Amazon Prime Now launches, offers free two-hour delivery in Manhattan to compete with Google Express

Introducing Amazon Prime Now - YouTube 2014-12-18 11-02-11

Amazon has launched a new service called Prime Now which, as its title suggests, hopes to bring products from Amazon to your door faster than ever. The service currently offers “tens of thousands” of items spanning a wide variety of categories, is available now in parts of Manhattan for Amazon Prime members, and users have the option of going with either one or two hour delivery.

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Google preparing to jump into online commerce with ‘buy now’ button

Google-Shopping-Nov-2013

Google is preparing to take on commerce giant Amazon by incorporating a “buy now” button into its shopping search results, the Wall Street Journal reported today. The results currently rely on links to third-party retailers, but the Mountain View search company is apparently looking to integrate itself a little deeper into the checkout process.

Unlike Amazon, Google doesn’t plan to maintain its own warehouses, stock products, or handle any sales itself. Instead, it will create a system for consumers to buy products from third-parties using Google Shopping as an intermediary service.

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Google forces removal of Amazon app from Play Store over hidden app store

Amazon App Android

Back in October, Amazon updated its official Android app with hidden yet fully functional access to its own app store. Amazon then vaguely mentioned the new feature in a subsequent press release, perhaps hoping the move would go unnoticed. But it hasn’t taken long for Google to catch wind of what happened, and the search company clearly isn’t happy about the move. Read more

Deal alert: Amazon Gold Box is Moto G 2014 5-inch w/ Lollipop upgrade for $150 unlocked

From 9to5Toys.com:

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Amazon’s Gold Box Deal of the Day is the Moto G 2014 edition 5-inch 720P smartphone for $149.99 shipped. That’s $30 off on this phone that receives quick Android updates to Lollipop and beyond and is unlocked for use on T-Mobile or AT&T in US or available for international shipping.  It is available in Black or White and available with US or Global GSM variants.  Other features

  • 5″ 720p HD display
  • Front-ported stereo speakers
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with 1.2GHz quad-core CPU
  • Android 4.4, KitKat with guaranteed upgrade
  • All-day 2,070 mAh battery, Corning Gorilla Glass 3, water-resistant splash guard
  • US Compatibility: All GSM Networks including AT&T and (2G) T-Mobile
  • Optimized to work with 3G (UMTS/HSPA+) networks when roaming outside the US
  • Box contents: Motorola Moto G (2nd generation), wall charger, quick guides

This phone gets incredible reviews (4.6/5 stars) from over 500 Amazon reviewers. With your savings, you can get a Plantronics Bluetooth headset for $25 (50% off) shipped and/or nice cases which start at $2.

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Amazon’s Fire Phone is now available for $199 unlocked and off-contract

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It seems that Amazon is finally throwing in the towel with its Fire Phone. After the hype leading up to its launch, Fire Phone has been struggling to stay afloat. It’s best to think of the Fire Phone as a smaller version of a Kindle Fire tablet, but with a few extra gimmicks and features thrown in along with a free year of Amazon Prime.

The Fire Phone may have been a disappointment to the market, but Amazon isn’t giving up on its attempt to push it into the hands of consumers this holiday season. The Fire Phone can now be purchased unlocked and off-contract for only $199 (32GB Version)

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Uber could take on Amazon as it taps Google’s head of same-day delivery business

Uber Car

Uber has already disrupted taxi service in metropolitan areas like San Francisco, New York and Chicago with its affordable and convenient ride-sharing service, and now the multibillion dollar startup could be planning to use its massive fleet of vehicles and drivers to take on delivery services like Amazon Prime, Google Express, FedEx and UPS. Read more

Amazon announces Echo, a dedicated, Google Now-like speaker system for quick information

Amazon today announced a new hardware product called Echo. It’s essentially a speaker unit dedicated to being a voice-control system. It kind of sounds like Google Now but in a speaker for a single room instead of in your Android smartphone, tablet, or watch.

