Amidst mounting losses across the board, Sony’s decided to jettison a few under performing businesses. While their exit from computers grabbed most of the headlines, they’ve also thrown in the towel on eReaders. Early on Sony actually produced the best eReader hardware. However, their success was held back due to pricing, marketing, and distribution. Not to mention no one can match the Amazon ecosystem. In a fairly altruistic move, we suppose, Sony Reader hardware will be relinked to Kobo’s digital storefront - so the eBooks will continue flowing. Unless you happened to step up to a 3G Reader, in which case, your cellular data will be unceremoniously cut off next month. At least the USB lights will remain on?
Beep is latest entrant in whole-home audio. But, unlike Sonos‘ key products, their music streaming technology isn’t currently embedded within a speaker enclosure. And we suspect the potential market of people looking to network traditional speakers is rather modest. The $99 Beep appendage is sharp looking blinky, clicky dial … that’ll ratchet up your clutter in the form of dual power and audio cables. But unlike a standalone Bluetooth speaker, Beep quite cleverly implements the DIAL protocol, like Chromecast, to turn your iOS or Android device into merely a remote control – versus a music source, with Pandora streaming directly from the cloud to the Beep. On the flip side, unlike Sonos, Beep is content to use your existing wireless network rather than requiring a dedicated network hub (at additional expense). While Beep is taking pre-orders now (in copper or grey), for an anticipated Fall launch, we suggest those interested wait until they line up a few more streaming partners. Or just take the Sonos leap.
Best Buy has launched an interesting promo to proactively reach potential customers, no matter one’s smartphone predilection. Register your intent now to pick up any new phone by the end of the year, and receive a $50 gift card upon completion of that purchase. Of course, with two huge 2014 launches expected in the Samsung Galaxy S5 and iPhone 6, Best Buy’s fuzzy calendar and agnostic OS approach is quite clever. Not to mention, there’s really no catch — register your intent, maybe you buy from them, maybe you don’t. But should you transact, you’ll be rewarded with that gift card (plus any potential trade in valuation, if you choose the easy but less lucrative way out). As you’d expect, this dealio is limited to subsidized phones on a 2-year contract (and T-Mobile customers, such as myself, need not apply).