Author Archives: Brent

4 Things That Get Smarter…CES 2014

CES smart technology

CES smart technologyHow much smarter can we get? We’re about to find out as CES 2014 opens in Las Vegas today. Personally, I’ve never been, but I have a vested interest like other colleagues working in the consumer tech world. Luckily, many tech blogs and all the top media pubs send an army of journalists to CES and when they can get reliable WiFi, they post hourly, comprehensive updates, videos, reviews and news.

This year should be much more interesting than last year, especially after the tablet (mobile device) buying frenzy during the holidays. Most consumers are looking to turn their new mobile device investment into their command central, driving the way they communicate, shop, entertain and live.

Here are the four main smart product categories I’ll be watching intently to see how tech brands have improved on from last year, and which are ready for mass consumerism where one device to run “everything” is the goal.

Smart Wearables: From watches to bracelets to glasses/AR/VR headgear to chips (yes, it’s not that far off), new designs that make them more favorable to actually get us to wear them and the new accessories and software that make wearables more niche and targeted to consumers who care.

TV: 4K tech, streaming and prices, and when will all those pixels be available? Roku TV! Who else steps up their “smart” game, including accessories and applications that make my new tablet and TV friendlier.

Smart Home Products: From Security, to automation to touch to voice command to remote surveillance, what new products let us control them with our new mobile device, what’s the investment and how well do they actually work?

Up & Coming Brands: Behind the new products and categories are the brands, and many of them, even already established brands, are working on tech products that could vault them into another stratosphere pretty quickly. All they need is something fresh, fun, useful and to get LeBron or Taylor to tweet about it, right? Seriously, the brands are often the story at shows like these and their presentation can make or break the launch, no matter how good the product is.

More to come…this week!

 

FINALLY! Twitter launches Vine for the Web

vine_logo2

Twitter launches Vine for the Web with profiles, home feed, and a TV mode for viewing videos in full screen – The Next Web.

New year’s goal is to start using Vine. I love the concept and now with a web site, it fits the way I manage my profiles (not into the smartphone “squint” to manage thang). My mobile devices are still just tools for my trusty Macbook Air, which is the most powerful “command central” for many of us…so it’s nice to see Twitter/Vine recognize this.

vine_logo

According to TNW: Twitter promises today’s launch is just version 1.0 and that users should thus expect new features. “This release is just a first step toward bringing you a richer, more enjoyable web experience,” the company says. “We look forward to introducing more improvements in 2014.” #vine #twitter

What to Buy in January: Shopping Trends 2014

When to buy january shopping trendsHappy New Year and welcome to another round of discount clearance. Savvy shoppers know early January means hidden savings on many items we don’t normally associate with seasonal sales, and any leftovers from Christmas Clearance sales will get an even bigger price reduction as retailers do everything but give it away in order to clear final holiday inventory. FatWallet shoppers traditionally cash in on January clearance deals and add even more savings with cash back. This equates to savings on some of last year’s in-demand products, especially for certain electronics gadgets, entertainment media (BluRay movies, video games), clothing, shoes and of course, bedding and linens.

Savings opportunities in January include:

Early January:

white sale dealsJanuary White Sales are for real. Unlike the huge discounts we saw on discount bedding, bath and linen items during the holiday, this is the best time of year to save on higher quality sheets, towels and other textile items for the home. And think beyond “white” as those usually higher priced patterns and textures will be part of the sale, as well. We would not be surprised if Macy’s and Kohl’s have another “holiday-like” 30-40% category-wide discount on these items and other top retailers will compete with increased card member rewards. Weigh your options and add more savings with FatWallet Cash Back for every White Sale item on the planet!

taxTax Software goes on sale for millions of early-bird filers. Retailers like H&R Block, TaxAct and TurboTax will offer their best discounts of the year for desktop and online software and increase cash back for smart shoppers in FatWallet’s Tax Software Deals. We suggest you check in on FatWallet’s Finance forum for additional hidden savings from expert tax advice, tax tips and filing tactics.

