Plex’s new Amazon Echo support lets you control your home theater with your voice


Plex is getting into the home automation game. The popular media management software just announced it now has an Alexa skill, as well as smart home features that turns off the lights or post a message in Slack based on an action you take with Plex.

The new Alexa skill is available now in the US and UK Alexa stores. Once you’ve activated the Plex skill, you can ask your Alexa to play content from your local media library on demand, such as a movie or a television episode from a specific season. Not sure what you’re in the mood for? You can also ask Alexa and Plex (Plexa?) to suggest music or something to watch.

Plex doesn’t specifically say this, but it appears the Alexa skill is open to all users, not just Plex Pass subscribers.

Get smart

That said, the company is also adding an interesting new feature for Plex Pass users called Webhooks. Basically, what this means is that when you take an action with Plex, a secondary action can be carried out by a computer.

If you start a movie in Plex, for example, you could use Plex’s Webhooks feature to automatically dim the living room lights. Right now, Plex is hoping to get developers to start adding Webhooks that integrate with Plex.

The impact on you at home: There are three examples on Github that you can try out right now, including desktop notifications for music playback, automated Slack posts when you rate something in Plex, and a smart light integration with the Wink Hub.

These integrations are useful, but they’ll require some knowledge of JavaScript meaning it’s probably out of the grasp of most users, and that may not change. Plex’s technical documentation for Webhooks says they are a “fairly advanced feature and won’t commonly be used by an ‘average’ user.” Plex Pass Pro customers may be able to get an installer to come to their home and set Webhooks up, however.

This story, “Plex’s new Amazon Echo support lets you control your home theater with your voice” was originally published by TechHive.

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EU antitrust regulators praise audiobooks deal from Apple, Amazon

screen shot 2017 01 19 at 11.07.38 am

Antitrust regulators from the European Union have welcomed an agreement between Apple and Amazon to end exclusivity deals for audiobooks.

The agreement between Apple and Amazon and its Audible service to remove the exclusivity obligations allows Audible to supply its downloadable audiobooks to third-party platforms beyond iTunes, the European Commission said Thursday. In addition, the agreement will allow Apple to source audiobooks from new suppliers and will allow publishers to enter into distributions agreements directly with Apple, the Commission said.

Audible and Apple’s iTunes store are two of the world’s largest distributors of downloadable audiobooks to consumers. Audible, owned by Amazon since 2008, is the world’s largest seller and producer of downloadable audiobooks.

Earlier this month, Audible and Apple agreed to remove all exclusivity obligations related to the supply and distribution of audiobooks. These exclusivity obligations, which predated Amazon’s acquisition of Audible, required Apple to source exclusively from Audible and prohibited Audible from supplying to other music digital platforms.

The removal of these exclusivity obligations “will allow for further competition in a fast-growing and innovative market and allow European consumers broader access to downloadable audiobooks,” the Commission said in a press release.

The European Commission had been looking into the exclusivity arrangement since it received a complaint from the German Publishers and Booksellers Association. The German Federal Cartel Office opened an investigation into Audible and Apple in November 2015.

Separately, the Commission opened an antitrust investigation into Amazon’s audiobook contracts in June. The Commission investigated clauses included in Amazon’s contracts that required publishers to inform the company about more favorable terms offered to its competitors, the Commission said then.

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Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote review: A peppier processor makes this streamer worthwhile

Picking the best low-cost media streamer just got a lot more complicated.

  • Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote (2016)


    $39.99 MSRP $39.99


    on Amazon

    The new Fire TV Stick combines good-enough performance with powerful voice controls and a smart user interface.

Before Amazon’s second-generation Fire TV Stick showed up for review, I thought it could be the cheap streaming device to beat. Amazon has claimed a 30 percent performance boost over the original Fire TV Stick, whose biggest problem was sluggishness. Apps took a long time to load, and were prone to bouts of freezing and stuttering. The device didn’t seem built to last in an age of increasingly sophisticated streaming apps such as Sling TV and PlayStation Vue.

The 2016 Fire TV Stick—still priced at $40—alleviates those issues, but it doesn’t completely solve them. And while Amazon’s apps and interface are forward-thinking, they lack some of the nice touches that make competing devices such as the latest Roku Streaming Stick and or Google’s Chromecast worth considering.

