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 INTEL INTERVIEW  CHANNEL EXPO  MYSTERY SHOPPER COMPUTER & IT RESELLERS • RETAILERS • SYSTEM BUILDERS • DISTRIBUTORS • VENDORS

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MAY 2009 ISSUE 68

HARDWARE · SOFTWARE · CONSUMER ELECTRONICS ISSUE 68 MAY 2009


“ We are delighted with the positive response the PC Indie site has provided Kaspersky with in such a short space of time. This resource is a benefit to both Kaspersky and our partners. ”

Simon Geach Consumer Sales Director - Kaspersky Lab UK

Dear

!

Welcome back to PC Indie.com, our newly launched site dedicated to the independent software retailer. We have had a very impressive launch so far, receiving some great feedback and comments of support. On a daily basis we are seeing more visitors on the site and now have over 400 independents actively purchasing. If you haven’t visited the site yet I recommend you take a look, if you are a member of the Brigantia group you would have received your log in details automatically on the 21st April, if not please go on and register to see all of the benefits available to you. We can’t do this without you and my promise to you is still clear, this is a site dedicated to you and even named in your honour. Any improvements that are suggested will be fully listened to and if beneficial to the service (and possible!) we will incorporate them as soon as we can. Thanks for your support! Kind Regards

Head of Sales - Software Koch Media Limited

“ It was good to see PC Indie go live. This is a big step towards our aim of achieving a broader base of independent resellers. Initial response looks great! ”

Chris England Product Director - Ability Software International

www.PCindie.com


COMMENT Issue 68 May 2009 Incorporating

Flexibility, adaptation and evolution are the best tools that retailers have. Well, the same rule applies to us as well PCR CONTACTS Editor

WELCOME TO PCR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stuart Dinsey stuart.dinsey@intentmedia.co.uk Editorial: 01992 535646 Advertising: 01992 535647 www.pcretailmag.com

I’VE OFTEN used this column to reiterate my opinion that, in such a fast moving industry, flexibility, adaptation and evolution are the best tools that retailers have. Well, the same rule applies to us as well. It’s been six years since Intent Media launched PC Retail, and a lot of things have changed in the industry since then. If there’s one thing to pick out with specific regard to the retail sector, it’s that PC shops now generally stock a much wider array of products than they used to. As this has become evident, we moved with it. However in order to continue to represent such a diverse market to the best possible standards, we decided a greater degree of clarity within our own pages was required. Apart from the shortened name, the biggest change you’ll notice is the three new sections in the magazine. The Hardware area will probably be the most familiar, covering PCs, components and monitors – generally the core of an IT retailer’s sales. The Software section will be populated by all the security vendors, operating systems developers and programme manufacturers behind this rapidly evolving sector. Finally, in the Consumer Electronic pages you will find articles and sector guides on more ‘gadgety’ products, such as sat nav devices, digital cameras and MP3 players. On top of these three product-led sections, our Market Place remains the best area for product launches and news, while the very front of the magazine will continue to bring you all the latest analysis, top interviews and breaking news from the technology industry. We think it’s a huge improvement, and hope you feel the same. As ever, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to get in contact with me. Andrew Wooden, Editor andrew.wooden@intentmedia.co.uk

PCR - Total average monthly net circulation for January 1st to December 31st 2008: 12,766. Intent Media is a member of the Periodical Publishers Associations PCR is published 12 times a year by Intent Media - Saxon House, 6a St.Andrew Street, Hertford, Hertfordshire SG14 1JA Fax: +44 (0)1992 535648. © Intent Media 2007 No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior permission of the copyright owners. Printed by Pensord. SUBSCRIPTIONS UK £50 Europe: £60 Rest of World: £90. The international cost applies per subscription and covers airmail dispatch of 12 issues. To order your subscription via Visa, MasterCard, Amex Switch or Delta contact: pcr.subscriptions@c-cms.com or call 01580 883848. Alternatively visit our website www.pcretailmag.com Subscriptions Manager: Hannah Short, Hannah.Short@intentmedia.co.uk

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PCR Contents

ISSUE 68 MAY 2009

Cloud Computing The data cloud has been a buzzword for some time now, but three major companies are working to make it a reality. Andrew Wooden investigates...

News 7-12

16

Appointments 12 PCA 98 Keith Warburton, CEO of the Personal Computer Association talks about the Scottish Reseller Networking event, the PCA stand at Channel Expo, the importance of investment during times of recession, and what forms that can take. He also provides a sneak peek at the PCA’s new green strategy

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Facts and Figures

89

Hardware Charts Software Charts GfK Analysis

61-62 78 89

INTEL INTERVIEW We talk to the firm about its partner programme

Mac Association 99 Robert Peckham, executive director of the Mac Technology Association discusses Apple’s popularity with female consumers and the problems posed by traditional sales techniques and attitudes when it comes to the better half of the market

ITACS/NASCR 100 The two trade bodies highlight the growing trend towards upgrade and repair coupled with the benefits of professional engineer status. They also discuss the importance of education in the continuing struggle for online security and the role of the retailer

Brigantia 106

Games 77

The head of the Brigantia trade organisation, Iain Shaw, talks about what visitors to the Channel Expo can find on Brigantia’s stand, Formula One racing and the isolation fostered by independent retail

Our monthly roundup highlights the biggest titles of the month, including the recently released movie tie-in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the soon to arrive The Sims 3

4 PCR May

“The mission of the partner programme is to enable communications between Intel and the Channel” Christine Harrison, Intel

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Channel Expo The UK’s foremost trade event takes place this month. Don’t miss this indispensible preview of the show

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43

Hannspree

55

Smart Phones

68

Bullguard

UK manager Martin Kent and UK sales manager Simon Wren talk about Hannspree’s recent expansion in to the mini-notebook segment

MARKETPLACE

95

Mobile devices have revolutionised the industry and the smart phone is increasingly popular. Tim Green takes a look at the sector

PCR talks to the security vendor about its Reseller Lounge partner programme and the future of internet threats and security

71

Business Software

92

Mystery Shopper

The PC is now vital to the running of most businesses, and software developers have always recognised this lucrative market segment

Our Mystery Shopper takes to the streets of Bristol in search of satellite navigation devices. Read the results for a number of High Street multiples

Company Profile

102

RET UK is a trade-only distributor of refurbished and second hand hardware. The recession and environmental concerns have seen such business practices catapulted to the forefront of the agenda. PCR talks to RET UK’s Nik Hillard

May PCR 5


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NEWS

Carphone Warehouse prepares for 40 store expansion following demerger with TalkTalk… Best Buy retail partner to exponentially grow number of IT-focused ‘Wireless World’ stores across UK

Carphone Warehouse will be taking a more ITfocused approach in the future

By Andrew Wooden AFTER SEVERING ties with its telecoms sister-firm TalkTalk, The Carphone Warehouse is planning a huge expansion of its retail base, with 30-40 new stores which are scheduled to be opened over the course of this year. The stores will be the larger 3,000 square-foot ‘Wireless World’ style premises, which are positioned further into the IT market than standard Carphone Warehouse stores and considerably closer in line with retail partner Best Buy’s stock lines.

The extension of the portfolio comes as the firm is looking to take a larger chunk of the broadband and PC market, and should be completed by the time the first five Best Buy big box stores arrive in the UK next spring. “There will be about 30 to 40 of these stores coming over the next financial year – that will be a mixture of brand new stores and refits on existing premises, for those that are actually large enough to cope with it,” a Carphone Warehouse spokesperson told us. “We’ve had some great results recently, broadband connections are up – higher

than anyone else – and we continue to take market share in the mobile markets.” The firm says that the demerger with TalkTalk will help its planned expansion, by prompting deals with the likes of BT, which does not currently have a presence in the store. On the severance, the spokesperson said: “The analysts and some shareholders have been calling for this for a while. It will give everyone greater clarity – for the shareholders in what it is they’re investing in, and for analysts what it is they’re analyzing exactly. You can compare like for like a lot easier.”

We’ve had some great results recently, broadband connections are up – higher than anyone else – and we continue to take share in the mobile markets Carphone Warehouse

…while industry research firm cuts ties with rival DSGi GFK-CHARTTRACK has banned DSGi from its panel, after the PC World and Currys parent locked down its sales figures on core products – a move that could potentially diminish the UK industry’s official market value, and which some claim is an attempt to hide information from emergent retail giant Best Buy and its partner The Carphone Warehouse. DSGi said it would only submit ten per cent of its weekly sales data, and would not release information about PC hardware, software and peripherals at all.

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The watchdog’s subsequent dismissal of DSGI from its figures will be a blow to PC publishers and peripherals firms that rely on the general sales data for their marketing, and could also affect the UK’s official market value, which will be lessened without DSGi’s figures. GfK-ChartTrack managing director John Pinder said: “They [DSGi] didn’t want people knowing the sales of their core product. We can’t allow retailers to pick and choose what they show us – otherwise we’ll end up with a chart of the

worst-selling items rather than the bestselling. We’re obviously disappointed we have had to drop them from our panel.” When asked if the move had been a direct reaction to Best Buy’s big box store launch next Spring, a spokesperson said the firm did not comment on "rumour and speculation regarding our commercial relationships”. However, a source close to DSGi admitted that the firm felt ‘exposed’ by the figures – and was concerned by Best Buy’s ability to monitor its weekly sales.

May PCR 7


NEWS

Nvidia denies death of Nvision event, launches new magazine Graphics giant insists its Nvision show will go on  New magazine published in partnership with Future NVIDIA HAS insisted that its ambitious, huge-scale Nvision event, the debut of which spread itself across much of San Jose last August, is alive and kicking and plans are underway for a follow-up – despite reports that the event had been cancelled. Alongside this, the graphics specialist is to launch a magazine in association with Future Publishing, which as well as sharing the Nvision name, will also have the same mission statement of promoting visual computing technology to a global audience. The magazine will launch in the US in June, and is expected to be on newsstands in the UK soon after. When asked if there would be another Nvision event any time soon, general manager for GeForce content marketing at Nvidia, Bill Rehbock said: “Very much so. Our inaugural Nvision, which drew nearly 10,000 people, was a highlight for Nvidia, San Jose, and the computing industry in

an otherwise challenging 2008. It blew away our expectations. Details will be announced soon on our developer event, as well as the next Nvison.” While many news sources have claimed the event had been pulled due to the expense, Nvidia insists the new magazine is in addition to, not a replacement of, the show. It will be populated with features, news and interviews relating to graphics powered computing, and the firm insists it will be a forum for the whole industry, not just Nvidia. Initially the US version will be made available for UK audiences, however PC Retail understands a localised version is planned for the future. “It does not replace the Nvision event,” said Rehbock. “The main similarity is that both offer a venue to explore the people, technologies, art, and science that have emerged from the ecosystem that graphics processors have facilitated.”

Our inaugural Nvision, which drew nearly 10,000 people, was a highlight for Nvidia, San Jose, and the computer industry in an otherwise challenging 2008 Bill Rehbock, Nvidia

Tech giants plan for Cloud Computing revolution THREE OF THE biggest names in the tech industry are stepping up their respective campaigns in the Cloud Computing arena, with IBM describing the movement as ‘game-changing’. IBM, Google and Microsoft have been developing the infrastructure that supports Cloud Computing, and they are predicting it to change the way the PC industry operates from the ground up. “The world’s information infrastructure is on the brink of an extraordinary transformation,” said Julian Friedman, emerging

8 PCR May

technologies specialist at IBM Cloud Labs and Emerging Technology Services division. “To IBM, Cloud Computing is much more than the normal evolution of a data centre. It is about the game-changing applications that will emerge out of the cloud.” And while many fear the remote processing and electronic distribution of software could cause problems for retail, Google said that

there will be advantages for all when the technology becomes more prevalent. “Cloud Computing is shaping up as the next big thing,” said a spokesperson. “Cloud Computing opens up new opportunities and new business models which retailers, just like anyone else, can take advantage of.” Ian Moulster, Microsoft’s product manager for Cloud Computing in the UK, added:

“We believe the Cloud Computing is great news for the industry as a whole and, coupled with the strength and power of the PC, opens up a whole set of possibilities.” All three firms are significantly ramping up the amount of services and programmes they produce in the Cloud Computing arena, in preparation for what many see as the biggest technological movement since the internet.

The world’s information infrastructure is on the brink of an extraordinary transformation Julian Friedman, IBM

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NEWS

NewsBytes ONLINE SHOPPING DECLINES Hitwise has found that UK internet users are spending less of their online time shopping and more time browsing online media. During March 2009, 8.6 per cent of all UK Internet visits went to online retail websites and 9.8 per cent to social networking websites. A year ago, in March 2008, the figures were reversed. ORACLE BUYS SUN Oracle has acquired Sun Microsystems for £5.1 billion. The deal beat IBM’s bid, which was withdrawn early last month. Oracle expects the acquired business to contribute over a billion pounds to its operating profit in the first year, and more than £1.4 billion in its second year. LENOVO UNVEILS HARDWARE PASSWORD MANAGER Lenovo has revealed its Hardware Password Manager, the latest advancement for businesses to manage data security and the only universal tool to work with all brands of hard drives with full disk encryption. This new tool allows IT

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Last year’s Nvision event attracted almost ten thousand visitors

Intel urges channel to stay flexible CHIP GIANT Intel’s newly appointed UK and Ireland channel manager Christine Harrison has advised independents to remain flexible in the face of growing financial pressure, highlighting the strengths that smaller retailers have over their larger rivals. Harrison said pressure on retailers is likely to grow in the coming months, mostly due to credit issues, but that small business are better placed to respond quickly to adverse market conditions. “I think everyone is going out at the moment all guns blazing, trying

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to make the best of a bad situation,” she told PC Retail. “The opportunity for the channel is to appeal to them to remain flexible and agile; they can move a lot quicker than some of their bigger competitors. We have done our major product launch for this year, which the channel was very much a part of. But their biggest problem is going to be credit, that’s where they’re going to see some of their biggest problems. The guys in the channel don’t just compete against themselves, they compete against the entire industry.”

North America and 20.5 per cent worldwide. It predicted that it will take until 2011 for shipments to regain healthy growth, expected to hit 9.6 per cent worldwide at that time. EBAY TO FLOAT SKYPE The owner of Skype, eBay has announced that it plans to launch the brand as a standalone business early next year. It is felt that the VoIP provider is too different from eBay’s core business and would perform better alone. The new comes after revelations that Skype’s founders are trying to raise capital to buy the communication service back. MAVERICK GOES PROMETHEAN Maverick Presentation Products has been authorised as a distributor of Promethean accessories and spares in the UK. With immediate effect, this agreement gives resellers access to a range of Promethean’s bestselling auxiliary items online via Maverick’s ‘In Touch’ system. GREEN ELECTRONICS WORTH A PREMIUM PRICE A recent survey by market research firm Compete has found the

BRC: SALES WEAK The British Retail Consortium has found that UK retail sales values fell 1.2 per cent on a like-for-like basis, and rose only 0.6 per cent on a total basis, from March 2008. Non-food non-store sales (internet, mail-order and phone sales) in March were 10.8 per cent higher than a year ago. This continued the slowdown from the 30 per cent gain in December.

administrators to remotely manage employee passwords on many Lenovo Think-branded laptops. USA BEST INTRODUCES FASTMAC IV European distie USA Best unveiled its FastMac iV at this year’s Gadget Show Live. The FastMac iV is an extended battery pack for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Its 3100mAh charge offers up to 24 hours of talk time, 750 minutes on standby and over 70 hours of audio. The additional USB port means that users can charge more than one device at the same time. RECESSION HITS MOBILE PHONES SECTOR Research firm In-Stat has said that handset shipments will start to fall this year, sinking 19 per cent for

majority of consumers would be willing to pay a premium price for green electronic products. 58 per cent of shoppers said they would pay more for an electronic device with eco-friendly features. Compete queried 914 consumers for the survey, which was conducted online in February. KASPERSKY: TWITTER WORM IS NOT A THREAT Kaspersky Labs has announced that its security products successfully detect all known versions of NetWorm.JS.Twettir that recently spread on the social networking website, Twitter. The security firm found that the new worm does not have sophisticated functionality and does not pose a threat because it does not steal personal data, it simply modifys Twitter pages.

May PCR 9


NEWS

EMEA PC market falls 10% FIGURES from IDC point to a ten per cent decline in PC sales in the EMEA region for the first quarter of 2009. The report highlights dramatic differences between the component areas' performance, with Central and Eastern Europe registering a dramatic 41 per cent fall in shipments compared to the same period last year, and a more modest decline of 0.5 per cent in Western Europe. Unsurprisingly the disparity was credited to the meteoric rise in Western European netbook sales, which grew 28 per cent. “This quarter delivered an expected deceleration of the EMEA PC market as the financial crisis unfolded across the region, but while emerging markets are hit the hardest, mature economies held well considering the global environment,” said Karine Paoli, associate vice president, IDC EMEA Systems Infrastructure Solutions.

Viking Direct looks to raid IT channel with TechDepot New website aims to build on office supply platform to penetrate the IT market By Ben Furfie OFFICE supplies specialist Viking Direct is looking to take on business-focused IT etailers, moving into the channel with its new TechDepot business. The company, which softlaunched the website at the beginning of this year, is hoping that it can leverage its strength

Duivenboden told PC Retail. As part of this push, the firm has signed deals with several of the major vendors in the channel, including HP, Canon, Samsung, Toshiba and Microsoft. However, the firm isn’t looking to stick to traditional office IT

By launching the TechDepot web store in the UK, our customers can now browse a vast selection of more then 35,000 products Frans van Duivenboden, TechDepot in the office supplies market to make a significant impact on the business IT channel. “By launching the TechDepot web store in the UK, our customers can now browse a vast selection of more than 35,000 technology products, in addition to the more than 16,000 office products currently available through Viking Direct,” TechDepot’s European vice president of IT, Frans van

supplies, and is hoping the widestock approach that has made Viking Direct so successful can help TechDepot to gain market share in this country. “The TechDepot web store offers customers a large assortment of technology products, including computers, printers, and ink and toner, as well as digital cameras and televisions from leading brands,” added van Duivenboden.

Symantec looks to make security an easy sell Vendor scraps multi-tier approach and calls on resellers to take advantage of simpler business products SYMANTEC has said that it is a vendor’s responsibility to make security product SKUs simpler, to help resellers who are struggling to sell to businesses in the current economic climate. The statements come alongside the launch of its Protection Suite Small Business Edition software, in which the firm stressed the clearer direction it was taking with its endpoint security solutions. “The two SKU approach is a new one for us, and was motivated by feedback from our partners and our customers,” said the product manager for Symantec’s endpoint portfolio, Garry Tugwell-Smith, explaining

10 PCR May

the reasoning behind introducing the new small business SKU. “Although we’ve split the product into two focused solutions on different markets, we’ve made the reseller’s job easier by moving away from the multi-tiered approach to one based around individual software suites.” The introduction of the new small business SKU represents a shift in the way that the company approaches enterprise level security solutions, with an emphasis on usage, so that no feature becomes redundant. “The small to medium business version still comes with all the important features such

as endpoint security for all computers on the premises, security for messages, antivirus and spam as well as back up and recovery. However, it doesn’t

wider range of mail clients – aspects that can complicate things for smaller businesses.” However, despite making the products simpler, he claims the

The two SKU approach is a new one for us, and was motivated by feedback from our partners and our customers Garry Tugwell-Smith, Symantec come with features that are usually only found in much bigger organisations such as Linux-based servers, mobile protection and support for a

company’s partners have a key role to play. “Because a lot of these smaller firms don’t have dedicated IT staff, it means that resellers have a much bigger role

to play in these businesses. “There are still some out there that use consumersolutions, and while they’re more than adequate for stopping things like viruses and malware infecting their systems, they often aren’t up to dealing with things like guests’ computers accessing the network and server-based mail solutions,” he continued. “This is where it is important for resellers to not just up-sell the product, but also clearly explain the benefits and differences, and continue to support them after the sale. “The changes we’ve made to our SKUs are designed to help them do just that.”

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NEWS

Insured parts boost sales

Meroncourt’s Steve Walsh aims to make a European consumer base available to cash strapped indies

Scansure component insurance scheme aims to stimulate the self-build market

Euro expansion for Meroncourt’s drop shipping operation Distributor boosts its direct-to-consumer shipping scheme By Matt Grainger MERONCOURT has expanded its direct to consumer distribution model, which it says now gives independent retailers a chance to crack into previously unreachable European markets and work around the problems of credit supply and storage. The Drop Shipping programme gives access to Meroncourt products without the need to hold stock, and delivers products directly to consumers’ door. However the expanded reach of the programme has the potential to provide an effective international business for even small businesses. “We have now rolled the scheme out to our full customer base and are even shipping some

orders into Europe on their behalf, so many customers are seeing the advantage of increased business not just locally, but within the Eurozone and beyond,” said sales director Steve Walsh. “It’s almost a ‘something for nothing’ scheme.

To support the scheme, Meroncourt has expanded its own distribution operations: “We have had to invest in additional logistics – staff, warehousing, administration and IT – but for us this has always been a long term project and for

It’s almost a ‘something for nothing’ scheme. For the retailer it’s a winwin situation, they have no risk from taking stock in advance Steve Walsh, Meroncourt For the retailer it’s a win-win situation – he has no risk from taking stock in advance, he can list 100 per cent of our products and only orders from us once he has been paid for the item by the end user.”

the past 18 months we have seen increasing numbers of customers using the facility. The initial success has been so positive that some customers are now using Meroncourt as their fulfillment warehouse as well.”

