Walmart has begun serving cloud-based game demos on the Game Center section of its site, having struck a one-year deal for the same with cloud gaming startup Gaikai. Like with any cloud gaming service out there, the graphics are rendered in the cloud and then streamed to the user’s browser - all in real time, thereby eliminating the need to download or install anything related to the game. Hit the jump to find out more.
You can find Vudu on hundreds of devices, such as HDTVs, Blu-ray players, set-top boxes, Sony's PlayStation 3 console, and the Boxee Box. In addition to all that, Vudu just announced that its entire catalog of content is now available directly on Vudu.com, accessible via your Web browser in a Flash-based player that will allow you to watch your rented or purchased flicks on your PC or CE device.
Much to the dismay of AT&T, the wireless carrier's exclusivity agreement with Apple to sell the iPhone is officially over. February 10 is here, and that means the iPhone 4, in CDMA form, is available on Verizon's network, though you don't have to march into a Verizon store to get one. Wallyworld announced that it too is selling iPhone 4 devices on Verizon Wireless in select stores.
HTC plastered the entire side of a building at CES advertising a new phone that reads, "It's not your dream phone. It's the one after that." Perhaps not coincidentally, Walmart just added a listing for the HTC Evo Shift 4G. Could this be the device HTC is teasing?
There's a good chance it is, and hopefully HTC gives Walmart the 411 on the spec sheet so the retailer can fix its listing. We know it's going to be an Android device, and according to Walmart, it will sport Android 2.2 but lack threaded text messaging. Huh? It gets even goofier. Walmart says it will sport a 3.7-inch capacitive touchscreen display, but if you scroll down, Walmart pegs the screen size at 4.3 inches.
There are plenty of other specs to digest here, but quite frankly, you're better off waiting for an official announcement from HTC. With CES kicking off this week, you probably won't have to wait long.
Not to come off all bragadocious, but we had a feeling Walmart's decision to offer free shipping for the holidays would be contagious, and it looks like we were right. Following suit is Best Buy, which is offering the same deal up through December 21st, one day longer than Walmart.
"We know consumers are looking for value and convenience this holiday season, and we’re continuing to provide them with exciting ways to improve their shopping experience," said John Thompson, senior vice president and general manager of BestBuy.com. "With free shipping and Store Pickup Plus, in addition to our wide selection of must-have technology gifts, competitive prices and round the clock service, we’re giving our customers more choices than ever to complete their holiday shopping with ease."
So which deal is better? That really depends on what you're looking for. While Walmart's free shipping promotion includes all electronics, Best Buy said its offer excludes laptops, netbooks, iPads, iPods, game hardware, Dynex TVs, appliance, and a handful of other items that require scheduled delivery.
We like to think of ourselves as vendor agnostic, so far be it for us to pimp any particularly e-tailer over another. To be clear, that's not what we're doing here, but because we're big into online shopping, and we imagine you are too, we felt it newsworthy to let you know what Walmart's up to.
From now until December 20th, 2010, Walmart is offering free ground shipping on nearly 60,000 eligible items, including all electronics (our favorite items), with no minimum purchase requirement, subscription fees, or other hidden fees of any sort, the mega chain announced.
"Customers are doing all they can to save money this holiday, so we’re excited to offer free shipping to home, with no minimum purchase requirement as an early Christmas present to them," said Steve Nave, senior vice president and general manager of Walmart.com. "This limited-time free shipping to home offer on nearly 60,000 select items, including all electronics, is just one of the ways Walmart.com is helping families save money so they can bring home more for less this holiday season."
Decide for yourself if Walmart is the Mecca of savings or the ultimate evil organization. Either way, we wonder if this will put pressure on other vendors to offer the same or similar shipping deals through the holidays.
You could already pick up pre-paid cell phones at Walmart, but now the mega-chain has taken it to a new level by introducing the first cell phone plan under its own branding with billing at the end of the month.
The new service will run on T-Mobile's USA network and include unlimited calling and texting for $45 per month for the first line, and $25 for each additional line.
"What we saw as an opening in the marketplace for a really bringing family savings and a family plan and T-Mobile was a great partner there," said Greg Hall, vice president of merchandising at Walmart U.S.
There won't be any contract requirement or early termination fees attached to the service when it launches next week, though subscribers will have to pay for the phone. The cheapest available will be a Nokia cell phone for $35, with four other models to choose from, including the Motorola Cliq XT smartphone, which will sell for $249.
According to new numbers from the NPD Group, Apple's iTunes extended its lead over Walmart and now dominates the online music scene with a 70 percent share of the digital music market, while sales accounted for 28 percent of all music purchased during the first quarter of 2010.
Walmart sits it in a distant second place, a position it now shares with Amazon, which was able to gain 4 percentage points to tie Walmart with 12 percent of the market.
"Amazon's growth reflects a stronger position in both the CD and digital formats," Russ Crupnick, vice president of industry analysis for the NPD Group, said in a statement. "This dual-pronged approach of selling both digital music and CDs helps attract the most valuable and committed music buyer who prefers access to both formats."
Walmart held the top spot in physical CD sales with 17 percent of the market, though CD sales in general are declining. Digital music, meanwhile, made up 40 percent of the market in the first quarter of 2010, up significantly from 5 percent during the same quarter one year ago.
Attention Walmart shoppers, the price of the iPhone 3GS 16GB has been cut to $97, a significant price drop from the $199 it was selling for prior to today.
The aggressive price cut is undoubtedly in anticipation of Apple's upcoming iPhone 4G announcement, which you can expect during the Worldwide Developer Conference on June 7. What isn't as clear, however, is whether Walmart is simply trying to rid itself of 3GS inventory, or if this will become the new entry-level iPhone model in a couple of weeks.
Walmart's price cut comes a little earlier than most probably expected, but isn't too surprising when you consider that a couple of iPhone 4G prototypes turned up in the wild and were posted online for all the world to see.
There's no doubt the used game market can be lucrative, it's tapping into it that's challenging. Just ask mega retail chain Walmart, which previously tried cashing in on used games by renting out space for E-play, a third-party automated kiosk company.
That didn't quite work out the way Walmart had hoped, so this time around the chain is partnering with a new start-up called Game Trade, which will lease space in select Walmart locations. To start off with, the new used game venture get a test run in five stores, with a national rollout to follow if all goes well.
Word on the Web is that customers will be able to buy, sell, and trade games for both store credit and cash, and that gaming might not be the only media to change hands. Moves might make their way into Game Trade's section, and so too might gaming hardware. In other words, pretty much everything you can find at your local Gamestop.