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Laptops cook at Supercom’s bistro show

Distributor's first exhibition for notebook and accessory vendors was hot

Rain failed to dampen the spirits of Toronto-area resellers last month who came to see the latest laptops and accessories at Supercom’s first “Notebook Bistro” at a local restaurant.

An estimated 200 VAR staffers and their customers came to the late afternoon event, according to Jesse John, the distributor’s director of sales for Eastern Canada.

“It’s to showcase four of our notebook vendors [Asus, LG Electronics, Lenovo and Fujitsu], and Targus, which is showing off bags and accessories to go with them.”

“It’s to let them touch and feel products they wouldn’t get to otherwise.”

In one of the restaurant’s banquet halls vendor reps gave presentations on their lines, while in another they had tables full of product which could be prodded.

Jetu Mistry, LG’s PC business manager, was touting three of the company’s just-introduced Intel single- and dual-core laptops, some of which come in what it calls “piano black.”

Among the new Core Duo notebooks — all of which have fingerprint readers — are the S1, with a 15.4-inch widescreen monitor, a full numeric keyboard and a remote control, the P1, with the same specs but a lighter chassis; and the T1, which has a 14-in. wide screen but weighs only 1.9 Kg.

Coming this month is the $1,799 M1, aimed at the corporate market, which has a standard-sized screen.

Asus had the largest selection on display, with 11 models running from notebooks with LCD screens up to 17 inches.

Into leather
Among the units getting attention was the small $2,700 leather-covered MH-S6F with an 11-inch screen, which product manager Mike Han said is aimed at “fashion-trendy” buyers.

He also highlighted the A8JM, a $1,799 model aimed at gamers with a 14-inch widescreen display, Centrino Duo CPU, 512 MB of graphics memory on an Nvidia card and a built-in Webcam.

Mary Pereyma, Fujistu’s national sales manager for mobile computing products, was emphasizing how VARs can install packages on tablet PCs and sell them as complete solutions to verticals.

On display was the P1510 Lifebook, which has an 8.9-inch screen and boasts up to seven hours of battery life with an extended battery — an option that can also be used as a handgrip.

Also being shown was the N6400 laptop with a 17-inch WXGA display she said can be used in the health care industry because of the screen’s high resolution.

“We like these shows,” she said between presentations, “because it brings in the right kind of reseller and allows them to compare our products with others.”

Lenovo was there to push the just-released the 3000 line, aimed at small and medium businesses.

Jay McBain, the company’s business unit executive for small businesses, said the laptop is so new he’s still explaining the difference between it and the ThinkPad line, which is aimed at medium-sized companies.

He also displayed the V100, a 12-inch widescreen notebook coming this month with a Centrino Duo processor and an integrated DVD multi-burner. Some models will also have fingerprint readers and digital cameras.

Open case
For those looking to sell accessories with a laptop, Targus Canada was making an open case with tables bearing knapsacks and totes.

“We want to remind VARs that we have a lot of accessories,” said Elsa D’Agostini, an account manager for commercial solutions for Targus’ central region.

In the spotlight were X-pansion notebook cases ranging from $89.99 to $199.99 that had just been released, along with new leather models in the TET Toploading line.

To be released this month are three models in the new slim Radius slipcase line. Two are $59.99 cases that come in either red or silver with round handles for notebooks up to 15 inches, while a $49.95 case has more traditional handles and is for smaller notebooks.

Supercom’s John said this was the first event of its kind that the distributor had hosted.

It won’t be the last. The company was so pleased with the turnout that West Coast resellers will get their own bistro Aug. 17 in Vancouver, at a location to be announced.

There will also be a show for Quebec VARs in Montreal at a time and place yet to be selected.

Lenovo’s McBain is glad his company is part of the show, one of several events Supercom has arranged to push the brand. “Attendance was really good,” he said. “There was lots of good foot traffic.”

Among the advantages, he added, was that Lenovo’s products were in a room beside those from companies that resellers don’t usually think of as its competitors.

“It perhaps generated a new audience for Lenovo,” he said.