In First, Amazon Offers Free Holiday Shipping for All Orders

To better compete with Walmart and Target for online holiday shopping, Amazon will offer free shipping without the $25 minimum purchase required of shoppers who are not Prime members. This first-time Amazon offer is good only in the U.S., and will be in effect from November 5 until Amazon can no longer promise delivery in time for Christmas, typically five to eight days. Also for the upcoming holiday season, Amazon plans to add 100,000 staffers, fewer than the last two holiday seasons, evidence that the company is successfully automating operations. Continue reading In First, Amazon Offers Free Holiday Shipping for All Orders

Apple Experiences Strong Holiday Sales Numbers for iPhone 7

Analytics service Mixpanel reports that Apple had a decent holiday season, as more iPhone 7 devices were sold than Google Pixel smartphones. During the first few days following Christmas, iPhone 7 numbers “increased by 12.7 percent, compared with an 8.5 percent increase for Google’s newest flagship,” explains TechCrunch. “And when comparing iOS to Android devices in general — including phones, tablets, and iPods — more new Apple devices were switched on … after Christmas than Android devices.” Apple devices had the most global activations leading up to Christmas, while Samsung came in second. The number of “Apple Watches increased by 8.9 percent … the first three days after Christmas,” but “that’s down from 18.6 percent during the same time last year.” Continue reading Apple Experiences Strong Holiday Sales Numbers for iPhone 7

Mobile Gamers Spent Nearly $1 Billion Last Week of December

Marking the biggest week of the year for mobile games, research firm Sensor Tower reports that sales of game apps between Christmas and New Year’s Day jumped 53 percent over the same period last year. “Smartphone and tablet users spent a record $967.6 million on game apps for iOS and Android devices,” notes The Wall Street Journal. “Two factors typically goose spending during the week: mobile devices given as gifts, and people off from work and school who have free time to load up on apps.” Additionally, game developers typically introduce “discounts and special holiday-timed events during the week.” According to Newzoo, mobile is now the largest slice of the $100 billion video game pie. Continue reading Mobile Gamers Spent Nearly $1 Billion Last Week of December

‘Deadpool’ Sets New Record: Sells One Million Digital Units

Already the top-grossing R-rated movie in history (earning $761 million worldwide), “Deadpool” has broken another record by selling one million units in Digital HD sales during its first week, the fastest of any superhero title. The film “holds the record as Fox’s best performing Digital HD title ever,” notes The Wrap. “In comparison, ‘The Martian’ hit the one million unit mark in three weeks over Christmas, which was a record back then.” Digital HD includes Comcast, Google Play, iTunes, Xbox, and other digital outlets. “Deadpool” will be available on Blu-ray, DVD and on demand starting May 10. Continue reading ‘Deadpool’ Sets New Record: Sells One Million Digital Units

FAA Releases New Drone Regulations in Time for Holidays

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) just announced its rules for drones, in advance of the holiday shopping season when consumers are expected to purchase 700,000 of them. The rules, which call for all owners to register their drones in a national database with their names, home and email addresses, is aimed at allaying safety fears and encourage responsible ownership. This is the first time that owners have been required to register what are also known as unmanned aircraft systems. Continue reading FAA Releases New Drone Regulations in Time for Holidays

Walmart Reinvents Its Digital Operations to Overcome Amazon

Walmart Stores, with chief technology officer Jeremy King leading the charge, is in the midst of a dramatic overhaul of its digital operations. The goal is to create a digital presence as powerful as its brick-and-mortar one and, in the process, break Amazon’s record of successfully squelching most traditional retailers online. To do so, Walmart has invested serious resources into its effort: 15 acquisitions, 3,600 new hires and billions of dollars in the project code-named Pangaea, named after the pre-historic supercontinent. Continue reading Walmart Reinvents Its Digital Operations to Overcome Amazon

Apple to Launch Updated TV Box, in Talks with Content Partners

Apple is currently in talks with Time Warner Cable and other potential partners to add video content to a new Apple TV set-top box, according to people familiar with the matter. Apple is reportedly hoping to reveal the new device in April, and start selling it for the December holidays, but this may change since the company has still not secured agreements with distribution and programming partners. The device will be an update of the current Apple TV, with an upgraded interface, faster processor and easier navigation. Continue reading Apple to Launch Updated TV Box, in Talks with Content Partners

Netflix Plans Streaming Traffic Across Amazon Cloud Regions

To avoid possible outages, Netflix is now running its streaming-video service across two regions of the Amazon Web Service (AWS) cloud platform, balancing its traffic between the two. The major service disruption that occurred Christmas Eve of last year took down the site’s streaming, forcing Netflix to scramble. Now, the company will run its streaming service across AWS’ East and West regions, allowing for rerouting of traffic if necessary. Continue reading Netflix Plans Streaming Traffic Across Amazon Cloud Regions

Holiday Shopping Takes a Mobile Turn, Companies Respond

Cyber Monday, one of the busiest online commerce days of the year, is now extending to the rest of the holiday season. Consumers are no longer waiting until the Monday after Thanksgiving to surf the Web for deals. Rather, utilizing their tablets and smartphones, consumers are shopping online for a longer stretch. This is forcing companies like Amazon and eBay to compete with retailers to attract online buyers both before and after Cyber Monday. Continue reading Holiday Shopping Takes a Mobile Turn, Companies Respond