Amazon’s Echo and Echo Dot are pretty cool, but what if you don’t have one yet—or aren’t home to use yours? That’s where Astra comes in. It’s an iPhone app that links to your Amazon account so you talk talk to Alexa just as if you’re right in front of your own Echo. The app lets you do pretty much everything your Echo or Echo Dot can handle, except for music playback or reading audio books. You can also remotely control your Echo-aware smarthome devices with your voice, which is worth the app’s US$0.99 price tag all by itself. You can get Astra at Apple’s App Store.
First Amazon wanted to be your go-to online shopping destination, and now the company wants to be your local brick-and-mortar store, too. John Martellaro and Dave Hamilton join Jeff Gamet to look at Amazon’s planned cashier-free grocery store, plus they dive into the possibility of our iPhones becoming our only computing device.
Amazon has taken a page from Apple’s book and maybe one-upped it, or at least brought it closer to home. The company announced Amazon Go, a combination retail store and app that allows you to walk in, scan a code, and walk out without doing going through any form of checkout line. Apple’s been doing something similar for years.
Amazon’s servers provide the backbone for much of the Web, and while upload speeds are improving, what happens when you need a few dozen petabytes backed up to the cloud? Enter Amazon Snowmobile, literally a giant truck with a mobile data center capable of physically moving up to 100 petabytes of your data to Amazon’s cloud servers. The concept is the evolution, both in name and function, of the company’s “Snowball” service, which ships customers data units with capacities up to 80TB. As for price, it’s in the “if you have to ask…” category, although Amazon says it aims to make the Snowmobile cheaper than any network-based data transfer which, even at gigabit speeds, would take a while.
If you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber you can already stream music, so why would you want to pay US$7.99 for the just launched Amazon Music Unlimited? It’s the extras you get with Amazon Music Unlimited that set the two apart—but they may not be worth the price.
Apple Music, Spotify, say hello to Amazon Music Unlimited. Amazon just launched its own streaming music service, and here’s the kicker: It doesn’t need to be better than Apple Music or Spotify, just more convenient. That’s enough to keep more people in Amazon’s ecosystem.
Amazon rolled out financing for its line of Fire HD tablets this weeks, even on devices that retail for as little as US$89.99. The retailing giant is allowing qualifying customers to purchase a Fire HD8, Fire HD10, or Fire Kids Edition and pay for it over five payments.
The time since most of the Macs have been updated can now be described as geologic. Is that because Apple doesn’t care about the Macs? Or, more likely, could we be in for another major architectural change? Evidence is mounting that Apple will abandon Intel and take the Mac lineup to ARM. John looks at the evidence and makes the case.
Apple Music is about to get a new, yet familiar, competitor. Pandora today announced that it has secured licensing agreements with two major music labels, positioning the company to soon enter the on-demand music streaming industry currently dominated by Apple and Spotify.
Apple, Amazon, and Google are abusing their market strength to block competition from smaller companies, according to Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). In a speech at the America’s Monopoly Problem on Wednesday, she said the three companies are using their size to “snuff out competition,” and she’s at least partly right.