ADEONA has introduced an insurance package designed to protect components against accidental damage during installation – which has been hailed by the trade as a watershed moment. Designed to give customers 28-days cover for accidents during installation, as well as damage caused by over-clocking through software, the insurance was described by launch partner Scan as the perfect way to boost the self-build market. “The past couple of years have seen a shift away from components towards full built systems and netbooks,” explained Scan director Elan Raja. “We found that a lot of RMAs that were coming back to us as faults which were actually the result of accidents during installation. Scansure (Scan’s brand name for the insurance) helps

us to address that problem.” Adeona director John Bainbridge said: “The more you improve the level of customer service in component sales through protecting them against accidents, the more you grow the market. The scheme allows this because it encourages risks by enthusiasts and first-time builders alike.” However, Bainbridge, who previously was Intel’s UK channel head till 2007, is keen stress that this is not a typical after sales margin making insurance premium. “Our cover has been designed for a specific purpose. If there is a fault, then manufacturers already have a very good process in place for dealing with that. This insurance is designed to protect customers from the occasional accident and importantly, to help retailers to boost their sales of components.”


humyo.com aims for channel growth Cloud storage specialist launches UK partner programme to recruit 500 VARs By Matt Grainger HUMYO has kicked off its drive for growth by initiating a partner programme that aims to recruit 500 value-added resellers across the UK. Founded in 2007, humyo.com is an independent online storage provider that specialises in providing solutions for small businesses. It offers its users cloud storage, which is accessible through a PC or mobile device, and includes 256bit encryption, while its servers are stored in a former Bank of England bullion vault. The company is now looking to grow its presence in the online storage market, which is forecast to be worth £357 million globally in the next two years, and it is due to this potential that the partner programme has been launched. The scheme offers its partners commission for new and renewed customers, who will initially receive technical support and billing directly from humyo.com. The firm is also looking to expand the programme to allow partners to manage their own customer accounts and offer a white label programme. “We’re aiming to increase awareness of the humyo brand and work with the SMB sector, so naturally we’re looking at engaging with the VAR channel,” said Humyo’s managing director, Dan Conlon. “And as with any brand, the key is to build up trust with our resellers and consumers and to support them.”

12 PCR May

As with any brand, the key is to build up trust with our resellers and consumers and to support them Dan Conlon, humyo

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NEWS APPOINTMENTS

Billingsley peels away from Orange Orange brand director to leave in May  Intel appoints new UK channel manager  Belkin installs new MD to develop relationships Brand director JUSTIN BILLINGSLEY is to leave Orange to take the position of regional chief executive for the Asian branch of advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi. Replacing him will be Orange’s head of brand communications, SPENCER MCHUGH. “Justin has been a great asset to Orange, doing an excellent job on strengthening the brand over the last two years,” commented an Orange spokesperson. “At the same time, Orange is pleased to announce that Spencer McHugh will be promoted to the role of brand

Spencer McHugh is to be promoted

marketing director. Spencer is currently head of brand communications at Orange, leading the advertising, media and digital marketing teams.”

CHRISTINE HARRISON has been appointed as Intel’s new channel manager for the UK and Ireland. Harrison, who joined the company in 2002, will replace GERALD GRATTONI, who goes on to serve as the UK and Ireland business development manager. “In Gerald’s replacement, we were looking for someone with an in-depth understanding of the UK channel,” said Intel’s European sales and marketing director, SAM BELLAMY. “Christine has thoroughly proved her quality and commitment.”

BELKIN The connectivity specialist has appointed GARY TUBB as its new managing director for UK and Ireland, where he will perform a role developing business relationships across Europe. He joins the company from BT, where he served as the chief sales and trading director. NIMA AHMADINEJAD, vice president for Belkin EMEA, commented: “We are delighted to have Gary on board. He has a proven track record in consumer sales and management and will be a key member of our European leadership team.”

GEM The distributor’s business software division manager GARETH PHILIPS will move into the role of senior commercial analyst, reporting directly to sales director DARREN HOUGHTON. His new role will involve managing the analysis of Gem’s sales and vendor reporting. Philips recently celebrated his tenth year with the company and recently managed the key retail, dotcom and business sales teams.

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CONSUMER PRESS

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

PC PLUS The Core 2 Duo processor works harmoniously with the Mobility Radeon HD 3670 graphics to create a machine that handles Vista gaming nicely. We hope Dell continues to concentrate on design.

With its 320GB hard disk, there’s plenty of room for music and video content, and an expressCard/54 slot gives you the option of adding more features, such as a TV tuner. The lower price is another reason why it wins.

Dell Studio XPS 1640

Samsung R510

Product Reviews and Features

Product Reviews and Features

Gaming PCs Editor's Choice: Dell Studio XPS 1640 CyberPower Gamer Ultra Perseus – 4.5/5 Dell XPS 625 – 3/5

Cut Price Laptops Best Buy: Samsung R510 Best Buy: Samsung NC20 Budget Buy: Asus X59GL

High end laptops Editor's Choice: Dell Studio XPS 1640 3D Software

Maxon Cinema 4D 11 – 5/5 Blender – 4/5 Gaming Mice Performance Award: Microsoft Sidewinder X8 16:9 Monitors Value Award: Liyama ProLite E2407HDS

Business Buy: HP Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless

MFPs Best Buy: Epson Aculaser CX21NF Budget Buy: Canon Pixma MP240 Budget Buy: Brother DCP-7030 Budget Buy: Samsung CLX-3175N

Network Storage Devices Best Buy: Western Digital My Book World Edition Video Editing Software Best Buy: Adobe Premier Elements 7

Price: £4.99 Pages: 166

Price: £5.99 Pages: 132

PERSONAL COMPUTER WORLD

CUSTOM PC The Scythe Mugen 2 is a very substantial HSF. It has five huge U-shaped 8mm heat pipes arranged so that each has its own individual heat sink. Cooling was excellent and the Mugen 2 was extremely quiet.

This may be one of the bulkiest printers in our test, but it’s also one of the most feature rich. Set on top of it is a tiltable LCD screen with coloured backlighting. Extralarge buttons make navigating the menus a cinch.

Scythe Mugen2

Brother HL-4040CN

Product Reviews and Features

Product Reviews and Features

HSFs Premium Grade: Scythe Mugen 2 Premium Grade: Titan Fenrir TTCNK85TZ Approved: Sunbeam Core-Contact Freezer CR-CCTF Approved: Thermalright Ultra 120 eXtreme 1366 RT Approved: Akasa Nero Approved: Cooler Master V8

Budget Colour Laser Printers Editor's Choice: Brother HL-4040CN

Gaming PCs Great Value: Chillblast Fusion Stinger

16:9 TFT Monitors Editor's Choice: Benq M2200HD Recommended: Asus VH222H

Media Streamers Recommended: HD Digitech HDX 1000

Hard Drives Best Buy: Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EADS hard drive

Digital Cameras Recommended: Canon Powershot G10

Price: £4.50 Pages: 132

14 PCR May

Approved: Noctua NH-C12P LGA1366 Quad-Core CPUs Premium Grade: Intel Xeon W5580 Dual-Socket LGA 1366 Motherboards Premium Grade: SuperMicro X8DA3-0 LGA 1366 Motherboards Approved: Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD3R

Price: £3.99 Pages: 156

www.pcretailmag.com


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ANALYSIS CLOUD COMPUTING

Cloud’s on the horizon The term Cloud Computing is cropping up with increasing frequency in the technology industry, though the exact meaning and its potential to change the way that we use computers is sometimes unclear. Andrew Wooden takes a look at exactly what the term represents, and why experts are calling it a revolution in the making… The world’s information infrastructure is on the brink of an extraordinary transformation Julian Friedman, IBM

16 PCR May

IN RECENT TIMES the general public has been spoon-fed a great deal of words or phrases that have become familiar, while at the same time remaining somewhat vague and confusing. The previous US administration gave us the famously abstract phrase ‘war on terror,’ while its successor prefers the more bureaucratic ‘overseas contingency operations.’ The banking crisis has given us some absolute corkers. As if the intricacies and connotations of a full-blown recession weren’t complex enough, now we suddenly find sentences like ‘sub-prime housing bubble’ and ‘fiscal leverage’ fed into our ears and out of our mouths. Even those clued-up on economic patterns must struggle with the doublespeak terms like ‘quantitative easing.’ In the technology sector, phrases and concepts like ‘the

digital home’ used to be banded around a lot, and it has to be said the practical meaning of these phrases became so vague as to encompass almost anything which has innards that have been on the hot end of a soldering iron. The buzzword of the moment is ‘Cloud Computing’. In its essence, it’s quite a simple thing – and not necessarily very new. However the connotations for the mass adoption of all it represents are massive. Those in the know say it has potential to be the biggest technological advancement since the creation of the internet. LAYMEN’S TERMS Put as simply as possible, Cloud Computing is a system in which data is stored on the internet rather than your own computer. The most familiar form

of this is web-based email services, such as Microsoft’s Hotmail, which have been around for years now. Of course, the realities of it become more complex as you begin peeling away the layers, but that’s the essence of it. However there is a lack of clarity with the definition, which some cite as a possible barrier to the speed of mass adoption in the future. At its core, the idea of storing information in one place as opposed to the other doesn’t seem to lend itself too much to the idea of a revolution. But the unified processing capabilities of intrinsically linked PCs working under a stronger umbrella network promise new levels of – already unprecedented – worldwide communication. Tech firms and analysts claim the culmination of this will create a collective, almost hive-like

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ANALYSIS CLOUD COMPUTING

group-mind effect, representing a genuinely ground breaking moment. “The world’s information infrastructure is on the brink of an extraordinary transformation,” says Julian Friedman, emerging technologies specialist at IBM Cloud Labs and Emerging Technology Services division. “To IBM, Cloud Computing is much more than the normal evolution of a data centre. It is about the game changing – even life changing – applications that will emerge out of the cloud. The potential is limitless and IBM feels that it will be a key feature of tomorrows computing. “Simply put, Cloud Computing means tapping into a vast network of computers scattered across the world that can be accessed from afar — by a laptop, a cell phone or whatever other device you may be holding in your hand today or tomorrow. When this network is tapped, the power of thousands, maybe even millions of computers can come together to tackle giant workloads in seconds. Think of millions of grains of sand coming

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LEFT TO RIGHT: Alastair Edwards, Canalys and Microsoft’s Ian Moulster

together to create one giant sand castle when called upon.” THE HERE AND NOW The language would sit comfortably within the pages of an outlandish sci-fi novel, but the technology is real. To continue the rhetoric, tech firms on the cutting edge of Cloud Computing’s development are attempting to make the internet the computer itself. On a tangible and immediate level, access to personal files and programmes from any computer in the world would be the most obvious benefit. Meanwhile systems like the soon-to-be launched OnLive (see page 61) remotely stream

the data required to run the latest, most advanced computer games. This means that you wouldn’t need a high tech PC to run the next Crysis, as the computer itself is merely the receptacle of the information. Even the most basic network could have the information streamed to the screen, thus giving very low end machines access to the most advanced computerised functions. These initial uses of Cloud Computing are almost here, and are beginning to make waves. “Cloud Computing is shaping up as the next big thing,” a Google spokesperson tells us. “Until recently, we’ve stored our information on hard

Turn the page to find out who’s investing in cloud computing technology

>>>

May PCR 17


ANALYSIS CLOUD COMPUTING

THE SKY’S THE LIMIT FOR THE BIG THREE Google, IBM and Microsoft are probably the three companies most responsible for pushing the idea of Cloud Computing forward at the moment. Here are what specific initiates they’re putting in place...

Owning the world’s biggest search engine and being a purely web-based entity, Google is arguably the best placed firm to take advantage of Cloud Computing concepts. Currently, the firm’s main offering is Google Apps which is a range of software operating entirely online, and is pitched as a rival to Microsoft’s market leading Office brand. Despite being a web-based set of programmes, there are opportunities for bricks and mortar retail to take advantage of this.

One of the PC industry’s old guard, IBM is investing heavily in re-decking data centres across the world, which will be required to support any huge boost in internet traffic. As well as develop the physical infrastructure of mass servers propping up the internet, IBM has also been working closely with Google on projects such as ‘virtual IT labs’ based on Cloud Computing models, tasked with developing new open source and ‘massively parallel’ software that will help mould the future of the internet.

As the world’s biggest software firm, Microsoft is in a strong position to leverage its weight into new areas. The flagship of its cloud computing operations is the Azure Services Platform, which covers more familiar brands such as Windows Live Messenger and Hotmail. The company is involved in a number of ongoing projects to implement its market dominating range of software and operating systems into a Cloud Computing format. You can expect to see a great deal of initiatives from this firm.

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We believe that Cloud Computing is great news for the industry as a whole and, coupled with the strength and power of a PC, opens up a whole set of possibilities Ian Moulster, Microsoft

>>>

drives, and collaborated with colleagues via attachments and a confusing array of edits, highlights and multiple versions of the same document. Cloud Computing opens up new opportunities and new business models which retailers, just like anyone else, can take advantage of.” CLOUDS ON THE HORIZON Silicon Valley giants such as IBM, Microsoft and Google are already putting megabucks behind their respective cloud computing programmes. IBM and Google in particular have collaborated on a series of ‘virtual IT centres,’ tasked with developing the tools to harness the Cloud and educate a new generation to its functions. While the current offerings of Cloud Computing generally centre around changes in the way files are shared and stored, the tangible future opportunities are much grander in scale. For example, IBM is currently in the process of setting up a network of super computers connected to medical records, creating a dynamic system that could identify illnesses in real time. But it’s not just the top end technology that will be altered by the processes of

Cloud Computing. If the technology is to become anywhere near as popular and pervasive as many experts think, then the whole industry, from the ground level up, can expect to have its world turned on its axis. “We believe that Cloud Computing is great news for the industry as a whole and, coupled with the strength and power of the PC, opens up a whole set of possibilities,” says Ian Moulster, Microsoft’s product manager for Cloud Computing. “We certainly believe this is better for the consumer, in that they have more choice regarding the kind of applications that are becoming available.” This touches on another interesting aspect of how this technology is emerging – the degree of power to which consumers have over the development of trends in the modern era. The virtual community of internet users has laid the groundwork for this, and some think the true evolution of it will be dictated by the populist ebbs and flows of the consumer. “This is poised to be one of the most significant changes ever in how the world accesses information and services; this change is not being driven by technology companies or CEOs of large corporations, but by consumers – a new type of consumer who craves instant access to information,” continues IBM’s Friedman. OBSTACLES The whole idea represents a massive jump in the amount of information

flying about the globe – and many claim the global data infrastructure is practically at breaking point already. There are concerted measures in place by hardware manufacturers and server experts to update the globe’s data infrastructure, but this is no small task. Others claim the ‘distrust’ of giving up control to a hive-like, group computer will prove a significant obstacle – at least for older generations. “I think there are still concerns about the resiliency and reliability of Cloud Computing,” says Alastair Edwards, senior analyst at research firm Canalys. “This means it will be some time before consumers trust all their data to the Cloud. I suspect most will still want to keep at least some data locally (although the younger ‘Facebook generation’ may be more comfortable to do this). But the adoption of Cloud Computing will also influence device usage, as we have seen with the emergence of netbooks.” Things like Microsoft’s Azure and Google Apps are the tip of the iceburg with the technology, but they are beginning to loom larger. The true potential of the ideas behind Cloud Computing will unravel in the years to come. A lot of very rich and powerful companies are leveraging their huge wealth and influence behind some of the grander schemes of the future, which have the potential to change every facet of the industry – including the way the planet lives. Many are calling Cloud Computing a revolution – and it’s never too early to start planning for one of those.


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INTERVIEW  PCR AWARD WINNERS

Success breeds success The PCR Awards 2009 may have been two months ago, but the night will still be fresh in the winners’ minds. We catch up with YoYoTech and Novatech to talk about life after the win… INDUSTRY ACHIEVEMENT AWARD WINNER

Sure, with the economy where it is, the market can be tough, but it is also a fun place to work CK, YoYoTech

20 PCR May

>>>

>>> CK, Owner YoYoTech

“EVERYONE at YoYoTech is immensely proud of our PCR awards. As soon as we got the artwork through, we updated our company logo to incorporate the latest win. Why? Simple – with so many offers in the market, how can you differentiate your products? The ‘performance argument’ is easily taken care of when the market knows that you have created ‘the fastest machine the world has ever seen.’ That’s a matter of record and a huge draw for hardcore performance enthusiasts. However, that only speaks to the technical competence of a company. Winning a PCR award is about something much bigger. It is about how you service your existing customers and, also, how you are as a company. No one knows the market better than the channel itself. Voting for YoYoTech to win an award two years in a row says something about the high regard with which we are held in the industry. It is a very humbling feeling to know that all of your hard work and effort has been fully appreciated by your colleagues and competitors. At YoYoTech, we have ‘big love’ for the whole channel. Sure, with the economy where it is, the market can be tough, but it is also a fun place to work. Right now, I believe that we can all see winter yielding to spring and the prospect that 2009 will be significantly better for the PC retail industry than 2008. YoYoTech will approach the year with renewed energy, certain that there are customers out there, if only you have the right product in the right place at the right time – and proper after-sales service.”

HIGH STREET INDEPENDENT WINNER

DAVID FURBY, Managing Director, Novatech

New business partnerships have since been established as a result of the award David Furby, MD

"FOR OVER 22 years Novatech has grown yearon-year thanks to the huge support from partners in the industry. Towards the end of last year, Novatech was proud to open its fourth retail store in Cardiff, a momentous and brave occasion in the midst of a financial crisis. However, thanks to strong partnerships, fantastic exposure in PCR magazine and Novatech’s award winning service and support, the opening has been a success. Winning the PCR award for High Street Independent this year is a product of the tremendous amount of teamwork and dedication that goes into the day-to-day running of Novatech as one of UK’s leading system integrator, retail and e-tailers. The award also offers valuable reassurance that Novatech is built on reliable and solid grounds, a combination that will keep any firm afloat in these turbulent times. New business partnerships have since been established as a result of the award, which began the very evening of the ceremony. Novatech’s doors are always wide open to new business prospects however big or small which is evident from the backing of PC Retail’s readership. Nothing is more gratifying to be acknowledged by the industry in this manner and we wish every success to all our partners over the many years to come.”

www.pcretailmag.com


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INTERVIEW  INTEL

Intel-igent design Following Christine Harrison’s appointment as Intel’s UK and Ireland Channel Manager last month, Andrew Wooden asks what’s in store for the chip giant’s channel support programmes and what will be the key threats to the sector over the coming Will you be looking to make any changes to Intel’s UK channel business now you’ve taken over? No, due to the climate and the environment I think that would be unfair – not just to the Intel team but also to the customers and the infrastructure that supports us. We’ve got a number of different programmes in place depending on what type of customer you are – whether you’re integrating or reselling, or if you’re an e-tailer or a distributor. They’ve been stable now for about 18 months, so we’re in a position where everyone is accustomed to using the existing infrastructure. I think it would be silly at the moment to bring in any

gets to them as quickly as possible so they can make any decisions on product launches we’re doing, and marketing plans we’re executing. How far does Intel’s channel partner initiative go back? To be honest, in some way shape or form we’ve had a partner programme for at least ten years. When we feel the time is right we may make changes to it, depending on whether the channel has evolved and customers are taking on different opportunities or different challenges. It’s evolved consistently over time. We add bits on, and if we’re doing things that don’t add value to our customers, or if there are aspects

The mission of the partner programme is to enable communications between Intel and the Channel Christine Harrison, Intel new programmes, especially when people are already seeing benefits from what we’re trying to achieve.

of the programme that are going really well that they want to see more of, then we make changes as we go along.

Are there any plans for expansion? The programmes that we have in place allow different types of partners to join or leave if they please. There are three different levels of support within our partner programme – whether they’re retailers, integrators, resellers, or etailers, they will fit into one of those boxes. Obviously the whole channel hasn’t signed up to the programme, and it’s a constant effort for us to try and get them engaged as far as we can so that they can attend our events. That goes for our online events too, as obviously we want to get as much information out of these guys as we can. One of the most important things the team and myself will be doing over the next 12 months is to ensure that the communication between ourselves and our partners is very open, and to ensure that any information we have

What would you say the mission statement of the channel programmes are in general and how does it specifically help those that get involved? The mission of the partner programme is to enable communications between Intel and the channel. Whether that’s sharing of information, whether that’s open communications in terms of what the channel is working on, or whether they need our support. It enables some very practical things such as when are we doing price

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Christine Harrison, Intel channel manager for the UK and Ireland

>>> May PCR 23


INTERVIEW  INTEL

The Intel Museum is located in the Robert Noyce Building at its Santa Clara headquarters

Above: Intel has a museum, showcasing its 40 years of innovation, where visitors can see how the chip fab process (below) works.

24 PCR May

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moves, when are we launching new products, and what marketing tools are available. For example, with the branding changing around Intel and the badges that we’re using for integrated units, they need to really be part of the programme and have access to these. But they also need to be given the information in a more timely manner, rather than finding out from somebody they meet at another event. How important is it that vendors provide dedicated channel programmes like this in the current economic climate? All a vendor can do – whether it’s Intel or anybody else in the industry – is provide as much information as possible about any changes they’re making. Even if it’s very tactical things like supply lines and pricing, we need the channel to remain agile. And this is where the channel has always won in previous times. It has been agile and flexible, and a lot of that is down to the level of emphasis the vendors put on open communication. It’s very important that we don’t lose traction. I appreciate fully that it’s a difficult time, and some may say that a sharing of information is not

enough. We appreciate that as well, which is why the programme has other elements to it. But it’s difficult to make any decision over what your business is going to be doing over the next month, six months, or 12 months as it is in the current climate, without vendors making snap changes and decisions, without any information going out. Where do you see the programme evolving in five years’ time? It will change, as it has done in the

What do you think the biggest threats to independent retailers and resellers are at the moment? We know credit is causing a lot of problems. We’re trying where we can to cover distribution and to try and cover our accounts with managers from Intel to try and stabilise shipments – so again very tactical stuff. But credit is going to be a big threat. The guys in the channel don’t just compete against themselves, they compete against the entire industry.

The opportunity for the channel is for them to remain flexible and agile; they can move a lot quicker than their bigger competitors Christine Harrison, Intel previous two years and the two to four years before that. What that will be, currently I can’t comment as I don’t know. The marketing team will take feedback from things like the channel conference towards the end of the summer. We do online webcasts, and online training, and all of these things are for our customers to give feedback. As much of that is taken on board as possible. The programme is global as well, so Intel is looking at a global channel structure and how it can help.

