The information age has not been kind to the humble bookstore. After mega-chains valiantly tried and failed to compete with the 800-pound gorilla that is Amazon, only Barnes & Noble is left in the US (and it's quickly becoming a showroom for LEGO and Pop Vinyl toys as much as an actual bookseller). A few indies are surviving thanks to a small resurgence of dead tree reading and some trendy makeovers, but the writing is on the wall. Read More
Virtual reality (or whatever term some picky people would like to apply to it) is the hot new thing. Conventional businesses are trying to incorporate it into their plans, and nothing shouts "conventional business" like a hardware store. To that end, US hardware chain Lowe's is working on some interesting ways to get customers involved in their renovation projects, even before they start putting down plastic sheets. At a few stores in Colorado and Ohio, Lowe's has created special VR stations that will let you recreate an entire room, then swap out 3D appliances, apply different paint colors, and do all kinds of home improvement things while seeing the results in real time with an Oculus Rift headset. Read More
Motorola, the last American phone company that wasn't Apple (at least before they got bought by Google and then shuffled over to Lenovo), now has an American store front. Well, technically at least: it has exactly one retail store, which Motorola's PR team is calling an "experimental boutique." If you're in the Chicago area, where Motorola's US headquarters is located, you can check it out on Saturday. The store will open for full business a week later at 108 North State Street. Read More
The LG G Watch R seems to be the best Android Wear device yet, at least in the opinion of our own David Ruddock. But that doesn't mean much if you can't actually buy one. LG has been silent on pricing thus far, but it looks like AT&T just spilled the beans by announcing its plans to carry the G Watch R in its retail stores. You can pick one up this Friday, November 7th... for $299. An AT&T representative confirmed the $299 price for the G Watch in a promotional message to Android Police:
- Pricing: $299
- Available online and in AT&T stores on 11/7
- Connects to any smartphone running Android OS 4.3 or higher via Bluetooth
- 1.3 inch circular P-OLED display
It's not exactly surprising that the G Watch R (affectionately known as the GWAR) is so expensive - that circular P-OLED screen has to count for a lot, and LG is probably banking on the fact that its latest Android-powered watch actually looks like a watch. Read More
As a dedicated gamer and a former cash-starved teenager, please listen to me: don't shop at GameStop. The ubiquitous American video game retailer is almost certain to overcharge for software and hardware, underpay you for trade-ins, and try to squeeze three preorders and a Game Informer subscription out of you before you leave. But for those misguided souls who insist on giving them custom (or who live in a city with no retail alternatives), the official GameStop app has been notably updated today.
Updated app above, old one below.
The update text on the Play Store simply says "everything," and based on cached images of the previous version, that's not an understatement. Read More
Not content with being the world's biggest phone manufacturer, Samsung has decided to break into the retail space in a big way. The company already has three stand-alone Samsung stores in Spain, operated by the established retailer Carphone Warehouse. Now the two companies have announced that Samsung will expand the program, completely converting over 60 existing Carphone Warehouse retail locations into Samsung-excusive stores.
Samsung already operates "mini stores" inside many Best Buy retail locations.
The stores slated for the change are located in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, and the Netherlands. The conversion of all planned locations is expected to take three months, after which the stores will sell Samsung phones, tablets, laptops, wearables, and accessories. Read More
If you've ever felt the urge to indulge in Android-branded consumerism in the same way that Apple fans do, you might soon get the chance... if you live in India. The Economic Times reports that Google plans to open an Android-branded store called Android Nation in New Delhi's Select Citywalk shopping center. The store will feature Android hardware from multiple brands (not just Nexus devices) and operate in partnership with Asian conglomerate Spice Mobile. More stores across India are in the planning stage.
One of Android Nation's Jakarta locations. Photo via Tech In Asia
According to the anonymous source, Google has been scouting for a small retail area in the city for some time, with the aim of establishing an "Android experience." Think accessories, hands-on demo units, technical assistance, apps on touchscreen monitors, et cetera. Read More
There have been a few items in the rumor mill about Google either investigating or planning retail stores, not unlike the Apple stores that famously dot malls and upper-class shopping areas around the world. 9to5 Google reported a tip from "an extremely reliable source" citing a 2013 rollout schedule for a Google store. Then the Wall street Journal, itself a pretty reliable reporter of the inner workings of Google, reported the same thing. The WSJ omitted a time frame, and noted that the 2013 claim may not be accurate.
Australian carrier Telstra's Androidland in Melbourne. Photo credit: Wired
A Google store would naturally focus on Google hardware, such as it is: you could definitely imagine Nexus phones and tablets, Chromebooks, and maybe even a few Google TVs littering a showroom. Read More