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TheEditor Competition is good for business – let’s keep it that way It seems like an all-too common occurrence these day for companies in technology to be going under. In early summer we heard about Microsoft’s distributor Entatech shockingly shuttering its Telford doors. This past month saw Misco UK go into administration, with the ‘vast majority’ of the company’s 330 staff being made redundant. We’d all like to express our deepest sympathies to those talented individuals who, through no fault of their own, are now out of work. I am certain that there will be no shortage of opportunities presented by the Channel for them in the coming weeks and months. But Misco aside, if you think that the Channel is feeling smaller these days you wouldn’t be mistaken. A new survey from Context recently popped up, showing that over 30 major distributor M&A deals have taken place in Western Europe in the past 18 months. That’s including huge deals between the likes of Tech Data and Avnet, Esprinet and Vinzeo, and the acquisition of Ingram Micro. While, to most people, these deals may just look like figures on a page, they are having a real-world effect. The average number of distributors that resellers are buying from has dropped from five-ten in the last report period to just two-three this year. We must be aware of the potential homogenisation that these kinds of potential deals could bring, and do our utmost to ensure that competition is alive and well in the Channel.
“The average number of distributors that resellers are buying from has dropped from five-ten to just two-three”
Jonathan Easton, Editor email@example.com
Editorial: 0207 354 6002 Advertising: 0207 354 6000
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November 2017 | 3
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THE BIG INTERVIEW GARMIN
Contents November 2017 Women of the Year
The shortlist for PCR's Women of the Year 2017 awards is here
Fixing a phone or PC is easy, a smartwatch not so much
The wearables market
We take a look at the evolving market of wearable devices
The connected person
We figure out how much it would cost to fully kit out in wearables
At a glance 32 BLACK FRIDAY Black Friday and holiday sales are fast approaching. We ask the Channel how you can prepare yourself 44 XBOX ONE X With the launch of Microsoft's new console jut around the corner, we take a look at all the features you need to know about
Regulars 10 Life in the Channel 13 Industry opinion 38 Products 47 In my team 48 Logging off
November 2017 | 5
With PC gaming seeing massive growth across Europe, the UK is sitting at the bottom of the pile. Jonathan Easton takes a look at the market to find out why we’re lagging behind
PC GAMING is quite possibly at its highest point ever. For certain corners of the internet, it’s been the premier way to game since the beginning of the medium itself, but now in 2017 we are seeing an increasing amount of players shifting over to PC from console. Whether it’s because of increased performance, the modding community, the huge library of titles available or the allure of high-end VR, PC gaming is at a high right now across the globe. But as far as the European gaming scene goes, the UK is actually seeing the lowest level of growth across the continent. While the European market has seen strong growth in revenue of 22.7 per cent year-on-year, the UK is sitting at the very bottom of the growth pile at just 0.5 per cent, according to a recent report from Context. On the other end of the spectrum, Russia has seen the largest amount of growth of 175 per cent year-on-year, with other major European nations such as Germany (24.2 per cent), Spain (24.5 per cent) and Sweden (14.2 per cent) all eclipsing the UK in terms of growth. But the big question here is why the UK is so behind. According to Context’s PC gaming and
“There are so many sectors that could do with a boost – and gaming is one of those” CK Kohli, YoyoTech
VR consultant Biggles Bristol, there is one key factor at play: Brexit. “The currency devaluation of around 20 per cent over the past few years against both the euro and dollar have lead to Notebook and Desktop prices in the UK being around 20 per cent higher than the rest of Europe along with general consumer confidence falling in the UK vs the continent.” But it’s not just in the government’s handling of Brexit that has been to the detriment of gaming, notes Yoyotech managing director CK Kohli “The UK government’s ‘hands-off’ approach to innovation seems a poor choice. There are so many sectors that could do with a boost – and gaming is one of those. The Mayor of London tried to reposition the capital as a ‘centre of gaming innovation’ through a series of events last year, but when you try to engage with them you’re left with a feeling of being shut-out. “The same goes for most universities. When the money is flowing ‘in’ – then access is easy. However, when you try to get involved in building the sector – the door feels like it is firmly shut. Virtual Reality (in general) and
Mixed Reality (specifically) presents a huge opportunity going forward. “It would be interesting to know how much the government has committed to making the UK an international centre of virtual/mixed reality excellence. My guess is ‘close to zero’.” Another factor at play here is also esports which, while being a rapidly growing market, is also an area where the UK lags behind much of Europe. “In addition, the UK is a little behind other countries in taking to eSports, which are driving the sale of a lot of gaming products right now,” comments Bristol. Ultimately, it seems that while the spectre of Brexit looms over the economy, products will remain more expensive and that the majority of casual consumers will be more reluctant to dive into expensive gaming systems. But as the market (hopefully) settles down in the coming months and years and as UK gamers get more invested in esports, there will be plenty of scope for the UK to see an improved level of growth in the gaming market – as long as the government can see the benefit.
November 2017 | 7
Rising Star Partner:
Women of the Year
Women of the Year 2017: shortlist revealed RETURNING FOR its fourth year, the PCR Women of the Year awards are back and they are bigger than ever. Taking place on Friday November 17 at the Hamyard Hotel in London with headline partner Microsoft and Rising Star partner CompTIA, the awards will recognise and celebrate the achievements of women working in UK tech.
Following on from the success of previous years, we have introduced two brand new categories for 2017, including the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award â€“ the recipient of which will be announced ahead of the event. Make sure you are tuned into PCRâ€™s Twitter and Facebook accounts to hear all the latest news ahead of the 2017 PCR Women of the Year awards.
Creative Marketeer Award:
Business Mentor Award:
Q Sara Gamble, Junior Buyer, John Lewis Q Debbie Gomez, Microsoft Vendor Marketing Manager, Tech Data Q Hannah Harris, Marketing Manager, Tech Data Mobile Q Yvonne Hobden, PS Consumer Marketing Lead, HP Inc UK Q Lucy Lincoln, Senior Channel Marketing Manager, Bullguard Q Rachel Woollard, Marketing Executive, SeeLogic
PR Powerhouse Award:
Q Julie Chakraverty, Founder, Rungway Q Annika Fagerstrom, Head of Retail and Distribution, Epson Q Fiona Graham, Marketing Director, Exertis Q Julia Johansson, Marketing Director, CMS Distribution Q Louise Marshall, Infrastructure and Shared Services Director, Brothers UK Q Hayley Stedman, Account Manager, Beta Distribution Q Heidi Woodhouse, Managing Director, Dixons Travel and Concessions
Q Sarah Chidgey, PR Consultant, The Honey Partnership Q Heather Delaney, Founder, Dynamo Communications Q Emma Lattimer, Communications Manager, TP-Link UK
Technical Excellence Award:
Rising Star Award: Q Teresa Johnston, Retail Account Director, Tech Data Q Charlotte Lammin, Marketing Manager, BenQ Q Zara Pasalar, Global Programs Manager, Unify Enterprise Comms Q Melissa Rambridge, Head of Business Development and Marketing, Sweethaven Q Megan Warren, Marketing Executive, ComputerWorld
Sales Brilliance Award: Q Carly Chesire, LCD Product Manager, BenQ Q Georgie Ellis, Head of Cloud Sales, Westcoast Q Vicky Hanks, National Account Manager Grocery, Epson Q Sarah Shields, VP and General Manager, Dell UK Q Lucy Spratley, Junior Buyer, John Lewis Q Angela Townsend, UK Sales Manager, Sharp Q Jane Wheeler, Reseller Sales Manager, Sennheiser
Q Orla Cox, Director of Security Response, Symantec Q Emma Crawford, E-Business Manager, Tech Data Q Claire Poole, Head of Sales Administration, DMSL Q Becky Plummer, Senior Software Engineer, Bloomberg Q Kalima Toubal, Product Manager, WDC
PCR Woman of the Year: Q Elsa Chen, CEO, Entanet International Q Laura-Jane Franklin, Business Development Director, Centerprise International Q Chloe Harris-Williams, Buyer, John Lewis Q Louise Honeywill, Glass and AV Product Manager, Northamber
Tickets are availble now from
â€œAll D-Link country managers are competitive, we all want to be the bestâ€?
