Items tagged with Amazon

Does your Echo or Echo Dot sound a little too robotic for your tastes when responding to queries? If that’s the case, then Amazon is working diligently to make your digital assistant AI mastermind sound a bit more “human” with regards to its speech patterns. Until now, Alexa’s female voice, while helpful in an increasing number of ways thanks to thousands of skills, is rather monotone and speaks at a steady cadence. However, Amazon is infusing Alexa with the ability to whisper and even change the pitch of her voice. The changes come as additions to Alexa’s Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML).... Read more...
Well, this didn’t turn out the way we expected. Back in early March, a single image of an upcoming product from Amazon made its way to the internet. Everyone simply assumed the it was a new security camera — at the time, it seemed like a rather educated guess — that would tie into Amazon’s Echo family of smart home AI speakers. Today, however, it has been revealed that we were only right on one front. The new Echo Look is indeed part of the Echo family as its name implies, but it is far from being a security camera. In fact, its primary purpose is to serve and a “hands-free camera and style assistant”.... Read more...
One of the best decisions Amazon ever made was creating a Prime membership program. Any argument otherwise is shattered by the numbers—according to data collected by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, LLC (just CIRP from here on out), there are now 80 million Amazon Prime members living in the United States. Not only is that remarkable figure, but they're outspending non-Prime members by almost a 2:1 ratio. CIRP figures that Prime members spend on average around $1,300 per year, compared to about $700 per year for non-member customers. That is a big disparity and it goes to show the value... Read more...
Amazon's voice activated digital assistant known as Alexa has matured fast since it was first introduced, gaining thousands of new skills and forming strategic partnerships with the likes of Domino's Pizza and Uber. Now Amazon is offering up the same underlying technology that powers Alexa to developers so they can build conversational bots, or chatbots, that understand natural language. The service is called Amazon Lex. It allows developers to easily build conversational interfaces into any application using voice and text. What developers get with Amazon Lex are the advanced deep learning functionalities... Read more...
Are you ready for some football? Amazon sure is—the online retailer has inked a one-year agreement with the National Football League (NFL) to stream 10 Thursday night games to its Prime subscribers. It is paying $50 million for the privilege, which is 500 percent more than the NFL's prior agreement with Twitter over streaming rights, and for the same number of games.Twitter got off to a fast start last year when nearly a quarter of a million viewers tuned into its first streamed NFL game featuring the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills. Sure, that was a drop in the bucket compared to the 15.4 million... Read more...
No credit card, no debit card? No problem! Amazon is an online juggernaut without a large brick-and-mortar presence, so cash isn’t something that the company typically handles directly when interacting with customers. In order to expand its reach to customers that pay primarily in cash, the company is launching Amazon Cash. The service works by providing customers with a barcode (which can be obtained from the Amazon Cash website), which can then be presented at participating retailers. Once a cashier scans the barcode, the customer can add cash in increments ranging from $15 to $500, after which... Read more...
Let's face it, one of the reasons why online shopping is so popular is because some web retailers do not collect sales tax. Technically consumers are supposed to report and pay what's called a "use tax" in those situations, but we suspect few people actually do. State governments typically focus their efforts on collecting tax from retailers anyway, and because of those efforts, Amazon is going to charge a sales tax in all states that collect a sales tax starting April 1. This was an inevitable outcome for Amazon, which already charges sales tax in most parts of the country. It was not always that... Read more...
Back in early January, Huawei released the Mate 9 smartphone in the United States with a price tag of $599. To some, the Mate 9 came with unremarkable specs including a 5.9-inch 1080p display and a 2.4GHz Kirin 960 octa-core SoC with 4GB of RAM. However, the feature that arguably got the most attention was Huawei’s intention to bring Amazon Alexa integration to the Android device. Today, Huawei is following up on its promise by delivering an over-the-air (OTA) update for the Mate 9 which adds Alexa integration, albeit in a somewhat neutered form. For starters, you’ll need to have both the Huawei... Read more...
Amazon is wasting no time in weaving its Alexa digital voice assistant into more of its services and apps. Last week, Alexa made its way to Amazon’s shopping app for iOS, allowing iPhone users to enjoy most of the benefits available to Echo and Echo Dot users including controlling smart devices. Today, Amazon is announcing that its popular Prime Now two-hour delivery service is now available through Alexa. That means that you can now use your Echo device to order “tens of thousands of daily essentials” with the sound of your voice. For those that don’t already know, Prime Now (in supported metropolitan... Read more...
Is that Megatron walking the streets? Nope, it is just Jeff Bezos piloting a massive robot named Method-2 at the Amazon Machine Learning Automation, Robotics and Space Exploration (MARS) conference. Bezos recently tweeted, “I just got to pilot an awesome (and huge) robot thanks to Hankook Mirae Technology. Nice! #MARS2017”. The 13-foot, 1.5-ton Method-2 was created by robotics expert Vitaly Bulgarov. Bulgarov has worked on films such as Transformers, Robocop and the Terminator series alongside South Korean company Hankook Mirae Technology. According to Bulgarov's Facebook page, “Everything we have... Read more...
Amazon’s Alexa AI voice assistant is making a run for Apple’s iOS platform, and it is doing so with its Amazon app for the iPhone and iPad. This move effectively turns your iPhone into an Echo-type device, allowing you access to the thousands of skills in Alexa’s rapidly expanding repertoire. Accessing Alexa is quite simple; you only need to tap the microphone button, which resides beside the camera button within the Amazon app. From there, you can ask Alexa to play music, tell you the weather forecast, make a purchase via Amazon, track a package, or any other number of functions that you might... Read more...
Whether or not audio recorded by smart speakers such as Amazon's Echo is protected by the First Amendment of the United States is a legal argument that will have to wait for another day. That is because Amazon is no longer fighting a subpoena that was issued in an Arkansas murder case after the defendant gave the online retailer permission to share any data that might have been collected by his Echo device. James Andrew Bates of Bentonville, Arkansas, has been accused of drowning his friend Victor Collins in a hot tub back in November 2015. The two were having drinks and watching football with... Read more...
Norman Vincent Peale once said, "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars." Amazon boss Jeff Bezos is taking that advice literally, and he's hoping the United States government will help him in his endeavor. In a proposal sent to the Trump administration, Bezos explains his interest in developing a lunar spacecraft and setting up shop near a crater at the south pole. Welcome to a world where upstart space entrepreneurship is now a thing. The proposal Bezos sent is tied to Blue Origin, a privately funded space company he founded back in September 2000. What Bezos wants is... Read more...
It looks as though Amazon may have another hardware release coming up. Amazon has found huge success with its family of Echo speakers, which are backed by Alexa artificial intelligence. Now, the company may be attempting to further tap into the “connected home” space with a new security camera. The product was discovered hiding away on Amazon’s servers by AFTVnews. The rather unusual — for a security camera —device has an elongated camera “pod” that sits atop a base (which should allow the camera to pivot into various positions). The camera appears to have a blue LED ring around it, which is reminiscent... Read more...
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