Usually reliable Google centric blog 9to5 Google broke the news, saying their sources claim the web giant will be expanding past their occasional Best Buy and special event pop up Chrome stores, and will be looking at a nationwide retail store model similar to that of competitor Apple. The stores would also be used in much of the same fashion as Apple stores, as Google would use them to show off their latest and greatest gadgets, and also offer technical support.
While a reasonable, even sane, argument can be made that Google looking to get into a dying industry late is a costly business failure waiting to happen, the truth is that Apple still does very well at their retail locations, and Google is consistently cited as being at least as popular, if not more so, than Apple is. The real reason this could work though is Project Glass, as Google is set to launch what could potentially be the next great invention, and a physical retail store that lets people practically try it, could be a big draw.
We’ll know more as the rumored holiday 2013 US openings of these stores draws closer, but the one thing we know for sure is that if Google has as much fun designing the stores as they did their offices, we’re all in for a treat.
Tomorrow you can finally pre-order that shiny, new iPhone 4 you’ve been dreaming of. I’ll be out at some point tomorrow to put down my own pre-order and I’ll be listing my current phone shortly thereafter.
You will be able to make pre-orders from a variety of stores, including your local AT&T retailer. There’s also Radio Shack, which looks like it won’t be requiring any sort of deposit and may actually be taking your old electronics for credit toward the new phone. Best Buy is also offering pre-order for a $50 deposit fee. Both retailers are rumored to be opening a bit early for the iPhone 4 launch day. Really, though, your big day is tomorrow if you want to make sure you lock one of these bad boys down.
If you’re going to release a great device, a gadget of any kind really, don’t bog the thing down with rebates. It just gives me reason to pause before selling anything I can find just to get my hands on it. I wasn’t so surprised to see Palm try the rebate thing with the Pre. The company really needed money. But Motorola? I figured they’d be a little better off. Thankfully, Best Buy’s decided to just sell the thing for $199.99 outright with a contract.
This sort of thing takes a lot of the burden off the wireless stores, which tend to be small and understaffed, especially as you get more rural. It’s also just nice to be able to walk in and pay the $200 without worrying about rebates. In case you forgot, the Droid launches on November 6th.
I think I’m starting to understand AT&T’s strategy for the next few years. As complaints continue to pile up, the company will just add more and more bandwidth-hungry devices until it inevitably crushes the network, at which point customers will be so fed up they will pay for anything, including tiered data plans. That’s a long introductory sentence for a netbook, I know. Now, the netbook.
Nokia confirmed its 3G capable netbook, the Booklet, to be released on subsidy with AT&T. The little lappy will run $299 with a two-year contract at data rates of $60/month. You will also be able to get the computer for $599 unsubsidized. The system runs Windows 7, which supposedly seamlessly handles 3G to wi-fi crossover, has a 120GB hard drive, and sports an A-GPS card for location services. Nokia has also crammed a 16-cell battery into the thin frame for an estimated 12-hour battery life. I’ll believe that when I see it, but for now it’s nearly double most other netbooks.
Through the holidays you’ll only be able to buy the Booklet at Best Buy stores. Execs from Best Buy, Microsoft, and Nokia were all in Manhattan for the announcement today and seemed optimistic about sales potential. If you’re looking for an ultra mobile device and don’t already have a laptop, will you really want one of these on a service contract? How bout when it’s sitting next to a 32GB iPhone?
Engadget got an early look at some accessories for the Blackberry Storm 2 today. It’s just more in a year-long string of leaks that point to a release some time this month, maybe even some time this week. The shots from Best Buy are just some silicone skins, but none of the material can seem to agree on a name for the device.
The accessory packaging shows 9550, the numeric nomenclature for the device, Storm II (is there a Storm III in the works?) and even Odin, which used to be the product’s code name. The three names show up right next to one another, apparently to assuage any doubt about just which device the skins are for. That a major retail chain has them, though, almost definitely points to a release date in the near future.
Yes, you read that correctly. According to a ‘most-trusty of ninja’ at the Boy Genius Report, Best Buy will only receive 4,250 phones from Palm for the June 6th Pre launch. With an estimated 1,000 stores (estimate from a Best Buy Mobile rep), that’s just four phones per store for launch.
The story doesn’t get much better for other retailers. Radio Shack is only expected to see the Pre at 721 of their stores, each of which are expected to receive two units. The 721 stores fall in the highest expected consumer base for the Pre.
This is looking like terrible news for Palm, and it’s definitely the wrong way to go about generating hype. It makes me wonder what happened. Did they short-order touch screens? Are they worried about network stability? Was this just really poor decision making? Whatever it was, it’s bad, and I’m guessing this will go down as a bad year for Palm.
Seems like all the news points to the Pre this week, and probably for good reason. The Pre is Palm’s final hope, but the company has given itself plenty of setbacks. For one, their pricing is set to match the iPhone, but only after a $100 mail-in rebate.
Best Buy is looking to give Palm some help by making the rebate instant, delivering your Pre for $200 out the door. Of course you’ll still have to sign a two-year service agreement, which is pretty much industry standard for receiving a discounted phone. Remember, though, Pre stock is going to be limited at launch, so don’t wait around to get yours.