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Walmart takes on Amazon with flat-rate unlimited shipping option

Walmart takes on Amazon with flat-rate unlimited shipping option

Amazon Prime is enticing to some because of the discounts it offers on shipping, including a free option for those who spring for the $99/year subscription plan. Wal-Mart, it would seem, has felt the crunch because of this and will be challenging it. The company recently announced it will be offering a new unlimited shipping option for those who shop online, doing so with a flat-rate price of $50 per year. With this, the products will take up to three days to arrive, just a touch longer than Amazon Prime’s two-day shipping.

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Amazon Studios gives thumbs up to 6 kids shows

Amazon Studios gives thumbs up to 6 kids shows

Amazon Studios has given the thumbs up to half a dozen pilot episodes for children's shows, potentially boosting its programming for kids -- a category its biggest competitors have also been moving to fill. Children's programming is an important aspect of any video streaming service considering how large the potential viewer base is, yet until the relatively recent past many services have paid little attention to the category. This follows in step with efforts on both Hulu and Netflix's part to increase programming for kids.

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Amazon patent details how drones will find you, talk to each other

Amazon patent details how drones will find you, talk to each other

Like all government agencies, the FAA moves slowly. Drones move quickly, and Amazon wants to strap packages to them for delivery. The well-documented issues pit the pragmatic FAA against the anxious Amazon brass; Amazon wants drones delivering packages yesterday, and the FAA is in no rush to decide how and when drones can be used for commercial use. Most recently, the FAA agreed to reconsider their ‘line of sight’ mandate for flying drones; great news for Amazon. Undeterred, or buoyed by the promise of FAA regulations going their way, Amazon is filing new patents for drone deliveries.

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Amazon updates Fire Phone with Android 4.4 KitKat features

Amazon updates Fire Phone with Android 4.4 KitKat features

Amazon has been relatively quiet on its Fire Phone, which isn't really unexpected given the flak it received over the lackluster and disappointing gadget. Today, however, the retailer giant has deigned to shower some love on its first and so far only smartphone, with a rather hefty Fire OS 4.6.1 update. The changelog is quite long and the new features quite substantial. But somewhat amusingly, Amazon makes no mention of probably the biggest highlight of the release: upgrading the Fire Phone to Android 4.4 KitKat.

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Amazon, JetBlue bring Prime Instant Video to you in-flight

Amazon, JetBlue bring Prime Instant Video to you in-flight

Have Amazon Prime? Love to travel domestically? We’ve got really good news for you. Amazon and US-based airline JetBlue have struck a deal that will bring Amazon Prime Instant video to you in-flight. Through those tiny displays in the headrest of the seat ahead of you (or your own tablet/smartphone), you’ll be able to watch Amazon Instant Video content just as you would at home. Instant Video is only available to Prime subscribers, not the pay-per-title viewing those without the $99/year plan often seek out.

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Amazon Echo’s Alexa is now smarter thanks to IFTTT

Amazon Echo’s Alexa is now smarter thanks to IFTTT

Alexa might not yet be the household name that Siri already is, but it could very soon be. That is, if Amazon really starts pushing its Echo cloud-based home assistant. Alexa, the personification of that product, has just gotten a bit better but, quite ironically, not through Amazon's own heavy lifting. The smart assistant has been endowed with some new smarts thanks to the popular web mashup service IFTTT. Now you can let Alexa do much more than just controlling you music or your smart appliances. Now you can even let it publicize your todo list, if you so wish.

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FAA reconsidering line of sight requirements on drone regulations

FAA reconsidering line of sight requirements on drone regulations

Good news for companies hoping to move ahead with their vision of deliveries by drone! The FAA has acknowledged that changes need to be made to the "line of sight" requirements, or the rule that states commercial drones must stay with the field of view of the operator during flight. This comes from Jim Williams, head of the FAA's office that oversees drones flying in US airspace, who made the statement at the Drones, Data X conference on Friday.

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Amazon announces pilot program to test Tesla stackable battery units

Amazon announces pilot program to test Tesla stackable battery units

This week Tesla made a big announcement with a new Tesla Energy arm that aims to produce batteries that can be used in homes to store power. While that early announcement focused mainly on consumer applications, there are also some serious commercial applications for the battery tech Tesla Energy has. Amazon Web Services has announced that it has started a pilot of the new stackable battery units Tesla unveiled.

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Amazon Instant Video update adds cellular streaming for iOS

Amazon Instant Video update adds cellular streaming for iOS

If you use your Amazon Prime membership for more than just fast, free delivery, chances are you stream TV shows and movies via Amazon Instant Video. If you’re doing so via the iOS app, we’re willing to bet you’ve noticed shortcomings. Streaming was only available over WiFi (which defeats the purpose quite a bit), and you couldn’t cast your content to Apple TV. With an update to their Instant Video app, Amazon is fixing both of those issues, so you can watch over a cellular connection (even in HD) and redirect to Apple TV.

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