IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

ICYMI: Our Channel News Roundup for the Week of June 12th

New gaming gear, new audio-visual wares, and a new app that captures the essence of what we love most about smartphones—swiping past pictures—are all among the stories we didn’t tell you about last week. By Rich Freeman

Life goes on. People say it after tragedy strikes as if it’s supposed to make you feel better. It doesn’t actually make you feel better.

You know what does make you feel better, or at least distract you? Writing. If you’re a writer anyway. So please indulge us now while we engage in some much needed therapy by catching you up on recent tech news we didn’t get around to covering yet.

ORIGIN PC EVO15-SLet the games begin. Because there were lots of them, and lots of hardware to play them with, on view at last week’s Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. As far as the Big Three console makers go, anyway, Microsoft pretty much stole the show. Sony showed off some new games for its PlayStation VR virtual reality headset and Nintendo trumpeted some new games for its Switch device, but only Microsoft had a major new hardware product to launch.

Known as Project Scorpio when Microsoft discussed it at last year’s E3, it’s now officially named Xbox One X and enables anyone with an appropriate display to enjoy immersive, high-speed 4K gaming. Due to reach market weeks ahead of Black Friday and the holiday shopping season on November 7, the new device will list for $499 in the U.S. and support 42 titles right out of the gate, including 22 games available on no other platform.

And fear not, PC gamers. There were plenty of goodies out of E3 for you too, including:

And before we move on from gaming...Lets see where your home town placed on WalletHub’s recently published list of America’s 100 best cities for gamers. Based on a rather elaborate methodology factoring in variables like gaming stores per capita, local internet quality, and device ownership rates, it starts with Orlando, Seattle, and Austin, Texas and ends with Memphis, Laredo, Texas, and Detroit.

Dell monitorPity the poor gang at InfoComm. It’s not easy competing with Super Mario Brothers in 3D, after all. But with the global audio-visual market set to grow 14 percent this year, channel pros had plenty of reasons to drop by InfoComm’s big annual U.S. trade show in Orlando last week anyway. The vendor community was certainly there in force with new products at any rate. To cite but a few examples:

  • Casio (which calls itself a “leading projector manufacturer” these days but is still thought of by folks of a certain age as a maker of weird little handheld electronic musical instruments) unveiled a new ultra short throw device that can project an 80-inch image from as little as a foot and a half away.
  • Dell shipped a new UHD 4K laser projector designed to display bright images in daylight-flooded rooms and its first 37.5-inch curved WQHD monitor (pictured), which looks cool but will set you back $1,499 at retail.
  • Epson introduced multiple projectors including what it bills as the industry’s first 3LCD model and another that turns nearly any flat surface into an interactive toucscreen digital whiteboard.
  • LG, in what was arguably the week’s single most intriguing product launch, announced a new transparent LED film that turns more or less any glass surface into an eye-catching digital signage display.
  • Panasonic, among other things, rolled out a projector with a 183-degree “full sky” viewing angle for use in planetariums, museums, and anywhere else a big, super-wide image will grab attention. 
  • Ricoh released several new bundled collaboration solutions including projectors, whiteboards, speaker/microphones, and unified communication software, plus a new team of trained AV Solution Managers to help business (and channel pros, presumably) deploy all that gear.
  • ViewSonic shipped 75- and 86-inch UHD conferenceroom displays with built-in collaboration software, several new digital signage displays with extra-skinny bezels, and two new ultra short throw laser projectors.

Data Insights SummitLast but not least, BI. A/V gear might not be as entertaining as games, but at least it’s flashy. Analytics products by contrast are, um, practical. They’re also big business, however, and Microsoft showcased a new one at its Data Insights Summit event last week. Called Power BI Premium and targeted mostly at larger companies, it’s a new edition of Microsoft’s Power BI analytics tool that lets you distribute reports to multiple people without requiring them all to be individually licensed.

In other relevant-but-less-interesting-than-4K-gaming news from Microsoft last week:

D-Link switchesAs long as we’re at it, let’s take a peek at few more new products, shall we? They may not be as exciting as Skyrim in VR, but they’re worth knowing about anyway:

  • Amazon tacked dynamic scaling functionality for tables and global secondary indexes onto its DynamoDB database and made its Rekognition facial, object, and image search and classification software available to users of its GovCloud (US) region.
  • Aviso shipped a new artificially intelligent sales forecasting and visibility platform.
  • Avnet introduced an entry-level development and demo platform for the Zynq-7000S SoC device family.
  • D-Link released new managed gigabit switches pictured) in 8-, 24-, and 48-port models both with and without Power over Ethernet.
  • FireEye added new cloud and virtual form factors to its endpoint detection and response solution.
  • IBM put its Watson artificial intelligence platform to work helping financial institutions comply with regulatory requirements.
  • Kaseya shipped a new identity and access management solution designed to protect MSPs, rather than their customers.
  • Malwarebytes rolled out a new endpoint protection solution with signature-less anomaly detection capabilities, a new incident response platform, and a new cloud-based management platform.
  • Observables unveiled a new portfolio of software-defined network routers that can be customized for use in phone, access control, and other solutions and managed via a tightly integrated mobile app.
  • Razer pulled the wraps off a 13.3-inch edition of its 12.5-inch Razer Blade Stealth.
  • Salesforce rolled out a new artificial intielligence equipped advanced analytics service for its SaaS CRM solution.
  • SecureAuth introduced a new identity and access management solution for Office 365.
  • Toshiba rolled out a new family of 15,000rpm hard disk drives for mission critical servers.
  • Uplevel added VPN to its family of managed IT services for small businesses.

Rahul KashyapFurther dispatches from the vendor front. We also learned last week that:

This week’s stats ticker:

BinkyWhen Facebook is too mentally taxing. There’s Binky instead! Available for iOS and Android, Binky is a smartphone app that, in the words of its developer, displays “an infinite feed of random things.” Think of it as Facebook without friends. Or context, Or relevance.

“Look, all we want from our apps is to see new stuff scroll up from the bottom of the screen,” says the app’s website. So that’s what Binky does, and it’s not too particular about the stuff. “What will come up next?” the website asks. “Cauliflower? Diana Ross?”

Sounds silly, but it’s actually quite profound. Because what is it you’re actually doing when you check your phone between tasks? Catching up with the world or enjoying the soothingly familiar sensation of mindless, repetitive motion as you swipe your finger past the latest...whatever on your phone. Binky, in short, is the distilled essence of what we really love about smartphones, and the inspiration for a forthcoming app of our own here at ChannelPro. Called In-fini-box, it’s an endless stream of emails from non-existent people you can reply to in seconds with short, meaningless replies.

Hey, it beats working.

About the Author

Rich Freeman is ChannelPro's Executive Editor

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