In a effort to cut costs and improve its financial situation, Sony is eliminating two divisions at its main electronics unit, promoting three executives and keeping a close eye on its money-losing television unit, Bloomberg’s Businessweek reported on Tuesday. The Japanese company will shut down its consumer products and services group, which handled consumer-level electronics, and the professional device and solutions group, which handled business oriented products and components. Executive Deputy President Hiroshi Yoshioka, who oversaw the professional device and solutions group, will head the company’s newly created medical business unit. Sony spokeswoman Satsuki Shinnaka said all changes will be effective April 1st and are aimed at speeding up management decisions. On the same date, the company will welcome its new president and CEO Kazuo Hirai. Hiari is largely credited with making Sony’s PlayStation game business profitable and will be looking to do the same with the company’s Bravia television unit, which is expected to post its fourth straight annual loss. More →
Sharp on Tuesday announced that is has entered into an manufacturing partnership with Foxconn that will see the manufacturing giant take a 10% stake in the Japanese electronics company. Hon Hai has invested nearly 67 billion yen ($809 million) in Sharp in exchange for roughly 121.65 million new shares, which will be spread out between four Foxconn companies. Sharp CEO Takashi Okuda said, “Until now we have handled all of our R&D and manufacturing, but going forward we will need to include partnerships in our approach,” pledging to leverage both companies’ strengths to get products to market efficiently. Each company will hold a 46.5% stake in Sharp’s Sakai plant in western Japan, with the remaining 7% owned by Sony. More →
A new subscription service allows potential gadget owners to test out new devices like Apple’s new iPad tablet before committing to a purchase. YBUY, which bills itself as a try-before-you-buy online subscription service, charges users a flat monthly fee of $24.95 for access to a wide range of consumer electronics as well as home and kitchen gadgets. Users can choose one device at a time from YBUY’s catalog and trial the gadget for up to 30 days before returning it. Beginning in April, the company’s inventory will also include Apple’s new iPad. ”For most consumers, when it comes to electronics or products for the home, the idea is that they want to test the product out first,” YBUY CEO Stephen Svajian said. ”We can actually bring the showroom straight to your living room. Our unique alternative, that comes to you brand new or completely sanitized, allows consumers to test it out for 30 days in the comfort of your own home. This can really help you get to know the item you would like to invest in, before fully committing to make the purchase. There’s no other experience like it out there on the market.” YBUY’s press release follows below. More →
Brick and mortar shopaholics have so few places to turn for an adrenaline rush these days thanks to the advent of online shopping, but Black Friday always promises to be a battle that tests even the most seasoned shopper’s will. Anxious consumers line up early outside their retailers of choice and prepare to push, shove, crawl and even trample their way to some of the deepest discounts of the year. It’s no holds barred and things are bound to get dirty, but those who plan to work off their Thanksgiving feasts by throwing elbows and sprinting from store to store had better get their game faces on and go in prepared. Following the break, we lay out all the top tech retailers in the country and link you to the tools you need to map out your plan of attack. Good luck, be safe, and Godspeed.
What are consumers planning to buy on Black Friday? Computers and tablets, according to data compiled by Mashwork, which gathered data from thousands of Twitter users. 18% of consumers discussed buying computers and tablets, 17% want to buy DVDs, music and video games, 16% are most interested in shoes, 14% will buy clothes, 12% want to buy a new television and 9% are planning to purchase a new cell phone or camera. The remaining 14% are planning to purchase items outside of those categories. The most talked about item among all of those categories is a pair of black Air Jordan Cement 3s, followed by the PlayStation 3, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console and Kinect accessory, Call of Duty: MW3 and the iPhone 4S. Read on for more information, including the full infographic. More →
You are not alone if you walk into brick and mortar stores to check out a product only to turn around and buy it online later. According to a new study from Retrevo, 66% of all shoppers and 78% of smartphone owners “look at a product in a store” and then purchase the product online from a different outlet. Consumer electronics stores are taking the biggest hit; 58% of smartphone owners decide to buy products first spotted in a store online. Retrevo suggests that is because consumers feel overwhelmed with the amount of products on display. 53% of the respondents who walked into a retail electronics store could not decide what to buy. 30% of those shoppers said it was because they did not have an adequate amount of information on the products they were searching for and sales staff were of no help. Smartphones could help save stores such as Best Buy, however. 42% of shoppers use their phones to check prices while in store, 25% use smartphones to find coupons and 29% read reviews and product specs on their phone. Retrevo suggests that a carefully crafted application that provides access to the aforementioned information could help consumers stay in stores instead of heading home and buying goods online. More →
The advent of online shopping changed the retail industry forever, but many consumers are still not willing to shop for consumer electronics online despite potential cost savings. New data from market research firm The NPD Group shows that while nearly two-thirds of U.S. consumers use the Internet to research consumer electronics purchases, only about half go on to purchase electronics online. ”It’s not surprising to see that so many consumers won’t buy TVs, smartphones, and other popular CE products online, despite using the Internet to perform basic product research,” said NPD analyst Stephen Baker in a statement. “Computers and other IT products have a much longer history online with a wider variety of outlets, including direct sales from manufacturers, for consumers to choose from.” The firm found that computers and computer software where the most popular online purchases for consumers, with 34% of NPD’s 1,326-person study saying they would make such purchases online. Televisions were the least likely online electronics purchases, with only 19% of respondents saying they would buy a TV online. The NPD Group’s full press release follows below. More →
A new study obtained by ABC News suggests that cell phones and other personal electronic devices might be causing electronic interference on airplanes. U.S. airlines all require that passengers power off any and all electronic devices, many claiming that “flight mode,” isn’t even allowed. Of course, if you’re like us, you may ignore those warnings and leave your phone on until the last possible second (or entirely with flight mode activated). The report, however, found that there were 75 different incidents between 2003 and 2009 where interference from personal electronics was possible. From ABC News:
Twenty-six of the incidents in the report affected the flight controls, including the autopilot, autothrust and landing gear. Seventeen affected navigation systems, while 15 affected communication systems. Thirteen of the incidents produced electronic warnings, including “engine indications.” The type of personal device most often suspected in the incidents were cell phones, linked to four out of ten.
