Category Archives: Gadgets

San Diego Comic Con: 5-Day Ticket SOLD OUT

Okay, no one panic :shock:

There are plenty of 1-day tickets still available, the only ticket to sell out are the 5-day tickets which also allows you in Wednesday night for PREVIEW NIGHT (which runs 3 hours).

Yes, that allows you to buy and jump the gun a little earlier than most but don’t panic.

(SD Comic Con doesn’t count Wednesday Preview Night as a “day” so they call the 5-day ticket a4-day ticket).

For CARS, the show runs a total of 38 hours and there are 5,000 sets of LS McQueen (Mattel will have to average 131 units sold every hour on the hour to sell out … and I predict they will but they’re not going to sell out in the 3 hours of Preview Night so no one panic. Most important, no needless eBay clicking – at least not yet.

Our preview post of Lightning Storm McQueen is here along with a list being managed by some nice friends of 2ADay who are making arrangements to buy and ship it to you.

We hope to get an update on how many come in a case so you can plan if you need a cart, a sherpa or a donkey.

Eventually, we will get around to doing a post on all the exclusives at the SD show but so far, we also have some mighty nice Mighty Muggs to show you – scroll down to the bottom.

If you live in the San Diego area and are on a tighter budget, you can also consider volunteering three hours of your time and you get in that day for free.

There is only online registration so plan ahead if you think you might want to go … and now, of course, you have to decide on a specific day of days. Good luck! See ya there!

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Filed under Advertising, CARS, Checklist, collecting, Film, Gadgets, Marketing, Mattel Disney Pixar CARS, Media, Retail, Toys, Travel, TV

Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: First Look Re-Scale Fred

Arriving with “Chase” Fred with Stickers will be the “re-scaled” Fred sometime in September, 2008.

And man, they aren’t kidding.

Fred has been down-sized … or right-sized depending on your perspective.

He might just be half the man he used to be.

How many more of these can I come with before I show you the picture? :-)

And no, that’s not MINI Fred … it’s almost Fred Jr. though … but of course, it makes sense on a lot of levels to make the change … Fred (v 1.0) compared to the animated version was way, way too large – his hood line is higher than TJ, a Hummer!

It’s been suggested that Fred is a Studebaker Lark though he looks more in line with several Fiats* or its European/Russian knockoffs like the Riva or he’s really a combo of everything … In Wikipedia, Fred is listed as a 1962 AMC Rambler but I don’t see it.

* The Yugo was based on this Fiat.

Because when Fred is next to the Security SUV, he’s not that tiny (and if he were the Rambler, he would be almost exactly the same length as a Dodge Dart which Rust-Eze is).

Okay, now Fred might be a tad too small – more like a combo Fiat & the Nash Metropolitan. But, I guess at least he’s no longer larger than the Hummer and Mattel saves a ton of metal :-) Fred was a heavy sucker also.

So in September, we can say hello to Fred, The Biggest Loser in one sense but also special enough to warrant a “chase” version on top of reduced-weight Fred sans stickers version. So, what I believe is going to happen is when Fred v2 get released, intermixed will be 20,000 Fred’s with 3 stickers on the doors and the back trunk – so good luck!

(I THINK PHOTO PROBLEMS HAVE BEEN FIXED – LET ME KNOW IF PHOTOS DON’T SHOW – THANKS “H” FOR PHOTOS!)

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Mattel Disney Pixar CARS – The Top 10 “Rarest” + New “Chase” Surprise Coming …

THIS Post has been updated and moved to our new TakeFiveADay.com – Simply click on the text link or the logo above. Thanks!

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Toy Industry Rebounds a Bit: Toys R Us & FAO

After the sale and retrenching quite a bit, Toys R Us is back on the growth track … mostly by opening a Babies R Us with Toys R Us together and/or converting single stores into both (my closest TRU just re-modeled and added a Babies R Us):

“Toys “R” Us will open 16 of the side-by-side superstores this year, each with combined retail space of 60,000 square feet to 70,000 square feet. The company also will convert “dozens” of existing toy stores into smaller side-by-side locations this year, and within a “few years” will turn the rest of its 585 U.S. outlets into this format or build new superstores.”

Also noted:

“The side-by-side siting strategy addresses a weakness that has handicapped the company in battling discounters. In the past, Toys “R” Us shoppers with children have visited an average of once every nine months, while Wal-Mart and Target have drawn these shoppers weekly with a broader array of goods, says Sean McGowan, an analyst for Needham & Co. in New York.”

