Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Consumer Reports Can't Recommend iPhone, Can Recommend Consumer Reports Shopping App

Consumer Reports’ odd love/kinda-love relationship with the iPhone continues. The buying guide continues to give Apple’s iPhone 4 “stellar” marks, but won’t actually recommend it, because of antennagate.

But if you do go ahead and buy the new handset, or any other iPhone model, Consumer Reports supports your decision! Because it would like to sell you its new iPhone app for $9.99.

The Consumer Reports Mobile Shopper offers what several shopping apps do–the ability to scan a bar code and get information about a particular product, as well as the ability to browse through the shopping guide’s ratings for other data.

Other apps, including Best Buy’s Tecca, are free, so Consumer Reports is betting that access to its data is worth the premium. But that seems to work for it online, where it has some three million subscribers.

If you’re on the fence, consider jumping in sooner rather than later: The app’s price will jump to $14.99 on January 1. A version for Google’s Android is in the works.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus