The C720P Touchscreen Chromebook has an 11.6-inch touchscreen, which displays images at a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. The lightweight laptop offers roughly seven-and-a-half hours of battery life and runs on an Intel Celeron 2955U processor based on the Haswell microarchitecture.
Chromebooks are laptops for those who do most of their computing on the Web. Chrome OS is mostly adapted for keyboards, but the touchscreen could ease selection of options in menus and improve interaction in browsers and other applications.
A new wave of Chromebooks running the latest version of Chrome OS started shipping in October.
The laptop will be available in early December through Amazon.com, Best Buy and Acer’s online store. The laptop will be available in the U.S., Switzerland, Germany, U.K., France, Netherlands, Russia, Sweden and Finland.
Other Chromebooks include Acer Chromebook C720-2848, which has an Intel processor and is priced at $199.99, and Hewlett-Packard and Google’s Chromebook 11, which has an ARM processor and is priced at $279. HP’s Chromebook 14 has a 14-inch screen, an Intel processor and is priced at $299 in Office Depot.
The C720P weighs 1.35 kilograms and boots in seven seconds. Other features include 32GB of solid-state storage, 2GB of DDR3 memory, USB 3.0 ports, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and an HDMI slot. Users will get 100GB of free Google Drive storage for two years with the laptop.
According to leaked and published advertisements of the sales, which will begin on the evening of Thursday, Nov. 28, Best Buy, Target and Walmart will all sell brand-name tablets at steep discounts.
Electronics chain Best Buy, for example, will sell Apple’s iPad 2, a tablet introduced in 2011, for $300, or $99 off Apple’s list price. Even though Apple recently launched the 9.7-in. iPad Air, and started selling the upgraded 7.9-in. iPad Mini with a high-resolution display, it kept the iPad 2 in its portfolio, reportedly because schools continue to purchase the model and some businesses have standardized on the tablet for point-of-sales devices.
Best Buy will also discount the 16GB iPad Air by $50, selling it for $449, or 10% less than list.
Both Walmart and Target will sells 2012′s iPad Mini — the one that sports 1,024 x 768 screen resolution — at Apple’s $299 stock price, but will throw in a $100 or $75 gift card, respectively, effectively reducing the price to $199 or $224.
Including the gift cards, the Walmart iPad Mini deal represents a 33% discount, while Target’s comes in at 25% below full retail.
Target will also sell the new 16GB iPad Air for $479, then include a $100 gift card, reducing the overall cost to $379, for a 24% savings.
Best Buy was the only one of the three retailers to also list Microsoft’s Surface, formerly tagged the Surface RT, a 32GB tablet that runs Windows RT, the scaled-down version of the legacy application-supporting Windows 8.1. Best Buy’s $200 sale price for the Surface will be 75% below list.
Although Microsoft continues to sell the Surface on its website and online store, the Redmond, Wash. company refreshed the line last month by introducing the Surface 2, which starts at $449.
Apple and Microsoft will probably run Black Friday sales of their own on Nov. 29; both companies did last year.
Amazon and HTC are jointly developing three smartphones, with one at an advanced development stage, according to a report Tuesday in the Financial Times. The report did note that Amazon might not release the device that’s furthest along.
Earlier reports had indicated that Amazon has already delayed the launch of a smartphone.
Amazon didn’t respond to a request to comment on the latest report. The company has not responded to similar reports in the past other than saying it had no plans for a phone this year. It has also said it doesn’t plan to offer a free phone, as some had speculated.
Ben Ho, Amazon’s chief of marketing, told the Financial Times that the company is open to co-branding and collaborating with other tech firms.
Amazon is late to the smartphone game, but could benefit from tying future smartphone hardware to sales of products and services on Amazon.com.
Asus and LG build Google’s Nexus smartphones and tablets.