LIFE IN THE CHANNEL
Paul Routledge D-Link’s UK and Ireland country manager talks about inter-office rivalries and visits to radio stations
How long have you been at D-Link and what are your key responsibilities? I have been at D-Link for nearly seven years now. I spent my first two and half years at D-Link in the role of business development manager across D-Link Europe, before progressing to the role I currently hold which is the country manager for the UK and Ireland. Professionally, I’ve learnt so much in that time, and it’s been an exciting experience being part of D-Link’s evolution as it celebrates its third decade in the networking industry. Today, my main responsibility is leading a team of professionals to develop the business in the UK and Ireland. Along with customer facing activities, I focus on developing a great team of individuals to create a sustainable and profitable business. What does an average work day look like for you? Although it’s cliché to say this, there really is no such thing as a normal working day for me. Because my role consists of many varied aspects and no one day is the same, this keeps me on my toes and my role interesting. You can find me in the office meeting with the team, out visiting one of our distribution partners, meeting with partners and planning new collaborations. I also get involved in PR activities; for instance, we recently spent a day being interviewed by numerous radio stations to raise brand awareness across the UK during Parental Advice Week. It was fascinating to get behind the scenes in a busy radio studio, and not a little bit frightening at all! What are the best and worst aspects of your role? The best part of the job is definitely calculating the overachievement payments for the team. As a Yorkshireman I do tend to be a bit careful with spending,
but I am always very happy to pay everyone that overachieves. Similarly, I really enjoy seeing people within the team develop their potential and achieve their goals. Hand on heart, I’m less keen on the admin side of the role, but that’s an essential component of my role that I have to live with. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that if I never saw a spreadsheet or PowerPoint slide again, it would be too soon. Do you remember any role models or people who helped you out in particular when you were getting started in your career? I’ve had so much advice throughout my career from some wonderful people which I am very grateful for. I wouldn’t like to single out specific people as I’d hate to think I had missed someone out, but they know who they are. Do you have a rivalry with any other country managers at D-Link? By nature, all the D-Link country managers are very competitive, we all want to be the best in our individual markets as well as within the company. This healthy competition is exemplified by the annual President’s Club Award which is awarded to the European Business Unit with the best performance throughout the year, not just linked to sales but also profitability and contribution. I am happy to say that the UKI team have been worthy winners during my tenure as country manager. How can people get in touch with you? While I normally respond well to shouts of ‘Paul! Paul!’ a more effective way to get in touch with me is via Linkedin or alternatively, for D-Link sales enquiries, the team can be reached on UKIemail@example.com.
November 2017 | 11
Dominic Eskofier - head of Virtual Reality EMEAI, Nvidia
The power of VR While there are currently hardware limitations, there is no doubt that virtual reality will change the way that we interact with the world and do business sophisticated, futuristic and cool. The future will bring a SOMEONE ONCE famously said: “We are the middle much more natural and all-round intuitive way to interact children of history. Born too late to explore the earth, born with virtual worlds. too early to explore the stars.” The largest hurdle with VR right now isn’t hardware I once experienced an app called Titans of Space. I don’t requirements, pricing, nor content – these are looking better have a memory of an app or playing a game, I have the than ever and they are improving all the time. It’s more memory of floating around the sun, stars and planets in our down to the fact that you really have to experience virtual solar system because objects in virtual reality give you such reality to understand the value that it brings, not only to a sense of immersion that they are real – and that’s the gaming and entertainment, but also to a broad range power of virtual reality. of other industries, like architecture, design, It’s an experience that is so powerful it will medical or education. Imagine being able to change people’s lives. Palmer Lucky once “VR will step inside your newly renovated house showed me an early prototype of Oculus, fundamentally before you lay down the cash to begin the which was literally held together by work, or as a doctor stepping inside the duct-tape when it was still a garage-made change the way human body to learn about its inner kick-starter project and even then, it blew humans interact workings. VR will create a better me away. with computers” humankind, by preparing people for a better Technology is rapidly evolving, and future, making people healthier, smarter and virtual reality is the next computing platform bertter equipped in the workplace. that will fundamentally change the way humans From 3D gaming to product design, to cinematic interact with computers. But delivering VR is experiences and beyond, VR will revolutionise how we complex, especially since immersive VR requires seven interact with friends and family, how we consume times the graphics processing power compared to entertainment, and how we get business done. traditional 3D applications and games. And it’s not only I look at my three-year-old nephew – he’s one of those about the graphics; you also need to deliver physically middle children of history, but I would argue that he was realistic sound, touch, and behaviour to virtual worlds. born at the exact right time. He was born at the right time Headsets will change from the bulky designs we see today, to explore the earth, explore the stars and even take a that many people may feel are too obtrusive for everyday journey inside the human body whenever he feels like it. All use, and in the future, we will have super-lightweight by the power of virtual reality. devices that won’t be obtrusive at all – they will look
November 2017 | 13
Lino Notaro - retail director, TP-Link
Customers are not just for Christmas, customers are for life Ahead of Black Friday, it is essential that retailers look to retain the new shoppers they get over the holiday season there are two general sales spikes – the first during late CONSUMERS LOVE Black Friday. Bargains galore, and November and the second during January sales. The just in time for Christmas. The British spend more on knock-on effect hits the forecasting and logistics team Black Friday than they do the entire week leading up to making sure that the right products are available in the Christmas. Kerching! right stores at the right time. Hotly anticipated, Black Friday gets the consumers’ While Black Friday is a critical date in the shopping pulses racing and wallets opening. With most retailers and calendar, retailers and etailers need to seriously consider e-commerce sites leaping on the bandwagon, it’s critical for the value of each customer. Competition is rife for each the vendor, retailer and etailer to make any sort of click, with Google PPC budgets stretched to the limit, promotions stand out in a very crowded market. social media in overdrive and inboxes bursting Some retailers like Currys PC World have taken at the seams with unbeatable offers. the approach of rebranding as the ‘Black Tag’ “Footfall and Now is the time to consider your event to differentiate from some of its more website traffic is, post-Black Friday strategy. With GDPR aggressive online competitors and retain its essential but it’s around the corner, each piece of share of the Black Friday Bonanza. more important to information you gather about a customer, Footfall and website traffic is, of course, essential, however, it is even more convert them to sales whether it’s an email address as a result of a chat session or their billing and delivery important to convert them to sales in a in a price-driven details, it’s both an asset and a liability. price-driven market. This is where planning market” Have you considered the longevity of the is essential. data collected and how it can be used for Black The British public is a canny bunch. They know Friday 2018? What about your strategy for turning this how to sniff out a bargain and save their pennies in the hard-won, fickle, price-driven customer into a long-term, pre-Christmas sales, so festive budgets stretch further. This loyal and profitable one? creates a myriad of issues with everything from advertising Don’t be the one left with massive marketing overheads promotions to the difficult balancing act of maintaining and single purchase customers. Your intelligent trading margins for the Black Friday period (where competitors have already got plans in place to maintain the additional discounts are expected) and re-establish normal momentum created by Black Friday and to maximise their margins during December. share of customers’ wallets for the weeks, months and years Five years ago, we could expect a gradual upwards sales to come. trend during December as we approached Christmas. Now
