Archive for June, 2009
Last week I was invited to Packard Bell’s rebrand launch event at The Roof Gardens located at 99 Kensington High Street, London. There I was invited to look around a Packard Bell’s new product line up of PC’s, Laptops and Netbooks. As well as watch a presentation about Packard Bell and how they are evolving.
One of Packard Bells’s studies has determined six distinctive user segments:
- Tecno-leaders and Tecno-rationals are real trend setters. They look for innovation and the best performance. They have a complete mastery of technology and are always up-to-date; their primary source for information is the web, which is also their favorite purchase channel.
- “Trends & Lifestyle” consumers trust the brand above all. “Trends” value simplicity and reliability, while “Lifestyles” are also sensitive to design.
- “Conventionals” are influenced by trend setters. They buy the same things as trend setters as long as the brand is known and fulfils basic design criteria.
- The “Simplicity & Value for Money” segment doesnt care about brand or design. Technology has to be simple and cheap, with a good price/performance ratio.
Packard Bell’s new product line includes different new versions of netbooks (“dot m” and “dot s”) and notebooks (the brand new EasyNote Butterfly and the fresh new EasyNote TR series), plus nettops (imax mini), desktops (imedia and ixtreme), monitors (Maestro), which were already a great success on the market and have been refreshed and updated.
The new range of Packard Bell notebooks have LED panels, 16:9 aspect ratio, Dolby® Sound Room® and red capacitive buttons for power saving, backup and touchpad lock. The netbooks have the outstanding qualities of Dolby® headphones, an LED panel and multi-gesture touchpad, allowing an easy and intuitive access to a wide variety of applications, also available with the new Easynote TR series and the EasyNote Butterfly.
Highlights on the new products:
dot – jot it down
As soon as you see it you think about a stylish organizer with a fashionable look and feel and smart compact format. It is meant to be your inseparable companion, always with you in your bag or hand luggage. Jot down your thoughts on it or use it as the perfect tool to access the internet anytime with ease and reliability, enjoyment and comfort, an ideal complement for your digital camera.
In two versions, dot s (10.1-inch screen) and dot m (11.6-inch), both have multi-gesture touchpads, Wi-Fi, optional Bluetooth, optional 3G, VGA webcam and Dolby Headphone. The 10.1-inch widescreen dot s will be available in store July at the estimated price starting at £279, while dot m, with the amazing 11.6-inch widescreen starts at £349. Availability and technical features will vary according to country
EasyNote Butterfly – long life, light and respectful
In Mandarin Chinese, the word for butterfly has become a symbol for a long life. Which better name for a product that, thanks to a combination of new technologies, has one full working day of battery life? But the word butterfly stands for many different symbols all over the world. Often associated with the human soul, the image of a butterfly suggests the sense of lightness.
The new EasyNote Butterfly by Packard Bell is definitely light, 500 grams less than a standard notebook and less than 1-inch thick. With its graceful, elegant, stylish shape evoking the form of the butterfly and the great attention to details, this notebook will win the favour of “in style” people. The EasyNote Butterfly – available in store July.
EasyNote TR series – telltale signature
Glossy cover, matt interior, silver coloured touchpad, ramp speaker and keyboard are the characteristics of a real star, a notebook with great personality and unique design, which makes all the difference. Inspired by a co-work with Pininfarina, the EasyNote TR series is the notebook for those who want to be themselves and express their outstanding personality and love for exclusive pieces of design.
With 15.6-inch widescreen and Dolby® Sound Room®, creating a stunning personal surround-sound listening experience, the EasyNote TR series comes in three different versions: in black with a traditional LCD panel, plus a stunning blue version and an amazing black edge-to-edge version. The EasyNote TR85 in store July with an estimated street price starting at from £599
EasyNote NJ, EasyNote TJ and EasyNote LJ Series – Express who you really are!
The EasyNote NJ, EasyNote TJ and EasyNote LJ Series have an unmistakable look and feel, great attention to detail, elegance and style, while granting the ease of use, typical of Packard Bell’s products combined with maximum enjoyment.
In a market in which PCs have become a commodity, end-users look for products able to fully fit their needs and reflect who they are.
High-end design is a standard of the three new series while the key difference is the LED display screen size: 14-inch for the EasyNote NJ Series, enlarging to the popular 15.6-inch EasyNote TJ Series, up to the outstanding 17.3-inch that characterizes the EasyNote LJ Series. The EasyNote NJ has an estimated street price starting from £499.
Microsoft’s new search engine at http://www.bing.com has today gone live!
Microsoft says that research indicates that 66 percent of people are increasingly turning to search engines to assist in making decisions — above and beyond simple navigation or information retrieval, for which today’s search engines were originally built. No longer satisfied with the status quo of search, Microsoft designed Bing as a Decision Engine to provide you with intelligent search tools to help you simplify tasks and make more informed choices, from mapping out the fastest route to get home to researching a product purchase or planning a trip.
Bing provides great general search results, relevance, a big index and speed — all of the hallmarks of a good search engine. However, because sorting through search results can often be time consuming, Bing organizes popular results in a different way, designed to help you get the answers you’re looking for without having to guess the right way to phrase a search term.
According to Microsoft here are a few of the features of Bing:
Making Search Easier
Almost any search engine can provide basic results, but with Bing, we’ve improved many aspects of the search experience.
- Home page. Because you may not always know about the range of content a search engine can find for you, the Bing home page includes a beautiful new image daily, information hotspots embedded in that image, and clear links for starting your searches for video, news, shopping, travel, images or maps.
