sales, the marketing muscle of several vendors improving public awareness, and a real drive to create content, the future of the e-reader market looks very bright indeed.
CONSUMER ELECTRONICS IPODS
VoiceOver technology and a longer battery life have been added to the new iPod Shuffle
Fresh Apples Apple held a typically grand product launch last month, gathering journalists together around the world to watch the announcement via video link. Andrew Wooden looks at the latest line of iPods to see what’s new… “This is the biggest reinvention of the iPod Nano since its debut in 2005, and we think users are going to love it. The multi-touch interface has enabled us to shrink it into an amazingly small design.” Steve Jobs, Apple
WHILE APPLE would happily set up international video links and invite the world’s press to watch CEO Steve Jobs announce the firm’s updated canteen menu, the refresh of its key iPod lines last month provides some impressive new features across the Shuffle, Nano, and Touch ranges. SHUFFLE The updated iPod Shuffle now has clickable ‘ring’ buttons and Apple’s VoiceOver technology, both of which are designed to let users to navigate music and playlists without actually looking at the screen. The other major update is 50 per cent more battery life, providing 15 hours of music playback on a single battery charge, and still with 2GB of storage.
NANO The iPod Nano has had a somewhat more significant overhaul, now featuring a multi-touch interface that lets users navigate their music collection by tapping or swiping a finger on the display, much like the iPod Touch. It has also lost a lot of weight – the new version is nearly half the size and weight of the previous generation. The home screen can be customised by arranging icons for particular albums or features, and has a built in FM radio with live pause, a pedometer, and supports Nike + iPod. “This is the biggest reinvention of the iPod Nano since its debut in 2005, and we think users are going to love it,” Jobs said at the launch. “Replacing the click wheel with our multi-touch interface has enabled us to shrink the iPod Nano into an amazingly small design that is instantly wearable with its built-in clip.” TOUCH Apple’s flagship MP3 player, the iPod Touch, has been upgraded with a
90 PCR October
plethora of new features including Retina display, FaceTime video calling, HD video recording, Apple’s A4 chip, 3axis gyro, iOS 4.1 and Game Center. Like the Nano, it has been made thinner and lighter, with up to 40 hours of music playback and seven hours of video playback on a single charge. “We’ve put our most advanced technology inside the new iPod touch,” said Jobs. “Whether you’re listening to music, playing games, making FaceTime video calls, browsing the web, capturing HD video or watching TV shows and movies, the new iPod touch with its Retina display, A4 chip and 3-axis gyro is more fun than ever.” The Game Center is a particularly important addition, as Apple attempts to push the device as a leading mobile gaming gadget. The platform allows gamers to challenge and play friends or be matched automatically with new opponents, and it gives access to what Apple claims is the largest catalogue ever, with over 250,000 apps, including over 65,000 game and entertainment titles to choose from.
CONSUMER ELECTRONICS PSA PARTS COMPANY PROFILE
Powering on From the small operation run out of founder John McBrien’s front room, PSA parts has grown into a multi-national battery, adapter and charger specialist with offices in France, China and Australia, as well as the UK. Andrew Wooden talks to sales manager Nick Walsh about the firm’s progress… "Many of our customers have dealt with us for well over ten years and rely on our large stock holding, quick deliveries and flexible credit facilities.” Nick Walsh, PSA Parts
Where, when and by whom was PSA Parts founded? PSA Parts was formed over 22 years ago by our chairman John McBrien. The company was run from the front room of his house in Wimbledon, and specialised in the supply of memory back up batteries to the computer maintenance industry in the UK. His son James joined soon after the company’s formation and he is still with PSA as the managing director. Is the company very different now to how it was then? Very! PSA now employs over 50 staff
92 PCR October
and operates out of purpose-built offices and warehousing facilities based close to where the business originally started. We also have offices in France, China and Australia. Our product range has expanded and evolved to over 12,000 product lines, which include batteries, adaptors and chargers for all applications, with a big focus on mobile devices. We are now strategic partners with Procter and Gamble on the Duracell brand, developing specialist product ranges and supplying key specialist EU accounts. PSA is also a fully authorised parts distributor for HP and we sell a
complete range of spares for printers, desktops and notebooks, as well as supplying electronic components directly to manufacturers. What would you say is the most successful area of your business? We have built up, in my opinion, an unrivalled position supplying all sizes of customers from ‘one man bands’ to some of the largest dealers and resellers in the country. Many of our customers have dealt with us for well over ten years and rely on our large stock holding, quick deliveries and flexible credit facilities.
CONSUMER ELECTRONICS PSA PARTS COMPANY PROFILE
What do you have to offer retailers over your competitors? PSA is the sole European licensee for Duracell’s digital camera and camcorder battery packs and chargers. We have a complete offering for retailers of any size, and offer the range at a fraction of the price of the original manufacturer’s product. We are in a unique position with this range and this speaks volumes for the quality of our products. In short, we are a one-stop shop for all your mobile power needs.
Sales manager Nick Walsh says PSA is currently focusing on Portugal and the Nordic regions
What plans do you have for future expansion around the world? Our relationship with Duracell has enabled us to quickly branch out into new markets. We are currently in the process of opening our South American office and are also focusing heavily on the Nordic regions and Portugal. To help all areas of the business we will be moving the headquarters to a new purpose-built unit that is over twice the size of our current premises, allowing for continued expansion. What are your plans for the UK specifically? We are launching a new range of universal power accessories under our 2-Power range. The ten products will include universal 90W and 48W adaptors for laptops and netbooks. They are supplied with voltage-sensitive tips as opposed to the manually adjusted adaptors, which can damage machines. This particular product is a must for retailers as it answers 90 per cent of their customers’ notebook adaptor demands with a safe, costeffective product. In addition to this we are going to continue with our successful expansion in sales of the Duracell digital camera and camcorder batteries, we are also developing new exciting ranges of Duracell-branded products. Do you think the Christmas buying period will be better for retail than last year? I hope for the retailers that there is an improvement on last year. With the likes of Best Buy in the mix this Christmas it will be interesting to see how it performs and what impact it has on the other large retailers. Hopefully, sales of our Duracell digital camera batteries in the Best Buy stores will have an impact!
