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Mobility Acceleration.

Santosh Varghese, GM, Digital products & Services at Toshiba Gulf, talks about the mobile devices market and how reseller partners can take advantage of the opportunities in this sector. CME: What is the state of the mobile computing market in the Middle East? SV: Consumers are faced with a lot of technology products like Ultrabooks, thin basics, traditional notebooks, hybrids, detachable convertibles and tablets. Toshiba is focusing on Ultrabooks and the new 'create and consume' concept with its new hybrid notebooks and Ultrabooks. These will soon be adopted by the B2C and B2B customers more than the tablets and traditional notebooks. CME: How well are best-of-breed mobile solutions holding up against the PC and notebook giants? SV: New innovations in the smartphone segment is preventing the replacement cycle of PCs and notebooks. In order to increase the replacement cycles, the PC and notebook segment needs to redefine its user experience, focus on lighter weight and longer battery life. CME: What are the biggest challenges facing resellers who want to extend their specialisation into the mobile computing arena? SV: Consumers are buying cheap tablets or traditional notebooks that drive down the price point which is not helping any one across the business chain including the vendor, distributor and channel partners. CME: What do enterprise and SME clients look for when selecting a reseller to deliver and support their mobile computing platforms? SV: Enterprise and SME clients are looking for the highest standards of customer support. These clients are willing to pay to fast track services for lesser down time. They also expect the reseller to offer value-added services like software and hardware solutions, professional services (i.e. onsite support, data recovery) and accessories for their mobile computing platforms. CME: Are mobile devices going to replace PCs? SV: Smartphones and tablets can never replace desktop and notebooks. However, notebooks could replace desktop in the near future. Smartphones and tablets are more of consumption devices, unlike desktops and notebooks, which are more of productive gadgets that create contents for consumption on a tablet or smartphone. CME: Is the PC's demise nearing? What's really behind the steep drop in the global PC business? SV: What is slowing down the replacement cycle for PCs is the non-compelling change in technology and innovation. However, new technology including touch screen, gesture control and voice recognition will add more interest in the sales of PCs going forward. CME: What should PC and notebook vendors be doing to help the traditional channel grow its focus in the mobile computing space? SV: The channel should stay away from low price point-based sales and should stop overstocking to get back ends. Instead, the resellers should focus on the new concepts and offer value-added

services. The B2B segment will continue to fuel sales for PCs due to replacement cycles becoming overdue for most of the corporate sector. B2B customers look for value-added services rather than just box-moving and low prices. CME: What kind of margins can resellers expect to generate in mobile computing solutions such as smartphones and tablets? SV: With such low price points, margins will be strained across the chain. Resellers should be ready to work on squeezed margins and focus profits from the value-added services they are able to offer their clients. CME: Is a mobile computing solution increasingly an off-the-shelf sale? SV: With the vast demands and expectation from the consumers, mobile computing solutions can never be off-the-shelf sales. There is ample scope to develop a portfolio of innovative value-added services across the various devices. Different verticals have demand for solutions that can ease their computing problems. One of the main verticals is the education segment. There is a vast scope of value-added services across all mobile computing platforms for the education segment. CME: Which trends and demands will affect the mobile computing market over the next 12 to 18 months? SV: Low cost unbranded tablets will continue to impact the price points in the mobile computing products. Consumers need to understand such low cost tablets don't provide any value for money. One can't expect good products and technology for less than $100. The low price of traditional notebooks against the mid- and high-end products of thin basics and hybrid notebooks will contribute to the confusion in the customers' minds.

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Date:Nov 17, 2013
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