Items tagged with Amazon

If you do not care about having a fancy touchscreen on your smart speaker, you can score a pretty good deal on Amazon's original Echo model. Amazon is currently selling its voice-controlled Echo speaker with Alexa integration for $130, down 28 percent from its regular retail price of $180. It is available at that discounted price in both black and white color options as Amazon looks to make room for its Echo Show. Amazon announced the Echo Show last month. It is essentially a newer version of the original Echo smart speaker, but with a completely different design to accommodate a built-in 7-inch... Read more...
Home security will be a little more convenient for Amazon Echo Show owners. According to a new blog post on the Amazon Alexa Development site, users will be able to view live video feeds from their smart home cameras on their Echo Show through the Smart Home Skill API. Soon you will be able to determine whether there is a Girl Scout selling delicious cookies or an annoying solicitor at your door, without ever having to leave your chair. Users will be able to say things like “Alexa, show me the front door camera” and get an instant live video feed. The API uses the standardized Alexa language model,... Read more...
Amazon is delving deeper into brick-and-mortar territory with a blockbuster acquisition. The company announced today that it is purchasing U.S. supermarket chain Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. Although final details of the transaction will be ironed out between the grocer’s shareholders, the Whole Foods branding will remain intact. Whole Foods will also retain its Austin, Texas-based headquarters once the merger is complete. “This partnership presents an opportunity to maximize value for Whole Foods Market’s shareholders, while at the same time extending our mission and bringing the highest quality,... Read more...
A popular messaging startup used in business settings is starting to see some interest among major technology players about a possible acquisition. That messaging startup is Slack, and one of the interested parties is Amazon. To make the deal happen, Amazon—or any other technology outfit—would have to come at Slack hard with a 10-digit offer, as the messaging service is said to command $9 billion (or more) from interested parties.Should Amazon make a play for Slack, it would likely qualify as the online retailer's largest acquisition ever. It is also one that Amazon could afford, though even so,... Read more...
Amazon wants complete and total domination over your shopping experience, and that is becoming even more readily apparent with the arrival of the new Dash Wand. The Dash Wand is a small, handheld Wi-Fi device that is supposed to live in your kitchen (which explains its built-in magnet, allowing you to attach the device to your refrigerator). The Dash Wand can be used to scan items in your refrigerator or pantry, which automatically adds them to your Amazon shopping cart. Since the Dash Wand has complete Alexa voice integration, you can add items to your Amazon cart using your voice or ask it to... Read more...
Following the philosophy that some things are better late than never, Amazon has rolled out the ability to block calls and messages to its Alexa-powered Echo devices. For whatever reason, Amazon did not think to include call and message blocking from the start, which is a bit of a privacy concern—without that ability, anyone with your phone number and Alexa mobile app could leave a message that might get played over your Echo speaker.Users kicked up a fuss over the privacy oversight. Amazon heard the complaints and promised an update to address the issue, which is now available, at least for iOS.... Read more...
If you are currently paying $60 a year for the unlimited tier of Amazon Drive, the days of enjoying an overabundance of storage space are numbered. Amazon announced that it is killing off that tier effective today, June 8th. As of today, you can no longer sign up for the unlimited tier and that same $60 a year price will now only offer 1TB of storage space. Amazon says that it will now allow customers to purchase up to an additional 30TB of storage at $60 per TB. For those that were using well over 1TB of storage when their unlimited plans, this pricing change will likely be a bitter pill to swallow.... Read more...
The world's largest online retailer is giving low income individuals and families a reason to skip the lines at Walmart and shop on the web instead. We're of course talking about Amazon, which today announced that customers participating in one of several government assistance programs can sign up for its Prime membership at almost half price. Customers with a valid Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card are eligible to subscribe to Amazon Prime for $5.99 per month for one year. That is a 45 percent savings over the regular membership price of $10.99 per month, and members can can cancel anytime.... Read more...
Foxconn is attempting to acquire Toshiba's semiconductor business though it is not going at it alone. According to multiple reports, both Apple and Amazon have joined forces with Foxconn to grab a piece of the sale, with each company offering up an untold amount of financial backing to help push the deal through.It is also said that Taiwan's Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision, has partnered with Sharp in its bid. Foxconn acquired Sharp last year in a deal worth in the neighborhood of $3.5 billion."Foxconn can confirm that we have submitted a bid for Toshiba's chip business with a number of... Read more...
We thought that Amazon was done with smartphones for good after its disastrous launch of the Fire Phone. The Fire Phone was initially priced at up to $650 off-contract when it launched as an AT&T-exclusive in 2014. Roughly a year later, the failed smartphone was selling for $130 off-contract. According to a new report this morning, Amazon is looking to make a comeback with a new “Ice” smartphone. It is unknown if Ice will be the official retail branding for the smartphone or if it is just the internal codename. However, it does make a nice counterpart to the flaming disaster that was the Fire... Read more...
Amazon has done a good job of staying in the news for the past week (Echo Show, Element Fire TV Edition Smart TVs), and it is continuing its streak with the announcement of new Fire tablets. Although that tablet market as a whole is in decline, Amazon sees plenty of demand in the low-end of the segment, hence the arrival of the all-new Fire 7. The Fire 7 comes to the market with an improved 7-inch IPS display (1024x600) that features a higher contrast and crisper text reproduction. Battery life has been boosted to 8 hours (in mixed use scenarios), which is a 1-hour increase from its predecessor.... Read more...
Amazon wants to make sure that its digital assistant only springs to life when it is actually summoned, versus misinterpreting a word or phrase for "Alexa." To make that possible, Amazon in introducing a new feature called Cloud-Based Wake Word Verification. Just as it sounds, the new feature is intended to improve the accuracy of its wake word detection scheme to reduce or eliminate false wakes caused by similar sounding words. "With this update, the wake word engine (WWE) on the device handles the initial detection of 'Alexa', and then a secondary cloud-based check verifies the utterance. If... Read more...
Amazon has been in the news a lot recently, mainly for its popular Alexa AI that powers its Echo family of products. The company last week announced the Echo Show, which features a 7-inch display, and today the company has revealed a partnership with Element to produce 4K Smart TVs. Element isn’t a brand that you would normally associate with high-end picture quality or plentiful features — it’s a brand that you would typically find at retail stores like Walmart or Target with budget pricing. However, Amazon isn’t letting that “cheap” stigma get in the way of spreading Alexa AI magic to more people.... Read more...
Amazon's latest Alexa update is one that could prove extremely useful to those who want to keep in contact with friends and family through various Echo devices, coming to us in the form of Alexa Calling & Messaging. The premise is simple: you can use your Echo device to send and receive messages to anyone who also owns an Alexa device. While the feature appears to function quite well, there are some caveats and warnings that have popped up surrounding it. In a Medium post, Elise Oras says that Alexa Calling has a "major privacy" flaw, and after reading, you might just agree. For the sake of... Read more...
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