14 | November 2017
David Mole - head of Retail Sales, Kaspersky Lab UK and Ireland
Getting ready for cyber week There are several security measures that both consumers and businesses should be aware of ahead of Black Friday and the Christmas sales period online with mobile banking apps, it is important for users to THE COUNTDOWN to Black Friday and Cyber Monday is on, as consumers get ready to snap up cut-price goods during remain aware of the security of these platforms as well. Many countries outside of the UK have seen a rise in powerful two of the busiest online sales events of the year. As the mobile banking Trojans. quantity of consumers grabbing these deals online increases, So how can you stay safe shopping online? Here are five so too does the risk of cyberattacks. Last year, Kaspersky Lab simple tips to help you keep safe. Firstly, stay safe. It is solutions detected a 22.49 per cent year-on-year increase in important not to let online sales events reduce your awareness users hit by malware during the seasonal sales period. of online security. By applying caution and common sense, A considerably larger amount of transactions, and a you can improve your chances of avoiding attack. reduced awareness due to the online shopping rush, makes Secondly, check before you click. Social media networks these two days lucrative times for attackers to steal financial are a common gateway for cybercriminals to lead information. Kaspersky detected a clear spike in the customers into sharing private details. The best number of users attacked during this period last way to avoid falling victim to this is not to click year. 2016 Cyber Monday saw twice as many “It’s important to on any links received from unknown contacts, users attacked compared to the previous day. or on suspicious links sent by your friends on As these two shopping days draw nearer, be aware that social networking sites or via email. cybercriminals will inevitably begin online fraud comes Third, be aware of fraud. If you are unsure planning attacks. It’s important to be aware in many shapes of a website’s legitimacy, avoid supplying that online fraud comes in many shapes and and sizes” personal details – many sites are set up with sizes. One of the most popular methods to the sole intention of stealing financial details. target consumers is the use of phishing emails. Fourth, fake websites can look just like real These types of emails are increasingly common ones. Checking a website’s URL is an easy way to when money is the outcome. Other methods include verify if a webpage is genuine. creating fake websites that mimic popular online shops, Last but not least, stay protected. There are many offering deals that seem too good to be true. technologies that can help you protect yourself from financial Online shoppers using their credit cards to buy presents fraud. For example, the Safe Money technology in Kaspersky and goods during this period should keep a close eye on their Lab’s solutions completely secures the environment for your financial transactions in the following months. Typically, financial transactions on every level. criminals don’t start to withdraw money from stolen cards At the end of the day, while these tips can help, it is up to right after the theft. They often wait for several weeks or even you to make sure that you are going to the right sites. If a deal months to prepare before cashing out a user’s credit card. is too good to be true, it probably is. With an increase in consumers accessing their finances
November 2017 | 15
“As long as you always have the consumer in mind, you’ll stand a good chance of success”
16 | November 2017
Beating yesterday Describing itself as an ‘active lifestyle brand’, Garmin is perfectly positioned in the wearables market. Jonathan Easton speaks to Garmin Europe senior product manager Theo Axford about what the company is doing to capitalise on the growing demand and its mission to help stop childhood obesity
How has the year been for Garmin so far and what new products have you brought to market? It has been a really great year for Garmin so far. In January we kicked off the year in style, announcing our premium watch range at CES in Las Vegas with the Fenix 5, 5S and 5X. At the show we also launched our new range of together with our new range of PNDs (portable navigation devices – in-car satellite navigation units). Both of those ranges have done incredibly well for us, creating a premium position in our wearables range and giving the consumer something new while simultaneously bringing new features and technology in PND to keep our more mature markets safe behind the wheel. Moving through the year into spring we introduced Vivosmart 3 at the entry point for wearables. Despite its lower price it still offers some top functionality in terms of wrist-based heart rate and smart notifications. In May we launched our award-winning Forerunner 935 – the most advanced performance sports wearable for the most demanding of athletes. Later in the year we also went on to launch a new range of dashcams, a 360 VR camera, our flagship GPS bike computer in the Edge 1030 together with a new power range in the Vector 3 and 3s. As the end of 2017 approaches, we’ve just launched our latest range of wearables: Vivosport, Vivomove HR, VivoActive 3 and of course the Vivofit Jnr2 in partnership with Disney, Marvel and Lucasfilm. It’s been a busy – but very successful – year!
November 2017 | 17
18 | November 2017
From Garmin’s perspective what does the market look like? Where are the key areas for growth? Garmin’s strength has always been our multifaceted approach to technology, we simultaneously operate in so many different markets: marine, aviation, sports and fitness, automotive – it’s almost impossible to predict what will happen in any of these markets at any one time. However, the key is to always be ahead of the game, bring innovation and new ideas to the table and as long as you always have the consumer in mind, you’ll stand a good chance of success.
looking to achieve in mind when they buy the product. We have a product for everyone, no matter what their goal is.
As a brand firmly in the ‘fitness’ category, what are consumers looking for in wearable products and how do you provide those requirements? For me it’s very simple. Build products for a purpose and always endeavour to deliver on the fundamentals such as long battery life, sunlight readable displays, water resistance and so on. That combined together with new and innovative functionality is what we do so well and why many others struggle. Our ethos is that our products and software ecosystem should help our customers to ‘beat yesterday’. Whether that’s achieving a personal best in your routine run around the park, walk more steps than the day before, or completing that gruelling Ironman, most consumers will have something they are
How much importance do you put on the aesthetics of a product versus its functionality? For me, it’s more about making products with a purpose and then creating a range that delivers choice. You talk about aesthetic against functionality, but ergonomics are equally as important here too. Our products are built to withstand the most demanding of environments and that means that they have to be light, comfortable and easy to read in all conditions with a great battery life. But that is not all of course. Consumers also want to wear our products all day and need them to look great too. This is why we also make products like our Fenix, Cronos and Vívomove range with more of a focus on style and aesthetics.
How do you view the UK’s wearables market in comparison to other regions and countries? The UK presents a very competitive market and it is somewhat mature in the entry space. There is a lot of choice out there right now for consumers, but it is those brands that have a clear proposition which will invariably stand out in the market. That is an area where Garmin has always been strong.
