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Just over a year ago I wrote a post about how QVC and the other home shopping channels maximize the spiffs they make on their electronics products, especially the computer products. The basic idea behind their system is to sell “packages” where they take a popular electronic item like an Apple iPod Touch, Wii, etc. and bundle it with some “dollar” accessories so they can charge more for the package.
Here are the accessories included in the QVC bundle: rotating case/stand; touch stylus; music speaker ball; ear buds; retractable audio cable; headphone splitter; screen protector with cleaning cloth; car charger; and $75 Zinio gift card.
Outside of the Zinio card (which I doubt many actually use), the other accessories look like you can grab them on eBay or at Frys/BestBuy for a few dollars. I will also bet that the hosts will never tell viewers that this is the old model.
So how much does the iPad 2 cost as “today’s special value” on QVC?
- 16gb WiFi model – $699 (DOUBLE the Apple Store price of $399)
- 16gb WiFI + 3g model – $849 (Apple Store price $529)
And on top of the price, QVC charges $15 for shipping!
Overall I generally like what QVC offers in other categories but SHAME ON YOU QVC.
When I was in college, I worked at The Wiz in NYC and early on I realized that selling the accessories was the way to make the big commission checks. Sure the IBM PS/2 computers provided a nice spiff, but the real checks came when you sold a surge protector, a mouse pad or a telephone wire to connect to a BBS. Except I never offered my customers crap, the stuff QVC jams into their package is stuff you will likely never use.
One of the ways QVC tries to justify their price is their “easy pay” plan. This payment plan takes the full amount and charges your credit card a portion each month. The television hosts explain in all caps (!) that this easy pay plan has no interest but in all reality, you are paying a premium price to get the monthly payments and in the case of the iPad 2 deal, you walk away paying a LOT more.
Before the Today’s Special Value went live tonight, the same package sold for $814.00 on the QVC website. That’s a whopping $414 over the Apple Store price!
If you want to buy an iPad 2, I suggest either buying it directly from Apple or Amazon. The issue with Amazon is that they are only selling the new iPad directly, the iPad 2 is through all third party companies. The same goes for the new iPad – Amazon is only offering it through third parties so if you need it immediately, go with the Apple Store.
Lastly, since the price difference between the iPad 2 and new iPad is so close, I very much suggest buying the newest version.
Last December I noted that there was a deal for the Kindle Fire that made it the best day to-date for buying an Amazon Kindle Fire. Today’s deal makes that deal look like child’s play. Today only, Amazon is offering refurbished Kindle Fire devices for $139! The deal is the Gold Box deal of the day and Amazon notes that supplies are limited. If you want a Kindle Fire, today is the best day to become an owner of the 7″ tablet.
You can read the full explanation about the refubished Kindle Fire devices on Amazon’s website. Here are the important bits:
Prior to sale, every pre-owned Kindle undergoes a rigorous refurbishment process including:
- Full diagnostic test
- Replacement of any defective parts identified in testing
- Thorough cleaning and inspection process
- Complete repackaging with a new box
- Most recent software version update available for the product.
- Final QA inspection before acceptance as Certified Refurbished stock.
The refurb Kindle devices have the same return policy as the new devices and come with the same warranty. You also get the free one month of Prime as well.
I have purchased multiple refurb laptops from Dell and a refurb iPod from Apple and all three devices look brand new and have been just as reliable. What I generally don’t trust refurbs from third-party companies, this Kindle deal is direct from Amazon so you know they will stand behind the device should anything go wrong.
At SXSW 2011, the biggest mini-event seemed like it wasn’t the conference or the parties at the bars, but the pop-up store Apple setup to sell the brand-new iPad 2. Many of the tech blogs covering SXSW were trying to get all of the details and photos of the Apple Pop-up store before its opening. Lots of blogs covered the line of geeks waiting for the latest tablet.
With lots of chatter that the iPad 3 will be announced on March 7, will we see another pop-up store arriving in downtown Austin at SXSW 2012? SXSW interactive runs from March 9-13 and SXSW music and film run through the 18th. There are two stores in Austin but both are not within walking distance or a reasonable cab fare from downtown. The 2011 pop-up store was just a few steps from the convention center and I heard the chats on line were some of the best conversations during the entire event.
Google has setup an “interactive village” near the Austin Convention Center to offer lots of developer events (including Android) throughout SXSW. Apple’s potential offering to SXSW attendees might be the latest version of the iPad. Something tells me that if Apple does offer the iPad 3 at SXSW, the Google Village will be running a bit light for a few hours while a caravan of developers head to Congress Avenue to get their iPad fix. Since the Google village is to far to walk to the potential pop-up store, maybe Google should offer a shuttle to help developers get their crack and then back to Google.
This year I believe we will see a lot of 7″ “tablets” hitting the market from the top manufacturers (i.e. Apple, Samsung, etc.). Amazon has their Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble has their Nook Color and Nook Tablet. Over the past month, Barnes and Noble has offered their products as a “value of the day” on both HSN and QVC. From the discussion that surrounded the sales of these Barnes and Nobles products, I am wondering if there is consumer confusion from normals over which device is the right one to purchase.
