The year has been a busy one in terms of reviews and the highlights below demonstrate that all sides of the industry were producing quality products.
The month saw the BETT show, which proved yet again that education is a great sector to operate in because of the size of the market and the appetite for technology.
There was a great deal of attention on the Consumer Electronics Show that vied with the slot machines for attention in Las Vegas. The organisers of the Vegas show must have been smiling through gritted teeth as the press pack and attention shifted to the Mac World conference, where Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the wraps off its iPhone.
The month’s recommended products included a Peak II Flash Drive offering 8GB of capacity and a Kingston 4GB SD memory card.
With a great deal of emphasis on consumer electronics, those resellers looking for an angle into the market had plenty of options. Xitel, a name that had cropped up a couple of times already this year, created a range that exploits some of the functions you wish an iPod could perform but doesn’t, like broadcasting a picture from the iPod to a television.
Other vendors also had an eye firmly fixed on the home market, with Thermaltake coming up with an incredibly inventive product. The marketing material for the Mozart TX Home Entertainment Center promoted the ability of using the 7in screen to keep an eye on the kids in the bedroom while you enjoy watching films.
With CeBIT awash with products that are only just now proclaiming that they are ‘Vista ready’ the trickle through of the Microsoft operating system is increasingly looking like a third quarter prospect.
Elsewhere Foxconn sent in a graphics board that showed why the company is such a force to be reckoned with. The nVidia SLI-Ready GeForce 8800 is allegedly the world’s first Direct X 10 GPU.
Alongside that was another example of the craze for all things security with the Webroot Spy Sweeper that would appeal to those customers fearful of their every transaction being spied on by malicious forces, hoping to make a buck or two out of their vulnerability.
The month saw a range of products including a gaming laptop from Rock, which proved that a mobile computer can compete with a desktop in performance terms when it comes to the latest games. Asus also rolled out its G1, a gaming notebook that packed a punch with a nVidia GeForce Go 7700 graphics card.
Other highlights for the month included a couple of chassis that proved design is at the forefront of that industry, with Thermaltake aiming its Lanbox at the portable gaming market and Antec with
a full-size ATX unit with a perspex side window and a sleek black finish.
Sound and vision was the unofficial theme of the month with Creative and Gear4 providing the means to get the sound. T20 PC speakers from Creative were described by our reviewer as the missing piece in the desktop jigsaw. Gear4 showed with the Houseparty 24/7 that it is possible to take a product like the iPod and add tons of value.
Elsewhere the emphasis was on digital images, with Canon providing the latest in digital camcorder technology with the DC50.
The month started with Canon showing that it has all of the pieces of the digital imaging puzzle with the Ixus 70 and the Selphy photo printer, proving it is able to take the PC completely out of the picture production process.
Hannspree turned some heads with its wood-encased 15in VAAS television. The smart looking screen would fit into any reseller’s portfolio. Something that was pointed out by the reviewer was that although digital TV might not seem like a channel sale it could develop into one.
The month ended with FXF showing just how a relationship with nVidia can be exploited to produce solid gaming cards.
The month started with Hewlett-Packard firing off a warning shot to the BlackBerry community with its iPAQ 500 voice messenger that has been designed to be operated by voice.
There were a couple of solid examples of satnav products, with the Magellan Maestro 401 working like a dream and taking our reviewer seamlessly across Europe.
One of the themes of the month was to try and exploit software to learn more about a business, with QuickBooks an example of how powerful applications can be harnessed to ease problems like bookkeeping.
One of the pieces of technology that is not going to diminish in sales or importance is the laptop and Samsung got the attention with its NP-Q70, which got a recommended status as a result of its power and design.
Logitech showed how far the webcam had evolved with its QuickCam Pro 9000, which offered high resolution and technology that would follow the user as they moved around. Those still worried about quality and speed were told by the reviewer to put those concerns out of their minds.
Towards the end of the month MicroScope celebrated its 25th anniversary and looked back over some of the products that had stood out over the last quarter of a century. The same names kept cropping up: Apple, IBM, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard. Those vendors were responsible for driving the mainstream of development with a fair amount of activity on the fringes from other vendors.
The month started with a device that is blazing a trail in the security world. The Yoggie Pico Pro provides a host of security applications that ensure that a laptop or desktop is protected. The product resembles a USB flash drive but is a great
deal smarter than a dumb storage device.
Sony’s Vaio XVGNSZ61VN took some beating, with one member of the office getting straight on the phone to the vendor to try and beg a longer term loan of the review product before biting the bullet and buying one. What particularly appealed was the addition of all the tools you would need to connect remotely and get the most out of mobile comms. So the webcam was included, a wireless aerial and a host of other features that made this a product that would appeal to a wide audience.
The month was dominated with product launches aiming to exploit not just the continuing popularity of the iPod but also the iPhone, with Gear4 producing a list of products that would appeal to users of both products. The console manufacturers were also reporting strong demand, with queues forming for the Nintendo Wii, and Microsoft and Sony also benefiting with their Xbox and PlayStation 3 platforms.