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BenQ's New Wares Bank On Digital Technology

BenQ is set to unveil several products, including a new flat-panel 15-inch LCD, optical storage formats, digital projectors and digital cameras during Comdex Fall at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Ralph Tang, president of BenQ, told CRN in an exclusive interview that the vendor also plans to roll out a 17-inch flat-panel LCD in February.

"This high-end, 17-inch model continues with all the good features," said Tang. "And we've added functions such as height adjustment and more input capabilities such as S-video and composite input."

Pricing for the 17-inch model would most likely be slightly higher than that of BenQ's FP591, which costs $350 to $400, Tang said.

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BenQ focuses on six lines in the United States, including LCDs and CRT based monitors.

Meanwhile, the FP591 features super brightness aimed at fulfilling video application needs such as television, DVD/VCD movies, Web browsing and gaming, Tang said. A low response time of 16ms is likewise aimed at delivering quality motion pictures. The product also features built-in surround-sound audio, with optional add-ons such as a television tuner box and digital photo frame device.

The City of Industry-based vendor, previously known as Acer Communications and Multimedia, adopted the name BenQ earlier this year. BenQ also owns a large equity stake in AU Optronics, an LCD manufacturer whose components are used in many of today's flat-panel display devices, said Tang.

BenQ, with global headquarters in Taiwan, currently focuses on six product lines in the United States, including LCDs and CRT-based monitors, high-end digital displays and televisions, a variety of emerging storage formats, scanners and other digital imaging products, input devices, and wired and wireless networking hardware.

"We are in the midst of the evolution from analog to digital, so what you see in most of the new products we are introducing is toward the digital trend," Tang said.

The new optical storage drives, the BenQ 5224P and 5224PI internal/external CD-RWs, feature some of the fastest speeds available at 52X write, 24X rewrite and 52X performance. The BenQ Blue Jay is a mobile media player compatible with multiple audio and video formats, he said. The BenQ SL705X, a new digital projector, features native XGA resolution of 1,024 x 768, and its digital compression and dithering technology allow compatibility up to 1,280 x 1,024, Tang said.

BenQ launched its Qreseller Program earlier this year, which leverages the vendor's regional and specialty distributors, including D&H Distributing, Ingram Micro and SED International, to reach out to SMB VARs and systems integrators.

"We are very much encouraged by the response," Tang said. "We will continue to provide sales leads, product information and training to support and encourage resellers."

Rex Aguirre, president of Island Computer Concepts, a Bohemia, N.Y., VAR serving SMBs in the Long Island area, said his company purchases BenQ through distribution channels and recently signed up for the Qreseller Program.

Island Computer Concepts has seen positive returns from combining BenQ's CRT-based monitors and LCDs with Compaq Business Line units, he said.

"I've been very happy with the quality of these LCD screens," Aguirre said. "All of the support BenQ promised has happened so far, and we are really pleased with the products."

Aguirre said he met Tang during a BenQ exposition on Long Island. While Island Computer Concepts traditionally has sold mostly ViewSonic products, Aguirre said he decided to take a chance with BenQ after sampling its 17-inch flat-panel LCD.

"It's a hot item. I've already [placed quite a few orders for my clients," said Aguirre. "We got a significant discount on a demo unit, and that gave us a chance to get a feel for the units and how we would implement them for customers. It's on my desk right now."

Heather Clancy contributed to this story.

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