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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Amazon reportedly exploring wearables and home automation

Amazon-logo

Despite the Fire Phone’s unfavorable reception from critics and consumers alike, Amazon isn’t scaling back its hardware efforts. The company’s Lab126 division that develops Amazon’s mobile products is reportedly increasing its staff in order to further pursue its interests in home automation and wearables. According to Reuters, Amazon is in the process of testing a WiFi device that can be added to a closet or cupboard, allowing consumers to order relevant products like detergent with the press of a button.

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Amazon announces massive Kindle refresh including new ‘Kindle Voyage’ and $99 Kindle Fire HD tablet

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Following a big day of Apple news, Kindle has unleashed a massive refresh of its Kindle lines, including three refreshed Kindles and—interestingly—one completely new Kindle model. The lineup includes the company’s new flagship e-reader dubbed Kindle Voyage, a new entry-level Kindle that now packs a touch screen, an updated Kindle Fire HDX, and a new Kindle Fire HD, which is starting at just $99. Read more

Android users at last get access to Amazon Instant Video as of today

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Amazon seems to have finally accepted that access to Amazon Instant Video still isn’t going to make anyone want to buy a Fire Phone. As of today, Amazon Prime members in the U.S. can watch Instant Video on any Android device using the updated Amazon app.

Prime members in the US can stream unlimited Prime Instant Video from inside the Amazon app using the Prime Instant Video player, including HBO shows The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, Six Feet Under, and The Wire …

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Amazon having Fire Sale on the Fire Phone: $0.99 on contract, $449 off

firephone

Is the Amazon Fire Phone simmering out? Recent estimates reached by The Guardian pegged the device at having sold less than 35,000 units and today Amazon and AT&T are bringing down the price to 99¢ on a two year contract less than two months after launch. The device was previously priced at $199 for 32GB with a two year commitment, which many observed was a rather high price point for a not-so-remarkable handset mostly differentiated by its 3D effect and Amazon Prime services… Read more

Project Wing is Google X’s attempt at a drone-based delivery program

Earlier this year, Amazon unveiled its plans for using drones to deliver products to customers, and now Google has revealed that it is working on something similar. According to two separate reports from The Atlantic and BBC, the secretive Google X team has been hard at work on Project Wing, a drone-based delivery system, for more than two years.

The idea of Google using drones to deliver goods is something that 9to5Google has reported on for some time now, including as far back as October of 2012, and again a few months later. Google said the following in a statement regarding Project Wing:

Project Wing is a Google[x] project that is developing a delivery system that uses self-flying vehicles. As part of our research, we built a vehicle and traveled to Queensland, Australia for some test flights. There, we successfully delivered a first aid kit, candy bars, dog treats, and water to a couple of Australian farmers.

We’re only just beginning to develop the technology to make a safe delivery system possible, but we think that there’s tremendous potential to transport goods more quickly, safely and efficiently.

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