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Amazon Fire Phone proves difficult to repair in iFixit teardown

Posted by wicked July - 25 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

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Amazon has packed a lot of cool new features into their Fire Phone, but apparently this has come at the cost of repairability. The fine folks over at iFixit have done their traditional teardown of Amazon’s first foray into smartphones and its not looking good, earning a repairability score of 3 out of 10 (with 10 being the easiest to repair). Everything starts out simple enough with the use of standard screws and the lack of adhesive holding the casing together, but once you get inside, things get a bit more tricky.

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It appears that the four dynamic cameras are all heartily glued to the display, meaning if you break the screen, the replacement will be anything but cheap. Additionally, Amazon didn’t use many modular parts, so instead of replacing one faulty component, you’ll be replacing that component and any other pieces that share cable or adhesive with the faulty part. Definitely something to keep in mind before purchasing, although its safe to assume that if the Fire Phone’s unique feature sold you in the first place, then this teardown probably won’t be changing your mind.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Source: iFixit

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Amazon Fire Phone iFixit teardown: unsurprisingly tedious

Posted by wicked July - 25 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

Now that the Fire Phone is officially out, it is, of course, time to give it the iFixit treatment. Amazon‘s much-awaited first ever smartphone is filled to the brim, not with top of the line specs, but with fancy gimmicks and features that keep the device unique, if not entirely interesting. However, it is those features that may actually make it all the more difficult to repair.

At first glance, the Amazon Fire Phone looks deceptively easy to open up since its two halves are only held together surprisingly by non-proprietary Torx T3 screws. Once separated, however, the phone reveals a different story, one that is not exactly impossible to pick apart but unnecessarily tedious. The only thing that connects the two halves, apart from the glue sealant, of course, is the volume rocker cable. The inside back cover of the Fire Phone reveals a tamper-evident sticker that testifies to your ghastly deed. That, however, is the least of the problems when trying to open up the device.

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There are two major sore points in this teardown process. The first is that, unlike most smartphone nowadays, the Fire Phone’s components are not modular. Several even share the same cable so that replacing one could pretty much mean replacing others as well. The other problem is the four front-facing cameras that enable the Fire Phone to implement its fancy Dynamic Perspective feature. These cameras are encased in glue to ensure that they won’t accidentally jiggle around because precision is critical. But it also means they are terribly hard to remove. And since they’re glued to the display assembly, getting the latter repaired means either replacing all four cameras too, or some extremely careful transplanting procedure.

It isn’t surprising then that the Amazon Fire Phone gets a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the easiest to repair and 1 being the worst. Then again, this might not exactly be surprising to those that are familiar with how Amazon performs its business. The company very much likes to keep everything under its control, so it will very much prefer that it will be the only one to repair it. Of course, that may never have been in question for most owners anyway, but the repairability index does have one other implication. Even if you get the Fire Phone repaired, it will most likely cost you more than usual.

SOURCE: iFixit

Amazon adds ‘hundreds of thousands of songs’ to Prime Music service

Posted by wicked July - 24 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

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We have literally no idea how Amazon’s Prime Music is  doing commercially, but it did recently add “hundreds of thousands of songs” and hundreds of playlists to the service.

The expanded availability of music is good for its current users, which can listen through their smartphones, computers, and Amazon’s cloud player.

It’s not clear what songs from what labels have been added, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Amazon recently struck more than a few huge deals.

Source: Amazon

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Amazon Adds New Playlists and “Hundreds of Thousands” of Songs to Prime Music

Posted by wicked July - 23 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

Curious Prime customers who have had a chance to try Amazon’s Prime Music may have found the service a little lacking in terms of selection, as its catalog consists of around a million songs, while incumbents like Spotify and Beats boast well over 20 million.

That’s a shortcoming of which Amazon is well aware, and apparently actively working to fix. Today, the retail giant announced the addition of “hundreds of thousands” of songs to Prime Music, including albums from artists like Deadmau5, Shakira, Linkin Park, and Elvis.

