Bloomberg: Apple’s Echo-like Siri appliance is now in prototype testing

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 23, 2016

Apple’s rumored Amazon Echo-like Siri hardware has exited the company’s research and development lab and is now in prototype testing, Bloomberg reported Friday. The project started more than two years ago, but Apple is now “pressing ahead” with the development of its unnamed Siri-driven smart home appliance after Amazon’s Echo proved a surprise hit, even to Apple engineers working on the project. Read More

 

Amazon to take aim at Apple with $9.99 a month music service, due in September

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 29, 2016

Amazon already has a music store, but its catalog of songs is limited and streaming is only available to those subscribed to the company’s $99 per year Prime service. As Re/code said, the online retail giant has also considered a bargain-priced music service that would only work on Echo hardware and be priced at $4 to $5 per month.

Monday, The Financial Times newspaper reported that Amazon has a third offering in the works, a $9.99 per month music-streaming service that would offer the full catalogue of songs that Spotify and Apple offer. Read More

 

Amazon wants to create a $5 per month music service just for Echo owners

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 23, 2016

Owners of the Echo wireless speaker with built-in Alexa assistant may soon be treated to Amazon’s new music-subscription service that charges half as much as competing offerings from Spotify, Apple, Google and others. The bargain-priced music service should cost between $4 and $5 per month, Re/Code reports, and would only work on Echo hardware. Read More

 

NYT: Lyft unsuccessfully attempts to sell itself to Apple, Google, Uber and others

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 20, 2016

Despite not being in danger of closing down thanks to its cash cushion of $1.4 billion, the popular ride-sharing service Lyft has in recent months attempted to sell itself to Apple and a few other Silicon Valley giants like Google, Amazon and Uber, The New York Times reported yesterday. None of the mentioned companies commented on the story.

The nation’s second-largest ride-hailing firm also attempted a sale to China’s leading ride-sharing service, Didi Chuxing, into which Apple invested $1 billion, and to General Motors, one of its largest investors that refused to make a written offer to buy it. Read More

 

Daily Deals: $280 off iPad Pro, $300 off MacBook Pro, Prime Day deals and more

By Cody Lee on Jul 12, 2016

iDB’s Daily Deal post is a roundup of our favorite deals on tech and tech-related products from around the web. This includes everything from smartphones, tablets and accessories, to connected devices and even video games.

Every deal you see below has been hand-picked based on a variety of factors including personal experience, online reviews from customers and experts, and discount percentage. So what are you waiting for? Get shopping! Read More

 

Amazon’s Audible launches Channels, $4.95 per month podcast subscription

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 7, 2016

Who wants to pay for podcasts? Thought so… Well, Amazon thinks people will have no issues whatsoever paying for short-form audio shows so it’s introducing a new Channels thing through its Audible service, which hosts the largest selection of digital audiobooks on the web.

According to Bloomberg, Channels will host premium shows like Scientific American, The Onion and the WSJ, plus a bunch of own originals like Mortal City, Presidents Are People Too and Breasts Unbound. Read More

 

Amazon schedules its annual shopping event for Prime members for July 12

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 30, 2016

Online retailer Amazon has scheduled a second annual Prime Day event for July 12. The Prime Day 2016, a one-day shopping event exclusive to Prime members, will be the biggest global Amazon event ever with new deals starting as often as every five minutes throughout the day. Read More

 

Amazon debuts new Page Flip feature for Kindle apps and devices

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 28, 2016

Online retail giant Amazon on Tuesday announced a new Page Flip feature for its Kindle lineup of e-readers and mobile apps. Page Flip lets you flip back and forth between pages to reference different parts of the book while you read, without losing track of your current reading position. With Page Flip, you can turn one page at a time or zoom out to a bird’s eye view of your book to quickly choose the page you want. Read More

 

Amazon to take on Apple and Spotify with new streaming music service

By Cody Lee on Jun 10, 2016

Amazon is preparing to launch a new standalone streaming music subscription service, reports Reuters. The tech giant is currently finalizing licenses with labels for the service, and it’s aiming for a late summer or early fall launch.

Of course, Amazon already offers a limited music service for free to Prime subscribers. But this new service will cost $9.99 per month and offer a much more competitive catalog, putting it squarely up against Apple Music and Spotify. Read More

 

You no longer need Amazon’s Echo speaker to enjoy Alexa

By Christian Zibreg on May 30, 2016

If you’ve ever wanted to take Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant for a spin but bulked at the though of dropping $180 on the company’s Echo wireless speaker, now you can.

Originally started by Nexmo developer Sam Machin at a hackathon in 2015, a web-based Alexa simulator runs in any standards-compliant web browser. Read More

 

Check out Home, Google’s Amazon Echo killer

By Christian Zibreg on May 18, 2016

During the keynote presentation this morning which kicked off Google I/O 2016, the Internet giant previewed its much-anticipated entry into the voice-activated home device market in the form of a new appliance, named Google Home.