"We have a five-year plan that is very ambitious, yet achievable. We are looking at taking our success in the UK and replicating it across Europe. Nick Walsh, PSA Parts
Where do you see the company in five years’ time? We have a five-year plan that is very ambitious, yet achievable. We are looking at taking our success in the UK and replicating it across all the European countries. PSA Parts will also continue to develop its relationship with Procter and Gamble on Duracell and further develop the 2-Power battery and adapter range in the retail and trade market.
COMPANY FACTS: Employs over 50 staff Stocks over 12,000 product lines Has offices in the UK, France, China and Australia Holds exclusive lincence for Duracell digital camera battery packs and chargers Is launching ten new products under its 2-Power brand
October PCR 93
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October PCR 95
NewsBytes a duration of four weeks and was delivered on time.”
FUJITSU SECURES ITS PCS Fujitsu is now including Symantec’s Norton security software with all its consumer and business PCs worldwide. Full versions of Internet Security will be shipped on all devices, except business machines in Japan, which will feature Norton AntiVirus. Customers in EMEA and Japan will receive a 90-day subscription, while those in AsiaPacific and the Americas will have a 60-day subscription. MICRO-P EXPANDS PARTNERSHIP WITH LG Micro-P has boosted its home entertainment line-up with the addition of electronics maker LG. The deal follows Micro-P’s previous success with the vendor’s business products, including monitors, NAS storage and large format screens. Daryl Street, sales director LG Home Entertainment Company said: “We are delighted to announce the extension of our relationship with Micro-P, which now also includes distribution of our broad range of TV products. We’ve worked with Micro P, through our Business Solutions product group for some time now and are confident that together we can continue to deliver for retailers.” LINUXIT NAMED BCS AWARD FINALIST LinuxIT has been named a finalist in the BCS Project Excellence Awards 2010. The Linux support service firm received the nomination in the Community Project of the Year category for its internet and desktop computing solution for NoPC, an educational charity working in developing countries. “We approached the project scoping, design and build in the same way as we would when implementing and supporting mission critical systems for customers in the private and public sectors,” LinuxIT CEO Peter DawesHuish said. “The build was assigned
96 PCR October
KINGSTON CREATES NEW SALES TOOL Kingston Digital Europe has launched a new value-added sales tool for its channel partners. The Kingston SSDNow ROI Calculator can be downloaded, embedded and customised on partner websites, allowing them to show IT decision makers the immediate return on investment SSDs can deliver to their client computing platform. The toolkit also provides partners with marketing materials. More information can be found on the Kingston Technology Partner Program website. TDAZLAN SEEKS AVAYA PARTNERS TDAzlan, the enterprise division of Computer 2000, is launching a partner recruitment initiative to sign up new dealers to the Avaya channel. TDAzlan’s Avaya team leader Graham Bunting said: “Avaya is a clear leader in the unified communications sector, as demonstrated by its leadership position in the recently published Gartner Magic Quadrant. Its leading IP telephony, contact centre, and data solutions, bolstered by its recent acquisition of Nortel, presents the channel with a really great opportunity, which is further enhanced by the significant investments TDAzlan has made to support Avaya’s expansion in the UK.”
MAYFLEX GETS TRAINING Mayflex and Grandstream Networks are offering customers the chance to become Grandstream Networks IP Video Surveillance Certified via new training courses. The training is free of charge, provided attendees bring one of the recommended Grandstream cameras with them. The course is a complete overview of the brand and attendees will learn how to install the products, how to use GSurf software and also how to use Grandstream cameras and phones together, including information on SIP/VoIP.
Meroncourt New partnership will help Dutch firm expand presence in By Nicky Trup
MERONCOURT has signed an exclusive agreement with consumer electronics maker Ricatech, which will see the Hertfordshire-based distributor stocking a wide range of the firm’s products in perfect time for the festive season. Netherlands-based Ricatech, which was founded five years ago, specialises in portable multimedia devices such as media players, and believes the new alliance with Meroncourt will help it extend its reach across the UK. “Ricatech is determined to increase not only its product range but also its pan-European penetration. Our mission is to be well known in the market as a reliable partner and supplier to both our customers and also the end user,” said UK country
manager Claudia Stuivberg. “Ricatech and Meroncourt are now allied to build growth in what is an important market for our planned expansion.” Meroncourt sales director Steve Walsh added: “Meroncourt is delighted to once again bring a new brand into the UK, thereby allowing our customers access to products never before available in this country. Ricatech has a great reputation built up over the past five years in Holland and we are certain it will not be long before the same is true for the UK.” The distributor has now taken stock of a number of the Dutch vendor’s lines, including MP3 and MP4 players, speakers and portable DVD players. “We expect to increase the number of lines available from Ricatech as they become available and in readiness for the Christmas gift period,” Walsh said.
Bluepoint inks deal with Yealink BLUEPOINT has added IP manufacturer Yealink to its vendor portfolio, in a move the distie hopes will boost its presence in the VoIP sector. “Bluepoint is very excited to have Yealink on board. The firm compares
“We have a lot of experience in VoIP, and are Certified Asterisk Professionals. This is an opportunity to penetrate an IT market with a growing appetite for quality VoIP telephony at sensible prices. Having tested these phones in-
“This is an opportunity to penetrate an IT market with a growing appetite for quality VoIP telephony at sensible prices.” Asad Verona, Bluepoint well against more expensive competitors, with super-fast boot up times, easy config, and a very attractive price tag. This provides excellent margin opportunities for our resellers," commented Asad Verona, product manager at Bluepoint.
house before introducing them to our customers, it gives us confidence to support them very easily.” Bluepoint has taken stock of a number of Yealink products including USB phones, with further products due to arrive soon.
signs Ricatech the UK market, with MP3 players and PC peripherals “Ricatech is determined to increase not only its product range but also its pan-European penetration. Our mission is to be well known in the market as a reliable partner and supplier to both our customers and also the end user.”