The press release names a few others:

David Guetta, Al Green, Miles Davis, Kendrick Lamar, Ella Fitzgerald, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Neil Young, DJ Snake & Lil Jon, Young the Giant, A$AP Rocky, Oasis, Kacey Musgraves, Ray Charles, Panic! at the Disco, Wyclef Jean, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Skrillex, John Coltrane and many more

Amazon has also released “hundreds” of new curated playlists for everyone to enjoy on the service.

The additions are not nearly enough to close the offering gaps between Prime Music and competitors, but Amazon never positioned it as an alternative to subscription music services – it remains strictly a benefit for Amazon Prime subscribers, nothing more.

With that being said, content from Universal Music Group and songs newer than six months old couldn’t hurt.

Via: Amazon

Amazon Adds New Playlists and “Hundreds of Thousands” of Songs to Prime Music is a post from: Droid Life

Amazon releases Wallet app in beta version

Posted by wicked July - 22 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

Amazon has released – in a rare simultaneous event – in its own app store and the Google Play Store the Amazon Wallet app that upon close inspections seems to let you do everything Google Wallet can do, minus the added features that Google has. In its defense, it is still in beta, so you would hope that the final app would be so much better.

The Amazon Wallet app will let you do what most other wallet apps out there are already doing, including being able to store the bar codes of your loyalty cards and gift cards, negating the need to bring them physically along. The new app will also be able to save serial numbers and PINs via imaging, but this is not anything new and is definitely not something other apps cannot do at the moment.

One would think that there will be native integration to Amazon’s online payment system, but that isn’t the case. It seems that Amazon is still keeping its highly proprietary payment system disconnected from anything else.

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The app is labeled – via the Amazon site – as the Amazon Wallet “for Fire Phone”, so there is a big chance of the app being pre-loaded into that device. A cursory browsing of the app will show that yes, it is still in beta, and heavily so – there isn’t much into the app right now than the database and a few menus. Grab it at the source link (or the Google Play Store) if you are interested.

SOURCE: Amazon

Amazon Wallet App Hits Google Play, Stores Gift and Reward Cards

Posted by Kellex July - 22 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

Within the last week, Amazon snuck their new Amazon Wallet application onto Google Play and the Amazon Appstore. The app, which will be featured on the Fire Phone, stores gift, reward, and loyalty cards, so that you can access them at any time without actually holding the card. Once scanned into the app, you can bring cards up as barcodes or QR codes for using at merchants. With “supported” merchants, you can even check  gift cards balances, similar to what the latest Google Wallet update offers.

This is not a mobile payment app. 

Play Link

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Amazon Wallet App Hits Google Play, Stores Gift and Reward Cards is a post from: Droid Life

Amazon Fire Phone head tracking put to work in new Fire only games [video]

Posted by wicked July - 22 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

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To many, Amazon’s Fire Phone is just another smartphone, except for that one cool thing it does. I speak of the head tracking feature, of course, which enables a sort of 3D parallax experience when you tilt the device, or your head, whichever is easier for you.

Amazon knows that this head tracking is their meal ticket with this device, so have commissioned a few games out of their Game Studio to take advantage of the feature. Both games offer a fairly typical Android gaming experience, with the added bonus of peeking around corners by tilting the device. Game announcements are nothing without trailers, so let’s check out the videos for To-Fu Fury and Saber’s Edge.

Like I said, To-Fu Fury looks fun, but still in the realm of a pretty typical Android game. The head tracking feature has a certain wow-factor, but appears to add very little to the game. I suppose it is still too early to expect to be able to control a character’s movements solely with our own head movements, maybe next round.

Full credit to Saber’s Edge for creating a 3D experience in a 3-in-a-row game; we like that it is no longer flat, as they accuse of current offerings. The game itself looks to be fun enough, if you’re into these sorts of games.

Both games can be found in the Amazon Game Studio. To-Fu Fury will run you $1.99, with Saber’s edge showing as Coming Soon.