A gentle upgrade

Compared to the first-generation Fire TV Stick, the 2016 version is a bit larger, not that the size matters much. Like other streaming sticks, this one plugs into your TV’s HDMI port (there’s a short extension cable in box if you need more room around the port).

There’s a new 1.3GHz quad-core processor inside, a step up from 1.0GHz dual-core in the original Fire TV Stick. Storage and RAM are unchanged at 8- and 1GB respectively, and playback resolution still tops out at 1080p. The hardware upgrade is enough to keep home screen animations running smoothly, and to avoid the more egregious performance hang-ups that made certain apps borderline unusable with the previous Fire TV Stick.


Jared Newman

An HDMI extension cable is included in case the stick blocks any nearby ports.

That said, you might notice times where the new stick struggles. HBO Go, for instance, seems especially stutter-prone, and app loading times as a whole can border on annoying. PlayStation Vue is one of the bigger offenders, taking around 20 seconds to get up and running.

Speaking of Vue, it doesn’t run at 60 frames per second on the Fire TV Stick, even though Sling TV and do; so you won’t get the smooth motion you’d expect from live sports. On the other hand, the Vue app on Fire TV is far superior to the Roku version overall.

Amazon has also upgraded the Wi-Fi to 802.11ac. This should provide faster speeds and improved range—provided you have an 802.11ac router, of course. And while Amazon isn’t publicizing this, the new Fire TV Stick can support Bluetooth headphones, although I’ll qualify that by noting the volume controls didn’t work on the pair I tested. It’s possible that this feature isn’t complete yet.

The other big improvement is in the remote: You get a voice-enabled “Alexa” remote by default. (Amazon had been selling this as a $10 upgrade with the old Fire TV Stick.) The new remote is comfier and has a more premium feel than the previous default remote, and it enables some powerful software features that I’ll dive into later. On the downside, it still doesn’t have any sort of built-in volume control, so you’ll need to keep the TV remote (or a Sideclick) handy.

Software in stasis

Right now, there’s not much point in critiquing the Fire TV Stick user interface, because it’s about to get a major facelift. But even after that happens, the general idea isn’t going to change: Amazon is more interested in pulling TV and movie recommendations onto the home screen than pushing you out to dozens of siloed apps.

This used to mean that Amazon would simply bombard you with recommendations from its own Prime video service, scattering thumbnails across the vast majority of the main menu. Last month, however, Amazon added Netflix and HBO Go recommendations to the home screen, while promising more streaming services to come. This emphasis on content over apps is how streaming video should work, and Amazon has traveled further down that road than anyone else.


The Fire TV home screen no longer limits its recommendations to Amazon Video.

Amazon has also bulked up its voice controls, adding new content sources (including Netflix) and an ever-expanding list of skills via its Alexa virtual assistant. You can use the voice remote to play music, call an Uber, control your smart thermostat and light bulbs, or order more diapers, among other things.

Unfortunately, some old criticisms of Amazon’s voice search haven’t gone away: Amazon still hides alternative content sources behind a “more ways to watch” button, and there’s no way to get a quick look at which seasons of a show are available on which streaming service. And while Alexa is great at hunting down shows, movies, actors, directors and apps, it’s lacking the advanced genre search powers of Apple TV. Failure to integrate with other Alexa devices also seems like a missed opportunity, with no way to synchronize music or tell Amazon Echo to start playing a video.

Playing music on the Fire TV Stick is nice, but whole-home audio via Amazon Echos would be nicer.

Elevating the stick game

Amazon’s first Fire TV Stick got a middling review the last time we checked in on it, as rival devices had raised the bar for cheap media streamers.

The latest Roku Streaming Stick, for instance, is an excellent value at $50. Although it lacks Amazon’s high-quality apps and forward-thinking interface, and it doesn’t include a voice remote, it feels a lot faster than even the new Fire TV Stick. It also has some smart flourishes of its own, such as private headphone listening through your smartphone, and a dedicated “rewind 10 seconds with closed captions” button.

And then there’s Google’s $35 Chromecast. It hasn’t changed a whole lot, but it doesn’t need to. By offloading navigation to the apps on your phone or tablet, Chromecast enables cheap hardware without compromise. It also integrates with Google’s new smart-home device, Google Home, much more effectively than the Fire TV integrates with Amazon’s Echo. (We’ll have a hands-on review of the new 4K Chromecast Ultra soon.)