Ricatech, which also manufactures a number of PC peripherals and accessories has created what it describes as a “user-friendly online environment” aimed at both the trade and end users, including a helpdesk in both English and Dutch.
Claudia Stuivberg, Ricatech
VIP stocks up on Killer gaming card
Bigfoot claims its networking card is the fastest gaming product of its kind
Distributor adds Bigfoot to its vendor portfolio, hopes to bring further products to market
“The Killer 2100 fits our gaming hardware portfolio perfectly.” Mark Lynch, VIP Computers www.pcr-online.biz
VIP COMPUTERS has secured the exclusive UK distribution rights to the Killer 2100, a gaming network card from Bigfoot Networks, which the vendor claims is the fastest solution of its kind for online PC gaming. The Cheshire-based distributor will initially stock the Killer 2100, followed by future Bigfoot products as they come to market. “The Killer 2100 fits our gaming hardware portfolio perfectly. Gaming has become very focused on power and performance, and not to forget, on gaming specific peripherals including mice, keyboards, and headsets, but Bigfoot has a different approach,” VIP
Computers’ networking product manager Mark Lynch said. “The Killer 2100 places emphasis on controlling the flow of network traffic that enters the PC and by-passing the CPU for all gaming data to deliver network speed increases and ultimately gaming improvements, irrelevant of the users system specs, making it beneficial to all.” Bigfoot Networks CEO Michael
Howse added: “We are pleased to be working with VIP Computers, and we believe the Killer 2100 gaming network card is a perfect complement to their full line of performance-based PC upgrades.” As well as providing the maximum possible speed for online gaming, the Killer 2100 offers a range of tools for monitoring and optimising network performance with at-a-glance graphical displays.
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MARKETPLACE APPOINTMENTS/EVENTS APPOINTMENTS
Zeitlin leaves AMD for new role at WD StarTech and Target make three hires each Floyd joins Midwich Baron Mawhinney named Westcoast chairman AMD The chipmaker’s senior channel marketing specialist MIKAEL ZEITLIN has left the company after six years. He is to start a new role at hardware vendor Western Digital as channel marketing manager for branded products in the UK and Nordics.
MIDWICH Distributor Midwich has promoted ROSS FLOYD to product manager. Previously he was business development executive for NEC large format displays and projectors at the distributor.
MALIK has been promoted to business manager. McSweeney previously worked at Trust International, while Huizinga joins from Ingram Micro.
STARTECH StarTech.com has taken on SEAN MCSWEENEY as UK country manager, DENNIS HUIZINGA as national account manager, while ATIF
TARGET COMPONENTS Target has hired three new staff, expanding its warehouse, sales and marketing departments. SCOTT
Back row: Dennis Huizinga, Atif Malik and Sean McSweeney
FRANKLING has joined as a marketing executive, after previously working in High Street retail as a buyer for HMV. DAVID SYKES joins as a sales account manager, handling a portfolio of UK trade customers. Meanwhile, GARY SPURR is the latest addition to the company’s warehouse.
WESTCOAST/XMA Kelido – the holding company of Westcoast and XMA – has appointed BARON BRIAN MAWHINNEY as chairman. “Brian has been a longstanding personal friend and I am delighted he has agreed to join our board of directors," said Westcoast CEO JOE HEMANI.
DIARY DATES 2010 The UK’s channel calendar is full of important events. Here are some upcoming highlights of the year ahead…
INGRAM MICRO SHOWCASE
INGRAM MICRO SHOWCASE OCTOBER 6TH LONDON The event will take place at various tourist hotspots, including the London Eye and London Film Museum. The exhibition will be followed by an invite-only dinner and awards ceremony, presented by Hugh Dennis. TCA MEMBER CONFERENCE OCTOBER 20TH RADISSON EDWARDIAN HOTEL, HEATHROW The conference allows the IT trade to come together to listen, talk,
learn and network. Attendance is free to TCA & CompTIA Members. RETAIL IMAGING SHOW OCTOBER 22ND MARRIOT HOTEL MAYFAIR, LONDON The sixth annual event for the imaging, consumer electronics, IT and convenience retailers. The show presents the perfect opportunity to meet key vendors face to face, source products and network with the entire industry. PARALLELS EMEA PARTNER FORUM 2010 OCTOBER 28TH MARRIOTT HOTEL REGENTS
PARK, LONDON Parallels is running its EMEA Partner Forum, sponsored by Microsoft. The event will teach attendees how to leverage cloud computing and software-as-a-service delivery models to enhance their businesses.
NOVEMBER LONDON GAMES CONFERENCE NOVEMBER 4TH BAFTA, LONDON With a theme of ‘Survival And Profit In A Changing Industry’ LGC 2010 will focus on shifts in revenues, platforms and distribution methods for game content. Speakers include Culture Minister Ed Vaizey and David Reeves, COO of Capcom Europe.
If you would like to promote your event, please contact: email@example.com TCA MEMBER CONFERENCE 98 PCR October
This information is believed to be correct, but potential visitors should confirm details with show organisers before making arrangements to attend
CONSUMER ELECTRONICS BLUEPOINT COMPANY PROFILE
Straight to the point Broad line distributor Bluepoint has some major plans for expanding its UK operation, as well as pushing further into Europe and Africa. Andrew Wooden sits down with operations manager Rizwan Datoo... "We offer the widest availability of products throughout UK distribution, dedicated account management, unmatched customer service and aggressive price matching." Rizwan Datoo, Bluepoint
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Where, when and by whom were Bluepoint founded? Bluepoint was founded in Milton Keynes in August 1992 by our managing director Safraz Manji. In 2003 we moved to a Purpose built £1.5 million headquarters and 30,000 square foot warehouse in the central Milton Keynes. Is the company very different now to how it was then? Bluepoint initially started off importing and distributing monitors under the
name Bluepoint Monitor Corporation. After pioneering this industry for six years, the company diversified into distributing laptops, systems, printers and computer peripherals. Out of those categories, what would you say is the most successful area of your business? We have a range of products that contribute successfully to the business – they include monitors, hard drives, laptops, memory and software. Key services that are adding value are the
bespoke ‘My E-shot’ and ‘My Tech Info’ services, which allow our customers to personalise our web content as their own. What do you have to offer retailers over your competitors? We offer the widest availability of products throughout UK distribution, dedicated account management, unmatched customer service and aggressive price matching. In addition to this we offer daily customised e-shots with our customers’ logo and colours, and allow them to
CONSUMER ELECTRONICS BLUEPOINT COMPANY PROFILE
“We listen to our customers, and we can see they are having a hard time – so our job is to get them the best price first time, in a hassle free and smooth operation, so that they can spend their time looking after their own customers.”
