Walmart to be exclusive retailer, selling W1 as prepaid smartphone
Huawei will be putting its first Windows Phone 8 device on sale in the United States as a prepaid device in the near future. The Huawei Ascend W1, renamed the Huawei W1 for the US market, will be made available in Walmart stores and Walmart.com later this month, and retains the same specifications and feature set that Electronista saw at Mobile World Congress in February.
Facebook makes first appearance on list
Business magazine Fortune has released the 2013 edition of its list of the 500 biggest corporations in the US. One of the most significant shifts in the list is the ascendancy of Apple, which has jumped from 17th place to sixth, breaking into the top 10 for the first time. Fortune comments that while the company has "maintained more than disrupted" its product line, and even had to apologize for iOS 6 Maps and its Chinese warranty services, it "remains an innovation icon."
Walmart iPad mini drops to $299
US retailers Best Buy and Walmart have begun new online sales on iPads. The former is selling third-generation iPads at up to 30 percent off, for instance putting a 32GB Wi-Fi model at $384, $165 off retail. A 16GB 4G iPad, meanwhile, is going for $406.
Android support planned
Walmart will expand its Scan & Go iPhone checkout system to over 200 stores by the end of the coming year, says Reuters. The program started near Walmart's home office in Bentonville, Arkansas, and is currently in about 70 stores so far. For the foreseeable future Scan & Go will remain iPhone-only, but Walmart spokespeople say that Android support is coming in the near future.
Companies can require addresses, phone numbers in California
Apple and other online retailers aren't breaking state law by requiring people to submit their address and phone number when making credit card payments, the California Supreme Court has ruled. The decision at least temporarily ends a proposed class action brought by David Krescent, who charged that Apple should not be able to require the extra information for iTunes purchases. Reuters reports that eBay and Walmart submitted briefs in support of Apple.
Plans begin at $45 per month with $25 per month financing
Walmart will add the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4 to no-contract Straight Talk unlimited plans, with no carrier subsidy, starting on January 11, the company says. More than 2,000 Walmart stores and the online corporate site will sell the iPhone 5 for $649 (16GB model only) and the iPhone 4 for $449 (8GB model only). Qualified buyers will be able to get a Walmart Credit Card that allows for the phone cost to be billed in $25 monthly increments.
Best Buy singles out iPhone 5 sale
A number of retailers, including Best Buy and Toys R Us, have complained to attorney generals in several states about Walmart advertising practices, the Wall Street Journal reports. The complaints generally argue that Walmart is using inaccurate pricing or non-equivalent products to lay claim to the lowest prices. Best Buy, though, has specifically singled out problems with a Walmart iPhone 5 sale.
iPhone 5 price drops to $127
[Update: the sale iPad is a third-gen model, not fourth-gen] Starting today, Walmart is launching a sale on several Apple products in the US. The retailer is dropping the price of a 16GB, third-generation Wi-Fi iPad down to $399 -- the same price as the iPad 2 -- and beginning Monday, also bundling in a $30 iTunes card. The third-generation iPad was discontinued when the latest model was introduced in October, just eight months after the third-generation's debut.
Online sales on Thanksgiving also increased
Black Friday e-commerce spending by US shoppers has passed the $1 billion milestone for the first time. The amount of online retail activity for Friday, November 23rd has been called the "heaviest online spending day to date in 2012," with sales increasing 26 percent compared to Black Friday last year.
Walmart and T-Mobile team offer Halo promotion to PAYG customers
In conjunction with Microsoft's Halo 4 launch on the Xbox 360, Walmart and T-Mobile are offering fans of the game an exclusive promotional offer. Between November 6 and December 31, customers who purchase a T-Mobile pay-as-you-go unlimited talk and text plan valued at $30 per month or more will receive an exclusive in-game Halo 4 Spartan emblem. The T-Mobile Walmart portal has more information on the promotion.
Nintendo launches Wii U Sampling Tour across US retailers
The Nintendo Wii U won't become available for sale in the US until November 18, but potentially interested buyers can try the system out starting November 5. Nearly 5,000 demonstration booths will be set up across US retailers that include Best Buy, GameStop, Target, Walmart, and Toys 'R' Us. They will either let shoppers play one of the launch titles or offer a video presentation of the console's features.
Holiday promotion of Boxee TV promises 3-month cloud DVR trial
As expected, the Boxee TV is now available for purchase at Walmart. The big box store chain is the only retail location to purchase the device, with online purchasing at Boxee's site the other option. The $98 piece of hardware includes a digital antenna, and word is buyers will get a three-month trial period to the No Limits DVR service.