The second-generation Amazon Fire TV Stick does not mop the floor with its competitors, but its hardware has improved enough—and its user interface has advanced enough—to nudge the market forward while also making your purchasing decision a bit more agonizing.


SIM-Free Motorola Moto Z pre-order spotted on Amazon UK

Last we heard, the Motorola Moto Z and Moto Z Force were scheduled for an early September release in the UK and possibly China as well. We still have no proof of the latter, but today the regular Moto Z was spotted in an Amazon UK pre-order listing.

Currently, the handset can be pre-orderd form as well, so it is only natural for deals to start popping up elsewhere as well. However, we wouldn’t exactly call Amazon’s offer a deal, as its price seems to be set an a whopping GBP 610.19, while the aforementioned vendor has it listed at GBP 495. Mind you, we are talking about the very same basic Moto Z, both offers are also SIM-Free and include taxes. Granted, Amazon doesn’t seem to be listing the storage of the unit, but even if it is the higher-end 64GB one, instead of the 32GB over at Clove, the match still doesn’t check out, especially considering Verizon is offering the Droid version for $624 in the US.

Overall, the listing does look a bit unfinished in its current state without images, so there could be some error, or perhaps an undisclosed bundle with MotoMods. At lest there is Pre-order Price Guarantee, so there is that.


Another near-final Windows 10 build adds an Amazon extension to Microsoft Edge

Microsoft edge extensions

It’s a few days late for Prime Day, but Microsoft’s Edge browser now has an Amazon extension for your shopping convenience. It’s one of the last remaining features to be added to Windows 10 as its Anniversary Update draws closer to its “final,” shipping code.

Microsoft released Build 14390 for both PC and Mobile to Windows Insiders in the Fast Ring on Friday, with an emphasis on bug fixes. The one exception is the new Amazon extension for Edge, bringing the number of available Edge extensions to 13.

“Amazon Assistant helps you make better decisions wherever you shop online by giving you access to Deal of the Day, Product Comparison, Wish List, and Shortcuts to your favorite Amazon destinations,” according to Microsoft’s published description of the extension.

More important, however, is the imminence of Microsoft’s “final” code. Last year, Microsoft released its “shipping” build of Windows 10 to Insiders about two weeks before the OS was released at the end of July. The Anniversary Update’s scheduled release date of August 2, 2016 is just about two weeks away. It’s not clear whether Microsoft feels it’s necessary to give hardware makers time to test AU before it’s pushed live, but if so, that would have to happen very soon.

In any event, Microsoft has listed few issues that Insiders need to concern themselves with. On the PC, the only bug listed includes a scenario where a user tries to boot Windows Server 2016 Tech Preview 5 virtual machines with Secure Boot enabled. Mobile users may have to enter a PIN twice when trying to pay using the Wallet app, and there are some intermittent glitches with the Voice Recorder functionality.

“Team, we’re getting down to the wire for the Anniversary Update release,” Dona Sarkar, the Insider chief for Microsoft, wrote in a blog post. “Please install this build and try things differently than usual this weekend. Check out some of the Quests in Feedback Hub. Hand the device to a friend and have them try it out. Install apps that are new to you. Send us all the feedback.”

Is this the final shipping code? Apparently not. Sarkar indicated that more Windows 10 Insider builds were in the works.


Amazon Prime Day: We pick the best electronics, PC, and mobile deals

Amazon Prime Day 2016

Bluntly put, Amazon’s Prime Day sale disappointed many last year. Touted as an event to rival Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Prime Day 2015 was defined by discounted products that failed to enthrall would-be buyers. On top of that, the better items sold out quickly.

But for its second Prime Day sale, Amazon has promised more appealing offerings with higher inventory—and the online retailer seems to have made good on its word. Sort of.

Amazon seeded us with an early look at its Prime Day deals, and most offerings appear better than last year’s Sharpies and Tupperware at first glance. For example, we found Prime Day deals for 4K TVs, popular mirrorless DSLR bodies, and high-end 802.11ac routers. The catch? Most of these deals are for older, open-box items, and their discounts vary (open-box items are typically products that were purchased and then sent back to Amazon for refunds). Getting up to 40% off a returned 2014 Android phone is hardly the stuff of giddy bargain hunting. That said, consumers should still have some reasons to be excited.

Update (7/12/16 12:15am): It appears some deals are coming active more slowly than the scheduled time of midnight. We’re keeping an eye on this and will update the article accordingly if some deals do not actually go live.

