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Amazon's BLU R1 HD gets rooted, bootloader unlocked, TWRPed, and debloated

The BLU R1 HD is a cheap Android phone, made even cheaper by its release as an Amazon Prime Exclusive device. You pay $50 (or $60 for the 16GB/2GB RAM version) for the phone instead of its original $100 price tag, but you get Amazon's apps pre-installed and its ads on the lockscreen. It's not that bad really: David has been trying to live with it for a month and hasn't faced many issues beside the "slowening", ie. the fact that the phone gets slower the more you use it.

If you've had an eye on this device either as your main phone or maybe as a Pokémon GO phone (hey, we understand), but you just can't bring yourself to accept Amazon's bloat, there's good news for you.

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Motorola confirms the bootloader on the Amazon Prime Exclusive Moto G4 can't be unlocked

Motorola's relationship with unlockable bootloaders, and thus with the ROM-flashing aftermarket community, can be summed up as "complicated." While its default approach is to offer a consumer-friendly bootloader unlock on most of its phones, it nonetheless bows to the whims of its carrier masters (Verizon and AT&T) whenever they insist that said feature be disabled, and they don't offer those handy full-price Developer Editions anymore, either. Add Amazon to the list, because the retailer's customized, super-cheap edition of the fourth-generation Moto G can't be bootloader unlocked.

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Deal: Order with Alexa, get $50 off Amazon Tap (today) or $10 off any order $20 or more (through 7/12)

We have covered the Amazon Tap, Echo, and Echo Dot before, and even though there are some discoverability issues with finding the Alexa commands you want, we still think the platform has great potential – as long as it can keep up when the competition gets hot.

Among those many voice commands are – naturally – options for buying stuff online through Amazon. If you’ve been holding off on voice ordering, now might be a good time to give it a go. You’ll get $10 off your first purchase over $20 (this deal will work on Prime Day, too), and that includes these items that already have an exclusive Alexa discount, also valid through July 12th:

And for today only (July 8th), you can get an Amazon Tap for $79, that’s a 39% discount - we haven’t seen it for much less than the usual retail price of $129.99, so this is an excellent time to buy if you’ve been on the fence.

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[Alexa, buy me a cheap Echo] Refurbished Amazon Echo on Woot for $135 with $5 shipping

Hey Alexa, what's the cheapest way to get an Amazon Echo? Oh, it's $179.99 on Amazon and you don't know of any other good deals... You're wrong Alexa, but I'll forgive you because it's not on sale on Amazon but Woot — woot!

This is a refurbished Amazon Echo Bluetooth and WiFi speaker that can play music from different streaming services or your own device. But its real knock-out feature is the voice assistant known as Alexa who lives inside it (I've been told she's a tiny bobble-head who just hides inside the speaker's tower) and can answer your weird questions, execute your queries and commands, and let you control more than just a speaker.

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Logitech Harmony Remote functionality is coming to Amazon's Alexa voice control platform

Here's something interesting for those of you who've gone head-first into the smart home craze. According to ZatsNotFunny, a blog dedicated to connected home tech, Logitech is recruiting beta testers for a new tool integrating Harmony remotes with the voice control features of Amazon Alexa/Echo. Basically, users who have both should be able to speak commands into their Echo and have the remote perform them without ever picking it up. Neat.

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Amazon's Alexa Has Over 1,000 Skills, But Discoverability And Quality Remain Issues

Amazon's Echo has become the de-facto standard of home voice control, at least until Google Home is released and we find out whatever Apple is planning. To emphasise Amazon's market-leading position, the company has published a press release saying Alexa has over 1,000 skills and integrations - we counted roughly 1,150 (115 pages with 10 items on each page). For such a young platform, this is mightily good news, and says wonders about the battleground that the home will be for technology companies in the future.

Screenshot_20160603-102403 Screenshot_20160603-102543

Left: the skills list, showing the filters and sorting options. Right: some other skills that are installable on the Echo.

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Amazon Releases A 64GB Version Of The Fire 10 HD Tablet With A New Aluminum Body For $290

Depending on who you ask, Amazon's Fire series might just be the most popular Android tablets on the planet. They're certainly up there, thanks to an extremely low entry price and some pretty decent media tie-ins with Amazon's various platforms, the lack of Google Play access notwithstanding. The value at the high end of the range isn't bad either, and Amazon just made it a little better: the big daddy Fire 10 HD now has a 64GB option, and it's available for under $300.

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Amazon's Echosim Simulates Echo Devices In The Browser, Allows Everyone To Put Alexa To The Test

Community projects are fantastic - just look at how strong Android's aftermarket community is, creating custom ROMs and launching entire operating systems and companies in the process. Now Amazon's getting in on the action, rebranding developer Sam Machin's Alexa in the Browser project as Echosim and bringing Alexa to everyone in the process.

Echosim is a way to use an Amazon Echo directly in your browser. Built with JavaScript, it gives anyone the chance to question Alexa and experience the Echo platform without actually owning a device. This is all the more important in countries where the voice-enabled cylinders are not available, such as the UK, where I live.

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Amazon Fire TV Devices Updated To Version 5.2 With Viewing Restrictions And New Alexa Features

Amazon has announced that the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, the company's two streaming devices, are receiving updates to the latest version of the software, 5.2.

The main thing version 5.2 brings is viewing restrictions, which enable blocking of content in Amazon Video and 'selected third party apps,' although Amazon has declined to list which third-party apps are included. Other new features include Watch Live for video subscriptions, so if you have an add-on subscription from Showtime or Starz, content can be watched at the same time as it's broadcast. Alexa is also seeing some improvements; she can now be asked for local restaurant, shop, or business information with the new Local Search feature.

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Amazon Adds New Alexa Voice Features To Fire TV

Voice control is all the rage these days, and Amazon is pushing its Alexa voice engine hard. The Fire TV already had Alexa built-in, but today it's getting some new features. You can control video playback, launch apps, and more.

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