Amazon probably isn't the first company that comes to mind when you think of innovative gadgets. Not anymore, anyway. Hearing a company is producing a ho-hum smartphone based on Android isn't nearly as exciting as hearing about the Kindle for the first time. But with the Echo, the online retailer does have a cool piece of tech on its hands.
The Echo, which recently became available for general purchase in the US, is essentially what you get when you stick Google Now or Siri into a plastic tube. Read More
Amazon's latest app giveaway is worth more than $50 and will remain available for the next week. As you can see in the hero image, some of the headliners include The Bard's Tale and Weather Live, though there are several more that may interest you. And while the super-popular Monument Valley has disappeared from the promotional page, it's free too. This is bigger and better (and longer-lasting) than its typical free daily deal, though it isn't their best ever. Beyond those already mentioned, you might want to pay special attention to Quell Memento and Alarm Clock Pro.
Here is the full list of what's on offer, all of them free for now:
If you've been drooling over Amazon's version of Google Now and Siri (or perhaps HAL-9000... in a good way), you can now buy it without an invitation. Starting today, the Echo is available in the United States for $179.99. That's $20 off of the original "retail" price, but $80 more than Amazon Prime customers have been paying after going through the invitation process. Those who purchase today will also have to wait a bit, since the Echo isn't shipping until July 14th.
The Echo is basically a physical implementation of Google Now that ties into Amazon's services instead. Users can speak "OK Echo" or "OK Alexa" (the device's anthropomorphized digital voice) and an omni-directional microphone will record voice commands. Read More
Amazon's phone, tablets, and other Fire devices run Android, but it doesn't come in the form you see on most devices. They all run a variant called Fire OS. The current version is based on Android 4.4, though this doesn't matter all that much once you take into account the sheer volume of changes Amazon makes.
Nevertheless, Fire OS 5 is on its way, and it will run Android Lollipop. Today Amazon has made a developer preview available for download. This will let software creators see how their apps perform on a Fire HD 6 or 7 running the upcoming version and spot any issues ahead of the official launch later this year. Read More
BlackBerry has slowly but surely realized that their best bet for continued existence is to somehow bridge the app compatibility gap that Android and iOS boast in comparison to their platform. The route they have taken is adding the ability to natively run Android apps within the BlackBerry OS, which quite honestly is a good idea. The next step is getting those apps to users. For American users, that starts today, as a new OS update will bring the Amazon Appstore along with it.
The update, to version 10.3.2, is on its way to BlackBerry Classic users on Verizon and T-Mobile as well as the Z10 and Q10 on AT&T. Read More
Amazon Cloud Drive is like other cloud storage options, only it provides unlimited storage space. That's nothing to sniff at, but it's still not all that big a deal if your favorite apps can't smoothly tap into the service.
To address this issue, Amazon has now released an SDK so that developers can start baking the platform into their apps. The additions serve as part of the company's existing Mobile App SDK.
In the source link below, Amazon highlights four Android apps that have already taken advantage of the SDK. The list consists of A+ Gallery, TextMaker HD Basic, PlanMaker HD Basic, and Presentations HD Basic. Read More
OK, Amazon, I can sympathize with your plight. As both the legal operator of a massive software distribution service and a TV, movie, and music vendor beholden to various rights holders, you might be tempted to remove anything from your app store that even whiffs of piracy or copyright infringement. Hell, I could help you spot some examples if you want. But that really doesn't excuse booting legitimate, useful apps off of your store without a second thought, as appears to be the case with Kodi Media Center.
AFTV reports that Amazon removed Kodi, a highly technical open-source media manager (formerly called XBMC), from the Amazon Appstore last week. Read More
Amazon's HAL 9000-style voice controlled gadget thing, the Echo, (yes, that's the best way to describe it in a single sentence) is gaining more capabilities with each software update. If you can get over the creepy implications of that, it's amazingly cool. The latest update adds the capability to interact with user recipes from the popular IFFT (If This, Then That) web service. At the moment it's mostly requests for music, to-do functions, and connected gadgets.
The practicality of this is dependent upon which recipes you've created or imported. The example from Amazon's promotional email is an Alexa song request that's automatically funneled through IFTTT and shared on Facebook. Read More
There are multiple ways to stream high-end games to your Android device. There's NVIDIA's GRID,
OnLive (edit: Oh, right, Sony bought OnLive), and something thrown together by a guy on the XDA Developers forum. Maybe you want more options. Well, if you own an Amazon Fire TV, you can now add GameFly to this list.
The GameFly streaming service derives from the company's acquisition of Playcast. A look at the latter's website gives you an idea of what you can expect from the experience, as the interface matches the one Amazon has shown off alongside the GameFly Streaming app already uploaded to its app store. Read More
Amazon's voice-controlled, web-connected life manager thing, the Echo, is about as close as you can get to a conceptual product while still asking people to pay for it. But to its credit, Amazon seems to be constantly improving Echo by expanding its functionality. The latest update makes Echo compatible with Google Calendar (one of the web services offered by Google that Amazon doesn't directly compete with) thanks to a selection of voice commands.
According to an email sent to Echo owners, you can now ask Echo (or Alexa, if you've allowed your semi-sentient monolith to retail a sense of identity) "What's on my calendar" to get a quick overview of your upcoming events. Read More