The HTC First smartphone, released earlier in 2013 and embedded with the Facebook social network, hasn’t sold well. HTC had a net loss of $101 million in the third quarter, the first loss since the company went public in 2002, which may indicate it may not be an ideal partner for Amazon.
Reports citing unnamed sources had surfaced in early October that Amazon was building two smartphones, including one with 3D eye-tracking ability.
Amazon last month unveiled a third generation of two new Kindle Fire HDX tablets, which makes a smartphone seem highly likely, perhaps in 2014.
The tablets run a modified version of Android, called Fire OS 3.0 Mojito. Any Amazon smartphone would likely follow suit.
The laptop runs on Chrome OS, and is designed for people who do most of their computing on the Internet. It has an 11.6-inch screen and weighs 1.04 kilograms, making it one of the lightest laptops available.
In a laptop first, it only requires a micro-USB power adapter. That means any charger used to power an Android tablet or smartphone can be used with Chromebook 11.
“When you’re traveling, you don’t need to throw an extra charger into your bag,” wrote Caesar Sengupta, vice president of product management at Google in a blog entry.
The laptop can run for 6.5 hours on a single battery charge. It has a Samsung Exynos processor running at 1.7GHz, 16GB of solid-state drive storage and 2GB of low-power DDR3 RAM. The storage capacity may be small, but Google is offering 100GB of cloud storage for two years at no additional charge.
The screen displays images at a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. Other features include a webcam, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.
Chromebooks vary in price from $199 for Acer’s low-end C7 Chromebook to $1,299 for Google’s high-end Pixel. This is the second Chromebook running on an ARM processor besides Samsung’s Chromebook. Chromebooks with Intel processors were shown by Toshiba, Hewlett-Packard and Acer last month and are expected to ship by the end of this year. Lenovo also markets a Chromebook intended especially for schools.
Chromebook 11 will be available on Oct. 20 through Best Buy andAmazon.com in the U.S., and through retailers like PC World in the U.K. It will become available in other countries during the holiday shopping season, Google said.
The Silicon Valley startup that elevated the lowly thermostat with attention-grabbing designs is now launching a $129 “Nest Protect,” a smoke and carbon monoxide detector that speaks and responds to hand gestures.
Nest – co-founded by Apple alums Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers – has embedded its sleek gadget with a female voice that warns users when smoke and carbon monoxide levels get dangerously high.
Users can wave a hand to silence alarms, and choose to receive alerts on their smartphone or tablet, Matt Rogers said in an interview with Reuters.
“It’s really about finding the unloved and these things are incredibly important that you cannot live without,” he said, when asked why Nest decided to work on a smoke detector. “Yet they don’t work. They are frustrating. They are ugly.”
Rogers said there really has been no innovation in this market for many years and is ripe for disruption.
The market for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is three to four times bigger than thermostats, Nest’s first device that retails for $249, Rogers said. “We are again looking at the top end of the market.”
The new device has a battery life between three and seven years, and comes in black and white. It will first go on sale in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom. And the smoke alarm can be set to warn in either English, French or Spanish.
Nest Protect includes nine sensors to help detect hand gestures and other movements. The device can also act as a low-powered night light that automatically switches on when someone walks under it.
The new gadget goes on sale in November at retailers such as Best Buy and Home Depot, or online at Amazon.com.
Nest, which counts Kleiner Perkins, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Google Ventures and Shasta Ventures among its investors, employs a large number of designers and engineers from Silicon Valley firms like Apple and Google Inc.
It gained a large following with its first thermostat – a round, brushed-metal device with a convex glass screen that displays temperature and changes hue to match the color of the wall it attaches to. It also tracks usage and employs that data to automatically set heating and cooling temperatures.
Nest now has about 280 employees, up from 90 in 2011.
“It’s been an absolute ride,” Rogers said of Nest’s journey from a startup in stealth mode to a recognized brand in home automation.
The bitcoin, valued by many for its anonymity, fell to $129 from over $140 a day before, according to a website for trading bitcoins, Mt.Gox. Earlier, the currency traded as low as $110.
