As the WalMart of the Internet age, Amazon has its fair share of detractors, and for some of the same reasons. With tens of thousands of vendors using Amazon as a storefront, to say nothing of millions of products the company sells directly, sometimes its wares can be a bit on the obscure side. A new system from the retailer is trying to offer a bit of transparency, showing consumers where the products they've ordered were made and packaged. The app is appropriately titled Transparency. Read More
Unlike some of my colleagues in the tech media, I don't have any particular beef with Walmart. Yes, they sell cheap imported crap, and yes, they under-pay their employees, stiffing both the people who make stuff and the people who sell stuff. But if you object to that strongly enough to actually change your buying habits, you'll soon run out of places to buy things. I do, however, object to the idea of a mobile payment system that works at exactly one store. That's taking the biggest problem with mobile payments as a whole, the lack of inter-operability, and turning it into a selling point. Read More
Pity the poor electronics retailer: with Amazon and others offering low prices and fast shipping in locations all over the world, it's getting harder for old-fashioned brick-and-mortar locations to turn a dime. In North America the only electronics store that seems to be surviving is Best Buy (often by renting out the inside of its own stores to the likes of Samsung and Apple). Today the big-box giant announced that it would be either closing or re-branding all the remaining locations of Future Shop, a Canadian electronics store that's been around since 1982.
Inside a Future Shop in Edmonton, Alberta. Photo credit: Flickr user Mack Male
Future Shop has in fact been a wholly-owned subsidiary of Best Buy since 2001, when it was purchased for 580 million CAD. Read More
Update: Google says that the Nexus Player is also available from TigerDirect. The official Nexus Twitter account also mentions Wal-Mart and Fry's Electronics, though it isn't available from their online sites, so it may only be on sale in brick-and-mortar stores. Staples' online store is also mentioned, but as of noon Monday, the Nexus Player isn't listed. Amazon now has an official listing from Asus available at the standard $99 price with free Prime shipping.
Google's first retail Android TV device, the Nexus Player, hasn't been met with the same kind of demand as last year's new Nexus phone or tablet, or even its little brother the Chromecast. Read More
Last week's update to the Motorola Connect support app showed off the "Keylink," an accessory we hadn't seen before. Based on the shots of the app, it looked like a simple Bluetooth gadget that lived on your keyring and made it easy to find your keys from your phone, or vice versa. Now it looks like Motorola has officially launched the Keylink: one of our readers spotted at least one T-Mobile retail store selling it for $24.99.
The Keylink is similar to the Power Pack Micro, a Motorola gadget that also includes a Bluetooth radio and speaker for easy location, but adds in a small rechargeable external battery. Read More
Google's pre-order sales of the Nexus 6 on the US Play Store have been, to put it delicately, crap. By my estimate all four storage and color variants of the phone have been available for ordering for a grand total of about twenty minutes over the last two weeks, and Motorola hasn't fared much better selling them on its own site. If you're waiting for the retail release of the Nexus 6... prepare to be disappointed.
A tipster sent us this image of a purported T-Mobile internal memo.
If you're too busy to read the image above, here's the gist: only certain T-Mobile retailers will be getting the N6 on November 12th, and even at those, the inventory will be "constrained." They'll be happy to take your money and ship the phone directly to your home... Read More
Before today, the official Starbucks app was perfectly serviceable - in fact, I'd say it was better than most retail apps. You can store pre-paid Starbucks cards in the app and pay with them, see your rewards for being a loyal customer, and find coffee shops with the built-in map (in case you can't see one by turning your head from side to side). But today's sizeable update from version 2.4 to 2.7 adds some neat stuff, most notably the ability to tip your coffee minion. I mean, your barista.
New above, old below.
The tipping is handled in a surprisingly comprehensive manner. Read More
You won't find a Phones 4u store anywhere on Main Street USA, but our United Kingdom readers are probably quite familiar with the mobile-focused retailer. Alas, they might not be seeing them for long. The BBC reports that the company is in administration (similar to bankruptcy) after UK carrier EE decided not to renew its contract with Phones 4u stores on Friday. EE was the last carrier to remain as a partner following Vodafone's exit earlier this month.
Image source: Dialaphone
That decision means that 550 Phones 4u shops across the United Kingdom will not be open today, since they have no authority to sell phones or plans on behalf of any carrier. Read More
At this point there's little doubt that Motorola will be unveiling the "Moto E" at its event next week. In addition to a leak on Facebook comparing the phone to the low-end Moto G, some new information and a promotional image has come out of FastShop, a Brazilian Internet retailer. According to the specifications that briefly appeared on the site, we're looking at a phone that's very similar to the G with a redesigned case and budget-minded specs.
Image credit: Engadget
Here's the breakdown: the XT1025 phone allegedly has a 4.3" screen with an unknown resolution (I'd guess 720p), a 1.2Ghz Snapdragon dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of storage space plus a MicroSD card slot, and a 5MP rear camera. Read More
Amazon's big Fire TV announcement yesterday left us a bit perturbed that there's still no way to get Amazon Instant Video on standard Android devices, but the retailer is continuing to support the more conventional side of its business. Take the Amazon For Tablets app for example: the latest update adds some handy features, most notably support for the Amazon Fresh grocery service. But since Amazon Fresh is still only active in parts of California and Seattle, that won't effect a large percentage of users.
All users have access to a more immediate feature: a tap-and-drag gesture that pins items to the bottom of your screen for easy switching and comparison. Read More