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AT&T now offers the Amazon Fire Phone, HTC Desire 610

Posted by wicked July - 26 - 2014 - Saturday Comments Off

AT&T has just added to Android smartphones to its lineup, now making available Amazon’s Fire Phone and the HTC Desire 610 to its subscribers under contract or without one. Please hold off on snarky comments on whether the Fire Phone is indeed an Android phone or not, but consumers should be relatively glad that they are getting variety in their choices, not to mention the phone being sold in more places other than Amazon.

The Fire Phone, irreverent and not-so-smashing reviews online aside, will be available at USD$199 under a two-year contract, and USD$649 without contract. We’ve already discussed the highlights of Amazon’s new phone elsewhere, but the major points for consideration are these – a quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor at 2.2Ghz per core and an Adreno 330 graphics chip, 2GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage. The Fire phone also sports a 4.7-inch 1280×720 screen protected by Corning Gorilla Glass.

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The HTC Desire 610 is from all indications a cheaper, mid-tier version of the HTC One M8. This phone is available at a dollar (for real) under a two-year contract and USD$199 without one. The phone is touted to be a mid-range media hub as discussed here. The phone also has a 4.7-inch 1280×720 screen, powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor (1.2Ghz) and 1GB of RAM. The Desire 610 is made out of plastic, but retains a premium feel to it. It has 8GB internal storage and an 8MP main camera.

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The Firefly feature – a service lets you take pics of items you may want to buy, and then automatically links you to the Amazon listings for the item – might be one of the major come-on’s for buying a Fire Phone. If you’re just looking for a cheaper alternative, then maybe the HTC Desire 610 may be a fit for you. Check out the source links for more info.

SOURCE: AT&T (1), (2)

OneNote makes its way to Amazon Android devices

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

OneNote may not be as popular anymore as other note-taking apps like Evernote and SimpleNote, but no one can say it’s giving up the fight. True to its promise of trying to bring its functionality across all platforms and devices, Microsoft announced that the app will now be available at the Amazon Appstore for Android. Meaning OneNote is now coming for your Kindle Fire and the new Fire phone.

It used to be that OneNote was one of the favorite productivity apps, well at least for loyal Microsoft users. The problem is that newer apps came into the market, with the aforementioned and ubiquitous Evernote taking the lion’s share of users and the now gone Springpad also being a popular choice back when it was still alive. And the advantage that these apps had is that they are cross-platform and available for almost any kind of device. Plus, it had all kinds of different functionalities aside from just being there for writing and storing notes.

So Microsoft sat up and took notice and eventually changed the way they do things over at OneNote. Earlier this year, they added features that made it easier for Android users to share and save stuff they found on their web browsers, pictures and even screenshots on to the app. It became sort of a digital dumping ground for mobile users (yes we know, Evernote users are saying they’ve had it all along) and so they were able to get new fans along the way. Earlier this month, they also opened up the app for developers in a beta program for Android, again, just like what Evernote did to much success. Now users can suggest and developers can develop new functionalities and features for OneNote which will definitely improve the app in the long run.

OneNote for Amazon devices is free to download on their Appstore for Android. It is also of course available at the Google Play Store for all other Android devices that are running on Android OS 4.0 and above.

SOURCE: Microsoft

Amazon Fire Phone arrives to AT&T

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

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Back in June Amazon took the wraps off its long rumored first entry into the smartphone market, the Amazon Fire phone. After the unveiling, things sort of went quite for a while and the upcoming handset mostly fell out of the news until its first commercial hit last Friday. Now the new Amazon phone is back in the news again, as it has officially launched as an exclusive to AT&T’s network.

Amazon is hoping the Fire phone’s unique 3D UI and tight integration with its services will prove capable of winning over the hearts of consumers everywhere, though we aren’t so convinced. We admit that the 3D UI is cool (though gimmicky) and that a free year’s subscription to Amazon Prime is a nice perk, but ultimately the phone’s price tag of $649 outright or $200 on-contract make it a pricey device considering it’s specs. For those that need a brief refresher, the Fire phone is powered by a 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800 CPU with an Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB RAM. Other specs include a 4.7-inch 720p display, 32 or 64GB storage, a 13MP rear cam, four front-facing cams for 3D affect and dual stereo speakers.

Probably the biggest turn off for the Fire phone is that it is completely locked into Amazon’s ecosystem and that means no Google Play store or services. Bottom-line, this phone probably isn’t for the vast majority of our readers, but it could be the perfect device for a family member that’s not exactly a “hardcore” phone user and is really into Amazon’s books, videos and other Prime services.

What do you think, is the Amazon Fire phone worth picking up for its Prime integration and new 3D interface? For those interested in purchasing the Fire Phone, you can snag it directly through AT&T’s website.


Source: AT&T;

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

Come comment on this article: Amazon Fire Phone proves difficult to repair in iFixit teardown

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

Come comment on this article: Amazon adds ‘hundreds of thousands of songs’ to Prime Music service

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?