Items tagged with NASDAQ: AMZN

Digital assistants like Siri and Cortana have their own little perks, but a big one none of them have is the ability to appear on other platforms. Amazon's Alexa, the AI assistant featured on the company's Echo device, is going to become the first -- or at least the first with the most potential. Soon, developers of hardware products will be able to integrate Amazon's Alexa for free. When keeping costs down, nothing beats "free", and we're talking about a very good solution here, and one that's only going to get better thanks to Amazon's machine learning efforts. Amazon gives a couple of examples of what could be done with Alexa. Someone could ask their Wi-Fi alarm clock for the... Read more...
In a move that some will call long overdue, Amazon has just released its first-ever transparency report. While it'd be easy to think that Amazon wouldn't receive nearly as much legal pressure as social media companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter, it actually does deal with it on a near daily basis. From the short period between January 1 and May 31, 2015, Amazon received a total of 813 subpoenas. Of those, 542 warranted a full response, 126 received a partial response, and the other 145 received no response at all. Amazon was even hit with 25 search warrants, with 21 of those resulting in either a full or partial response. Flickr: Scottish Government Other numbers are a little more challenging... Read more...
It might not be obvious to many of Amazon's customers, but there is a lot of machine learning that goes on in the background. In one of its simplest forms, the suggestions you see on the front page of Amazon after browsing for a while, or after making a purchase, are the result of this learning. Buy the latest Metallica CD? Then you might want the latest Megadeth one, as well. Given the complex algorithms Amazon has on hand, and the amount of successful machine learning it has under its belt, the time has come for it to share some of the love. Well, for a cost - but a modest one. With Amazon Machine Learning, you're able to create an account and begin taking advantage of Amazon's algorithms to... Read more...
I'll preface this by saying that while this sounds like an April Fools' joke, it's not. Over the years, Amazon has rolled-out a number of different mechanics that have made it easier for people to place orders from the service, but with its new 'Dash Button', I think the company has proven that there's no such thing as people being "too lazy". Doing laundry and notice you're critically low on Tide? Click the Dash button you've conveniently affixed to your washing machine. Finished doing your business in the washroom and notice you're out of toilet paper? That's a bad situation, but push that Dash button next to the empty holder, and you'll get a fresh pack of bog rolls, stat. Fed little Jimmy... Read more...
When Amazon's Jeff Bezos unveiled Amazon Prime Air in late 2013 via 60 Minutes, a lot of people took it as a joke -- an easy way for Amazon to hog the limelight for a little bit. It took only a few months more to realize that the company was very serious about the venture, and while it might still seem a little bit outlandish to use drones to deliver packages, it can and has been done. Of course, deploying drones for commercial use is easier said than done. The amount of regulatory work that needs to be done is massive, and we're still not at the point where we're much closer, something proven with new draft rules that the FAA released over the weekend. While it doesn't seem like a problem in... Read more...
It's long been rumored that Amazon has been itching to move into the traditional retail store market, but doing so is not a small endeavor. One of the biggest hurdles is simply finding available retail space, especially when it comes to wanting to get close to competitors, or appear in a one of the busier parts of some cities. What can make all of that a lot easier is to takeover retail space from an outgoing company. Say, for example, one with over 4,000 pre-existing stores. Yes, we're talking about the ill-fated RadioShack, which hasn't instilled us with the utmost confidence in recent years. While it'd be sad to see such an iconic store go the way of the... Read more...
If you're going to release a new product in a competitive market, it's best to make sure it either beats all of the others on features, or price. Walmart has decided to take the latter route with its VUDU Spark TV stick, pricing it at a mere $24.95. That's ten bucks cheaper than the Google Chromecast, and about fourteen less than Amazon's Fire TV Stick. It gets even more tempting: for the first five months, $5 will be credited to the account each month. That means that the device effectively pays for itself after five months, something that's bound to catch the attention of many a Walmart shopper. That all seems tempting, until you realize that the VUDU stick should probably be free to begin... Read more...
