Google fails to pick up .buy, .tech, .vip domains at gTLD auction
A number of notable Generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) have been acquired, as part of an auction by ICANN. The auction, which took place as multiple companies applied for the same or similar gTLDs could not agree on ownership, saw three domain suffixes being sold for millions of dollars, with Amazon being the winner of the .buy domains.
New product lineup adds Dolby Atmos to HDX Fire, new Fire OS
Amazon has completely refreshed its Fire tablet line, and added two new Kindles as well. Leading the pack is a refreshed Fire HD 8.9, with HDX display with a more powerful processor, exclusive Dolby Atmos and the latest Dolby Audio, and all-new Fire OS 4 "Sangria" features and services. Also added are the Fire HD for less than $100, the Fire HD Kids Edition with a two-year replacement guarantee. The Kindle line has been buttressed by the seventh generation Kindle Voyage, and a new $79 price point Kindle with faster processor and twice the storage.
Update to Kindle line could have page-turning sensors in bezel
Amazon is looking to launch another e-reader in its Kindle range, according to details leaked through its German and Japanese stores. The appearance of the Kindle Voyage has also allegedly been uncovered, with an illustration from a supposed manual along with other details appearing to show the device's page turning buttons will be replaced by a new sensor in the bezels responding to light presses.
Music streaming service comes to Amazon's set-top box with Spotify Connect
Spotify announced this week that the music streaming service has made it to one of the products under Amazon's expanding lineup. Amazon Fire TV owners will now be able to use Spotify Connect to access the millions of songs the service offers on a subscription basis. The company notes that users can navigate Spotify Connect using a smartphone or a tablet as the remote, also seamlessly handing off the sound to the Fire TV. Spotify notes that a premium subscription is required to use the service on the Fire TV, which runs $10 a month.
Stored cross-site scripting attack can steal stored cookies on tablet
Lack of AT&T exclusivity of budget Fire Phone in US allegedly at issue
AT&T may have prevented Amazon from creating a second, lower-cost smartphone, according to a report. The retailer was apparently working with HTC on such a device, but the carrier was apparently unhappy with the terms of the partnership, wanting exclusivity of both devices in the United States, rather than just of the higher-specification Fire Phone.
Prime Instant Video requires separate app installation from Amazon appstore
Amazon has finally started to allow Android users to stream content from Amazon Instant Video. An update to the main Amazon app gives the option to view shows on the service, with the app also including the ability to browse the Amazon Appstore, though subscribers are made to complete a number of tasks in order to get Prime Instant Video streaming.
UK, Germany first European countries to receive Amazon smartphone
Amazon has lowered the cost of the Fire Phone in the United States, down to 99 cents on a two-year contract. At the same time, the retailer revealed it is bringing the Fire Phone to Europe, with the United Kingdom and Germany set to be the first markets on the continent to receive the device at the end of this month.
Japanese publishers calling Amazon to task for abusing market position
In addition to its fight with publisher Hachette and UK booksellers, Amazon is also battling a series of Japanese publishers. In the process of launching a new ranking system in the country, Amazon Japan is alienating publishers, giving higher rankings to sellers that pay a larger percentage of income back to Amazon, and also boosting search results of publishers that hold larger back catalogs for sale on the service.
Action platforming game Wipeout 2 available for iOS, Android
Activision Publishing has released its action platforming game Wipeout 2, available for iOS and Android devices, as well as for Kindle Fire. Based on the competition TV series "Wipeout," players dodge environmental hazards and challenge to complete each level as fast as possible. Players can choose from 10 playable characters, including Zombie, Pirate and Popstar, with 150 themed obstacles and 135 new levels. Free to download, Wipeout 2 is available on iTunes, Google Play and the Amazon App Store.
Samsung Ultra HD televisions among first to receive 4K Amazon content
Amazon Instant Video will soon start to stream TV shows and films in 4K-resolution, with Samsung Ultra HD televisions set to be among the first to receive the content. The electronics giant revealed that the retailer will start streaming the high-resolution video to customers with 4K-compatible televisions from October, with all global versions of Amazon Instant Video and Prime Instant Video set to receive it at the same time.
First Amazon smartphone sales speculated as underwhelming
Amazon may not have made as much of an impact with its first smartphone than initially thought, according to a report. Using data from Chitika's advertising network and ComScore figures, it is suggested that the online retailer may have sold fewer than 35,000 units of the Fire Phone, an underwhelming figure when compared to the hype.
Sources state that the deal is worth $1 billion, same as reported Google acquisition
[Updated with confirmation of deal between twitch and Amazon] Originally reported by The Information, Twitch has been purchased by Amazon. While Google was thought to be the forerunner that would pick up the company for $1 billion, based on earlier reports, Amazon has completed the deal, worth $970 million in cash.
