As I was reading an article on Boy Genius Report about Roku being available at Best Buy, the thought occurred to me that Best Buy has become the primary brick-and-mortar gadget store in the United States. Best Buy seems to be constantly making announcements about how they are exclusively selling one gadget or another.
It may have started sooner, but I first noticed this trend when Google announced the Nexus S. Having learned from the Nexus One that people want to be able to see phones in person before buying them, Google teamed up with Best Buy to sell the Nexus S. Best Buy remains the exclusive retailer for the Nexus S, and they are also selling the Sprint Nexus S 4G.
Best Buy is also going to be the exclusive place for the WiFi-only version of the HTC Flyer. The Flyer is a tablet computer that will run Android 2.4 along with HTC’s Sense user experience, and it supports pen input with software called HTC Scribe. If you want the RIM Playbook, you can pre-order one now, only from Best Buy.
The fact that Best Buy is able to secure so many exclusive sales is a sign of how much clout they have gained in consumer electronics. At one time I would have never considered buying a gadget from Best Buy, preferring to go to stores like CompUSA and Circuit City, both of which are no longer in business. Obviously, I can and do buy gadgets online, but in those cases where Best Buy has them in store for the same price, I am more likely to drive to the store and walk out with the new gadget than wait to have it shipped.