Supporters say using bitcoins offers benefits including lower fraud risk and increased privacy, though critics argue the anonymity it offers makes the currency a magnet for drug transactions, money-laundering and other illegal activities.
The digital currency’s drop came after the FBI arrested alleged Silk Road owner Ross William Ulbricht, 29, known as “Dread Pirate Roberts,” on Tuesday in San Francisco.
Silk Road allowed tech-savvy sellers to post ads for drugs and other illegal products, which they sold for bitcoins and shipped to customers through the mail, according to the federal criminal charges filed against Ulbricht.
As well as Silk Road shoppers, drug traffickers who worried about the FBI tracking them down with data confiscated from Ulbricht may account for some of Wednesday’s bitcoin sell-off, said Garth Bruen, a security expert at Internet consumer group Digital Citizens Alliance.
“They’re going to be pouring all over his records, getting subpoenas for every piece of data and account he has ever used and trying to figure out who all these different dealers are,” said Bruen. “People are jumping ship.”
While bitcoins, which are not backed by a government or central bank, have begun to gain a footing among some businesses and consumers, they have yet to become an accepted form of payment on the websites of major retailers such as Amazon.com.
The charges against Ulbricht said that Silk Road generated sales of more than 9.5 million bitcoins, roughly equivalent to $1.2 billion. There are currently about 11.8 million bitcoins in circulation.
A BlackBerry spokeswoman said U.S. carriers will announce pricing and availability soon, while a rollout in the UK and Middle East will begin next week. A company statement said nothing more than that the U.S. release would be during “the holiday season.”
The announcement comes just two days before Apple and wireless carrier partners begin sales of the new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. Also, recent reports indicate that parts of the BlackBerry business could be sold– although without the smartphone division — potentially leaving support for Z30 buyers in limbo.
In response to concerns about Z30 support, BlackBerry said it would work with its carriers and retailers to “ensure our BlackBerry customers receive the best experience possible.”
The Z30′s 2880 mAh battery is the largest ever for a BlackBerry smartphone. The phone benefits from battery enhancements in an update of the OS to BlackBerry 10.2 and offers 25 hours of mixed use, which includes up to 18 hours of talk time. BlackBerry advised that actual battery results may vary.
The 10.2 refinements include a new BlackBerry Priority Hub that provides one place to manage conversations and notifications. Also, BlackBerry Messenger has been refined to offer a preview of any message when it arrives in whatever app is being used. The 10.2 version will be available to the already-released Z10, Q10 and Q5 smartphones in mid-October, subject to carrier approvals.
BlackBerry said the Z30 also has new Paratek antenna technology to dynamically tune reception to give a better connection in low signal areas. The result, BlackBerry claimed, will be faster data transfer and fewer dropped calls in low signal areas, but the improvements weren’t quantified.
The 5-in. display is based on vivid Super AMOLED technology used in Samsung smartphones. The resolution is 1280 x 720 pixels with 295 pixels per inch.
A 1.7 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro processor is supported by a quad core Adreno 320 graphics processor. There is 2GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage and a microSD slot for expansion. An 8-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel front camera are included.
Wireless connections include 4G LTE with global roaming bands, near-field communications (NFC), Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy and 802.11 a/b/g/n.
China’s e-commerce market is expected to blow past that of the United States this year to become the world’s largest by total customer spending, management consultancy firm Bain & Company says, and could account for half of all Chinese retail spending within a decade.
The change in shopping habits comes as almost half of the country’s 1.3 billion population now have direct access to the Internet, and of that number nearly 80 percent own smart phones or tablets.
China’s e-commerce market has grown at an average rate of 71 percent from 2009 to 2012, versus 13 percent in America, and its total size is expected to reach 3.3 trillion yuan ($539.07 billion) by 2015, Bain & Company said in a report released on Wednesday.
