Philips Promotes Soft Blue – AOC Looks to Mobile

MMD had a single booth, but with Philips monitors on one side and AOC on the other. On the Philips side, there was nothing since our meeting with the company at IFA (confirmed by the company’s head of Products, Stefan Sommer, that we met on the Dubai metro – it’s a small world!) On the Philips side, there was a focus on the Soft Blue technology and other applications such as clinical review monitors.

We focused on the AOC side. Here, the company had a new 34″ 21:9 monitor, the U3477PQU which supports 3440 x 1440 on a flat screen. The monitor looked good and sells for a price of $1,119, which is a good price for this technology. The company also had the U2868PQU UltraHD monitor which is cheaper at around $800 and cheaper per pixel as it has 3840 x 2160 resolution.

However, the bigger news is that AOC is seriously going after the tablet and smartphone markets with a full range of devices supporting both Android and Windows. Our attention was caught by an attractive looking 2 in 1 Windows machine, the W892 which features a 1920 x 1200 touch display, Windows 8.1 and offers dual boot into Android 4.4. Intel CPUs will be used in some devices. The full range of products will be fully launched in Q1 2015 and the company plans to try to exploit the long history of the AOC brand to sit “between the white box and A brands”.

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The gap that AOC is aiming for with tablets and smartphones is a growing one in the Middle East and Africa, but success is far from guaranteed. There are a number of players and, at the moment, other than brand and supply chain, AOC doesn’t seem to have any “special sauce” to drive its success – although those are quite useful advantages! It makes me wonder how the discussions between TPV and Philips over the use of the brand name for this kind of device went. It’s hard to believe that Philips would not have been willing to licence its brand, which would have had value. However, it looks as though TPV regarded the cost of having the brand as too high.

Unfortunately, the keyboard on the W892 is less than full size, otherwise I would have loved one of these for writing trips such as the Gitex one, where the only purpose of having a PC is just to write, browse and email. At $449 it looks very attractive as a second machine, but my experiments with a smaller than 19mm pitch keyboard on my Samsung Tab S have not been successful. I’m going to have to stump up for one of the Logitech Ultrathin keyboards, I think. Then, I may be able to leave the PC at home. (BR)