Posts with tag amazon
Haven't we been here before?
In a somewhat odd move, Amazon today has launched their a new “Amazon Coins” virtual currency, which allows users to make purchases on Amazon using stored “coins” rather than actual dollar amounts. This isn’t the first time a retailer has done something like this – Nintendo and Microsoft have both been notorious in the gaming market for using their own “points” systems for making purchase, however Amazon’s offering comes at a somewhat odd time as both Nintendo and Microsoft are working to move their respective platforms away from these sorts of silly made up values.
In an effort to get the general public excited for Amazon Coins, Amazon is offering 500 coins free to every Kindle Fire owner in the US. How much is 500 coins worth, you ask? Well, according to Amazon, that’d be $5 – but your guess as to how they got there is just as good as ours.
Amazon is also allowing customers to purchase Amazon Coins in bulk at a fairly significant discount (10% off for every $100 worth of Amazon Coins purchased), but it seems like this sort of tactic will do nothing but further confuse customers rather than entice them. A good general rule of the road – if I have to whip out a calculator to figure out if what I’m purchasing is a good value, then it’s probably not going to be worth my time.
Bet BlackBerry's CEO is a bit embarrassed
Just yesterday we reported that BlackBerry’s CEO Thorsten Heins said that he thinks that tablets are “bad business” with no future, and now we’ve got some data to really prove him wrong – according to data released by IDC, cumulative sales of all tablets has grown by 142.4% since the first quarter of 2012. What does that mean? People are buying a crap ton of tablets, which is pretty much the polar opposite of the rest of the rapidly declining PC industry.
Most notably, Apple (predictably) lead the charge with the iPad line pushing a record 19.5 million tablet sales this quarter, up 65.3% from this time last year. In second comes Samsung with their Galaxy Note and Galaxy Tab line, which sold 8.8 million devices, up a whopping 282.6% from this time last year. Third was ASUS with 2.7 million up a massive 350.0% (thank you very much, Nexus 7), with Amazon’s Kindle Fire line coming in fourth with 1.8 million sales resulting in a 157.1% increase, and finally Microsoft with a puny but notably 0.9 million Surface tablets shipped. All of the other tablets made by other manufacturers result in a combined 15.5 million tablet sales.
What can we learn from this data? Well, two things – one, despite what Heins said, tablets are absolutely not bad business, BlackBerry just had a bad experience with developing and selling a bad tablet. And two, tablet growth is rapidly increasing whilst the rest of the PC market has been going down in flames. While nobody is saying that this data suggests that the tablet market will one day be bigger than the PC market, it does suggest that it has something the netbook market never had: momentum.
Is an "Amazon Now" coming?
Amazon is adamant about making Android their own in their line of Kindle Fire devices, as should be fairly obvious to anyone who’s ever picked up a Kindle Fire. An untrained eye would nary be able to distinguish any similarities between Amazon’s Kindle Fire OS and stock Android. It should come to no surprise, then, that Amazon has just reportedly purchased Evi, a personal assistant in the same vein as Apple’s Siri and Google Now, to integrate into future versions of the Kindle Fire.
Evi has been a long standing competitor to Siri for Android, cropping up not long after the release of Siri. Neither Amazon nor Evi has confirmed that the acquisition has absolutely taken place as of yet, so take this with a grain of salt until we know more.
Playing with Fire, but cheaply
The updated Kindle Fire HD is reported to be an update to the current 7″ tablet and will retain the same 1280×800 resolution display. What it will add is the processor from Texas Instruments that is currently being used in the larger, more powerful Kindle Fire. If there are any other improvements to be seen, they weren’t mentioned in the report.
A long promised feature arrives
Back when Amazon unveiled the second generation Kindle Fire and the Kindle Fire HD line of devices last October, they also unveiled a new service that allowed for easy content management for organizations between separate Kindle devices. Whispercast had previously only supported the easy rollout of books and documents, however at the time Amazon promised that the distribution of applications would be “coming soon”.
Well, it took them long enough, but “soon” is finally here – Amazon has just enabled this long awaited Whispercast feature for schools and businesses. The administrator simply needs to open their Whispercast portal, pick their desired applications, and the rollout will immediately and automagically begin. Easy as pie.
New global statistics reveal state of Android tablets
According to an upcoming report by analytics service Localytics, people are indeed buying Android tablets – the trouble is, they’re overwhelmingly buying from just one single line of Android tablets out of the seemingly hundreds available – Amazon’s Kindle Fire line. Their latest report reveals that Amazon’s Kindle Fire accounts for 33% of all Android tablets in existence across the world, with the United States being even more biased towards the Kindle Fire than the global norm with a whopping 59% of Android tablet marketshare.
Amazon’s Kindle Fire line is seemingly seen by consumers on a similar level as the Apple iPad, as earlier reports suggested that the Kindle Fire and the iPad were the two tablets that dominated the sales charts this holiday season, with Google’s own flagship Nexus series seeing weak sales. Of course, Amazon has quite the established brand and identity – consumers are much more likely to hunker down a large chunk of cash on a brand that they know they can trust, and Amazon has time and time proven itself as a reliable source with their e-paper Kindle products, which have flooded the marketplace in recent years.
