Exertis named Microsoft ‘OEM Device Partner of the Year’ for Linx tablets


Microsoft praises distributor for its speed in bringing its “multifunctional” and “best selling” range of white label tablets to the market

Exertis has been named Microsoft OEM Device Partner of the Year for its Linx tablets range.

The IT, gaming and mobile distribution specialist took the gong during the annual global Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards, with the winners announced this week. It beat rival OEM brands from 119 countries, with more than 2,500 brands in total entering across 37 different award categories.

The award, according to Exertis, recognises partners that have developed and delivered “exceptional” Microsoft-based solutions during the past year.

Exertis Mobile director Simon Woodman described the recognition as a “huge achievement” to the firm and the team, having only launched its first branded devices in 2014, just months after teaming up with Microsoft. According to GFK figures, the Linx brand is the best selling OEM brand in the UK, with Microsoft holding a 34 per cent share of that space.

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Linx 1010 Keyboard Dock

“Bringing our innovative range of tablets to market in record time, becoming the best-selling Windows based tablet in the UK and establishing Linx as a successful brand in both the consumer and B2B space has been an incredible journey,” said Woodman. “Our relationship with Microsoft at all levels has been instrumental in the success of Linx and we look forward to expanding the range both in the UK and other geographies.”

Microsoft Corp general manager, Worldwide Partner Group, Gavriella Schuster added: “Exertis is a prime example of the excellent talent we see in our Microsoft partner community to deliver innovative and transformative solutions to our mutual customers.”

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Linx Vision 8 inch Tablet with Xbox Controller

Microsoft Winner 2016 Statement
OEM Exertis United Kingdom Exertis has excelled not only at bringing to market a device in only 4 months but also at developing a multi-functional tablet (Linx Tablet). From a share perspective, this tablet has helped Microsoft win share in UK and is considered the best selling tablet with a market share of 34 per cent based on GFK. From a design perspective; this tablet comes in different flavours, ranging from tablet with optional keyboard, ruggedised devices, to gaming peripherals providing gamers a unique tablet experience.

Window of opportunity

Exertis is the self proclaimed biggest supplier of tablets in the UK, shipping 2.2 million units in 2014 (30+ per cent of the indirect market).

It’s range includes seven, eight and 10-inch models, with the latter available as part of a keyboard dock combo. Various packages are available focussed on B2B (including rugged versions), education and consumer – with an Xbox controller case also available for gaming enthusiasts.

According figures from eMarketer, half the UK population will use a tablet device this year – an incredible 33 million people.

Microsoft turned to Exertis and a number of other selected partners from around the world in June 2014, as part of an initiative to help boost adoption of its Windows OS. The programme, called CTE saw the electronics giant team up up with around 40 “trusted” Original Device Manufacturer [ODM] factories in Shenzhen, China to offer substantial licence discounts for the Windows 10 OS in its products.

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Partners were essentially given the opportunity to create and sell their own bespoke (specifications and design) white label devices for “significantly” lower costs than seen previously with Windows models. Chipset maker Intel were also on board ensuring that while lower price points were able to be met, performance quality was not, Woodman insisted during a previous discussion on Linx. Its first devices arrived in October and went on sale over Christmas, selling 120,000 units through likes of Amazon, eBay, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda.

Exertis first launched its Linx brand eight years ago as a white label for a number of consumer technology products including digital photo frames, bluetooth speakers and cables before being shelved for the past two to three years.

Woodman told Mobile News earlier this year: “The CTE program is about allowing Windows 10 devices to be more competitive in the market and reach price points never seen before,” says Woodman. “Anyone can stick their brand on a cheap device built in China, but the quality isn’t always there. We didn’t want to go down that route and what Microsoft was offering sounded really interesting, but we didn’t want to compete against our traditional manufacturers who remain key to us. We needed to find a space where we could cohabit and this enables us to do just that.

“What we achieved in such a short amount of time was incredible. We were late to the party with a new brand so everything was set against us. But we have some very strong and very close and trusting relationships with some of the biggest retailers in the market. We weren’t prepared to jeopardise our reputation.

“We had amazing price points and multiple form factors which were very much a disruptive play in a market dominated by Android. We weren’t sure how the market would respond, but the reaction has been phenomenal.”