Best Buy on Thursday intends to reveal several aspects of its long-term strategy to drive its business forward. A key part of that strategy, according to the company, is to continue its all out assault on the mobile market. Best Buy revealed its intentions to open between 600 and 800 Best Buy Mobile stand-alone store locations in the U.S. over the next five years. The company also said it intends to double its $2 billion online business within three to five years, and it will open 400 to 500 new Five Star retail locations in China with the goal of doubling its $4 billion business over the next five years. Hit the break for the full press release. More →
Reports of an iPad 2 sales freeze that may have gotten Best Buy in hot water with Apple emerged Thursday night, and the possible explanation given by someone claiming to work for Best Buy was odd at best. The anonymous whistleblower claimed that the retailer was holding iPad 2 inventory after having met its sales quota for the day. BGR has independently confirmed that retail employees of at least two Best Buy stores were told by managers not to sell iPad 2 inventory on Thursday afternoon. We have also obtained an internal communication delivered to all retail employees at a California Best Buy location on Thursday. The communication, which is claimed by our source to have been delivered by Best Buy management via SMS, instructs employees to hold all iPad inventory except for pre-orders. The message goes on to direct employees to misinform customers who inquire about the iPad 2, which could also be part of the reason the retailer is in hot water with Apple.
NewsFlash: ipads cannot be sold according to BBY. All ipads except for preorders MUST be held until further notice. Cant tell customers were holding them either
No explanation was offered to Best Buy employees by management, and employees in two different Best Buy locations stated that their Apple reps did not answer calls seeking clarification. Best Buy did not immediately respond to BGR’s request for comment.
UPDATE: Best Buy provided the following statement to BGR via email: “Best Buy continues to receive iPad 2 inventory from Apple on a regular basis. As we’ve said previously, we are fulfilling customer reservations first. Our stores have been asked to temporarily hold non-reserved iPad 2 inventory for an upcoming promotion. This is a customary practice for us when there are supply constraints. Best Buy enjoys a great partnership with Apple, and we’re delighted by customer response to iPad 2.” Best Buy did not address claims that retail staff is being instructed by management to misinform customers.
Following our report from Thursday morning suggesting Verizon Wireless is preparing to launch the HTC ThunderBolt next week, an earlier tweet from a California Best Buy store may confirm the device’s launch timing. A Roseville California store tweeted on Wednesday that the “HTC Thunderbolt launch has been delayed :( It looks like it may launch on Thursday, March 4th. Stay tuned for more info.” In line with our earlier report, there is still confusion as to the exact date of the supposed launch, since the tweet mentions March 4th but it incorrectly calls it a Thursday. As such, it looks like the highly anticipated Android phone could launch on Thursday March 3rd, or Friday March 4th. The Roseville Best Buy location has since deleted the aforementioned post from its Twitter account. More →
In a forthcoming Best Buy mobile buying guide for the month of March, the popular nationwide retailer has revealed the price of Verizon Wireless’ upcoming HTC ThunderBolt smartphone to be a lofty $299.99. Interestingly, Best Buy has also revealed the ThunderBolt’s price to be a slightly less lofty $249.99 in a separate flyer dated Sunday, February 20th. The latter price point jibes with earlier reports suggesting that the upcoming smartphone would launch later this week for $249.99. Verizon Wireless has not yet confirmed either price point, but unless there was a complete breakdown within Best Buy’s marketing team, we can likely expect at least one of the aforementioned price tags to be accurate. The HTC ThunderBolt features a 4.3-inch touchscreen, a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, an 8-megapixel camera and 4G LTE connectivity. Hit the break for shots of both Best Buy flyers. More →
If images that reportedly reveal an internal Best Buy training document end up being real, it looks like the giant nationwide retailer will not be carrying Verizon Wireless’ new iPhone 4 at launch. The images supposedly show a section of Best Buy’s playbook intended to help guide sales reps’ interactions with shoppers. In this particular section, employees are given some fodder for customers inquiring about Verizon Wireless’ iPhone 4. The first leaked page covers data speeds and the Verizon iPhone’s potential lack thereof:
Verizon’s entire presence at CES last week was focused on one thing and one thing alone: 4G. Its LTE network is now live in 38 markets and a flurry of 4G phones will launch in the coming months. But the iPhone… the smartphone millions of Verizon Wireless subscribers have been dying for… is a 3G device.
