Amazon Echo (her friends call here Alexa) has been steadily improving since it launched a little over a year ago. Starting today, this little electronic monolith has a new trick up its sleeve: it can now play music directly from Spotify.
Playing music on Echo isn't exactly new: owners can already stream from services like Amazon Music, Prime Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora, and TuneIn. On top of that, Echo has always been able to play audio from any Bluetooth-enabled device. However, official Spotify support gives users a lot more control over their listening experience than having to manually manage everything (a common first-world problem). Read More
The information age has not been kind to the humble bookstore. After mega-chains valiantly tried and failed to compete with the 800-pound gorilla that is Amazon, only Barnes & Noble is left in the US (and it's quickly becoming a showroom for LEGO and Pop Vinyl toys as much as an actual bookseller). A few indies are surviving thanks to a small resurgence of dead tree reading and some trendy makeovers, but the writing is on the wall. Read More
Amazon has been rolling out Amazon Prime Now, its local service for delivering goods from nearby retailers in hours instead of days, in a few cities in the US. In India there is no Amazon Prime, so the same service is simply referred to as Amazon Now. (Not to be confused with Google Now, which doesn't have anything to do with shopping.) There was already a dedicated app for the American version, but now the Indian model gets one too.
Unfortunately Amazon Now suffers from the same drawback as all local delivery services: a limited services area. It's currently only available in Bangalore, and even there, only in specific PIN codes (the Indian equivalent of zip codes). Read More
Amazon's little plastic cylinder packed with electronics has one purpose in life—to answer whatever inane questions you send its way throughout the day. Okay, if you happen to order products from Amazon in the process, that would be nice too, but the other stuff is more interesting.
Take, for instance, the new ability to ask Alexa (that's what you call the lady that lives inside the cylinder with all the electronics) about movies and showtimes. Read More
It's been about a year since Amazon released the first Fire TV Stick (give or take a couple of months), which was probably the best streaming stick at the time—arguably better than both Chromecast and Roku Streaming Stick. Naturally, the company didn't want to wait too long before updating both the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, though I'm not sure that I'd call what the FTV Stick got an actual "upgrade." Really, it's the same stick as last year, but now there's an option to bundle it with the voice remote for just $10 more than the normal price of $40 (making it $50). Read More
It's Black Friday, and everything must go! Amazon is offering considerable discounts of over 30% on plenty of devices, including Fire TV sticks and Fire tablets, as well as that futuristic-looking cylinder called Amazon Echo.
Here's what we've managed to find:
It looks like these deals may be available in other stores such as Best Buy, too. Read More
If you don't know what PlayStation Vue is, don't worry, you're not alone. It's not a gaming service of any kind, it's an IPTV subscription that delivers select shows and networks to the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. It's a sort of hardware-exclusive take on SlingTV. Or at least it was, until Sony announced that the service was expanding to other streaming devices. Amazon's Fire TV and Fire TV Stick will be the first non-Sony hardware compatible with PlayStation Vue, not counting iPhone and iPad.
Apparently there are still no plans for core Android app, but the service will expand to the Chromecast (and presumably Android TV by way of its built-in Cast support) at some point in the future. Read More
A little more than a year ago, Amazon launched its first set-top box, Fire TV. That was followed by the weaker, but far more wallet-friendly littler brother, Fire TV Stick. Now that the company has been in the streaming market for a little while, a refreshed version of its flagship box makes sense, right? I mean, there's technically nothing wrong with the first Fire TV, but more horsepower and support for more modern resolutions are always better, right?
Actually, no. There are definitely some quirks that you should be aware of before jumping into a new Fire TV — especially if you're just upgrading from the old one. Read More
If you have a Chromecast or Android TV, you've probably noticed the one big glaring hole in content on those devices: Amazon Instant Video. Now, it seems more unlikely than ever that these devices will be getting AIV support, because Amazon is apparently preventing sellers on the US site from listing them altogether, and will remove all existing listings for the devices on October 29th. Read More
Amazon's Cloud Drive app has been around since June, but it's been missing some fairly basic tools. As in, so basic that it's kind of mind-boggling that they haven't been included thus far. Today's update adds the ability to rename and delete files and folders, which was apparently missing before. That seems like a pretty big omission, but it's been rectified in version 1.2. It's available now on the Google Play Store, and of course, Amazon's own Appstore. Read More