Rizwan Datoo says he expects this Christmas period to be better for retail than last year
Rizwan Datoo, Bluepoint
display sections of our website within their own. What plans do you have for future expansion around the world? We have offices in the UK and in the Middle East. We are currently working on plans to expand further into Europe and Africa. And what are your plans for the UK specifically? Sharper prices, better service, and focused support to our customer base. We listen to our customers, and we can see they are having a hard time – so our job is to get them the best price first time, with a hassle-free and smooth operation, so that they can spend their time looking after and servicing their own customers. We already have a section called ‘My Branding Solution Live’ on the website for our resellers to take advantage of our professionally-designed e-shots. Our resellers simply need to log in, set their price, enter the email addresses and shoot. On the basis of the popularity of ‘My Branding’, we are in the process of launching ‘My Site’, which will allow resellers to create their own professional website in minutes with their own personal settings. This will give them access to the tens of thousands of products that Bluepoint distributes.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time? A week is a long time in IT, let alone five years! However, since you’ve asked the question, I think in five years the market will be a totally different field, with converging technology and business models changing beyond recognition. We will be focusing on developing and enhancing our existing partnerships with our key vendors, and at the same time building loyalty among our resellers. Our product range will continue to diversify and expand rapidly, and the focus will be to add even further value.
Do you think the Christmas buying period will be better for retail than last year? We are expecting this year to be a better year than last year. We have seen an increase in demand and interest. People are now getting accustomed to the times, and are able to spend sensibly while balancing their books. With prices at an all time low and VAT set to increase in the new year, we think there will be a push to spend and refresh over this coming quarter.
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covered? Iain Shaw discusses the advantages of helping local businesses find funding for ICT solutions, and advises indies to check their insurance policies... “What is alarming is the number of businesses that believed they had sufficient cover which in fact don’t. I would urge all independent retailers to look closely at their insurance policy documents.”
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LAST MONTH I wrote about the power of leasing and how this could be put to good use by indies during these tough economic times. My email inbox has had some interesting correspondence in it. What seemed to be a recurring theme was that getting customers accepted by lease funders was proving very difficult without personal guarantees from business owners – and in some cases even from shareholders who were not directors. Upon further investigation I discovered that many of the cases were traditionally very low credit risks, such as professionals and local businesses with long trading histories and strong balance sheets. It also appeared that these were businesses that in the past would not have been interested in leasing through anyone other than their own High Street banks. Well, it seems that those traditional sources of funding have dried up and these types of business are having to turn to outside sources of finance, which at the end of the day are only asking for similar security to that already demanded by the businesses’ bankers.
The long and short of it is that there is actually a massive opportunity here for indies as they can provide not only the ICT solution that local businesses are looking for but also help them find the funding being withheld by their own bankers. If a business is in good enough health to take on a monthly lease rental commitment over three years then the owners and directors should not be too concerned about offering their personal guarantee. I had an interesting report back this week from Allied Westminster Insurance Services, which provides insurance-related products and services. It seems that the firm is increasingly being asked by Brigantia members to look at their business insurance as they try to keep costs down. What is alarming is the number of businesses that believed they had sufficient cover which in fact don’t. This is an extremely worrying matter and I would urge all independent retailers to look closely at their insurance policy documents, as when things are tight a failed insurance claim could make the difference between business survival or failure. My advice is double check that you are covered for building and repairing on your premises if you have a typical bank-provided shop policy, and also make sure all those connected with the business are covered when working away from the shop, unit or office. The headline premium should not be the driving factor with an insurance policy – it should be the actual cover. You may find you can keep the premium down by removing things you don’t need while making sure everything that you do need is included. Let me know what you find and I will look further into insurance next month.
CONTACT IAIN SHAW firstname.lastname@example.org 0871 703 4280 www.brigantia.com Iain invites opinions from PCR readers and will respond though this column
Keith Warburton is the president of The Technology Channels Association. CONTACT email@example.com
Dear Mr Osborne Keith Warburton looks at what the Government can do to promote the interests of the UK’s IT industry, as well as improving the daily commute of businesspeople across the country...
“There is opportunity for the Government to lead by example, as well as taking proactive measures to encourage businesses to adopt video conferencing technology. VC no longer needs to be expensive and complicated.”
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FOLLOWING THE summer holidays, which provide temporary respite from the daily grind, the travel environment in the UK has returned to normal: Traffic jams on the roads, overcrowding on the trains and long waits in horrible conditions in our airports. And that’s if things are running well. Add in some industrial action, bad weather, accidents, acts of God or terrorist scares and the conditions for national and international travellers rapidly become unbearable. Realistically, the country cannot afford to notably improve its transport infrastructure any time soon, and even if we were able to do so it would simply encourage us to burn even more fossil fuels than we do already. Laudably the Government is cutting the headcount in departments wherever possible and reducing discretionary budgets, and yes, by all means, let’s cut down on waste and pursue tax-dodgers and benefit cheats. But those in power could be doing a lot more, both within their own operations and by helping UK businesses save money. There is opportunity for the Government to lead by example, as well as taking proactive measures to encourage businesses to adopt video conferencing technology. VC no longer needs to be expensive and complicated. Many individuals are quite happy to extend their one-to-one experience with Skype into their working environment.
