The smart speaker wars are in full swing, with Amazon and Google dominating most of the market. Amazon's Alexa assistant was first on the scene, but Google Assistant is making progress, particularly with the Home Mini and third-party speakers. According to a report from The Information, Amazon is working on its own AI chip designed to make Alexa-powered devices respond quicker. Read More
Amazon announced earlier this week that lockscreen ads won't be present on newly-purchased Prime Exclusive devices and an update is rolling out to the Amazon Offers app to disable them on existing handsets. If you don't want to wait, you can sideload that update right now.
Amazon is no stranger to dipping its toe in different stages of the shipping and delivery process. It already uses local couriers to make two-hour deliveries in select US cities, offers consumers the option to allow for in-home deliveries, and operates its own fleet of cargo jet planes and trucks. The Wall Street Journal is now reporting that Amazon plans to launch a delivery service of its own in Los Angeles in the coming weeks with plans for a wider rollout later this year. Read More
Since Amazon paid an eye-watering $13.7 billion for Whole Foods Market last summer, we knew we'd eventually see some integration of the luxury grocery chain's products into existing Prime services. It's taken a while to work out the details, but Amazon has just announced that Prime Now customers in select locations can now get Whole Foods items delivered within two hours. Read More
Super Bowl commercials cost fortunes for companies to run, leading to some of the most invested and creative advertisements you'll see all year. This year's Super Bowl ads are off to a good start, with Amazon already showing its ad for Alexa on YouTube. It turns out that Alexa has quite a few famous substitutes lined up for when she loses her voice. Read More
It's Super Bowl Sunday, which means the culmination of the NFL season is here, an evening of gluttony and imbibing is awaiting some of us, and corporations are ready to flaunt some big-swing commercials. Apparently, this unofficial American holiday also means it's time for Amazon to offer some deals on their Alexa products, including a first-time discount for the Echo Spot. Read More
As the battle of the smart personal assistants continues to simmer, Amazon has just fired another shot, adding support for SMS messages to Alexa's feature list. You can now command your Amazon Echo device to send a text message to one of your contacts, provided you have an Android phone. Read More
The Copyright Royalty Board of the U.S. Library of Congress—which determines the licensing fees paid by streaming services to artists (and their publishers)—has reportedly increased the royalty rate from 10.5% to 15.1% of total revenues for the five-year period from 2018 to 2022. Streaming services rely on the compulsory license established under U.S. law rather than negotiate directly with publishers. For comparison, Netflix and Amazon must negotiate with studios for the use of programs, which is why their catalogs are not "all-inclusive" in the way that music streaming services are. Read More
It's fairly simple to create unobtrusive advertising on computers, phones, tablets, and other devices with a screen - users can simply ignore the ads. However, that doesn't translate to smart speakers, since the only interface is speaking. There's no unobtrusive way to stop in the middle of a sentence and start talking about a sale.
Thankfully, at least for the moment, Amazon agrees that ads have no place on smart speakers. According to a report from The Information, Sony approached Amazon several times about running ads on its Jeopardy Alexa game. The company refused each time, explaining that advertising could alienate users. Read More
Indoor security cameras have become increasingly popular over the past few years, and Amazon recently joined the game with the Cloud Cam. The online retail giant is offering a $30 discount on the Cloud Cam, lowering the price to $89.99, but only for today. Read More