Archives for March 2012

Rough fourth-quarter means Best Buy to close 50 stores, modify formats

Best Buy Co. Inc., Minneapolis, Minn., reported a $1.7 billion fourth-quarter net loss, compared to net income of $651 million for the prior-year period. The fiscal fourth quarter 2012 results include $2.6 billion of charges primarily related to the actions announced on November 7, 2011, which consist of the purchase of Carphone Warehouse Group plc’s (CPW) share of the Best Buy Mobile profit share agreement and related costs, and write-off and restructuring charges. Revenue for the quarter was essentially level: $16.630 billion compared to $16.083 billion in 2011.

Sales for the full year ending March 3 were $50.705 billion, compared to $49.747 billion last year.

“We are taking major actions to improve our operating performance,” says Brian J. Dunn, CEO, of Best Buy. “As part of our multi-channel strategy, we intend to strengthen our portfolio of store formats and footprints — closing some big box stores, modifying others to our enhanced Connected Store format, and adding Best Buy Mobile stand-alone locations — all to provide a better shopping environment for our customers across multiple channels while increasing points of presence, and to improve performance and profitability.

“These changes will also help lower our overall cost structure. We intend to invest some of these cost savings into offering new and improved customer experiences and competitive prices — which will help drive revenue. And, over time, we expect some of the savings will fall to the bottom line. At the same time, we will continue to accelerate our key initiatives — growing connections and services, expanding our digital capabilities and growing our business in China.”

The company plans $800 million in cost reductions by fiscal 2015; including approximately $250 million in fiscal 2013. Specifically, this will include closure of 50 U.S. Best Buy big box stores in fiscal 2013, cost savings in corporate and support structure from IT services savings, procurement savings on non merchandise purchases, a reduction in outside consultant services and reduction of approximately 400 positions in corporate and support areas, and savings in cost of goods sold driven by reduction of product transition costs, lower product return and exchange expenses and supply chain efficiencies.

Best Buy’s retail store strategy is to increase points of presence, while decreasing overall square footage, for increased flexibility in a multi-channel environment. The company intends to remodel key stores with a new Connected Store format in fiscal 2013, and to continue to build out the successful Best Buy Mobile small format stores throughout the United States.

SuperPhoto iOS sharing app provides simple UI for visually impaired


Carve Gybe Software,Greensboro, N.C.,  has announced the availability of SuperPhoto, a new iOS Universal App claimed to be “the simplest way to take and share photos.” The new camera app was designed for ease-of-use with the intent of allowing users to enjoy the moment, and take and share better photos. The 99-cent SuperPhoto also follows Apple’s Accessibility standards and, using Apple’s VoiceOver which is included on all iOS devices, is 100 percent accessible by visually impaired users, a rarity among camera apps. A single touch of a prominent Share button takes a photo and shares it through Email, Twitter or Facebook. When sharing is not needed, one touch of the Camera button takes a photo. Users may later view and edit their photos in Apple’s Photos App just like any other photo. Touching the Print button will capture and send a photo to any nearby AirPrint capable printer.

Camera Awesome update adds Instagram sharing

SmugMug Camera Awesome has been downloaded more than 4 million times

SmugMug has updated its new Camera Awesome app, which has been downloaded more than 4 million times. After making enhancements to images, they can now be shared on Instagram with one tap. The app now comes in a $9.99 bundle, featuring all effects, an in-app help shows you how to post, edit and share; easier pinch-and-zoom, white-balance lock, and a smoother self-timer function.

Fujifilm announces EF-X20 hot-shoe mounted flash unit

Fujfilm Shoe Mount Flash EF-X20

Fujifilm Holdings, Tokyo, Japan, has a new lightweight and cEF-X20 hot shoe mounted flash gun compatible with the following cameras:  Fujifilm X-Pro1, X100, X10, X-S1 and FinePix HS30EXR, HS25EXR, HS20EXR, SL300, SL305, SL280, SL260, and SL240

Despite the EF-X20 hot shoe mounted flash gun compact size, the flash provides a strong light intensity of guide number 20, the company says. In keeping with the style of the X-series cameras, the flash has been crafted from premium materials. Further attention to detail has been given to the feel of the setting dial — the excellent ergonomics keep control totally responsive. Full manual control is featured, down to 1/64 power for very low levels of power output. The TTL (Through The Lens) with EV (Exposure Value) flash compensation is in +/- 1/3 step, which means that the photographer is in total control of the power of flash output. Built-in wide panel can be selected by using the lever located on the side of the flash for incredible ease of use.

The Digital Show to feature “Retail Global Trends and Our Future”

Gary Lamb

The new Digital Conference program at the PMA Australia Conference features the “Retail Global Trends and Our Future” General Session at 11:30 a.m., Thursday, May 24, at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, with Gary Lamb, GfK Australia, and John Swainston, Maxwell International Australia Pty Ltd.

During his 25 years with GfK, the world’s leading provider of market intelligence to the consumer technology industries, Lamb has been analyzing retail and consumer data and presenting on market trends, at conferences all over the world. His opinion on the implications of consumer purchasing patterns is often sought because his experience of so many markets, in so many territories, provides the basis for understanding what current and historic market dynamics might mean for retail and industry, in future.

He has been the Managing Director of GfK Australia and New Zealand for the last 12 years.