The technology to enable high quality multi-user conferencing is now available at a relatively low cost. It is entirely possible for a huge proportion of UK enterprises, large and small, to hold a significant proportion of their meetings without moving. Using VC brings with it a number of benefits, including less time spent travelling, lower travel costs, reduced emissions, and improvements to the nation’s health and road safety. However, our research indicates that the commitment to and utilisation of VC within Government is patchy to say the least, and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills seems to have little if any commitment to using or promoting the technology.
The UK IT industry consists of tens of thousands of enterprises that would welcome and support a clear government lead in this matter, and the Technology Channels Association stands ready to help spread the word, once you give it, Mr Chancellor. While we wait for the Government to promote the interests of the IT industry generally, and independent traders in particular, the TCA will continue to prepare for and promote its Annual Conference, taking place on Wednesday October 20th. With some great keynote speakers and exhibitors, the event is likely to surpass our last one, which 90 per cent of delegates said was the best channel event they had ever attended.
Robert Peckham is a director of The Technology Channels Association. CONTACT firstname.lastname@example.org
Sorry Apple – you have become too expensive Robert Peckham discusses the cost of Macs, and asks whether demand really would outstrip supply if the price was dropped... “For many years all Apple dealers had to do was show the design and demonstrate Mac OS X to justify the difference in price. But all that has changed.”
I THOUGHT it was about time I presented one of my more controversial commentaries. Lately, resellers have reminded me about one particular aspect of selling Macs that is now causing a noticeable problem. For many years Apple dealers have had to respond to the criticism that Macs are too expensive. Countering this comment used to be easy when Apple priced their machines not too far above the level of the best-quality branded PCs. All you had to do was show the design and demonstrate Mac OS X to
justify the difference in price. But all that has changed. I’ve got to admit that I now agree Apple computers have become expensive – seriously expensive. A quick Google will confirm that I’m not alone in this opinion. For the past few months I’ve returned to computer sales basics. I’ve been working part-time at my local PC World branch, assisting with their new Apple store-in-store. And even though the impressive, dedicated, Apple Storethemed area clearly shows Apple to be the premier brand, it doesn’t take long to spot that even the cheapest white MacBook appears poor value against a high-spec, feature-packed, equally well-built Sony F-Series at the same price. There are reasons for this; Apple doesn’t cut corners on component or build quality (but then neither does Sony), its designs are more expensive to build, and the attention to detail of the whole package is staggering. But don’t forget, Apple has said
many times that it would struggle to meet the increased demand for its computers if its prices were lowered by 10 to 15 per cent. But does this really stack up? Ignoring the iPad, there are presently very good stocks of Apple computer inventory out there, and all the major resellers have plenty of units. If you ask them, most will say they’ve watched a slowdown of Apple computer sales over the past four to six months. PC World certainly has large stocks of all but the very latest machines throughout the company. I wish I knew someone in Apple who could tell me how many of their machines are in stock for sale through their retail stores. Dealers can upsell on all the usual features and benefits of a Mac, but for most buyers, the jump in price over an equivalent Windows PC begins to make no sense, and with Windows 7 being such a good operating system, it is increasingly difficult to justify the huge difference in price. But then, I did just take delivery of a new Apple MacBook Pro.
The TCA is the not–for–profit trade body with membership made up of businesses from all parts of the channel.
Visit www.tcauk.org for more information
October PCR 107
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Samsung takes on iPad with new tablet Unlike Apple’s device, the Galaxy Tab is compatible with Adobe Flash SAMSUNG has launched the Galaxy Tab, the first product in its new tablet range, which is due to hit UK shelves later this year. The device, which was unveiled at this year’s IFA show in Berlin, features a seven-inch TFT LCD display, weighs 380g and supports Adobe Flash.
“The Galaxy Tab is pushing the market in new directions and this is only the beginning of Samsung's innovations.” Simon Stanford, Samsung The Galaxy Tab offers 3G, wi-fi and bluetooth connectivity for web browsing, e-reading and multimedia playback, as well as email, voice and video calling, SMS, MMS and social networking.
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The tablet is powered by a Cortex A8 1.0GHz application processor, can play HD video content and has a front-facing camera for 3G video calling, as well as a rear-facing camera for taking still photos and videos. “Samsung recognises the tremendous growth potential in this newly created market and we believe that the Samsung Galaxy Tab brings a unique and open proposition to market. There is a new and emerging consumer demand that Samsung can satisfy, since mobile is in our DNA. This demand continues to grow and develop as users tap its limitless potential,” said Simon Stanford, head of mobile for Samsung UK and Ireland.
“The Samsung Galaxy Tab has been designed to enable consumers to maximise their online experience wherever that may be. The Samsung Galaxy Tab is pushing the market in new directions and Samsung believes this is only the beginning of its innovations, as pioneers in smart media devices.”
The Galaxy Tab can be used for web browsing and e-reading, as well as voice and video calling
Nokia unveils new Symbian smartphones All three touch-screen devices operate on the latest version of the mobile giant’s operating system NOKIA HAS used this year’s Nokia World conference to unveil its new family of smartphones running the Symbian mobile operating system. Three new models join the previously announced N8 in the vendor’s new line-up and are due to ship by the end of the year. The E7 caters to the business market, with onboard Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync to deliver direct real-time access to
corporate email inboxes and other applications. The four-inch touch-screen display features Nokia ClearBlack technology for improved outdoor visibility and a full keyboard for editing documents. The C7 is designed for social networking. Users can get live updates from sites including Facebook and Twitter, as well as keeping track of new emails directly on the homescreen. The device sports a 3.5-inch AMOLED display and a combination of stainless steel and glass.
Finally, the C6 has a 3.2-inch touch-screen AMOLED
display and Nokia ClearBlack technology. Users can check email, access tracks through Ovi Music, and download apps and games from the Ovi Store.
