Microsoft has announced today that it will be opening its third California retail store in South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, CA. The software giant did not give an exact date for the store's opening, but did say it would be this spring. This move continues a trend of opening stores on the west coast, closer to Microsoft's home base.
There are also a fair number of Microsoft retail stores in other areas, including the Midwest, but none on the east coast. Rumors indicate that Microsoft may be looking to change that with a store in New York sometime this year. The stores are used as locations for consumers to get their hands on the latest Microsoft devices and software. Windows Phone 7 is a big part of the initiative, but pre-configured computers from Microsoft partners are also present.
Despite the similarities in look to the Apple stores, there are only seven currently open Microsoft stores. Apple is over 300 at this point. Do you think Microsoft will ever see anything approaching the retail success for Apple?
The Kindle 3 appears to be a modest upgrade over the previous generation e-reader. But that hasn't stopped people from throwing their money at Amazon. Analysts had predicted that Amazon would sell around 5 million Kindles in 2010. Riding high on the Kindle 3 wave, Bloomberg reports the retailer is likely to sell over 8 million instead.
To really put this in perspective, in 2009 Amazon moved only 2.4 million of the e-reader devices. Clearly, this last year has been big for electronic books. Users of mobile phones and the iPad are also able to buy into the Amazon book ecosystem with Kindle apps. But contrary to some predictions in the wake of the iPad announcement, demand for the dedicated e-reader is not abating.
The Kindle 3 offers the same size eInk display in an overall smaller and lighter form factor. The new screen also has higher contrast than earlier models. Have you noticed more people buying Kindles this year?
If you wander into your local Best Buy store hoping to walk out with Motorola Droid 2 Global, or Droid Pro, you could be in for disappointment. According to Engadget, Verizon is mightily displeased that Best Buy knocked to two-year contract price of the Droid 2 Global and Droid Pro down to $100 and $50 respectively. This reportedly violated an agreement the company had with Verizon.
All the units of these two phones are being pulled from shelves now, and Verizon won't even activate them even if you could get Best Buy to sell you one. If you ask Best Buy, this is being called a "recall". How civil. We can understand Verizon's desire to keep the price on new phones higher, but they rake in more money from the two-year agreement than they ever would from the upfront price. So what if Verizon stores miss a few sales? Something seems fishy here. Anyone care to guess at just what is going on?
To measure is to know, said Lord Kelvin. But as marketing departments get more and more creative with their published specifications, what we're left measuring—and by extension, knowing—about our gear is increasingly worthless.
Amazon's third quarter financial results came with an unexpected twist. According to the retailer's SEC filings, the state of Texas handed Amazon a bill for $269 million for uncollected state sales tax. Amazon has said that the assessment of taxes is "without merit" and they plan to pursue the matter legally.
This isn't the first time Amazon has been at odds with state regulators. Businesses have traditionally only had to pay taxes in states where they have facilities or employees. Some states have tried to use Amazon's affiliate program as an excuse to levy taxes. Both North Carolina and Rhode Island went that route, so Amazon ended the affiliate programs there.
As state budgets continue to tighten, more legislatures may look to the wildly successful online retailer as a source of cash. Do you think Amazon and other sites should have to pay (and presumably charge you) state sales tax in all states?
Even if you don’t shop at Costco, chances are if you live anywhere in North America you’ve at least made eye contact with one of their monolithic warehouses that line the sides of almost every major highway. Costco’s footprint makes them the third largest retailer in the United States, but even with all that negotiating power it appears as though they may be considering the atomic option to get back at Apple for refusing to let them carry the iPad.
According to anonymous sources quoted by iLounge, the company has intentionally pulled all iPod hardware from its Costco.com website, and will slowly deplete its retail stock before dropping the lineup altogether. This might sound like a fairly harsh recourse, but it likely has more to do with the fact that rival outlets including Target, Wal-Mart, and even Sam Club will all carry the device going into the holiday season.
If this story is indeed true it will be interesting to see if Costco has the power to bully Steve Jobs into submission. I imagine we have quite a few readers out there that would love to see him eat a piece of their Kirkland branded humble pie.