Jewelry and Fragrance Deals have a short window of huge discounts at 50% or more before prices go back up leading up to Valentine’s Day sales (there will still be deals in February on these items, but not this good). Look for great deals on watches and perfume in the first two weeks of January.

xbox 360 dealsVideo Games (Xbox 360 and PS3) can be nabbed at some of the lowest prices of the year, especially with the emergence of the new Xbox One and Playstation 4, which won’t be compatible with the older formatted games. If you’re not ready to shell out $4-500 plus buy all new games, your timing to shoot ’em up for cheap with some different game titles couldn’t be better.

Winter Apparel can be had at good prices as again, after Christmas sales often feature great bargains and deep category discounts on outwear like coats, hats, gloves, boots and sweaters. Look for these savings in both clothing/apparel and sports/outdoors categories. Wait for March for even better prices if you’re not picky about selection.

Mid-January:

super bowl tv salesAs the football playoff games approach, TV and Home Theater upgrades on quality brands can be found at some of the lowest prices we see all year (unlike the low to mid-level quality TV deals we saw Black Friday 2013. Keep tabs on Super Bowl Sales events that will offer a wide selection of 50-60″ HDTVs in the $500-600 range with many featuring “SMART” TV technology. Big game HDTV Deals and selection will be plentiful bringing perfect timing for upgrading to higher resolution and advanced features that will make that new Xbox One or PS4 play that much better. Late January is also prime time to look for home entertainment package deals where you can significantly upgrade both audio and video at super low prices in one purchase.

point and shoot camera dealsOther Electronics deals and gadgets can be had for cheap on digital cameras, video cameras and wired audio gadgets (re: speaker docs) as newer wireless WiFi/Bluetooth tech becomes the new accessories for the masses. Laptop and computer deals are seasonal, especially after CES, but prices will get better in the months to come. For daily insider deal info, follow the FatWallet Hot Deals forum where savvy online deal hunters share fast-selling electronics deals year round. Set topic alerts for items you want to purchase so you don’t miss out on the deals of the year!

Other January Bargains:

health and fitness salesLook for food savings on party munchies and beverages from after New Year’s and holiday sales to stock up for your Super Bowl party. January is also resolution time so expect deals on health and diet foods, supplements, vitamins and health and fitness equipment. This is also a good time to look for signup bonuses on health club memberships and check the January sales for savings on work out apparel. Wait for purchases on winter snow removal equipment until winter clearance sales in March, if you can, as prices will be low and worth the investment.

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DECEMBER Shopping Trends 2013: When to Buy What

 

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Online shoppers spend more money this month than any other. Even Black Friday doesn’t hold a candle to the shopping revenue recorded in many other shopping days in December. With that said, December sales are rampant and but every deal is a deal, even with increased cash back from hundreds of stores in FatWallet’s annual Holiday Cash Back Sale, especially on Green Monday (DEC 9) and Free Shipping Day (DEC 18). So even for these items that are typically marked down this month, we would suggest that shoppers compare prices and ways to stack discounts in order to optimize their savings, whether buying gifts or stuff for the home. This year with Cyber Monday deals coming in December, study the Black Friday prices closely as it may pay off to wait until December to buy certain items, like on Green Monday. Also, free shipping for online shoppers is a must to assure you get a good deal, so keep eyes peeled for special coupon codes and know the spend minimums to unsure you avoid this cost (or utilize free in-store pickup, especially when you need items the same day).

”cyberCyber Monday: Last year this shopping event hit in November, but the trends for what to buy are still similar as it follows a Black Friday season that has seemed like an eternity of low priced electronics. 2012 set records for online purchases in one day and continued throughout the week to follow. The majority of these purchases were for electronics gadgets, cell phone deals and clothing (and shoes). Just like Black friday, there will be good deals on laptops, TV’s and hig priced electronics, but the deals are limited to specific models, so make sure to compare before buying. Dozens of apparel stores will simply offer Cyber Monday and Cyber Week shoppers a big store-wide discount of 50-60% of clothing, shoes and accessories. Expect this to continue. Our recommendation is to buy clothing early in December versus later in the month as we get closer Christmas.