Juno Power announces cloth braided Lightning cables
Portable power solutions company Juno Power has announced its newest line of Lightning adapter cables, named Kaebo. An Apple-certified charge-and-sync cable, the Kaebo features high-strength cloth that is resistant to rips or tears. Its aluminum build is designed to withstand most accidental damage. The cable is equipped with an aluminum connector and USB head for optimal performance, and is available in silver, light gold, and slate gray. Measuring at one meter (3.3 feet) long, the Kaebo is priced at $22 through Juno Power and Amazon.
Amazon hopes contract will pave the way for cloud-based confidential data
Amazon Web Services has received the first-ever US Department of Defense level three through five provisional authorization for the AWS GovCloud (US) region under the Defense Information Systems Agency's (DISA) codified Cloud Security Model (CSM). This new authorization allows Department of Defense users to conduct development and integration activities for everything but classified workflows with Amazon's service.
Update brings FireOS version 3.5.1, improves battery and ability to create folders
Amazon announced that it is pushing out the first major update for the company's new smartphone, the Fire Phone. The update will be delivered over-the-air for early adopters on AT&T, bringing with it a number of improvements and changes that are said to give the phone better battery life, video sharing and make navigation easier. The update pushes FireOS to version 3.5.1.
First Amazon Prime Air service could operate in Mumbai, Bangalore
Amazon's Prime Air drone delivery service will initially launch in India, according to a report. The retailer is allegedly preparing the service, which uses an army of automated flying drones to carry light parcels, to operate out of its warehouses in Mumbai and Bangalore, with a view to getting it up and operational this October.
Listing added for new version, reportedly increased memory from 2 to 4 GB
It appears that Amazon recently began directing consumers looking for a Kindle Paperwhite to a new version of the popular e-reader. The listing modification had occurred with what appeared to be no changes in the e-reader. As it turns out, a minor change did take place in the amount of storage that is included in the unit.
Amazon severely undercuts competitor transaction fees for Local Register launch
Amazon is taking on PayPal and Square in mobile payments, by releasing its rumored card reader for smartphones. Local Register is a combination of the Square-style card reader and an accompanying mobile app to create a small and portable point-of-sale system, allowing retailers to directly accept physical credit and debit card payments.
Ongoing struggle between Amazon and content publishers highlight changes
In advance of a coalition of authors' letter being published in The New York Times tomorrow supporting publisher Hachette, Amazon has lashed out in an open letter to consumers, asking readers themselves to take Amazon's side in the "fight" for e-book pricing. The problem is that the matter is not as simple as either Hachette or Amazon are portraying it, and the real victims in this dispute are the customers, caught in the middle.
Refusal of popular title pre-orders now seems to be standard Amazon tactic
Amazon's latest target for hard-line contract negotiation tactics appears to be Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. Amazon has pulled nearly every disc-based pre-order option from the studio's upcoming titles, including Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Maleficient, and Muppets Most Wanted.
Amazon order cutoff of noon for NYC; 1PM for Baltimore, DC
Amazon.com has expanded Same-Day Delivery with new "Get It Today" capabilities for customers in Baltimore, Dallas, Indianapolis, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington DC metro areas, with more than a million eligible items now available for same-day delivery. Customers who search or browse the Amazon product selection will find the "Get It Today" filter on the left-hand navigation panel, just below the "Amazon Prime" filter. They can select "Get It Today" and see only those items eligible for Same-Day Delivery. A similar "Get It by Tomorrow" filter will allow customers to discover millions of additional items that can be delivered the next day.
Video credits offered to Prime subscribers opting for slower order deliveries
Amazon has made some changes to two of its delivery-based services. Users of Amazon Prime deliveries are reportedly being given video credits as an incentive to opt for slower deliveries. Amazon Fresh, the grocery delivery service operated by the retailer in a limited number of locations, is expanding its reach into San Diego, California.
Retailer holds e-book authors hostage in standoff for lower profits for publishers
Painting itself in an altruistic, pro-consumer light, Amazon in a post posing as an "update" on the Hachette standoff -- that has prevented customers from buying print or e-book editions from the publisher because Amazon refuses to fill orders -- explains that it is putting pressure on Hachette (and other publishers soon to follow) to lower the wholesale price of e-books to where Amazon can make a profit on them selling them at $10 or less. Amazon argues that e-books "must stay competitive" against all other forms of media.
Personalized 3D-printed models, accessories offered by Amazon
Amazon has become the latest retailer to offer sales of 3D printed objects. Just as with Hasbro, the Amazon 3D Printing Store is making more than "200 unique print-on-demand products" available to buy and created through manufacturing partners, and though it is a curated collection of items instead of a user-designed object printing service, it still provides customers the chance to customize some of their purchases before printing.
