Amazon has sent out invites to select press to attend an Amazon Video event next week in New York City. Aside from the rumored Amazon Video set-top box, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the company will also launch a free, ad-supported video service that'll be paired up with the device that will allow customers to watch television shows and music videos gratis.
It should be noted that this isn't Amazon taking its current video product and making it free--rather, it would likely be a small subset. All of the Amazon original series, and anything specifically licensed. The company would likely still keep the best stuff for Amazon Prime customers.
What do you think? Would an inexpensive set-top box with free streaming content be enough to get you to buy one?
This morning Amazon sent out invitations for an April 2nd event that invites us to "Please join us for an update on our video business." In the background is a couch, with a few pieces of popcorn spilled on it. It looks like the company may finally launch the long-rumored Amazon Video set-top box, a product that would compete with devices like the Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku products. Amazon's box may even differentiate itself by offering gaming right out of the gate, as we saw a prototype of an Amazon game controller leaked a couple of weeks ago. There are plenty of Android games that Amazon could see success with with game controller support built-in.
We'll know for sure on April 2, and we'll bring you the full details.
Update: It looks like Amazon may also launch a free video streaming service at this event as well!
Amazon has announced that the cost of Amazon Prime will be increasing to $99 per year this morning (up from $79 per year,) the first time the service has seen a price increase since it launched nine years ago. The company cites increased fuel and transportation costs, alongside increased usage by Prime members, as the reason for the price bump.
Despite the price increase, Amazon Prime is still a fantastic service, introduced back in 2005, that provided unlimited free two-day shipping for millions of items, alongside Prime Instant Video, and the Kindle Owners' Lending Library. When broken down, the monthly cost goes from about $6.58 up to $8.25 per month, making the cost 26 cents more than the price of a monthly Netflix streaming membership.
The price increase goes into effect on April 17th, so if you aren't yet a Prime member, you can lock in the lower rate now.
If you're an Amazon Prime member, does the price increase turn you off from keeping your subscription?
If you're looking to pick up an Amazon Kindle or Kindle Paperwhite, today is the day to do it. Amazon has discounted both models by $20 today in recognition of National Reading Month, making it our Deal of the Day. Head over to Amazon now to take advantage of the deal, which ends at the end of the day today.
Read More | Amazon
The next item in Gear Live’s 2013 Holiday Gift Guide is the Kindle Paperwhite. Why? well, as great as e-ink readers have been (and they've been pretty stellar,) since the original Amazon Kindle was released, their one tragic flaw has been that they become pretty useless in the dark. You either simply can't read them, or have to use a small light attachment accessory. Enter the Kindle Paperwhite. Amazon has designed what we consider to be the best e-ink reader to hit the market. It's flagship feature is the front-lit display, which works great when you're in the dark and want to read your latest ebook purchase without using a backlit tablet that's hard on the eyes, or an awkward clip-on light accessory. It also supports new features like telling you how much reading time you have before you finish your current chapter, and an all-touch display with virtually no lag. Check out our Kindle Paperwhite review, unboxing gallery, and video after the break for more, and head on over to Amazon to pick up the Kindle Paperwhite for $119 for that bookworm in your life.
Honorable mention: Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight
Read More | Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
Amazon has released an all-new Kindle Paperwhite today, bringing a few improvements and optimizations to the front-lit e-reader. For starters, it packs in a processor that is 25% faster than its predecessor, a display with higher contrast and better reflectivity (brighter whites and darker blacks,) smoother touch technology, and a battery that is rated to last for over 2 hours. Goodreads integration will also be coming to the new device, along with Kindle FreeTime for Paperwhite, bringing subscription books for the little ones. The new Kindle Paperwhite will go nicely with the new Amazon Kindle MatchBook service, and will start shipping on September 30th, and you can order it now for $119.
Read More | Kindle Paperwhite
Amazon has announced an awesome new program called Kindle MatchBook that it's set to launch in October, bringing free and cheap eBooks to buyers of paper books. Basically, if you purchase a paper book from Amazon, you can buy the digital Kindle version for $.99, $1.99, $2.99, or download it for free, depending on the book. Most interesting? It's completely retroactive, going all the way back to 1995 when Amazon launched. Any participating purchase you've ever made on Amazon is eligible, as long as it is a part of the MatchBook selection, which will launch at about 10,000 titles next month. Amazon says that there will be some big-name authors taking part:
Kindle MatchBook will launch with books from Ray Bradbury, Michael Crichton, Blake Crouch, James Rollins, Jodi Picoult, Neil Gaiman, Marcus Sakey, Wally Lamb, Jo Nesbo, Neal Stephenson, and J.A. Jance, among others. In addition, Amazon Publishing will include all its titles in Kindle MatchBook.
Definitely a cool service, and one that makes Amazon an even more attractive purchasing destination when compared to Barnes & Noble and the Nook store, and Apple's iBookstore (which doesn't even sell paper books.)
Read More | Kindle MatchBook
If you've been thinking about picking up a Kindle Fire HD for Mom (or even yourself!), now might be the time, as Amazon is offering a nice discount its 7-inch flagship models through May 12th. Using promo code FIRE4MOM during checkout, you'll save $20 on the tablet, bringing the price down to $179 for the 16 GB model, and $209 for the 32 GB version. We're sure that Mom wouldn't mind receiving one of these for Valentine's Day, especially with all the Amazon Prime benefits, and we'll keep the fact that you got it on sale between us, okay?
Read More | Kindle Fire HD
This morning Xbox SmartGlass made its long-awaited debut on the Amazon Appstore. You can now download Microsoft's second-screen app for the Amazon Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD, fitting perfectly on the display of all Fire and Fire HD tablet models. With Xbox SmartGlass, which has been available for iOS, Windows, Windows Phone, and Android for the past six months, users can navigate and control their Xbox 360 consoles right from the tablet or smartphone.
Read More | Xbox SmartGlass for Kindle Fire
"It's important that Apple not be the developer for the world. We can't take all of our energy, and all of our care, and finish the painting and have someone else put their name on it." - Tim Cook, Apple CEO
The same statement rings true for Google. If others are reaping the rewards, and little to nothing is left for oneself, then what's the point? If a product does not meet the expectations set before it, then developing for it doesn't make much sense. If any given product is not self-sustainable, then it is not cost effective and eventually becomes a burden to the maker--even if users appear to enjoy using it. Make no mistake about it, Google is in the business of making money, and everything else is secondary (including good will.)
Google's co-founder and now recently-minted CEO, Larry Page, bought Android in 2005. He also brought along Andy Rubin, one of its creators, over to Google, who recently renounced his post as Senior Vice President of mobile Digital Content. Basically, the guy who was leading Android. It has been said that Sergey Brin, the other tandem co-founder, was not enthusiastic about the purchase. Former Google CEO at the time, Eric Schmidt, now Chairman at Google had a similar reaction. These somewhat pessimistic receptions were also shared by Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice President of Engineering. However, he recanted these thoughts at Google I/O 2010.
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