Best Buy loads up for Windows 7 launch

At Best Buy, new Windows 7 laptops and desktops are stacked high. Customers will have to wait until October 22, the official launch date, to take a PC home though.

Cages at Best Buy are stocked with new models preloaded with Windows 7: behind bars until October 22
Cages at Best Buy are stocked with new models preloaded with Windows 7: behind bars until October 22. Brooke Crothers

Best Buy is locked and loaded for the Windows 7 launch.

And I don't use the phrase "locked and loaded" figuratively. "Locked" in that all the new Windows 7 machines are locked down behind cages. And "loaded" in that all the cages are full. (See photos.)

I visited a Best Buy Friday night in Southern California where the cages were loaded exclusively with new models preloaded with Windows 7. And I learned a few odd tidbits from a stoked salesperson who had definitely been drinking the Windows-7-is-totally-awesome Kool-Aid. Let me add that the information was conveyed to me at one store in Southern California and may not necessarily apply to all stores nationwide.

--Best Buy can theoretically sell you a Windows 7 machine before October 22. However, the store would get fined if it does so. One figure thrown out by a salesperson was $5,000 per sales violation.

--Almost all of the shelf space had been cleared. In other words, when I walked into the laptop section, all of the counter space that typically holds 50 laptops (or more) was empty. The space will be repopulated on October 22.

--Why the empty counters? Best Buy had sold virtually all the Vista machines in the store prior to Windows 7 launch.

Windows 7 laptops behind the cages include an HP dv6 laptop with a 16-inch screen (model: dv6-1352dx), a Dell Inspiron with 15.6-inch screen (model: i1545-4203), an HP G60 (model: G60-535DX), and a Sony Vaio VGN series (model: VGN-NW270/FS). Note that most of these models do not show up in a Google search or in the Best Buy database yet.

I was also ushered to one box that stood out by its size (about three times the height of other laptop boxes). This, I was told, contained an 18-inch class Asus laptop packing a quad-core Core i7 processor with killer graphics, though the salesperson wouldn't disclose which particular graphics card it used.

Dell Windows 7 laptops under lock and key at Best Buy
Dell Windows 7 laptops are under lock and key at Best Buy. Brooke Crothers

No touchy until 10/22: 'The hard release date on all Windows 7 products is Oct 22 and we cannot sell any units in the store until that day'
Don't touch: 'The hard release date on all Windows 7 products is Oct 22 and we cannot sell any units in the store until that day.' Brooke Crothers

Counter space that usually contains dozens of laptops had been cleared
Counter space that usually contains dozens of laptops has been cleared. Brooke Crothers

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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