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amazon

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Amazon enters the meeting, video call, and messenger space with Chime

Conference calls and video meetings have almost been synonymous with Skype for the longest time, but Amazon is looking at changing that. Chime, a new Amazon Web Services platform, wants to simplify communications between teams and individuals and cater to their different aspects in one app: video call, voice call, chat, and screen sharing.

Chime is now available on Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows. According to Amazon, the service was built from the ground up with mobile in mind, so the apps work well on phones and let users seamlessly transition from and to their desktops. There are a few other advantages to Chime, like the lack of any long pins (meetings ring up like a phone call), quick options to get out of a meeting or let others know you're running late, a view of all participants and their current status, the possibility to mute one specific person's microphone if there's too much ambient noise around them, and the ability for anyone to share their screen without too much hassle.

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Amazon Tap firmware update enables Echo-style hands free voice commands

Here's an interesting example of a product getting better with age. The Amazon Tap speaker was introduced as a mobile, battery-powered alternative to the Echo, with access to the same Alexa voice commands, but limited in that it could only accept said commands with a button press. This made the less-expensive Tap, while interesting, not all that much better than a smartphone for voice searches. But the latest firmware update from Amazon enables hands-free Alexa commands, like the Echo and Google's Assistant on the Google Home. Talk about a value add.

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Lenovo's super-slim Yoga A12 is available a day ahead of schedule

The Lenovo Yoga A12 is the company's latest attempt at an Android tablet/laptop thing. It is a more toned-down version of the Yoga Book with lower specs, no Windows or Chrome OS options, and a lower price point to boot. The device was not supposed to be available until February 8, but both the Lenovo store and Amazon are allowing full purchases. Maybe because it's already the 8th on the other side of the world?

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Alexa Voice Service now available in UK and Germany, new version of Logitech ZeroMount to celebrate

Alexa Voice Service (AVS) has been available in the United States for sometime now, but today Amazon is expanding the availability to UK and German developers, while also announcing a new version of Logitech's ZeroMount smartphone car holder.

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[Deal Alert] Sony Xperia X Compact drops to just $350 ($150 off) at Amazon and Best Buy

Back around the time of the Galaxy Nexus, I recall a counter-culture developing, calling for an end to the insanity of oversized phones with screens as big as 4.7 inches. They wanted a smaller alternative, built for human hands and human pockets. While the itty bitty smartphone committee might have lost the good fight in a general sense, they now have a few more options, including the Xperia X Compact. Its screen is only 4.6 inches. Hey, it's the principle that counts.

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Plex gets Alexa support for the ultimate home theater experience

Plex is simply awesome. I have been using the media server in some form or another for years and the Lifetime Pass sales are always extremely tempting. So when the service gets a new feature or addition, I pay attention. In this case, Amazon's personal assistant and Plex are coming together via a new Alexa skill.

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[Deal Alert] BLU VIVO 5R $50 off ($149.99) on Amazon for today only

BLU is widely known for its budget phones, and the VIVO 5R is one of the company's newest devices. Normally costing $199, the 5R is a 5.5" phone with a (arguably) premium look, but during today only you can get it on Amazon for $149.99.

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Alexa adds "Computer" as a wake word, much to the joy of Star Trek fans everywhere

Amazon's Alexa assistant supports multiple 'wake words,' which serve as activation phrases for Alexa to start listening. Until now, this included "Alexa," "Amazon," and "Echo." Now Amazon has silently added "Computer" as a wake word, something that is sure to please Star Trek fans everywhere.

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[Deal Alert] Aukey CC-T8 car charger with Quick Charge 3.0 is $9 (47% off) on Amazon after coupon

There aren't many car chargers that support Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0. Aukey's CC-T8 car charger has not one, but two QC3.0-compatible USB ports capable of an output of 2.4A each. Now you can get it for only $9 on Amazon after a special code.

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Amazon app adds virtual Dash buttons for slightly faster Prime ordering

The hook for Amazon's physical Dash buttons is an easy thing to understand: hide little Wi-Fi connected buttons around your house, then press them when you're low on toilet paper in the bathroom, or dishwasher detergent in the kitchen, or imported all-natural small batch coconut oil in the bedroom, and the relevant product will automatically be bought via your Amazon account and shipped out in a couple of days. Now Amazon has made virtual Dash buttons for its website and shopping apps... so you can shop for stuff while you shop for stuff, I guess?

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