The Kindle Fire’s base model also sits pretty at just $159, the lowest price of any of the mainstream tablets by a pretty large margin, beating out the Nexus 7′s $199 price point. If a consumer is comparing two seemingly equivalent tablets by two equivalent brands, one priced at $159 and the other at $199, the consumer would naturally be more inclined to purchase the $159 tablet, which might be the case here.
All your old CDs in 256Kbps MP3 format
This new service allows anyone who has purchased a physical CD album from Amazon in the past 15 years to get a free digital copy of it in MP3 format. Better still, this service extends to all CD albums that will be made in the future and in some cases you can even get a digital copy before your physical copy shows up.
For those of you concerned with audio quality, Amazon will be providing 256Kbps MP3s. It’s hardly FLAC but it is better than nothing.
Move meant to stop "showrooming"
Admit it – you’ve been guilty of showrooming. Don’t worry, I have been too, many, many times. Essentially the term “showrooming” is meant to describe somebody who walks into an old fashioned brick and mortar store like Target, checking out what all the goodies look like and how they work, and then proceeding to to the comfort of your own home to purchase the goods at a sometimes steep discount from online retailers, such as Amazon. That’s why Target’s CEO Gregg Steinhafel has just announced that Target will soon price match some online retailers year round, including Amazon, Toys R Us, Walmart, or Best Buy.
Target offered a similar deal during the holiday season and must have seen some decent degree of success to bring the program to year-round status, though it must not be easy for them to see so many potential customers use them as a dressing room of sorts before leaving empty handed to buy products elsewhere. All you have to do to get the deal is bring valid proof that the merchandise is indeed cheaper at your favorite online retailer and Target will sell you that item for whatever that price is, done.
The deal should start sometime soon in the future, though there’s no official start date as of yet. Still, this promises to be a great deal for consumers everywhere.
Lots of new iPad and Kindle Fire users
Though we have no hard fastened numbers to go on as of yet, numerous early indicators reveal that two tablets in particular have won big this Holiday season. In case you can’t afford to wager a bet, I won’t spend much time building up the anticipation – both Apple’s iPad and Amazon’s Kindle Fire lines seem to have sold very well. R.W. Baird’s William Power talked to representatives from Best Buy who said they saw significant demand for those two products in particular, and that showroom staff was told to push those products more than competitors such as the Nexus 7 and the Microsoft Surface because “reps noted that the device was new and indicated that early demand has been modest relative to the iPad and Kindle Fire”.
Not sold yet? Another great way to measure popularity of devices is web usage. A clever Reddit user tracked what device users tweeted from on Christmas Day, saying the following about his method:
I’ve measured apples vs apples here. 24-hour sample from 5am to 5am PST. Plenty of time for lots of people to open their presents. The spike came around Midnight EST.
There is no inherent bias in a sample because it accounts for both early gift openers, and the “correct” time gift openers, which should generally be considered after midnight.
This was done to minimize margin error because as the sample grows so does the noise and it would be too much data to wade through.
In line with what William Power saw, there were many tweets made from both the iPad and the Kindle Fire, while the Nexus 7 was a distant and disappointing third, and the Microsoft Surface barely registered.
We’ll make sure we bring you solid numbers as soon as we have them, however we firmly believe that these statistics are largely accurate and at least modestly representative of tablet sales.
Stream movies and shows on the small screen.
Amazon has, for a while now, offered their Amazon Instant Video app for the iPad, allowing owners to watch the over 30,000 individual pieces of content on the iPad’s Retina Display. However, for reasons unknown, he app didn’t support the two smaller iOS devices, the iPhone or the iPod touch, meaning a truly portable solution for those who own iOS devices remained elusive. No more – Amazon has just released their Instant Video app for the iPhone and iPod touch, offering most of the features you’d expect on the small screen, to go.
The only missing feature here is the ability to rent movies straight from the device. Presumably due to Apple’s subscription restrictions (the very same ones that Microsoft is currently fighting against), one must instead navigate to Amazon’s site through Safari or through your PC or Mac and rent the content through there, and then go back to the app to watch it. It’s a bit of an inconvenience, but a small price to pay for access to such a massive amount of content.
Via: The Verge
Wi-fi models ship today, LTE models ship next week
According to a press release published by Amazon today, the company has finally just begun shipping certain models of their eagerly anticipated Kindle Fire HD 8.9 tablet today to customers who had pre-ordered them. For reference, Amazon announced the larger, more powerful Kindle Fire model at their press event way back on September 6th, over two months ago.
Amazon points out that only the Wi-Fi models are shipping today, with the various LTE configurations shipping next week. Amazon also offers their smaller Kindle Fire HD 7.0, as well as the basic Kindle Fire model.