If there's one thing Google loves doing, it's barging into an area of the market where its biggest competitors excel and make its presence known. The latest proof of that comes to us in the form of a "Buy Now" button, mimicking the one-click purchase mechanic Amazon has enjoyed for quite some time. Should Amazon be scared? Probably not, but there's little denying that Google's impact could be notable. It might seem a little odd for Google to pursue something like a "Buy Now" button if it doesn't even have a marketplace like Amazon, but it'd come into play through the search results. If you search for an Intel processor today, for example, you'll see shopping results from various etailers. What... Read more...
It looks as though Amazon has been up to some shenanigans with its main app on Google Play. The online retailer launched a hidden and functional app store inside of its Android application, which resulted in Google removing it from the Play Store. Back in September, Amazon rolled out a new feature within its main app that contained a fully functional Appstore, circumventing Google’s standard operating procedure for installing apps from rival app stores. Within two weeks of releasing its "app store within an app", Google updated its Developer Distribution Agreement to forbid the practice.Performing a search now for the Amazon app on Google Play no longer shows up in the results,... Read more...
Back on November 13, Wal-Mart announced that it would price match select online retailers which included Amazon.com. However, consumers took advantage of this and were recently able to scam Wal-Mart into price matching Sony’s $400 PlayStation 4 for only $90. Proof of the fraud was noticed by CNBC as photos of receipts were posted on Twitter and Reddit by consumers who were able to get Wal-Mart to match the price of third-party sellers on Amazon by tricking the employees into thinking it was an authentic-looking Amazon page. The problem is, any Amazon member that has a registered selling account is able to create such pages. Once the page has been created, someone can just take a screenshot... Read more...
Scribd received a shot in the arm today with the announcement that the e-book subscription service now also offers more than 30,000 audiobooks. Among the highlights are audio versions of books written by Dennis Lehane, Elmore Leonard, and Haruki Murakami. The Hunger Games Trilogy is also available in audiobook and e-book formats. The addition of audiobooks improves Scribd’s competitiveness among rivals like e-book-only subscriptions Entitle and Oyster, as well as industry heavyweights like Amazon. Some popular titles from Scrib's new audiobook catalog. Image Credit: Scribd Despite the new audiobook catalog, Scribd’s subscription price of $8.99 hasn’t changed. Subscribers have... Read more...
It's no secret that Amazon's Fire smartphone (our review) hasn't taken off quite like the company has hoped, but let's face it: It's worth $0.99. Well, at least if you're willing to enter into a 2-year contract with AT&T, that is. It's undoubtedly a little odd that Amazon would drop the price of its Fire from $199 to $0.99 mere months after the phone's launch, but when you realize that Apple's about to launch its iPhone 6, it begins to make all the sense in the world. There's more than meets the eye, though: Not only has the phone dropped to $0.99, Amazon is also tossing in a free one-year Prime subscription - a $99 value. Further, if you want to purchase the Fire outright, you can do so... Read more...
It looks like Google is soon to get some serious competition in the advertising space, as the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Amazon has something cooking. Called "Amazon Sponsored Links", Amazon's advertising solution would take Google's AdWords head-on, where relevant ads would be displayed based on the context of a search. Amazon's target: Google AdWords Google's advertising platforms make up a huge portion of its overall revenue, and Amazon happens to contribute a fair bit to that. You'd be hard-pressed to search for a product on Google and not see an Amazon link up top, and further, Amazon.com has been integrating Google AdSense in parts for a while. It goes without saying that... Read more...
It really goes without saying that 3D printing is awesome, but whether or not a printer is going to be a common sight in our homes down the road is yet to be seen. Unlike a paper printer, a 3D printer has far different uses, and most people might not have the need for something like that outside of experimentation. This is something that Amazon realizes well, and its just-launched '3D Printing Store' is proof of it. Similar to eBay's 'Exact' store that we talked about last July, Amazon's 3D Printing Store will allow consumers to pick an item, customize it to their liking, and then place an order. Can't be bothered with the amount of effort required for that? Some premade items are being made... Read more...
There's an old saying that essentially advises you not to buy much of anything that you can't afford to pay for immediately. Granted, that's tough to implement on things like homes and vehicles, but on tablets? Seems like pretty sage advice. Nevertheless, Amazon is taking advantage of the world's appetite for cheap credit, and it could be looking to boost those essential year-end numbers by moving more of its hardware than it would otherwise. The Kindle Fire HDX is a solid tablet in its own right, but it's still not "cheap" by most definitions. In order to combat that, Amazon's offering you the ability to pick one up, and then give you nine months to pay it off. The $229 7" HDX and the $379 8.9"... Read more...