Amazon Prime Day: The best deals

After carefully sifting through the information Amazon sent to a select few media outlets, we found you can get some brand-new tech items at a good price—even if you don’t have time to sit and watch the Lightning Deals, which are short, timed sales that vary in duration and can end with an abrupt halt if their allotted inventory runs out fast. We’ve listed the most notable all-day deals below, sorted by their Amazon categories.

Our picks err toward smart home and entertainment gadgets, as well as gear of interest to Windows and Android users. Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t seem very interested in discounting Apple-oriented gear and accessories.

Note: In order to participate in Amazon Prime Day, you must be an Amazon Prime member. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial to take advantage of these sales prices.


  • Electronics
  • Home entertainment
  • Kindle gear
  • Laptops and PC storage
  • Video games


Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear Headphones II

  • $49.95 – Bose SoundSport In-ear Headphones – Charcoal
  • $99.95 – Bose SoundTrue Around-ear Headphones II (Apple devices, Charcoal)

While we prefer other headphones for sheer audio quality, plenty of people still like Bose, and these prices reflect a solid discount. The cheapest we’ve seen on the SoundSport, for example, has been in the range of $70 to $80.

However, if you’re only after cans that sound good, we have a couple of alternative recommendations priced about the same as their Bose rivals. If you don’t need the SoundTrue II’s microphone capabilities, try Puro Labs’ Bluetooth headphones (reviewed here), which is compatible with all Bluetooth-equipped phones. And for in-ear headphones, try Sennheiser’s MX 686G Sport earbuds (reviewed here).

Home entertainment

Samsung UH55KU6300 55-inch 4K UHD TV

  • $549.99 – Samsung UN55KU6300 55-inch 4K UHD Smart LED TV (2016 model)
  • $649.99 – Samsung UN55KU6600 55-inch Curved 4K UHD Smart LED TV (2016 model)

Getting a Samsung 4K UHD TV for $550 is practically a steal—especially since Vizio, which has had a lock on affordable 4K UHD TVs for a while, currently is selling its own 55-inch 4K UHD TV for $650.

Heck, for $650, you can instead get a curved Samsung 4K UHD TV, if you’re into such a feature. (We don’t believe a curved screen is necessary for a TV, though.)

Kindle gear

Amazon Echo


  • $99.99 – Amazon Tap ($30 off)
  • $129.99 – Amazon Echo ($50 off)
  • $24.99 – Fire TV Stick ($15 off)
  • $69.99 – Fire TV ($30 off)
  • $79.99 – Fire TV and Antenna Bundle ($30 off)
  • $109.99 – Fire TV Gaming Edition ($30 off)
  • $49.99 – Kindle 6”, ad-supported Wi-Fi version ($30 off)
  • $69.99 – Kindle 6”, Wi-Fi version ($30 off)
  • $89.99 – Kindle Paperwhite, ad-supported Wi-Fi version ($30 off)
  • $109.99 – Kindle Paperwhite, Wi-Fi version ($30 off)
  • $159.99 – Kindle Paperwhite, ad-supported Wi-Fi + Free 3G version ($30 off)
  • $179.99 – Kindle Paperwhite, Wi-Fi + Free 3G version ($30 off)
  • $149.99 – Kindle Voyage, ad-supported Wi-Fi version ($50 off)
  • $169.99 – Kindle Voyage, Wi-Fi version ($50 off)
  • $219.99 – Kindle Voyage, ad-supported Wi-Fi + Free 3G version ($50 off)
  • $239.99 – Kindle Voyage, Wi-Fi + Free 3G version ($50 off)

It wouldn’t be Prime Day if Amazon didn’t have discounts for its house products. While the savings are relatively modest, these prices at least match, or are a little more generous than, the best sales we’ve seen. The exceptions are the Amazon Echo, which was cheapest during its $99 pre-order promotion, and the Amazon Fire TV Stick, which was $19 during its pre-order promotion.

Laptops and PC storage

Some discounts in Amazon’s PC category might please some very specific business users (like 20% off 3M Gold privacy filters). But some deals stood out—with a few partially for price, and partially because they come with a “buyer beware” caveat.


hp spectre 12 x2 beauty

  • $149.99 – Acer Cloudbook 14 Chromebook
  • $439.99 – HP Spectre x2 12″ 2-in-1 Laptop

The Acer Chromebook isn’t the fastest, given its Celeron processor and 2GB of RAM, but getting a 14-inch model for $150 is pretty good if you plan to stick to light web browsing.

