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Best Buy to drive smartphone sales at retail stores

SAN DIEGO – Best Buy Mobile is launching mIQ, a free Web-based service intended to build customer loyalty and drive sales of smartphones at the company’s retail outlets.

Announced at CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment and rolling out on Oct. 12, Best Buy’s mIQ service is designed to help customers use, manage and engage with mobile content and smartphone features. The mIQ service lets smartphone users take the information captured on their mobile devices and access it from a Web interface on any computer.

“With mIQ, Best Buy Mobile aims to help customers get the most of mobile technology,” said Mark Mosiniak,  Director of Business Development for Best Buy Mobile, Minneapolis, MN. “More and more, the software is becoming as important as the hardware.

“MIQ offers Best Buy Mobile a great opportunity to help consumers use, manage and engage with mobile content and smartphone features,” he said. “Our target market is really any smartphone user who will benefit from the great many features that the mIQ service provides.”

Best Buy Mobile, the mobile specialty retail unit of Best Buy Co. Inc., features more than 90 different handsets from nine carriers, as well as 130-plus accessories.

With operations in the United States, Canada, Europe, China and Mexico, Best Buy is a multinational retailer of technology and entertainment products and services. It generates more than $45 billion in annual revenue.

Once a user signs up for the mIQ service, contacts, text messages, voicemail messages, calendar events, calls, photos, videos and phone settings can be uploaded from the mobile device and backed-up in a personal mIQ account in the cloud.

With mIQ, all of that content that lives on the mobile device and is automatically uploaded and backed-up on a personal Web-based mIQ account, helping consumers sync, search, interact with, share or transfer that content from one phone to another.

Since the mobile phone is constantly connected to the Web, mIQ automatically syncs any changes from the Web to the mobile device and vice-versa.

MIQ helps users manage and track the communication with all their contacts. Contacts from Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook and other sources can be imported into the mIQ account and synchronized with the mobile phone.

Users can then add, edit or delete contacts from the personal mIQ account. The changes will be instantly pushed to the mobile phone and backed up on the Web.

Additionally, mIQ lets users view text messages and calls associated with each contact.

The mIQ Web platform provides an instant-message-like experience by organizing text messages into a conversational format, uploading text messages to an inbox in the personal mIQ account where they can be read, forwarded or responded to from any computer.

MIQ sends the text messages through the user’s mobile phone, ensuring that the recipient will always know who the message is from.

The calendar feature on mIQ automatically uploads appointments and events from the phone calendar to the Web. Users can then add, edit or delete calendar entries from either the mobile phone or the mIQ account and changes are automatically synched between the two platforms.

MIQ automatically uploads photos and videos from the mobile phone to the personal mIQ account as soon as they are taken, letting users organize them by adding titles and descriptions, share them through email and text messages and post them to social networking sites.

Best Buy Mobile’s mIQ features connectivity to popular social networking sites such as Facebook, Flickr, FriendFeed and Twitter, helping users share their mobile experiences in the form of status updates, photos and videos directly from their smartphone, wherever they may be.

MIQ will come standard for any new Best buy Mobile smartphone customer as part of the Walk Out Working free in-store smartphone setup.

Other smartphone users can also sign up for the free service at

The service includes 1GB of storage and is currently compatible with smartphones running RIM’s BlackBerry, Microsoft’s Windows Mobile and Nokia’s Symbian S60 operating systems.

Examples include the BlackBerry 9700, Bold and Tour, Nokia E71 and N97, HTC Pro 2, Samsung Omnia II and T-Mobile Dash 3G.

“MIQ will become a key part of our Walk Out Working program that aims to help customers have a working, functioning smartphone based on their needs the minute they walk out of the store,” Mr. Mosiniak said. “We will also be including this new service in a variety of marketing materials like our Buyer’s Guide, Twelpforce and other media as relevant.”