Amazon Unveils NYC Retail Store for 4+ Star Online Products

Amazon has opened a brick-and-mortar retail store, dubbed Amazon 4-star, in New York City’s Soho neighborhood. Amazon 4-star is so named because it will carry goods — starting off with consumer electronics, kitchen, home, toys, books and games — that shoppers have rated with at least four stars, are sold by top sellers or are “new and trending.” This physical retail store joins Amazon’s 12+ bookstores and a few cashierless Go convenience stores, as well as the Whole Foods grocery stores it acquired. Continue reading Amazon Unveils NYC Retail Store for 4+ Star Online Products

Amazon Briefly Worth $1 Trillion, Targets India With Hindi Site

Amazon’s shares rose to $2,050.50 on Tuesday, pushing the company’s value to over $1 trillion, making it the second U.S. firm to reach that pinnacle since Apple did so early last month. By the end of the day, shares fell to $2,039.51, below the $1 trillion mark. Amazon, which employs more than 550,000 people, generates more than $178 billion in annual revenue and captures 49 cents from every dollar spent on e-commerce. To continue its growth, Amazon is now offering its local Indian website and apps available in Hindi. Continue reading Amazon Briefly Worth $1 Trillion, Targets India With Hindi Site

Amazon in Talks on Bank Product with JPMorgan, Capital One

According to sources, Amazon is currently in discussions with JPMorgan Chase and other banks about creating a product similar to a checking account aimed at a younger demographic. These early stage talks may not result in anything tangible, and are not intended to turn Amazon into a bank. What the product would do is further integrate Amazon into its customers’ lives, from Whole Foods, Kindle, Alexa and its website. The new product would also potentially cut fees Amazon currently pays to banks and provide more customer data. Continue reading Amazon in Talks on Bank Product with JPMorgan, Capital One

DisneyNOW Consolidates Three Popular Kids Apps Into One

Until now, Disney had separate Watch apps for children 2-14 that featured entertainment content from the Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior. Now, the company has consolidated all three into a single app, thus boosting its pay-TV business. DisneyNOW will offer full episodes and live streaming from all the networks to customers whose cable, Internet TV, satellite or telco providers are participating. In addition to DisneyNOW, the company reportedly plans to create its own movie streaming service when its deal with Netflix expires in 2019. Continue reading DisneyNOW Consolidates Three Popular Kids Apps Into One

Amazon Plans to Open Additional Brick-and-Mortar Bookstores

Although not on the scale originally reported, online retailer Amazon is expanding its business to more physical storefronts. Amazon opened its first brick-and-mortar store last year in Seattle. The store features thousands of books alongside Amazon’s electronic devices, including the Kindle tablet, the Fire TV set-top box, and the Echo Internet-connected speaker. The expansion of the brick-and-mortar side of the business suggests that the appeal of browsing shelves, particularly for book aficionados, isn’t quite yet lost. Continue reading Amazon Plans to Open Additional Brick-and-Mortar Bookstores

Amazon Plans to Launch Portable, Lower Cost Version of Echo

Since Amazon had a surprise hit with its tabletop, voice-controlled Echo speaker, released in November 2014, competitors have stepped into the space. Amazon is fighting back with another, smaller, portable and lower-cost version, code-named Fox, expected to debut in a few weeks. Echo, which costs $180, must be plugged into an outlet; its Alexa software answers questions, creates shopping lists, plays music and can control connected lights. Originally a voice activation experiment, Echo has become a popular personal assistant. Continue reading Amazon Plans to Launch Portable, Lower Cost Version of Echo

Amazon’s New $50 Tablet a 180-Turn From Pricey Fire Phone

Amazon took a $170 million write down in October, largely due to its Fire smartphone, which was priced the same as the iPhone, a fact that drew strong criticism. Despite offering a free year of Prime membership and steep price cuts, the Amazon Fire failed to gain traction. Now, taking that lesson to heart, Amazon will release, in time for the holidays, a $50 tablet, making it one of the least expensive such devices on the market. Experts wonder if the compromises required to achieve that price will leave consumers dissatisfied. Continue reading Amazon’s New $50 Tablet a 180-Turn From Pricey Fire Phone

Publishers Raise Amazon Kindle E-Book Prices, Sales Plummet

Three big publishers that inked new pacts with Amazon to be able to set prices for their titles are now scratching their heads. The prices went up, but the sales went down. Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Book Group, News Corp’s HarperCollins Publishers and CBS Corporation’s Simon & Schuster all reported declining e-book revenues, despite the “win” of setting their own, considerably higher prices. Although the correlation between the two facts might seem obvious, some publishers insist lackluster books are to blame. Continue reading Publishers Raise Amazon Kindle E-Book Prices, Sales Plummet

Amazon Offers Echo Through Staples, But Exclusively Online

Amazon announced it will sell its Amazon Echo device with office supply chain Staples; however, it will only be available online. The Echo, a voice-activated speaker with the ability to answer questions, dim lights, and play music and more will be available for $179.99. The decision to sell the product through a third party has received mixed feedback, because the device still lacks a retail presence. While Staples carries Kindles, Fire TV and the Fire tablet, the Echo will not be showcased in stores. Continue reading Amazon Offers Echo Through Staples, But Exclusively Online

Amazon Lets Users Convert Print Books into Kindle E-Books

Amazon has designed a Windows program that allows users to convert traditional print books to digital files (for personal, non-commercial use), which can then be read using Amazon’s Kindle software. Once converted, the digital version of these print books will function as any other Kindle e-book with adjustable font features, free cloud storage and Whispersync capabilities. However, Kindle Convert may prove to be too tedious for some readers, since it requires that users physically scan the pages of the book. Continue reading Amazon Lets Users Convert Print Books into Kindle E-Books

Shield: Nvidia Launches its First Tablet, Designed for Gamers

Nvidia’s new Shield is a tablet PC, but also a gaming console for Android game apps, streamed PC games, and games streamed from the Nvidia Grid cloud gaming service. The Wi-Fi tablet can be used as a handheld gaming device or a console that can be plugged into a TV via an HDMI cable. For $299, gamers will get 16 gigabytes of storage and perhaps some of the best image-rendering technology on the market. The Shield tablet will start shipping at the end of July. Continue reading Shield: Nvidia Launches its First Tablet, Designed for Gamers

Amazon Announces its Kindle Unlimited, the Netflix for Books

Amazon announced its new Kindle Unlimited, a $9.99 per month unlimited reading and listening service that provides access to more than 600,000 Kindle books and thousands of audiobooks from Audible. It will be available for the Kindle as well as iOS and Android mobile devices through the Amazon Kindle app. Analysts suggest that the service, which will compete with existing ebook subscription services Scribd and Oyster, could spark as much as $1 billion in growth for Amazon. Continue reading Amazon Announces its Kindle Unlimited, the Netflix for Books