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The Amazon logo is seen on a podium duri

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is claiming that Amazon wrongfully billed consumers with in-app purchases committed by children. The company was apparently allowing children to make in-app purchases without parental approval. As soon as an in-app purchase request is brought up, there is no way of stopping the user from going through with it. Amazon has had policies to require a password when the amount exceeds $20, but in-app purchases typically total much less (until they build up). While a specific amount is not detailed, the FTC does say the total is in the millions. Last week, Amazon declined a settlement to avoid any future troubles.

Source: FTC

Come comment on this article: Federal Trade Commission suing Amazon for wrongfully billing consumers with in-app purchases

Deal: get a Kindle Fire HDX 7 16GB for $149

Posted by wicked July - 10 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

Looking for an Android (well, sort of) tablet on the cheap? Retailer Newegg, through its eBay store, is offering the 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX for an attractive $149.

Released in September 2013, the Kindle Fire HDX 7 features a crisp Full HD display featuring quantum dots technology for vivid colors, a powerful Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage. The tablet features Dolby audio and the battery should be good for up to 11 hours of mixed usage or up to 17 hours of reading. More info in our video review above.

Newegg is offering the Wi-Fi only, 16GB variant, with special offers, meaning that the device will display Amazon ads on the lockscreen. The device is brand new and is covered by a one-year full warranty.

At $80 less than Amazon’s current best price, the Kindle Fire HDX 7 is an excellent deal, if you can live with the fact that you don’t get a true Android experience. Even so, this may still be a good choice if you only need a tablet for casual media consumption or as a gift for a less technical relative. Plus, CyanogenMod has recently added support for some Kindle Fires, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see custom ROM builds for the Fire HDX as well.

Head over to eBay for the deal.

Google reportedly working on major plans to take on Amazon

Posted by wicked July - 7 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

google_shopping_express_van_nyc

Although Google is recognized as the giant amongst search engines, much to the delight of advertisers, it is not the “go to” shopping destination for many consumers. That title may be claimed by Amazon which has built an empire on the sales of books which led to a portfolio of just about anything one may want to buy. This means Google is missing out on an opportunity to help advertisers close the deal on the ads they are serving up with search results and it means advertisers may want to focus more resources on Amazon’s platform. To combat this, Google is reportedly amassing a war chest to expand their Google Shopping Express service beyond the limited markets where it is available.

According to a new report, Google has reserved as much as $500 million to be able to expand the service. Unlike Amazon, which relies heavily on warehouses full of stock and third-party delivery services, Google is working on developing their own fleet of vehicles to make deliveries. Goods would be obtained from local retailers with which Google has developed a relationship. According to Google’s head of the Google Shopping Express service, Tom Fallows, “you can very much expect that we are putting a lot of money into this and we’re excited and willing to sustain that investment over time as this gets going.”

Fallows points out that one of the problems Google has, even with the shopping searches now available, is a breakdown in the ability to deliver a good to someone. This is most acutely true where Google has provided information on goods that are available “nearby” yet no easy way to complete a purchase.

The current Google Shopping Express service charges a $4.99 fee to consumers for each store that needs to be visited, although Google has been waiving that fee during their launch phase. Fallows says Google eventually wants to go to a membership fee model similar to Amazon’s Prime offering. The price point would probably be similar and is part of Google’s attempt to “democratize the world of same-day delivery.” Google would also get a cut of each transaction, reportedly a single-digit percentage, so any steps that can help them shift business away from Amazon and over to Google will help the bottom-line.

Although Google may be able to build out a system that could rival Amazon’s and give buyers a choice, there are some concerns out there with what Google appears to be planning. Some retailers are concerned Google could move to cut out the “middle man” which in this model is the merchant. Others are concerned Google may use the system to collect buyer data. That information could then be leveraged to pressure companies to invest in Google’s system in order to get preferred treatment in shopping search results.

Do you think the Google Shopping Express service will be able to threaten Amazon and grab a significant market share?

source: re/code

Come comment on this article: Google reportedly working on major plans to take on Amazon

google express shopping

Google let some light shine on its plans for its budding retail service Express Shopping. A company executive revealed that Google set aside half a billion to expand the service across the US, and that a yearly subscription plan similar to Amazon Prime is in the works.

Talking to Re/code, the head of Google Shopping Express Tom Fallows said Google wants to democratize same-day delivery, an area where Amazon is currently the undisputed leader, hinting that Google will ask a lower flat-fee than the $99 per year that Amazon takes for Prime.