You love t-shirts. I love t-shirts. We’re all geeks, and if there’s one thing that geeks love more than random Youtube vdeos, it’s t-shirts related to internet memes/awesome art/random life musings. It’s true! And that’s why this week’s web app of the week has nothing to do with software, making your life better, improving your ability to do offline activities on the web, or any of that usual freeware-related nonsense.
Nope. This week is all about your purse and/or wallet. And your general sense of fashion. There are a t-o-n ton of various sites on the Internet that you can use to purchase interesting and cool-looking duds at a relatively low price. That’s not the point here.
It's a lot harder to both find these sites and scan them all on a daily basis for new stuff to wear. And how can you be sure that what you’re buying is the best style choice for how you want to look? What if a better t-shirt exists, at a lower price, and you just didn’t realize it was out there? Waiting for you to pick it up!
Earlier this week we learned Nvidia had decided to sell its own branded videocards in Best Buy, which so far appear limited to the GeForce GTX 450 and 460. The move had us wondering how Nvidia's add-in board (AIB) partners would react, who would now be in direct competition with the graphics chip maker.
"No comment," EVGA's Joe Darwin told CNET when asked how his company felt about the news. "It's something [Nvidia] has always talked about, and now it's finally here."
Put another way, EVGA seems perturbed but publicly poised. Darwin also explained what value his company brings to the graphics card business that sets it apart from Nvidia.
"Definitely our level of customer service and our programs and our community. All of our tech support is in house, 24-7," Darwin said. "There are actual EVGA employees that do the support here; it's not sourced out. They get all the training from our product team. Our RMA service averages two to three days to turn around products in to us [for repair]. We haven't seen anyone else that can compete on that level."
EVGA is also known for its robust warranty program. Provided buyers register their cards within 30 days of purchase, EVGA cards carry a lifetime warranty, including overclocking and using third party heatsinks (as long as you don't physically damage the card in the process).
If you recently bought a smartphone, there's a solid chance it was an Android device. According to some new numbers from Nielsen Research, In August 2010, 32% of smartphone buyers went with phones running Google's Android mobile operating system. That's a rise from July, when the value was only 28%. Apple's iPhone was slightly behind at 26% for August. RIM has taken a pounding as of late seeing their monthly numbers fall from 35% back in June, to a mere 25% in August.
These numbers are good for studying the rate at which a phone sells, but overall success is perhaps more aptly measure by total market share. That is, how many people are using each operating system. Here, the numbers tell a different story according to Nielsen. Apple is holding steady over time, with a current market share of 28%. RIM has fallen slightly, but is still in the lead with 31%. Android, while killing it in the monthly sales figures, is still playing catch up with 19% current market share.
The huge rise in Android sales makes it the only major OS that's actually gaining right now. It may only be a matter of time before the army of Android phones overwhelms the iPhone and Blackberry.
Well, physical game discs, it was a good game. You fought hard and had a nice, long reign, but now you’re relics -- destined to be excavated millennia from now and presented as evidence of our time period’s ingenious developments in Frisbee technology. Hear that? That’s the fat lady singing. She’s belting along to the tune of 11.2 million units, which is how many the digital market moved during the first half of 2010. Retail, meanwhile, went down swinging with 8.2 million.
Note, however, that NPD – who presented the report – doesn’t have access to Steam or Blizzard’s sales data. Instead, "weighted and projected" surveys provided a portion of the data, which were – at the very least – accurate in so far as Steam came in first by so many thousands of miles that most of its competitors were technically on another planet.
Direct2Drive, EA, Worldofwarcraft.com, and Blizzard.com rounded out the top five, which sounds about right to us, although we’d still like to see some hard numbers to back it up. Overall, however, NPD saw a 21 percent decline in traditional PC game sales, the blame for which it placed squarely on the shoulders of the already massive casual and free-to-play games market.
So basically, the PC gaming market is like an incredibly unstable dictatorship. One day, someone’s on top, but the next, they’re mysteriously found dead – the cause of death being a far less mysterious knife between their ribs. Then someone else takes over, and the cycle begins anew. Word is, they’re already making an HBO drama about it. And by “word,” we mean we’ve got a cheapo video camera and are willing to pay in whatever you can steal while our roommates aren’t looking.