Sony's PlayStation announces upcoming 3D Blu-ray support for PS4
Sony's PlayStation has announced that its next system update for PS4 will include support for 3D Blu-ray releases. The firmware update, v1.75, is anticipated to arrive next week, according to PlayStation Europe's tweet from earlier today. This information was released in light of Microsoft's announcement of Xbox One's upcoming 3D Blu-ray support.
FTC net neutrality letter addresses concerns about Internet 'hyper-giants'
In a letter filed with the US Federal Communications Commission regarding the pending net neutrality proposal, pro-cable company advocacy group The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) believes that if the "fast lane" net neutrality proposal stands as is, then "hyper-giants" like Amazon, eBay, Netflix, Facebook, and Google could charge the cable companies to allow customers to access services, essentially holding Internet Service Providers hostage. The cable companies allege to have no defense against such tactics, and claim to lack a "practical ability" or the incentive to throttle said large Internet companies.
Amazon fires back, continues to claim to be looking out for consumers
Some authors have begun to side with publisher Hachette in its struggle against Amazon. A letter, signed by almost 900 authors, is objecting to the way that Amazon is handling Hachette, saying that the fight is "harming authors who have nothing to do with this dispute to gain leverage." Amazon claims to be "looking out for the customer" in the dispute, and has already responded to the unpublished letter, calling the spearhead of the campaign "entitled" and an "opportunist."
NTIA may be called to create voluntary best practices for commercial drones
President Barack Obama may issue privacy guidelines for commercial drones in the United States, claims a report. Plans to issue an executive order allegedly involve the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) working with consumer groups, and companies planning to operate drones in the future, to create "voluntary best practices" for the unmanned aircraft.
Growing losses troubling investors, stock down six percent in an hour
Amazon today announced financial results for its second quarter. The company reports that net sales increased 23 percent to $19.34 billion in the second quarter, compared with $15.70 billion in second quarter 2013. However, despite the increase in sales, the company's net loss was $126 million in the second quarter, or $0.27 per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $7 million, or $0.02 per diluted share, in second quarter 2013.
Skype update allows linking of phonebook with Microsoft account
Microsoft has made a few changes to Skype for Android, adding the option to connect the smartphone's address book to the service. At the same time, Microsoft has revealed it is releasing a version of the messaging app client for Amazon's Fire Phone, one which will take advantage of the smartphone's home screen and graphical effects.
Extra music added on top of existing million-track Amazon Prime Music collection
Amazon is attempting to improve the selection of music available on its Prime Music service, to make it more appealing to Prime subscribers. The retailer has announced it has added "hundreds of thousands of songs" to the Prime Music catalog, as well as more curated playlists to the service, though it appears users wanting more modern music may be disappointed.
Samsung sees big setback
Since April, the shares of North American tablet web traffic from iPads and Kindle Fires has increased by 0.8 and 1.2 points, respectively, according to new data compiled by Chitika Insights. The figures put the iPad at 78 percent of traffic, and the Kindle Fire at 7.3 percent, the latter displacing Samsung tablets in aggregate (down to 6.3 percent). Google and Microsoft -- also generally considered prominent tablet makers -- managed shares of just 2.1 and 1.4 percent.
Mobile app from Amazon stores retailer card details, no mobile payments by card yet
Amazon has quietly launched an app to help people manage gift cards and loyalty cards with stores. The Amazon Wallet app for Android and the Fire Phone is able to store membership cards for retailers on the smartphone, allowing shoppers to digitally carry all of their store cards and gift cards without having to also bring along the physical versions.
Over 600,000 e-books, audiobooks can be downloaded from Kindle Unlimited
Following a leak from earlier this week, Amazon has launched its subscription e-book service. Named Kindle Unlimited, the service operates as a form of "Netflix for e-books," providing all-you-can-eat access to over 600,000 Kindle books and thousands of Audible audiobooks via Kindle devices or the Kindle apps on smartphones and tablets for $9.99 per month.
Three prepares to offer subscribers free Wi-Fi in London Underground
British carrier Three is following the lead of other carriers in the country, by offering free Wi-Fi on the London Underground. The Next Web reports the carrier will be working with Virgin Media, the company that set up the original Wi-Fi network for the 2012 Olympic Games, to provide customers free access to the Wi-Fi network in 137 stations without buying a Wi-Fi pass. Three hopes to open up the network to its customers by the end of this month.
Reach extending to Fire phone on July 25th
Amazon's Mobile Ads API supports iOS devices as of today, the company has announced. The change means that developers will be able to use banner and interstitial ads from Amazon's network on iPhones and iPads, in addition to the Android and Fire OS devices already supported. Support for the Fire phone is due on July 25th, the same day that product launches.