”furbyToy Deals: The retailers were very aggressive with toy deals in late October and early November, but toy prices should be best starting Green Monday and up to the last few days to ship as retailers continue to lower prices. If you can wait, you’ll save a few extra bucks. The risk for waiting for the se lower prices is whether you’ll find the exact toy model you want. With lack luster early sales reports, this year shouldn’t be an issue.

”RachaelCookware and kitchen gadgets: This year’s Black Friday deals for cookware sets are pretty impressive, but traditionally these don’t sell out and hold their price through December sales. Kitchen gadgets and small appliances are plentiful and should see even better than Black Friday prices in December sales, especially when mixed with a 30% off Kohl’s or Macy’s discount. Dinnerware and glassware will be available for reduced prices this month as well. And look for attractive select sales on home decor items (frames sets, candles, bookshelves, rugs-BOGO) in mid December leading up to Free Shipping Day.

”giftGift Cards: Believe it or not, late December and right before Christmas break is the best time to buy gift cards. Not only will dozens of stores offer discounts ($25 GC for $20, etc.), especially for restaurants, movies and local entertainment, but you can also get cash back on many of these deals. We would advise anyone looking for gift card discounts to read the fine print, especially when trying to apply cash back to the initial purchase, or during redemption.

”christmasDecember Clearance: Most of the really good deals during this last week of December include holiday decorations, wrapping paper/bows/tags, holiday dinnerware and food. But we also see some really low prices on discount clothing, shoes, toys, and small electronics and appliances. But not all…click the link above to check out some of the highlight sales from last year (2012).


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Cash Back SALE!

Additional Shopping Trends Articles

Black Friday Tablet Deals: Lowest prices ever!

 

Best iPad and Tablet deals Black Friday 2013The Best of Black Friday 2013!

TABLET & iPad Deals:

Retailers have more than doubled the iPad and tablet deals for this year’s Black Friday events (+180 vs. 73 in 2012) and by a landslide, consumers have voted them their favorite deals in FatWallet’s Black Friday Deal Finder. They recognize these are the lowest prices they’ve ever seen on iPads (iPad, iPad Air and iPad Mini), Kindles, Samsung’s Galaxy Tablets and Microsoft’s Surface and with Black Friday shopping starting online Thanksgiving morning, they know they may not last until Friday.

It’s rare, almost unheard of, to see deep discounts on any of Apple’s new flagship products. Walmart, Target and Meijer are all offering $100 Gift Cards with
iPad purchases. Best Buy is offering the Kindle Fire HD for $99-half price, and as FatWallet predicted, the Microsoft Surface can be nabbed for under $200 (for the first time ever). Adding FatWallet Cash Back to these deals make them even better.

iPad Apple iPad Mini 16GB/Wi-Fi + $100 Gift Card – Walmart

– See Details.
$299 PLUS get a $100 Walmart Gift Card

Tack on the $100 gift card from Walmart (latest tactic to help lower cost of buying an iPad…you’ll notice a theme), and this becomes the lowest price ever on an iPad Mini (1st generation). Use the gift card to buy more holiday gifts, or just regift the card. Either way, if you like to shop at Walmart, your $100 up on last year’s hottest tablet!

Apple iPad Air 16GB/WiFi + $100 Gift Card – Target

– See Details.
$479 (msrp $629.99)

Touted by CNET and other tech gurus as the best tablet ever made, this Black Friday you can get one at the lowest price ever offered, plus get Cash Back (which is new this month from Target on FatWallet.com). As you’ll see below, Target is offering $100 gift cards on all iPad purchases!

Microsoft 10.6″ Surface RT Tablet 32GB – Best Buy

– See Details.
$199 (was $349)

As our Black Friday Predictions indicated, the “somehow” elusive Microsoft Surface would fall under $200. This is an underrated multi-tasking tablet and for this price, a steal. With a newer model just released, don’t be surprised to see the price fall a bit more on Cyber Monday.

$100 off all new tablets – Verizon Wireless

– See Details.
$100 off w/2 yr agreement, plus add up to $57.50 in Cash back

So there is a 2 year contract to deal with, but you’ll need that for any tablet to connect beyond WiFi. $100 off any tablet makes this deal supreme savings for those who want choices, and adding cash back makes it exclusively better through FatWallet.

