Archive | February 2013

ShoeDazzle Hoping to Woo Back Customers With New Subscription Offer

A year ago, ShoeDazzle stopped offering its subscription service, hoping to encourage a much broader audience of women to buy shoes on its site.

shoedazzle

But next month, the Los Angeles-based company plans to relaunch subscriptions, hoping to bring back customers who stopped visiting on a regular basis without the monthly obligation.

The change is one of many taking place at the company since CEO Bill Strauss was replaced by its founder, Brian Lee, three months ago.

Lee calls the new subscription offer “Amazon Prime with a twist.”

The old deal cost $40 a month to receive a new pair of pumps, wedges or heels based on your likes and preferences. The new deal costs only $9.95 a month and can be used like a credit that can be applied toward the purchase of a pair of shoes.

The ShoeDazzle-branded shoes will continue to cost only $40, but the company will also start selling name-brand shoes for up to $80, providing a wide variety of styles to choose from. The credit can accumulate for up to 12 months, allowing women to apply multiple months of credit toward one pair of shoes.

Lee said the program is designed to increase loyalty. If someone already has $10 to spend on the site, they will find more reasons to return on a regular basis. (Its closest competitor, JustFab, is still charging $40 for its shoe subscription.)

Since launching a beta program a couple of weeks ago, Lee said, they already have 12,000 people signed up and thousands more on the wait list. The members already have increased visits to the site by 12 percent and have a 30 percent higher buy rate.

When ShoeDazzle discontinued its subscription service a year ago, Lee said it was successful in opening up the site to more buyers, but more importantly, they lost engagement.

As part of re-engaging its fan base, Lee has also hired designer and stylist Rachel Zoe as chief stylist, the company’s second celebrity spokesperson. ShoeDazzle was founded, in part, by Kim Kardashian.

The celebrity angle is one that Lee has tapped multiple times. He is also the CEO at The Honest Company, a monthly subscription service he co-founded with actress Jessica Alba that delivers eco-friendly diapers, wipes, skin care and cleaning products to your home.

A new subscription offering and a new celebrity aren’t the only changes Lee has made since rejoining ShoeDazzle. In October, he laid off 22 of the company’s 240 employees and cut back on other verticals the company was getting into like swimwear, lingerie and handbags.

He also relaunched the site, adding two new features that are designed to give customers reasons to return on a daily basis. Rachel Zoe’s Edit gives fashion advice to shoppers, and the Daily Fix introduces a new pair of shoes everyday.

Despite all the changes, Lee said the company recorded $100 million in revenue in 2012, an 80 percent increase over the year earlier. He expects the company to be cash-flow positive by the end of the year.

Fusion-io’s Flash Madness Slows Down as Apple and Facebook Trim Orders

fat-flash

Shares of Fusion-io, the company that uses flash memory to enhance servers in data centers, are falling like crazy. Seems forecasts for the coming quarter came in below the aggressive projections of Wall Street analysts.

Having risen more than 3 percent to $20.09 on the New York Stock Exchange today, Fusion’s shares fell by more than 17 percent to $16.79 in after-hours trading after the company said it expects slower revenue growth as major customers Facebook and Apple slowed orders. CFO Dennis Wolf claimed the timing of orders from those two companies slipped by two quarters. Together Facebook and Apple account for 51 percent of Fusion’s business.

I just got off the phone with CEO David Flynn, who told me that having two customers account for so much of its business was always a risk. But? When Fusion first IPO’d in 2011, Apple and Facebook accounted for 70 percent of sales, so it could have been worse. “We knew there was going to be some risk with customer concentration,” he said. “Over time the concentration will work itself out,” Flynn told me.

As yet, no other single customer accounts for more than 10 percent of revenue, and therefore requires disclosure. But five of the 10 customers that bought more than $1 million in Fusion-io products in the last quarter also bought its newer product ioScale. Also, sales in Europe grew 100 percent year on year, while sales in the Asia Pacific region grew 130 percent.

Fusion-io reported per-share earnings of 2 cents in the quarter, versus 7 cents a year ago. Revenue rose more than 40 percent to $120.6 million. The results fell short of analyst expectations, which called for earnings of 8 cents on $120.3 million.

Music And Videos Land On BlackBerry World Ahead Of BlackBerry 10 Launch

RIM will launch their new BlackBerry 10 OS later today, along with two new BlackBerry 10 smartphones, the BlackBerry Z10 and the BlackBerry X10, and yesterday they announced a range of new content partnerships for videos, and music on their BlackBerry World Store.

RIM has now started selling TV shows, music and movies on their BlackBerry World store ahead of the launch of BlackBerry 10 which takes place later on today.