We intend this to be an affordable service that as many people as possible can adopt,” he said. “We are trying to democratize the world of same-day delivery.

For $99/year, Amazon Prime offers free two-day shipping on many products, as well as access to a number of free ebooks, streaming movies, and – since last month – a music streaming catalog.

It’s not clear from Re/code’s report whether Google will offer digital content with its own subscription service, though the company has a large catalog of apps, music, movies, books, and magazines that it could bundle with the service.

Google did not say when it wants to launch the new service.

Google Shopping Express

Google Express shopping can choose a variety of items from Costco and other large retailers

Google Express Shopping lets users order merchandise from partnering retailers, including Target, Costco, and Whole Foods, and have it delivered at home the same day. Unlike Amazon, Google does not have its own infrastructure of warehouses and shipping vehicles, meaning that it relies on partners for the storage and delivery of goods. Shoppers pay a commission for each order, with a small fee added if the order involves merchandise from different stores.

Currently, Express Shopping is available in areas in and around San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. According to Re/code’s sources, Google wants to spend up to $500 million to extend the availability of Express Shopping nationwide, money that will go towards marketing, setting up a fleet of delivery vehicles, and paying drivers and workers.

“We think that helping close the loop on locally available items is a really important part of making sure Google is the best place to shop,” Fallows said, suggesting that Google may one day show notifications to users searching for a product that is available on Express Shopping with same-day delivery.

Would you be interested in a Prime-style subscription service from Google? How much would you be willing to pay per year?

Amazon Fire Phone isn’t setting the world on ‘fire’

Posted by wicked July - 2 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

amazon_fire_phone_search

Seriously!! Was anyone excited about the Amazon Fire Phone after it was announced? I know I wasn’t, and there can’t be too many of you that were.

Based on Amazon’s own best-selling electronics category, it’s not doing too well. It was in fourth-place two days after the announcement of the device, but it has dropped pretty rapidly since then. As of today, the 32 GB model sits at 61, and the 64 GB model isn’t even on the list.

Is anyone shocked by this? This is just another ego-driven device that makes no sense. There is really only ONE reason to buy the Amazon Fire Phone, and that is for Amazon Instant Video. Amazon refuses to offer it to other Android devices, even though they offer it on Apple’s iOS. Why do they offer it on iOS, but not Android? Is Android seen as a competitor? If yes, then why isn’t iOS?

Sorry, Amazon Instant Video isn’t a good enough reason to trade in all the Google apps that are available on every other Android device. Amazon wants to build their own ecosystem, but they would have an easier time doing so if they would just offer all their apps to all of Android. Forget the Fire Phone Amazon, and concentrate on the millions of customers that you could already gain if you just take care of them.

source: geekwire

Come comment on this article: Amazon Fire Phone isn’t setting the world on ‘fire’

Amazon Giving Away $100 Worth of Free Apps Through Appstore Today and Tomorrow

Posted by Tim-o-tato June - 27 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

For today and tomorrow only, Amazon is hosting a massive app sale (more like app giveaway) through the Amazon Appstore. As of right now, the value of the free apps totals a little over $100, with a few of the titles being pretty popular.

To list only a few games, since there is a serious list of apps available for free, Amazon currently has Sonic the Hedgehog 2, The Room Two (Kindle edition), Root Explorer, Ravensword: Shadowland, Loco Motors, Splashtop Remote Desktop, Plex, and many others all listed as free. 

You better go get on these deals before they’re gone.

And of course, you will need to have the Amazon Appstore installed on your Android device.

Via: Amazon

Amazon Giving Away $100 Worth of Free Apps Through Appstore Today and Tomorrow is a post from: Droid Life

Deal: Sony Class 10 Micro SD Cards and Other Flash Memory 70% Off

Posted by Kellex June - 27 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

Amazon is hosting one of their regular flash memory sales today, where they have slashed prices on micro SD cards, regular SD cards, and flash drives by up to 70% off. Sony is featured in today’s deal, which is a little different than normal, since we typically just see SanDisk and Samsung.

So you can grab 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB Class 10 UHS-1 cards $8.99, $15.99, and $32.99, respectively. Those are insanely low prices.