That isn’t going to change. Will there be more pressure on them? Potentially. I think everyone is trying to make the best of a bad situation. The opportunity for the channel is for them to remain flexible and agile, they can move a lot quicker than some of their bigger competitors. We made a major product launch this year, which the channel was very much a part of. But their biggest problem is going to be credit; that’s where some of their biggest problems lie.

www.pcretailmag.com


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CHANNEL EXPO PREVIEW

It’s show time Channel Expo remains one of the key events on the industry calendar and the only show aimed at the UK reseller segment. With a number of vendors attending, PCR spotlights some of the key exhibitors... Incisive Media has put a much greater emphasis on education and discussion for this year’s show

www.pcretailmag.com

ONE OF THE most important tasks facing a trade event is the drive to stay relevant, no matter how quickly wider factors change. The technology industry, perhaps more than any other, is defined by a rapidly dynamic nature and a propensity to expand into many different areas, meaning retailers have to use every tool they have to keep up to date with the latest trends. As the only trade event of its kind in the UK, Channel Expo has always played a key role in this. However, one of the defining features of this year’s show is finding ways to stay afloat in a

time of economic downturn. In response to this, Channel Expo organiser Incisive Media has put a much greater emphasis on education and discussion for this year’s show, providing a forum for debate and deal making designed to offer a boost to retailers during these tough times of economic recession. As usual for Channel Expo, the high quota of exhibitors will provide plenty to see during the show. The following pages provide a preview of what some of the key firms will be offering and where you can find them.

Turn the page to find out who is exhibiting

>>>

May PCR 27


CHANNEL EXPO PREVIEW

Ingram Micro Having listened to comments from the 2008 event, we know that resellers want to see and work with more technology, and meet key vendors Caroline Thom, Ingram Micro

Stand Number: 474, 480, 488

>>>

INGRAM MICRO is once again attending Channel Expo, and can be expected to put on as much of a show-stopping stand as it did last year. The distributor will be hosting over 15 of the biggest names at its stand this year, including Cisco, Microsoft and Canon, amongst others. The distributor will also react to feedback from last year’s event, with the firm looking to give retailers and resellers more of an understanding of how its exhibited products work, the unique selling points and what impact they can have on sales. “Having listened to comments from the 2008 event, we know that resellers want to see and work with more technology, and meet key vendors,” explains Ingram Micro’s campaigns and events manager, Caroline Thom. “The Ingram stand will include offerings from key vendors representing home, work, mobile and networking, plus a stand dedicated to

their new Apple and complementary vendor offering, Match. Asked why retailers and resellers can not afford to miss its stand, she adds: “There will also be plenty of opportunity to do business on the Ingram Stand with dedicated private meeting zones, informal breakout zones and even real coffee from a mobile barista – reason enough to visit.”

At the time of writing, Logitech, Acer, D-Link, Cisco, Symantec, Trend Micro, Microsoft, DC/POS, Canon, BlackBerry, USR, Citrix, Avocent, Startech and Toshiba Hardware are among the firms that will have a presence at its stand.

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Lexmark It is important for us to develop and enhance relationships with existing resellers at the event Marcus Harvey, Lexmark

28 PCR May

Stand Number: 671 IT MIGHT be a behemoth in the channel, but 2009 will be the first time that the printer giant has exhibited at Channel Expo. Lexmark is looking to promote its channel programmes and reach out to retailers, resellers and other bodies. The firm is looking to make the most of its time with retailers and resellers by meeting them face to face, something that Lexmark sees as crucial to it being able to explain its product line–up and its benefits. “It is important for us to develop and enhance relationships with existing resellers at the event,” said UK channel director, Marcus Harvey. Much of the firm’s focus will be on its channel programmes, which have been designed to help retailers and resellers cut down costs for their customers. “Part of that is to take the opportunity to meet with potential new resellers to explain our channel offerings – for example, our Channel Value Programme.” Other areas that the firm is likely to be focusing on are its green

programmes. “We will also be championing our Print Less, Save More approach which advises people on how to reduce their print costs and their

carbon footprint,” adds Harvey. The firm will be showing off three printers in particular: the X7675, X544n and the C544n.

www.pcretailmag.com


CHANNEL EXPO PREVIEW

Symantec SYMANTEC WILL be at this year’s Channel Expo in force, with the security vendor looking to reinforce its position as the number one solutions provider for both the consumer and business arenas. It’s likely that the vendor will be pushing its new range of consumer and business focused products. Amongst those products are likely to be its new Norton Internet Security 2009 suite and Symantec Protection Suite Small Business, the latter of which was launched at the beginning of this month. The firm is also likely to be advancing the storage aspect of its business, part of which is included in its Symantec Protection Suite Small Business package. Ahead of the event, the vendor said: “Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organisations secure

Stand Number: 480 Our software and services protect against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently Symantec Spokesperson

and manage their information-driven world. Our software and services protect against more risks at more

points, more completely and efficiently, enabling confidence wherever information is used or stored.”

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BullGuard HAVING HAD a hectic experience at last year’s Channel Expo, security specialist BullGuard is adopting a more relaxed approach this year. Visitors to the stand will find a ‘reseller lounge,’ which it hopes will offer an oasis of calm to the bustle of the event. As well as showcasing the latest edition of its Internet Security package – version 8.5 – BullGuard is looking to expand its reseller programme. The aim of the reseller lounge is to provide a relaxed atmosphere where both existing and potential partners can learn more about its products and the benefits of its reseller programme. “We’re certainly looking to expand our reseller base – something that follows the overall strategy for the company,” BullGuard’s UK sales director Alan Case told PCR. “We’re looking to grow our business and we’re going to use the Channel

www.pcretailmag.com

Stand Number: 640 We’re looking to grow our business and we’re going to use the Channel Expo to renew ties with our existing partners Alan Case, BullGuard

Expo to renew ties with our existing partners. It’s also a platform to demonstrate our great new product lines to anyone that’s interested in working with us.” BullGuard is going to be showcasing the benefits to its partner programme,

which include admission to its partner website, also called the Reseller Lounge, and access to the BullGuard Revenue Share programme. It will be handing out free software and any reseller who signs up at the stand will be entered in to a prize draw.

Turn the page for more exhibitng vendors

>>>

May PCR 29


CHANNEL EXPO PREVIEW

Eset The vendor promises to use the show to significantly boost its number of partners. It views bringing more partners into the fold as crucial for the next year

Stand Number: 530

>>>

ESET WILL be looking to grab retailers’ and resellers’ attention once again this year, with a multitude of channel programmes designed to help the embattled channel. First up, will be the launch of its new partner scheme, designed to help those in the channel that currently sell its range of security software. This will see the vendor offering a new marketing and sales support structure that it hopes will boost sales even further and help its partners. However, it isn’t planning on keeping its programme at the same size, with the vendor promising to use the show to significantly boost its numbers of partners. It views bringing more partners into the fold as crucial for the next year. Thirdly, the security vendor is looking to educate retailers and resellers at the event, as well as other channel firms, about the benefits of

ESET over its competitors, through results of independent tests. It will also be looking to provide technical education sessions for existing partners. ESET is also aiming to run a sales and product training day ahead of the show, with the goal of providing its existing partners with a boost, without pulling them away from sales at a time when costs are everything. It will run on the day before the show opens.

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Meroncourt MERONCOURT HAS said that it is planning on using the show to demonstrate its support for retailers and resellers, especially while the country is in the middle of a recession. The distributor will be showing off a number of programmes it is running to help retailers and resellers make better use of storage and ordering, including its drop shipping facility. “We have initiatives to help customers grow their business with low risk and

Stand Number: 390 easy stock options,” explains sales director Steve Walsh. “We will be seeking to help retailers and resellers with our drop shipping service, our sale or return offers and our starter packs, which give the customer a whole range of products at low prices.” It is also looking to give visitors a full idea of its range, with the distributor planning on displaying its entire range of products, including its selection of netbook

accessories from the recently signed vendor Choiix. It will also have a heavy compliment of gaming peripherals including lines from Roccat, Nova and Mionix. However, the firm is not planning on letting the boxes gather dust – it will be hosting professional gamers from TeamCoolerMaster at the stand to demonstrate to retailers and resellers the value behind the products.

We will be seeking to help retailers and resellers with our drop shipping service, our sale or return offers and our starter packs Steve Walsh, Meroncourt

Turn the page for more information

>>>

30 PCR May

www.pcretailmag.com


CHANNEL EXPO PREVIEW

Cisco Channel Expo is a great opportunity for us to engage with the reseller base. We’re bringing a new and exciting initiative to the table and we’re looking forward to forging many new partnerships Andy Comerford, Cisco

Stand Number: 474

>>>

CISCO is taking advantage of Channel Expo to launch its new CCN programme, a newly initiated reseller programme that aims to serve as a distribution network for the Linksys consumer range. The Consumer Channel Network represents a big move in to the consumer space and Cisco will be showcasing a number of its latest products in a drive to recruit as many of the 600 resellers it’s aiming for, as soon as possible. The initiative has been designed specifically to provide resellers with the resources, tools and training that they need to sell Linksys by Cisco home networking products. Partners will receive support such as marketing resources, training, POS materials, tech support, PR assistance as well as registered partner status, with more resources planned for the future. The retail channel manager for Cisco’s Consumer Business Group, Andy Comerford feels that the product

lines available will provide a strong incentive for potential partners: “If you look at the products that we’ve got, you can see that we’ve taken the best bits from our business ranges and rebuilt them as consumer devices.” Among the consumer products that will be exhibited is the MediaHub Home Entertainment Storage, a NAS device that can be used to store digital media such as music or movies and stream it directly to any device in the home. Remote access can be configured through the ‘Linksys by Cisco’ website. “Channel Expo is a great opportunity for us to engage with the reseller base,” says Comerford. “We’re bringing a new and exciting initiative to the table and we’re looking forward to forging many new partnerships.”

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Canon ALTHOUGH CANON is ostensibly at Channel Expo in support of Ingram Micro, it will also be showcasing a wide range of its latest products. Visitors to stand 480 will be able to take a look at around 30 Canon products including digital cameras, high definition video, and single and multi function printers. Its market leading range of EOS digital SLR cameras, which aims to bring 15.1 mega-pixels and full HD video to photography enthusiasts, can be examined alongside the new additions to the Ixus range. The

Stand Number: 480 Digital IXUS 110 IS offers wide shooting via a wide-angle zoom lens, wide-aspect LCD and widescreen HD movie shooting, while the Digital IXUS 990 IS delivers improved telephoto reach via a 5.0x optical zoom, and detailed image review with a three inch PureColor LCD II screen. In addition to these, visitors can take a look at Canon’s Powershot D10 digital still camera, designed for users with an active lifestyle. On the printer side, Canon is going to be showcasing its Pixma MX860 multi-function printer, which combines

a print engine, auto duplex scan and copy functions, with a super G3 fax and wi-fi and Ethernet connectivity. Also showing will be the MX330, the MX860, the MP320 and the iP4600. Canon will also be offering a special promotion on its iP100 inkjet printer, bundled with a Toshiba laptop. “We’re looking forward to the event as it always offers a good opportunity,” said Canon’s partner manager Anthony Shepperley. “This is the third or fourth year that we’ve exhibited at Channel Expo and it gets better with each passing year.”

This is the third or fourth year that we’ve exhibited at Channel Expo and it gets better with each passing year Anthony Shepperley, Canon

Turn to page 34 for Wasp and RETUK

>>>

www.pcretailmag.com

May PCR 33


CHANNEL EXPO PREVIEW

Wasp No other show in the UK has as many resellers attending. It’s important for us to be able to talk to them and to make them understand just why they are so important to our strategy Hugh Furness, Wasp

Stand Number: 493

>>>

INVENTORY management vendor Wasp has said that this year’s show will be all about helping resellers to boost their margins, and to understand how almost anyone can sell its solutions. “There are two main reasons why we’re exhibiting at this year’s show,” explains European sales director, Hugh Furness. “Firstly, it’s because it’s the right target market for us. No other show in the UK has as many resellers attending. It’s important for us to be able to talk to them and to make them understand just why they are so important to our strategy. “Part of that is that they have a reach to local level businesses that other types of business just don’t. Being able to deal with these firms on a day to day level gives them the huge benefit of offering the solution in the first place, rather than waiting for the customer to realise they need the solution. “The second is that while margins

on other devices are going down, those on inventory management products are staying fairly stable – with some at around 25 per cent per sale. It’s also important for us to be able to chat to resellers at a face to face level to help explain to them, that while they may not have traditional dealings with inventory management products, an AV specialist can just as easily – if not more – have a chance of selling these solutions to their customers.”

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RET UK

Stand Number: 368 RET UK HAS SAID that it will be using Channel Expo to achieve a number of goals this year. “We are looking forward to the opportunity to meet up again with many of our current Power Squared dealers to discuss their existing and future requirements for 2009,” explains managing director Nik Hilliard. “We will also be signing up new dealers to the Power Squared authorised programme, enabling them to offer their customers a complete range of batteries and power supplies for portable devices.” However, the firm isn’t just looking to press the flesh and up-sell existing products. “We are looking forward to the launch of a number of our new products including the world’s smallest 90 watt AC adapter along with a range of external laptop battery charging solutions.” Explaining why the trade show has become such an crucial event, Hilliard adds: “Channel

34 PCR May

Expo is an important date in RET’s calendar as it gives us the opportunity to showcase our range of products and services in detail to thousands of customers and prospective customers under one roof.” Echoing the comments of many other exhibitors, he adds: “We believe that email-shots and phone calls are no substitute for face-to-face conversations and hands-on product demonstrations.”

Channel Expo is an important date in RET’s calendar as it gives us the opportunity to showcase our range of products and services in detail Nik Hilliard, RET UK

Turn to page 37 for Varlink and Datafort

>>>

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CHANNEL EXPO PREVIEW

Varlink

Stand Number: 264

We’re presenting a united front because it gives us a strong presence and key vendors can really add value to a project Sabine Kelly, Varlink

>>>

VARLINK, THE data retrieval solutions distributor has attended every Channel Expo since the company was founded four years ago. “Channel Expo is very important to us,” said Varlink’s marketing manager Sabine Kelly. “It’s the only event that is dedicated to resellers and service providers, which is the target audience that we most need to reach.” Like last year’s event, Varlink will be showing off its range of rugged handheld terminals, mobile computers, PDAs, smart phones, barcode scanners, barcode label and mobile receipt printers, all to be found at stand 264. However, this year the mobile computing and data retrieval specialist will be presenting a united front with some of its key partners. French Bluetooth specialist Baracoda, mobile

computing vendor Psion Teklogix, airtime wholesaler Guest and barcode specialists Datalogic and Zebra will be sharing the stand. “We’re presenting a united front because it gives us a strong presence and key vendors can really add value to a project,” continues Kelly. “It is this aspect of brand convergence that we want to highlight and we’ll be offering special deals on bundled software packages that include each of our vendors.” Outlining what Varlink hopes to achieve from the event, Kelly said: “We want to use the opportunity to reengage with our existing customers as well as showcase our products. We’ve seen a lot of people moving towards data retrieval and mobile computing, so we’ll be looking to form new partnerships as well.”

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Datafort DATAFORT POSITIONS itself out from the data backup specialists crowd as one of the few service providers and developers in the channel, and it offers a host of peripheral services as part of its backup package. As well as offering full data backup and system recovery services, Datafort has developed a network monitoring system that it has integrated into its offsite backup agent and is available to its clients free of charge. The company is also extremely proud of its competitive pricing strategy. “We are the least expensive company in the UK to offer third party backup,” says DataFort’s business development director Marcie Terman. “Unlike many other data backup specialists, we price our storage using post-compression volume, it’s around 90p per gigabyte of compressed data. “On top of that, we’re totally UK focused and all our services are built on a rock-solid software platform that we developed ourselves. There aren’t many other third party data storage businesses that can offer that.”

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Stand Number: 275 DataFort will be using Channel Expo to raise its profile and to recruit resellers for its tier three reseller programme, which it hopes to expand by an additional 10 to 12 per cent. This is a wholesale backup service that essentially offers a white label scheme to companies with a definable group of customers. Registration is free and DataFort will offer training and

support for its partners’ sales and engineering teams. “This is our third year at Channel Expo,” continued Terman. “It is without a doubt the most efficient way for us to put our proposition to customers. The IT channel is extremely important to us because it’s our route to the wider market.”

This is our third year at Channel Expo. It is without a doubt the most efficient way for us to put our proposition to the channel Marcie Terman, Datafort

Turn over for the Channel Expo floor plan

>>>

May PCR 37


CHANNEL EXPO FLOORPLAN

The Floor Plan

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www.pcretailmag.com


THIS MONTH Sector Guide

p 49

Graphics Cards The definitive rundown of all the latest must stock cards on the market

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

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P 58

CLOUD GAMING? We take a look at OnLive – the little box that’s making big waves in the gaming sector

>>>

p 43

p 55

p 61

Hannspree

Smart phones

Charts

A look at what the growing monitor and TV vendor is up to

More and more tech firms are moving into the sector – why?

Your invaluable guide to the latest sales statistics from the past month

www.pcretailmag.com

May PCR 41


INTERVIEW  HANNSPREE

The many faces of Hannspree: (left to right) Hannah Buckey; Simon Smith; Martin Kent; Simon Wren

Going on display Monitor and television vendor Hannspree is now looking at branching out into branded mini notebooks. Andrew Wooden talks to Martin Kent, territory manager for the UK and Northern Europe, and Simon Wren, UK sales managerâ&#x20AC;Ś

www.pcretailmag.com

Would you say Hannspree is very different now compared to when it first started? MK: Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve certainly grown on a global scale. For example, 2008 saw Hannspree introduce a new European managing director, Lukas Chong, and in early 2009 new European offices opened in Germany to create a central hub for the European community. But our company philosophy will always remain the same. Technological improvements, which drive the market forward, change our market propositions but not our strategy. Consumer trends such as gaming and media centres have blurred the separation between information technology and consumer electronics, and the growing importance of digital content in consumer electronics has resulted in a fine line between the definition of a TV and a monitor, which has allowed us to increase our companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s share in each market.

Both the HANNSG and Hannspree brands have a number of new products coming to market this year, including large-screen TVs up to 55-inches and a range of stylish TFT monitors including a new 25-inch monitor. We are the only company to manufacture this monitor size, demonstrating our

six months and there are likely to be more to follow, which will unfortunately affect consumer choice. However, despite this bad news the TFT monitor market is as buoyant as it ever has been. Fewer players in the market means that the focus will be put onto improved quality standards.

Technological improvements, which drive the market forward, change our market propositions but not our strategy. Martin Kent, Hannspree manufacturing capabilities and confidence in the market. Change allows us to invest in new product areas which will consequently be our driving force this year. With desktop sales in decline, is the monitor market under any pressure? SW: The undeniable truth is that some brands have disappeared over the past

With gamers and the constant release of new quality games being one of the many market trends fuelling the monitor market, high quality, largersized monitors, which of course improve gaming pleasure, will be volume sellers. The decline in PC sales actually aids not hinders the monitor market. As laptop/mini notebook sales increase,

>>>

May PCR 43


INTERVIEW  HANNSPREE A HISTORY OF HANNSPREE The HANNSG Monitor Brand and Hannspree TV brand derive from parent company and panel manufacturer Hannstar Display Corporation. Established in June 1998, Hannstar specialised in the manufacturing of TFT-LCD products, the main applications being in notebook computer displays and desktop computer monitors. Within five years it ranked as a top 30 enterprise in Taiwan. The Hannspree and HANNSG brands launched in Taiwan in 2004 and have since expanded internationally. Hannspree employs more than 800 staff at the company’s HQ in Taipei, Taiwan and a further 34 across Europe. It has eight service centres and four European warehouses, and employ a network of localised PR agencies.

Hannspree has always been innovative with its televisions and monitors and plans to continue this as it expands

>>>

due to the advantages of size and portability, more consumers are upgrading their home PC monitors – again, to larger, higher quality monitors which can also double up as office TVs and multimedia entertainment stations. What benefits are there for retailers stocking monitors in the current climate? SW: The aforementioned market trends also bring benefits to retailers stocking monitors in the current climate. It is tough for retailers and manufacturers, but it is subsequently fuelling an increase in panel costs which has resulted in existing inventory being priced at an all-time low. These low prices will hopefully help retailers to come through profitable on the other side with a great opportunity to make larger margins. This is also true of inventory being moved around from some of the less successful manufacturers this year. What are your plans for the next year or so? SW: Throughout 2009 Hannspree will continue to support and sponsor the World Superbike series, which we

44 PCR May

believe demonstrates our commitment to marketing spend. Our partners enjoy the hospitality days we hold with our sponsorship. We hope to focus on further marketing support for our partners this year in addition to the support our dedicated UK sales team already provides. For two years running we have been finalists in the Sales Team Home category of PC Retail’s annual

and ten-inch solutions, which is a logical business decision considering our parent company’s manufacturing capabilities. Hannstar is the biggest producer of small size panels, the main applications being digital photo frames, sat nav hardware and the recent rapidly growing market of mini notebooks. We can exclusively reveal to PC Retail that Hannspree is preparing for the imminent launch of a range of

For two years we have been finalists in the Sales Team Home category of PC Retail’s awards and we hope to continue this level of service. Simon Wren, Hannspree industry awards and we hope to continue this level of service this year. Any plans for expanding into new territories/product areas? SW: Moving forward, expansion is key and Hannspree has plans to enter new territories, having recently appointed two new sales managers in Spain and Russia. In addition to our traditional monitor and TV markets, in 2008 we entered the digital photo frame market with a seven-inch offering. We will complete the range with new eight-inch

Hannspree-branded Mini Notebooks. It is an exciting time for us, as well as challenging, as this will be the first step into a new market which is already extremely competitive. But as always our products promise to offer customers unique features and individuality. General features will include teninch high quality displays, 160GB HDDs and Windows XP. I can’t give too much away, but we are taking retail enquiries now for the official launch, which is just around the corner on our roadmap. Watch this space.

www.pcretailmag.com


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CONTACTS

SECTOR GUIDE  GRAPHICS CARDS

Avnet: 01344 355800 Centreprise: 01256 378000 EntaTech: 0870 770 9588 Ingram Micro: 0870 166 0160 M2M: 0208 676 3030 Realtime: 01480 435 881 Spire Technology: 0870 750 5100 Target Components: 01977 739300 VIP Computers: 0871 622 7500

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ATI HD 4890 Distributor: VIP Computers The Radeon HD 4890 is the latest GPU from ATI. Feeling bold after the success of its 4850 line of graphics cards, the vendor is looking to capitalise on that with the launch of its Dragon compatible GPU.

Graphic Imagery While the economic climate may be causing a storm, Ben Furfie talks to some channel experts who say that graphic cards – devices that helps millions escape into fantasy worlds – might just help you and your customers escape the fiscal doom… The option for consumers to upgrade rather than buy a new PC has become more appealing Neil Spicer, Sapphire

www.pcretailmag.com

THE ECONOMIC climate may be causing headaches around the world, but every cloud has a silver lining. The throw-away culture that characterised the credit rich times is giving way to a trend towards repair and upgrade. For several years now, channel experts have told us that the key is to find a way to convince users that a PC is more than a box and an operating system – and that upgrades are a far better alternative.

