Alexa comes to the iPhone

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 16, 2017

Siri competitor Alexa has come to the world’s most popular smartphone via an incoming update for Amazon’s shopping app for iPhone and iPad. The release marks the first time Amazon’s personal assistant has supported non-Alexa hardware.

Just tap the mic in the app’s search bar to ask Alexa questions, get weather updates, shop and search items, order and track products, play music, use Alexa Skills and Smart Home features, and much more.

By sneaking Alexa into its iPhone app, Amazon’s made it possible for Apple customers to experience its Siri rival in full glory without needing to buy an Echo speaker. Read More

 

Apple and others join Google in resisting FBI warrant seeking emails stored outside US

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 14, 2017

Business Insider reports that Apple has joined Amazon, Microsoft and Cisco in filing a joint amicus brief in support of Google’s opposition to a warrant by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) seeking to extract emails stored on non-US servers.

In response to the FBI warrant, a court in Pennsylvania recently ruled that Google must hand over emails stored on non-US servers. The joint filing claims the warrant could set a troubling precedent and force Google to violate foreign data privacy laws. Read More

 

See how Alexa compares to Siri with Reverb

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 20, 2017

If you missed our post nearly a year ago about a web app at Echoism.io that lets you try out Alexa in a web browser, you’re going to like a new app, called Reverb, that brings Amazon’s personal assistant to your Mac desktop, as well as iPhone and iPad.

The brain child of developers at digital consultancy agency Rain, Reverb is available at no charge from App Store and Mac App Store or in your favorite web browser.

Reverb takes advantage of the fact that Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service is now available as a web service to access through a web browser and other thin clients, with the recent API 2.0 update having enabled a richer set of features. Read More

 

Apple may not be building Siri-powered Amazon Echo rival after all

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 20, 2017

Tim Bajarin, writing for Time magazine, is claiming that Apple may not be building an Amazon Echo rival after all. Instead, he said, the company could be more interested in turning Siri into a ubiquitous feature across its device lineup.

“After talking with Apple executives, I’ve come away with the impression that they’re more interested in turning Siri into an omnipresent artificial assistant across devices, rather than designing a single device specifically to serve as a Siri machine,” he said. Read More

 

Amazon launches VoIP and video conferencing service Chime

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 14, 2017

Amazon Web Services, a subsidiary of Amazon, today announced it’s launched Chime, a new Voice over IP (VoIP) and video conferencing platform for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows and Android.

Aimed at business users, Chime allows you to host or join virtual meetings, take advantage of content and screen sharing across platforms and more.

Amazon promises noise-cancelling wideband audio and crystal clear high-definition video with the new service. Chime for iPhone is available at no charge from App Store. The Mac client can be downloaded directly from Amazon. Read More

 

Apple hires former Netflix executive and Amazon Fire TV chief to head up Apple TV business

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 8, 2017

Apple appears poised to shake up its Apple TV business amid data showing that sales of the media-streaming box saw a year-over-year decline. Apple TV was last refreshed in October 2015.

According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple in February hired Timothy D. Twerdahl to lead Apple TV operations and beef up teams seeking content deals.

Twerdahl is the former head of Amazon’s Fire TV operating unit. Prior to his tenure at Amazon, he served as an executive at Netflix and later as a Vice President in charge of consumer devices at Roku. He was also Vice President of Products at smartwatch startup WIMM Labs from 2009 to 2012, according to his LinkedIn profile. Read More

 

Amazon and Apple end Audible exclusivity deal to avoid antitrust probe by German government

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 19, 2017

Quietly announced two weeks ago following discussions with both the European Commission and the German Federal Cartel Office, Apple and Amazon have decided to end their deal which made Amazon-owned Audible an exclusive provider of audiobooks for iTunes.

According to a Reuters report Thursday, the move puts an end to antitrust complaints by the German government and is likely to boost competition.

The agreement had been in place for over a decade, since 2003. Read More

 

Amazon’s shopping app is now available for Apple TV with purchasing support for Prime members

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 13, 2016

Online retail giant Amazon today rolled out a tvOS version of its existing shopping app for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple Watch.

With Amazon App for Apple TV, you can browse Amazon’s entire product catalog on a big screen TV from the comfort of your couch using Siri Remote and your fourth-generation Apple TV.

The app lets you get product details and watch videos for products that are available on Amazon.com and from other merchants. And if you’re a Prime member ($99 per year), you’ll even be able to make purchases on your Apple TV. Read More

 

Amazon’s new grocery store uses artificial intelligence and sensors to eliminate checkout

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 5, 2016

Online retail giant Amazon is testing a new type of brick-and-mortar convenience store where you simply walk in, pick up your items and walk out, no clerk or a cash register required whatsoever because everything you’ve put in the shopping basket is automatically charged to your Prime account as soon as you leave the store. Located at 2131 7th Ave in Seattle, the futuristic grocery store, dubbed Amazon Go, has been four years in the making.

The system uses computer vision, sensor fusion and deep learning to detect when goods are removed and returned to the shelves. Amazon’s retail store of the future that eliminates checkout is launching in early-2017. Read More

 

Amazon working on premium Echo model with 7″ touchscreen to “fend off competition”

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 29, 2016

Bloomberg’s well-informed Mark Gurman reported Monday that online retail giant Amazon is developing a brand new premium model of its Echo wireless speaker that will feature a built-in seven-inch touchscreen in an effort to “fend off competition” from Google’s Home device and Apple’s rumored entry into the connected home market with its own Siri-powered hardware.

Amazon may release a higher-end Echo device, known internally as “Knight,” early next year. It will target kitchens and cost more than the current Echo models. Read More

 
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