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Wal-Mart Launching CE Road Show

Salinas, Calif. – Wal-Mart, in partnership with Microsoft and Intel, will kick off a series of CE road shows this Friday that will demonstrate new technology products available at the discount chain.

Wal-Mart describes its TechTank Tours as a series of educational technology programs for children, teachers and local communities. Product demonstrations, designed to “help consumers integrate technology into their daily lives,” will be held in converted tractor-trailers that will serve as traveling CE showcases.

The program is the latest effort by Wal-Mart to increase its CE market share. The world’s largest retailer has recently expanded and upgraded its CE assortment, is remodeling its home entertainment departments, and is providing product training for CE sales clerks in test stores.

The Intel leg of the tour begins here this Friday with a Summer Movie Nights program, to be held in Wal-Mart parking lots and at theme parks and community events. Following daylong product demos, the TechTank recreates a drive-in movie experience with a 24-foot inflatable screen, FM modulator and “movie premier” searchlights. Summer Movie Nights will make 70 stops in 12 states over the next three months.

Microsoft’s contribution is a Back-to-School tour that will begin June 28 in Illinois and will hit 30 communities throughout the plains states and the Northwest over the summer. The two-day stopovers will feature technology expos that showcase “must have” electronics for students and teachers, Wal-Mart said. Teachers can also participate in a My Teacher Program, which provides materials to integrate technology into the classroom.

Raleigh Wilson, CEO of Rivet International, a maker of personal media player accessories and a participating vendor, said “The Wal-Mart TechTank Tours are an excellent way to introduce new technologies, and Rivet, to the local community.”

Robert Richardson, president of R3 Media Group, which operates the TechTank for Wal-Mart, said Rivet “joins a select group of leading technology companies that see great value in providing consumers the opportunity to experience their products in an educational setting.”