Amazon

Amazon Echo now available to pre-order for anyone in the US

Amazon Echo now available to pre-order for anyone in the US

Echo, Amazon's connected speaker/digital assistant, is no longer limited to special customers with trial invites. Amazon has announced the device is now available for pre-order in the US, priced at $180, with plans to start shipping on July 14th. First introduced late last year, the Echo basically acts like a voice-activated digital assistant, except in a speaker instead of your smartphone. Users can give it instructions like play music, as well as connected home tasks turning off the lights.

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Amazon launches Android Lollipop-based Fire OS 5 for developer preview

Amazon launches Android Lollipop-based Fire OS 5 for developer preview

Amazon devices such as the Fire phone and Fire HD tablets may finally be getting Android Lollipop in the near future, or rather, the Fire OS-skinned version of Lollipop. While most flagship Android devices have had the option to install Lollipop for many months now, Amazon's Fire OS is currently still based on Android version 4.4. This may be hardly noticeable to users, as Fire OS is actually much more than a simple re-skin of Android.

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Amazon to start paying authors by number of pages read

Amazon to start paying authors by number of pages read

It seems that the world's largest e-book seller-sometimes-publisher might be turning the market on its head. Word has gotten out that Amazon will be changing the rules of the game when it come to books in its Kindle Select library that are self-published and distributed through its Kindle Direct Publishing program. In short, mostly indies. Instead of a fixed amount per book sold, the new program will pay authors by the number of pages that a reader actually reads, a change that will have two-edged effects in this industry.

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Amazon puts a learning AI in charge of reviews

Amazon puts a learning AI in charge of reviews

Amazon has quietly tweaked its reviews algorithm, using machine learning to not only push fresher feedback to customers, but learn which reviews are most useful. The changes, which went into action on Amazon's US site late last week, could well make a noticeable difference to which customer reviews show up top of the list and which are buried at the bottom; meanwhile, it could also have a big impact on how many stars each product scores.

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Over 12,000 Marvel comics come to Amazon’s Kindle store

Over 12,000 Marvel comics come to Amazon’s Kindle store

Marvel and Amazon have just announced a new deal that sees over 12,000 of the comic book publisher's back issues available on the Kindle store, starting today. Marvel's comics were previously available through the Comixology app, which Amazon purchased last year, and they will continue to be offered there, but Kindle owners can now buy straight from their own marketplace. Even better is that new Marvel issues will be available for Kindle on the same day they're available at stores and on Comixology.

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Amazon’s 300dpi Kindle Paperwhite is testing my ereader loyalties

Amazon’s 300dpi Kindle Paperwhite is testing my ereader loyalties

It can be tough being the middle child, but Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite is having its moment in the sun by copying the best parts of its more expensive sibling. Revamped today, the new Paperwhite gets a 300dpi e-paper display like the Kindle Voyage we reviewed last October, as well as Amazon's new typesetting engine and the company's specially-created font, Bookerly. While the refreshed Kindle Paperwhite isn't expected to ship until the end of June, but I've been playing with one in advance.

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Amazon’s new Kindle Paperwhite features sharper screen, easy-to-read font

Amazon’s new Kindle Paperwhite features sharper screen, easy-to-read font

Amazon has just outed the latest version of its mid-range Kindle model, the Paperwhite, and it now has the single-best feature from the pricier Kindle Voyage model, while keeping its $119 price tag. The new Paperwhite has a 300 pixels-per-inch e-paper display, making text twice as sharp as the previous generation, and offering a reading experience that's much easier on the eyes. The new e-reader is available to order now, but Amazon says shipping will begin on June 30th.

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Amazon Uber-for-Prime crowd delivery rumored

Amazon Uber-for-Prime crowd delivery rumored

Amazon is developing an "Uber for deliveries" known internally as On My Way, insiders say, hoping to bypass traditional methods with citizen couriers. The project would see Amazon build a footprint in physical stores, though only to temporarily gather order boxes so that a network of contract staff could pick them up and deliver them to customers. The goal, it's said, is to trim Amazon's growing costs related to getting orders to shoppers, as well as alleviating bottlenecks at high-demand periods such as Christmas.

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Amazon patents ear-scanning technology for unlocking smartphones

Amazon patents ear-scanning technology for unlocking smartphones

Forget typing in a four-digit code, or drawing a specific shape as a passcode, and even using your fingerprint to unlock your smartphone. Amazon thinks that the next great way to secure your digital device is by scanning the shape of you ear. The company has just received a patent for technology that would scan your ear with a phone's front-facing camera, unlocking it as you hold the device to the side of your face when answering a call.

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Amazon’s first transparency report plays coy with details

Amazon’s first transparency report plays coy with details

Amazon has opened up on customer privacy, issuing its first ever transparency report and denying ever having participated in the notorious NSA PRISM program. While the online shopping behemoth may be best known by most consumers for its retail division, the other side to Jeff Bezos' empire is a huge cloud business, offering server and hosting services to startups and established names in enterprise alike. It's the reputation of that which Amazon is hoping to gild now.

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