Walmart now offering Go Big and Go Bigger hotspot data plans from TruConnect
TruConnect, which is an MVNO that piggybacks on Sprint's network, has introduced two new Internet on the Go plans on Thursday that rely on a mobile hotspot. The Go Big and Go Bigger plans will be available to purchase only through Walmart stores. Neither requires a contract but they differ mainly in when the data allotment expires.
Boxee TV due in 3,000 Walmart stores tomorrow for $98
Walmart will begin stocking the Boxee TV at 3,000 of its locations across the US starting on November 1, the two revealed. The device will sell for $98 and Walmart will set up displays just for the device along with dedicated marketing materials. Other than streaming Netflix and YouTube content, the device can also pick up free over the air content in HD.
Full boxed copy on sale, not as pre-order
Walmart is selling Windows 8 over the counter 11 days too early. The retailer has been spotted putting boxed copies of Windows 8 Pro on its shelves ahead of the official October 26th street date, with employees claiming the operating system was available to purchase, though the store was not promoting them.
Parties blame low shipments from Apple
Best Buy, Walmart, and Sam's Club are delaying sales of iPhone 5 preorders to some customers, MacRumors notes. One person says that they received an email from Best Buy warning him that he wouldn't have his phone today, and that it might take up to 28 days before it's in stock. The person claims moreover that he was the first person to preorder a black 64GB model at his location, and that all of his friends got the same email.
E-retailer's Kindle Fire cuts in on Walmart's turf
After exhausting its current inventory of Amazon products, Walmart will no longer carry Amazon's Kindle tablets and e-readers. This according to an internal memo obtained by Reuters, as well as confirmation from a source familiar with Walmart's operations. The decision, making Walmart the second major retail chain to stop carrying Kindle products, is said to be an attempt on Walmart's part to curb competition from Amazon's e-retail unit.
Buyers may have to wait until September 15th
New information on Walmart's iPhone 5 preorder plans has emerged, 9to5Mac reports. Leaked documents show that while the company originally advertised preorders starting at 8AM local time today, that timing has been pushed up until whenever each store gets the necessary reservation cards delivered. Each card costs $25, which counts toward the purchase price of an iPhone.
Joins rush to clear out phones ahead of September announcement
Walmart has announced that beginning today, it's dropping the price of the 16GB iPhone 4S to $148 at some of its US stores. The cut is $40 off Walmart's normal price, and applies to contract phones for all three national carriers: AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon. Walmart hasn't produced a list of the participating stores, and is instead asking shoppers to check with local outlets.
Discounts apply on store-to-store basis
(Updated with Walmart statement) The reported Walmart discounts on iPhones aren't in effect across the entire Walmart chain, reports observe. The Verge notes that it managed to find a Walmart in Austin with the same bargain, but four other US outlets had regular prices. 9to5Mac says it called 17 Walmarts around the US, none of which were offering discounts. Separate of these, though, one out of two Austin Walmarts was offering the deal, as well as one out of two stores in Edmond, though the Frontage Road location said the iPhone 4S was "$114 this morning, for a little while."
Retail outlets to see more space dedicated to Apple
Apple is likely to increase its footprint outside of its existing Apple Stores, according to analysts at Piper Jaffray. The iPhone and iPad maker is looking to expand on pilot projects that have seen Apple "store-within-a-store" (SWAS) popping up in select Walmart and Target stores. Taken nationally, such a move would tremendously expand Apple's retail reach, as the two big box retailers have significantly more rural distribution than does Apple.
Wikipad Android tablet gets Gaikai's web gaming
Streaming game service Gaikai, which teamed up with Walmart last year on browser-based game demos, is back in the news. This time around, it has partnered with electronics manufacturer Wikipad to bring its games to an Android-based tablet. The tablet has grown to include a 10.1-inch screen rather than the 8.1-inch version when it was shown off at CES.
New prepaid plan, 4G hotspot due on May 1
Verizon Wireless has added new tiers to its phone and data prepaid offerings starting on May 1. A new $80 smartphone plan includes unlimited talk and text messaging while allotting 1GB of data use per month. At the same time, the carrier will ship the Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot MiFi 4510L with prepaid mobile packages.
Walmart to carry four U Prepaid phones
Regional wireless providers US Cellular and Alltel have teamed up with Walmart on an upcoming launch of a new no-contract service. Called U Prepaid, it will be available in nearly 500 Walmart stores in 18 states. The service will focus on offering simple and easy-to-understand service plans.
Vudu could go international in 2012
Vudu's streaming movie and TV service could leave the US for the first time, according to apparent leaks emerging later on Thursday. The strategy passed on to Variety from unnamed sources would have Vudu available in Mexico by June, followed by sweeping coverage in South America. Asia and Europe would be part of the expansion further into 2012, although it's unknown if Canada would join in.
