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D&H Beefs Up Line Card For Summer Sales

July 2009 By Jeff O'Heir
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D&H Distributing of Harrisburg, Pa., recently added several new segments to its line card, including netbooks with GSM integration, LED HDTVs, automatic PC backup, free VoIP calling service and USB Direct camcorders.

“Last year, people sat on the sidelines. Going into the second half of this year, they’re ready to buy,”  Dan Schwab, D&H’s co-president, said at the company’s Mid-Atlantic Summer Technology Show in Hershey, Pa. “They don’t want the same old thing. They don’t want to make indiscriminate purchases. They want something different.”

The new products, technologies and segments should help dealers feed that demand and differentiate their own offerings, Schwab said.

For starters, Acer and Asus are beginning to integrate the GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) protocol into their netbooks. The technology allows users to access the Internet without the need for local Wi-Fi hotspots.

Mary Campbell, D&H’s vice president of marketing, also pointed to the number of netbook accessories, especially cases, being unleashed on the market. Fuse101 and Mobile Edge showcased their new lines.

 “Mobility might sound kind of old hat, but nobody is going to stop creating new core products and accessories to meet that demand,” Campbell said, adding that demand for netbooks will grow as more citywide Wi-Max networks come on line.

The talk of the show seemed to center around Samsung’s Series 7 LED TVs, which D&H picked up. Dealers said they were impressed with the brightness of the panel, the set’s slim cabinet and its energy efficiency, three attributes that will help to fuel sales.

“The picture looks so great that people’s jaws drop when they see it,” said Shawn Bechtel, a sales associate at Radio Lab in Harrisburg, Pa. “The price points are also strong. We’ll sell even more once the prices drop.”

Jason Donham, marketing director at Black Widow Computer in Camp Hill, Pa., and a former Tweeter associate, said Samsung’s LED line gives it a good three-month jump on the competition. “These sets are going to be huge,” said Donham, adding that Black Widow Computer is building up a home theater business. “The vividness of the colors and the brightness of the picture will set it apart. Samsung’s marketing is also very good.”

Moving from the big to the small, a number of new compact, automatic and user-friendly NAS devices are making it easier for consumers to backup their digital files. D&H recently brought on Clickfree and Rebit’s back-up devices.

At the show, SanDisk was showing off its new Ultra Backup USB flash drive, a one-touch backup device aimed at road warriors, which also provides secure file encryption The device has an embedded user interface designed to make it easier for users to choose what they want to back up. It comes in 8, 16, 32 and 64GB versions, with prices ranging from $49 to $199.

“These types are devices are so important for retailers to carry today because backup is everything,” said Mark Kuta, a strategic accounts manager for SanDisk. “We’re just trying to make it easier.”

The distributor picked up Ooma’s VoIP solution,which delivers free VoIP phone service for a one-time flat fee. D&H also continued to add to its USB-direct camcorder line, which now includes Pure Digital’s Flip, Creatives Vado HD and Aiptek’s HD Action.

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