We knew Verizon’s iPhone 4 would be a CDMA phone for a number of reasons, but 3G is so 2010. Sprint launched its first 4G phone with minimal WiMAX coverage and it ended up being the fastest-selling phone in the carrier’s history. Now, we won’t see a 4G iPhone from Verizon until 2012. That means while millions of Android phones are surfing Verizon’s 4G airwaves later this year, iPhones will still be puttering along at EVDO speeds.
Sound familiar? That might be because Best Buy pulled this passage directly from our piece entitled Here’s where the Verizon iPhone falls short. It’s not the first time we’ve seen Best Buy use excerpts from BGR content though, so it actually lends a bit of credibility to the images. The next shot shows a passage that delves into Verizon Wireless’ recent policy changes, and we’re sure the document goes on to cover a few more key points. Hit the break for the pair of purported pics, and if you plan on visiting a Best Buy store to inquire about Verizon’s iPhone 4 in the coming weeks, get ready for a fight. More →
Following news that two white iPhone models have appeared in Vodafone Germany’s inventory system, Mac Rumors reports that Best Buy is showing the highly anticipated Apple smartphone in its system as well. An alleged screen shot of Best Buy’s inventory system shows the white iPhone 4 in two sizes, both due to launch some time after Sunday, February 27th. While the authenticity of the screen shot has not been verified, the SKU numbers shown in the image match SKUs initially used by Best Buy when it took, and subsequently cancelled, pre-orders for the white iPhone 4. If the February 27th date pans out, the white iPhone 4 will end up launching less than four months before Apple announces its successor, the fifth-generation iPhone.
UPDATE: A BGR reader points out that the screen shot above is actually from Best Buy’s Employee Toolkit and not its inventory system. As such, we can’t speculate on a release date at this time, as in-stock dates and release dates typically do not correspond. More →
Best Buy announced yesterday that it would be Sprint’s exclusive retail partner (for 60 days, we hear) for the highly anticipated HTC Hero, which will be available at each of Best Buy’s 1,044 locations across the country beginning October 11th. As is always the case with Best Buy Mobile, there is no need to bother with that pesky mail-in rebate as BBYM is spotting customers the $100 and offering the Hero for a straight $179.99 on a 2-year contract. We’ve also learned that while pre-orders aren’t officially available yet, some locations are already offering to cement your position at the front of the Hero line. For those of you with nearby Best Buys that aren’t willing to bend the rules, pre-orders should officially be available in just over a week. If you’re lucky however, a lax location, a friendly sales rep and a $50 deposit are all you need to make it happen — as you can clearly see from the image above.
Well what have we here? Our ninjas know better than to think they can take weekends off and one of our more diligent and trusted Best Best Mobile moles just hit us with a very interesting screen cap. Sunday, August 23rd is shaping up to be a hell of a day for the mobile mega-retailer and in turn, it’s going to be a hell of a day for phone fans in general. Let’s have a look at what’s in store:
- Samsung Gravity 2 (berry) — T-Mobile
- Samsung Solstice — AT&T
- LG Xenon (red) — AT&T
- Global AirCard (G2) — Verizon
- Samsung Rogue — Verizon
- LG Chocolate Touch — Verizon
- Samsung u450 Intensity — Verizon
- Samsung Omnia 2 — Verizon
- BlackBerry Tour — (new shipment, Sprint)
We can also see an “M330” at the top of the screen listed as coming on September 8th and we’re guessing it’s not the clunky Samsung beast from 2002 or the Mitsubishi phone from 2003. All we know for the time being is that it’s a Samsung handset headed for Sprint, along with the Samsung Reclaim can be seen just off screen at the very top. We can’t make the date out but we know it’ll be sometime in August. Whatever… We’re to busy thinking about the possible BL40-like Chocolate Touch and Sammy’s Omnia sequel to worry about the Reclaim.
UPDATE: Hit the jump for a better shot of the list along with Best Buy location details.