BlackBerry World

Crysis 3 Multiplayer Beta Now Available To Play (videos)

As announced Crysis 3 Multiplayer Beta has now opened its doors and will be running until February 12th 2013, a few days vefore Crysis 3 is set to be officially launched on February 19th in the US and February 22nd in Europe..

The new Crysis 3 Multiplayer Beta release in now available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC and includes the New York Feed, which is an in-game social feed, showcasing the accomplishments of gamers and their friends.

Crysis 3 Multiplayer

Everything You Need to Know About the New BlackBerries

This morning the world held its collective breath as RIM BlackBerry took its sweet ass time trotting out the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 and amidst all the shenanigans, the company formerly known as RIM managed to show off a few notable new BB10 features, too. In case you missed all the live coverage this morning, you can find everything and anything related to BlackBerry 10 below. [Editor’s note: you can tap and drag the above Z10 all you want thanks to Gizmodoscope.]


BlackBerry 10 Launch: Everything You Need to Know

Well, here goes. RIM is announcing its new BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware today. This could be the launch that gets RIM back in the game for smartphones. Or it could be the last time BlackBerry is relevant. It’s a big moment. [More]


This is the New Blackberry Z10

Here it is. It’s the new Blackberry 10. It’s official, it looks exactly like the leaked photos and the renders we published. [More]


RIM is Dead, Long Live BlackBerry

Starting today, RIM is rebranding itself as BlackBerry. With the official name change, you can say so long to all your RIM-related innuendo. [More]


BlackBerry Q10: The Next Generation QWERTY Beast

Blackberry’s QWERTY handset for Blackberry 10 is here. Launched today, BB10 10 does away with a lot of baggage that has been holding the company back, but the QWERTY keyboard is here to stay. This slim, lightweight phone is its future. [More]


How the Blackberry Z10 Stacks Up to the Competition

Q10’s physical keyboard may be the most notable feature in the new lineup, but the Z10 is BlackBerry’s best shot at taking a share of the more prominent (at least for now), touchscreen market. So can the Z10 measure up to some of the its biggest contenders? [More]


BlackBerry Q10 Hands On: We Missed You, QWERTY

The BlackBerry Z10 might be the prom queen of the BB10 launch, but the Q10 and its physical keyboard is what a lot of people are actually waiting for. “Will I still be able to have a BlackBerry like my BlackBerry after this?” Sure, just better. [More]


BlackBerry’s Most Important Phone Isn’t Its Flagship

BlackBerry announced two phones today, but it’s clear which is the favorite son. The Z10 looks like a winner; it’s got brains and body enough to face the iPhones and Galaxy S IIIs of the world head-on. It’s got a release date and a price. It’s a phone any company would be proud to call a flagship. In fact, its only downside is that it’s totally irrelevant. Whoops! [More]


BlackBerry’s Best Trick: Nailing Work-Life Balance

Today BlackBerry demoed what it’s calling BlackBerry Balance, a clever way of separating one’s personal and work lives in one device. You don’t see it as much these days but carrying two phones—one for business, one for pleasure—was commonplace not too long ago. I remember having a BlackBerry 6200 alongside my Sidekick 2; and I’m sure a lot of you remember those days as well. [More]


BlackBerry Z10 Camera: The Worst Low-Light Performance We’ve Seen in a Long Time

For the old BlackBerry, a handset’s camera was an ancillary feature. But the new hip BlackBerry is supposed to be tuned into how regular people—not just suits—use their phones. The BlackBerry Z10’s camera has a chance to prove it’s better than the rest. And if our initial low-light camera test is any indication, the camera is a complete failure. [More]


More People Are Using Facebook via Phone For the First Time Ever

It’s time for another quarterly earning, that kooky game wherein companies announce how much cash they’ve raked in, and then investors spank or hail them without much correlation to reality. Now up: Facebook, which has just entered crazy new territory.

For the first time, more people are hitting the site via mobile web or app than are heading to Facebook.com on a real computer. In fact, over 150 million people around the world access Facebook solely through a phone. That’s nuts. FB is a small screen experience, not the network you first toyed iwth in your dorm room. Financially, good and bad news. They beat expectations! Revenue hit $1.59 billion, which is better than what everyone expected. And yet, the stock is tanking, because Wall Street is mentally ill. More people are using The Book than ever before (1.06 billion), more of them are using it on a phone than ever before (680 million every day, up 57% from last year), and yet $FB has dropped 10% in after-hours trading. The Zuck cannot win.

Following Steve Jobs’ ‘fruitarian’ diet put method actor Ashton Kutcher in the hospital

“Ashton Kutcher might have gotten a little too close to Steve Jobs,” Bryan Alexander reports for USA Today.

