Amazon's Fire Phone, the logical smartphone extension of its Kindle Fire tablet series, is a dud. A combination of lackluster reviews, carrier semi-exclusivity, and most of all being tied into Amazon's app and service environment have made it more or less a total failure. The company never publishes hard data for its hardware sales, but casual observation and constant discounts (sometimes more than $500 off of the original $650 off-contract price) imply that the product has been a wash.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Amazon isn't eager to continue in the phone market. According to the paper, "dozens" of engineers in the Lab126 hardware team have been laid off. Read More
When Amazon launched the Fire Phone, it wasn't a top-of-the-line device. It did, however, come with a $650 price tag. When the handset immediately proceeded to not sell, Amazon started slashing the price. We've spent the time since watching the number drop. Read More
Amazon has had some pretty great deals as part of its Free App of the Day, but apparently that's over now. The prolific retailer is replacing it with Amazon Underground, which includes "over $10,000 of apps and games that are actually free." Specifically, Amazon is giving away paid apps and in-app purchases with an agreement that reimburses app developers based on the amount of time the apps are actually used. Read More
Do you want an Amazon Fire Phone? If you do, I'll bet you want it at a discount - even with a free year of Amazon's Prime shipping/video/music service, it's a hard sell at two hundred bucks. It's a good thing, then, that the Fire Phone is so often on sale. The latest discount comes courtesy of an eBay seller, who's getting rid of the phones for as little as $140. That includes free shipping and free access to Prime, bringing the effective price down to $40 for a contract-free phone. Not bad.
That $139.99 price is for the 32GB model. Read More
Dear hyper-connected gadget lover who happens to own both a SmartThings Hub (or some of the company's many other products) and an Amazon Echo, these devices can now talk to one another.
This is pretty cool, and here's why. If you have your hub controlling a bunch of other devices, you can now use Amazon's device to boss them around. Alexa, turn on the television. Alexa, turn off the lamp. Alexa, have your way with whatever else is plugged into my SmartThings Power Outlet (okay, maybe this command won't work exactly as written).
Maybe you're seeing this and you're thinking: Gee, maybe I'd like one of these Echo things after all. Read More
Looking for a starter tablet? You know, something to give a kid or someone not so into tech that they would scoff at something not running regular Android? Then consider the Fire HD 6. Amazon is currently offering it for $30 off, bringing the price to a compelling $70. Sure, the 1280 by 800 6-inch display won't turn heads, but the build quality is solid enough where it won't feel like a comparatively priced off-brand knock off.
Maybe you're looking to stick a tablet in the hands of a really little person, someone not ready for a big kid tablet. Read More
Now that you've heard the new name for Android M, you're probably all excited to hear about how Amazon plans to deliver a customized version of Android Lollipop to its Fire devices later this year. Yeah, around the time regular Android will be making the leap to Marshmallow. The company released a developer preview of Fire OS 5 back in June for the Fire HD 6 and 7. Now it's releasing a version for Fire TV as well.
With Fire OS 5, Fire TV is making the substantial jump up from OS 3. The upcoming version will bring Android 5.1 along with support for Android TV and the v17 leanback library. Read More
Like the Kindle tablets that came before it, Amazon's Fire TV Stick is built on top of a customized version of Android. You won't find the Play Store and Google apps on your television screen if you pick one up, but it's still a good way to get your hands on apps. Then, of course, there are the ever-so-important TV shows and movies.
Best Buy is currently offering the Fire TV Stick for $25. That's $15 less than the product's usual price. This also matches the amount Amazon was selling the media dongle for during its big Prime Day sale in mid-July. Read More
Even at $99 a year, Amazon Prime is a great deal if you often order items from the giant retailer - the free two-day shipping alone is worth it for impatient types, and extras like a collection of free streaming videos don't hurt. Before now you could make your dollar go even further by sharing an account with up to four other Amazon customers (for a total of five). Alas, the halcyon days of that frugal fivesome are over: Amazon now restricts you to two adult users per Prime account.
The new setup seems particularly targeted at nuclear families. The two adults can both access the Prime account, with each person having access to the other's credit or debit cards on the Amazon account after the original owner verifies it. Read More