New day for Savvy Shopper
The Beacon Journal’s Savvy Shopper advertising insert is moving from Saturdays to Wednesdays beginning July 31.
The change is being made to accommodate grocery stores, such as Acme, that wish to advertise their specials before the weekend. The Beacon Journal also publishes its Food section on Wednesdays.
Today will be the last time Savvy Shopper is published on a Saturday.
Obama mum on replacement
The White House said Friday that President Barack Obama is not expected to name a new chairman of the Federal Reserve until the fall, lowering expectations for an imminent announcement.
A senior official says the president has not made a decision on who will replace Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. His term expires early next year.
The president’s pick is highly anticipated, given the Fed chairman’s impact on economic policy.
Among the leading candidates for the job are former Obama economic adviser Larry Summers and Janet Yellen, the Fed’s current vice chairwoman. She would be the first woman to lead the Fed.
T-Mobile ends upfront fees
T-Mobile said Friday it is temporarily eliminating upfront payments on new phones, but it is increasing the prices for some models through higher monthly payments.
Unlike rival carriers, T-Mobile charges the full retail price of phones, spread over two years, but reduces monthly service fees for voice, text and data.
AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and others typically charge $200 or so up front for high-end phones and make up for the rest of the phone’s cost through higher service fees over the life of a two-year contract.
In eliminating the down payment, starting today, some phones will be cheaper. For instance, customers will be paying $600 overall for Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy S4, compared with $630 currently.
Apple’s market share slips
Apple’s share of the global smartphone market fell during the second quarter to its lowest level in four years, according to data released Friday.
Apple took 13.1 percent of the worldwide market, according to ABI Research, down from 16.6 percent a year ago. That’s the lowest level since the third quarter of 2009, two years after the launch of the first iPhone.
Apple Inc. sold 31.2 million iPhones in the April-to-June period, up from 26 million in the same period a year ago, the report said. But the company’s sales growth isn’t keeping pace with the overall smartphone market, which grew 52 percent from last year.
The No. 3 and No. 4 smartphone makers, LG Electronics of Korea and Lenovo Corp. of China, doubled their sales in the quarter, according to ABI research.
Samsung, the world’s largest maker of smartphones, saw a drop in market share.
American confidence rises
Americans are more confident about the economy than at any time since July 2007, a survey found, suggesting consumers will spend more and accelerate growth in the months ahead.
The University of Michigan says its final reading of consumer sentiment in July was 85.1. That’s up one point from June but nearly 13 points higher than a year ago.
Rising home prices and steady job gains are boosting household wealth and income. The proportion of Americans who expect their inflation-adjusted incomes to rise in coming year is greater than at any time since late 2007, the survey found. And the percentage of Americans who expect their home values to rise is also at a six-year high.
Textbooks from Google
Google stole tech headlines this week with the unveiling of the Chromecast and second-generation Nexus 7, but it made another important announcement that mostly flew under the radar: Google Play Textbooks.
The Mountain View, Calif., tech giant said it will start renting out digital school textbooks in early August, just in time for school. And renting through Google could save students quite a bit of money.
“You can rent textbooks for six months at up to 80 percent off the cost of a typical print textbook,” a Google spokesman told the Los Angeles Times.
By going into the Google Play store, users can rent a textbook and view it in the Google Play Books app on Android and Apple iOS devices.
Google said it doesn’t have an exact number for how large its catalog will be but said it will be a “comprehensive collection.”
Google will compete directly with Amazon, which offers a similar service through its Kindle e-reader devices and mobile apps.
Compiled from staff, wire reports