During one flight, for example, autopilot disengaged at 4,500 feet. When pilots asked flight attendants to search the cabin for electronic devices, they discovered that one phone and three iPods were being used. After those devices were powered down, the flight continued without any incident. ABC News’ aviation expert, John Nance, isn’t convinced the electronics are to blame, however. “If an airplane is properly hardened, in terms of the sheathing of the electronics, there’s no way interference can occur,” he said. For reference, there are over 35,000 flights daily in the United States. More →
Moments ago Amazon announced that its Trade-In program will now accept consumer electronics. That means anyone who wants to trade-in consumer electronics, along with other goods, can send a box to Amazon and receive an Amazon gift card in exchange. Amazon originally launched its trade-in program in 2009, and until now it only accepted games, text books, and movies. “We want to give customers the opportunity to get great value from their used electronics,” said Paul Ryder, vice president of electronics at Amazon. “Hundreds of thousands of customers have already received millions of dollars in gift cards from the other products in our program. The Electronics category is a natural extension and we are delighted to offer our customers more trade-in options.” We gave the service a quick test and noticed that a 16GB black iPhone 4 on AT&T could bring in as much as $314.50. An original 30GB Microsoft Zune? Just $25. Hit the jump for the full release. More →
iPhone 4GS and iPhone 5 rumors are so played out. Might as well move on to the iPhone 6, right? Blog AppleInsider is reporting that Apple, Inc. has selected Sharp Electronics as the display supplier for its next, next smartphone — being called the iPhone 6. The information comes courtesy of Japanese newspaper Nikkan, who writes that the purported agreement will have Sharp producing p-Si LCD displays for the iPhone maker — not OLED as previous rumors have suggested. The benefits of p-Si LCD displays include higher aperture ratios, better durability, and fewer connecting pins — the screens are also said to be thinner and lighter than the current LCD screen employed by the iPhone 4. The report states that the new screens will be made at Sharp’s “Kameyama Plant No. 1.” No word on the size or pixel density of the new screens, but just give it time… it is iPhone rumor season after all. More →
You’re still stuffed from a supersized feast the day before but you manage to pry yourself out of bed hours ahead of sunrise. A quick shower does little to wash off the shame brought on by having ingested five slices of pumpkin pie, but at least it helps to wake you up. As you exit your home and click the unlock button on your car’s key fob, your mind strays as you think of a hundred different reasons to go back inside and get back in bed. But you can’t. Your local retailers are calling to you from afar. The urge to save is too strong. There is no turning back… It’s Black Friday.
If you plan on going to war this Friday, you had better be armed — and that’s where your pals at BGR come in. In our Black Friday 2010 guide, we lay out your 10 best local deal wielders and give you links to all the ammo you need. This way, instead of flying blind, you can put together a strategy and score all the gadgets you can carry at the deepest discounts of the year. Good luck, be safe, and Godspeed. More →
The month of November was a sweet one for the Amazon Kindle as the e-book reader posted its best sales month ever. The Kindle is the best selling electronics product on Amazon right now and hits the top spot as the most gifted and most wished for device. Seriously. With the Barnes & Noble Nook missing in action and Sony’s lineup of e-book readers still lacking wireless connectivity, the Kindle is the only game in town for the casual consumer looking to get in on the e-book explosion. It also doesn’t hurt that Amazon brought the Kindle down to a more reasonable $259 price point and added in that much requested international wireless connectivity. Somebody has to be buying all these Kindles, so ‘fess up, will there be a Kindle in your stocking this holiday season? More →
Circuit City closed its doors earlier this year following a last ditch effort to stay afloat that just didn’t pan out. Some, such as the 35,000 or so people left without a job, were pretty sad to see the company go — there isn’t much competition these days as far as brick and mortar electronics mega retailers go. While Circuit City’s physical locations have all been retired at this point, their spirit lives on in the newly revived CircuitCity.com. Earlier this week, Systemax completed a deal to purchase various Circuit City assets and the company wasted no time in relaunching the website, which is now live and boasting lower prices, a wider selection, faster shipping and 24/7 customer service. Cool. Systemax also owns TigerDirect and CompUSA (which it acquired last year) so consumer electronics is clearly nothing new for the company. Anyone happy to see CC back in action, at least to some extent?