- Autosuggest. Bing examines what you are typing in the search box and will automatically suggest similar terms or common refinements related to the term you are typing. For example, when searching for “California,” you will see common related searches, including “California DMV,” “California lottery” and “California ski report.”
- Best Match. The Bing Best Match feature is designed to make finding relevant information easier by cutting down the number of clicks and getting you to your final destination faster. Best Match results include customer service numbers for retail sites, the ability to track a package right from the search page, deep links to common pages within the site and much more.
- Document Preview. Nearly one-quarter of searches result in rapid click back, when you realize that the search result was not what you were looking for.2 Document Preview lets you hover over a search result to see a preview of the site’s content, which helps you determine whether the site is likely to contain the information you’re looking for — before you click.
- Instant Answers. Bing provides Instant Answers that immediately return highly relevant direct answers in response to a specific search. For example, entering a flight number will return the most recent flight information and display it prominently in the results, saving the hassle of going to a separate page. Other Instant Answers on Bing include stock prices, local weather, sports scores and more.
Making Search More Organized
Our research indicates that 72 percent of people surveyed said current search results are too disorganized.3 To provide order to the chaos of search, Bing analyzes search results for certain types of search terms and organizes them so they’re easy for you to navigate. These categories include travel, shopping, health, technology, autos, entertainment, sports, animals and more.
- Explore Pane. Located on the left side of the screen, the Explore Pane lets you easily filter search results. Features in the Explore Pane include categorized search results called Quick Tabs, links to related searches and past searches in Session History. The Explore Pane also can be used in the local, travel and shopping experience for powerful refinement of your search results.
- Quick Tabs. Half of all searches are eventually refined to find more specific results.4 Quick Tabs anticipate your intent when searching and offers easy access to some of the most common refinements for a given search. For example, when searching for a favorite musician, Quick Tabs let you filter results by albums, biography, videos and images. These tabs change dynamically based on the search term. Searches for a certain city name yield Quick Tabs for tours, travel and images; searches for a car model generate categories on reviews, accessories and videos.
- Related Searches. When searching for a specific result, our research has shown that people also like to expand their search to explore related topics. After making an initial search, Related Searches provides a list of related search terms, helping you easily expand a search to find more great results.
- Session History. Nearly half of all searches are a repeat of a previous search.5 Session History provides easy access to searches from your current search session so that you don’t need to initiate a new query to get back to an earlier result.
- Video search. Bing video search helps make finding, previewing and watching videos easier. Bing indexes content from video sites across the Web and our own index of full-length television shows. It also includes filtering tools to narrow a search to make it easier for you to find the exact video you’re looking for.
- Image search. Bing image search includes infinite scroll, which lets you easily browse image results without clicking to a new page. Bing also has powerful filtering tools for images to make it easier to find just the right image.
- News search. Bing news search lets you search the latest news from across the Web and receive news alerts.
- Bing Maps. Bing Maps lets you easily find, discover, plan and share location information, including maps and directions and engaging bird’s-eye,6 3-D and aerial imagery.
Providing Tools to Help You Complete Tasks
Bing was designed to help you make smarter, more informed decisions faster. Bing focuses on four main areas:
- Shopping. Bing combines many of the shopping features available across the Web into one intuitive and easy-to-use experience. In addition to providing many product search refinement tools, Bing also scans the Web for user and expert reviews, organizes them by product attribute, and then ranks the sentiment in the reviews as either positive or negative. This enables you to filter quickly through lots of information to inform a purchase decision.
- Travel. BingTravel analyzes billions of pieces of airfare and hotel data to offer you flight Price Predictors and hotel Rate Indicators. Based on science, not marketing, Bing Travel enables you to make smart, well-informed decisions when planning a trip, every time.
- Local. Today’s search engines don’t always help people make informed decisions about the quality of a restaurant or the best way to contact a local mechanic. Bing presents relevant content including user reviews aggregated from local content sites, hours of operation for local businesses, one-click directions, maps and traffic reports.
- Health. Bing helps people find health information online. While there is no substitute for the expertise of a trained physician, Bing provides you with easy access to medical information from nine trusted resources to help you make more informed decisions about personal care.
So that’s what microsoft has to say but what about everyone else? Well here’s some quotes of what people have been saying on the web:
- Gizmodo: “In the automatically generated top links for Gizmodo are months-old links to single posts about the second Bill Gates/Seinfeld ad and leaked box shots of the Zune 16GB and 160GB models. Really?”
- Ars Technica: “The results for some queries blow my mind: how is it possible that the results can be so preposterously useless? Other times, though, a comparison with the old Live Search shows that Bing obviously has had its algorithm tweaked for the better.”
- Mashable: “There’s at least three very different versions of Bing right now, and depending on where you are, your Bing experience will be very different. It’s a very weird decision from Microsoft, bound to cause a lot of confusion, but hey: it’s the Microsoft way.”
- Technologizer: “Bing attempts to differentiate itself from what Steve Ballmer would call “the market leader” in search by focusing on helping users with four common action-oriented search tasks: making a purchase, planning a trip, researching a health condition and finding a local business.”
- ReadWriteWeb: “The main difference between the two search engines is that Bing offers more options on the left, including special sections for symptons, medication, children, etc. It also offers ‘related searches’, which with health-related searches is typically helpful … With Google you can get more options too, but you have to click “Show Options…” – which we’re not sure how many users do.”
For more info, here are some interesting links:
- Bing (.doc file, 37 kb)
- Bing Health (.doc file, 27 kb)
- Bing Local (.doc file, 29 kb)
- Bing Shopping (.doc file, 31 kb)
- Bing Travel (.doc file, 31 kb)