The brick and mortar retail business is expensive and risky, but the reward is great.
By Aaron Pragnell
Samsung recently announced that it will open retail stores in Canada. Although Samsung has not announced an aggressive retail strategy yet, this is a sign that they are testing the markets to see if it is a viable option. Samsung expects the location in Burnaby, British Columbia, to offer hands-on training with products and demonstrations of product features. With the huge success of the Apple (AAPL) stores across the world, it appears Samsung is gearing up to take a piece of the pie. However, with competitors like Best Buy (BBY) struggling against becoming showrooms for online retailers such as Amazon (AMZN), is it a wise decision for Samsung to venture into the brick and mortar business?
Apple, Sony and Google better watch out -- the Xbox is pushing hard to become king of the living room.
On Monday, Microsoft (MSFT) kicked off the Electronic Entertainment Expo with a bang, unveiling a bevy of new products intended to transform your home entertainment system into a totally immersive experience. It now looks like Microsoft and the Xbox are "winning the living room war," says David M. Ewalt at Forbes, leaving rivals like Sony (SNEJF), Apple (AAPL), and Google (GOOG) in the dust. (Microsoft owns and publishes TechBiz, an MSN Money site.)
What sort of breakthroughs are on the way? Here, a brief roundup of the announcements.
The iPhone is finally available without a contract -- and for $55 a month. Of course, there is a not-so-small one-time fee.
Last week, Leap Wireless made waves when it announced that its Cricket prepaid service would become the first U.S. cellular provider to offer Apple's (AAPL) iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S on a month-to-month plan. Beginning June 22, customers can opt for a no-contract option with "unlimited" calls, texts, and data for just $55 a month — about half the monthly rate of AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ).
The catch? A much higher fee upfront. The cheapest Cricket option begins at $400 for an 8GB iPhone 4, while a 16GB iPhone 4S will run you $500. AT&T and Verizon typically charge at least $100 (and sometimes much more) for those phones -- and require a two-year contract. Of course, despite Cricket's higher fee, over the course of two years, it offers huge savings, and consumers can stop paying their phone bill at any time, no questions asked.
Is Cricket's plan the way to go?
The chirpy assistant reacts sluggishly, stumbles with voice-recognition and often lacks the right answers.
If you're not Zooey Deschanel, Siri probably doesn't work that well for you. Some insiders have called the iPhone 4S assistant's well-documented unresponsiveness an embarrassment to Apple (AAPL), and several industry insiders have said that late founder Steve Jobs would never have let such a flawed product reach consumer hands. Yet earlier last week, chief executive Tim Cook publicly declared that Apple was "doubling down" on Siri because "consumers love it," raising more than a few eyebrows.
Given the increasingly noisy backlash, is it finally safe to say that Siri's a dud?
Aging console cycle, cloudy outlook makes stocks 'absurdly cheap.'
By Dan Gallagher
As the video game industry kicks off its annual E3 conference this week, investors have taken a particularly dim view of the sector, as the aging console cycle and slumping retail sales have hit the stocks hard.
It is unclear whether this year's show will do much to boost enthusiasm for the group, as it has in years past. Only Nintendo is expected to showcase new gaming hardware -- the Wii-U console that was previewed last year and is expected to launch this fall. No new Xbox or PlayStation hardware is expected at the event, and most of the big game releases expected to be on display will be sequels to long-established franchises such as "Call of Duty," "Halo" and "Madden NFL."
"What's happening is that everyone expects this year's E3 to be a dud, so why buy the stocks ahead of the show?" said Doug Creutz of Cowen & Co. in an interview.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages ended with solid gains as the S&P 500 rose 0.8%.
Stocks reached their highs one hour into the session and drifted near those levels into the afternoon. However, equities were rattled by a Financial Times story suggesting Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is likely to discuss tapering at his Wednesday press conference.
Although the story reiterated the need for improved economic conditions, and did not contain any new revelations, the mere ... More
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