“In this financial downturn the option for consumers to upgrade rather than buy a new PC has become a lot more appealing,” states Sapphire’s UK and Nordic sales director Neil Spicer. However, he warns that it is important not to equate value with cheap. “In these tough times we realised we needed to stay very competitive on price whilst also offering the end users quality, performance and reliability.”

Please turn the page for more products

>>>

May PCR 49


SECTOR GUIDE  GRAPHICS CARDS

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HIS HD 4890 Distributor: M2M

Designed for gaming, HIS’ latest card comes packed with the latest technology to make games run fast and smoothly. With 1GB of GDDR5 memory and a double slot cooling, this is the ideal card for the latest gaming systems.

[

ASUS HD 4890 Distributor:: VIP Computers

]

With 1GB of GDDR5 memory, the Radeon HD 4890 from Asus is an incredibly powerful GPU. Delivers 1.36 teraFLOPS of computing power and overclocking capacity.

[

XFX HD 4890 Distributor: EntaTech

]

Benefiting from 1GB of GDDR5 memory, the HD 4890 from XFX has more than enough bandwidth to keep up with its 900MHz core (boosted by 50MHz over the standard model).

The trick is to correctly identify your end users. In hard times, it can be easy to retrench to what you know, but recessions can be a great opportunity to get into markets that you might not have otherwise considered. “PC upgrades are also well positioned now as businesses look to make savings in their IT budgets,” argues PNY’s UK and Nordic sales director Stefanie

50 PC May

Summerfield. “Upgrading with a graphics card and compatible memory is a cheaper solution to purchasing new systems.” This is a point echoed by Nvidia’s UK public relations manager, Benjamin Berraondo. “For many company departments, a desktop is still the most inexpensive solution for users where portability is not required. The current pace of technological change also

means we’re not expecting a major discontinuity to drive widespread system replacement in the immediate future, so it’s likely the upgrade market will continue to grow throughout the rest of the year.” Do the benefits of upgrading a GPU make it the most important part of a PC? “I wouldn’t say that it is the most important component – that is

unquestionably the motherboard,” argues Enta’s VGA channel manager, Nigel Sutch. “The reason is that because all of the components in a system must attach to the motherboard first, it has a big impact on the stability of a system.” However, that doesn’t mean that the GPU isn’t an integral component in the modern computer. “For the top end of the market, the GPU has

www.pcretailmag.com


SECTOR GUIDE  GRAPHICS CARDS

[

BFG GEFORCE GTX 275 OC Distributor: Centreprise, Realtime

]

Based around Nvidia’s new GTX 275 GPU, BFG’s latest graphics card comes packed with a multitude of features designed to boost the performance of the latest games and gaming machines.

[

SAPPHIRE HD 4870 X2 Distributor: Avnet, Ingram Micro, Realtime

]

Has 2GB of GDDR5 memory, and 2.4 teraFLOPS of GPU power thanks to its dual processor design. The dual mode CrossFireX means this card can give more expensive rivals a run for their money.

[

SAPPHIRE HD 4850 VAPOR Distributor: Avnet, Ingram Micro, Realtime

]

Based around the vapour cooling technology – originally developed for blade servers – the HD 4850 Vapor X offers huge overclocking potential and enough power for the latest in gaming.

certainly increased in its importance,” states Enta’s Antec and XFX product specialist, Richard Dolman. “With the drop in price on the larger, more capable monitors, the top end of the market now want to run at the highest resolution possible, with graphic settings as high as possible.” AMD senior marketing manager Sasa Marinkovic agrees: “The importance of

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the GPU in everyday computing has grown considerably, and with the growth of general purpose GPU computing it is now possible to use the graphics processor to handle tasks once performed by the CPU, easing the load.” But Marinkovic says: “It is important to view the CPU and GPU as complementary to each other; with a balanced platform, you can get the best

out of one processor by using the other more effectively.” “Consumers and professionals are placing an increasingly high value on the quality of their visual computing experience, a trend which has driven the rise of the GPU to become the ’soul’ of the PC,” says Berraondo. “For the most users, the applications that are important to them rely on the GPU.”

Please turn the page for more products

>>>

May PCR 51


SECTOR GUIDE  GRAPHICS CARDS

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ASUS EN9400 GT Distributor: Spire Technology

]

With a huge 1GB of video memory, native HDMI support and including a double width low-profile bracket for use with slimline chassis, it would be hard to accuse the Asus EN9400GT of being low spec.

[

PALIT NVIDIA GTX 275 Distributor: VIP Computers

]

Coming packed with 896MB of GDDR3 memory and support for CUDA, PhysX, SLI and 3D Stereo, the latest card from Palit is certainly a powerful solution for anyone looking to upgrade their graphics card.

[

BFG GEFORCE GTX 275 OC Distributor: Centreprise, Realtime Based around Nvidia’s new GTX 275 GPU, BFG’s latest graphics card comes packed with a multitude of features designed to boost the performance of the latest games and gaming machines.

It is important to view the CPU and GPU as complementary to each other; with a balanced platform, you can get the best out of one processor by using the other more effectively Sasa Marinkovic, AMD Senior Marketing Manager

52 PC May

]

[

SPARKLE 9400 GT Distributor: Target Components

]

Perfect for the media centre PC, Sparkle’s 9400GT 1GB low profile VGA card packs enough of a punch to power the latest in HD content, but is quiet enough that it won’t drown out whatever you are doing.

[SECTOR SNAPSHOT] ACCORDING to Jon Peddie Research, over 81 million add-in board GPUs were sold worldwide last year. And while that was down on the previous year’s shipments, it was still a staggering figure. What’s more, figures from JPR showed that despite the fall in shipments, integrated GPUs failed to increase their share of the market. What does it all mean? Well, the customers are still out there, they just need a little more convincing than last year to part with the cash…

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HARDWARE  SMARTPHONES

Smart t hinking Long forgotten vendors and unlikely electronics companies are launching fresh assaults on the European smartphone market. Tim Green ponders the reasons behind the trend...

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AT THE LAUNCH of Vodafone’s 3G network back in December 2004, the former CEO of the company, Arun Sarin, proudly unveiled a small range of high-spec handsets up to the task of handling all that rich media scrumptuousness. Of them all, it was pretty clear that the Sharp 902 was the big daddy. It had a screen that swivelled as if it were a camcorder – and it was about the same size as one too. Oh, and it came in cream. At the time Sharp was quite a force in the European handset space. It was inextricably linked to Vodafone and as a result its handsets were heavily promoted by Vodafone in-store and on TV. UK readers will remember the TV slots featuring David Beckham and

Gary Neville that pushed the camera/MMS capabilities of Sharp’s hugely successful GX range. Alongside Sharp were other Far Eastern vendors such as NEC and Panasonic, while Sanyo and Toshiba – though less established – also launched the occasional device. But then, one by one, they all exited Europe to leave the region in the hands of a familiar quintet: Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, LG and Samsung. The five seemed immovable, but now once again the market is in flux and the other Asia Pac manufacturers are targeting Western markets. In the last couple of months, Toshiba has

Turn the page for more on smartphones

>>>

May PCR 55


HARDWARE  SMARTPHONES

THE UNUSUAL SUSPECTS

TOSHIBA TG01 Looking very much like an iPhone but skinnier and wider, the TG01 is an outside bet for the must-have handset of the year. Toshiba describes it as a ‘revolution in entertainment’ and it’s easy to see why, given the clarity of the video. It’s the first mobile to run Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipset.

GARMIN-ASUS G60 Barrier-breaking hybrid of mobile phone and Sat Nav device from the Taiwanese partners. Details of the full nüvifone range are sketchy, but the G60 is rumoured to hit in June. It’s described as an ‘all-in-one, LBS-centric phone, mobile web-browser and personal navigator’.

PALM PRE All but written off after it missed the transition from PDAs to smartphones, Palm has now burst back into the game with the Pre – a 3.1-inch touchscreen with pull-out QWERTY keyboard running a new proprietary webOS. Palm shares shot up 36 per cent when the device was announced.

INQ1 An entirely new arrival owned by Hutchison, whose first handset, the INQ1, is based on the integration of Facebook, Skype and Windows Live Messenger. It also has RSS feeds, free Skype-to-Skype calling, unlimited instant messenger capabilities and a 3.2 megapixel camera.

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>>>

unveiled its extraordinary new TG01 device, while Hyundai, Garmin and Acer have also announced plans for a fresh assault on Europe. Meanwhile, rumours persist that Chinese vendors such as Lenovo will try their luck too. And, don’t forget that other non-Asian companies are back in the action. Palm has announced the Pre, and there’s rising speculation that Dell is readying a mobile device as well. Finally, there’s INQ, an entirely new vendor set up to ride the mobile social media wave. So what’s turning the cycle again? It’s possible to sum it up in one word. A horrible word. A meaningless word. Smartphones.

Android and use extremely powerful multi-tasking processors from a bunch of eager suppliers. This is exactly what Toshiba did, for example, with its TG01 device – loading Windows Mobile 6.0 with Qualcomm’s 1GHz Snapdragon QSD8250 chipset. Indeed, Qualcomm chips are already powering established phones like the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1, T-Mobile G1, BlackBerry Storm and the INQ ‘Facebook’ phone. Roberto Di Pietro, Qualcomm CDMA Technology’s VP of marketing,

of difference between 2008’s Portege range, looking like some kind of so-so HTC cloning project, and 2009’s TG01 with its ultra-skinny yet widescreen vital statistics and iPhone styling. Med Jeewoth, Toshiba’s country manager for UK and Ireland, sums up thus: “We listened to what users want – great speed, and the interaction of a touchscreen, but also very slim and very sexy devices.” Of course, the success of these new arrivals depends not just on the succulence of their product designs,

We listened to what users want – great speed and the interaction of a touchscreen, but also very slim and very sexy devices. Med Jeewoth, Toshiba

HANDY HANDSETS From a consumer point of view, the pull of the high-end handset with connectivity, GPS, video and so on is getting stronger. No wonder Juniper Research recently projected annual sales of smartphones will hit 300 million units in 2013, 95 per cent up on 2008. But simultaneous to this rise in consumer demand has been a falling barrier to entry for manufacturers. It’s now relatively straightforward for a vendor to shop for a third party OS such as Windows, Symbian or

56 PCR May

says: “It’s undoubtedly easier and cheaper for manufacturers to make high-end phones than a few years ago. I think this explains why the handset market is so active now.” There are other factors, too. The rise of flat rate data, GPS and touchscreen interfaces have all combined to re-invent what a phone is for. Within the last 18 months, the template for the ultimate phone has changed from the N95 to the iPhone. You can see this writ small in Toshiba’s strategy. Check out the world

but on their ability to be ranged by operators and break the product loyalty among consumers to other vendors. It’s going to be tricky. Soheb Panja, managing editor of UK mobile retail trade magazine Mobile, says: “Sharp’s problem was that it got too close to Vodafone. It did everything Vodafone wanted, so it didn’t invest in new ideas and had no other outlet when the consumers lost interest. That balance is something all the new manufacturers will have to work out as they come back into the market.”

Robert Di Pietro (top), VP of marketing for Qualcomm CDMA Technology; Med Jeewoth (bottom), country manager for UK and Ireland, Toshiba

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HARDWARE  ONLIVE

Cloud gaming? The remote storage and processing trend commonly known as Cloud Computing is spreading to the gaming sector with OnLive. Andrew Wooden takes a look at the potentially industry-shaking initiative… EVER SINCE the late ‘80s, PCs have been in competition with dedicated video games consoles for gamers’ time and money. The rivalry has spread across technological generations – early Pentium 486-powered incarnations of the PC battled with the likes of the Sega Mega Drive and the SNES, while modern quad core, dual graphics cardarmed behemoths are currently brawling with the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii. While many console enthusiasts go so far as to claim the PC is dead as a gaming platform (an assertion that has been made and dismissed a number of times over the past two decades), those in the PC gaming camp insist it is still the chief hotbed of innovation and ultimately the best place to play any new games. Now, it seems, a whole new way of playing games is just around the corner. A THIRD WAY These new systems are heavily rooted in the realm of Cloud C omputing, and probably the most prominent is OnLive. In much the

58 PCR May

same way initiatives from the likes of Google and IBM offer to store programs and data on a remote server, accessible from a PC anywhere on the planet, these new gaming systems facilitate the streaming of gaming content onto the user’s TV screen or computer monitor, with all the processing and data crunching done on a remote gaming hub. This means actually owning a console or a high spec PC may not be necessary at all. You wouldn’t even need to own a copy of the software. IMPACT ON THE MARKET Many of the details are still sketchy. What is obvious is that it would rely on high bandwidth internet connections. At least 5MB connections will be required for high-quality visuals, though standard definition can apparently be managed on 1.5MB connections. The most interesting thing for the PC market is that the system can even potentially be used with low priced netbooks – since it makes expensive hardware requirements redundant. If such a system were to become pervasive, it would be a rival to

vendors, retailers and distributors which make their bread and butter on high-end components and gaming rigs. The same thing has been said of the video games retail sector, which equally would not welcome a system that negates console and box game sales. One hardware vendor that may be more open to the prospect is Apple. PC fans have long argued that Macs don’t have decent, widespread gaming capabilities. Since OnLive is compatible with Mac hardware, this may make more games available to Mac owners. As mentioned, the whole system lives or dies on service providers’ ability to provide stability for the data streaming. Sceptics claim the UK’s internet infrastructure won’t be able to sustain OnLive on a large enough scale to make it commercially viable. Others have thrown their support behind it – including bigname game publishers such as EA, Take-Two, Ubisoft and Eidos. The potential for these services is huge and there will be many in the PC industry watching very closely.

If such a system were to become pervasive, it would be a rival to the vendors, retailers and distributors which make their bread and butter on high-end components and gaming rigs

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HARDWARE  CHARTS *From February 2009 data GfK provides market research consultancy to manufacturers on the technologies markets and also operates a reseller partnership that provides market research information to dealers in the channel. For further information on GfK please contact Ami Brooks on tel: 0870 603 8247 or email: ami.brooks@gfk.com Models listed are non-exclusive: Neither sold as a tradebrand nor sold exclusively within one retailer or retail group

LAPTOPS

1

DISPLAYS

1

SAMSUNG

NC10

ACER

X193W

KEYBOARDS

1 MICROSOFT

MICE

LOGITECH

1

WIRED KEYBOARD 500 BLACK

V220 CORDLESS OPTICAL MOUSE FOR NOTEBOOKS

2

EMACHINES D620

2

HP W1907V

2

LOGITECH CORDLESS DESKTOP EX 110

2

LOGITECH MX 620 LASER CORDLESS

3

ACER ASPIRE 5735-644G50

3

HP L1908W

3

LOGITECH ULTRA FLAT KEYBOARD

3

LOGITECH VX NANO CORDLESS LASER MOUSE

4

HP MINI-NOTE 2133 KX872AA

4

SAMSUNG SYNCMASTER T220

4

MICROSOFT COMFORT CURVE KEYBOARD 2000

4

LOGITECH V450 CORDLESS NOTEBOOK MOUSE

5

DELL INSPIRON 1525

5

LG W1942S-SF

5

LOGITECH DELUXE 250 KEYBOARD OEM

5

MICROSOFT P58-00019 BASIC BLACK

6

ACER 7730

6

ACER V173AB

6

TRUST DS-3400D WIRELESS OPTICAL DESKSET

6

LOGITECH U96 OPTICAL WHEEL MOUSE OEM

7

HP 6735S

7

ACER V173B

7

MICROSOFT MESSENGER KIT

7

LOGITECH V150 LASER MOUSE

8

SONY VGN-NS20E/S

8

LG W2242S-SF

8

KENSINGTON 1500109 VALUE KEYBOARD BLACK

8

LOGITECH LX6 CORDLESS

9

EMACHINES E520

9

LG W2242S-PF

9

MICROSOFT WIRELESS OPTICAL DESKTOP 1000

9

MICROSOFT U81-00008 COMPACT 500 USB

10

HP 550 FU409EA

10

SAMSUNG SYNCMASTER 943N

10

LOGITECH LX710 CORDLESS DESKTOP LASER

10

MICROSOFT BX3-00020 WIRELESS NOTEBOOK

GAME CONTROLLERS

1

DVD WRITERS

1

SAITEK

P380 DUAL ANALOG PAD

LG

GP08NU

INKJET PRINTERS

LASER PRINTERS

1 HP

1 HP

DESKJET D1560

LASERJET P1005

2

LOGITECH 963291-0914 WINGMAN ATTACK 3

2

LG GH-22NP

2

CANON PIXMA IP2600

2

HP LASERJET P2055DN

3

LOGITECH WINGMAN EXTREME 3D

3

LG GE-20NU

3

EPSON STYLUS S20

3

BROTHER HL 2035

4

LOGITECH 963292-0914 DUAL ACTION USB

4

LG GP08LU

4

CANON PIXMA IP4600

4

SAMSUNG ML 2240

5

LOGITECH 963290-0914 EXTREME 3D PRO

5

LG LIGHTSCRIBE GH22LP20

5

HP PHOTOSMART A526

5

HP COLOR LASERJET CP1515N

6

SAITEK ST290 USB

6

LG GH-22NS

6

EPSON STYLUS PHOTO R285

6

HP LASERJET P1006

7

LOGITECH 963326-0914 CORDLESS RUMBLEPAD 2

7

LITEON ESAU208

7

HP PHOTOSMART D5460

7

SAMSUNG CLP 315

8

LOGITECH WINGMAN PRECISION GAMEPAD

8

LG GE-20LU

8

HP DESKJET 6940

8

SAMSUNG CLP-315W

9

LOGITECH 963339-0914 FORMULA VF USB

9

SONY DRU-190A

9

LEXMARK Z2300

9

HP LASERJET P1505N

10

SAITEK 107007 P3200 RUMBLE PAD

10

LG GH22NP20

10

EPSON STYLUS D92

10

HP LASERJET P1505

www.pcretailmag.com

May PCR 61


HARDWARE  CHARTS *From February 2009 data GfK provides market research consultancy to manufacturers on the technologies markets and also operates a reseller partnership that provides market research information to dealers in the channel. For further information on GfK please contact Ami Brooks on tel: 0870 603 8247 or email: ami.brooks@gfk.com Models listed are non-exclusive: Neither sold as a tradebrand nor sold exclusively within one retailer or retail group

MFDS

1

GRAPHICS CARDS

1

EPSON

STYLUS SX200

HP

QUADRO NVS 290

TV CARDS

1 DAZZLE

VIDEO CARDS

DAZZLE

1

DIGITAL USB TV STICK

VIDEO CREATOR PLATINUM

2

HP DESKJET F2280

2

XFX GEFORCE 9400 GT

2

HAUPPAUGE WINTV HVR-900

2

V-STREAM XPERT DVD MAKER USB2.0

3

EPSON STYLUS SX600FW

3

PNY TECHNOLOG. GEFORCE 9800 GT

3

HAUPPAUGE WINTV NOVA-T-STICK

3

PINNACLE SYST VIDEO TRANSFER

4

EPSON STYLUS SX105

4

PNY TECHNOLOG GEFORCE 6 6200

4

HAUPPAUGE WINTV NOVA-S-USB

4

KWORLD XPERT DVD MAKER USB 2.0

5

HP DESKJET F4280

5

PNY TECHNOLOG GF 6200

5

HAUPPAUGE WINTV NOVA-T 500

5

DAZZLE DVD RECORDER DVC 101

6

HP DESKJET F2180

6

PNY TECHNOLOG GEFORCE 7200GS 128MO DDR2

6

HAUPPAUGE MYTV

6

DAZZLE DIGITAL VIDEO CREATOR 150

7

HP PHOTOSMART C4480

7

PNY TECHNOLOG GEFORCE 8400GS

7

HAUPPAUGE WINTV NOVA-T-USB2

7

PINNACLE SYSTEM STUDIO MOVIEBOX PLUS S12

8

LEXMARK X5650

8

INNO3D FX5200

8

PINNACLE SYST PCTV NANO STICK

8

VIEWCAST OSPR VIEWCAST OSPREY-100

9

HP PHOTOSMART C4280

9

POWERCOLOR RADEON X1650 PRO

9

HAUPPAUGE WINTV HVR-1100

9

HAUPPAUGE IMPACT VCB

10

HP PHOTOSMART C4580

10

PNY TECHNOLOG GEFORCE 9400GT

10

HAUPPAUGE WINTV NOVA-TD

10

DAZZLE DV EDITOR 2006

MODEMS/ROUTERS

1

WEBCAMS

1

NETGEAR

DG834G ADSL MODEM ROUTER ROUTER SWITCH

MICROSOFT

LIFECAM VX-1000

PC SPEAKERS

SCANNERS

1 EXSPECT

1 CANON

EX695 SHUFFLE SPEAKER PINK

CANOSCAN LIDE 100

2

BELKIN F5D7231_4 WIRELESS CABLE/DSL ROUTER

2

LOGITECH QUICKCAM E 3500

2

SAMSUNG ASP-600S

2

CANON CANOSCAN LIDE 200

3

BELKIN F5D7632_4 WIRELESS G MODEM ROUTER

3

CREATIVE LIVE! CAM VIDEO IM PRO

3

LOGITECH X-240 2.1 SYSTEM

3

CANON CANOSCAN 4400F

4

NETGEAR WGR614 WIRELESS ROUTER

4

LOGITECH QUICKCAM E2500

4

LOGITECH X-140

4

EPSON PERFECTION V 300 PHOTO

5

BELKIN F5D8231 N1 WIRELESS ROUTER

5

MICROSOFT LIFECAM VX-3000

5

BOSE SOUNDDOCK II BLACK

5

SUMMIT SP2

6

BELKIN F5D8633UK4 N WIRELESS ROUTER

6

TRUST CHAT AND VOIP PACK CP2100

6

BOSE SOUNDDOCK BLACK

6

CANON CANOSCAN LIDE 600F

7

BELKIN F5D7234_4 WIRELESS G ROUTER

7

LOGITECH QUICKCAM PRO 9000

7

GEAR4 STREETPARTY III BLACK

7

HP SCANJET G2410

8

BELKIN F5D7230_4 WIRELESS G ROUTER

8

LOGITECH QUICKCAM FOR NOTEBOOKS DX

8

JBL ON STAGE III BLACK

8

HP SCANJET G2710

9

LINKSYS WRT54G2 4PORT

9

CREATIVE LIVE! CAM NOTEBOOK ULTRA

9

LOGITECH Z-4 2.1 SPEAKER SYSTEM

9

CANON CANOSCAN 8800F

10

NETGEAR DG834PN RANGEMAX WIRELESS ROUTER

10

LOGITECH QUICKCAM FOR NOTEBOOKS

10

INTEMPO IDS 01 UNPLUGGED

10

FSC SCANSNAP S510

62 PCR May

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Š2009 Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. All rights reserved. AMD, the AMD Arrow logo, ATI, the ATI logo, Radeon and combinations thereof are trademarks of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. EA, the EA logo, and BattleForge are trademarks or registered trademarks of Electronic Arts, Inc. in the US and/or other countries. Microsoft and DirectX are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the US and/or other countries. Other names are for informational purposes only and may be trademarks of their respective owners.