Three new models join the previously announced N8 in the vendor’s line-up, due to ship by year-end. All three new smartphones, along with the N8, are built on the new version of Symbian, which offers a variety of features such as multiple homescreens, visual multitasking and gesture-based interactions. Niklas Savander, Nokia’s executive vice president of markets, said: “Our new family of smartphones introduced today feature the all-new Symbian OS, rewritten to be faster, easier to use, more efficient and more developer friendly.”
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Roccat updates gaming mouse line-up Kone+ lets the user access up to 22 different functions PERIPHERALS specialist Roccat has launched its latest gaming mouse, the Kone+, an upgrade to its award winning Kone device. The Kone+ is available now from Meroncourt, and features a 6000dpi laser sensor, a 10.5 megapixel resolution and 1000Hz polling rate, offering speeds of up to 200ips (5.08m/s) without lag. An integrated threat display control unit allows the sensor to adjust to suit the mousepad, improving tracking. And with 576kB of onboard memory, up to five profiles can be stored on the mouse. According to Roccat, improvements have also been made to the device’s exterior. The button above the mouse
wheel has been made larger and there is an additional toggle switch below the wheel. An ‘EasyShift’ button allows the user to assign second functions to each of the ten programmable buttons and the mouse wheel – allowing gamers to access up to 22 functions. The Kone+ can light up in four simultaneous colours, which can alternate or rotate. Four weights let users adjust the weight to make the mouse up to 20g heavier.
"Improvements have been made to the mouse’s exterior; the button above the mouse wheel has been made larger and there is an additional toggle switch."
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October PCR 113
Sony launches new home media duo Speaker dock comes with an infrared remote, while Blu-ray writer ships with CyberLink software SONY HAS UNVEILED two new products this month – an Applecompatible speaker dock and a new Blu-ray disc writer. The RDP-X50iP is the latest addition to the vendor’s range of speaker docks for the current generation of iPods and the iPhone 3GS. Similar in appearance to the previous RDP-XF100iP and RDP-X80iP models, the RDP-X50iP contains a digital amplifier and long-stroke driver units. According to Sony, the long-stroke speakers, plus a super-long duct and twin reflex ports give the RDP-X50iP a rich and powerful bass sound. Digital signal processing enhances mid-range and high frequency tones. The dock can charge the iPod or iPhone while simultaneously playing music, while the omni-directional infrared remote gives full menu control of music functions.
consumers’ home cinema systems, and PC users can also use it to back up documents and media files. The burner ships with CyberLink’s Media Suite 8, which includes a variety of programs such as PowerDVD, PowerDirector and PowerProducer, which can be used for authoring, editing, data writing and back up.
Elsewhere, the vendor has launched a new external Blu-ray disc writer, under its Sony Optiarc Europe subsidiary. The BDX-S500U writes to Blu-ray disc at 6x speed, plays Blu-ray movies,
"The Blu-ray disc writer is designed to replace the DVD player in consumers’ home cinema systems, and PC users can also use it to back up documents and media files." DVDs and CDs, and can store up to 50GB of high definition video or data The device also supports 3D playback, and has a slim, lightweight design. According to Sony, the device is designed to replace the DVD player in
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New software offers the best of both worlds Parallels’ Mac package lets users run applications for different operating systems at the same time PARALLELS has released the latest version of its bestselling software for simultaneously running Windows and Mac applications on a Mac computer. Parallels Desktop 6, available now from Computers Unlimited, offers over 80 new and enhanced features. According to the vendor, the new software achieved top results in product benchmark testing, with 3D graphics running nearly 40 per cent better than before and Windows boot time 41 per cent faster than before. Desktop 6 also boosts speeds for working with files on USB drives, networks and in shared folders. Parallels has also unveiled Desktop 6 Switch to Mac Edition, which on top of the new software includes additional features designed to make the move from PC to Mac smart and simple. The Switch to Mac Edition provides a complete set of switching tools and
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includes a high-speed USB data transfer cable. All the users programs, files, settings and browser favourites and bookmarks can automatically be moved to the Mac. User tutorials are also available. “Parallels has established itself as the number one choice for Mac users who
“Parallels has established itself as the number one choice for Mac users who want to run Windows applications side by side with their Mac experience.” Matt Balcombe, Computers Unlimited want to run Windows applications side by side with their Mac experience. CU is delighted to be offering this fantastic new version to the Apple channel,” said Matt Balcombe, product manager at Computers Unlimited.
Cherry reveals Infinity keyboard Programmable buttons give users quick access to the internet, email music and videos CHERRY HAS LAUNCHED its new Infinity multimedia keyboard, part of the vendor’s latest range of PC peripherals. The corded keyboard has an ultra-flat design and, according to Cherry, combines aesthetics with ergonomic features, while remaining robust. The compact device offers full-size keys in standard layout, a numeric keypad and a cursor block. “In operation, its soft, whisper-quiet keystroke action makes for extended fatigue-free use, even in the most demanding of work environments,” the vendor claims. The Infinity features 11 programmable hotkeys for easy access to the internet, e-mail, and music or video clips. Cherry’s Keym@n software can also be downloaded for additional programming functionality. The Infinity keyboard is plug and play on Windows machines, comes with a five-year warranty and is available in
either piano black or stainless steel with black keys. The new keyboard is one of a number of new products from Cherry, which last month told us it is looking to bolster its presence in the UK market. “We have a great range of products, but not enough consumers know about them,” general manager Michael Groom said.
