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Amazon ditches TestDrive, Developers everywhere shrug

Amazon ditches TestDrive, Developers everywhere shrug

Yesterday (April 16 — that’s an important footnote for all this), Amazon blogged on their Developer site to let everyone know TestDrive was being cancelled. Corey Badcock from Amazon wrote “since its launch in March 2011, over 16,000 apps have been launched on TestDrive, giving customers the experience of running the app and discovering new features before committing to purchase.” So why is Amazon ditching TestDrive? Freemium apps. Those free-to-use apps and games rendered TestDrive nearly useless, it seems.

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Amazon rolls out Machine Learning as an AI developer tool

Amazon rolls out Machine Learning as an AI developer tool

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is now offering Amazon Machine Learning (AML) to developers who are looking to use predictive modeling AI in their apps and web-services. AML has the potential to save time as calculation-intense computation can consume a lot of time and server space. Amazon is already envisioning a myriad of ways developers can put Machine Learning to use. It could be used to build predictive models capable of identifying fraudulent transactions or reviews. So, review based apps like Yelp could prevent being clogged by fake reviews.

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Amazon adds X-Ray to Fire TV: No more “who’s that guy?”

Amazon adds X-Ray to Fire TV: No more “who’s that guy?”

Based on the principle that there's nothing so frustrating as watching a show and thinking "who is that guy?" Amazon is adding X-Ray to Fire TV. The system, which has been flagging up actors and songs on Amazon Fire tablets for the past few years, will now be pulling up those details on Fire TV's streaming movies and shows, accessed with a stab at the "up" button on the remote, as well as offering easy navigation to the relevant point in the show.

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Kindle for Android update brings Word Wise and more

Kindle for Android update brings Word Wise and more

Amazon has pushed out a new Kindle for Android update, and with it comes the Word Wise feature, as well as a handful of other changes that round out the overall product. Word Wise allows users to have definitions for hard words automatically displayed above the word, aiding in the reading process without slowing the user down. Other features include the ability to make flash cards and improved manga navigation, among others. Also coming with the update are some bug fixes.

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Amazon outs HDR Prime Instant Video plans for 2015

Amazon outs HDR Prime Instant Video plans for 2015

Amazon has quietly announced plans to add HDR video support to its Prime Instant Video service, with improved picture quality on the cards for later this year. The boost will come with Amazon's own Originals content initially, though the company says that it's working with Hollywood to deliver third-party shows and movies in HDR too. However, while the rollout may be fairly ambitious, not everyone will be able to enjoy it.

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Amazon Prime Music Stations finally make it to Android

Amazon Prime Music Stations finally make it to Android

Amazon Prime Music Stations have finally made it to Android, with the ad-free streaming service now compatible with regular phones and tablets running Google's OS. Amazon's rough equivalent of Pandora, Prime Music Stations kick off with an initial genre or artist as the "seed", and then automatically curate a playlist to match. Until now, though, Android has been the odd one out from the main platforms, with Prime Stations already offered across web and desktop on Mac and PC, on iOS, and on Amazon's own Android-forked Fire HD and HDX tablets.

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Amazon suing sites that submit fake product reviews

Amazon suing sites that submit fake product reviews

If you’re like many people (myself included), you look to Amazon for product reviews, whether you buy there or not. If you’re like many people (I’m guilty, too), you just buy via Amazon and have the product shipped right to your door. Sometimes, reviews on Amazon are bogus. Sometimes, those reviews are even the result of review factories that pay people to flop out fake reviews to build a product up. Now, Amazon is taking umbrage with those entities, and is filing a lawsuit against one known purveyor of fake reviews.

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Amazon Echo adds Hue and WeMo smart home voice control

Amazon Echo adds Hue and WeMo smart home voice control

Amazon Echo is digging its voice-controlled fingers deeper into the smart home, with Amazon adding Philips Hue and Belkin WeMo support to the always-listening home assistant. The new functionality, pushed out to Echo units from today, allows owners to control their lighting, smart appliances, and switches using simple voice commands rather than reaching for the respective apps, and could well be the most useful additions Echo has seen since it began shipping in limited numbers late last year.

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Amazon’s tipped Crytek deal and the big screen entertainment therein

Amazon’s tipped Crytek deal and the big screen entertainment therein

The future of movies is here - it's in video game engines. I came to this realization when I took part in the Thief in the Shadows VR experience at GDC 2015 with Epic Games. Word today is that Amazon recently struck a deal with Crytek to do something or other - license their gaming engine, perhaps - in a deal that we can't help but think has something to do with video entertainment. Movies, even. While Amazon does not give up on projects, even when they fail, tapping in to CryEngine's potential more than likely means Amazon is about to go big with a big-screen production (on their own small screens, of course).

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Amazon Prime Instant Video updated for Android Tablets

Amazon Prime Instant Video updated for Android Tablets

Support for Android Tablets on Amazon Prime Instant Video is finally here. Believe it or not, this app has been out for months without support for Android tablets, working instead on Amazon's own Fire Tablets, Fire Phone, Android phones, and iOS - for iPhone and iPad, of course. Now the app is here for devices like the Nexus 9, Nexus 7, and whatever other Android tablet you might have in your possession. That's official, now, not just pirated. Support, real support, and correctly-sized controls.

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