Š2009 Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. All rights reserved. AMD, the AMD Arrow logo, Phenom and combinations thereof are trademarks of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.


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

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THIS MONTH Sector Guide

p 71

Business Software A look at all the programmes and brands which drive the office market

Software

PCRâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s monthly look at recent developments in the software market

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p 77

Games The latest games tipped to sell in their droves over the next month

P 68 p 78

BULLGUARD INTERVIEW

Software Charts

The security vendor discusses the state of the market and its new partner schemes

>>>

www.pcretailmag.com

Invaluable data from the last month's software sales, courtesy of analyst GfK-ChartTrack

May PCR 67


INTERVIEW  BULLGUARD

Sharing the wealth As more and more software is distributed online, some firms are developing ways for retailers and resellers to remain part of the sales process. Andrew Wooden talks to Alan Case, UK sales director at BullGuard, which has just introduced such a scheme to the UK…

You’ve recently launched a new Reseller Lounge which gives more money to retailers through repeat subscriptions that previously went wholly to the vendor. Do you think this trend will become more common in the future? It is difficult to predict whether other vendors will follow suit. What the vendors will do also depends on the channel. If the channel becomes vocal about participating in downstream revenue, vendors could start adapting. We have seen several attempts at setting up revenue share programmes, but most of them failed – either because they were not simple enough, or because of a lack of transparency. These kinds of programmes only work if they are easy to implement for the channel partners, and it is paramount that the partners can monitor their

We feel it is perfectly natural to reward our partners for making that allimportant first sale. Once that’s done, it is up to us to protect the customer and give them a good BullGuard experience with a great product. If we do our job properly, most customers will remain loyal to our brand. The programme appears to reimburse retailers for the rise in online sales or re-subscriptions. Do you think box product sales will continue to decline on the High Street, and will there be a time when software is only ever downloaded? No, I don’t believe in a future where software is only downloaded. The retailer’s expertise will always be called on by consumers. I do believe that the trend of retailers being mostly called on for first purchases will continue,

It is BullGuard’s standpoint that our channel partners deserve a a share in the downstream revenue Alan Case, BullGuard

Repeat Bullguard sales still give money to retailers

68 PCR May

own revenue. Finally, it must be easy for partners to recover the downstream revenue they are entitled to. We think that our scheme addresses these requirements head-on. To participate in the programme, resellers basically just need to sell BullGuard products, and the Reseller Lounge is the portal where resellers can access, monitor and claim their revenue share. This setup will give us a competitive edge in the channel. But it’s a bit more than that. BullGuard has always been working with revenue share programmes because it is our standpoint that our channel partners deserve a share in the downstream revenue. In our line of business, the first sale to the customer is all-deciding. Once customers entrust their online security to a vendor, they are likely to continue renewing their subscription, and in most cases they will do so online.

not only in software, but also in other product categories. Also, a lot of the software sold in the UK today comes in the shape of a bundle, usually with a new laptop or PC. Many consumers will continue to seek expert advice on big purchases like a new computer, and consequently, many consumers will continue purchasing software along with it. How will retailers have to adapt to keep making money out of software? Credibility is the retailer’s strongest weapon. Every consumer knows that online, anybody can make anything sound and look good, and most people are worried about getting cheated by some vague cyber set-up, with no one to hold accountable if things go wrong. So basically, to be successful, the retailer should do what all good retailers have always done – offer honest advice and good service. And by this I mean know your business, and employ well-informed sales staff.


INTERVIEW  BULLGUARD

A happy customer will come back or – better yet – spread the word. Good service always pays off. On a much more practical note, retailers should be prepared to create packages or bundle software with hardware and other items. Offering package discounts will – in the current economic climate – enable consumers to continue spending. Is the security market unique in this regard? With security software customers, credibility is arguably more important than in many other markets. After all, security software is sensitive stuff. It’s your insurance against a massive and – to most people – intangible threat, a threat that can

Also, un-patched software and websites are increasingly becoming an attack vector for cyber criminals. Social networking sites have become a target for cyber criminals, too. Online criminals follow the crowd. So if we all become obsessed with Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and at the same time all start surfing away on our smartphones, then it is to be expected that the mobile platform and social networking media become targets for cyber criminals. How do the current threats compare to that of five years ago? In general, one can say that the scams have matured and the threats are more sophisticated. This goes for social engineered attacks like phishing, but also for the different attack vectors. Five years ago, it was virtually impossible to get infected without

Online criminals follow the crowd. When we get obsessed with surfing on our smartphones, mobile media becomes the new target Alan Case, BullGuard cause devastation in your private life if you’re not properly protected. Trusting the wrong person or company with your internet security is a lot more serious than trusting the wrong person when you buy a new plasma screen. What are the chief new security threats on the radar at the moment? Let me start by making clear what will not change. Spam and viruses and other malware will continue to exist, in everdeveloping shapes and forms. It’s a bit like asking the police what kind of new criminal behaviour they see. The bulk of the problem remains break-ins, car theft, drugs and violence – same old, same old. We are seeing some new trends however, like the ever-increasing vulnerability of the mobile platform.

clicking something, be it a malicious link in an email or a shady program download. Today, hackers are able to place code in otherwise legitimate websites, making us more vulnerable to clickless infections. Common sense alone is not cutting it any longer. Without proper security software you are vulnerable regardless of your level of expertise. What are BullGuard’s plans for the year ahead? In the UK we are looking to double our reseller base by the end of 2009, compared to the end of 2008. We are achieving this through different channel initiatives, like promotions and the launch of the Reseller Lounge. A quarter into the year I am pleased to say that we are ahead of schedule. With Target, GEM, Spire, Enta, we have a good distribution line-up. A lot of our recent growth has come from Ireland where we are gaining market share quickly in co-operation with Midia, our local distributor. We will be looking to open some new retail accounts, but the independent channel remains our priority as they are the true ambassadors of our products.

May PCR 69


CONTACTS

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]

MICROSOFT HOME AND STUDENT 2007 Distributor: Blue Solutions, Computer 2000, Gem, Ingram Micro, Micro P, VIP Ideal for the one man (or woman) office, Microsoft’s Office Home and Student 2007 is great value and provides all of the packages required to run a home office. Includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Office essentials They’re the modern equivalent of coal – without them, today’s society would come crunching to a halt. Ben Furfie takes a look at the software that makes the world go round… OFFICE SOFTWARE is vital. Everything from typing up a letter to doing the company accounts relies on it. So while hardware sales might be going down on the corporate side, it should be no surprise that software sales have remained fairly steady. However, there is a wind of change in the air, as Microsoft Office product manager Darren Strange explains: “One of the most important trends in the marketplace at the moment is the emergence of Cloud Computing.” Accountz’ chairman Quentin Pain agrees: “There is a move towards SaaS (software as a service) in the office software market, with providers offering web-hosted software for a monthly/annual subscription charge.” There are some concerns about the new technology. “The worries that many

www.pcretailmag.com

businesses have with SaaS are about data security, access and the ability of the provider to increase the service charges once an organisation is committed to the software,” explains Pain. “The issues involved with not having the application locally on a computer will probably kill SaaS in any data critical areas such as accountancy and sensitive areas such as customer privacy.” Microsoft is keen to ensure that those markets aren’t left out. In November, the vendor’s chief executive, Steve Ballmer, said that the firm was keen to ensure that Microsoft would be flexible to accommodate the needs of its partners’ customers. It was echoed by Strange: “We’ve taken a different approach to some of our competitors. We feel it is important to offer our customers the choice of

having the infrastructure for their office solution on site, in the cloud, or a combination of the two. “Contrast that with some of our competitors, where the only option is to have it hosted somewhere off-site. It’s solutions like that which make CEOs and other executives sweat under the collar, especially when it comes to companies where keeping records of files is a matter of law.” However, it isn’t just ‘The Cloud’ that looks to be an area of change. “The largest growth area for Ability Office over the last six months has been ‘netbooks,’ due to our recent introduction of retail and OEM software delivered on USB drives,” explains Ability Office’s brand director Chris English. “The ‘out-of-the-box’ experience has lead many retailers to

One of the most important trends in the marketplace at the moment is the emergence and shift towards cloud computing. Darren Strange, Office, Microsoft

Continued over the page

>>> May PCR 71


SECTOR GUIDE  BUSINESS SOFTWARE

[

[

]

MICROSOFT OFFICE SMALL BUSINESS 2007

[

]

MICROSOFT OFFICE PROFESSIONAL 2007

[

MICROSOFT OFFICE 2008 FOR MAC

Distributor: Blue Solutions, Computer 2000, Gem, Ingram Micro, Micro P, VIP

Distributor: Blue Solutions, Computer 2000, Gem, Ingram Micro, Micro P, VIP

Distributor: Blue Solutions, Computer 2000, Gem, Ingram Micro, Micro P, VIP

Coming with one licence, this bundle has everything users need to prepare letters and manage finances. Includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Publisher.

Comes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher and Access – this is the ultimate solution for any business looking to manage office productivity.

Comes in Home and Student, and Standard Editions. This is perfect for companies that use Apple hardware, but need to have a full office productivity suite.

MICROSOFT WORD

]

[

]

MICROSOFT EXCEL

Distributor: Blue Solutions, Computer 2000, Gem, Ingram Micro, Micro P, VIP

Distributor: Blue Solutions, Computer 2000, Gem, Ingram Micro, Micro P, VIP

If your customer only needs a word processor, then Microsoft Word solus is an ideal solution. Comes with the features of the package version at a lower price.

As with Word, Excel solus is ideal for when your customer only wants the one piece of software. It also has all the benefits of the version in the suite, at a fraction of the price.

look for bundle solutions, which enable netbooks to be usable as soon as the customer gets home.” ATTACK OF THE CLONES Recent years have seen a resurgent attack on Microsoft’s comfy position astride the office software market. “We’ve seen a rise in the number of clones,” says Strange. “It’s a compliment, honestly. But to see this as a new trend would be a mistake.

72 PCR May

We’ve always had competitors forcing us to constantly innovate. Back in the 1990s, we had Lotus 1-2-3, and now we have competition from the likes of Open Office and Google Docs. The problem is, they’re cloning versions of the likes of Word 1998 and 2003 – software that was designed for a totally different world.” Pain agrees, but believes that Microsoft is playing catch-up this time: “The take-up of suites such as Open

[

ACCOUNTZ BUSINESS

]

]

Distributor: Open Compatible with both Windows and OS X, Accountz has increased its exposure in the channel thanks to a solid product and word of mouth recommendations. It’s designed for a wide range of businesses from large to small.

Office and Google Docs is certainly making an impression. So much so that Microsoft is now changing its US model to a more online, subscriptionbased service.” Despite that, he isn’t so sure about their practicality. “Internet speed and even simple usability problems with web apps is proving a difficult mountain to climb. Whilst Google Docs is a free service (at the moment), if you need a serious, feature-based spreadsheet application,

you are still probably going to settle for the likes of Excel.” It is a point that English echoes: “VARs began to look for an alternative solution in the office productivity sector when their introduction of SaaS into corporate departments produced increased visibility of licence usage, and lead to questions of just how many staff members actually make use of the full feature-set of MS Office applications. First this led to licensing

www.pcretailmag.com


SECTOR GUIDE  BUSINESS SOFTWARE

[

ACCOUNTZ PERSONAL

]

[

Distributor: Open

ASI ABILITY ACCOUNTS

]

Distributor: Blue Solutions, Micro P, Northamber, PC Indie (Koch Media) The easy-to-use accounting solution designed specifically for small and start-up businesses, enabling accounts and financial work to be done quickly and easily.

of individual applications rather than full suites when it became clear most staff only ever use MS Word, or MS Excel, and Outlook, but more recently there’s been focus on which users might have their requirements met by a value alternative to these applications.” However, Strange disagrees with the approach of splitting the packages up. “Much of what has kept Microsoft Office at the forefront of the office productivity market has the been the

www.pcretailmag.com

[

Ability Office Business offers seven fully featured applications in an office suite that’s compatible with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Photoshop, but much cheaper.

]

SAGE 50

[

SAGE ACT!

Distributor: SJ Software

Distributor: SJ Software

Sage 50 Accounts 2009 is packed with features to help keep businesses organised and ensure everyone gets paid on time. It also helps to manage other day-to-day finances – everything from VAT returns to year-end accounts.

ACT! is the world’s best selling Contact Manager with over four million users worldwide. Manage all your customers and contacts effectively and efficiently using the latest version of ACT!

integrated nature of the product. Office is developed by the same team, so the guys who worked on Word will have also been involved in Excel – that benefits end users because the products have a level of integration and compatibility that other products on the market simply can’t match.” But what impact has the increase in Apple hardware entering offices had upon the market? “The feedback we’ve had from our retail and reseller

]

Distributor: Blue Solutions, Micro P, Northamber, PC Indie (Koch Media)

Personal Accountz is designed to make looking after household accounts really simple and fast, with views into the future to help users stay in control and plan for those little (or large) things they really need.

[

ASI ABILITY OFFICE

partners is that Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac is actually the easiest add-on sale when they sell a new Apple computer,” Strange comments. Pain says Accountz does well there too: “Accountz has seen a large take-up of Apple users choosing our accounting software. This is partly due to the evergrowing number of Apple-owned stores in the UK and the range of software titles now available from Apple Store and online. It is more than the creative

]

business selecting to use Apple machines as the range of software available to support business has expanded a lot. English ends on another note: “Looking a little way into the future, a user will be able to carry a small device wherever they go, containing their own personal ‘virtual’ desktop, complete with pre-installed office software, ready to use, safe and secure, on any PC.” Whichever way the future goes, it’ll certainly be interesting getting there.

May PCR 73


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SOFTWARE  GAMES

GamesChart This month sees the release of a big movie tie-in which will hope to lure in as many players as viewers of the film. Meanwhile, two significant re-releases appear from Sold Out and Sims 3 is on the horizon...

GAME OF THE MONTH X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE  Distributor: Centresoft  Contact: 0121 625 3388  Available: May 1st  Price: ÂŁ34.99 Coinciding with the cinematic release of the same name, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is set before the events of the three original X-Men films. It follows the formative years of the near-indestructible hero with the adamantium skeleton and menacing claws. TITLE

The game is essentially a beat 'em up at heart, with players taking Wolverine through his escape from the Weapons X facility and his subsequent misadventures around the globe, as similarly outlandish super-villains try and kill him. The character is one of the most popular of all the comic book hero creations, and the release of the movie should make gamers primed to snap up this title in their droves.

GENRE

PUBLISHER

TELEPHONE

DISTRIBUTOR

DATE

Pool Hall Pro

Sports

Playlogic

0121 625 3388

Centresoft

The History Pack

Strategy

JoWood

01273 202 220

Lace

May 1 2009

Vertigo

Action

Playlogic

0121 625 3388

Centresoft

May 1 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Action

Activision Blizzard

0121 625 3388

Centresoft

May 1 2009

Yamaha Supercross

Racing

Zoo Digital

01279 822 800

Gem

May 1 2009

Devil May Cry 3 (Sold Out)

Action

Mastertronic

0845 234 4242

Open

May 8 2009

Poker Academy 2.0 (Sold Out)

Cards

Mastertronic

0845 234 4242

Open

May 8 2009

Rainbow Six III: Ravenshield Gold (Sold Out)

FPS

Mastertronic

0845 234 4242

Open

May 8 2009

Secret Files 2: Puritas Cordis

Adventure

Deep Silver

0870 027 0985

Koch

May 8 2009

Velvet Assassin

Stealth/Action

South Peak

0121 625 3388

Centresoft

May 8 2009

Worms 4 Mayhem (Sold Out)

Strategy

Mastertronic

0845 234 4242

Open

May 8 2009

Horrible Histories: Rotten Romans

RTS

Slitherine

0870 027 0985

Koch

May 22 2009

30:1 Blu-Ray Compilation

Compilation

JoWood

01273 202 220

Lace

May 29 2009

International Cricket Captain 2009

Sports

Empire

0121 506 9585

Advantage

May 29 2009

Bionic Commando

Action

Capcom

0121 625 3388

Centresoft

May

Demigod

Action

Atari

0121 506 9585

Advantage

May

Fuel

Racing

Codemasters

01279 822 800

Gem

May

SBK 09: Superbike World Championship

Racing

Black Bean

0870 027 0985

Koch

May

The Sims 3

Simulation

EA

0121 625 3388

Centresoft

June 5 2009

May 1 2009

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Action

Eidos

0121 625 3388

Centresoft

June 12 2009

Ghostbusters: The Video Game

Action/Adventure

Atari

0121 506 9590

Advantage

June 19 2009

ARMA 2

Action

505 Games

0121 506 9585

Advantage

June 26 2009

Calvin Tucker's Redneck Jamboree

Mini-games

Zoo Digital

01279 822 800

Gem

June 26 2009

Anno 1404

RTS

Ubisoft

0845 456 6400

Trilogy

June

Call Of Juarez: Bound In Blood

FPS

Ubisoft

0845 456 6400

Trilogy

June

Hysteria Hospital: Emergency Ward

Simulation

Oxygen

020 8309 3600

Pinnacle

June

Prototype

Action

EA

0121 625 3388

Centresoft

June

Red Faction Guerilla

FPS

THQ

0121 506 9585

Advantage

June

Roogoo

Action

South Peak

0121 625 3388

Centresoft

June

[Prototype]

Action

Activision Blizzard

0121 625 3388

Centresoft

June

7Million

MMORPG

Deep Silver

0870 027 0985

Koch

Q2 2009

Constellation Professional

Simulation

Just Flight

0845 234 4242

Mastertronic

Q2 2009

Damnation

Action

Codemasters

01279 822 800

Gem

Q2 2009

Flying Club II

Simulation

Just Flight

0845 234 4242

Mastertronic

Q2 2009

*ABC-certified distribution 102,010 Jan-Dec 05

ON THE RADAR

Devil May Cry 3 (Sold Out) Mastertronic: 0845 234 4242

Rainbow Six III: Ravenshield Gold (Sold Out) Mastertronic: 0845 234 4242

The Sims 3 EA: 0121 625 3388


SOFTWARE  CHARTS *From March 2009 data The charts credited to ELSPA and GfK/ChartTrack are the strict copyright of ELSPA. For more information, subscribe to the ELSPA weekly report. Contact ELSPA at: 167 Wardour Street, London W1F 8WL. Tel: 020 7534 0580.

PC GAMES

1

BUDGET GAMES

1

EMPIRE: TOTAL WAR

SEGA

APPLE MAC

WORLD OF WARCRAFT

ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

1

MAC OFFICE 2008 (STUDENT)

MICROSOFT

2

FOOTBALL MANAGER 2009 SEGA

2

WOW: THE BURNING CRUSADE ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

2

APPLE IWORK ‘09 APPLE

3

WARHAMMER 40,000: DAWN OF WAR II THQ

3

MYSTERYVILLE 2 GSP/AVANQUEST

3

APPLE ILIFE '09 APPLE

4

WORLD OF WARCRAFT: WRATH OF LICH KING ACTIVISION

4

AMAZING ADVENTURES OF THE LOST TOMB POPCAP GAMES

4

ADOBE PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS 6.0 (MAC) ADOBE SYSTEMS

5

THE SIMS 2: DOUBLE DELUXE ELECTRONIC ARTS

5

BEJEWELED 2 POPCAP GAMES

5

MAC BOX SET APPLE

6

COMMAND AND CONQUER: RED ALERT 3 ELECTRONIC ARTS

6

THE ORANGE BOX ELECTRONIC ARTS

6

THE SIMS 2 ASPYR

7

GRAND THEFT AUTO IV TAKE 2

7

THE SIMS 2: MANSION & GARDEN STUFF ELECTRONIC ARTS

7

VMWARE FUSION 2.0 SMITH MICRO

8

F.E.A.R 2: PROJECT ORIGIN WARNER BROS

8

AGE OF EMPIRES III MICROSOFT

8

PARALLELS DESKTOP 4.0 (MAC) PARALLELS

9

THE SIMS 2: APARTMENT LIFE ELECTRONIC ARTS

9

PEPPA PIG: ACTIVITY PACK GSP/AVANQUEST

9

APPLE ILIFE '09 FAMILY APPLE

10

SPORE ELECTRONIC ARTS

10

SETTLERS: HERITAGE OF KINGS UBISOFT

10

AGE OF EMPIRES III DESTINEER

GfK provides market research consultancy to manufacturers on the technologies markets and also operates a reseller partnership that provides market research information to dealers in the channel.