With a built-in Google Assistant that also powers Duo, a new smart messaging app coming to iOS and Android this summer, Home lets you retrieve information from the Internet, get answers to simple questions and carry out basic tasks—using your voice and the familiar “OK Google” wakeup phrase. Read More

 

Google’s own Amazon Echo-like accessory, dubbed ‘Chirp’ is landing soon

By Christian Zibreg on May 13, 2016

Code-named ‘Chirp’, Google’s upcoming hardware appliance will integrate the company’s search and voice assistant technologies akin to the Amazon Echo, and is landing soon, Re/code reported yesterday.

The rumored device should resemble Google’s OnHub wireless router, according to several sources.

If the increasing popularity of Amazon’s integrated wireless speaker and voice command device is an indication—it’s estimated they sold three million Echo units to date—Google’s rumored accessory could prove popular with users, especially given Google’s expertise in voice and search. Read More

 

Amazon launches new Video Direct service aimed at content makers

By Christian Zibreg on May 10, 2016

Amazon this morning announced a brand new self-service aimed at content producers and storytellers: Video Direct. With it, content makers can upload their videos to the Amazon cloud and decide if they wish to optionally make them available to buy or rent.

Content owners can choose to receive royalties depending on how popular their content is on Amazon based on hours streamed, which will limit their work to Prime members or Instant Video subscribers, or opt to monetize their content with advertising, in which case their videos will be available to all Amazon customers. Read More

 

Amazon takes on Netflix with standalone $9 per month Prime Video subscription

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 18, 2016

Online retailer Amazon announced this morning that it has started to offer its Prime Video service as a standalone subscription independent of its $99.99 annual Prime membership, which includes things like free two-day shipping, unlimited streaming of music, movies and television shows and other perks.

In an effort to step up its challenge to Netflix, the e-commerce giant has priced its standalone offering at $8.99 per month—a dollar more than Netflix’s entry-level $7.99 plan in the United States. Read More

 

Kindle Oasis is Amazon’s thinnest and lightest e-reader ever, but costs more than iPad mini 2

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 13, 2016

Amazon on Wednesday unveiled a brand new device, the $290 Kindle Oasis, its eighth-generation Kindle e-reader. Billed as its thinnest and lightest e-redear yet, the Oasis weighs in at just 4.6 ounces and measures a remarkable 3.4 millimeters at its thinnest point, which is less than half the thickness of Apple’s iPhone 6s at its smallest point.

Its dual-battery charging system lets you read for months without plugging in if you’re using the Oasis with the official charging case. Without the case, the device’s built-in battery provides up to two weeks of reading based on 30 minutes usage per day. Read More

 

This weekend only: get a 1-year Amazon Prime membership for just $73

By Cody Lee on Jan 15, 2016

Amazon is currently offering a significant discount on its popular Prime service, cutting the one-year membership fee from $99 to $73. The promotion is in celebration of the company’s success at the Golden Globes earlier this week, and is good from  now through 11:59 p.m. Sunday night.

For those of you who aren’t particularly familiar with Amazon Prime, the service includes a number of benefits. There’s free 2-day shipping (and same-day in some areas) on millions of products, and free access to Prime Video, Prime Photos, Prime Music and the Kindle Lending Library. Read More

 

Ex Top Gear presenter shows off Amazon’s drone delivery system

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 30, 2015

Jeremy Clarkson, the former host and presenter of BBC’s Top Gear show, has been hired by Amazon to promote its products. In addition to a recent commercials aired in the United Kingdom which promotes Amazon’s Fire devices, Clarkson can be seen in the most recent Amazon video showing off the Prime Air, the online retail giant’s drone delivery system first announced back in December of 2013. Read More

 

Amazon allegedly confirms that Instant Video is hitting Apple TV before year-end

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 28, 2015

Online retail giant Amazon is bringing its Instant Video service to the new Apple TV after all. As a quick refresher, Amazon recently pulled both Google’s Chromecast HDMI dongle and Apple’s Apple TV from sale because the two set-top boxes, in Amazon’s own words, don’t “interact well” with its video subscription service. Confirmation of a tvOS version of Instant Video was inadvertently leaked by Amazon itself in response to a question on Twitter.

The app should hit the Apple TV App Store by the end of the year. Read More

 

Puzzle platformer To-Fu Fury is Apple’s new Free App of the Week

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 28, 2015

To-Fu Fury from Amazon Game Studios, regularly $1.99, is available at no charge until next Thursday as Apple’s new Free App of the Week via the App Store’s weekly promotion.

Released in July 2015, this puzzle platformer challenges you to save the Fortune Kitty playing as To-Fu, a stretchy, sticky, flingy and combative cube of bean-curd. Expect a lot of puzzle solving and physics-based action in this game. Read More

 

Amazon Video for iOS gets X-Ray, 3D Touch and multitasking support & more

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 24, 2015

Amazon pushed a nice update to its video-streaming app in the App Store this morning. Amazon Video version 3.3 now includes 3D Touch shortcuts on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus Home screen for quick access to the following features: Library, Downloads, your Watchlist and Search.

In addition, the app is now fully optimized for the iPad Pro and supports iOS 9’s new Picture in Picture mode and Slide Over multitasking on supported devices. Read More

 
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