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Amazon Introduces More Colors And A 16GB Storage Option For The 7-Inch Fire Tablet

Amazon Fire tablets are not devices geared towards stock Android-loving enthusiasts with an unquenchable thirst for whatever they can get from Google Play. They're more casual devices aimed at people who enjoy a simpler experience and Amazon services. New models are also very cheap—buy six for $250 cheap. The 8GB 7-inch tablet starts at $49.99.

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CoWatch Is The First Smartwatch That Uses Amazon's Alexa Voice Control System, Pre-Orders Are Now Up On Indiegogo

At this point asking people to support your crowd-funded concept device is kind of like asking them to support your "sure-fire multi-level marketing system." Sure, it could be legitimate, but it's better to just treat that money as if it's gone forever. That said, smartwatches might be the one exception. Pebble, arguably the legitimate dark horse in that small market and one of the first to successfully market itself, got started on Kickstarter. So maybe it wouldn't be fair to dismiss the CoWatch, a new smartwatch that features interoperability with Amazon's Alexa voice control system, out of hand.

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Amazon Introduces New $8.99 Monthly "Prime Video" Subscription

Sometimes you can't stomach the idea of paying a big yearly subscription price upfront, either because it feels like a big expense or because you're not ready to commit for a full year to a service that you're not sure you'll enjoy in a couple of months. That's why, despite having to pay a little bit more, companies offer a monthly subscription to make it easier for users to pay in small increments and feel like they are free to walk away anytime they want.

Amazon's Prime subscription used to be a yearly affair: pay $99 and get all the services for 12 months straight.

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[So Cool] This Guy MacGyvered His House's Window Blinds To Respond To Alexa Voice Commands

Ever since Amazon announced the Echo, the platform and Alexa's voice commands have been expanding and adding more partners and features. They haven't, however, gained the magical ability to control your house's manual window blinds. It has though become possible to connect Alexa to an Arduino board, which increases the potential uses for the platform.

An enterprising guy has used that to his advantage, MacGyvering his way into smart window blinds with an Arduino (he uses a SmartThings shield for his Arduino to connect it to the rest of his smart home system), a servo, and some lasercut gears. He details the whole process, which I'll be honest in saying I don't understand the first thing about, in an Imgur post that I'll link below.

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Amazon Begins Sorting Appstore Reviews By Device And Version Number

A good review can make all the difference when deciding on an app. But a review is only as good as it is relevant, so Amazon is tweaking the way the Appstore displays them.

The Appstore will start showing reviews that are specific to your device and version number.

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Amazon's Tap And Echo Dot Are Now Shipping Out To Customers

Amazon's second generation of Alexa-enabled gadgets is ready to go. The Amazon Tap, a smaller, battery-powered version of the Amazon Echo, as well as the Echo Dot, which can use external speakers for its primary function, should both be heading out to those who purchased them after their recent announcement. The latter is only available to Amazon Prime members who order using Amazon's voice service, with a Kindle Fire tablet or Fire TV. The Tap, along with its cover accessories, are both labelled as "in stock" on Amazon's US storefront.

Both devices represent an expansion of Amazon's Alexa voice command platform, which is itself a competitor to services like Google Now, Apple's Siri, and Microsoft's Cortana.

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Amazon Echo Developers Can Pause Media And Adjust Volume Using Voice Commands After Latest Update

Amazon's little black cylinder likes for you to call it Alexa, and when you do, it's willing to do whatever you say. Well, whatever it can understand, anyway. And one thing it understands is how to adjust volume and pause media after you say its name. This includes the ability to mute and unmute. Pausing, naturally, would be useless without the option to play.

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How To Buy A New Amazon Echo Dot Without Using Alexa Or Fire TV

Amazon really wants people to use voice command to buy stuff. So much so that the new Echo Dot, the smaller, cheaper version of the Amazon Echo that can use an existing speaker can only be bought through voice commands, specifically on an existing Amazon Echo unit or through Amazon's Fire TV platform. At least, that's what the launch announcement says. It turns out you can get one through the Amazon Android storefront app just as easily, no extra hardware required (though you do need to be an Amazon Prime subscriber). Here we go:

1. Download and install the Amazon Shopping app on an Android phone or tablet.

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After User Backlash, Amazon Says It Will Return Encryption To Fire OS Devices This Spring

You might have heard that Amazon disabled the option for software encryption in the latest version of its Android-based Fire OS for the Kindle Fire series of tablets. (This isn't new - Fire OS 5 has been rolling out to various tablets since last year.) And if you read news that isn't Android Police, you probably also know that it's not the biggest story involving encryption right now. After consumer backlash following the Apple-FBI encryption case, Engadget reports that Amazon says it will return software encryption in the next major update.

Customers might have had something to say about the loss of encryption capabilities even without the highly public spat between Apple and the FBI over the San Bernardino iPhone case.

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Amazon Announces Two New Alexa-Powered Devices, The Echo Dot And Amazon Tap

Amazon launched the Echo a while back as the first device with its Alexa voice control system. Now there are two more, each with a different take on the Echo's functionality at a lower price. The Echo Dot is a small connected speaker/mic that can add smarts to your existing speakers, and the Amazon Tap is a portable Bluetooth Speaker with Alexa voice commands.

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