Sam's Club to add Wi-Fi for shoppers

Wi-Fi allows live Internet TV demos and browsing for smartphone users

Sam's Club locations nationwide will have Wi-Fi from AT&T by November that will provide customers with access to Web-based price comparisons via their smartphones . The wireless access will also be used to better demonstrate Internet-ready TVs and other electronics.

The Sam's Club Wi-Fi service will be available in about 500 stores in the U.S. Sam's Club, a division of Wal-Mart Stores, also has operations in Brazil and China.

Sam's Club members will be able to use a Wi-Fi-ready Internet TV to see Vudu video streaming, Facebook , Pandora or other applications on a large-screen TV to get an idea of how they would look at home. Various large-screen TV makers are also expected to show 3D TVs inside Sam's Club stores. The company said it is the first retailer to offer Internet TV live demos for customers.

Sam's Club CEO Brian Cornell called his customers "early adopters of technology and electronics." The Wi-Fi experience was announced in addition to a planned Sam's Club smartphone app for the iPhone , BlackBerry and Android platforms to allow customers easy access to online shopping information from Sam's Club Plus membership cards.

Sam's Club is also expanding its use of "Tech Experts," who are available to provide electronics buyers with advice both before and after a sale.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com .

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Tags telecommunicationMobile and WirelessNetworkingPandorawirelessWal-Mart StoresPhonesmobileindustry verticalsFacebookwireless networkingAppleretailconsumer electronicsat&tsmartphonesVudu

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