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“The wearables market offers distributors great opportunities to build new relationships”
In 2017, the top wearables on the market are primarily sold as fitness devices, with even Apple changing its marketing to brand the watch as a more ‘health conscious’ device. Do you think wearables will always be based around health and wellbeing? Clearly, there are many different uses associated with wearable devices. As an ageing population that are living much longer, the need monitor and look after our overall health and the role that wearables play in that, will obviously be where we see most of the benefits long-term. In the Channel, how open are distributors to the wearables market and the new product types it presents? The wearables market offers distributors great opportunities to build new relationships with a multitude of new partners. It also offers routes to market and value added propositions. At Garmin we work with some brilliant partners in this space. What are the unique retail opportunities that wearables present within the tech retail space? I think the possibilities are endless, but in the ‘here and now’ it’s all about how consumers can use the products we build in everyday scenarios. We’ve just launched our Vivoactive 3 which is our first wearable 20 | November 2017
thebiginterview to include ‘Garmin Pay’ – NFC payments on the wrist. What this enables you to do is leave your wallet at home but still pop into the coffee shop after a workout and grab yourself a latte. We believe that it’s technology like this that will deliver a change to the way we live, work and play and Garmin will continue to bring tech like this to consumers. Talk us through the design and business decisions behind launching the vivofit Jnr range of devices aimed at children along with the licensing opportunities that have come along. It is hardly a secret that childhood obesity is a growing and very serious problem in the UK. As a parent to three young boys, I personally think it’s very important to get my lot out in the fresh air, getting them active and away from ‘screen tech’. As an active lifestyle brand, there is also a great sense of responsibility from Garmin to help give parents something that not only encourages an active lifestyle but also brings the family together through rewards and experiences. As previously mentioned, we have recently partnered with Disney to launch the Vivofit Jnr 2, and we are also entering conversations with other partners to look at ways that we can really help overturn this worrying obesity trend in children. In what ways do you see the market evolving in 2018? From our position it looks like it’s going to be another brilliant year. We will continue to bring new products and technologies to the consumer that are built for purpose and help them to ‘beat yesterday’.
November 2017 | 21
, e r e h t , e Her wear every As the wearable market heats up, Rob Horgan explores how the market started, where it is right now and what its future holds
MARTWATCHES and fitness trackers along with an array of other wearable technology have been in the market place for some time now. While the first products – such as the original Apple Watch in 2015 and the Fitbit a decade ago – were heralded as the dawn of a new age of technology, the wearables revolution didn’t quite take off in the way we first expected. However with the rise of the internet of things and voice-powered technology, the wearables market has been given a second-coming. Combined with a whole host of new and improved smart products, from smart trainers to heart monitors, the market potential has never been so great. In fact, the wearables market was recently valued at around $14 billion by industry analyst firm CSS Insight and the company predicts that it will hit $34 billion in just over two years time. Its new global forecast for wearable devices indicates the market is set to grow from 84 million units in 2015 to 411 million units in 2019. While new wearable technology is introduced to the market on an almost daily basis, it is the ‘old’ favourites such as smart watches and fitness trackers that are still leading from the front. Despite its fair share of sceptics, Apple shipped over 12 million smartwatches last year while over 30 million smartwatches were sold during 2016, accounting for 60 per cent of the wearables market share according to Gartner. And the wrist-worn wearables are likely to become more popular in the years to come. As wearable expert John Weir, COO at Evolve Media, predicts: “Smartwatches and trackers will continue to be the biggest sellers as the wrist is still the easiest place for the wearable at present. Technology has become much more personal. Fitness trackers and smartwatches have become mainstream consumer items and as price has decreased, so the functions of these devices has increased.” He adds: “It will continue to grow, fuelled by innovation (particularly in the health and medical space) and by big brands like Apple, whose Watch is already outselling established watch brands. In the next 12 months, expect to see the new Apple Watch overcome its teething troubles with connectivity and herald in a new era for the smartwatch as an independent device.”
22 | November 2017
â€œThe new Apple Watch will herald in a new era for the smartwatchâ€? John Weir, Evolve Media
“5G’s impending arrival is set to drive professional wearables adoption further in the coming years” Neil Bramley, Toshiba However, Weir is not so confident about the future success of fitness trackers epitomised by Fitbit’s range of products. “Low cost fitness trackers as a volume model are probably going to struggle as there is much competition and not enough differentiation,” he said. But that is not to say that other product types cannot take advantage of the market space. Weir himself expects sleep trackers and heart-rate monitors to garner ‘increased sales over the next five years’, while he also expects augmented and virtual reality glasses to grab a share in the market. Snapchat Spectacles, for example, have smashed internally set sales goals for the first year of trading. Snap CEO Evan Spiegel announced that first-year sales of their smart glasses were over 150,000 units, some 50,000 units more than the company’s goal. Putting that figure into context, Spiegel proudly boasted that that number outweighs the number of iPod sales based on its first year of trading. And while Spiegel admitted that the numbers had exceeded 24 | November 2017
expectations, he was quick to draw parrelells with the iPod, hinting at the heights he is hoping to achieve. “It’s out-sold our expectation. We’ve sold over 150,000 units,” Spiegel said. “Our goal was to see if we can sell 100,000, then at least people are open to trying a new way to make memories.” The comparison with the iPod is certainly a bold one but it does hint at the potential Spiegel believes the market has. In fact, Spiegel used his speech to encourage designers – and investors – to think outside the box when it comes to wearable technology. “I think investors are fearful, and fear is a powerful motivator. They’re fearful we’ll never be profitable, or they’re fearful that competition will kill us or something like that,” he said. “But I think those are kind of normal fears for any start-up – and the really successful companies just grow through that. And that’s why we’ve just tried to stay focused on the business this year and deliver results.” The smart glasses market as a whole is one that is expected to succeed and grow on the success of the Spectacles. Neil Bramley, Toshiba B2B client solutions business unit director of Northern Europe expects AR smart glasses to see the biggest growth within the wearables market in the next year. “The area of AR smart glasses is one in which we anticipate growth over the next 12 months, with such devices offering bespoke uses across a variety of industries from hospitals to manufacturing and energy,” he said. He adds: “The rise of edge computing is helping organisations transition to a more productive and secure era of mobile working in the age of IoT, as well as enabling new methods of gathering, analysing and redistributing data and derived intelligence. As the connected devices market, including wearables, continues to grow, so too must IT managers be able to address the vast amounts of data they bring before being able to securely and efficiently integrate them into the business. 5G’s impending arrival is also set to drive professional wearables adoption further in the coming years and, supported by edge computing, the functionality and capacity of smart glasses and other IoT devices will only broaden with this development.” Be it smartwatches, AR glasses or fitness and health trackers, the potential for wearable technology is enormous. If the market achieves the multi-billion dollar estimates being made by industry analysts then we can expect everything from our watches to our underpants to be made smarter. www.pcr-online.biz