That’s interesting, I think most CARS collectors try and visit every other day, right? :-)

From the WSJ via AZ CENTRAL.

TRU is even doing great in South Korea … and hey, everyone shops at TRU, right?

Yea, any riff-raff can walk in – that’s why I’m waiting for the more exclusive FAO Schwartz inside Macy’s … Guess we can look for the 2009 Motor Speedway With Track Extension Exclusive … :-)

May the Schwartz be with us.

(I think what Brad is saying above – “Do they EVER re-stock?, Where are the Pitty 3-packs?”)

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Mac’s: 66% Market Share – Facts Not Spin

It would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad. NPD’s report that Apple Mac’s market share of $1,000+ personal computer is 66% is not really subject to interpretation – except apparently for the last dying gasp of PC fans.

Here’s how this works.

Of the people who had and were willing to spend $1,000 on a personal computer, 66% looked, shopped and choose a Mac. It’s as simply as that.

You can dig further down but extrapolate that generally, the more well-heed your customers are, the better off you are (as a seller) – whether you’re selling cars, refrigerators or computers. For the company selling products, it generally means you have higher margins or better yet, have created a brand of higher value.

In other words, the market share of Windows OS personal computers in the $1,000+ group has slipped from 98% to 34% in 7 years. That is not a good trend.

Why is that? Part of the reason is that Microsoft has poisoned its own name. They traded short term profits (1992 to 2002) for long term branding. By neglecting Windows and placing their NAME large & square in FRONT of every virus report, every global trojan and the poor customer choice of blaming the hardware manufacturer who then blamed Microsoft for the user woes – what are they left with?

A brand that is perceived as a commodity that’s just built in – it’s the OS assigned to you at work much like the OS on the fax machine or the copier. It’s just there. Now, in the beginning of the desktop technology age (1985 to 1995), Microsoft’s brand held esteem as the leading edge of technology and why not buy the brand I’m using at work, right? Why not get my opportunity to own the leading edge also? But Microsoft frittered that away through arrogance, later neglect and now apparently cluelessness – what does the name Microsoft now mean to the average personal computing consumer?

It is the OS you get when you buy a $499 computer. It’s useable, it’s passable but that’s all it’s worth. How can we tell? What percentage of PC users paid for the full Vista upgrade? Versus what percentage of Mac users paid for the full retail upgrade?

And of course, now this stat. Which basically can be summed up as such: If I have or am willing to spend more than $1,000 on a personal computer, I’m 66% more likely to buy a Mac. That’s what the numbers say in black & white. Not many ways to spin it.

Whether you think Macs are over-priced does not matter in this equation because there are literally thousands of PC’s choices that are readily available – it’s not as though there is limited competition in the $1,000+ PC category – the bottom line is those can afford or are willing to spend more than $1,000 on a computer will 2 to 1 buy a Mac now after considering a PC.

That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with selling to the masses at the low end – there is certainly money to be made, the audience is large – the margins are much lower but it’s a living.

But PC fans & MS still think it’s 1995 – it’s not for Microsoft’s real reality. Face the facts, they are simply the low priced OS of “choice” for those who don’t wish to spend $1,000 on a personal computer. Microsoft should stop having pretensions otherwise, that is the problem. Somehow, because Bill Gates is worth $50 BILLION dollars, that means his company brand should carry high esteem and brand worth but it’s exactly like Wal-Mart. There are dozens of Wal-Mart billionaires also and like WM, the store – they are profitable but everytime WM tries to go upscale or even slightly upmarket, they get pushed back to their new natural order (with WM, it’s the George apparel line).

It is exactly the same with Microsoft now. They occupy the low tier of brand value for consumers now – hence why MSN, the ISP could not defeat AOL (after MS spent $4 BILLION dollars!), why WIN mobile phones sell so poorly after 8 years in the marketplace, nor could they “revolutionalize” the watch industry … not the home networking industry and why after 18 months, they have “shipped/sold” as many Zunes that Apple sells in 1 WEEK.

When given a CHOICE, consumers do not choose Microsoft unless price is the sole factor.

This is also why MSN Search is such a colossal failure – even when FREE and a switch is 2-seconds away, MSN or LIVE Search is still such a failure and LOSING market share after plowing $6 bilion in R&D & marketing.

