Amazon announced on Thursday that the 2011 holiday season was the best ever for sales of its Kindle devices. While the online retailer didn’t specifically say just how many devices were sold by model, it did say Amazon customers purchased “millions of Kindle Fires and millions of Kindle eReaders” and more than 1 million devices per week during the month of December. The company also noted that its #1 and #4 best-selling eBooks released this year were published by independent authors through its Kindle Direct Publishing platform. “We are grateful to our customers worldwide for making this the best holiday ever for Kindle,” Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos said. “And in a huge milestone for independent publishing, we’d also like to congratulate Darcie Chan, the author of ‘The Mill River Recluse,’ and Chris Culver, the author of ‘The Abbey,’ for writing two of the best-selling Kindle books of the year.” The Kindle Fire was the most popular device followed by the Kindle Touch and the Kindle. Amazon also said that gifting of Kindle eBooks jumped 175%, between Black Friday and Christmas Day, compared to last year. Amazon’s full press release follows after the break.
The week ended December 18th was the heaviest week for online holiday shopping ever, with shoppers spending more than $6.3 billion, up 15% from the same period last year. Consumers have already spent about $31.9 billion this holiday season according to comScore, which published new figures on Tuesday. “With only a few more days until Christmas, the preponderance of Americans’ late season holiday shopping will shift to brick-and-mortar retail, although the procrastinators among us will still be able to take advantage of expedited shipping and buy online up to and including the day before Christmas Eve with the guarantee of having their gifts delivered in time for the holiday,” said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni, noting that there were four days last week during which consumers spent more than $1 billion. “In total, we will see another $5 or $6 billion in e-commerce spending over the remainder of December to finish off what has clearly been an outstanding season for online retailers.” November 28th, Cyber Monday, will go down as the heaviest online spending day this holiday season, and in history, with more than $1.251 billion spent. ComScore’s full press release follows after the break. More →
This past Friday will go down in the record books as another heavy spending day this holiday season. Consumers spent a total of $1.07 billion on December 16th, otherwise known as “Free Shipping Day,” which was more than consumers spent during the entirety of the Thanksgiving weekend ($1.03 billion) and 14% more than consumers spent on the same day in 2010. Shoppers spent the most money on Cyber Monday so far this holiday season ($1.25 billion) followed by Green Monday ($1.13 billion) and Free Shipping Day. More →
Flying home for the holidays and navigating through crowded airports — or facing flight delays, as is often the case — may be a hair less dreadful this year. Skype announced recently that it is sponsoring free Wi-Fi in more than 60 U.S. airports from December 21st until December 27th. To activate the service, simply follow these directions:
- Sign in to Skype.
- Go to Tools > Options… > Skype WiFi Access.
- Tick Enable Skype WiFi Access.
- Connect to a WiFi public hotspot.
- In the Skype menu bar, click Tools > Skype WiFi Access.
- Follow the instructions on the screen to select and join a compatible public WiFi network.
Skype’s full press release, which includes a list of every airport where free Wi-Fi will be available, follows after the break. More →
U.S. consumers have spent close to $25 billion so far this holiday season, up 15% from the same period last year, according to a new report from comScore. The research group studied holiday shopping trends beginning in November and found that $479 million was spent on Thanksgiving Day, $816 million was spent on Black Friday, $886 million was spent during Thanksgiving weekend and a record $1.25 billion was spent on Cyber Monday. That wasn’t the only record broken this year, however. “Monday, December 5, 2011 now ranks as the second heaviest spending day in history at $1.18 billion,” the report said, “followed by Tuesday, November 29, 2011 at $1.12 billion and Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at $1.11 billion.” Read on for more. More →
If you have children aged 6-12 in your family, chances are they want an iPad, iPod touch or an iPhone for the holidays. According to new data from The Nielsen Company, the iPad is the most desired electronic gadget this season. 44% of the children surveyed are interested in buying (read: receiving as a gift) an iPad in the next six months, 30% want an iPod touch and 27% want an iPhone. Those figures are on a par with last year’s numbers. In 2010 31% of kids aged 6-12 wanted an iPad, 29% wanted a computer, 29% wanted an iPod touch and 25% wanted a Nintendo DS/DSi/DS Lite. The story changes a bit for kids over 13, but the iPad still sits at the top of gadget wish lists. 24% of teenagers older than 13 are interested in buying an iPad during the next 6 months, 18% want to buy a computer and 18% want to buy an eReader. Nielsen’s survey was conducted during October 2011 and it involved 3,000 participants. An infographic showing data for kids aged 6-12 follows after the break. More →
Spurred by the iPhone 4S launch, several analysts expect sales of Apple’s iPhone lineup to explode during the fourth quarter of this year. “The timing of the 70 [international] launches could have some impact on sales ahead of the launch, the US/International split, and hence, our estimates look conservative,” UBS analyst Maynard Um said in a recent note to investors. “A similar 27.5 percent U.S. / 72.5 percent international split from this quarter would imply 42.5 million units in CY4Q or an upside of 14.5 million iPhones.” Apple shipped 17.1 million iPhones during the fiscal fourth quarter, and the lower-than-expected sales were blamed on rumors and anticipation ahead of the iPhone 4S launch. Um predicts a huge turnaround for Apple in the fourth calendar quarter, and of course he isn’t alone. The “resoundingly successful” iPhone 4S launch is expected to result in a big holiday season for the Cupertino-based company, Ticonderoga Securities said in a recent note.
