IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

ICYMI: Our Channel News Roundup for the Week of January 7th

A boatload of CES gear, retail IoT tech from Microsoft and Kroger, and a soothsayer who reads vegetables instead of a crystal ball are all among the stories we’ve finally gotten around to bringing your way. By James E. Gaskin

Welcome to the New Year with fingers crossed things get better for you and yours in all areas. Good wishes are traditional at the flip of the calendar. Also traditional? The Consumer Electronics Show, which has three initials just like a TV network: CES. So many odd stories come from CES (what’s with all the weird toilet stuff every year?) that we forget a tidal wave of interesting technology news washes over us as well. Let’s throw out the nets and see what we catch.

Samsung Notebook OdysseyCES endpoint news. Heavyweight performance comes in a lighter and thinner package then ever with the new Acer Swift 7 (SF714-52T). Its less than two pounds and 0.39 inch-thick body holds the latest 8th Gen Intel Core processors, 8 to 16 GB of DDR3 RAM, 256 or 512 GB of SSD PCIe storage, 10 hours of battery life, and a 14-inch 1920 x 1080 touch screen with a bezel so thin you’ll think it doesn’t exist. Dual USB Type-C ports and the hottest new Wi-Fi complete the package. The aluminum-lithium alloy case comes in Starfield Black or Moonstone White.

Acer unveiled two new Windows 10 gaming notebooks too: the Acer Predator Triton 900 (17 inch) and Predator Triton 500 (15 inch). A convertible 4K display powered by an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 GPU defines the Triton 900, while the Triton 500 works great for gamers on the go, since it’s only 4.6 pounds.

CES is big into gaming, in fact, and the introduction of the new ASUS TUF Gaming FX505DY and FX705DY gaming laptops ties right into that. The units come with an AMD Ryzen 5 3550H processor, up to 32 GB of RAM, and multiple storage options. The FreeSync displays and slim bezels make the 15.6 (FX505DY) or 17.3 (FX705DY) screens seem even bigger.

Speaking of larger displays, the ASUS StudioBook S (W700) portable workstation fits a 17 inch, 16:10 ratio display into a 15-inch laptop body (1920 x 1200 resolution). Content professionals will appreciate the Intel Xeon processor and NVIDIA Quadro P3200 graphics. Want to arrange your PCIe DDS drives in a RAID 0 setup? Done.

Prefer the ZenBook S13 (UX392) from ASUS for lightweight portability? Then enjoy the latest 8th Gen Intel Core processors with up to 1 TB of PCIe x4 SSD storage, 15 hours of battery life, a standard USB Gen 2 Type-A port on one side to balance the two USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C ports on the other, and a smaller chassis than most 13-inch laptops. Or jump up to the slightly larger ASUS ZenBook 14 (UX431). Comes with a 1920 x 1080 screen and a wide range of processor options including 8th Gen Intel Core i3, i5, and i7 CPUs with optional NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics.

Dell and Alienware’s redesigned PC Gaming portfolio got plenty of attention as well.

  • The new Alienware Area-51m in the bold new Legend design is a desktop replacement.
  • Alienware’s thinnest and lightest 17-inch notebook, the m17, and the m15 include NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20 Series GPUs.
  • Dell G5 and G7 gaming laptops have a chassis redesigned for sleekness and narrow screen borders.

Not finished, Dell also rolled out the:

  • Latitude 7400 2-in-1 with up to 24 hours of battery life.
  • XPS 13 with a top-mounted HD webcam and frost color.
  • Inspiron 7000 2-in-1 Black Edition with full-size magnetic pen garage in the hinge.
  • Dell Cinema updated with Dolby Vision and 360 audio enhancements.
  • Dell Mobile Connect, a PC-smartphone wireless integration utility that gives Android drag-and-drop file transfer ability.

The Samsung Notebook Odyssey (pictured) high-end gaming laptop made its first appearance. Powered by NVIDIA G-SYNC along with an 8th Gen Intel hexa-core i7 processor.

Sensing more Samsung? Say hello to the redesigned Samsung Notebook 9 Pro and the Samsung Notebook Flash. The first has an “Active Pen” featuring more than 400 levels of sensitivity, and the second comes in a compact 13.3-inch chassis weighing three pounds.