Total spending by Chinese consumers on online shopping reached $212.4 billion in 2012, compared to $228.7 billion in the U.S., the report said.
Chinese companies with retail outlets have had to realign their sales strategies to compete with online rivals who threaten to undercut them in an increasingly competitive market long dominated by e-commerce company Alibaba Group, and others like 360Buy Jingdong.
“It’s a massive change. It just means you need to be on the web, whether you like it or not,” said Serge Hoffmann, a partner at Bain and co-author of the report.
“Whether you’re an online player or an offline player, you need to have a meaningful, credible presence on the web.”
While still a small portion of total revenues, the growth of online sales is far outpacing offline sales growth.
Haier Electronics Group, which operates an online stall on Alibaba’s business-to-consumer site Tmall.com, saw its e-commerce revenue jump almost 500 percent to 633 million yuan, or 2 percent of its total revenue, in the first half of 2013, from 106 million yuan in the same period last year. Its total revenue grew 10.2 percent.
Suning Commerce Group saw its e-commerce business rise to 10.6 billion yuan in the first half of 2013, an increase of 101 percent on the same period last year.
Soon retail companies may have to take a leap of faith, shutting their bricks and mortar outlets to reduce overhead costs and hope that customers will turn to their online stores, said Nicholas Studholme-Wilson, a senior analyst at Sun Hung Kai Financial in Hong Kong.
Alibaba, whose Taobao customer-to-customer website is the world’s 10th most visited according to web monitor Alexa, predicts e-commerce will account for half of all Chinese retail spending in 10 years, from 6 percent now.
“Proliferation of smart devices mean everybody is connected at all times, that’s one of the key drivers for this,” said Studholme-Wilson.
“Another problem you’ve got in China is that retail is so damn expensive. Land costs and labor costs are all really hurting margins. Whereas it’s actually very easy to set up a shop on Tmall and your costs are massively reduced,” he said.
Logistics, however, pose a major obstacle to e-commerce development, and Alibaba is now working with Chinese logistics firms to improve nationwide infrastructure and delivery networks, said Shih.
During the blackout, more than 3 million Time Warner Cable customers in cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Dallas have been unable to watch CBS, and the companies have been unable to reach a new programming deal since their agreement expired in June.
The cable company notified customers on its website and by email that they could ask for basic indoor antennas at their local Time Warner Cable store. It also offered a $20 voucher for customers who want to buy antennas at Best Buy Co Inc.
“All blacked-out broadcast stations remain available over the air, and most households can receive the signals if they have the right equipment,” the cable company said.
It also offered Amazon gift cards so customers can watch CBS programs, using Amazon’s Internet streaming service.
CBS declined to comment on the offers.
CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said Thursday that both sides continued to negotiate but that no resolution was in sight. Most analysts expect the two parties to reach a deal by the time the National Football League season kicks off in September.
The curvy panel on the 55-inch KN55S9C is a step away from traditional flat designs, and is also the cheapest curved TV available yet. A similar TV from LG Electronics became available at Best Buy last month for $14,999.99.
The new TV has a feature called MultiView, with the TV able to show two programs at once on the screen. Two people wearing 3D glasses can watch different full high-definition programs on the full screen, or one can watch a 2D program while the other watches a 3D program.
“The innovative MultiView feature is enabled by Samsung’s 3D Active glasses, which come with built-in personal speakers providing crisp, full stereo sound. Samsung makes it seamless for viewers to switch between the two sources with the touch of a button, without changing glasses,” Samsung said in a statement.
The TV is also based on OLED technology, which is considered more power-efficient than LCD. The technology allows for thinner TV sets. OLED has been under development for more than a decade.
The TV has also has other features like Smart Hub that categorizes and organizes programs under specific panels. Users will also be able to stream movies from the Internet directly to the TV.
Samsung says the new set is the first of its next-generation of TVs that will eventually reach the market.
The cuts came three weeks after much more dramatic discounts to Microsoft’s Surface RT, which was reduced by up to 30% to prices starting at $349.