Consumers didn’t randomly arrive at their mistrust and assignment of MS products and technology to the low tier/price as the sole factor in decision making – this is a hard fought battle of amazing neglect on Microsoft’s part. From blithely ignoring and blaming users for viruses and trojans, their solution after 6 YEARS and hundreds of millions of infections? – send us $100 for virus patches … to the case of the Xbox 360, instead of building consumer goodwill by actively acknowledging build & over-heating issues, again, their solution is to try and ignore the problem – again, poisoning their own well for a short term gain … triumphing 10-million console sales but not accounting for the 10-30% returned and non functional units … and after a year, they have lost 30% of the market to the Wii and slipping behind sales of the PS3 – the pattern repeats itself. They still have a fan base but beyond that?

This is a company that has literally and figuratively failed in EVERY consumer venture since 1995. The company has been propped up by enterprise sales so unlike most companies that can spend some $50 BILLION over the past ten years on divisions that has accounted for ZERO profit, they just keep plugging along as if showing up and saying we’re #1 is enough for everyone to fold up and go home. It doesn’t work that way in the consumer market. Microsoft should do two things – a) either just concentrate on the enterprise market or b) acknowledge that they are a lowly consumer brand and accept that fact and just sell on pricing. They have spent too long on poisoning their own name for anything loftier and even if you want to go upscale and upmarket – their recent attempts are just as feeble and ill-conceived such as the Zune or Vista – both positioned as if they’re cool and better than anyone else. They simply aren’t because it’s from Microsoft – a brand that consumers mistrust and associated with poor working technology. It can be fixed but first they have to get off their arrogant horse and realize they are riding an ass and not a horse – no one is fooled.

Buying Yahoo and/or causing further complications (such as requiring users to have a LIVE name to access anything) is only going to further sink their cause.

They are rapidly losing the highest margin customers to Apple. Those with more than $1,000 to spend on a computer are buying Macs 2 to 1.

We know in all computer sales, while PC sales have slowed to a few % points growth, Apple is galloping at 35% – of course, Apple is starting from a smaller base but growth is growth and apparently with each sale, Apple is obviously adding in revenue at $1k per machine while MS only adds $50 per machine in OEM Vista sales.

So, Microsoft is losing market share in the below $1,000 personal computer category – even to Linux in the below $500 category – and what is their response to forces pushing them in from all sides?

To buy Yahoo?

What happens if Google builds an internet desktop that doesn’t require Windows – knowing Google, it will be bundled for FREE with a $300 personal computer … leaving Microsoft with no high end margin sales (or very much diminished if Apple continues to add 35% growth every year) and Google gives away a free OS?

Windows 7 available in 3 years selling for $169 will resolve this?

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Filed under Advertising, Apple, Apple Mac, Computing, Design, Financial, Gadgets, Internet, Marketing, Media, Retail

Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: Motor Speedway of the South – Or Buy This …

Ultimately, that’s something you have to decide for yourself.

It’s limited, it’s nice looking and you get to have CARS before anyone else (other than about 1,100 other people in this world) in a nice box … can you logically argue for and against buying this set? Of course.

It’s certainly not “cheap” by most measures at $300+ … but it’s not unheard of … want the Sideshow Toys PREMIUM Indiana Jones figure? $280 clams + shipping.

Or the Aliens Power Loader (sold out) also from Sideshow Toys – $249

Plus $139 for the Alien …

Or you don’t have to go far, HWC has been selling this set with display case for $199 + shipping since last October …

Of course, there are plenty of things you can buy outside of toys for $200-$300 … how about a Louis Vutton hair band?

Is this also known as a scrunchie? This Louis Vuitton version is $335 BTW.

Of course, you can also spend money and not have a lot to show for it …

Parking in a bus zone in SF? $250

Fine for parking in a Bus Zone
Violators are subject to a fine of $250. Parking in a bus zone is a hazard to passengers attempting to board or exit a bus and may prevent disabled individuals from boarding.”

The Digg story of the guy who spent $300 for an email address?

You can buy an HDMI cable for your TV – $374 … oh sorry, $373.99.

Or 6 Your Love Makes My Heart Blossom figurines – only $50 each. They are so gosh darn cute!

cruzincoolerwithtrailer.jpg

If this global warming thing is true – time to step up and motorize your cooler for double duty … now in electric versions! Your teenage kids will love a ride in this to school. A little spendier at $399 plus $100 for the cooler trailer.