May foreshadow future chain expansion
Walmart is beginning to deploy a new Apple store-within-in-a-store concept in its outlets, ifoAppleStore reports. One early example is an outlet in Lowell, Arkansas, which now has an Apple section with wooden tables that have products like iPads locked in display cases underneath. More conspicuous though are large, backlit, double-sided displays above the tables, something not normally seen in other retail chains' Apple sections.
Roku media hub arrives with slight premium
Roku on Monday kicked off its Canadian launch. The country will get two higher-end models in the lineup, the Roku 2 XD and Roku 2 XS, both of which can handle 1080p video; the XS bundles in the Wii-like motion remote and includes both Ethernet and USB for wired access and local content. Canadians get much of the same content, including Netflix, Rdio music, and major sports like the MLB and NHL, although US-specific services like Hulu Plus are out of contention.
D-Link adds MovieNite media hub
D-Link threw itself into low-cost media hubs Tuesday with the MovieNite. Borrowing from the design cues of the Apple TV and Roku 2, the device at $60 is one of the least expensive capable of 1080p video. Its primary sources are Netflix, Vudu, and YouTube for video as well as Pandora for streaming music and Picasa for photos.
AT&T, Verizon each double Apple figures
The number of Americans buying iPhones from Best Buy is just under the number buying them from Apple itself, according to a Consumer Intelligence Research Partners survey. The firm polled people in December, January, and February to learn where they picked up their devices. Retail stores accounted for 76 percent of iPhone sales, compared to 24 percent online. The ratios were 67 percent and 33 percent during the launch of the iPhone 4S in October.
eSport Clip has 1.8-inch screen, 5MP camera, more
Ematic has just shipped its latest portable media player, the eSport Clip. It has a capacity of 4GB and attaches onto user's belts or clothes thanks to an integrated clip. The screen is just 1.8 inches in size, and the player has a five-megapixel digital camera built-in as well that can take either photos or videos.
Will beat Apple launches by several hours
In an unexpected move, Walmart has announced that it will start selling iPads at 12:01AM on Friday. The retailer is promising only a "limited supply" of tablets; midnight launches are also being restricted to 24-hour locations. As with most retailers selling the new hardware, prices will start at $499 for a 16GB Wi-Fi model.
Apple details new iPad launch beyond first batch
Apple in its customary pre-launch details both confirmed a launch time for the new iPad and outlined the next wave of countries after the initial March 16 date. True to recent leaks, the first 10 countries will start selling the new tablet at retail at 8AM through at least Apple stores. Best Buy, RadioShack, Sam's Club, Target, and Walmart will also have the iPad, although some of these are likely to open later.
Walmart kicks of UltraViolet service, now in beta
Walmart has officially announced its UltraViolet conversion service, letting users digitize their existing DVD and Blu-ray movies. Viewers will have the ability to bring a movie into one of the more than 3,500 participating stores in the US and have their movies added to a Vudu account, after which they can stream it at any time.
DVDs stamped to avoid multiple licenses
Walmart is reportedly set to formally announce its UltraViolet services sometime tomorrow, after the endeavor has been detailed by several recent leaks. The retailer is said to be allowing customers to bring in their existing DVD collections and pay between $2 and $4 per disc to gain access to corresponding digital copies.
Target and Walmart join pact on NFC payment
Target and Walmart have joined in the development of yet another mobile payment system, insides gave out on Thursday. The two were said by Wall Street Journal's contacts to now be part of a group with about 24 member store chains hoping to create a standard that, though not directly named, would use NFC. Consulting firm BetterBuyDesign's Steve Mott corroborated the plan by revealing its involvement in the project, with word that big chains as well as drugstores, fast food restaurants, and vending machine firms were involved.
Customers will be able to access digital content
Walmart is reportedly preparing to launch in-store UltraViolet service, in an attempt to assist customers who want to take advantage of the digital licensing system. The company is said to be involved in discussions with UltraViolet partners to work out the final details.
Barnes & Noble set to tackle Kindle Fire head-on
Barnes & Noble looks set to tackle the hot-selling Amazon Kindle Fire head-on by releasing a reduced storage capacity version of its Nook Color sequel, the Nook Tablet. According to the The Verge, it has received documentation purported to be from Walmart showing that it is set to release an 8GB model at 12:01 AM on Wednesday, February 22. Currently, the 16GB version of the Nook Tablet retails at $249, suggesting that Barnes & Noble aims to get close to, equal, or beat the pricing of the Kindle Fire at $199.