d e h s a Sm to bits As wearable technology replaces its antiquated predecessors, the need for repairs is inevitably set to increase. In search of answers Rob Horgan investigates the cost of damaging the wearables currently leading the market
SMASHING A smartphone screen is an all too familiar inconvenience experienced by a large majority of the population. Such is the epidemic of cracked screens in the UK, that some 7.5 million consumers in Britain use damaged devices with a recent O2 survey revealing that as many as 61 per cent of us have smashed a screen at one point or another. And while it is a pain, the options available for repair are plentiful, relatively simple and (if you search around) not too expensive. The same however cannot be said for damaged wearable tech; and I can say that with full confidence, having been left pulling my hair out while trying to construct this article. I set off with the simple aim of comparing the repair prices of Apple’s line of watches, Fitbit’s range of fitness trackers and Snap’s Spectacles. Simple, right? Think again. As I quickly found out, repairing wearables is far from straightforward. My first port of call was to contact the vendors directly. A not-so-quick scan of each respective company website quickly revealed to me that tracking down the information I wanted was going to be harder than I had first thought. While it was relatively easy to recover a warranty policy for all the devices in question, exact pricing was not so easy to obtain. While neither Snap nor Fitbit offered up repair costs online, Apple did at least publish some indication at how it would cost to go through its official repair channel. An out-of-warranty service repair for a Series 3 Watch is listed as costing between £226.44 and £322.44 – a fairly hefty price when
you consider the Series 3 sells from £329. Meanwhile, the Watch Sport fee was £196.44, the original Watch is listed as £246.44 for a repair and the Hermes special edition will set users back £246.44 to repair. Surely these prices are too high I thought. So I ventured to the company’s flagship Regent Street’s store to seek advice. After initially being told that if I didn’t have a damaged device with me then I couldn’t be given an answer to my question it was eventually revealed to me that ‘the majority of smashed Apple Watches are not covered by the warranty’ and then I was referred to the prices online. A spokesperson later told me that: “If your Apple Watch screen breaks accidentally, you might have the option to replace your Apple Watch for an out-ofwarranty fee. The Apple warranty doesn’t cover damage caused by accident or abuse. If you have AppleCare+, it includes up to two incidents of accidental damage, each with an excess fee. You can use each incident for screen damage.” (Long story short, if you break it, you are going to have to fork out a small fortune to replace it.) My hunt to find an official repair price for a damaged Fitbit or pair of Snap Spectacles proved even harder to uncover. While a Snap spokesperson told that the Spectacles ‘warranty does not cover damage resulting from accident or from normal wear and tear’, Snap refused to delve into the world of hypotheticals. “Our warranty does not cover damage resulting from
improper storage, misuse or abuse, neglect including scratches, cracks, or surface damage, or exposure to extreme conditions including extreme heat, dirt, or sand,” the spokesperson added. “Without assessing the damage, we are unable to give a cost of repair.” Fitbit’s response was much the same, with the official support chat service unable to provide me with pricing without assessing the damaged product first. However, a scan through Fitbit’s ‘Community Board’ quickly shows that I am not alone in my struggles to find repair costs. However, responses appear to be positive for Fitbit users with resolutions ranging from a free replacement to 25 per cent off the price of a replacement if the screen is cracked beyond repair. Aside from going to the vendors themselves, there are
“I set off with the simple aim of comparing the repair prices of a range of wearables. Simple, right? Think again”
November 2017 | 27
few other options to repair wearable technology. Struggling to come up with many leads online, I went through the usual channels for repairing a cracked phone screens. To my great surprise of the 10 repair shops I contacted, only three said that they offered repairs to wearables and only one was able to offer me exact prices. My initial enquiry was put to Team Know How at Currys PC World. Unable to repair the products in question a spokesperson said: “Should a customer inform us that one of the below requires a repair due to a hardware fault, we would provide a resolution within guidelines provided by the manufacturer (e.g sending off for a repair/assessment to an authorised agent or providing an exchange).” However, after searching high and low for a cheaper
alternative to the official channels, I finally hit the jackpot. The Mobile Device Workshop quoted me from £39 for a Fitbit Screen repair and £29 for a band replacement. Meanwhile Apple Watch screen repairs start from £99 and any repair of Snap Spectacles cost £69. All in all, not bad prices when compared to the device cost and official repair prices. The lessons learnt from my time spent searching for repair costs are three-fold. First of all, there is a huge gap in the market for repairing wearable technology that I am sure will be filled as the sector grows. Secondly, if it isn’t filled or signposted more clearly, then users will take to self-repair videos which could do more damage than good. And finally, for consumers wanting the best deal, it will take some searching but decent repair prices are there to be had.
“After searching high and low for a cheaper alternative to the official channels, I finally hit the jackpot” 28
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Costing connected clothing Eyes: Vue glasses
Head: LifeBeam smart hat
Cost: $299 (£228)
Track your steps, calories burned, and distance covered with Vue glasses. The glasses can also play music, take calls and offer directions through wireless bone conduction speakers.
Optical heart-rate sensors are integrated into the cap to measure a user’s pulse.
Torso: Levis Jacquard by Google Cost: $350 (£266)
Using touch gestures, users can access different abilities, such as getting directions or skipping to the next song simply by touching different areas on the jacket.
iPhone 8 Cost: £699
To live this connected life, you’ll need a smartphone to make the most of it.
Receipt Vue glasses: £228 LifeBeam smart hat: £25 Levis Jacquard by Google: £266 iPhone 8: £699 Sensora socks: £150 LikeAGlove leggins: £65 Joule: £91 Motiv ring: £150 Apple Watch Series 3: £329 Under Armour SpeedForm: £140
Legs: LikeAGlove leggings Cost: £65
These smart leggins take a user’s measurements in order to find the perfect fitted pair of jeans for them.
Total: £2,143 30
With there being a smart alternative to almost every item of clothing, PCR compliles a wardrobe solely made up from wearable tech
Ears: Joule Cost: $120 (£91)
Universal smart earring backing that you can pair with your existing earrings to monitor heart-rate and calories burned.
Hand: Motiv ring Cost: $199 (£150)
Designed to track activity, heart rate, and sleep, the Motiv ring can be worn 24/7, even in the shower.
Wrist: Apple Watch Series 3 Cost: £329
The latest watch in Apple’s range of smartwatches, users can receive notifications, answer calls and listen to music straight from their wrist.
Ankles: Sensoria fitness socks and anklet Cost: $199 (£150)
Sensoria smart socks are fitted with comfortable, textile pressure sensors that analyse the way its user walks by recording when they are striking with the heel or the ball of their foot.
Feet: Under Armour SpeedForm Cost: £140
The SpeedForm trainers track, analyse and store virtually every running metric from a user’s footwear to their phones.
