The Tech News Blog

December 28, 2013

Report: iOS Delivers More Christmas Day Sales Than Android

Get Organized: iOS7

Ready for another data point in the ongoing "Android vs. iOS" battle that's been waged around analysts' desks for years now? According to new research from IBM, iOS users drove more online sales on Christmas Day than their Android counterparts – even considering the fact that Android devices are absolutely crushing Apple's iPhones for smartphone market share on the worldwide level.

We realize we're mixing terminology a little bit, so we want to be clear: Android enjoys the win against the iPhone in worldwide and U.S. market share, but IBM's figures related to Android versus iOS in general (and only shopping done on U.S. retail sites). These figures include shopping done on Apple's iPads as well as any screen-tapping that shoppers did on Android tablets.

(Just as a separate point, it's a bit trickier to get a solid picture of the Android vs. iOS market share for tablets, but it's assumed that Android is going to eventually overtake iOS devices there as well.)

December 26, 2013

Apple’s 12 Days of Gifts App Starts Giving Out Free Content Today


Apple is wishing everyone happy holidays in the way it know best, by promoting its devices and services. Let's not be too cynical, though. Apple's 12 Days of Gifts app has started handing out free stuff today, so you'll want to get it installed on your iDevice right away.

So here's the deal—for the next 12 days (December 26-January 6th) the Gifts app will offer a free item of Apple's choosing from iTunes or the App Store. It might be an album, book, movie, app, game, or something unexpected. The content—whatever it is—will only be available to pickup for 24 hours. However, the content is permanently attached to your account, so you can download it to your devices whenever you like going forward.

The app looks nice with a dark brown and gold theme. The icons are all done up in iOS 7 style, as you might expect from Apple. The backdrop is subtly animated with expanding gold circles—it's a neat effect. When you tap the View Gift button, the app will pull up the store in a frame so you can grab it without leaving the app. Down below the free stuff is a list of related content that you can spend some of that holiday money on. What? You thought Apple was doing this out of the goodness of its heart?

December 4, 2013

Report: $1.7 Billion Spent Online in Biggest Cyber Monday Ever

Cyber Monday

Consumers spent more than $1.7 billion online during the biggest-ever Cyber Monday, which was also the "heaviest U.S. online spending in history," according to comScore.

Monday's online shopping bonanza saw U.S. consumers fork over 18 percent more in total online spending than they did during last year's Cyber Monday sales period, when they spent roughly $1.5 billion, the research firm said.

ComScore has been measuring holiday season U.S. retail ecommerce spending from desktop computers for the past 32 days, on Tuesday reporting that $23.9 billion was spent online from Nov. 1 through Dec. 2. That represents an 8 percent increase from the same period in 2012, or a 25 percent jump in spending "using the alternate comparison of the four-week period preceding Thanksgiving," or comparing the 2013 period to Oct. 26 through Nov. 26 last year, according to comScore.

"Any notion that Cyber Monday is declining in importance appears to be completely unfounded as its strong year-over-year growth rate of 18 percent resulted in yet another record for online spending in a single day," comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni said in a statement.

"While it's true that many retailers are bleeding their Cyber Monday promotions into the weekend before and the days afterward, Cyber Monday itself continues to be the most important day of the online holiday shopping season. That said, we did also see evidence of early promotions pulling some dollars forward into the weekend, so it is possible that Cyber Monday could have even been stronger were it not for the emergence of this trend."

November 29, 2013

Shoppers Spending Big Online, Many From Mobile Gadgets

Online Shopping

Online Black Friday shopping was up 7 percent from last year between midnight and 9 a.m. ET, according to a report from IBM.

The average shopper spent $142.33 on their online purchases, and 37 percent of online traffic came from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, a 36 percent jump from 2012. Mobile sales represented 21.5 percent of all online sales.

Smartphones were the browsing device of choice, with 24.4 percent of online traffic compared to tablets at 12 percent. But tablets drove 13.2 percent of all online sales, more than 1.5 times that of smartphones, which landed at 8.2 percent. Tablet users also averaged $137.96 per order, versus smartphone users, who averaged $119.21 per order, IBM found.

Apple users were more likely than their Android counterparts to be shopping this morning. Looking at total online sales, iOS was almost 4.5 times higher than Android, with 17.5 percent of sales vs. 4 percent for Android. iOS also led overall traffic with 25.8 percent vs. 11 percent for Android.

On average, iOS users spent $131.52 per order compared to $113.13 for Android users, the report said.

November 12, 2013

Walmart Tips Black Friday Deals on iPad, HDTVs

Walmart Logo

Walmart unveiled its Black Friday deals today, which include one-hour guarantees for those who are in line at 6 p.m. or 8 p.m. local time on Thanksgiving, as well as other in-store and online savings.

The retailer promised 65 percent more TV inventory and double the number of tablets it has had on previous Black Fridays, both of which are popular with holiday shoppers.

Last year, Walmart introduced the concept of a "one-hour guarantee," where shoppers could snag certain items during a set time period. This time around, Walmart will expand these deals from three items to 21. Customers will need to line up prior to the 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. events to secure a wristband for the sale products they want. They can then shop for other gifts while they wait for the events to begin, returning to the line within two hours after the event start time to pick up their product.

Among the items going on sale at 6 p.m. are a 60-inch Smart LED 1080p HDTV from Vizio for $688, a $310 savings. An LG Blu-ray player will also be available for $38.

Walmart will also be offering a $100 Walmart gift card with the purchase of the non-Retina iPad mini (16GB Wi-Fi) for $299.

For the gamer, Call of Duty: Ghosts for the PS3 or Xbox 360 will be $39.96, or $20 off, while Assassins Creed, NBA 2K14, Batman, and Grand Theft Auto V will be $34 each, or about $26 off.