“Soft keystroke action makes for extended fatigue-free use, even in the most demanding of work environments” Cherry
Special software can be downloaded from the vendor’s website for extra hotkey programming
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Roxio releases 3D creative package New software includes simple tools for stabilising shaky home movies and rotating video clips ROXIO has released Creator 2011, a digital media suite which allows users to capture, edit and share 3D photos and videos. The software can convert 2D photos and videos into 3D, supporting a range of formats including those used in 3D theatrical film releases. “We believe strongly that 3D will not only change forever how we experience Hollywood movies, but also reshape and redefine how we capture and enjoy our personal digital media,” said Matt DiMaria, executive vice president and general manager of Roxio. Consumers can import content directly from 3D cameras and create personalised productions complete with transitions, titles, effects and a soundtrack, which can be viewed on the PC or a 3D-enabled HDTV. Roxio has also collaborated with leading tech firms such as ATI, Nvidia,
and RealD to ensure Creator 2011 is fully compatible with the latest 3Denabled devices and technologies. The new software contains a range of features and tools to speed up and simplify video, photo, DVD and Blu-ray projects. Easy to use functions have been
"3D will not only change forever how we experience Hollywood movies, but also redefine how we capture and enjoy personal digital media.” Matt DiMaria, Roxio included for stabilising shaky home movies and rotating video clips between portrait and landscape. Creator 2011 also provides new options for sharing media with a new ‘upload to Facebook’ feature.
Sweex boosts TV line-up Vendor launches slimline devices for consumers and home office workers SWEEX has introduced a new full HD LED television with an in-built DVD player, available in two sizes. The slimline device, which comes with a 22-inch or 24-inch screen, is aimed at consumers and home office workers. It features a 1920 x 1080 resolution and an integrated digital TV receiver. The TV, which has a 5ms response time, is 4.5 cm deep, with a slim bezel and black high-gloss finish. According to Sweex, the LED technology means the television uses up to 30 per cent less power than equivalent LCD TVs. Connection options include VGA, scart and HDMI, as well as a USB input for connecting external hard drives or portable devices such as cameras. Both models are available now and are delivered as standard with a table stand, but are also suitable for wall mounting.
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“According to Sweex, the LED technology means the television uses up to 30 per cent less power than equivalent LCD TVs.”
The TV ships with a table stand, but can also be wall mounted
PCR Recommended Each month, in association with PC Pro, we check out two of the hottest bits of tech the specialist press are raving about. This month, we examine Sony’s all-in-one and Samsung’s efficient new laptop...
SONY VAIO L13
URL: www.samsung.co.uk SRP: £584
URL: www.sony.co.uk SRP: £1,404
“Colours pop off the screen with amazing clarity, and whether you’re surfing the web or watching a Blu-ray movie, the Sony’s vibrant, high-contrast images have to be seen to be believed.” SONY’S L SERIES has sat atop our Alist for several months, and for good reason. But before you even consider its performance, its looks or its features, the most attractive aspect for many will be the sheer simplicity of it all: Plug in a power cable, press the power button, and it’s ready to go. Before you even get to the point of plugging it in, though, you’re likely to find yourself impressed by its sheer weight. At 12.5kg, the L Series feels outstandingly well built, and once you’ve recovered from all that heavy lifting, it’s handsome good-looks will be difficult to ignore. It isn’t an ostentatious design, but the combination of gloss black and silver looks every-inch the classy, high-end all-in-one PC.
The keen sense of style is backed up with some serious substance. The Vaio’s 24-inch touch screen display is one of the finest money can buy. Its Full HD resolution stretches across the panel, and while brightly lit rooms will work havoc with the reflective finish, image quality is stunning. Colours pop off the screen with amazing clarity, and whether you’re surfing the web or watching a Blu-ray movie, the Sony’s vibrant, high-contrast images have to be seen to be believed. It isn’t perfect, and it’s definitely very, very expensive, but in many ways the Vaio justifies its asking price. Given the quality of that display and the generous specifications behind it, we’re inclined to recommend it despite its higher noise levels.
STRIKING A BALANCE between power and portability is the toughest challenge laptop manufacturers face,
It manages to combine this speedy performance with the sort of stamina we’d normally associate with
“The price is so reasonable we had to look twice before we took it on board. For great value portable computing power, there’s little that comes close.” and there’s always been a trade-off. You want a long battery life? You’d better be prepared for mediocre performance and a reduced feature set. You want top performance? Don’t even think about leaving your charger at home. The 13.3-inch Samsung Q330 wants to change all that, offering top speed, great battery life and portability in one reasonably priced package. It gets off to a flying start. A 2.26 GHz Intel Core i3-350M processor in tandem with 3GB of 1,066MHz DDR3 RAM helped the Q330 to a stellar score of 1.36 in our real-world applications benchmarks.
ultraportable laptops based on ultralow voltage processors. In our light-use battery benchmark, the Q330’s 4,400mAh six--cell battery lasted fivehours 46 minutes on a single charge. Aside from a series of minor grumbles, and the noticeably budget chassis, there’s very little the Samsung Q330 gets wrong. It offers bundles of power and solid stamina packed into a sub-2kg frame with no major design issues. And the price is so reasonable we had to look twice before we took it on board. For great-value portable computing power, there’s little that comes close.
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OUT OF OFFICE
THE IT CROWD
THIS MONTH: DJ Tiesto, base jumping and Gorillaz...
HEY MR DJ SanDisk has joined forces with the world famous DJ Tiesto to help fans film his next music video by recording gig footage on their phones and uploading it to the web. The memory vendor invited us down to Tiesto’s gig at The Scala in London, where there was a SanDisksponsored VIP area, and PCR’s Carly Bailey and Rosie McKeown got to meet the man himself. Right: PCR’s Carly and Rosie cosy up to DJ Tiesto
WHO’D WORK FOR INTEL…? Five Intel engineers ‘base jumped’ from the top of the chip giant’s Romanian headquarters last month, in order to hoot five giant horns, playing different musical notes. Beniamin Korzha, Victor Szekely, Alex Troester, Philip Rom and Marius ‘Terminator’ Dudnic trained on spring boards and hurricane-force wind simulators before taking the plunge from the six-storey building “Base jumpers normally have parachutes and our office is not high enough for a parachute to open, so we knew we would need airbags for the jumpers to land on. Then we realised: hey, we can make horns from the airbags, like on a bicycle,” said software validation engineer Iulian Sabau, who organised the stunt after five Finnish Intel employees shot themselves out of cannons earlier in the year. Left: Iulian Sabau with the five base jumpers
Brian Dunn, Best Buy CEO, says he loves Facebook and Twitter but still feels self-conscious ‘tweeting’ in public. LOL
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Best Buy chief marketing officer Barry Judge
12 months ago people started hyping ‘web 3.0’ then mobile exploded and now no one cares, i love how quickly things shift in tech Digg.com founder Kevin Rose
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Send your pictures to: email@example.com
e f i l e h t in y a d A
Left: SanDisk’s EMEA product marketing manager Ruben Dennenwaldt with Nikki Willcock, UK regional marketing manager
Above: SanDisk’s VIP area at the gig
Scott Barnsley, Head of UK Retail Sales, AVG
Left: DJ Tiesto on the decks
“I wouldn’t survive without my BlackBerry to keep track of all my emails, but I tend to take calls through my iPhone as I’m an Apple addict.”