November 2017 | 31
K C A L Y A B RID F “Strategies have changed, and it’s no longer a case of crazed discounting, but rather a strategic sales initiative” Michael McLaughlin, GFK
32 | November 2017
With consumers set to spend record-breaking sums, Rob Horgan explores how the Channel can best take advantage of this year’s Black Friday sales
ITTLE UNDER five years ago, the third Friday of November was just a day like any other in the build-up to the fast-approaching Christmas period. Skip forward to 2017 and Black Friday is the most hotly anticipated day in the shopping calendars of consumers and retailers alike. Last year a whopping £7 billion worth of sales online and in store was recorded on November 25, as Black Friday provided the biggest consumer spending day of 2016 in the UK. And with sales figures expected to eclipse that total when things get underway again later this month, it is integral that all areas of the Channel are prepared to capitalise on consumers splashing the cash. By its nature Black Friday is chaotic. Images surface every year of human pileups across the UK and the USA (which has celebrated Black Friday every year since 1993) and online retailers battle to keep their servers from becoming overwhelmed by the surge in traffic. And as Bobby Watkins, CCO at Verv points out, ‘the consumer has little or no time to prepare a shopping strategy’ which only adds to the chaos. But the same cannot be said of retailers. The build-up to Black Friday, through to Cyber Monday, should – and would – have been identified as a top priority at the outset of the year. Watkins adds: “Channel players are becoming increasingly focused on the run up and digitally keeping the consumer informed of what might become available. My belief is that there will be four types of winner within the Channel. First of all, those with an amazing deal noone can touch (product and price are the powerful elements of the mix) will do well. Online pureplay will also see success – the immediacy of Black Friday really lends itself to these guys. Thirdly, department stores with killer ranges – such as John Lewis, who as a destination Black Friday can be an event. And finally, those in and around shopping malls, turning the whole Black Friday momentum into an experience across retailing platforms.” He continues: “Since the pureplay sites and market places will drive such a large marketing push, the independent and multi-channel retailers need to work increasingly hard to ensure that their fair share of the consumer spend is reached. On the offer side, the Channel needs to work together, speaking with brands, distributors and wholesellers for the best possible deals. The start point
November 2017 | 33
“The mobile phone is where the customer shopping journey begins” Adam Simon, Context
is having a strategy, applying goals and an action plan to deliver them.” Singing from the same hymn sheet, Michael McLaughlin at GfK believes this year’s Black Friday will be the least chaotic (from a retailers point of view) ever seen with plans put in place months before the date swings around. “Black Friday 2017 will be a further refinement of previous years and therefore more considered,” he said. “Retailers and brands have more experience of the event under their belts and more data to review, all of which leads to better planning and implementation. Strategies have changed over the years, and it’s no longer a case of crazed discounting, but rather a strategic sales initiative, which managed correctly can see positive results on the sales and profit lines.” The sales initiatives are likely to begin weeks in advance, with clever marketing campaigns targeting potential buyers. In fact, one of the most important things a retailer can do is ensure its digital marketing 34 | November 2017
is readily available across all platforms. As Adam Simon, Global MD at Context, explains: “Mobility will play an increasing role in both shopping and purchase. All ads and promotions need to be optimised for mobile. The mobile phone is where the customer shopping journey begins, it is the portal for the research and is rapidly becoming a major portal to complete the purchase.” It is not just in terms of marketing that the internet will play its part in this year’s Black Friday. Online sales are expected to surpass physical sales for the first time during this year’s event. With 48 per cent of last year’s Black Friday buys taking place online, GfK predicts that more sales will take place online than in-store for the first time in the event’s history. However, videos of in-store pile ups can still be expected with better deals potentially found out there in the real world. “The chaos of buying in-store in previous years has been well documented, however this will not deter shoppers from doing it all over again,” Patrick Graff at Midwich says. “Although online sales will be popular, the general consensus is there are larger savings to found in store.” Other areas are also expected to be boosted this year, with Click and Collect purchases as well as mobile sales expected to be up on 2016 figures. As Stuart Ramage, head of Online Trading at Dixons Carphone predicts: “Customers tend to do their research in advance, have an idea of what they want to buy and will place an order online and either make the most of next day deliver or Click and Collect in-store. This year we’re expecting a continued increase in both online and in-store sales.” He adds: “We also expect customers to be purchasing products on-the-go from mobile phones, more than previous years. Last year mobile device traffic was up 14 per cent and we are expecting this growth to continue.” With a few Black Fridays behind us now, both consumers and retailers should have a clearer idea about what to expect come November 24. Records will no doubt be smashed in terms of sales, cash spilt and profits made, as retailers up their game and consumers loosen their purse strings. www.pcr-online.biz
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Xbox One X SRP: £499.99 OUT: November 7
Dubbed ‘the world’s most powerful console’, the Xbox One X is set to ship at the start of November. Out in time for the Christmas rush, the latest Microsoft console features the new Scorpio engine that gives it 40 per cent more power than any other console ever made. Offering a true 4k gaming experience, the Xbox One X contains six teraflops of graphical processing power that allows users to stream and record clips in 4K resolution at 60FPS. High Dynamic Range technology produces a higher contrast ratio between lights and darks, bringing out the true visual depth of gaming.
Echo Show SRP: £199.99 OUT: November 16 The latest Alexa-enabled smart device by Amazon sees the Echo Show go on the market. Unveiled back in May, the Echo Show is, essentially, a voice controlled computer with a 7-inch touchscreen for video calling and other visual content like song lyrics. It even has apps like BBC iPlayer. The touchscreen display is designed to allow Alexa to show (see what they did there) much more content to users, like tutorial videos or recipes. Features including Amazon Music with lyrics and video calling will be available. Users will also get fullscreen cards for answers to queries, including things like sports results and weather information.
HP Omen X laptop
SRP: £2,299.00 OUT: November 6
SRP: £200.00 OUT: November 13
HP is set to launch its first Omen X-branded gaming laptop. Featuring a GeFroce GTX 1080 GPU, the laptop is aimed at gaming enthusiasts. Interestingly, the new Omen X laptop comes with thermals to support unlocked CPUs to allow overclocking and factoryoverclocked GPUs. Designed for esports athletes the device comes with seventh-generation unlocked Intel Core i7 processors and features XMP memory options.
Sony’s answer to the smart speaker doesn’t have a catchy name like the Echo or Home but packs a punch nonetheless. Announced at IFA, the LF-S50G will feature Google’s Assistant and is activated using the command ‘OK, Google’. The device contains a separate full range speaker and subwoofer, as well as what it calls an ‘omnidirectional two stage diffuser’ to send sound in all directions around a room.
SRP: £85.00 OUT: November 20
SRP: £499.00 OUT: November 22
The Nokia 2 is set to feature a 4.7-inch screen and will run on Android’s 7.1 operating system. Operating off a Snapdragon 210 chipset with 1 GB of RAM, the Nokia 2 won’t be the fastest phone but with a 4,000mAh Li-Ion battery it will last a long time between charges.
Announced at Google’s huge product launch in October, the Pixel Buds are Google’s take on the Apple Airpods. The Buds sync to the user’s phone (Buds only work with the Pixel 2 right now) to play music, listen to podcasts etc. However Google has an added trick up its sleeves with its translation tool, which allows the Buds to live translate as many as 40 languages into the user’s native tongue in real time.
November 2017 | 37
Watches and trackers Smart watches and fitness trackers are leading the wearable revolution. PCR rounds up the wrist wear on offer 38 | November 2017
HAPI Bluetooth Activity Tracker Distributor: Meroncourt SRP: £79.99 Specs: Bluetooth 4.0 enabled, 10 metre range, includes HAPIcoach, 1:1 nutritional coaching for 12 months, OLED display 22.4 x 5.6 mm
HAPI Bluetooth Connected Scales Smart Body Analyser Distributor: Meroncourt SRP: £99.99 Specs: Display: LCD with white backlight, 70mm, safety glass platform, Bluetooth 4.0 enabled
The HAPI Activity Tracker enables users to set goals by working towards step, nutrition and sleep targets for the day or week. This compact device conveniently provides users with activity data to help them create a healthier lifestyle. It syncs with a mobile app and comes with nutritional coaching for 12 months.
The Connected Scales with Smart Body Analyser tracks a user’s weight, BMI, body fat, body water, muscle mass and bone mass. Progress can be monitored on the HAPI Connect mobile app by connecting a device over Bluetooth to view stats in real time and visually track progress with graphs.