Intel Nervana ProcessorCES processor news. Big showcase? Expect a wide range of Intel CPU products and advancements, including:

  • The “Ice Lake” mobile PC platform, Intel’s first volume 10nm PC processor with the new Sunny Cove microarchitecture (later in 2019)
  • Project Athena specifications for a new class of advanced laptops, including 5G and AI support.
  • The “Lakefield” client platform hybrid CPU using the first iteration of the Foveros 3D packaging technology. Big news for the thin and light form factor crowd.
  • More 9th Gen Intel Core desktop processors, which begin appearing later this month.
  • The new Intel Nervana Neural Network Processor for Inference, or NNP-I, along with an NNP for training code-named “Spring Crest” (later this year).
  • Intel Xeon processors based on the 10nm “Ice Lake” foundation.
  • Next-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors, named “Cascade Lake,” which are shipping now.

AMD, meanwhile, unveiled the first 7nm gaming CPU, aka the AMD Radeon VII. Offering up to 29 percent more gaming performance than the previous version, the Radeon VII is built on AMD’s “Vega” architecture.

Also on tap from AMD are the first products in the mobility lineup for all notebook segments:

  • 2nd Gen Ryzen mobile processors including speedups for ultrathin laptops.
  • 7th Gen AMD A-Series processors for Google Chromebooks.

D-Link 5G NRCES networking (not the schmoozy kind). Zyxel adds new networking products for the home and service providers:

  • LTE7480 LTE-A Pro Outdoor Router, and an expanded wireless broadband portfolio including a multi-band LTE outdoor router
  • Giga-Next broadband solutions like Gfast CPE and Wi-Fi solutions, which are shipping in volume and include EasyMesh whole-home Wi-Fi
  • A new IoT security and privacy protection gateway

D-Link rolled out a new lineup of mesh-enabled Exo routers and extender points. Their D-Link Wi-Fi Mesh technology automatically connects all devices to the best signal possible, and they also come with a robust security suite powered by McAfee. Available Q2 of 2019.

D-Link also announced its 5G NR Enhanced Gateway (DWR-2010) (pictured), which will enable download speeds more 40x faster than the average 70 Mbps available in U.S. homes now. Won a CES 2019 Innovation Award.

In the home Internet of Things area, D-Link added three new products to its mydlink connected home lineup: Wi-Fi Water Sensor (Q1 2019), the Wi-Fi Indoor Smart Plug and Wi-Fi Outdoor Smart Plug (Q2 2019).

TP-Link added to its whole home mesh offerings with the TP-Link OneMesh, the company’s first AX Wi-Fi product (the Deco X10), and an all-new AX2700 Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi system. Along with the Deco X10, get ready for the Archer AX11000 gaming router, the Archer AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 router, the Archer AX1800 budget-friendly router, the Archer AX1500 Wi-Fi router, and the AX1800 Wi-Fi Range Extender RE705X.

Samsung The WallCES everything else (almost). ASUS ROG (Republic of Gaming) announces new Strix XG HDR gaming monitors: Strix XG438Q, Strix XG49VQ, and Strix XG32VQR. Also new to the ROG? ASUS ROG Strix, ASUS Dual, and Turbo GeForce RTX 20160 gaming graphics cards.

Surprise, surprise, there are TVs at CES. Or at least digital signage displays. Attendees at the Samsung First Look CES event got to go gaga over the Samsung 219 inch display The Wall (pictured). As in, it takes up most of one. Makes the new 75-inch display look like a tablet. Both with new MicroLED technology, a CES Best of Innovation Award winner.

Dell’s consumer and small business PCs and laptops will continue to include McAfee security protection that can be installed on smartphones and tablets as well. 30 days free.

McAfee Gamer Security was designed from the ground up, says McAfee, to keep games safe and not hurt performance.

Razer’s IoT platform with millions of users, Razer Synapse 3, now works with Amazon Alexa. Also connected? Razer HyperSense, made of interconnected haptic-powered gaming devices.

Lots of virtual reality at CES (isn’t Vegas kind of a virtual reality on its own?). Hello HTC VIVE, room-scale VR. Includes VIVE Pro Eye headset, VIVEPORT (global app store), and VIVE COSMOS (developer kit).