Kindle Fire HD 7″ Tablet 16GB – Best Buy

– See Details.
$99.99 (msrp $199)

This was the most popular tablet in Black Friday 2012 and is one of the most popular doorbusters in our Black Friday Deal Finder and… the lowest price ever on this tablet. Staples is offering the Kindle Fire for $79 (no HD).

Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ Tablet 16 GB – OfficeMax

– See Details.
$169.00 (was $269.00)

Big brother to the 7″, this is the lowest price on Kindles 9″ tablet.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7” Tablet 8GB – Best Buy

– See Details.
$149.99 (was $199.99)

If you’re looking for a tablet with a more open operating system and expandable storage space, then this is the tablet for you. At $10 cheaper than last Black Friday, it’s still a really good deal!

Google Nexus 7 7″ 16GB Tablet – Staples

– See Details.
$199 (was $229)

Last year at this same price, it was a better deal as the list price was $249, but a year later, this highly rated tablet competes well in this price range.

$100 Target Gift Card w/ Purchase of any iPad – Target

– See Details.
$price varies per model

This may be the best tablet deal this year if you like Target. Basically get $100 worth of other Target items for an iPad Air, iPad Mini or older iPad models. Choice is good!

Nook 7″ 8GB HD Tablet from Target

– See Details.
$79 (msrp $129)

A ridiculously low price (ever) on a really good product. If you’re just looking for a quality reader/surfer, this is tough to beat.


SERIES Master List: “Best of Black Friday 2012″

FatWallet’s in-depth series reveals the top products and deals from last year…some you’ll wish you didn’t miss! Featuring expert deal reviews, shopping tips and predictions for 2013, series content is based on sales and shopping activity recorded from FatWallet’s Black Friday Deal Finder (and mobile app) in 2012 which featured 27,000+ deals and doorbusters, 100+ Black Friday ads, and the hot Thanksgiving Day Deals, as well as Cyber Monday Deals from last year.

WANNA BE A HOT HOLIDAY DEALS “INSIDER”!Sign Up for Black Friday Deals 2013

Be first-to-know when Early Black Friday sales start and VIP access to all 2013 Black Friday ads and deals, sign-up for timely email alerts, follow the hot deals in our Black Friday forum and Twitter feeds, or download the best Black Friday mobile app for the latest holiday news and shopping on-the-go.

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NOVEMBER Shopping Trends 2013: When to Buy What

NOVEMBER Shopping Trends 2013: When to Buy What

Cyber Monday Survey Says…

Cyber Monday Survey Says Mobile and Social Trending as Bigger Resource for Deals

NOVEMBER Shopping Trends 2013: When to Buy What

trends
The Black Friday ads are leaking earlier than ever before and FatWallet’s 2013 Black Friday Deal Finder is live and poised to host more than 40,000 advertised deals at hard-to-resist prices all during November and through Cyber Monday. This year a short December shopping season is expected to bring earlier and more competitive November sales than ever before, presenting an opportunity for early shoppers to find a bigger selection on items that tend to offer big savings this month.

Early sales will be everywhere (see our “early predictions“) and we’ve already seen several retailers aggressively marketing holiday Toys in October. Unlike past years, we should keep looking for toy deals in early November this year. Other traditional November savings include furniture, cookware and dinnerware and other home items related to hosting holiday events. Also, keep some fast fingers for Halloween clearance and weekend sales featuring select winter apparel.

trends Halloween Clearance: Starting Nov. 1, stores will feature Halloween clearance on costumes, decorations, candy and other related items that need to clear inventory space for like holiday items. Online clearance is just as lucrative and can feature costumes and decorations for up to 90% off (add FatWallet cash back for even more savings).