HOME OFFICE

1

SYMANTEC

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3 KASPERSKY INTERNET SECURITY 2009 ONE USER

MICROSOFT

KASPERSKY

4

DRIVING TEST SUCCESS ALL TESTS 2008/09 FOCUS

13

OFFICIAL DSA THEORY TEST + HIGHWAY 08/09 TSO

22

MCAFEE VIRUS SCAN PLUS 2009 MCAFEE

5

NORTON INTERNET SECURITY 2009 3 USER SYMANTEC

14

NERO 9 AHEAD

23

OFFICIAL DSA COMPLETE LEARN DRIVE 08/09 TSO

6

NORTON ANTIVIRUS 2009 3 USER SYMANTEC

15

MCAFEE TOTAL PROTECTION 2009 (3 USER) MCAFEE

24

MR SITE TAKEAWAY WEBSITE KOCH

7

DSA COMPLETE THEORY KIT + HIGHWAY 08/09 TSO

16

NORTON INTERNET SECURITY 2009 3 USER UPG SYMANTEC

25

TRANSFER MYPC V4.5 FOR VISTA ORLOGIX

8

WINDOWS LIVE ONECARE 2.0 MICROSOFT

17

DRIVING TEST SUCCESS DELUXE 2008/09 FOCUS

26

COREL PAINT SHOP PRO PHOTO X2 ULTIMATE COREL

9

ALL IN ONE DRIVING TEST 08/09 GSP/AVANQUEST

18

ADOBE PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS 7.0 ADOBE

27

SYSTEM MECHANIC 8.0 (STANDARD) IOLO

10

KASPERSKY INTERNET SECURITY 2009 3 USER KASPERSKY

19

NORTON INTERNET SECURITY 2009 SYMANTEC

28

WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE V2 DELUXE GSP/AVANQUEST

11

MCAFEE INTERNET SECURITY 09 (3 USER) MCAFEE

20

ROXIO CREATOR 2009 ROXIO

29

REGISTRY MECHANIC 2009 KOCH

12

NORTON INTERNET SECURITY 2009 PREMIER SYMANTEC

21

MCAFEE INTERNET SECURITY 09 UPG (3 USER) MCAFEE

30

MICROSOFT OUTLOOK 2007 MICROSOFT

78 PC May

www.pcretailmag.com


THIS MONTH Sector Guide

p 83

Margin Makers A guide to some of the value priced and more frivolous products that can drive profits

Consumer

Electronics PCRâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s monthly look at recent developments in the consumer electronic market

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// P 89

GFK ANALYSIS Incisive market data from analysis and research firm GfK, bringing you all the latest trends and need-toknow information

p 91

p 92

Logitech Harmony 1100

Mystery Shopper

This monthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s product focus looks at the universal controller with built-in touch screen

Our secret agent goes in search of sat nav devices

www.pcretailmag.com

>>>

May PCR 81


CONTACTS

SECTOR GUIDES  MARGIN MAKERS

GEM 01279 822822 Interactive Ideas 020 8805 1000 VIP 0870 622 7500 Meroncourt 01462 680 060 Widget 01438 842 362

[

]

USB MISSILE LAUNCHER GEM: £19.99 Ideal for the more territorial user, this USB-controlled desktop mounted launcher can fire three foam missiles at coworkers, family or passers-by, complete with sound effects. Once its software is installed, a control panel appears on screen, enabling the user to remotely aim and fire.

Peripheral Vision One of the characteristics of the IT industry is the sheer number of extra peripherals and gadgets that can be used in conjunction with a PC. The emphasis on versatility in IT means that the retailer can use these products to tailor a computer to the needs of the individual and so generate a healthy margin on the way. Matt Grainger looks at some of these items… THE PC OFFERS a greater potential for additional margin sales than many other consumer products. Over the course of the last decade, the PC has seen its role change from a specialised piece of equipment used by businesses and a niche part of the consumer population to a genuinely personal item, tailored to suit the specific need of the individual customer. If you were to talk to a sales assistant in a PC retail outlet, the first question that the salesperson is likely to ask is:

www.pcretailmag.com

“What are you using it for?” This is partially because of the wealth of equipment and software available for PC and also because the PC itself is such a versatile piece of equipment. Either way, the intended use that the customer has for their new PC opens up the path for additional sales, not just because it benefits the retailer, but because it means that the customer gets exactly what they want. “We have seen plenty of fantastic margin makers on laptops bundled

The intended use that the customer has for his new PC opens up the path for additional sales, not just because it benefits the retailer, but because it means the customer gets exactly what they want

Turn to next page for more products

>>>

May PCR 83


SECTOR GUIDES  MARGIN MAKERS [INDUSTRY RESPONSE] Andy Miles Marketing Executive Interactive Ideas

[

PORT DESIGNS 15.4-INCH LAPTOP BAG Interactive Ideas: £24.99

] [

Available in either a blue and pink or beige and brown colour scheme, this laptop bag is a portable protection skin. The case is made of soft touch rubber and memory foam, offering shock protection.

[

TRUST 4 PORT USB 2.0 MICRO HUB Interactive Ideas: £11.99

with a whole variety of mice, keyboards, bags, software and ergostations,” says Interactive Ideas’ marketing executive Andy Miles. “Recently, Hercules released a fantastic pack of the Hercules eCAFÉ EC-900 UMPC with the DJ Control MP3, which I think is a superb way of putting everything a disc jockey would want into one great priced product.” A businessman might have an emphasis on mobility, which could

84 PC May

]

The Ergo workstation has been developed to combat muscular problems caused by prolonged use at a desk. A four port USB Hub is included and it also features an 11blade ultra quiet fan.

] [

The Trust Micro Hub is a colourful four port USB 2.0 hub designed for easy access. It features a top port for easy connection of any device that does not need a permanent connection.

PORT DESIGNS 4 USB PORT ERGOSTATION Interactive Ideas: £64.99

CHERRY LIFENANO WIRELESS MOUSE Interactive Ideas: £29.99

BUNDLED products can often be a great way to move products while delivering perceived saving to your customers. A canny retailer can use different configurations of products as a marketing tool in their own right, aimed at a specific consumer group. A great example of this is a shop in Leicester, which sold a ‘Geek Pack’ to freshman students. This consisted of a laptop, carrying case, webcam and peripherals – together with a pair of blackrimmed false glasses. Andy Miles, “I remember the Chainsaw controller Interactive Ideas that came out for Resident Evil 4 a few years back , so we know how crazy they can get in the Video Games market,” says Interactive Ideas’ Andy Miles. “We are hotly anticipating some fantastic Ghostbusters margin makers for release with the game. My perfect pack would involve a Proton Pack, official outfit and some infra–red goggles.” “Product bundles don’t need to be as ostentatious as those found in the games industry. Visitors to this year’s Channel Expo will find a number of enticing bundles on offer. Canon will be offering some of its printers packaged together with a Toshiba laptop, for example.”

I remember the chainsaw controller that came out for Resident Evil 4 a few years back, so we know how crazy they can get in the video games market

] [

The ergonomic 2.4 GHz LifeNano wireless laser mouse has been designed specifically for right hand users. Its small USB receiver can be stored in the mouse when travelling, or it can be left in the laptop port.

mean a laptop bag, mains adapters, an external hard drive or wireless peripherals to go with a laptop. A student might require Microsoft’s Office suite for their desktop, and possibly design software, along with a microphone and webcam for free remote communication with the parents. All of these variable options and configurations represent additional margin for the retailer or can be bundled to create an enticing deal.

] [

PHILIPS WIRELESS ADSL2/2+ ROUTER VIP: £19.99 Compliant with 802.11g wireless connection, the Philips CGA5722 offers fast wireless performance and secure networking with password protected access. Simply needs an ASDL connection.

ANTEC NOTEBOOK COOLER 200 VIP: £44

]

The Antec Notebook Cooler 200 offers an ideal solution for notebook cooling. A centrally mounted 200mm Antec Big Boy fan reduces the chance of overheating and is illuminated with a blue LED.

Notebook manufacturers are choosing not to include notebook bags on entry-level models as they try to reduce costs and price points, which offers resellers and retailers the chance to make precious margin Chris Bloxham, VIP Turn to page 86 for more products

>>>

www.pcretailmag.com


FULL IMMERSION GAMING nteractive Ideas offers a range of great gaming peripherals. We have headsets that let you hear the approach of enemies before they hear you. We have rumble controllers that let you experience the shock of every explosion and vibration steering wheels that let you feel the car beneath you. Our precision game pad controllers and gaming mice keep you a step ahead of the hardest opposition. And as for games, we offer some absolutely classic titles. The best ideas are interactive.

I

TRUST VIBRATION FEEDBACK STEERING WHEEL PC-PS2-PS3 GM-3400

CYBER SNIPA GAME PAD V2

BEST SELLING GAMES EDIMENSIONAL AUDIOFX2 AUDIO & GAMING HEADSET

SAITEK CYBORG 360 2 IN 1 RUMBLE PAD

STEEL SERIES WOW GAMING MOUSE

DOWNLOAD our latest magazine FREE Find out more about our award-winning range of products www.interactiveideas.com/corporate/CONSUMER_RETAIL

SOFTWARE AND PERIPHERALS FOR EDUCATION, ENTERTAINMENT AND BUSINESS

Authorised distributor for:

Tel: 0208 805 1000 email: sales@interactiveideas.com web: www.interactiveideas.com For a full list of publishers and manufacturers that Interactive Ideas represent, visit www.interactiveideas.com


SECTOR GUIDES  MARGIN MAKERS

[

TECH AIR 15.4-INCH TSV154VI SLIPCASE VIP: £6.99

][

[

The Mino HD 720 pixel video is the world’s smallest HD capable camcorder. The Mino HD carries an integrated USB connector, which will install FlipShare software and four plus a TV-out connection.

][

“As the UK notebook market is growing, the additional demand has brought about increased competition amongst resellers,” observes VIP product manager Chris Bloxham. “In turn margins are being squeezed so resellers are continually looking for new revenue streams to ensure they remain profitable; notebook accessories are an ideal source. “Notebook manufacturers are choosing not to include notebook bags

86 PC May

] [

Compatible with 98 per cent of notebook models, the Universal Notebook AC Adapter is supplied with 13 adapter tips. It comes with thermal protection and a 90W power output.

Capable of fitting notebooks up to 15.4-inches in size, the Tech Air slipcase offers extra protection for a laptop in the office or on the move. Features a stylish black and grey pinstripe design.

FLIP MINO HD Widget: £170

2 POWER UNIVERSAL NOTEBOOK AC ADAPTER VIP: £46.99

SATZUMA ARM WRESTLER GEM: £16.99 Compatible with Windows or Mac, the Arm Wrestler is marketed as an office dispute solution. This is one of a range of Satzuma products carried by Gem. Powered by batteries or USB, this gadget requires quick reactions to win.

SAIPH 3200 LASER 3200DPI GAMING MOUSE Meroncourt: £44.99

] [

The Mionix Saiph 3200 is a gaming mouse with a built-in weight tuning system. The sensitivity is adjustable in-game from 400 to 3200 dpi and the device is ergonomically designed for comfort.

] [

on entry-level models as they try to reduce costs and price points, which offers resellers and retailers the chance to make precious margin.” Stocking the right products can also enhance a well-managed margin. Medea’s managing director Mike Scott has some ideas: “Ink cartridges have always been a great source for making additional margins. Original equipment manufacturers release their printers at the low price and make

SATZUMA MASSAGE POD 200 GEM: £7.99

MEDUSA NX 5.1 ULTIMATE GAMING HEADSET Meroncourt: £58.99

]

Offering genuine 5.1 Gaming surround sound, the Medusa NX has excellent voice transmission and individually adjustable sound channels, this headset includes a carrying case and a 3.8 metre cable.

] [

The Satzuma massage pod helps relieve aches and pains with its soothing vibrations and unique shape. The device can be powered by batteries or via a USB port and can be used in conjunction with any PC.

their profits back on the original ink sales, which can often be more expensive than the original printer and leave very little margin for the retailer.” Although Scott believes that the aftermarket experience can be highly variable, the right choice of product an make all the difference. “Aftermarket brands such as Inkrite are a viable alternative to the consumer allowing them to print perfect quality prints but can be as little as 40 per cent

SATZUMA ROBO STAPLE HUB VIP: £13.99

]

The Robo Staple Hub combines a robust automatic stapler with a four-port USB hub. Powered by through a USB 1.1 port, the Robo Staple Hub uses standard size staples and is compatible with Windows or Mac PCs.

of the original manufacturer’s version at trade – a saving that the retailer can pass on to customers.” With consumer demand low, it is perceived savings like this which can ensure that customers keep coming in, and eye-catching bundle deals can help slow moving stock fly off shelves. The key to efficiency is making the most of every sale and these items can help open that margin gap. All that’s required is a little creativity.

www.pcretailmag.com


Discover the paperless office

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For more information contact your Gem account manager on 01279 822822 or visit www.gem.co.uk


ANALYSIS  IT MARKET

Written by SEAN FELLOWS

GROWTH RATES IN SALE VOLUME AND SALES VALUE FEBRUARY 2009 VS 2008 SALES THS. UNITS, FEB 09 VS 08

TH. SALES VALUE GBP, FEB 09 VS 08 1090

Netbook

1060

Notebook

-7

-13

Desktop Computer

-6

3

Keyboards

-23

External hard Drive

LCD Monitors

-18

3

2

-21

-31

Comm. Cards

14

© by GfK-RT, www.gfkrt.com

-2

Opportunities and challenges facing the IT market today GfK’s Sean Fellows examines whether falling sales in some areas mean all markets are doomed, or whether certain companies can continue to perform well whatever the climate...

www.pcretailmag.com

TIMES ARE proving increasingly difficult for manufacturers who have been hit by falling sales. It is of little surprise that the majority of IT products saw a sales decline in February compared to last year. Some of the worst hit segments were the monitor and keyboard markets, which saw a panel market decline of 21.6 per cent and 20.7 per cent respectively year on year. These markets have not been helped by the decline in desktop market sales. Nevertheless, there were some product categories which managed to perform well given the current market conditions. Most of these products centralise around the growing mobile PC market – for instance mobile modem dongles, external hard drives and box software. This reinforces the current movement towards providing portable connectivity to users. Looking at the mobile PC market and dividing this by form factor, it is netbooks which

have grown the most. The growth rates, comparing February 2009 with 2008, were at 1,090 per cent in terms of volume and 1,060 per cent in value. It is worth noting that this time last year netbooks were still relatively new to the market. There were only 11 different models in February 2008; this increased nearly 18 times over 12 months to 194 different selling models for 2009. COMPLEMENTARY CARDS As mentioned before, devices which complement the mobile PC market – such as communication cards which include 3G broadband dongles – have grown by 14.3 per cent in volume year on year and this figure is even greater when focusing just on the retail channels at 18.1 per cent. This has proved a key area for the networking market, providing portable connectivity. Subsequently, less portable communication devices, and in

particular wireless routers, have seen sales decline at a rate of knots in previous months. The growth of wireless N technology routers has not been enough to ward off the decline of other older technologies. A similar trend is noted when looking at the external hard drive market, with 2.5inch drives sales still growing 7.9 per cent in value, while the desktop 3.5inch drives are seeing a value decline of one per cent year on year. Although the IT market as a whole saw a decline in volume and value compared to this time last year, there are still segments which remain buoyant. These markets reflect the change in lifestyle of the consumer who is active and constantly on the move. The growth of internet usage has made on-the-go connectivity necessary wherever people go. As a result, it is these segments which will continue to do well as this need will remain regardless of the economic conditions.

May PCR 89


PRODUCT FOCUS

Logitech touches the future New Harmony 1100 universal controller offers touchscreen capabilities and the world’s largest control database

LOGITECH recently introduced the latest installation to its popular Harmony series of universal remote controllers, the Harmony 1100. Building on the success of the 1000, the 1100 incorporates many of its popular features. A 3.5-inch touch-screen panel serves as the main interface for the device, complete with QVGA resolution, which brings one-touch control powered by the world’s largest A/V command database of entertainment equipment. Like the 1000, the 1100 can also control up to 15 devices.

Recent months have seen a shift in emphasis towards design and efficiency, and the 1100 is no exception. It has a black brushed aluminium top case and a soft touch bottom case for comfort and style, as well as tactile guides located around the touch screen. The lithium ion battery can be recharged, which eliminates the need to buy new ones, but it will need to be plugged in overnight. “The Harmony 1100 is a natural extension of the Harmony promise – to simplify today’s complex home

entertainment systems,” said the vice president and general manager of Logitech’s Harmony business unit, Ashish Arora. This is no idle boast, since the main difference between the 1000 and the 1100 lies in the software, which has been completely overhauled for the latest instalment. As well as a database of over 225,000 devices from over 5,000 manufacturers, the 1100 features an intuitive setup wizard – once the user has entered the make and model numbers, the wizard will do the rest.

The absolute dBs! hear what’s next

TM

www.pcretailmag.com

# Call: 0870 458 0011 # Mail: sales@euro-tech.co.uk

eurotech DISTRIBUTION

May PCR 91


MYSTERY SHOPPER  BRISTOL

Mystery Shopper: ASDA This Asda superstore boasts thousands of square feet of prime selling space filled with grocery, clothing and a dedicated electrical section located at the rear of the store. Passing from one area to another, it was almost like going into another store filled with TVs, DVD players, mobile phones, cameras; all things electrical. The satellite navigation devices were located on a back wall display near the counter. Whilst TomTom was the primary device, there was a large bulk of dummy boxes promoting a Binatone X350 device for £50. Other Binatone models included the European version for £99 and the X430 Widescreen priced £109. TomTom products included the Go 530 and Go 730, priced at £249 and £299 respectively. The assistant told me that it was personal preference which one to go for. She owned a TomTom device and had used it extensively when travelling in France and other parts of Europe, I was told, while her colleague owned a Binatone and had experienced a few ‘user error’ problems. Neither of the ladies offered clear differences between the models other than to explain Asda’s 28-day return policy.

92 PC May

SCORE

6/10

www.pcretailmag.com


MYSTERY SHOPPER  BRISTOL

Bristol

Satellite navigation technology has permeated the consumer sector over the last few years, so this month our Mystery Shopper has navigated the city of Bristol to find out which store knows what direction to take...

MAPLIN This store was immaculate in appearance and layout, with clear signage for the products. A full range of items was stocked including TomTom, Garmin, Binatone and Pronav. An assistant approached me and I told him that I was travelling across the UK and Ireland, and asked which one was the most suitable and easy to use. I was told TomTom was the best device for UK and Europe and he was quick to point out that this was feedback he had received from customers. He concentrated his efforts on selling the TomTom Go 730. Maplins’ Easter offer promoted two years of free map updates, worth £69.95. As I already received a year’s free map updates with the device, then I would have three years of worry-free driving. The store assistant was also keen to point out some of the key features, which included Advanced Lane Guidance (which points out which lane to drive in a multi-lane environment) and Hands Free Calling. Whilst he didn’t dismiss the Garmin product his concentration on TomTom was evident and product knowledge impressive.

www.pcretailmag.com

SCORE

9/10

Turn the page for more mystery shopper results

>>>

May PCR 93


MYSTERY SHOPPER  BRISTOL

TESCO HOMEPLUS

JOHN LEWIS

CURRYS

THIS STORE is a new concept to the Tesco estate, with heavy concentration on all things for the home. I walked through an impressive array of products in the electricals section including televisions and cameras, before getting to a long gondola display with a huge range of satellite navigation devices including products from TomTom, Garmin and Navman. When probing for a specific recommendation, the salesman found it difficult to answer. I had to lead the conversation a little in terms of asking him to explain various functions. That said, he showed a helpful and SCORE positive attitude towards my enquiry, adding that if I needed more help to return to the counter.

TOMTOM products were displayed first followed by Garmin and Navman and there was a stand-alone TomTom display nearby. When I asked for a specific product recommendation, I was told: “It depends on your personal preference. Both TomTom and Garmin are popular devices.” The assistant explained that whilst Garmin devices (Garmin 205T - £117 and Garmin 255WT - £156.35), included traffic updates, the introductory TomTom devices did not. However I could get free traffic updates with the TomTom Go 940 using its FM frequency to deliver this content. SCORE As expected, some great advice from this long standing name on the High Street.

THE FIRST thing I saw when I came in was a TomTom Gondola, explaining the difference between the basic, XL and Go products. Leading on from that was another gondola, this time with a glass cabinet filled with TomTom, Garmin and Navman products. TomTom devices were easier to use, explained a sales person, adding that the map navigation and menus were easier to follow than Garmin –something which I had heard earlier in the day. When I asked which TomTom device to buy, I was told: “Obviously all of them will get you from A to B, however, the Go SCORE Range has extra features such as Lane Indication, Bluetooth, MP3 Player and Google

6/10

9/10

8/10

THE TOP SCORES:

PC WORLD

COMET

WITH RETAIL suffering at the moment it was good to see customer service was the priority in this store. A member of staff stood near the store entrance greeting customers as they walked in, offering to get someone to help them on their respective areas of interest. I asked which sat nav brand was best. He told me both TomTom and Garmin were the leaders in navigation technology. However, his focus was towards TomTom as he progressed into his sales pitch. Extra features such as Google Search and Hands-free Calling were available in the TomTom Go range, all of which were pretty SCORE easy to use. There was also an offer on map upgrades, worth £69.95, free for two years.

THIS WAS another quiet store with only a few customers looking around the desktops and audio equipment. After perusing the satellite navigation product range, I caught a salesperson’s attention. He was very enthusiastic about the products. When asking him to recommend one over the other, he opted for TomTom. Despite this, he added that Garmin performed better in terms of getting a connection to the satellite when indoors. I am assuming that he meant when I was in a car park where satellite links are usually more difficult to establish. Despite his preference SCORE on Garmin’s satellite link, he personally owned a TomTom and was very happy with it.

8/10

94 PC May

8/10

1

MAPLIN

1

JOHN LEWIS

2

CURRYS

3

COMET

4

PC WORLD

5

ASDA

6

TESCO HOMEPLUS

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.