Are you like most people who think – this is the 21st century – why am I living like a barbarian of the neolithic age and still have to pour my own cereal? Yes, civilization has finally advanced … finally, battery powered cereal dispensing … and as they note, “ it looks great too!”

WAIT, there’s more! “Because the unit is automatic, there are no dials or cranks to be twisted or to crush the cereal. Just press a bowl against the dispensing mechanism and
out comes the cereal.”

FINALLY! Yea, the last unit I got, the squirrel fell down into the crank and I not only got crushed cereal but crushed squirrel flakes.

So, my friends – spend your money wisely or poorly …

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Wall-E World: The Disney Pixar Thinkway Action Figure Toys

It is a Wall-E world we’ll soon be living in it … you might’ve heard of a company named Disney and a company named Pixar … apparently, they are releasing a film on June 27, 2008 and I suppose if you’re the kind of film-goer who likes plot, well written characters, humor, drama, pathos, dialogue, editing and dazzling animation … you might like this film. It’s probably no LAND BEFORE TIME XXXXVIII though (just kidding :-) )

Then there are the toys.

A few of the basic toys have hit the shelves – they look pretty cute.

The most basic series is this one (called B1 Action Figures?) – with Wall-E about an inch tall with 11 figures sold separately.

This is the back of the card, Your choices include: Eve, Wall-E, M-O & The Captain – I’m guessing the others are in wave 2.

The detailing was decent but for some of the smaller figures, was a bit spendy at $5.99 each (WM might be less?) – maybe there will be a multi-pack coming that’s more reasonable.

The next size up are the “Movie Scenes” where Eve is about 2″ tall (she’s the white floating robot).

These were a better value – with three different choices, I grabbed the one with the lunch cooler. Nice sculpts and a better value at $6.99.

The next size up are the 6″ inches ones … while the card is kind of dull, they do feature a lot of interactivity, Eve’s eyes can change expressions, she can blast a boulder and store stuff – pretty cool.

There will be 7 different figures on cards for this size … as you can sort of see in the blue panel on the back of the cards – the U-Repair Wall-E seems cool as he comes disassembled for you to assemble, there is also a Dancing Wall-E, a Cube & Stack Wall-E … they were smart to short-pack the Captain (the fat dude) – otherwise, pegwarmer … (sorry dude). ;-(

There also seems to be a bunch of $24.99 Wall-E’s – this one interacts with Eve and if he “hears” a loud noise in your house, he reacts … There’s another one you can plug your iPod into called iDance Wall-E … There is also a Talking Eve.

The $189 fully programmable version looks something like this called the ULTIMATE WALL-E:

From the Disney/Pixar Press release:

“Based on the title character from this summer’s highly anticipated Disney*Pixar theatrical release, the Ultimate WALL·E is an advanced robot that truly brings the character to life. Designed and developed through a close collaboration between Disney, Pixar animators and Thinkway, the Ultimate WALL·E features 10 motors, giving it a high level of movement and animation. The remote control makes it easy for kids to program WALL·E’s movements. An innovative touch programming system lets kids direct WALL·E simply by making patterns on the remote’s touch pad. With voice activation and a follow-me mode, WALL·E can follow the sound of a human voice and detect someone entering a room. He also has several emotional states and an easy system for programming thousands of combinations of movements with the remote. Numerous sensors allow him to detect and respond to his environment, including infrared sensors that allow him to detect obstacles and steer around them, sonic ears that detect sound direction, and touch sensors. The Ultimate WALL·E is also MP3 compatible and features built-in speakers. USB cables and rechargeable batteries are included. The Ultimate WALL·E will debut this fall at ToysRUs and http://www.disneyshopping.com; SRP $189.99″

The teaser trailer, trailer & even a short sneak peak can be found at the Apple QT site:

The official Disney site is here.

Thinkway Toys who is working with Pixar/Disney on these (also on Nemo, Cars & Buzz LIghtyear) doesn’t really have any info up yet – probably so they don’t give away any spoilers and the fact the first wave just hit the stores.

About the only disappointing thing is that the short in front of WALL-E is nora CARS related one but, Presto is a five-minute short about Alec, a magician’s rabbit who becomes increasingly disgruntled as a hat trick involving him makes his master famous. When the magician goes out to dinner one night, he leaves Alec locked in a cage, gazing longingly at a carrot just out of reach.”

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