Storage? We always need more and better, at least according to Seagate. Examples:

  • LaCie Mobile Drive
  • LaCie Mobile SSD
  • Backup Plus Ultra Touch
  • Backup Plus Slim
  • Backup Plus Portable
  • FireCuda 510 M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
  • BarraCuda 510 M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
  • IronWolf 110 SATA SSD

Make sure you hear clearly with the new Jabra Elite 85h headphones, including 85 hours of battery juice and 100 percent hands free Alexa interactions.

Microsoft and KrogerOther product news. Microsoft handles lots of critical projects, but can we trust them with our snacks? We’ll find out soon, as Kroger and Microsoft have announced a deal to power Kroger Technology products with Microsoft Azure. Part of Kroger’s Retail as a Service offering.

Xerox’s AltaLink MFPs got a software upgrade to their Workplace Assistants, enabled with ConnectKey technology. The sysout describes more security controls and easier ways to customize everyday tasks.

Virtual desktop fan? ThinPrint collaborated with the Citrix Ready workspace hub and partners Stratodesk and NComputing.

Normal reality may get boring as we go all quantum for computing, but IBM doesn’t care. Hence the IBM Q System One, the first integrated universal approximate quantum computing system.

Third-party technology distributor and master agent TBI will now offer customers and agents access SaaS solutions and services from Mobile Solutions.

IDrive Online Backup just released a new on-demand remote support option, RemotePC HelpDesk. Manage techs and monitor status and other fun things.

Still need more space? Check out Toshiba’s 16 TB MG08 hard disk drives in 3.5 inch form factors. Toshiba also launched the non-spinning BG4 disk series with Client NVMe SSDs. They run faster and last longer.

Cradlepoint’s Elastic Edge Vision now has a new Gigabit-Class LTE Edge Router as part of its Elastic Wideband technology. Two models for branch, one for mobile clients.

Robert VanKirkNews NOT about CES or products. SonicWall promoted Robert (Bob) VanKirk (pictured) from SVP of strategic sales to chief revenue officer and channel chief.

Symantec appointed HPE veteran  Sue Barsamian to its board of directors, which Marvell’s Rick Hill also joins on January 7, 2019.

Forcepoint (security) rolled out the welcome mat for Matt Preschern as chief marketing officer.

Avaya jazzed up its Avaya Edge Channel Partner program. Emphasis on partner inclusivity and an improved enablement model are among the upgrades.

This week’s stats ticker:

Imperva released its latest State of Web Application Vulnerabilities report recently, and it’s full of security smarts. One bit of good news is the drop in IoT vulnerabilities, now a little below those of 2016 and way below those of 2017. Either IoT vendors got serious about security, or hackers and researchers started chasing another problem areas.

IDC’s Worldwide Semiannual 3D Printing Spending Guide suggests worldwide spend on 3D printing will reach almost $13.8 billion in 2019. That’s up over 21 percent from 2018. By 2022, look for a $22.7 billion 3D Printing market. Discrete manufacturing makes up 53 percent of spending total. Right now, the leading uses are for prototypes, aftermarket parts, and then new parts. The U.S. will likely lead the market with nearly $5 billion.

What’s growing faster than Oscar winner pools? Synergy Research Group says revenue for seven key cloud services and infrastructure segments passed the $250 billion milestone last year, up 32 percent from 2017. IaaS and PaaS had growth rates of 50 percent, followed by hybrid cloud management software growth at 41 percent. Total spend on hardware and software to build cloud infrastructure topped $100 billion and was split evenly between public and private clouds.

AsparamancerAll hail the Asparamancer! Who needs research studies when you have asparagus to tell the future? Yes, asparagus. Jemima Packington, the world’s only “asparamancer,” throws raw asparagus stalks onto a flat surface like some throw I Ching sticks.

The proudly self-taught asparamancer claims to have correctly predicted, with help from green asparagus, the elections of Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron and the vote in favor of Brexit. She claims to be 80 to 90 percent accurate.

In case you believe in the Power of the Green Stalk, get prepared for a recession in the U.S., which will occur after the trade war with China ends. Worse, it will spread across the world. But at least England will have success at the 2019 Rugby World Cup. That should make up for a global recession, right?

Anyone have a contrary opinion based on something more reliable, like the bubbles in the pot when boiling potatoes?

About the Author

James E. Gaskin's picture

JAMES E. GASKIN is a ChannelPro contributing editor and former reseller based in Dallas.

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