Apple Watch Series 3
Distributor: Tech Data, Westcoast SRP: £329.00 Specs: Sapphire crystal glass surface, scratch resistant, GPS tracker
Distributor: CMS Distribution SRP: £159.99 Specs: PurePulse heart rate monitor, GPS enabled, colour touchscreen, auto sleep tracking monitor
The Apple Watch Series 3 arrived with some compelling fitness features, along with an LTE cellular connection in some versions that lets users receive calls and text messages without having to carry a smartphone. With a stainless steel case and GPS, the watch can also count steps and measure heart rate.
The Fitbit Blaze allows users to track, analyse and plan their fitness regime. Smartphone notifications are also visible on the watch which boasts a bright colour screen. On-screen workouts are provided as well as music control, multi-sport tracking, heart rate monitoring and GPS tracking.
November 2017 | 39
Watches & trackers
40 | November 2017
Samsung Gear Fit 2
Distributor: CMS Distribution SRP: £299.99 Specs: Five day battery life, auto sleep tracker, tap display
Distributor: Exertis SRP: £179.95 Specs: 4GB hard drive with 512GB of RAM, Android 4.4 KitKat OS, Dual Core, 1.0GHz
With the Fitbit Ionic, users can track their steps, distance, calories burned, active minutes, hourly activity and stationary time. Reminders to move are sent out to helps users stay active throughout the day. The tracker automatically recognises and records exercises, so users can keep track of workouts without ever pushing a button.
With built-in GPS the Samsung Gear Fit 2 records running achievement away from a smartphone. The Gear Fit 2 is ideal for using at the gym as it’ll automatically detect whether users are working out on the treadmill, bicycle or elliptical trainer. The 1.5-inch Super AMOLED display is large enough to make checking stats during a workout a breeze.
Jawbone UP 2.0
Distributor: Exertis SRP: £89.99 Specs: 10-day battery life, Bluetooth enabled, built-in accelerometer
Distributor: CMS Distribution SRP: £79.99 Specs: Weight: 12g, Bluetooth connection to iOS and Android app
The UP 2.0 gives personalised insights from its built-in Smart Coach to help users make healthier choices every day. Sleep Tracking is also activated automatically to track hours slept and quality of sleep, so users can wake up refreshed and ready to get the most out of their day.
Upright GO is a tiny wearable device that improves its user’s posture by vibrating every time they slouch. It connects to a free mobile app (IOS and Android compatible) that lets users track progress with real-time postural statistics and analytics and generates a personalised training programme to achieve their posture goals.
Experts in Display
SCREEN SOLUTIONS 2K
HQ 27 2 PPB
DISPLAY 3 wide viewing angle
HP 278 UJB
27” | 2560 x 1440 WQHD | HS-IPS | Ultra-Wide 178° | 1000:1 (Act. 10,000,000:1) | 2 x HDMI, DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort | Speakers
HS 278 UPB
HP 278 UJB
HS 278 UPB
wide viewing angle
wide viewing angle
HL 326 HPB
31.5" HL 326 HPB wide viewing angle
27” | Full HD Display | HS-IPS Technology | 80,000,000:1 Active Contrast Ratio | Height Adjust, Pivot, Tilt, Swivel | VGA, HDMI and DisplayPort + USB HUB | 3 year warranty
27” | Full HD Display | HS-IPS Technology | 80,000,0000:1 Active Contrast Ratio | DisplayPort, HDMI, VGA + USB HUB | Speakers | 3 year warranty
32” | Full HD Display | HS-IPS Technology | 40,000,000:1 Active Contrast Ratio | VGA, 2 x HDMI, USB HUB x 2 | Speakers | Remote Control | 3 year warranty
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Christmas gifts 42 | November 2017
Bose SoundLink Revolve
ROCCAT Khan Pro
Distributor: ASM Technologies SRP: £199.99 Specs: Water resistant, 12 hours playtime, can be paired with Siri and Google Assistant
Distributor: Meroncourt SRP: £89.99 Specs: High Resolution sound, passive noise cancelation, 95 degree rotatable hinges
The latest in the range of Bose’s acclaimed Bluetooth-enabled SoundLink portable speakers, the Revolve takes on a horizontal design. It provides deep, loud and immersive sound, with true 360-degree coverage the speaker can also be paired with another for Stereo or Party mode. It can also be paired with Siri or Google Now.
Designed for epic moments, the Khan Pro puts users in the esports zone. Built to immerse users in the game, specifically for esports competitors, the Khan Pro has High Resolution sound along with passive noise cancellation so that no outside factors distract users from their immersed gaming.
Tile Mate Bluetooth tracker
Distributor: Meroncourt SRP: £199.99 Specs: Fully height-adjustable seat, rotatable, 360 degree swivel
Distributor: Exertis SRP: £22.99 Specs: Product dimensions: 3.4 x 3.4 x 0.5 cm, weight: 5g
The Regger is a gaming-optimised chair that gives users complete freedom to move around, letting them feel part of the action. A 360-degree swivelling seat, fully adjustable backrest tilt, height-adjustable lumbar support plus arm rests and a lockable rocker mechanism are just a few of the killer features which this sporty-looking gaming chair boasts.
One of the world’s best-selling Bluetooth trackers, the Tile Mate easily loops onto keychains. Users can use their smartphone to make the Tile Mate ring when it’s nearby but out of sight. And it works the other way too, by clicking the tile it makes your phone ring.
DJI Spark Fly More Combo
Distributor: CMS Distribution SRP: £699.00 Specs: Quick launch with FaceAware, intelligent flight modes, DJI GO 4 editing app
Distributor: CMS Distribution SRP: £49.99 Specs: App-enabled for iOS and Android, drive modes includes: Joystick, Flick, Tilt, Slingshot and Face Drive
With intelligent flight control options, gesture control, and a camera with incredible image quality, the DJI Spark empowers users to push their creative boundaries. The integrated 12MP camera lets users take still photographs or 1080p HD video to share with friends and family, and an automatic stabiliser makes each shot a keeper.
Sphero Mini packs tons of fun into a tiny, appenabled robot about the size of a ping-pong ball. Users can drive Mini using different modes with the Sphero Mini app, or just by using their face. Face Drive is a hilarious new feature that uses facial expressions to drive the ball.
Distributor: Exertis SRP: £279.99 Specs: 4 inches high, 9.4 inches long, and 0.55 inches deep, 6.2-inch LCD Screen, 32 GB of internal storage
Distributor: Westcoast SRP: £89.99 Specs: Water resistant prints, 2-inch x 3-inch
In addition to providing single and multiplayer thrills at home, the Nintendo Switch system also enables gamers to play the same title on the go. The mobility of a handheld is now added to the power of a home gaming system to enable unprecedented new play styles. At home, Nintendo Switch rests in the dock that connects the console to the TV. By simply lifting the Nintendo Switch console from the dock, it will instantly transition to handheld mode.
The HP Sprocket portable photo printer allows budding photographers to print on the go. The compact printer is pocket-sized, making it easy to carry anywhere. It fits easily into pockets and handbags to let you create stickable snapshots whenever the moment strikes. The prints are durable, with a waterresistant and smudge-proof finish to keep them looking great for longer.