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>>> THE PLACE FOR BUSINESS

MARKETPLACE

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RETAIL COMMENT EMOTIONAL PURCHASES I REMEMBER attending Acer’s global press conference in 2007, when the company was making a drive towards the strong position it occupies today. It might be hard to believe that the company has grown so quick in little over two years, but it stands testament to the work it has put into its products and channel focus. This month the firm has released a slew of new products, following its purchase of Packard Bell and Gateway. Apparently, they target those consumers who make their purchases ‘on an emotional basis’, which is a change of direction for a company that is seen by many as the value choice. You can find out more about this move, and the products themselves by turning to page 114. ‘TO FALL IN LOVE’ However, Acer isn’t the only company looking to target ‘emotional buyers’ with rival Dell finally launching its much-anticipated Adamo laptop. Latin for ‘to fall in love,’ the laptop features a uni-chassis similar to the new MacBook range. We have more on its launch on page 113. Elsewhere in the channel this month, HP has made a play for the high-end multimedia market, with the launch of its Pavilion Elite m9600. Currently available in the US, you can find out more about it on page 110. TomTom has also had a productive month, boosting a couple of key SKUs with its ‘IQ’ technology (page 107). Carrying on the gadget theme, both Meroncourt and Interactive Ideas have products to set a technology fan’s pulse racing, with the former introducing Speedlink’s 5.1 surround sound headphones to the channel (page 117), and the latter bringing Hercules’ latest DJ package, complete with netbook and editing software, to retailers (page 116). BEN FURFIE, DEPUTY EDITOR Ben.Furfie@intentmedia.co.uk www.pcretailmag.com

To advertise on these pages please call Carly Bailey: 01992 535647 carley.bailey@intentmedia.co.uk May PCR 95


MARKETPLACE  NEWS

HP to cut a third of SKUs in six months Vendor to also overhaul Imaging and Personal Systems Group, Commercial and Consumer divisions HP HAS SAID that it will be cutting around a third of its consumer and commercial portfolio over the next six months, as it looks to lessen the time that partners and distributors currently spend choosing configurations. “While you need to offer choice as a manufacturer, we need to make sure we have the right SKUs, reduce the inventory holdings for distribution and manage that inventory more effectively,” explained director of HP’s Solution Partners

Organisation, Dave Poskett. He also revealed that the firm is set to review the firm’s Personal Systems Group and Commercial and Consumer product ranges with the aim of creating a new product portfolio for the small office and home office segment, and the small business, small office sector. “We are trying to bring together the current commercial consumer product families into one segment where we can take the best of that portfolio and

market very aggressively into the SBSO segment.” The company is also overhauling its Imaging and Printing Group’s hardware and supplies business. “IPG currently manages supplies and hardware with two separate sales forces. There will be one face for the partner, who will be given a single IPG target around supplies and hardware,” added Poskett. The changes took place from the first of this month.

Synaxon hits major milestone EGIS buying system sees over a hundred thousand products offered through group’s portal in the UK SYNAXON UK has passed a major milestone, with its EGIS buying system now offering over 100,000 products. According to the firm, there are now 313,000 part numbers available via the system, with just over 109,000 individual products being offered by the German buying group’s distribution partners. Speaking about the organisation’s success, UK managing director Derek Jones said: “Our UK distribution partners have embraced EGIS

96 PCR May

wholeheartedly and they are already seeing just how effective it can be in terms of delivering additional income for their business. “The fact that we have hit these key milestones so quickly is a testament to that success and we will continue to develop and grow the system over the coming months. “The launch of this service opens up the Synaxon EGIS system to all UK resellers – from the largest to the smallest,” added Jones.

The fact that we have hit these key milestones so quickly is a testament to our success Derek Jones, Synaxon

Derek Jones, UK managing director, Synaxon

www.pcretailmag.com


MARKETPLACE  NEWS

NewsBytes We are trying to bring together the current commercial consumer product families into one segment Dave Poskett, HP

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

HP is restructuring its portfolio to enable partners and distributors to easily choose configurations

Western Digital aims for solid market WESTERN DIGITAL has acquired hard-wearing solid state technology specialist Silicon Systems, as it looks to muscle into the netbook, client and enterprise markets. “SiliconSystems’ intellectual property and technical expertise will significantly accelerate Western Digital’s solidstate drive development programmes for the netbook, client and enterprise markets, providing greater choice for our customers to

www.pcretailmag.com

satisfy all their storage requirements,” said president and CEO of Western Digital, John Coyne. The deal sees the embedded systems specialist become incorporated into Western Digital as its Solid-State Storage business unit, and the expansion of the vendor’s business to include the network-communications, embedded-computing, medical, military and aerospace markets.

MICRO-P UPS SERVER RANGE Micro-P has increased its server portfolio, after it signed a deal with Lenovo to carry its recently launched ThinkServer range. The distributor said that it had made the move to help offer its customers more choice and to move away from depending heavily on Fujitsu’s portfolio. ORDERWORK HITS 2K OrderWork is hailing the resilience of the service industry after it passed the 2,000 partners milestone. However, the group – whose partners include PC, TV, FreeSat and home theatre installers – believes there is room for far more small businesses to get involved and is looking to expand its programme further in the coming months. VIP WEBSITE RELAUNCH VIP Computers has launched its new website, loaded with new features such as RSS feeds and a speedier search tool. The new site appears to be focused towards making it easier for customers to find products.

view to helping both themselves and resellers expand their business in Africa and Latin America. The multi-year deal marks the first time the communications and networking vendor has signed a global contract. NETGEAR SIGNS WICK HILL Netgear has signed up security distributor Wick Hill to extend its reach into the communications sector, after the vendor announced its intentions to push its ProSecure range of web and email threat management devices. The deal also marks an expansion of the distributor’s range, with it carrying Netgear’s full range of SME products. DMSL BOOSTS SALES BENEFITS DMSL has begun offering its resellers’ sales teams an extra incentive to notch up sales over the next two months, after it said it would begin making one-off payments for deals done on BT internet access, private circuits and VPN solutions. The oneoff payments, worth up to £300, will be found on multi-store vouchers.

RETAILER SIGNS FLIXMEDIA Micro Anvika has begun offering customers product videos of products from vendors including Samsung, HP, Toshiba and Sony, after signing a deal with Flixmedia.tv. Speaking about the deal, Micro Anvika’s Nick Gatt said: “This was a really easy decision for us and promises to be highly effective for our needs, as our customers respond well to varied content that talks their language.” “The new website is much more user-friendly and underlines our commitment to providing our customers with a reliable and hassle-free service,” said Joanne Meredith, marketing manager at the distributor. NIMANS GOES MOBILE Telecoms distributor Nimans has entered the handset market after what it claims was ‘high demand’ from IT retailers and resellers to access its portfolio. The Manchester-based distributor is offering IT dealers access to its SIMfree handsets and accessories, from vendors such as Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and LG. WESTCON GOES GLOBAL Westcon has signed a deal with Cisco to ease the process of forming multinational deals, with a

ACER ANNOUNCES DISTIES Acer has confirmed that Micro P and mobile distributor Data Select will distribute its smartphone, as it continues its push in to the mobile marketplace. Negotiations with various network operators around the world are still ongoing, but the vendor reportedly plans to release as many as ten mobile handsets this year. The first four models were unveiled at the Mobile World Conference in February. SPICERS GOES FOR RESELLERS Office supplies wholesaler Spicers has said that it is interested in improving its role in the channel, as it makes a play for more resellers to work with the company. It had a small electronics department, but recent sales revamps have seen it grow to become an important part of the business.

May PCR 97


MARKETPLACE  PCA NEWS

Economy bad? It's time to invest! Keith Warburton, chief executive of the PCA talks about the recent Scottish Reseller Networking event and the Channel Expo... WE ALL know that if we treat our customer simply as someone who buys stuff from us and thus pays the bills, we miss a trick. If we really get to know their issues and their aims, we can anticipate their needs and demonstrate the empathy that will build solid business relationships. So in the spirit of the above, I thought I’d share with you some of the things that I’m focused on at the moment. I’ve just returned from our first Scottish Reseller Networking event. Feedback has been excellent, and of the 20 resellers who turned up, eight enjoyed it so much (or lived close enough) that they stayed for dinner. This was the first Scottish based event that we’ve held for a long time and such was the success that we’ll probably hold another one towards the latter part of the year. We have tried to hold regional networking meetings in the past with limited success, but having grown so much over recent years it seems we now have the numbers to ensure that we can hold good local events. These will, like the Scottish meeting, start late in the afternoon and run for a couple of hours. So, watch this space – or the PCA newsletter – for more information. And let me know at kw@pcauk.org if you want to receive the newsletter. We’ve been aiming to ‘green up’ our Code of Practice for some time, but there’s always been something else to take precedence. However it now looks as if we’ll probably be going green in a slightly different area, that of a vendorneutral means of measuring the energy saving potential of IT products. I can’t say more at this stage, but participants at the Scottish event got a bit more information. Bottom line is that this should be a useful sales tool for resellers (and vendors).

98 PCR May

CHANNEL EXPO We’re finalising the arrangements for our Networking and Awards dinner on the first night of Channel Expo (May 20th-21st), and as usual we’re able to offer a great deal on overnight accommodation for the event. Of course we’ll have our Members Lounge at the show, where you can relax in comfort while meeting the PCA team and other friends old and new, including our sponsors. If you aren’t already a member of the association, we’ll be happy to rectify that! In difficult times the temptation is to pull one’s horns in, adopt a bunker mentality, and hope that we’ll be able to stick it out for the duration but there is another viewpoint. At times like these investment is paramount. Sure, you’ll invest the time in grooming your existing customers, but we should all be investing in our professional development and our networking, so that we are best placed to take advantage of any business opportunity when it arises. Including yourself in an industry organisation is the way to do this. It’s no co-incidence that most of the people who habitually attend our events are those who are managing best to weather the current storm.

Investment doesn’t just have to mean just money, it can mean time, networking and professional development.

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

www.pcretailmag.com


OBITUARY JEFF SPRAY

We're very sad to report the death of Jeff Spray, who joined Softline last year after many years as a high-profile product manager with Computers Unlimited. Jeff, originally from Australia, was a well-known and respected figure in the Apple reseller channel, and was always the smiling face of CU at their manifold dealer shows and trade events. His funeral took place on April 4th. His family have setup a memorial fund for anyone who knew him and might wish to donate for a good cause: www.justgiving.com/jeff spraymemorial

www.pcretailmag.com

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MAC TECHNOLOGY ASSOCIATION  MARKETPLACE

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

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

Service with a smile This month, Robert Peckham discusses women and Macs, and why traditional sales methods have failed to tempt the better half of the market... WHEN APRIL’S edition of PCR came through my door, I was drawn to the Mystery Shopper feature in Leicester, which put computer stores on trial for their Mac versus Windows knowledge and attitude. I found it particularly interesting because the article was written by – gasp – a woman. Before you fill my email inbox with howls of protest, I certainly don’t question the ability of a woman to be a mystery shopper in the IT channel – quite the opposite – but I believe this article flags up a completely different issue apart from the eternal Mac versus Windows debate; the attitude of computer sales staff to female computer buyers and users. I naturally spend a lot of time in computer stores of all sorts, including branches of the High Street multiples that this article features, and I see the same scenario every time a family is looking at a new computer system. The male salesperson invariably fails to appreciate the needs of any female and addresses the entire pitch to the husband or male partner, simply waiting for the other half to accept the computer will look okay in her house. The one store that has always been

different in my opinion – as the article bears out – is John Lewis. This is purely because they are a department store that sells computers, and department stores are traditionally a woman’s domain. This means, therefore, the whole ethos of selling technology to women is fundamentally different. I recently took part in a discussion on IT technology to an all-female ‘Women In Business’ forum, and over half the room were Apple computer users. WOMEN WITH MACS As part of this forum I took a straw poll. The results showed that most of the Mac users had bought their machines from John Lewis, very few had ever read a computer magazine, they all hated stepping into PC World or any other local computer shops because they didn’t feel valued or appreciated as a customer, and almost all had made their own decision on Macs based on friends’ recommendations and a feeling that the Mac was simply better. I’ll close this issue with one last observation for the Apple sales people who read my column; have you been into an AppleStore recently? Next time you do, just take a look at how many female sales people work there. You’ll find it’s around half of them, or more in some branches. And if you ask the management who their top sales people are, I think the answer may surprise you. Or perhaps it won’t.

May PCR 99


ITACS NEWS

INDEPENDENT TRADE ASSOCIATION OF COMPUTING SPECIALISTS

Join the

YOU CAN CONTACT ITACS ON 08445 763 760 OR VISIT WWW.ITACS.ORG.UK

ITACS

Crowd

ITACS’ chairman Matthew Woolley discusses the growth of computer repair as a margin maker and the benefits of professional status... LOTS OF MEMBERS are reporting static sales or a decline in trade, but many more seem to have a growth in repairs. Computers are becoming ever more important, so this is an industry that will continue to grow. So, how do you make the most of this market? Having the right tools and contacts for portable repairs is important, as are well trained staff with accumulated knowledge and experience. The repair market is

software touted on the first few results for a problem could install malware, corrupt the registry or even wipe the data on the hard drive. We have all done jobs that have taken days to fix and only charged for a few hours. The big companies cannot afford to do this and neither can we. Once the problem has been solved though, we can reapply the solution many times over and the repair time can be reduced to minutes. By sharing our problems

Google should come with a warning, because inept users and amateur fixers can do more harm than good Simon Aronowitz, ITACS saturated at the moment with out of work people who have used computers and think they can fix almost anything with Google. Experts though will use diagnostic systems, software utilities, specialist hardware and their wealth of experience to repair computers properly and safely. AMATEURS Google should come with a warning, because inept users and amateur fixers can do more damage to a computer than good – running

100 PCR May

and solutions within a professional organisation like ITACS we can keep costs low and make more profit for considerably less work. ITACS is the public face of our industry and the uniting of ITACS and NASCR will help to promote the independent sector even more. On the whole, indies have been shown to offer better support than branded alternatives. So if you want to stand up and be counted as a professional, and stand out from the crowd of amateurs and cowboys, join us at www.itacs.org.uk.

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MARKETPLACE

NASCR NEWS

Share the

responsibility This month NASCR committee member Geoff Carr talks about online safety and the role of the user...

It is our responsibility to educate people about their online safety. In fact by failing to tell them, we are doing a disservice and contributing to the situation Geoff Carr, NASCR

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

HAVE YOU ever had a customer say: “I don’t need an antivirus program. I don’t do much online – just a few emails and visit a couple of safe websites?” Or someone who thinks they’re permanently protected because when their PC was new it had Norton installed for a month’s free trial? What about the PCs that come in for repair and you find there are no installed service packs or Windows updates? RESPONSIBILITY If you are in the industry but aren’t dealing with end users, you might think these things are highly unlikely. Yet they happen all the time and these users should share the blame. The Conficker worm recently made it into the record books as the fastest spreading malware seen to date and in the process infected more than 15 million Windows PCs. It was well written, it took advantage of a security flaw in all versions of Windows and cracked weak passwords for administrator accounts. It also used USB sticks to spread so that it could reach PCs where internet access wasn’t available. This virtual plague could have been prevented either by available Windows updates (the fix for this flaw was available weeks before Conficker started to spread) or sensible levels of security including an up-to-date AV program. And this is where we, the retailers, come in. It is our responsibility to educate people about their online safety. In fact by failing to tell them we are doing them a disservice and contributing to the situation. The cynical will say we’re just trying to get another sale, but selling is different. We must make people aware of the problem and by making something available that will resolve it for them then so much the better.

www.pcretailmag.com


Jason can’t imagine life without the Internet: surfing; social networking; e-mailing; downloading files: gaming. He doesn’t care that cybercriminals are creating over 17,000 new Internet threats daily aimed at making money from people just like him. Online fraud, ID theft, banking scams, phishing – none of these worry Jason. Like 250 million others worldwide, he’s protected by Kaspersky Lab.

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MARKETPLACE  COMPANY PROFILE

Batteries included

CONTACT Phone: 01727 341234 Web: www.retuk.com Email: nik@retuk.com

102 PCR May

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Thanks to a combination of Government legislation and a larger number of scientific studies, green issues have risen up the public's agenda dramatically in recent years. Andrew Wooden talks to Nik Hilliard, managing director of RET, a company which is doing more than most to ensure its practises are in line with this growth in consumer awareness…

RET started out recycling IT equipment. Is that still a large part of your business focus? That’s one part of our business. It’s actually probably the smaller part of our business now. The main part of our business – and what we will be promoting at Channel Expo – is our range of Power products. We distribute the Power Square brand. RET itself was established in 1999, so we’re celebrating ten years this year as well. We’ve got two fairly distinct divisions to the business: one of them is the asset management aspect, where we deal with processing and remarketing of used IT equipment. We’re pretty well known in the industry for that. About two years ago we set up the power products division, which deals with power products for all mobile

Absolutely. It’s only the smaller part of our business because the power side of it has grown so much. It’s not reflective of what’s happened to that side of the business. So tell us more about the power business? We launched that side of the operation about two years ago, and we sell the Power Squared range of products. They are power products for all types of portable equipment. There was a gap in the market – if you want to use the car analogy, you could go to Sony and buy your Rolls Royce battery, which will cost you £120, or you had to take your chances on eBay with something of unknown origin, with no or little warranty, for about £20. What we’ve done is the Aldi product VW5 thing.

We want to be the one-stop solution for all power and portable devices and to promote the Power Square brand Nik Hilliard, Managing Director devices – battery and AC adaptors for a laptop, MP3 players, for instance. We’re expanding the mobile phone side of the range enormously at the moment, and we’re looking forward to exhibiting that again at Channel Expo this year. The asset management division is still there and is doing very well. We wanted to be a little bit different on that side of the business than everyone else, because there are a lot of companies just literally shifting pallets of filthy machines. We tend to take them in and fully refurbish them. We’ll re-spray them in-house if they need it. We’ve got our own range of environmentally friendly packaging, which only uses cardboard – no plastic. This is to make it a finished product, which is what retailers need really. They don’t want it filthy and covered in stickers. It’s a finished product that resellers are able to sell immediately. So that’s still very much a focus for you despite being the smaller segment?

We’ve got a range of batteries around about the £30 mark, which are really high quality, plus we give you a 13 month warranty. What would you say your current market share is? In terms of our products, I would say we’re probably number two in the market in the UK. Our obvious goal is to be number one. What are the benefits of having a green image? One of the things we’re interested in, and are well ahead of schedule with, is the legislation being introduced later this year to cover BlackBerries. The current WEEE regulations don’t cover those devices. We are now offering all of our dealers a battery take-back service – for every lithium ion battery or AC adaptor battery that they buy from us, they can send it back and we can recycle it for them. And we’re going to be offering bins and containers and things for our dealers, as their customers are going to be

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asking for it. Not because of the legislation, but because of the environmental impact. This is hugely important. The WEEE legislation was a nightmare for resellers in the first instance, back when it was launched. This is a problem that’s going to become more and more evident, and we wanted to be ahead of the game with that, which is why we said to our customers, let us deal with it and don’t worry about it. Send them back to us and we’ll recycle them for free. What are your primary markets in the UK? The small independent dealer market. We’ve got a registered partner scheme for the Power Squared range, which we’ve got about 300 to 350 members signed up to. The goal is to get it to about 500 to 600. When they sign up we’re giving them additional marketing support, free point of sale materials, and we also offer a direct shipment scheme for them as well – whereby we can ship the item direct to their customer for as little as £2.50, which can include their own dispatch note as well. The biggest problem with a product like this is we supply batteries for 12,000 different types of notebooks. Now an independent dealer can’t possibly attempt to stock all of those. So we split the product range in two. One is our retail based products – universal chargers – which give the dealer something

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to put in the customer’s hand if they need it there and then. Then in addition to that we do the specific range of batteries. There’s just far too many of them for shops to stock, so what they do is go to our website, scroll down to the exact model, and then we will ship it out either to the dealer or the customer. Where are you planning to be in a few years time? We want to be the one-stop solution for all power and portable devices, and to try and promote the Power Square brand and ensure it is a recognised name on the High Street.

May PCR 103


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Join the Club This month, Brigantia head Iain Shaw talks about Channel Expo, Formula One racing, Intel, and touches on the dark side of independent retail...

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

MAY SEES BRIGANTIA and many of as a meeting place and representatives our members visiting the ever popular of both organisations should be Channel Expo 2009 at the NEC in available throughout the event to Birmingham. As usual Brigantia will answers members questions. Chris have a ‘club’ stand where we welcome Speight and I will be about throughout everyone. Once again we will have the the event, along with other team Intel F1 simulator which Once again we will have the proved a very popular distraction last year and we Intel F1 simulator, which proved will be running time trials to be a very popular distraction throughout the event. last year As well as having the Iain Shaw, Brigantia opportunity to drive the simulator, members will be able to get up-to-date marketing and members. although Chris has promised technical information from the Intel to give everyone else a chance on the representative who will be with us. We simulator this year and will start with a have invited our friends from both ten-second penalty! ITACS and NASCR to use our stand A bottle of champagne is on offer to

the person with the fastest recorded time during the event and to enter all you need to do is provide us with a business card. ISOLATION I have touched on the feeling of isolation that many indies feel and have suggested that joining an active trade community is one way of reducing this. I would invite feedback from PC Retail magazine readers on this area and the associated area of depression that often can result. I am wondering whether depression is something that effects many indies in these dark economic times. I intend to write more on this subject in June.

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INDIE PROFILE LEFT: Deep Blue Logic has operated from these premises since 2007.

This month Roger Humm talks to Jon Walker from Devon based Deep Blue Logic DEEP BLUE LOGIC takes its name from the IBM chess playing computer, and was set up back in 2003 after proprietor Jon Walker recognised an opening for excellent customer service in the mid Devon area. The store has steadily grown year on year and was in a good position in 2007 to be able to buy the present shop. The premises are split 50/50 between retail shop and workshop, with Walker covering both of these areas. The workshop has six bays to help speed up repair turnarounds which are normally completed within 48 hours utilising the latest diagnostic equipment and software. DISTRIBUTION “I couldn’t be happier when things are busy,” says Walker. “The temptation to take on staff is always there but is

106 PCR May

FACT BOX Year Established: 2003 Number of Outlets: 1 Number of staff: 4 Regular Vendor Lines: AMD, BullGuard, Intel, JetTec, Seagate, Trust Contact name and address: Jon Walker, Deep Blue Logic, 11b Exeter Road, Cullompton, Devon, EX15 1DX

outweighed by the desire to keep the business as profitable as possible.” Walker believes the IT distribution channel is a tricky one to navigate with many ‘stack it high and sell it cheap’ distributors that do not fit in with the way he wants to move his business

forward. “I need to know the distributor will be there in a year’s time to honour the warranty for the product, which means they might not be the cheapest, but I do need them to be competitive. For reliability and flexibility, Enta is the top of my list.”