NPD says Apple top US tech brand
Apple now represents about a fifth of all technology sales in the US, new NPD data showed Monday. By the end of 2011, 19 percent of revenue in the US was related to an Apple product. The company was now the top company selling technology in the US, topping HP, Samsung, Sony, and Dell even when the others could include their sales from all categories.
Canadians hit by clay iPad scam
Canadians have been hit by up to 24 known cases of iPad 2s being sold substituted with clay at major retailers in Vancouver, including Future Shop, Best Buy, Walmart, and London Drugs. According to CTV News, customers were sold boxes that looked like new. However, while perfectly sealed, they were given weight by clay, where in at least one instance, a charger was also replaced with clay.
Walmart adds unlimited data to family plans
Walmart and T-Mobile have just added unlimited data to Walmart's Family Mobile plans. They already include unlimited talk and text, and retain the same monthly price points of $45 for the first line and $35 for additional lines. Previously, the family plans included just 250MB of shared web access.
Part of move toward improving internal Mobile Labs
Walmart has bought out Small Society, a mobile app developer currently based in Portland, Oregon, reports say. While mostly unknown to the public, the developer is responsible for a number of high-profile apps. A partial resume includes Amazon, Starbucks, Zipcar, Live Nation, Whole Foods, and the 2008 Obama election campaign.
Foreign buyers report US-only credit accepted
Shoppers who are stuck for a very last-minute Christmas gift at a discount price can opt for Wal-Mart's ongoing offer of $50 in iTunes credit via a "virtual card" that is delivered via e-mail for just $40. Shoppers report the credit can be obtained after purchase in as little as 15 minutes, once users verify their e-mail address and use a special PIN number in the confirmation e-mail to redeem their purchase. The "eCard" can be sent as a gift to another e-mail address.
Apple helped by Black Friday, iTunes shopping
Early holiday shopping helped push Apple past some of the largest stores online for visitors, comScore said Thursday. Apple's website and iTunes combined got over 79.2 million unique visitors in November, large enough to push it past eBay (72.1 million) and even retail giant Walmart (58.5 million). Other major shopping sites it eclipsed included Best Buy (36.5 million) and Sears (31 million).
Sonos update stops Zune, Microsoft devices
Sonos has quietly put out an update for its Play and Bridge devices last week that unusually strips out features. The 3.6 update pulls support for copy-protected Windows Media files, leaving Zune Pass users and those still tied to mostly inactive PlaysForSure DRM stores without a way to stream their music to Sonos boxes. The company hasn't given an explanation for the switch but has been asked for a comment.
Limited time offer may be price matched
Certain local Target and Walmart stores have at least temporarily been selling the Amazon Kindle Fire for $123.38. Images have surfaced showing the Fire, as a limited time special in a Trumbull, Connecticut Target store for 35 percent off the normal selling price of $199. Photos of Walmart matching that price have also appeared on the web.
Initial iPhone sellouts replenished on Saturday
New analyst data may back up claims that Apple did extremely well on Black Friday. Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore says his firm checked with over 200 locations, divided between about 100 Apple Stores and 100 AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, Best Buy, Walmart, and Target outlets. Roughly 75 percent of Apple Stores were sold out of the iPhone 4S by the end of Friday, although by Saturday that number had dropped to 30 percent.
Netflix wins summary ruling after Walmart settles
A federal judge in California has dismissed a class action suit against Netflix on Tuesday. The plaintiffs had sought up to $654 million in damages, claiming that movie rental and streaming giant had entered into an illegal "market allocation" agreement with Walmart. The judge summarily dismissed the case, which was filed in January, 2009, after finding that the plaintiffs hadn't shown any collusive agreement.
Nintendo Wii blue ready for Walmart
Walmart's flyer for its Black Friday sale [Flash needed] has revealed that it will have an extremely rare blue edition of the Nintendo Wii. The Limited Edition Blue Console bundle has what looks to be the cheaper Wii, minus GameCube support, in the same light blue as Nintendo had previously been using just for an add-on remote. Accordingly, the remote is color-matched to the console; the included Nunchuk controller hasn't been shown, but likely matches as well.
Vudu-To-Go downlaods open to Macs and PCs
Vudu broke out of its streaming-first mode on Thursday with Vudu-To-Go. The service now lets those who have bought a movie or a TV show download it to a Mac or Windows PC to watch without needing an Internet connection. The videos run through an Adobe AIR app that keeps the videos protected.
iPad title mainly layout upgrade
Walmart has updated its iPhone shopping app, and simultaneously introduced a separate iPad title. Both apps let users browse and order products, as well as get directions to nearby outlets. Other functions include checking local store stock, creating item lists, and browsing sales.