There is no rush to get over there to grab these games, the Fire Phone itself is only slated to start shipping to customers later this week. That’s a 4.7-inch phone powered by a 2.2GHz Snapdragon processor, 2GB of RAM and a 13MP camera that will run you $200 for 32GB, or $300 for 64GB internal storage, with a two year contract on AT&T.

We’re getting awful close to this thing being in consumers’ hands, are you feeling the urge to pick one up?

Amazon Fire Phone games put Dynamic Perspective to work

Posted by wicked July - 22 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

The Fire Phone‘s fancy Dynamic Perspective feature may have left some scratching their heads trying to make sense of its utility and practicality, but it is a control system that is just begging to be used in games. It isn’t surprising, then, to hear that Amazon Game Studios has two new games in store that takes advantage of this head-tilting mechanism to put a literal twist to some conventional themes.

Match-3 or Same Games have evolved through the years, thanks in part to mobile gaming, beyond the simple pattern or item matching game to one that sometimes incorporates other game genres, like RPGs, for example. Saber’s Edge is pretty much like that, where you try to make matches that will, in turn, power up your pirate crew in battle. Of course, being a Fire Phone exclusive, there is another side to this game, literally. Where normal match-3 games use a flat board, Saber’s Edge’s items are actually laid out on a cube. Tilting your head, which is sensed by Dynamic Perspective, allows you to take a peek at the other sides of the cube so that you can plan a super match-9 combo attack. The game also makes use of other gestures like twisting and tilting to control other parts of the game.

Amazon Game Studios really love their cubes. There is also a cube in To-Fu Fury, but this time, it is the hero, a cube of bean curd, obviously. In contrast to Saber’s Edge, To-Fu Fury takes a more direct approach to battles. You take control of the tofu and make him swing, stick, and stretch to avoid obstacles and headbutt enemies in this platformer game. But while it doesn’t employ Dynamic Perspective in some fancy way like Saber’s Edge, it does give players a different perspective. Yes, again, literally. You can take peeks around obstacles and levels to get a better view of the layout and plan your strategy better. However, it doesn’t seem to be critical to finishing the game and it might be even more challenging and satisfying to play it without this feature.

Saber’s Edge is still marked as coming soon but will be available for free, while To-Fu Fury is already out and costs $1.99, both with in-app purchases. Of course, the actual price for either of these will be much higher, since you’ll need to buy a Fire Phone to even play it, unless you already own one, of course.

SOURCE: Amazon

Amazon releasing new games to take advantage of Fire Phone features

Posted by wicked July - 22 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

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When the Fire Phone was announced, many wondered how exactly it would utilize so many sensors for the Dynamic Perspect. Specifically, there was a concern with games. How could Amazon possibly take advantage of a key feature for gaming? Well, the company is putting its Game Studios to work. The company has developed two games for the Fire Phone just in time for its launch on July 25.

Both games Amazon is releasing belong to the puzzle genre but differ slightly. To-Fu Fury is a platformer that literally features a ninja-like tofu. The other is Saber’s Edge and involves strategic play and pirates. Be prepared to move around while playing because movement is exactly what these two were designed for. Both cost $1.99 and are ready for Fire Phone owners.

Hit the break to watch the trailers.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

And don’t forget to watch the inaugural Fire Phone commercial, which does not actually focus on the handset itself.

Source: Amazon Games

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Amazon Wallet is a new digital wallet to compete with Google and Isis

Posted by wicked July - 22 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

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There are a few options for people wanting to take everything in their wallet and turn it digital. Google Wallet and Isis (which it is being called for now) are both among the popular choices. Amazon is the newest entrant with an appropriately named app. Amazon Wallet will collect and store you gift cards and loyalty cards from various retailers and companies.

Right now, Amazon Wallet is missing the ability to actually act as a payment tool. So its current state is more of a digital wallet strictly for storage. To easily add items to the digital wallet, Amazon Wallet will allow users to use their devices to scan barcodes.

Hit the break for download links.

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Play Store Download Link

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