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Amazon brings Alexa, Echo, Prime Music, and related developer tools to Canada

Today is a big day for Canada, at least when it comes to mega-retailer Amazon's products and services. The company has announced Canadian availability of its Alexa-powered smart hardware with a special short-term promotional discount, as well as the regional availability of its Prime Music streaming service. Developers can even get in on the action, as some Alexa-related software and hardware development tools are also now available in the country. 

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Amazon reportedly working on an ad-supported video service, company selectively refutes rumors

According to AdAge, Amazon may be making an ad-driven "complement" to its Prime Video streaming service. This could be huge news, as a video service that's free in any form could be a significant disruption to the current streaming status quo. That is, if it's true. Amazon has told other outlets that it isn't working on an "ad-supported version of Prime Video." However, based on the details reported by AdAge, that might not be a denial. 

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Amazon announces Cloud Cam security camera and Amazon Key in-home delivery service

Around a month ago, we heard rumors that Amazon was planning to release a home security camera and a pair of smart glasses. Today, one of those became official, as Amazon announced the Cloud Cam. The intelligent indoor camera costs just $119 and aims to bring home security features to consumers who might not previously have been able to afford such hardware.

At the same time, the company is launching a new home access service called Amazon Key. This Prime-exclusive scheme is designed to allow Amazon delivery personnel to briefly enter your home and leave packages inside your door, all under that watchful gaze of the Cloud Cam.

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Amazon launches accounts for teenagers, with approval control for parents

If you've got teenage children I can imagine its difficult to get the right balance between allowing them the freedom to develop into responsible adults and watching their every move so they don't mess up. I don't have children myself but I was one once, so I guess I have some idea what it's like. Amazon knows this, too, and so it's launching a new feature that gives teenagers a bit more freedom when it comes to shopping. But not too much.

Amazon's new accounts for teens, specifically those between 13 and 17, give them independence to shop on their own, but with certain controls in place.

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Amazon introduces a new discounted monthly Prime subscription price for students

Amazon Prime is awesome, let's just get that out of the way. Everyone knows most of the benefits from the subscription service by now, but the thing that I hear that keeps some people away is the cost. Despite it being not unreasonable, it's understandable that not every person can afford it. Students are typically among that category, but Amazon has announced new pricing for college kids. You can get everything Prime-related for $5.49 a month — that's the price of a decent cup of coffee on my campus.

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BLU's $50 R1 HD gets updated to support T-Mobile Band 12 and VoLTE

BLU doesn't have a particularly great reputation for its phones' software, and the recent discovery of spyware on its phones, including those sold in the US, certainly didn't help it. However, the company's popular R1 HD, best known for costing Amazon Prime members only $50, has just received an update with some nice improvements for T-Mobile customers.

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Amazon Music Unlimited family plan is available in the U.S.

There are multiple layers to Amazon's Prime subscription model, from full access to video to just Kindle. All of these pricing tiers offer a lot of choice on how you get your media from Amazon's ecosystem, which is pretty great. Music Unlimited was added to this list a month ago, offering what Prime Music did already, but with a whole lot more content. An additional family plan was announced for those interested, allowing up to six people to access the vast selection of music. Well, now that new plan is available in the US.

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[Deal Alert] 16GB Moto G4 with lockscreen offers on sale for $119.99 ($30 off) for Amazon Prime members

Cheap and good. In the tech world, finding a device with both those attributes can be difficult. The Moto G4 is one of those rare devices that is both inexpensive and satisfying. Ryan called it the best budget phone you can buy in his review and it's easy to see why – the specs of this device are top-notch for the price. 

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Amazon could become an internet service provider in Europe

 

Amazon is seemingly determined to make Amazon Prime the best $99/year you can possibly spend. Prime already offers two-day free shipping on Amazon.com, ad-free streaming on Twitch, and an entire catalog of movies and TV shows through Prime Video. According to The Information, Amazon could be gearing up to bundle internet service with Prime.

Although details are scarce, The Information believes Amazon is considering bundling internet access with Prime streaming in Europe. Why not in Amazon's home country of America, you ask? Because in some European countries, broadband providers are required to offer wholesale access to their network to competing companies. This is similar in principle to US operators offering wholesale wireless to MVNOs.

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Amazon Really Wants To Get Rid Of The Rest Of These Fire Phones, Puts Them Back On $200 Sale With One Year Of Prime

Let's be honest here - Amazon's Fire Phone was a complete flop. It makes a lot less sense than something like the Fire Tablets, which are at least somewhat useful outside of just being a front for Amazon's store (which is precisely what Fire Phone is). But the hardware is solid, and it's not a bad phone -- especially when you can get it for $199 off-contract and unlocked. Throw in a year of Amazon Prime, and you've basically got a really decent handset for a Benjamin. It's not perfect, but easily worth a hunnit.

Screenshot 2015-02-12 at 8.18.27 AM

And right now, if you're in the market for something cheap or just want to see what Prime and Fire Phone are all about, you can score one for exactly that.

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