As promised, the Home Shopping Network has begun previewing some of the new features that are part of an upcoming "mid-April" update to the Nook Color that we reported on a few days ago. Barnes & Noble has confirmed in a press release that the update would include the new app store but HSN is the one talking up the Nook Color's upcoming ability to watch Flash videos.
Since the launch of iOS 4.3, several iPhone users have complained their batteries are draining much faster. I haven't personally noticed a difference, but for those of you who have, you'll happy to know that iOS 4.3.1 unexpectedly launched today. (It was rumored earlier this week that it might launch in two weeks).
Though there aren't many details about the release besides minor security and maintenance updates, it is likely that this early launch for the iOS means that Apple is trying to smooth out the bugs and hopefully take care of battery drain quickly.
Please let us know in the comments if you've experienced issues with iOS 4.3 and whether you noticed a difference in this latest update.
This week's apps include a well-designed barcode scanner and a game that challenges you to race through traffic on a motorcycle.… Read more
AT&T has launched a new service that will send customers texts promoting special deals whenever they're near certain stores.
Teaming up with mobile marketer Placecast to deliver the new ShopAlerts service, AT&T says it's the first mobile provider to offer a location-based marketing program designed for mobile consumers.
AT&T subscribers in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco who sign up for ShopAlerts will get text messages describing special offers, rewards, coupons, and other promotions at nearby participating stores. AT&T said that so far it's signed up Hewlett … Read more
ShopSquad is a peer-to-peer home shopping network. The service connects people shopping for specific items with live, online experts who know the space. If the user then buys an item the expert is recommending, the expert makes affiliate money minus ShopSquad's cut. The service is general but currently appears to be geared toward new parents; there are more experts and products in the baby gear department than any other.
The judges at the Launch conference, where this product was introduced, believe ShopSquad is on to something, but that the demo here only hinted at the company's potential. First, ShopSquad is heavy into video advice, which is impressive to demo but overkill for shopping advice for many people. Second, the service only connects buyers to experts who are ShopSquad users. As the judges pointed out, if it could somehow find experts elsewhere and rope them into an advice session as needed, the available pool of products and experts to discuss them would be much bigger. Conceptually this means the people writing reviews on Amazon could find a new way to profit from that work. There is still the problem of shills for certain products. An expert rating system might help keep this under control.
Tech businesses pioneered the idea of crowd-sourcing customer support, with message boards and through start-ups like Get Satisfaction. Of course, many businesses have tried to use their fans to also sell products, but ShopSquad's capability to automate, institutionalize, and help consumers profit from their expertise is quite smart. … Read more
U.S. online retail spending reached a record-breaking $43.4 billion in the fourth quarter, fueled by strong holiday spending, Comscore reports.
Spending in the fourth quarter was up 11 percent over a year ago, representing the fifth consecutive quarter of positive annual growth and the second quarter of double-digit growth rates in the past year.
In 2010, holiday spending online was bolstered by the first-ever billion-dollar day on record, and others surpassing $900 million. The strong growth rates are a huge swing from two years ago, when fourth-quarter sales fell by 3 percent.
The bulk of online sales occur … Read more
If you're feeling a bit like George Costanza in the Seinfeld episode "The Wallet," chances are you have a few too many scraps and cards stuffed into your carryall. Luckily, we live in the digital age, where much of the information you need to keep on your person can be stored in your mobile phone. For example, for those of us who cart around a cadre of gift cards from various establishments, JunoWallet provides an app for that, and it's available for both iOS and Android devices.
You can read the full review of the iPhone … Read more
The amount of money spent shopping online during the holiday season increased this year compared with last, say two recent reports, another sign of the Internet's continuing permeation of American life.
SpendingPulse, a report from MasterCard, pegged the year-over-year rise at 15.4 percent. The report, released this week and covering the period from October 31 to December 24, looks at sales in the MasterCard payment network and combines those figures with survey-derived estimates of non-credit-card purchases.
According to the report, apparel sales led the field among e-commerce categories, a sign, perhaps, that shoppers are becoming more comfortable with … Read more
eBay is pulling $200 million out of its wallet for brands4friends, a fashion daily-deals site based in Berlin.
The acquisition, announced today, is designed to build up the auction site's reputation as a source for clothing, shoes, and accessories among European buyers.
As Germany's largest online shopping club, brands4friends offers daily deals to site subscribers and features about 600 brands, including Buffalo, Calvin Klein, and Diesel.
Daily-deals sites have taken off among consumers and now add up to around 20 percent of all online fashion sales in Europe, according to eBay. Launched in 2007, brands4friends has about 3.… Read more
eBay said yesterday that it has bought Critical Path Software, a mobile-app developer that had already been working with the auction site for the past couple of years.
Helping to design several eBay mobile apps, Portland, Ore.-based Critical Path has partnered with eBay's mobile group to create eBay for the iPhone and eBay Classifieds. Critical Path and eBay also teamed up to develop StubHub, a ticket-buying app, and Shopping.com, a shopping comparison app.
The acquisition is part of eBay's move to focus even further on the growing mobile market. The auction site has also been busy … Read more
The online marketplace Oodle started as a classifieds aggregator, then dabbled in online dating (also through aggregation). In late 2008, it was given a big gift from Facebook: the social site gave Oodle its marketplace app to run. As Oodle CEO Craig Donato says, "It was a moment in time. Facebook was transitioning from building all these apps to working with partners." Since then, Oodle has been figuring out how to best run with the new Facebook classifieds system.
Finally, two years on, Oodle is merging the refresh it did of the Facebook Marketplace with its own Oodle.… Read more