Items tagged with (NASDAQ:AMZN)

When Amazon trotted out its Echo Show smart speaker with a display built in, almost everyone speculated that competitors in the AI smart speaker market would be bringing out similar products. That proved accurate at CES 2018 in January, when LG, Lenovo, and JBL all rolled out their own smart speakers packing a display. The company conspicuously missing from the smart display segment at CES was Google. The odd part is that Google is one of the biggest names in the entire smart speaker segment currently with its Google Home device.. In September we learned Google was working on a product for... Read more...
Saint Louis University (SLU) has announced that students will have another roommate living with them when they return to classes this month. SLU will place Amazon Echo Dot smart speakers into each room and apartment that is offered for student housing. Each of the Dots will be running a custom SLU skill that is designed to answer questions that are specific to the university. The idea is to help reduce the number of calls to school helplines and keep students aware of important aspects of campus life. That custom SLU skill, which was developed by n-Powered and is hosted on AWS, can give... Read more...
If you are wondering why companies like Amazon and Google put so much time and energy into smart speakers, just look at the numbers. Sales of voice-activated speakers will add an incremental $1.6 billion to the US technology industry through 2019, in part because they tap into the growing smart home market, according to data by The NPD Group. “While many new households will explore the smart home experience in the next two years, propelled by the growing ownership of voice-activated speakers, the biggest and best opportunity for retail may remain in encouraging the installed smart home base... Read more...
It's been a year in the making, but Microsoft and Amazon have finally announced a full public preview rollout of Alexa-Cortana integration -- at least for users in the United States. The two companies first announced the collaboration in August 2017, and gave a live on-stage demo of the pairing in action at BUILD 2018. In practice, Alexa and Cortana will first have to be enabled as a skill on each competing platform. For example, the Cortana skill will have to be installed on an Amazon Echo, while the Alexa skill will have to be installed on a Windows 10 PC. From there, you... Read more...
Smart speakers are growing in popularity, but in addition to providing a level of convenience to home consumers, they can potentially act as another point of entry for hackers and cyber criminals. To demonstrate this, researchers Wu Huiyu and Qian Wenxiang demonstrated at DefCon 2018 a technique for hacking Amazon's second-generation Echo speaker that allows an attacker to spy on the speaker's owner. The hackers spent month developing the technique. On the bright side, they have only managed to intercept the microphone rather than take complete control of the speaker, the latter of which could... Read more...
It appears that Bethesda Softworks is trying to sue the practice of used of game sales right out of existence by leaning on a legal loophole. We do not know if that is actually the case, but those are the optics, anyway, after the publisher threatened legal action against an Amazon Marketplace seller for trying to sell a still sealed, albeit second-hand copy of The Evil Within 2. That seller is Ryan Hupp, a gamer who lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As Hupp explained to Polygon, Hupp purchased The Evil Within 2 for the PlayStation 4 in anticipation of buying the console, but later decided he... Read more...
Amazon is on a mission to rule the e-commerce world, and several of its products and services play into that goal. That includes Alexa, the digital assistant found in a range of Echo smart speakers. The question is, how many are using Alexa to order items online? Leaked data suggests it might be less than you think. Citing a pair of people who have been briefed on Amazon's internal figures, The Information reports that only around 2 percent of people who own Alexa-powered devices have made purchases using their voices so far this year. It is a surprisingly low engagement rate, though Amazon did... Read more...
If you're looking for a feature-packed set of wireless earbuds that won't break the bank, Amazon is currently running a promotion on the MPow Flame Bluetooth Headphones. Priced at just $19.98 with free shipping (for Prime members), these Bluetooth buds could almost be seen as an impulse buy. On the features front, your $20 gets you quite a bit including: Support for Bluetooth 4.1 IPX7 water resistance, which means that your sweat from a workout or jog won't ruin them Noise cancelling technology and an integrated microphone 7 to 9 hours of battery life, and quick charge support which... Read more...
I had an aunt who used to have her living room lights plugged into a timer, so they turn on and serve as a deterrent to potential burglars. That is how it was done 'back in the day'. What about today? There are fancier methods, and one of them involves Amazon's Echo smart speaker with Alexa. There is a new skill available that could keep would-be thieves away. The skill is called Away Mode and it works by playing lengthy audio clips that sound like people are having a conversation inside. It was created by Hippo Insurance, an insurance outfit located in San Francisco, California. At present, Away... Read more...
It has now become easier than ever to rock out in any room of your house. Amazon just announced its latest feature, “Alexa Cast”. Alexa Cast helps users to better control music streaming on Alexa-enabled devices. Users will be able to more quickly play, pause, and rewind songs through the Amazon Music App. The new Alexa Cast icon will appear on the “Now Playing” screen. Users will be to tap the icon and stream music to Echo speakers, a variety of Amazon Fire tablets, and a few third-party products. Interested users simply need to have an Amazon Prime account to be able... Read more...
Amazon's Echo family has expanded over years with the addition of the Echo Dot, Echo Spot, and Echo Show (among others). Last year, Amazon unveiled a second-generation Echo and it appears that this year the company is looking to launch a third-generation Echo Dot.  The first- and second-generation devices were codenamed "pancake" and "biscuit" respectively, and the new third-generation device is rumored to have been developed under the codename "donut". Rather than the flat top of the current Echo Dot, it appears that its newer counterpart has a more rounded appearance. Second-generation Amazon... Read more...
If you want to take better photos, the first thing you should do is put in the research, or even take a photography class, to learn things like the rule of thirds and the interaction between ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. Once you have a firm grip on the basics, you'll be ready for a more capable camera than what is found on your smartphone or that discounted point-in-shoot in Kmart's sale bin. In the right hands, a digital SLR (DSLR) can take outstanding photos, and you can grab one at a hefty discount today. Over at Woot, the Amazon-owned flash sale site is offering Canon's EOS Rebel T6 DSLR... Read more...
The world of digital assistants is a little bit crowded and immensely competitive. Since its introduction, Amazon has looked at ways of setting Alexa apart from the competition, and it just found another one—equalizer controls. In a blog post, Amazon announced it has added EQ and sound mode controls for smart home entertainment devices using Alexa. If you own an Echo speaker, you can shout, "Alexa, crank up the bass" or "Alexa, turn up treble" and the digital assistant will do exactly that. The new feature is available to customers in the US across the Echo family of devices, and on select... Read more...
We have seen some interesting uses of smartphone cameras that extend beyond just taking photos. Pokemon Go, for example, became a huge hit and had people all over the world hunting virtual creatures with their smartphones. But one of the more useful scenarios just showed upon Amazon's mobile app. It's a part finder feature to help users find exactly the right type of screw or fastener for their project. Imagine that you are trying to repair a piece of furniture or other item that with screws, bolts, washers, and whatever else. Maybe you need a specific screw to finish the job, but the ones in your... Read more...
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