Telephone: 01884 35444 Email: enquiries@deepbluelogic.com Website: www.deepbluelogic.com

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

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TomTom ONE and XL get IQ’lued up Sat nav vendor launches major update to two popular SKUs

The new models feature TomTom’s new user menu, enhanced map coverage, TomTom Map Share technology and TomTom Home

TOMTOM IS looking to tighten its grip on the satellite navigation market with the latest updates to its ONE and XL SKUs. The new models, one in each SKU, bring features from the more expensive GO products. They have also received an image overhaul, with the new models sporting a high quality black finish and a new user interface. TomTom’s IQ Routes has been designed to help drivers navigate their way to their destination, using the best route at that time of the day and of the week. In addition, the new models feature TomTom’s new user menu, enhanced map coverage, TomTom Map Share technology and TomTom Home. The firm is also throwing in a free three-month subscription to its Safety Alerts and Fuel Price services. Giving up-to-the-minute information about crashes and traffic jams, as well as warnings about accident black spots and mobile speed cameras, Safety Alerts adds value to the device. In addition, the latest information about fuel prices from around the country can be downloaded from TomTom’s website. The UK version of the ONE IQ costs £149.99, while the XL IQ costs £189.99.

May PCR 107


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Gigabyte builds on Radeon platform Vendor unveils its version of the Radeon 4890 GPU â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a powerful and green graphics card

The cleverly named GV-R489-1GH-B is said to work well with very demanding software

GIGABYTE has launched its version of ATIâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Radeon 4890, the memorably named GV-R489-1GH-B. The new graphics card makes the most of ATIâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s core, utilising the advanced GDDR5 memory technology, TeraScale graphics engine, dynamic geometry acceleration, quad mode ATI CrossFireX multi-GPU support and PowerPlay to deliver a strong performance. The TeraScale graphics engine allows the GPU to deliver over one TeraFLOPS of processing power and the gigabyte of GDDR5 memory to handle twice the amount of memory per pin as GDDR3 at the same clock speed. Gigabyte claims that these applications, combined with the 24x

custom filter anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering, will give a true-tolife graphic quality and enable users to set graphic setting to maximum for even the most demanding software. POWER PROCESSING ATIâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Stream technology allows the parallel processing for functions such as physics engines, AI and ray tracing, and can handle demanding tasks such as video transcoding with relative ease. Meanwhile, the inclusion of DirectX 10.1 graphic support enables the GPU to handle the latest in graphical effects. The PowerPlay technology increases efficiency by varying power output depending on whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s required and conserving it when itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not needed, offering a greener solution to the GPU sector.

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CPZTP[^^ZPc^daUd[[aP]VT^Ub^UcfPaTP]S_TaX_WTaP[beXbXc)fffX]cTaPRcXeTXSTPbR^\aTcPX[_^acP[ 108 PCR May

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HP offers Elite media performance Pavilion Elite aims to bring high performance multimedia capacity to HP’s desktop portfolio HP’S LATEST addition to the Pavilion The disc drive can be changed to a series is the Elite m9600. Designed for Blu-ray DVD writer and the graphics a multimedia role, the m9600 has a card can be switched to an ATI strong emphasis on performance and Radeon HD–4850. Meanwhile, the carries a large amount of memory to m9600 carries two integrated drive bays support this. for the optional HP Personal Media In its basic form, priced at £646 the Drive and HP Pocket Media Drive. system is powered by “Media Media enthusiasts and enthusiasts and Intel’s Core i7 920 creators need high processor with 500 creators need high megabytes of hard performace, performance, tonnes drive space and it tonnes of storage of storage and high carries a SuperMulti and high definition. DVD RW drive. definition,” said John Cook, HP This basic the vice president platform features a of marketing for number of optional additions and HP’s Worldwide Consumer PC upgrades, available at extra cost. The Business, John Cook. “Customers will processor can be upgraded to a Core i7 find this model to be a total package 940, while memory capacity can be and great value.” expanded to up to a terabyte of storage, Additionally, HP’s 20-inch 2009m RAM can be upgraded to 12 gigabytes high definition monitor is available at and an Nvidia GeForce 9600 GS a discounted price when purchased graphics card can be installed. with the Pavilion Elite m9600.

The Pavilion Elite m9600 is a strong contender in the high performance media centre segment

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NEW LOOK, SAME SOLID VALUE. 110 PCR May

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Sony ups the ante with latest camcorder

The TG7VE will make customers grin with its smile shutter technology

Palm-format TG7VE brings several features from still cameras, including smile detection SONY’S latest addition to the Handycam family – the HDRTGV7VE – has been designed along the same lines as its popular palmcam format. Coming packed with features that make shooting home movies even easier, the new TG7VE is extremely portable, ensuring those special moments while out and about need never be missed. It also comes with Sony’s new smile shutter technology, which helps your customers to get great pictures by triggering the shutter only when everyone on the other side of the camcorder is smiling. But the really smart thing about the inclusion of this technology is that the device can be set to take pictures of people smiling even

when it’s recording – without interrupting the filming. Another feature normally found only on stills cameras, but making its appearance on Sony’s TG7VE, is GPS tagging. Enabling it makes sure that your customers will always be able to remember where they recorded that video or took that photo. And to put the icing on the cake, if your customers are either not that technologically competent or just have no interest in sitting down in front of

the computer and editing the footage together, the camcorder comes the ability to automatically cut and paste the best parts of what has been recorded into a mini-movie. All in all, there’s lots of value in this camcorder.

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May PCR 111


Netgear launches NAS update New SoHo and SMEaimed NVX range is faster, easier to use and better value than previous generation

Netgear is fully committed to providing the best possible networked storage solutions to the SMB market Paul Tien, Netgear

112 PCR May

NETGEAR has announced the launch of several new four-bay storage appliances aimed at small to medium-sized businesses. Part of the ReadyNAS family, the new NVX range has been designed for environments including home offices, workgroups and small businesses. Offering double the performance of the previous generation of devices, as well as support for file services and application services, the series is compatible with all major operating systems, including Windows, Mac and UNIX/Linux. Designed to help businesses store, share and protect important documents and data across networks, the NVX range sees improved speed, usability and deployment. They are also better value than the last range and will help resellers offer their clients a new and genuinely useful upgrade or installation. “Netgear is fully committed to providing the best networked storage solutions to the SMB market – offering a range of appliances that address different capacity requirements and IT budgets,” said the vice president and general manager of Netgear’s Networked Storage Business Unit, Paul Tien.

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Dell falls in love with the world’s thinnest laptop The Adamo range emphasises design with a combination of aesthetics and individualisation DELL SAYS its recently revealed Adamo range is the flagship for a line of products created to ‘disrupt the personal computing space’ by utilising the latest designs, personalisation choices and cutting edge technologies. The Adamo, Latin for ‘to fall in love,’ has a chassis milled from a single piece of aluminium, which features precision detailing, carries a scalloped, backlit keyboard and has a high definition edge-to-edge glass display. Internally, the Adamo includes solid state drives, wi-fi plus Bluetooth connectivity and optional integrated mobile broadband. Those who purchase the system will be offered a choice of a number of colour co-ordinated peripherals and

accessories, such as 500GB external storage, an external Blue-Ray or DVD drive, an eight gigabyte USB drive or cables and connectors. “Great design needs to be timeless and evoke emotion in people,” said Dell’s senior vice president of consumer products, Alex Gruzen. ”While a premium computing experience was assumed for Adamo, the intent was for people to see, touch and explore Adamo and be rewarded by the select materials and craftsmanship you would expect in a fine watch.” Dell is supporting the launch of the Adamo with a global print campaign featuring work by fashion photographers and a website at AdamoByDell.com.

Dell claims the Adamo is as well crafted as a fine watch

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May PCR 113


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Acer aims for the emotional ACER HAS developed a number of aim to fill new consumer market new products as part of a multibrand segments, such as the AspireRevo – a strategy that aims to target the sector of nettop box that is developed purely as consumers who make purchases based an entertainment centre. Meanwhile, on an emotional response. notebooks have been redesigned with a Outlining the core of the new much stronger emphasis on design, strategy, Acer asserted that “emotional weight and efficiency, like the new users take the technical qualities of Aspire One or the Aspire 8935 and their electronic Aspire 5935. goods for granted. “The products we The products we buy buy are a sign of what What they don’t are a sign of what we we are. It tells take for granted is are. It tells something something about our the affinity between the about our personality personality,” says product and their Gianpiero Morbello, Acer Acer’s group vice own aspirations.” president for As a result of marketing and brand, these new guidelines, Acer has Gianpiero Morbello. “The secret designed its latest Aspire models to be beyond every purchase is that sensation strongly design focussed with an of comfort and familiarity that the user emphasis on personalisation, aesthetics, establishes with the product itself and functionality and energy efficiency. with the story the product tells. Our These new ranges carry PC aim is to satisfy users’ needs by selling functionalities, but utilise touch screen products and services. Not merely to technology, like the new All-in-One, or sell products and services.”

[TIMELINE] The new Aspire Timeline has been developed with one core idea. Instead of installing a larger or more powerful battery to increase battery life, the series has been streamlined and made more energy efficient with the addition of Smart Power software. The result of this change in emphasis is more than eight hours between recharges. The Timeline also features an Intel Core 2 Duo ultra low voltage processor and Intel’s Display Power Savings system.

[ASPIREREVO] Marketed for the new category of nettop PC, the AspireRevo is capable of handling a range of functions including internet access, multimedia streaming and downloads, games console, VOIP centre or an office PC. The AspireRevo is the first mini-PC to utilise Nvidia’s new Ion chipset, which offers low energy consumption and high performance graphics for small form factor computers, and allows the system to handle 1080p HD movies or play DirectX 10 generation games.

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114 PCR May

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purchase

[ALL-IN-ONE] Acer feels that its new All-inOne Aspire Z5600 PC, characterized by its aesthetic design, 24-inch display and multimedia capability, represents a revolution in the world of PCs. It is engineered to maximise the full promise of Microsoft’s next operating system, Windows 7 and includes touch screen capabilities. The system carries up to two terabytes of storage capacity, Intel processor and an MXM GPU incorporated on to the back of the 24-inch display.

Vendor gets emotional and releases a slew of consumer focussed products...

[11.6-INCH ASPIRE ONE] Available in four colours – white, dark blue, red or black – the latest Aspire One is characterised by its 11.6-inch screen. Equipped with an Intel Atom processor and a Mobile Intel US15W Express chipset, the new model also features a 160-gigabyte internal hard drive and a multi-in-one card reader. With an emphasis on portability, the Aspire One is only an inch thick and carries wi-fi with Acer Signal Up technology, alongside Bluetooth and Wireless 3G connectivity.

[ASPIRE 3935] Less than an inch in thickness, the Acer 3935 has been designed for comfort and aesthetics. Available in a burnished golden-brown finish, the devices comes with an Acer FineTip keyboard boasting a pearl gloss and touch sensitive hotkeys plus a multi-gesture touchpad. Protected by a full metal structure, the 3935 offers full wi-fi connectivity supported by Signal Up technology as well as an integrated Crystal Eye webcam.

[ASPIRE 8935 AND 5935] The Aspire 8935 and 5935 are the 15.6-inch and 18.4-inch versions of virtually the same model. Available with four gigabytes of DDR3 RAM, the 5935 offers up to 500 gigabytes of storage capacity, while the 8935 can accommodate two hard disc drives to offer up to a terabyte of hard drive memory. These models also include the CrystalEye integrated webcam but also include Acer Video Conference Manager Software and an optional Acer Xpress VoIP phone.

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May PCR 115


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Everything you need to become a DJ Hercules looks to make clubbers’ days with its latest DJ kit, which comes with total editing and mixing solution including netbook IF YOU SPECIALISE in audio or perhaps have plenty of customers coming in looking for a unique piece of music software, then Hercules’ latest product in its DJ range is just the thing for your store. Taking the uses for netbooks to a new level, Hercules’ eCAFE DJ Kit gives aspiring DJs everything they need to help realise that dream. The £340.50 kit comes bundled with an eCAFE 900 netbook, which weighs less than 1.2KG and is powered by Intel’s Atom N270 1.6GHz processor, with 512MB RAM and a 60GB hard drive. When combined with Hercules’ DJ control MP3 unit, the package takes on a life of its own as it allows the user to mix tracks in real time, without needing to go out and buy expensive decks and software. However, aspiring DJs aren’t limited to the Linux-based netbook if they want to mix at home on their main computer, as the software is compatible with Windows and Mac. Hercules also offers a huge amount of support to users including online storage, assistance for installation and usage, forums, and support and instructions for using Linux.

Taking the uses for netbooks to a new level, Hercules’ eCAFE DJ Kit gives aspiring DJs everything they need to help realise that dream.

 Available through Interactive Ideas.

116 PCR May

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It's all in their

head

Speedlink brings affordable 5.1 surround sound to the headphone sector in its latest gaming package

ition and high With crystal clear defin Medusa NX has levels of comfort, the ng periods of been designed with lo on in mind use and critical precisi

IDEAL FOR students or other gamers who would love to benefit from the immersive experience of 5.1 surround sound, but can’t – either because it’s too expensive or impractical – Speedlink’s Medusa NX headset is a cost effective solution to the problem. Allowing users to hear doors closing from behind them and gunfire coming from their left or right, the headset delivers real 5.1 sound surround in a compact – and quiet – package. With crystal clear definition and high levels of comfort, the Medusa NX has been designed with long periods of use and critical precision in mind. It also gives users the ability to adjust sound

channels individually, ensuring that nothing can spoil the experience. FLEXIBLE USAGE The device is not limited to gaming – thanks to its phono and mains adaptors, the headphones can be used in everything from a DVD player to an iPod, with all the benefits of the high quality sound reproduction. And if you have a customer who is particularly into gaming on the move, or attends LAN events in various places, the Medusa NX is collapsible and comes with its own carry case.  Available through Meroncourt.

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May PCR 117


Mesh introduces new breed of Dragon UK vendor aims to combine high performance graphics with an aggressive pricing strategy LAST MONTH Mesh unveiled the first of a new generation of Dragon platform systems, featuring ATI’s Radeon HD 4890 GPU, the Mesh XTreme II Dragon. Enclosed in the Mesh Super Tower 98 gaming chassis is an AMD Phenom II X4 940 quad core processor, eight gigabytes of DDR2 solid state RAM and a terabyte of hard drive space mounted on an Asus M3A78 motherboard. In terms of software, the XTreme II Dragon includes the 64-bit version of Windows Vista Home Premium, a trial version of Microsoft Office and a free Cyberlink video editing suite. Mesh has also included a number of preset clock speed options, allowing users to easily tweak for maximum performance. “It is a fact that no one has won more awards for AMD-powered systems,” said MESH’s sales and marketing director, Tony Riccardi. “It’s easy to see why. ATI has delivered the fastest graphics core in the world and our engineers have wasted no time in putting that massive visual capability to good use. At the same time, ATI’s aggressive pricing has allowed us to debut one of these Radeon HD 4890 based systems for only £899.”

118 PCR May

ATI has delivered the fastest graphics core in the world and our engineers put that capability to good use Tony Riccardi, MESH

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MARKETPLACE

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LENOVO THINKPAD W500 LENOVO has been prolific of late, conjuring a seemingly endless string of laptops from its copious pockets. Last month, we saw the company’s first netbook – the Ideapad S10e – and the low cost ThinkPad SL500, and before that we had the more swanky 15-inch T500 with its high-resolution 1,680 x 1,080 screen and switchable dual graphics. Now it’s the turn of the W500, which is identical on looks to the T500: both bear the same dimensions at 356 x 255 x 35mm, they weigh almost exactly the same – to within a few grams – and both have precisely the same chassis. That’s no bad thing, of course. Like the Excellent T500, the W500 boasts a typically high-quality keyboard, with positive key travel and plenty of space

to spread out your fingers. The mouse controls are just as good, with the traditional red Lenovo trackpoint set into the centre of the keyboard and a roomy, accurate trackpad below it. Build quality is as good as you’d expect from a Lenovo laptop. The screen hinges feel solid and smooth. The screen backing is stiff and sturdy, and feels capable of handling plenty of abuse. And the rest of the chassis is just as robust – highquality plastics abound, from the soft-touch rubbery feel of the lid to the tough, scratch-resistant matte plastic of the wrist rest and keyboard surround. The ThinkPad W500 is undeniably a very capable laptop. It’s quick, well built and, among 15.4-inch machines, it occupies a niche with that highresolution screen and workstation certification.

Lenovo’s W500 family consists of three models, the 4061, 4062 and 4063

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Distributor: Ingram Micro Contact Number: 0870 166 0160 SRP: £1,400

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DELL XPS ONE 24

OF THE GROWING number of companies producing all-in-one PCs, few can claim to be doing it with true panache. Sony’s A-listed VAIO VGC-JA1E/S has the value end of the market sewn up, but there’s a gaping hole at the top for something with more ambition. Dell’s XPS One 24 has that in spades. It’s a revamp of last year’s 20-inch XPS One, retains that system’s design and ups the specification with a better screen and integrated speakers. Forget the study – we’re into living room territory here. The 24-inch display is flanked on either side by those speakers to give a span of close to 70cm. It sits on a crystal-clear acrylic base, while the front panel is finished in glass-fronted black with controls that only glow into cool, blue

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life when an approaching hand is sensed. On the rear there are digital audio outputs, along with Gigabit Ethernet, four USB ports and FireWire. The power cable is designed to match the rear panel, and a catch on the base keeps the cable tidy. Draft-N wireless and Bluetooth complete the communications, while the left side sees a further two USB ports, headphone and microphone sockets, and an eight-in-one card reader. BUT DOES IT HAVE BLU-RAY? All things considered, it’s a sublimely built PC. The wireless keyboard and mouse slot under the system when not in use, while the bundled remote allows full control from your sofa. If the price has included Blu-ray, we’d have snapped one up before finishing this review. But it doesn’t, and that’s one thing standing between the Dell XPS One 24 and A List status.

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Distributor: TBC Contact Number: TBC Price: £1,399

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May PCR 119


OFF THE RECORD

Off the Record THIS MONTH: Westcoast managers seen roaming the wilds of China... ...Plus Microsoft and Apple face-off again in their televised spat and the winner of Microsoft’s ‘Sparks will fly’ competition is announced

THE GREAT WALK OF CHINA DISTRIBUTOR Westcoast’s campaign manager Hannah Hearn and account manager Frankie Cartwright have embarked on a fund raising walk across the Great Wall of China and the Yanshan Mountain range for Macmillan Cancer Support. At the time of going to press, the pair had left for the expedition, which will take around six days to complete and involve camping in exotic locations and some very harsh conditions. “I got the idea to take part in the challenge after I lost a friend to cancer,”

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said Hearn. “I’ve experienced firsthand how Macmillan nurses support and benefit those most affected.”

120 PC May

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OFF THE RECORD

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

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A day in the life Joanna Kemp, ia Sales, Koch Med Head of Software

set of ads, Microsoft and Apple released a new the than r bette was each explaining why one aign camp ers’ hunt other. Microsoft’s ‘laptop , while (left) attacked the high price of Macs ngst amo – cited w) the latest Apple ads (belo es virus to ility erab other things – the PCs vuln and malware.

I’m currently in training for a five kilometre run in June so it’s usually out round the fields for a half hour run in the morning

aign Microsoft’s ‘laptop hunter’ camp high(left) highlighted the generally Apple’s price points of Apple PCs, while (right) ads stuck to familiar arguments

Joanna Kemp, Koch Media

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SPARKS WILL FLY

MY DAYS usually start by getting up at 7am and out with the dog. I’m currently in training for a five kilometre run in June, so it’s usually out round the fields for a half hour run in the morning with the dog lagging behind desperate for his breakfast! The next hour is usually spent in turmoil, rushing to get ready and, as a result, missing breakfast until I get to work. Morning It’s a Monday, which I usually try and spend in the office to review figures and have a weekly catch-up meeting with the team. The rest of the week is sporadic with usually around three days spent out of the office at either customer meetings, having catch-up meetings with publishers or meeting with new software acquisitions. Priority for Monday morning though is to analyse sell through from customers, publisher sales in line with the market and ensure promotions are performing to expectations along with preparing for the week ahead. After a meeting I’m back at my desk to confirm launch plans to the team and ensure the product is on countdown and pre-order on pcindie.com, our online software portal for the independent sector. Our portal only launched in April so it’s a new learning curve managing the site and ensuring that everything is correct.

THE WINNER of Microsoft’s global ‘Sparks Will Fly’ competition has been announced as Doug Conn, whose ‘Smart Pill’ proposal looks to create a medical computer system capable of diagnosing patients. The competition is annual and open to anyone in the world, and the winner was also invited to the firm’s Tech Ed 2009 Developers’ Conference.

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Afternoon Lunch is usually a working lunch at the desk, catching up on emails and answering any missed calls. Monday afternoons are always individual team meetings that involve going through forecasts, customers, promotions and any outstanding issues. Following those meetings is our monthly channel penetration meeting, which discusses by product and customer where we are with all publishers and what we will be working on for the next month. Once the clock has hit 6pm, it’s off home for dinner and a relaxing glass of wine.

May PCR 121


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122 PCR May

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BACK PAGE

Quote

UNQUOTE “We all knew it was going to happen. It was just a matter of time, and, personally, I think we’re going to see a lot more of it.” Paul Henry, a forensics and security analyst at Lumension Security in Arizona laments to CNN about the emergence of the first widespread virus for Apple Macs

The day when you can store your entire HD movie collection on one disk is closer than you think Brian Lawrence, GE “I’ve long thought it funny when Microsoft fans would tell me how Linux, open-source, the Mac, whatever would never be important because Microsoft products were clearly better. Now, everyone can get on the joke as Microsoft’s earnings plummeted in the last quarter by over 30 per cent. The rot starts from the top with Steve Ballmer. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Fire Steve Ballmer. He’s a salesman. He’s not a top-level manager. Never was. Never will be. When I first suggested that Ballmer should be shown the door, in July 2008, Microsoft’s stock was just over $28. As I write this after the close of the market on April 23rd, it’s $18.92. It will be less, much less, a minute after the bell tomorrow morning.” Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols gives a less than impartial analysis of Microsoft’s recent financials in his blog on PC World “GE’s breakthrough is a huge step toward bringing our nextgeneration holographic storage technology to the everyday consumer. The day when you can store your entire highdefinition movie collection on one disc and support highresolution formats like 3-D television is closer than you think.” Brian Lawrence, head of technology firm GE’s Holographic Storage program, explains how the science fiction sounding ‘holographic storage’ is just around the corner

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www.PCindie.com ● Purchase our whole range of software including volume licensing and OEM packs ● ● Plain label delivery direct to your customer ● ● Check stock levels and use us as a virtual warehouse ● ● Download marketing assets ● ● Pre order new releases ● ● Order POS for your store ●

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PCR Issue 68, April 2009  

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

PCR Issue 68, April 2009  

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

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