Given the fact that it was announced last summer, it's taken quite a while for Google's cloud-based Compute Engine to get here, but what's important is that it's here. Well, at least for "general availability", which is to say, "developers". To coincide with this milestone, Google has a number of new features to talk about that helps bolster its solution up a little bit. While Compute Engine has been squarely built with Linux in mind, the only two options to choose from up to this point were Debian and CentOS. Now, "any out-of-the-box" distribution can be used. This move shouldn't come as much of a surprise, though, given such limited support wouldn't bode too well for most potential customers.... Read more...
The past couple of years have been very good to tablets: They've become much more powerful, are being equipped with true HD resolutions, and best of all, have price tags that would have seemed impossible just a couple of years ago. But, when it comes to Black Friday or Cyber Monday, we sometimes have to reevaluate what an "awesome" price is. Amazon has long been offering some stellar tablets through its Kindle brand, especially at the 7-inch form-factor, of which there's a lot of competition. To make sure that it is Kindle that winds up in consumer's hands this holiday season, the company is slashing $50 off the price of its Fire HD and Fire HDX models. With $50 off, the Fire HD's price becomes... Read more...
Who could've seen this coming? The online e-tailer that made waves by selling nearly every book in the universe is keeping the art of reading at the forefront of its sales... but in a very different way. As digital bookworms have emerged and Amazon's Kindle line of tablets and e-readers have exploded, Amazon has issued "Kindle First." The exclusive program is one that promises Kindle users the ability to snag new books well before their official release date. Here's how it works: Each month, Amazon Publishing editors select several titles from Kindle’s most popular categories a month ahead of their official publication date, adding a note of recommendation and a behind-the-scenes look at... Read more...
Believe it or not, it's earning seasons again, and a company that always seems to make things interesting in this regard is Amazon. While it's stock price is soaring, the past few quarters have shown tremendous revenue with next to no profit. This quarter, however, Amazon didn't manage to make a dime. While Q3 2013 sales were up 24% to $17.09 billion, and operating cash flow increased 48% to $4.98 billion, pure profit was down. All told, Amazon posted a net loss of $41 million in Q3, but in some ways, it's actually being viewed as a positive. Why? Because last Q3 the company posted a loss of $274 million, so at least things aren't quite as rough this year. The numbers, however, only tell part... Read more...
Microsoft recently unveiled its Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro products, both of which feel like premium upgrades over the original (we were on hand at the event and got to play with these devices). They're leaner, faster, and generally better equipped than the original Surface tablets, but if there's one area consumers will inevitably knock, it's the price tag. The Surface 2 starts at $449, and with the plethora of Android tablets selling for hundreds less, that could become a hurdle. One solution is to release a smaller version of Surface. It's been rumored before and it's happening again. Rhoda Alexander, director of Tablet and Monitor Research at IHS iSuppli, tells CNET that Microsoft is considering... Read more...
The tablet wars rage on, and believe it or not, what used to be an online book seller is now at the forefront of the slate battle. Amazon has just unleashed a bevy of new products this evening, designed to tempt your wallet just as the holidays draw near. Let's take a look at what's on offer: The all-new Kindle Fire HDX was announced with a 7" or 8.9" display, a quad-core 2.2 GHz processor with 3x the processing power, 2x more memory as the prior flagship, 11 hours of battery life, and dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus audio. Amazon claims that the display has reduced glare and improved color accuracy, and the Snapdragon 800 should please power-hungry users. It's also equipped with... Read more...
Yesterday was a big day for Apple device owners. The Cupertino company released its much anticipated iOS 7 update, and if you managed to update your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad device, hopefully it went smoother for you than it did for Conan. Apple wasn't the only one dishing out new software, however. Coinciding with iOS 7, Amazon revamped its Kindle app, which the company says has been optimized for the newest version of iOS. One of the new additions to the updated app is Collections. Using Collections, you can easily categorize books, documents, and magazines with a few easy taps, Amazon says. The app also features flatter style controls that are more in line with the way iOS 7 looks and feels.... Read more...
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