The 6 p.m. hour will also feature an HP Pavillion TouchSmart 14-inch B109WM laptop for $278.

February 5, 2013

Holidays Boost Kindle Fire, But iPad Still King

The 10 Best Tablets

The iPad still dominates the tablet market, but Amazon's Kindle Fire is holding on to the gains it made over the holiday season, according to new stats from mobile ad network Chitika Insights.

The tablet market grew 75 percent during the fourth quarter, compared to the same time period in 2011, highlighting the trend of mobile and tablet devices driving personal computing. NPD DisplaySearch reached a similar conclusion last month, estimating that global tablet shipments will hit 240 million units this year — a 64 percent year-over-year increase.

Tablet competition, however, still remains fairly one-sided. Based on data collected by Chitika between Jan. 19 and 25, the mobile ad firm pointed to an unsurprising lead by the iPad , which had 81 percent of the tablet market last month, leaving a giant gap between Apple and it's Android-based contenders.

The Amazon Kindle Fire, however, landed almost 8 percent of the market — a 3 percent boost from its late-December standing. Google Nexus , Samsung Galaxy, and B&N Nook tablets also saw smaller gains last month, with all three now contributing a combined 6.7 percent of U.S. tablet Web traffic, Chitika said.

January 6, 2013

NPD: Windows Notebook Sales Drop in Holiday Season

Will My Laptop Work With Windows 8? Sales of U.S. consumer electronics were on the decline for the last three weeks of the holiday season (preceding Christmas), continuing an overall decline that's been observed since 2009.

The latest figures from NPD indicate that shoppers front-loaded their purchases during the first two weeks of last year's holiday shopping season (starting November 18), coughing up around 46% of all total consumer electronics purchases during this time.

While the elevated shopping rates during this time period continues a three-year trend, it also means that shopping during the last three weeks of the holiday season fell to their lowest levels observed since 2009.

"For the third consecutive year sales trends worsened in the later part of the holiday season," said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD, in a statement. "The hyped-up promotion of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and now Thanksgiving Day has proven remarkably effective in moving sales into the early part of the holiday season. Trends like online shopping and self-gifting have intensified the focus on the more event -driven early part of the holiday season."

In total, sales of Windows notebooks dropped 11 percent from 2011's holiday season, with their average selling price rising just $2 to $420.

Or, as NPD's press release puts it, "Despite the hype, and hope, around the launch of Windows 8, the new operating system did little to boost holiday sales or improve the year-long Windows notebook sales decline."

January 3, 2013

Barnes & Noble Nook Shunned by Holiday Shoppers

Barnes & Noble Logo

While the Apple iPad and Amazon Kindle Fire filled many a stocking this holiday season, it appears the Barnes & Noble Nook was largely left out in the cold.

According to data released today by Barnes & Noble, sales of Nook products took a tumble during the nine-week period ending Dec. 29.

The company's retail arm, which includes the brick-and-mortar stores and businesses, dropped 10.9 percent over the same time period in 2011. Barnes & Noble blamed the slump on an 8 percent decline in comparable store sales and closures, as well as lower online sales. The Nook segment, meanwhile, "fell short of the company's expectations," Barnes & Noble said, dropping 12.6 percent. While sales of digital content - like apps, e-books, and magazines - were up 13.1 percent, Nook device sales "declined during the holiday period as compared to the prior year," the company said, without elaborating.

"We entered the holiday with two great new products, Nook HD and Nook HD+, both highly rated media tablets of phenomenal quality," B&N CEO William Lynch said in a statement. "Nook device sales got off to a good start over the Black Friday period, but then fell short of expectations for the balance of holiday. We are examining the root cause of the December shortfall in sales, and will adjust our strategies accordingly going forward."

December 28, 2012

Huge Christmas for iTunes, App Store

100 Best iPhone Apps (update)

It was a very appy Christmas for Apple, which saw an 87 percent rise in Christmas Day app downloads.

The season's giving spirit meant loads of new iOS devices, which obviously needed to be stocked with applications and games.

New owners didn't wait long before heading to Apple's App Store on Dec. 25, boosting the daily download figures by 87 percent compared to the daily average for December, according to app analytics tracker Distimo. Based on data collected from more than 40 countries, Cupertino also saw a 70 percent revenue jump on Christmas.

All download volumes measured by Distimo counted both free and paid apps, while revenue was calculated from one-off and in-app purchases.

"Given that the iPad downloads and revenues rose by 140 percent and 83 percent respectively, the iPad seems to have been a very popular gift," Distimo's Gert Jan Spriensma wrote in a blog entry.

Only two of the top 10 most successful iOS applications downloaded on Christmas Day were even holiday-related, according to the site's figures. YouTube took the No. 1 spot, followed by iOS newcomer Google Maps.

December 14, 2012

Apple iOS Users Can Now Gift Apps

100 Best iPhone Apps (update)

Still have someone on your holiday shopping list with a blank space next to their name? Here's an idea: If you have an iOS device and they have an iOS device, you can now buy them an app.

Just in time for the holidays, Apple has restored its App Store gifting feature, which allows iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users to send a paid app to someone as a gift. This feature was previously available with iOS 5 and below, but inexplicably disappeared with the launch of iOS 6, according to 9to5Mac.

No matter what your giftee is into, there's sure to be an app that fits their interests. For example, game lovers might enjoy a copy of Ubisoft's Rayman Jungle Run, which Apple recently named iPhone game of the year. Those with an iPad might like Fireproof Studios' puzzler The Room, which nabbed iPad game of the year.

To gift someone an app, simply choose the paid app you want to put a bow on, then click the Share button in the upper right corner. From there, you'll see an icon called Gift. Click that and you'll be prompted to enter your Apple ID password, confirm your payment type, and enter your recipient's email address.