November 2017 | 43
You’re the One (X) I want With the Xbox One X’s on November 17th PCR takes a look at five things you need to know about Microsoft’s new console
It’s the most powerful games console ever made From the outset, we knew the Xbox One X was going to be powerful. Creating and marketing it as a ‘True 4k Gaming’ machine, the console boasts 40 per cent more power than the One S. The system sport a custom eightcore CPU at 2.3GHz; a GPU made up of 40 custom compute units running at 1172MHz and; 12GB DDR5 RAM, of which nine is available to developers. All of that means that Xbox One X packs a bigger punch than the PS4 Pro and is more than capable of rendering native 4K and HDR – on paper. 44
It may be mighty, but it is small
Above: E3 attendees were among the first to see the Xbox One X in all its glory
You might think that all of that power would make the Xbox One X a big hulking brute the size of the original Xbox, and up until E3 you’d probably be forgiven for that. Initial photos of early units sent out to developers were a fair size bigger than the Xbox One S that launched last year. That’s why the console we were shown at E3 came as such a surprise to many pundits, journos and know-it-alls online. The original Xbox One was big and hefty, weighing in at about 3.2kg and measuring more than 13 inches wide and 10 inches long. While it weighs more than the 2013 Xbox One (3.8kg), the Xbox team has said that they wanted the X to be no bigger than the Xbox One S (it is tricky to keep a track of all of these different names). The two are very similarly sized, with the X being a smidge wider and longer but shallower. The extra power will no doubt make up for a bit extra around the edges.
It’ll run Xbox One games better You may think it goes without saying given the beefy hardware, but developers are going out of their way to make sure that their new games can take advantage of the stellar specs of the new console. And that’s not just
new and upcoming releases like Forza Motorsport 7 and Anthem, devs are patching updates into older titles like Fallout 4 and Halo 5: Guardians to make them look and play better than ever before.
It’s pretty expensive for a games console, but cheaper than a gaming rig Priced at £449, the Xbox One X is a full hundred pounds more expensive than the PlayStation 4 Pro that launched last year (and the PS4 Pro was already an expensive console). Particularly when compared with the £279.99 Nintendo Switch that came out this past Spring, the Xbox One X may seem like an expensive luxury this Christmas. But while it is more expensive than the PS4 Pro
and the Switch, it’s also significantly more powerful than the pair of them – and more powerful than a lot of PCs around the same price range. When the system was revealed at E3, we did our own sums and figured that you’d have to spend a decent amount more to get a comparable PC (and don’t forget factoring the cost of a good mouse and decent keyboard).
It’s VR-capable… but not at launch Much has been made of Microsoft’s hesitance to pair the Xbox One with virtual reality. The company has been boasting about its VR and MR tech, with a bevy of 3rd party headsets launching this holiday, but hasn’t made such a play with its new console. Perhaps learning from the mistakes of jumping headfirst into the Kinect when the developer support wasn’t all there, Microsoft has designed the console with VR in mind but is holding off on pulling the trigger just yet. November 2017 | 45
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IN MY TEAM
PCR catches up with the team from Westcoast Retail to find out what they’ve been up to and what they do outside of the office
Westcoast Retail Who in the team has had a stand-out 12 months? Who is in your team and what do they do? It’s hard to pick someone out specifically, with the whole team From right to left, we have Matt Pasco (sales director), adding so much. However, Heena Patel, our operations Carl Oxley (managing director), Justin Turrell manager, has had a particularly impressive year so I’ll (account director), Heena Patel (operations have to give her that one. manager), Dan Simpson (accountant), Stuart “ We’ve also got Hammond (account director), Josh Butler Who’s the first one in and last one out of the (account manager), James Beldam (account a few things manager) and Edita Neupauerova (account currently bubbling office? Almost without failure, Carl is the first one in, manager). under the surface whereas Justin is almost always the last one out. What are some fun things you like to do for 2018” What have you got coming up in 2018? together as a team? Without going into specifics, we’re looking forward to a As a team we like to make sure that we keep things busy 2018 where we’ll see a number of innovations within the fun around the office and keep things fairly light-hearted tech industry, and the potential these new ventures present. We’ve while we all remain hard working away. We also regularly attend also got a few things currently bubbling under the surface that charity events together outside of the office which always go we’re excited about getting our teeth stuck into. down well.
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November 2017 | 47
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<Logging off>\\| Out and about in the industry
<Road runner> Brigantia Partners’ Pippa Martin has been rushed off her feet lately. In between events at Twickenham and Lands End, Pippa took part in a half marathon as part of her preparation for the Great North Run. However, with so much moving around Pippa was left seperated from her luggage. But refusing to lay down, she borrowed kit and a new pair of trainers and she completed her run, blisters and all, in 2 hours 50 minutes. So far she has raised £443 for charity.
<Breaking charity targets> At its recent Open Day, Target Components’ customers raised £1,007 for Cancer Research UK. The record fundraising for this annual event was made possible by more than 275 businesses and vendors who were in attendance. The grand total was announced by The Gadget Show’s presenter, Jon Bentley at the event’s gala dinner. This year, the distributor has raised some £1,775 for charities including Macmillan Cancer Support, Red Nose Day and Yorkshire Air Ambulance.
<From palace to palace > A large number of Westcoast and HP employees took part in the annual Palace to Palace challenge. It’s the fifth year the two companies have taken part in the 45 mile ride from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Racecourse as part of the HP UK team. In total, the team has raised just over £27,790 for The Princes Trust.
November 2017 | 49
<Tour de France>
Jonathan Easton Editor email@example.com
Taking to his saddle, BT marketing executive Alex Wall, completed a 167 mile cycle from Buckingham Palace to the Eiffel Tower in under 24 hours. Raising money for suicide prevention charity CALM, Alex and his friends overcame three punctures in total to beat the clock. Starting in the centre of London, the riders made it to Newhaven Ferry Port in five hours before disembarking in Dieppe before a final 107 mile cycle to the Paris monument. In total, they raised just under £3,000 for their efforts. CALM specialises in the prevention of male suicides and is class to Alex and the team after their school friend took his own life.
Rob Horgan Deputy Editor firstname.lastname@example.org Dan Bennett Designer email@example.com Jason Dowie Production Executive firstname.lastname@example.org Gurpreet Purewal Sales Manager email@example.com Dana Radu Sales Executive firstname.lastname@example.org James McKeown Content Director email@example.com Stuart Moody Head of Operations firstname.lastname@example.org
<Skyscrape sail> Wendy Hassard from CMS Distribution took on the nerve-testing challenge of abseiling down Broadgate Tower in London. The tower is one of the tallest buildings in the UK (a whopping 540ft), and Wendy raised over £600 for Spitalfields Crypt Trust (SCT). SCT provide practical help, support and training to people who have been homeless and suffering from addiction, poverty or social isolation.
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ISSN: 1742-8440 Copyright 2017
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The Future Trends Issue Looking towards 2018 and beyond, the Channel will have its say on what technology it expects to make a rise in the coming year. Meanwhile PCR will cast an eye over what to expect at CES 2018. Not forgetting what has come before, we will also take a look back at 2017, as well as bringing you the winners of the PCR WOTY event.
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Published on Oct 31, 2017