John Swainston

John Swainston is the managing director of Maxwell International Australia and senior vice president, Asia/Oceania, DayMen Group. As the principle accessory bag supplier in photo/digital devices in 108 countries worldwide, and specifically in 14 countries in East and South East Asia, Swainston brings global insight to the fast-changing retail scene, enabling the audience to see and experience best online and physical retail engagement from some of the fastest growing economies in the world. With more than 40 years audio-visual and imaging industry experience, you’ll learn about the best-performing retailers in imaging and digital markets from around the world, leaving with do-it-now tools to improve your customers’ retail experience.

Click here for registration information.

Wired: Sony links PlayMemories Studio to Cloud

Wired columnist Mike Barton notes in a recent column Sony Electronics‘ PlayMemories Studio software for the PlayStation will soon offer cloud access to consumers’ photos and videos.

“See, Apple’s OS X Lion and Microsoft’s Windows 8 will have the cloud baked in, and Samsung and other consumer electronics makers are said to be running with the cloud. Now it’s game on as Sony steps up with a cloud play the could, for PS3 users, take on iCloud, as the Blu-ray playing game console already has a good seat in folks’ living rooms….With 5GB of storage, PlayMemories Online will have store a few images and videos — uploaded by PC or phone — and then in addition to being able to edit on the PS3, they can be viewed via the cloud from phones, tablets, as well on Sony digital photo frames and the company’s PlayStation Vita portable gaming device.”

Custom SLR launches M-Plate universal quick-release camera tripod plate

Custom SLR M-Plate

Custom SLR, a San Jose, Calif., design company announced the M-Plate universal camera tripod plate, offering built-in Manfrotto RC2 and Arca-Swiss connections as well as attachment points for accessories. Produced with appreciation from the support of more than 400 Kickstarter backers and designed by a team of seasoned photographers, the $74.95 M-Plate enables quick release from any tripod head and can attach multiple camera accessories into a single plate.

Crafted in the USA from aerospace grade aluminum, the M-Plate is sturdy, steady and lightweight, and works with any camera strap system including the Custom SLR C-Loop strap mount, BlackRapid,  Spider Holster, Sun Sniper, Cotton Carrier and other systems would typically occupy the camera tripod socket.

“While connecting with real photographers using the C-Loop, we heard over and over that they also wanted something to connect with their tripod. That was the inspiration for the M-Plate but what grew from that inspiration is a system that will work with any strap system and any tripod – improving the shooting experience for all photographers,” says Ivan Wong, COO, Custom SLR. “We started Custom SLR as a means to solve our own problems and it’s amazing to be able to help so many of our fellow photographers as well. Thank you to all of our Kickstarter backers for help bringing the M-Plate to life.”

Canon is supporting Google CloudPrint

Canon U.S.A. Inc., Lake Success, N.Y., announced the Pixma MG8220 and MG6220 Wireless1 Photo All-In-One (AIO) inkjet photo printers now support Google Cloud Print, allowing users to print from Gmail and Google Docs on a mobile device and from the Google Chrome browser for Mac, Windows, Linux, and Chrome devices. The PIXMA MX892 Wireless Office AIO inkjet printer is also scheduled to provide the same support in May.

Mitsubishi Electric adds Matte Finish to CP-D70 Series Event Printers



Mitsubishi CP-D707DW printer

Mitsubishi Electric Visual Solutions America Inc., Irvine, Calif., announced a Super Fine Matte finish and Super Fine Print mode for the CP-D70DW and CP-D707DW event printers.

“Now our most popular professional event photo printers are even more versatile,” says James Chan, vice president of marketing, Mitsubishi Electric Visual Solutions America. “Super Fine Print produces stunning studio-quality photos by increasing the optical density of the photograph for more contrast and visual depth. And the new Super Fine Matte mimics the traditional finish of matte photo paper for studio-quality prints anywhere, anytime.”

Mitsubishi Electric Visual Solutions America has combined the Super Fine Matte upgrade with its recently announced 2-by-6-inch multi-cut upgrade, available for free via printer firmware and driver downloads on the Mitsubishi website. The CP-D70DW, Mitsubishi’s full-featured, lightweight event photo printer, weighs 27 pounds and creates a 4-by-6-inch print in 8.4 seconds. The dual-deck CP-D707DW is one printer with two separate paper paths.

App maker aims to combine 360,000 personal photos into one image

Revolution Mosaic

Startup mobile company, Barrel Man Apps Inc., aims to combine 360,000 iPhone photos from users around the world to form one photo mosaic poster to be the symbol of the “Mobile Generation.” The company has started Revolution Mosaic, an iOS photography app allowingiPhone users from around the world to submit their photos to create a gigantic photo mosaic image.

The Revolution Mosaic app is scheduled to launch in the App Store this May, 2012, inviting iPhone users from around the world to submit their iPhone photos. Once 360,000 photos are submitted, one of the submitted photos will be chosen to form the final mosaic image. This image will be chosen based on its depiction of the “mobile generation.” The final mosaic will then be turned into a 48-by-72-inch mural poster that can be viewed and purchased through the app, the website, or in commercial art galleries.

Barrel Man Apps is currently seeking additional funding to help pay for app development, testing, and additional platform development like Android. To achieve this goal, Barrel Man Apps Founder, Ian Tuason, has launched a Kickstarter campaign.

“Pledges to the project start as low as $1 which will ensure you receive the app when it launches,” says Tuason. “For $10 you can pre-order the high resolution final mosaic once it’s formed, and for $25 you get the final poster delivered to your door – shipping is on me.”