MONKEY BUSINESS Damon Albarn’s animated band Gorillaz has teamed up with Microsoft to celebrate the beta launch of Internet Explorer 9. Fans who download the new browser will be able to enjoy new multimedia content on the Gorillaz website, which Microsoft is also featuring on its own specially designed microsite.
Nielsen rprt a 40% increase in UK web users visiting gambling sites - that’s 3.2m new users: hmmm not q what raceonline2012.org is all about! Digital champion Martha Lane Fox
I’m filming in the former studios of ‘The Bill’ and have discovered that, while the show has been cancelled, its wireless broadband hasn’t. Actor and comedian David Mitchell
WORKING FOR AVG, you soon realise there is no such thing as a normal day – every day throws something different at you and you quickly learn to expect the unexpected. This is particularly good for me, as I tend to have the tolerance level of a gnat. The only thing I can be sure of is that I will be hitting the M6 motorway at some point. Right now, AVG is a hive of activity, as we are announcing Internet Security 2011, so the run-up to the October launch has been especially busy for me. My typical day is usually spent discussing opportunities for sell-through of our retail products and talking to potential supply partners to agree joint deals and product bundling. I also engineer new deals to leverage value for money for my retail partners and enable them to offer the best services and products to their customers. I spend a lot of time on the road and cover about 5,000 miles a month. I attend a lot of meetings in London and also take a few ferries over to Dublin as we’re currently trying to establish a strong retail presence in Ireland. I wouldn’t survive without my BlackBerry to keep track of all my emails, but tend to take calls through my iPhone as I’m an Apple addict and wouldn’t be without it. Having been in the industry for years, I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoy my job. The people I work with are passionate about AVG and it is a pleasure to work with them. Everyone is really committed and this is demonstrated by the many awards we have won. You’ll always find the AVG team are super efficient and super keen. I’m just pleased to be part of an organisation that lives and breathes an ethos of ‘it’s all about you’ and really delivers on that promise.
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OUT OF OFFICE
PCR Editorial Planner
HOT SEAT NOVEMBER 2010 Alan Preston, Purchaser, KMS Components
Advertising deadline: October 20th CHRISTMAS SPECIAL
Notebooks, laptop bags and accessories Children’s entertainment software Novelty gadgets, kids gadgets and executive toys To advertise call Carly Bailey on +44 (0) 1992 535647 or email Carly.Bailey@intentmedia.co.uk For editorial please contact Andrew Wooden on +44 (0) 1992 535646 or email him at Andrew.Wooden@intentmedia.co.uk
DECEMBER 2010 Advertising deadline: November 17th External hard drives Self improvement and creative software MP3 players and accessories Distributor opening times
JANUARY 2011 Describe yourself in three words Fat, loud, proud How do you relax away from work? By sitting What’s your favourite book? Five go off in a caravan - Enid Blyton What’s your favourite ﬁlm? Bambi What’s your favourite album? Theme from The Deer Hunter What was your ﬁrst computer? Atari Who’s the funniest person you’ve ever met? Craig Gore from KMS (or at least he thinks so) What did you want to do when you were younger? Jane Seymour
Advertising deadline: TBC Printers Smartphones ISPs Speakers and headphones
FEBRUARY 2011 Advertising deadline: TBC GAMING ISSUE Graphics cards Displays Gaming hardware Games Consoles
MARCH 2011 Advertising deadline: TBC Home security Networking Security software TV and video technology
LATEST NEWS STRAIGHT TO YOUR MOBILE bookmark us in your phone:
mobile.pcretailmag.com 122 PCR October
“Give us big
SMB resources” AVG’s glo oball co ommu unityy iss 110 milllion people e sttron ng and growing g. Ea ach day e AV VG wiith 1.5 5 billlion potential they prrovvide threatss to evvalu uate.. From m th his, we identify and remo ove ovverr 100 milllio on th hreats every ay. All in ne ear re eall time e. single da
Business users want...
AVG 2011 answers...
Q P rotection that allows them to leverage all the internet has to offer
Q Unrivalled depth and breadth in SMB web protection
Q Protection across the entire system
Q Comprehensive laptop, pc, workstation, email server and ﬁle server protection
Q Protection matched to their resources
Q Lighter, smarter engineering designed speciﬁcally for the limited IT resources of the SMB
Q Protection that stays out of the end user’s way
Q AVG Smart Scanning – waits until the PC isn’t being used and doesn’t scan previously vetted ﬁles
SMBs want protection designed speciﬁcally for them.
AV VG 2011 1 is yo our new w ansswer Discovver more right now at www.avg.cco.uk k/rese ellerr
Why new AVG 2011? Lighter, smarter, faster protection? Itâ€™s precisely what your customers have been waiting for, shaped around the way they work, live and play in the real world. Engineered to deliver greater home and business security in a way that demands less of end users, administrators and you the reseller. All about them, all about you. AVG 2011 represents a fresh, new option. Your opportunity to help your customers and build your reputation (and bottom line) at the same time. Talk to us today about the bonus launch margins, compelling end user offers and great marketing support that AVG 2011 could bring to your business.
Discover more right now at
www.avg.co.uk/reseller Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone 01636 658016