Circuit City will mark the long-awaited introduction of Microsoft's new Vista operating system with launch parties in select stores and a special online event that will offer consumers an opportunity to chat with PC experts.
The events coincide with the Jan. 30 rollout of Vista PCs and the new OS software, which was available for presale on Jan. 27.
To commemorate the launch, Circuitcity.com hosts a live forum today moderated by Jim Louderback, editor in chief of PC Magazine; Patrick Norton, executive producer of PCMag.com's DL.TV podcast; and Joe Elias of Circuit City's firedog PC services team. The forum joined other special Vista-related content on the Circuit City Web site and was part of an interactive forum.
The Vista forum joins existing discussion forums at Circuitcity.com that cover TV, home audio, MP3, video sources, and cable and accessories.
Circuit City will also host parties and special store openings with celebrity guests and prizes at 10 locations to celebrate Vista's launch. The select locations will be open from 10 p.m. tonight to 1 a.m. on Jan. 30, with Vista products available for purchase at midnight.
Immediately preceding the start of the 10 launch parties, Circuit City's firedog services team and Hewlett Packard will deliver fully-equipped computer labs to local Boys & Girls clubs that include five HP Vista PCs, monitors, all-in-one printers, digital cameras and accessories. firedog PC technicians will install the gear and provide training for club members.
Circuit City locations hosting Vista launch parties include: Natick, Mass. (Boston market); New Tampa, Fla. (Tampa market); Coral Springs, Fla. (Miami market); Hagerstown, Md.; Wilmington, Del. (Philadelphia market); Schaumburg, Ill. (Chicago market); Slidell, La. (New Orleans market); Cool Springs, Franklin, Tenn. (Nashville market); Tyson's Corner West, Fairfax, Va. (Washington D.C. market); and Short Pump, Va. (Richmond, Va., market)
CompUSA is also holding in-store promotions to herald Vista's launch, albeit in all of its stores except those in New Jersey and Puerto Rico. The "Midnight Madness" events will feature demonstrations and deep discounts on Vista-related products, the company said, and will be held from 10 p.m. tonight to 2 a.m. on Jan. 30. Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 will go on sale at 12:01 a.m.
Sale items, after instant savings and rebate offers, will include:
a Compaq desktop PC with 15-inch LCD monitor and Windows Vista Home Basic for $380, regularly $630;
a 19w-inch LCD monitor for $139, regularly $230;
a Canon photo printer for $10, regularly $50;
a Wireless-G broadband router for $2, regularly $50; and
a free Jabra 350 Bluetooth headset
CompUSA is also highlighting a "Get Ready For Vista " program, which offers free evaluations of computers to determine if they're Vista-ready, and a refund if the customer isn't satisfied with the new software. The chain is also offering a notebook trade-in program where the old unit's value is deducted from the cost of a new model.