Microsoft said that the price cuts would be valid in the U.S. and Canada until August 30, or while supplies last. Discounts were also offered to customers in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
U.S. electronics retailer Best Buy — a key Microsoft partner — also was selling the Surface Pro tablets at the lower prices Sunday, as was Staples.
The Surface Pro tablets rely on Windows 8 Pro and Intel processors, rather than the stripped-down Windows RT and lower-powered ARM processors of the Surface RT devices. Surface Pro tablets can run traditional Windows software like the full-featured Office 2013 productivity suite.
While the price cuts were reminiscent of the more aggressive Surface RT discounts, their much smaller size could simply be part of Microsoft’s back-to-school marketing: August is the biggest month for that selling season, which is second only to the end-of-the-year holidays for retailers pushing consumer electronics, personal computers and tablets.
Microsoft is expected to refresh its Surface tablet lines this fall, a notion reinforced by company executives, who have repeatedly pledged that the company is in the tablet business for the long haul. The Surface Pro discounts could be part of the usual push to empty inventory prior to the launch of new models.
The 10% to 11% price cuts were also in line with other hardware makers’ recent discounting. Last month, Best Buy ran a short-term deal that chopped prices of the MacBook Pro by as much as 17%, and for college students, up to 25%.
Isis, which competes with Google Wallet and other mobile wallet technologies, relies on Near Field Communication technology that’s now offered in 35 smartphone models sold by AT&T, T-Mobile US and Verizon Wireless, the company said in a statement.
Isis is a joint venture of the three carriers.
The Samsung Galaxy S III and S4 and the HTC One X support Isis currently, among others.
The iPhone, Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10 devices are expected to start supporting Isis mobile wallet later this year, Isis said.
Isis said that since its pilots began last October, the number of retailers and other locations that set up NFC readers for contactless payment has quadrupled to more than 4,000 locations.
Active Isis users tap their mobile wallets more than 10 times a month. The number of users was not revealed, however.
Isis provided testimonials from Coca-Cola and Jamba Juice about the success of the pilot programs. Coca-Cola North America Group said more than one-third of active Isis mobile wallet users in Austin loaded a My Coke Rewards card onto their wallet.
Jamba Juice said Isis drove incremental foot traffic to its stores.
A major factor limiting the acceptance of NFC-abled mobile wallets has been a shortage of NFC-reader payment terminals in stores. Isis now says that 25 of the top 100 national retailers have deployed or are deploying contactless terminals. Aite Group estimated 1.3 million locations nationwide will have such terminals by the end of the year.
Chromecast is a 2-in. device that uses a simplified version of Chrome OS and plugs into the rear of a television set’s HDMI port, Google officials said at the event in San Francisco, which was was webcast.
The device goes on sale online today on Google Play, Amazon.com and BestBuy.com. It will be available in Best Buy stores on July 28.
A Google blog post on Chromecast notes that it works with Netflix, YouTube, Google Play movies and TV, and Google Play Music. It will soon support Pandora. the blog post said.
Chromecast also allows remote control of TV sets from Android tablets and smartphones, iPhones, iPads, Chrome for Mac and Windows and Chrome for Chromebook Pixel.
After the event, Google posted a Chromecast spec sheet indicating it works with 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi over 2.4 GHz. The spec sheet recommends the home broadband be at least 3 Mbps for HD capabilities.
A Google spokesman said that both the TV connected to Chromecast and the remote control device, such as a smartphone, must be connected to the same Wi-Fi network. That means Chromecast won’t work if the phone only has a cellular data connection, he said.
Chromecast works by streaming content directly from the cloud.
The new drives include the Connect Wireless Flash Drive — a thumb drive — and the Connect Wireless Media Drive, a larger, but still pocket-sized storage device. The Connect Wireless Flash Drive comes in 16GB and 32GB capacities; the Connect Wireless Media Drive comes in 32GB and 64GB capacities.
