X3i listing was a mistake, says Dell; position’s legality questioned
Following up on our story early yesterday morning of curious events on Dell’s online store, centering around a listing of the Axim X3i for $79; Dell has made an official announcement that the pricing was a mistake and that they will not honor any orders made at such a price. According to Dell employees, all these orders have now been canceled. However, a number of users are still posting screen grabs of shipment confirmations on Dell’s support forum, and others have reported that after lengthy complaints, Dell Customer Service reps have agreed to honor the user’s order.
I will preface this by saying that I have nothing against Dell, and I actually feel quite positively towards them as a previous customer of theirs. However, I personally strongly feel that companies should honor their price mistakes, for a number of reasons. Such a policy provides a motivation to insure that such mistakes do not happen, and when they do it incurrs a penalty that is proportional to the severity and length of the mistake.
Moreover, when a company has such errors on a semi-frequent basis, as Dell has had, it tends to make people trot out unpleasent phrases like bait-and-switch. This is not conducive to good PR and customer sentiment about a company, and bad word of mouth can cause a far, far greater loss to a company in the long term than the comparatively minor write-off of honoring the orders.
A group of irate customers have begun issuing complaints to oversight bodies such as the Better Business Bureau, Attorneys General, and Federal Trade Comission, on the grounds that Dell’s actions constituted an illegal “bait-and-switch” marketing tactic under the standard legal definitions. The group is also sending notices to media outlets such as tech sites and CNN. Meanwhile, Dell has locked out the original discussion thread on their support forums. Moderators appear to be deleting posts that refer to a possible suit. There is ongoing discussion about the legality of the situation at the Dell forums. We will continue to monitor the story and keep you informed.
New SDIO GPS in Japan
A new SDIO GPS module is available in Japan from IOData. The module supports PocketPC 2002, Windows Mobile 2003, and Windows CE .NET 4.1. The current price is 27,500 Japanese Yen, or approximately US$252.30. No information about if and when it will officially come to the rest of the world, but if you must have it now, Dynamism specializes in importing technology from Japan.
Four new games from Astraware
The resident royalty of pocketable porting is at it again. The first of Astraware’s new releases is Word Mojo, a crossword-style game originally released for the desktop PC by FreshGames. Normally I would say that anyone who used the phrase “ignite your Mojo through each funky level” in a press release should be slapped, but I just referred to the “resident royalty of pocketable porting”, so I don’t think I have much room to talk at the moment. Word Mojo is now available for Palm and PocketPC.
The other three games being ported are from MumboJumbo, and will also be available on both Palm and PPC. From Astraware:
“Equilibria is a fast-paced game of balance in which players must click on groups of three or more matching marbles as they fly in from all four sides of the screen.”
“In Chainz, players must rotate colorful links to create valuable chains in this challenging puzzle game while starting chain-reactions and incorporating bonus links for increased rewards.”
“Snowball Run is a challenging adventure as players guide a snowball-riding penguin on a bold adventure through 75 fish-packed levels to find his frozen homeland.”
Unfortunately, the first of these three titles won’t be available until January, so using them as Christmas presents is impossible, but they might be a nice post-holiday opportunity for relaxation.
Axim X3 leather case
The cases keep on coming. This time it’s Proporta’s flip-style leather case for the Dell Axim X3.
Fitaly for Palm phones
Textware now offers a version of FitalyStamp3 for the Kyocera 7135 and Samsung SPH-i500 Palm-powered phones. Fitaly is a system designed to replace the Grafitti area on a Palm with a special keyboard that Textware claims permits up to 50 words per minute of input.