“Kutcher says that he started a fruit-only diet to prepare to play the Apple co-founder for the biopic jOBS, which premiered Friday night at the Sundance Film Festival,” Alexander reports. “The diet, which the film claims Jobs adhered to, ended up sending Kutcher to the hospital with pancreas problems.”

Alexander reports, “‘First of all, the fruitarian diet can lead to like severe issues,’ Kutcher said after the film’s screening. ‘I went to the hospital like two days before we started shooting the movie. I was like doubled over in pain. My pancreas levels were completely out of whack,’ Kutcher added. ‘It was really terrifying… considering everything.’”

Alexander reports, “Jobs died of pancreatic cancer on Oct. 5, 2011.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

Apple’s forthcoming 5th gen. iPad rear case design reportedly leaks (with photo)

“Over the past few months, multiple rumors have pointed to Apple’s fifth-generation iPad being in development with a design akin to the recently launched iPad mini,” 9to5Mac reports. “That design would likely feature the black & slate/white & silver design language, thinner casing, chamfered edges, and a smaller overall footprint.”

9to5Mac reports, “Today, we received an unverified image from a purported China-based iPad accessories maker, an industry that seems to frequently tip off Apple’s future product designs, of the back plate for the next iPad… We were told this is a prototype back piece for the fifth-generation iPad with a 9.7-inch display. We were also told that the casing is almost as thin as the iPad mini’s back.”

Purported iPad (5th gen.) rear case (left), current iPad mini (right). via 9to5Mac.com

Purported iPad (5th gen.) rear case (left), current iPad mini (right). via 9to5Mac.com

More info and images in the full article here.

ARCHOS Announces the Thinnest Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for the iPad

ARCHOS iPad Bluetooth Keyboard

Everybody loves a super slim iPad keyboard case right? Well, maybe not everyone – but iPad keyboard cases styled to look thoroughly ‘Apple-like’ or to make the iPad look a little but like a MacBook Air have certainly proved popular.

Here’s one from a surprising source that looks very promising. It’s the ARCHOS Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad. ARCHOS are well-known and have a good reputation for making portable multimedia players – this new iPad accessory is the product of a new division in the company that’s focused on ‘sharing ARCHOS innovations with other brands‘.

There’s a lot to like about the specs for this product – starting with its claim to be the thinnest of the thin when it comes to ultrathin keyboard cases of this kind. It’s just 5mm thick and weighs only 0.5 pounds – both are well under the specs of the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for the iPad. The rest of its key features sound quite good too:

    • Adjustable kickstand – Allows one to adjust their iPad for the best viewing experience possible
    • Magnetic bonding to the iPad – The keyboard is magnetically held to your iPad
    • Automatic screen switch on/off Function – The iPad will turn on or off when the keyboard is removed or placed in the cover position
    • Long battery life – Enjoy with your iPad for months thanks to a long battery life via a Bluetooth connection
    • Aluminum Back casing – Stylish aluminum back casing to match your iPad
    • Full QWERTY keyboard – Type easily with a full keyboard and work quickly with iOS shortcuts

Oh, and it’s going to be priced at $79 – which is well below any iPad keyboard cover of this type that I’ve seen.

It’s due out in March and I’m definitely looking to get hold of a review unit.

You can see more detail on the new ARCHOS Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad at its product page on the ARCHOS site.

Notable New iPad Apps: NFL Quarterback 13

NFL Quarterback 13 for iPad

NFL Quarterback 13 is this year’s new version of this fun game that lets you try your hand at being a QB. It’s published by Full Fat Games, makers of a number of excellent ‘flick’ games – like Flick Golf Extreme and NFL Kicker.

Here’s a little bit of the game’s App Store intro and some of its key features:

The most precise, yet easy to use controls ever seen in a football game. Giving you ultimate power with Full Fat’s unique and award winning flick and after-touch controls, developed by the same team that brought you Flick Golf, Agent Dash and NFL Kicker.
Multiple Receivers
Tackling on Receivers and QB
All new uniforms and equipment
Realistic receiver routes
Weather effects
Upgrade your stadium
Compete with Game Center & Facebook friends
Super high resolution graphics
All 32 official NFL teams

I did a review of NFL Flick Quarterback HD for iPad, the original version of this game and was very impressed with it:

NFL Flick Quarterback HD is another touchdown for Full Fat Games. It’s fun and intuitive to play, but challenging enough to keep you coming back for lots of replays in each of its modes.

I’m looking forward to playing NFL Quarterback 13 and seeing how the new features added this year work. I have to admit the release time for this game seems a bit odd – with just over a week left in this NFL season. It seems like maybe an early to mid season release would be better timed.

Here’s an App Store link for NFL Quarterback 13; it’s priced at $1.99.

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