Amazon Link

Deal: Sony Class 10 Micro SD Cards and Other Flash Memory 70% Off is a post from: Droid Life

Amazon’s “Epic Summer App Bundle” offering 30+ paid apps for free

Posted by wicked June - 27 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

Amazon always offers a free app of the day by way of the Appstore. Today that app happens to be MacGyer Deadly Descent. And in addition to the one free app per day — we often see Amazon offer free apps in bundles, and the company has recently announced another.

This latest is dubbed the “Epic Summer App Bundle” and it is available only for a limited time. You’ll need to visit Amazon either today or tomorrow, which is Friday June 27th or Saturday June 28th. This summer bundle has 31 apps, and Amazon has said the value is more than $100.

Nicely, you can pick and choose the apps you want. Everyone will have their favorites, but the collection includes goodies such as Plex and AccuWeather Platinum as well as others such as Informant 3, 2Do: Todo List, and Root Explorer. There are also some games such as Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Ravenswood: Shadowlands.

Naturally, you will need to have the Amazon Appstore installed on your device. Those looking to install the Appstore should head to this Amazon page to get started, and those looking to browse the “Epic Summer App Bundle” should follow the source link at the bottom of this post.

VIA: Engadget

SOURCE: Amazon

jeff_bezos

As to whether or not Amazon needed to make a smartphone of its own, that is for CEO Jeff Bezos to decide. In an interview with Bits, Bezos explains why Amazon opted to manufacturer its own smartphone and enter into a crowded, cutthroat market. He wanted to produce a device that was differentiated from today’s offerings, but wanted differentiation that mattered.

When pushed on the fact that the company may have waited to long, Bezos said “I don’t want to judge before all the facts are in, but I think this wireless thing is going to be big.” He then recalls five years ago when Nokia and BlackBerry were massive players in the wireless industry. Bezos clearly shows no signs of hesitation. The interviewer then questioned price, to which Bezos did not even budge. He defended the storage (32GB) and the extras from Amazon Prime and bundling one year of that service for free along with the premium build quality. Durability in the long run is something he and the company admires when seeing older Kindle devices still roaming around in the world.

So before the Fire Phone was developed, what was Jeff Bezos’ go-to? A Samsung smartphone, although he did not clarify which model. Interestingly enough, Bezos proudly said “the thing I’ve noticed is when I switch back to another phone, I’m still reaching for the gestures that work so reliably on Fire phone, like autoscroll.” But if he was using one of Samsung’s flagship smartphones, he would indeed be able to scroll with his eyes, right? Just a little thought.

Hit the source link for the full interview with Bezos.

Source: Bits (The New York Times)

Come comment on this article: Jeff Bezos gives insight behind the Fire Phone, admits to having used a Samsung smartphone

Should LG and Samsung fear the Amazon Fire Phone?

Posted by wicked June - 23 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

Amazon_Fire_Phone_Tilting

Last week Amazon finally introduced their first smartphone to the world, which didn’t seem all that spectacular. Amazon does have a major brand, but the pricing and lack of anything compelling makes me wonder if it will succeed. However, according to a report from the Korea Times, Samsung and LG should be scared.

One industry official said, “The top appealing factor for the Amazon phone is competitive pricing and the technology that enables it to produce three-dimensional (3D) images.” What competitive pricing? $199 on contract and $650 off contract is far from competitive. Yes, the 3D, or as the call it dynamic perspective, is different, but is it something that consumers really desire?

Probably the biggest thing Amazon has going for it is it’s services such as Amazon Cloud, Prime Instant Video, Firefly, and their entire retail site. However, Prime Instant Video and Firefly are the only apps that you can’t find on other Android devices (Instant Prime is on iOS ironically). To me, the only compelling reason to buy any device that is Amazon branded would be for Prime Instant Video, and that isn’t enough for me. Firefly is definitely not enough of a reason. Which would you rather have? Firefly and Prime Instant Video or Google services such as the Play Store, Gmail, Maps, YouTube, Hangouts, Drive, and more?

With all that said, Samsung Securities analyst Cho Sung-eun thinks that Samsung and LG should be a little scared because hardware specifications won’t be the deciding factor for smartphones in the future. I think Samsung and LG already know that based on the ecosystem they have tried to build, especially Samsung.

I just don’t see it. LG might have something to fear since they don’t have all that much of a market share to begin with, but I can’t see the Amazon Fire Phone putting much of a dent into Samsung’s dominance. What do you guys think?

source: Korea Times

 

Come comment on this article: Should LG and Samsung fear the Amazon Fire Phone?

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