The Connect Wireless Flash drive is 3.07-in. x 1.04-in. x 0.54-in. The Connect Wireless Media Drive is 2.6-in. x 2.6-in. x 0.52-in.
The Connect Wireless drive family allows users to not only store but share and stream files across multiple mobile devices. They offer up to eight simultaneous device connections and three media streams, and support separate streams of 720p video content at 2MB/sec to three or five devices concurrently (for the Flash Drive and Media Drive, respectively).
According to a SanDisk spokesman, video streaming performance isn’t affected by multiple streams because device limits are set at a point that supports the streams without degradation. Devices can connect to the drives up to 150 feet away.
The Connect Wireless drives work with all iOS and Android devices, and Kindle Fire tablets, as well as PC and Mac computers. The drives are compatible with Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP and Mac OS 10.6 or higher
Movies, music, photos and documents can be loaded onto the wireless drives by simply dragging and dropping the files, which can then be accessed via the SanDisk Connect apps. Those apps are available for download from the App Store, Google Play Store and the Amazon Appstore for Android.
The drives contain an internal router, so no external router or Internet connection is needed to stream media. In order to use the drives, mobile device users simply download SanDisk’s Connect App.
The drives run on lithium-ion batteries. A single charge provides up to four hours of wireless streaming, with streaming data protected by Wi-Fi Password Protection (WPA2).
“With the new SanDisk Connect product line, we’re raising the bar on what consumers can expect from personal storage,” said Dinesh Bahal, vice president for product marketing for SanDisk.
The SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive is available in 16GB or 32GB capacities for $49.99 and $59.99, respectively. In the U.S., it is available for preorder on Amazon.com, Newegg.com and Micro Center, with availability at Best Buy starting in August. It will also be available for preorder on Amazon.com in Germany and UK.
The SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive has a retail price of $79.99 for 32GB or $99.99 for 64GB storage capacity. It is available for preorder in the U.S. on Amazon.com, with availability in Germany and UK in the fourth quarter of 2013.
EBay Now, which delivers products from stores including Target, Walgreen and Best Buy in as little as an hour, was launched last year in San Francisco and San Jose, California and Manhattan, New York.
EBay is expanding the service to Brooklyn and Queens in New York and to the Bay Area peninsula, between San Francisco and San Jose. Chicago and Dallas will be added later this summer and the service may expand outside the United States in the future, eBay executives said last week.
EBay’s expansion comes as Amazon builds more warehouses closer to customers, which will help the world’s largest Internet retailer offer faster delivery.
EBay, which does not own inventory and mostly avoids running warehouses, is partnering with retailers to create a network of existing physical stores that will, in effect, operate as mini storage and distribution hubs for online purchases.
“This is eBay’s answer to Amazon getting fulfillment centers closer to consumers,” said Ron Josey, an analyst at JMP Securities.
Both companies are chasing the latest frontier in e-commerce: the 75 percent of retail spending that happens within 15 miles of home.
This is a $2 trillion-a-year market in the United States that includes products suited to immediate neighborhood shopping, such as cleaning products, groceries, health and beauty items, according to J.P. Morgan estimates.
If EBay, Amazon and other companies can deliver such products quickly enough, they could grab a bigger share of this local commerce market, J.P. Morgan analysts including Doug Anmuth wrote in a recent note to investors.
Google Inc, the world’s largest Internet search company, is pursuing the same opportunity through its Google Shopping Express test, which started same-day deliveries in the San Francisco Bay Area earlier this year.
Palo Alto Toy & Sport, a Bay Area retailer, is on course to get about 5 percent of its sales this year through Google Shopping Express.
“It’s a way to offer more than Amazon,” said Miguel Natario, systems administrator at the retailer. “This gives us hope for increased sales.”
Wal-Mart Stores Inc is also testing same-day delivery through its Walmart To Go program in a handful of cities.