You can set alarms, control music, ask about the weather, search the web, ask questions, and access local news. It streams content via Bluetooth and WiFi, and connects to the Fire Phone (if you have one), iOS via the browser, Android, and desktop computers via the web. Instead of “Okay Google,” you say “Alexa” to start speaking the device. You’ll need a Fire OS/Android device to take full advantage.

The whole concept is very futuristic, and it’s unclear how beneficial this will be to people with voice-controlled phones. But, hey, this comes from the developers of a faux-3D phone, so this is not completely out of left field. The Echo is $99 for Amazon Prime users, $199 for everyone else, and (for some reason) you need an invitation to receive the honor to buy one of these things.

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Amazon announces $39 Fire TV Stick to take on Chromecast, Prime members can get it for just $19

amazon-fire-tv-stick-streamingAmazon is following up its $99 Fire TV streaming media player with a $39 streaming HDMI stick, which is similar to Google Chromecast (reg. $35, on sale for $28 w/ $5 credit) and Roku Stick ($49).

According to Amazon, the Fire TV Stick has 4 times as much storage (8GB) and 2 times as much memory (1GB) of Chromecast. It’s also the only one of the big three streaming sticks that packs a Dual-core processor, which Amazon says “results in faster and more fluid navigation.”

amazon-fire-tv-roku-chromecast-compareFire TV Stick includes a physical remote, which doubles as a gaming controller. Aditionally, for a $30 up-charge, you can outfit your Fire TV Stick with a voice remote to take advantage of Voice Search. A free remote app is also available now for Android and will be landing on iOS shortly.

Available streaming content includes: Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, NBA Game Time, Prime Music, Pandora, Spotify, and more for instant access to shows like TransparentHouse of CardsOrange is the New BlackGame of Thrones, and The Wire—plus the largest selection of movies and TV episodes to rent or buy from Amazon Instant Video.

ASAP (Advanced Streaming and Prediction) allows for instant streaming by automatically buffering videos the Fire TV Stick predicts you’ll want to watch. Amazon also promises future support for WiFi networks with captive portals like hotels, airports, college dorms, and more.

First TV Stick is available for preorder now for $39, but Prime members (free trial) can get it for just $19 for the next two days.

Full press release follows… Read more

Nexus 9 Keyboard Folio and Magic Cover now available to pre-order from Amazon

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Last week, Amazon started accepting pre-orders for the Nexus 9 and now the giant online retailer is taking orders for the tablet’s official accessories. If you plan on picking up Google’s HTC-made slate, but would like to add some physical buttons to your setup, check out the Nexus 9’s Keyboard Folio. That is if you can get over its $130 asking price.

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HP quietly unveils 10 Plus tablet for $279.99, available today

HP this afternoon quietly took the warps off of its latest Android tablet. The HP 10 Plus is available today from both HP’s website and on Amazon for $279.99. The company has yet to issue an official press release for the tablet, but the listing on its website explains most of what potential buyers will need to know.

The 10.1-inch device features a 1920×1200 resolution and is packing an ARM Cortex A7 quad-core processor clocked at 1 GHz. The processor is coupled with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of onboard storage, as well. HP touts (which it shouldn’t) that the device gets 6 hours of battery life out of its 7700 mAh supply. The HP 10 Plus is running Android 4.4.2.

While the specs of the HP 10 Plus are nothing to get too excited about, the tablet offers another option for potential Android tablet customers.

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Google chairman Eric Schmidt says Samsung had iPhone 6-level products a year ago (video)

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Google chairman Eric Schmidt and former product manager Jonathan Rosenberg are currently on tour promoting their new book How Google Works, and as the co-authors continue making their rounds, they’ve been engaging in some rather assertive interviews. This time around the duo stopped by Bloomberg’s Market Makers with hosts Erik Schatzker and Stephanie Ruhle. The group talked about the search giant’s biggest competitors like Apple, Yahoo, Amazon and others. Here are a few highlights from the 15 minute segment.

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