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7/29/2010
09:14 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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Best Buy Jumps Into 'Antennagate' With Free Shields

Best Buy on Wednesday announced that it will offer free invisible shields for those who purchased an iPhone 4 at a Best Buy location.

Best Buy is doing its best to be relevant to consumers shopping for mobile phones and services. Its latest attempt is wading waist-deep into the iPhone 4 "Antennagate" mess with an offer of its own.

Starting July 28, Best Buy will offer to install a free, invisible protective covering on the sides of the iPhone 4. The product is officially called the Side Shield from invisibleSHIELD and it was designed specifically by Zagg to address the signal attenuation problem.

Customers who purchased an iPhone 4 at a Best Buy or Best Buy Mobile location are eligible to get the shield installed at no cost. It is also being offered to all Reward Zone customers. Best Buy is making the product available to any iPhone 4 owner (no matter where it was purchased) for $10.

"Consumers are looking for immediate solutions and the Side Shield is a great option," said Scott Moore, vice president of marketing for Best Buy Mobile in a prepared statement. "At the same time, we know that customers are always looking for ways to personalize and protect their smart phones. That's why we are so focused on having multiple options—people want to choose what's right for them."

Additionally, Best Buy is offering 20% off all iPhone cases through August 7. Best Buy may not have Apple's Bumpers in stock, but it says it has a wide range of cases and covers for the iPhone 4. My local Best Buy has perhaps two dozen different iPhone cases ranging from $15 to $35.

This is a pro-active and customer-friendly move by Best Buy. I haven't seen any similar offers from AT&T, RadioShack or any other iPhone 4 retailers. The fact that Best Buy will even install the shield sets it apart. Those transparent screen and phone covers can be tricky to install correctly.

In the mean time, Apple has begun shipping free Bumpers to those who signed up for them and will continue to do so until September.

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