Smart places to look for clearance include a host of specialty costume stores found in FatWallet’s Halloween Deals. Newegg will also be offering 100,000 Halloween items at 90% off again this year and will keep the promotion running into November, in addition to their well-known pre-Black Friday Deals.

trends November Electronics Sales: Electronics, specifically tablets and smartphones will be hot pre-Black Friday items this year. With several Apple and Android product releases in the last 30 days, shoppers looking to upgrade, but not pay premium pricing for new releases, are in a good situation. Stores will be trying to clear out the models just under the new releases (like Iphone 5/4S/4, iPad 4, Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy Tab 2, Microsoft Surface, Kindle HD, etc.).

Expect varied pricing with some carriers offering older smartphones for free with a 2-year contract (similar to last year) and older tablets $100-150 off what we saw last year during Black Friday. Apple fans looking to get in to the tablet scene may want to start with a refurbished model. You can get the iPad Mini for $249 w/1 year warranty.

trends Early Sales: Holiday hosts get fired up about having family and friends over and traditionally look to buy new furniture, cookware, dinnerware, blankets/bedding and other home items needed for entertaining. Many bigbox retailers will respond with competitive offers and weekend sales featuring these items at 30-50% off. Even appliances, especially for the kitchen, will see tempting discounts (make sure you negotiate free in-home delivery).

These sales vary in how much savings you can find compared to Black Friday so we recommend to set alerts and do your research to find the models and brands you prefer at a price you can live with…easier if you commit to “not settle for retail pricing” and take full advantage of Fatwallet’s massive Holiday Cash Back Sale, Nov. 1 – Dec. 31.

trends Black Friday: The last few years, clothing items were by far and away the number one category that shoppers chose to buy during Black Friday, for two main reasons. One, it’s the main holiday gift for that most of us are confident in purchasing and two, the deals are numerous and affordable. Last year there were 7,000+ clothing deals advertised fore Black Friday sales events with more than 2/3 of them under $20. Items for the home and kitchen are also in high demand for the same reason, as are tools.

Black Friday also brings us a great time to look for cheap TVs and last year the bigger screens were priced for the picking…we expect this to continue again this year with some less feature-filled 50-60” HDTV models under $400.

With the emergence of tablets and phablets, expect the price of 15” laptops to plummet below $200, including Windows 8 touch enabled models. Also, be on the lookout for Amazon to discount their new HDX tablet to around $300-$325 to compete with Apple, and Samsung. And you be able to find 7″ Nexus 7 tablets for under $200 and many of last year’s smartphone models will be (or are already) free with 2 year contract from the majority of mobile carriers (even the iPhone 5C).


WANNA BE A HOT HOLIDAY DEALS “INSIDER”!Sign Up for Black Friday Deals 2013

Be first-to-know when Early Black Friday sales start and VIP access to all 2013 Black Friday ads and deals, sign-up for timely email alerts, follow the hot deals in our Black Friday forum and Twitter feeds, or download the best Black Friday mobile app for the latest holiday news and shopping on-the-go.

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Cyber Monday 2013 Shopping Survey [INFOGRAPHIC]

Best of Black Friday Deals 2013Cyber Monday was the biggest online shopping day in history last year (2012-CNET). Consumers spent almost $1.5 billion (up 17% from 2011-ComScore) as many retailers started their Cyber Monday events early on Sunday, and carried the theme (Cyber Days, Cyber Week, etc.) through the following week. Shoppers used mobile devices like never before (12.9% total sales-IBM Benchmark). A new survey reports that almost half (48%) of those surveyed plan to shop on Cyber Monday 2013, with more than half planning to spend more this year. Also, more than 60% surveyed under the age of 40 plan to shop Cyber Monday while more than 60% of “Boomers” say they will not.

This national survey, conducted online by TNS Global on behalf of FatWallet.com in October 2013, reports that almost half (48%) of those surveyed plan to shop on Cyber Monday 2013, with more than half planning to spend more this year. Also, more than 60% surveyed under the age of 40 plan to shop Cyber Monday while more than 60% of “Boomers” say they will not. Unlike years past, shoppers indicated they will look to buy more tablets and smartphones than TVs and laptops this year, and 34% say they will shop for gadgets. And as our Cyber Monday predictions agree, 55% will look for store-wide discounts on Dec. 2.

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Cyber Monday Shopping 2013 Infographic

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