Android Amazon Instant Video app, 4K video mentioned by marketing director
Amazon is said to be preparing to launch an Android app for Amazon Instant Video for non-Kindle Fire tablets. An executive allegedly confirmed the long-awaited app for normal Android devices is "imminent" to a report, a move which would finally bring the video streaming service in line with competitors, such as Netflix, in providing a cross-platform video streaming experience.
Cached pages detail Kindle Unlimited service with over 600,000 books
Amazon is allegedly testing an e-book subscription service the retailer could offer to Kindle customers sometime in the future. Effectively operating in a similar way to Netflix for video or Spotify for music, Kindle Unlimited will apparently provide "unlimited access to over 600,000 titles and thousands of audiobooks" at a cost of $10 per month.
Will solve complaints made in 33 states and territories
Apple has agreed to pay $450 million to settle a class-action lawsuit over e-book price fixing, brought against it by states and consumers, according to New York's Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman. The payment will settle allegations made in 33 states and territories, including New York. Schneiderman says that of the total amount, up to $400 million could reach consumers, depending on whether Apple wins its appeal.
Former researcher previously led Google Glass and Google Contact Lenses teams
What started with a social media message turned into confirmation that Amazon has made a high-profile hire. Babak Parviz, formerly of Google as part of their Google X division, has been hired into an unspecified role with the Internet retailer. Parviz's replacement as the Google Glass lead was announced in May as Ivy Ross.
French free delivery book ban circumvented with extremely-low Amazon delivery cost
Amazon is countering a law in France banning free shipping, by charging customers a single euro cent ($0.01) for orders. The law, put in place by the French government in an attempt to protect smaller bookstores from being squeezed out of the marketplace by the online retailer, is being circumvented by the technicality, with French lawmakers seemingly unable to hamper Amazon's sales efforts.
Amazon wants to perform outdoor drone testing in United States
Amazon has asked the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for permission to fly its in-development Prime Air delivery drones. The petition, filed with the FAA on July 9th and published yesterday, asks for an exemption from the FAA Modernization and Reform Act 2012, which currently permits the civilian outdoor flying of model aircraft only for hobbyists and manufacturers.
Suit files complaints about wanton, and unauthorized, in-app purchases
According to a US Federal Trade Commission report filed today, Amazon has billed parents and other account holders for millions of dollars in unauthorized in-app charges incurred by children. The FTC's lawsuit seeks a court order requiring refunds for consumers for the unauthorized charges, and permanently banning the company from billing parents and other account holders for in-app charges that have been made without their consent.
Latest Amazon tactic in Hachette negotiations directly involves authors
Amazon is allegedly stepping up in its aggressiveness in terms of its negotiations with book publisher Hachette, by leaning on authors affected in the dispute. The retailer has allegedly made a proposal directly to authors and agents in a letter, which would see Hachette authors receive "100 percent of the sales price of every Hachette e-book we sell," instead of the usual lower royalty split between the authors and the publisher.
Letter to the FTC says news of a possible complaint filing is 'deeply disappointing'
Amazon has decided to take a hard line against the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) pressure to change their approach to in-app purchases. In a letter to the commission, the company stated that it would defend its "customer-centric approach" if the FCC pursued a complaint in Federal court. The government agency is considering suing Amazon over what it calls lax practices to prevent any possibility of unauthorized buying of in-app purchases (IAPs), for example by children.
Deleted accessory listings, counterfeit accusations prompt Amazon seller lawsuit
An accessories retailer has filed a lawsuit against Amazon and Apple, over removed product listing requests and lost sales. Filed last week, Hard 2 Find Accessories claims Amazon took down product listings from its site and suspended its seller's account after a request by Apple, a move which is allegedly costing Hard 2 Find more than $180,000 a month in lost revenues.
Amazon seeks right to print out-of-stock books in negotiations with publishers
Amazon is allegedly battling publishers in the United Kingdom for more favorable contract terms, including the right to print out-of-stock books. The retailer wants to be able to print more copies of works if publishers are unable to provide sufficient stock, with the proposal one of a number said to be under negotiation between Amazon and independent publishers.
Facebook Slingshot opens up to all users following US-only launch
Facebook has expanded the reach of its recently-launched reciprocal messaging app Slingshot to the rest of the world, following its United States-only launch. The app, available on iOS and Android internationally, will let recipients of images, video, and text-based messages view the contents only after replying another message back at the original sender.
Public opinion request on model aircraft clarifies recreation, bars all commercial use
Amazon's fleet of drones may not be dropping packages on doorsteps anytime soon if the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) gets it way. In a document asking for public comment on an interpretation on the "special model aircraft" rule, the FAA points out the difference between hobby and business ventures. As the rule applies to the use of drones, Amazon blue-sky drone proposal is left on the pad without being granted permission to take off.