Best Buy will hire fewer temporary workers for the 2011 holiday season compared to last year, Reuters reported on Wednesday. The nationwide electronics retail chain will take on 15,000 new temporary employees, compared to the 29,000 it hired in 2010. Best Buy is not alone in its decision. Research from the management consulting firm Hay Group suggests that about 25% of U.S. retailers will hire fewer temporary employees this holiday season. “The consumer is being really careful about where he or she is spending the dollars, and I think that will continue through the holidays,” Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn told Reuters. Dunn said his company will carry the iPhone 5 and noted Best Buy expects tablets, smartphones and accessories for both to be a sales catalyst this holiday season. More →
We already brought you details on the Samsung Impulse 4G, which is expected to be one of AT&T’s first 4G LTE devices, and now new information is available on another 4G LTE phone dubbed the HTC Holday. Engadget recently published specs and photos of the Holiday, which is said to sport a 4.5-inch qHD display and a 1.2GHz dual-core processor. It is also equipped with an 8-megapixel camera, a 1.3-megapixel forward-facing camera for video chat, 1GB of memory, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0. The Holiday, which may reportedly launch as the HTC Waikiki when AT&T makes its official announcement, will also run Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread) with HTC’s Sense 3.0 custom user interface on top. AT&T will deploy its 4G LTE network in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio this summer before it extends the network to at least 15 markets later this year. Read on for more images of the Holiday/Waikiki UI. More →
The crew over at XDA-Developers recently spotted the HTC Holiday (with a cracked screen) for sale on Craigslist. We first saw renders of the Holiday in May and the leaked images supposedly confirm a number of the phone’s specs. Bound for AT&T, the Holiday appears to be equipped with a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, a 4.5-inch 960 x 540-pixel display, 1GB of RAM, a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, an 8-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash and Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread). It is unclear when AT&T plans to launch the Holiday but its spec sheet certainly has enough muscle to compete with Samsung’s inbound U.S. Galaxy S II handset, which will be announced during a press event on August 29th. Unfortunately, the XDA-Developers thread outing the device has already been pulled but you can hit the read link for another picture of the Holiday. More →
GameFly announced on Wednesday it will soon offer a new service called “Unlimited PC Play” that will allow gamers to download an unlimited amount of games to their Windows or Mac computer. Much like Netflix’s business model, GameFly will provide instant access to more than 8,000 rental discs or more than 1,500 instant downloads for a monthly fee. The service will require a desktop client that will include news, a feed of HD trailers and screen shots of the latest games. GameFly also said there will be a social component that will allow gamers to interact with one another in real-time. A closed beta will begin on September 8th for current GameFly subscribers and a public launch will occur during the holiday season. Read on for the full press release. More →
Sony’s brand new portable gaming console, the PlayStation Vita, could launch as soon as this fall according to IGN. A Blockbuster flier in the United Kingdom started the rumor. The advertisement suggests the PS Vita Wi-Fi edition and 3G & Wi-Fi model will both launch on October 28th. A Sony spokesperson confirmed with IGN that the company will begin a “phased global release” during the holiday season, but would not confirm specific dates. We already know that the Vita will cost $249.99 in the United States and that a version with AT&T 3G will be available for $299.99. Hopefully we see the console hit U.S. shores by the holidays, too. Read on for a shot of the leaked flier. More →
On Wednesday, Citadel Securities analyst Shing Yin said that an iPhone launch on Sprint is ever more likely since Verizon Wireless’ announcement that it will move from unlimited data plans to tiered data pricing on July 7th. According to Barron’s, Yin believes that Apple will be more compelled than ever to launch a device on Sprint, given that it’s the last remaining of the big four U.S. wireless carriers to offer a truly unlimited data option. “We believe Sprint could capture more than its fair share of iPhone sales, especially if it gets the new model at the same time as AT&T and Verizon.” Yin explained. “We see little reason for Apple to hold back,” he argued, noting that Sprint most likely would attempt to launch the device before the holiday season this year. “[Sprint] could offer an attractive proposition for more price-conscious users (a demographic we think is increasingly important to Apple following the rise of Android,” he said. “[It] could be a relatively stronger seller than the Verizon iPhone.” More →