Obviously it’s easy to suggests that people should purchase the Nook Tablet which is $50 additional over the Nook Color. These are the same people who probably suggest using Uber to get to Manhattan from JFK. After reviewing the basic comparison between the Nook Color and Nook Tablet on bn.com, it does appear to be somewhat confusing – especially if you aren’t a techy and understand the difference in the specifications. Complicating matters is that both devices look nearly identical and I doubt most people could easily tell the two apart. Engadget has some photos comparing the two devices.
On QVC’s daily value, which offered a bundle of the Nook Color and Nook Simple Touch, the hosts and product salespeople seemed to always stop when they referred to the Nook Color as a tablet. On HSN, the salespeople seem to use the term tablet much more loosely. B&N refers to the Color as a tablet on their website. I believe a number of customers who purchased the devices from both television shopping channels were confused and thought they were going to receive the tablet.
Melissa Perenson at PC World has a good, detailed comparison between both devices and the Kindle Fire from Amazon. B&N also has a comparison of the three devices and naturally the Kindle Fire looks like poop next to the 2 super awesome, most awesome B&N devices.
Using the B&N comparison chart, it appears these are the differences between the Nook Color and Nook Tablet:
- Tablet is 1.7 oz lighter
- Tablet has a dual-core processor, more memory and double the ram
- Tablet has a longer battery life
- Tablet has Netflix pre-loaded
Otherwise the devices appear to be the same. Both use Android but are locked – you can’t install apps from anywhere but B&N.
Lastly, I wonder if this confusion could be costing Barnes and Noble as people go with the less expensive device because they don’t see a real difference between the two.
The market confusion could easily be cleared up by naming both devices the Nook Tablet and adding a LE (limited-edition) or something similar to the former Color device. This would allow for much easier branding by B&N and also make for an easier sales experience because both devices could use the “tablet” term without confusion as to which product the customer will actually receive.
Last week I was shopping at Staples and I played with the Amazon Kindle Fire. It really is a nice looking device, it’s thin and the 7″ size seems like a good portable tablet compared to the Galaxy Tab 10.1″ which I use nearly exclusively at home. Eventually I think I will get a 7″ tablet so that I can keep it in my car’s glove box for on-demand meetings and on-the-go connectivity (unless I finally upgrade my Windows Mobile 6 smartphone). There have been some posts about security issues and other flaws with the Kindle Fire but Amazon appears to be working on fixes. Marco Arment has a thorough and very critical review of the device.
If you want to get the Kindle Fire, I think today is your best chance to get a good deal. It’s been nearly impossible to find a good deal on the Kindle Fire since retailers other than Amazon (e.g. Staples, Office Max, etc.) don’t allow coupons to be used on Kindle products.
The deal is available today only and you need to have a Mastercard. Amazon and Mastercard are running a deal, for today only, that offers $10 off a $100 purchase and then an additional $10 certificate will be sent to you to use in the future on a $50 purchase. Make sure to read the terms and conditions of the offer.
So you can pick up the Kindle Fire for a net of $179 with free shipping and no tax for most. The coupon can also be used on the Kindle Touch 3G and Kindle Keyboard 3G since they are over $100. If you want the Kindle Touch or basic Kindle, you will need a filler item to get over the $100 mark.
There is a rumor going around the deal boards that Target will offer a $75 gift card if you purchase an iPad 2 on either Black Friday or Saturday. The deal is in-store and should be applicable to any Apple iPad 2 model with 3G either on Verizon or on AT&T.
The pricing is the standard Apple pricing which means:
- 16GB – $629
- 32GB – $729
- 64GB – $829
If you purchase the 16GB model, it’s basically a 12% discount which is pretty good considering you can’t buy the device from Amazon. It’s important to note that Target does charge sales tax on the iPad 2.
If you have a Target red credit card, they will take another 5% off the iPad 2 that you select. This is probably going to be one of the best deals this weekend for the Apple device – especially if you don’t want to fight the crowds for the stores that offer one iPad 2 for some crazy low price to get you in the door.
Is there anything better than combining the subway with technology? If you answered “no” you are correct! Over the last couple of years, the NYC MTA (that’s the transit authority) has been wrapping subway cars with ads. Most of the wraps on the main subway lines have been boring but the 42nd Street Shuttle which runs back-and-forth from Times Square to Grand Central always seems to get the coolest wraps.
Vitamin Water had a neat wrap as all of the seats were different colors to match their products, the Travel Channel promoted Anthony Bourdain’s show and American Airlines tried to make the train look like the plane (although the train has a better on-time rate!).
Set on the tracks earlier this month is an advertising wrap from HTC featuring their line of tablets. There are a large number of tablet devices throughout the subway cars featuring all of the different ways you can use the Android-powered tablet device. There are also prominent calls to purchase the HTC tablet at Best Buy. They are specifically showing off the ability to use a special stylus with the HTC Tablet.
Below are a couple photos from the HTC Tablet with Scribe Technology wrap – there are more photos on SubChat.
These shuttle trains are packed during rush hours and riders only have 2-3 minutes on the shuttle so they might be more likely to see the advertising than on a mainline train where they have time to take out a newspaper or play with their mobile devices.