Much, much, much more exciting is the $440 HP Spectre x2 (reviewed here), the current “Best Budget Surface Clone” winner in our Best PC laptops roundup. It’s like a Microsoft Surface, except features like a keyboard cover and LTE support come included. We already liked it a lot at $800 MSRP, so at 45% off it’s a no-brainer.


SanDisk Ultra II 960GB SATA III SSD

  • $22.99 – SanDisk Ultra Fit 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive
  • $94.99 – SanDisk Ultra II 480GB SATA III SSD
  • $139.99 – Crucial MX300 750GB SATA III SSD
  • $164.99 – SanDisk Ultra II 960GB SATA III SSD

Let’s talk prices first. All four items are the lowest we’ve seen for those capacities: The USB drive usually sells for $30, while the previous best price for the SanDisk Ultra II 960GB SSD was $180. The Crucial MX300 750GB drive just released last month, and has been holding steady at its MSRP of $200. And though the SanDisk Ultra II 480GB SSD’s discount isn’t quite as steep (it hovered around $100 during mid-to-late November last year), $95 is still very good.

That said, you may be rolling the reliability dice with the SanDisk drives. While I’ve personally had a positive experience with the 480GB SSD, enough user reviews speak of heat issues (for the flash drive) and full drive failure (for the SSDs) to warrant caution.

Video games


  • $29.99 – Doom (PC)
  • $84.99 – Doom Collector’s Edition (PC)

Happily, this is a true deal. These prices are some of the best we’ve seen for Doom (reviewed here), an excellent remake of the classic ’90s first-person shooter. The only downside, if there has to be one, is that these are physical copies of the game—so you won’t get the same immediate gratification as a online code.

Wireless hardware

Many of the best Prime Day tech deals fall within this category. Fans of mobile virtual network operators like Cricket and Republic Wireless get a bit of a break, as do folks who prefer inexpensive unlocked phones. Folks who love Huawei are in for a particular treat: Not only do the Nexus 6P and Honor 5X get hefty discounts, nine variations of the Huawei Watch do, too.


Speck Products PixelSkin HD Rubberized Case for iPhone 5/5s  - Pomodoro Red

  • Up to 30% off Select Cell Phone Cases – Includes iPhone 5/5s, iPhone 6/6s, Samsung Galaxy S6, and Samsung Galaxy S7)
  • $0.99 – Cricket Wireless SIM card

Cricket Wireless charges $10 for a SIM card purchased online, and $20 in-store. At $1, switching to the AT&T subsidary becomes much cheaper if you’re bringing your own device (BYOD).


Nexus 6P

  • Save $100 off the LG G5 (Silver)
  • Save $100 off the LG G5 (Titan)
  • Save $150 off the Nextbit Robin Factory Unlocked Phone (Midnight)
  • Save $150 off the Nextbit Robin Factory Unlocked Phone (Mint)
  • $119.99 – Honor 5X 16GB, Gold
  • $119.99 – Honor 5X 16GB, Grey
  • $119.99 – Honor 5X 16GB, Silver
  • $129.00 – Republic Wireless Moto G (3rd gen) 8GB Phone, Black
  • $129.00 – Republic Wireless Moto G (3rd gen) 8GB Phone, White
  • $403.75 – Nexus 6P 64GB, Gold
  • $403.75 – Nexus 6P 64GB, Graphite
  • $403.75 – Nexus 6P 64GB, Silver
  • $478.75 – Nexus 6P 128GB, Graphite
  • $478.75 – Nexus 6P 128GB, Silver

Republic Wireless currently charges $180 for the same Moto G model on its website, so $130 is a very good price for what was last year’s best $200 smartphone. (Note: Republic Wireless phones will only work on Republic Wireless’s network.)

If you need a bring-your-own-device for the same price, you can instead opt for the Honor 5X. At $200, it was already a good choice as a starter phone. Knocking $80 off the price makes it an easy buy.

The discounts on the Nexus 6P (reviewed here) drop an excellent phone down to equally excellent prices. Both the 64GB and 128GB versions are the lowest we’ve seen: Previously, the best price for a new 64GB Nexus 6P was $469 with a $50 retailer gift card bonus, and $500 for a new 128GB Nexus 6P.


Huawei Watch - Stainless Steel w/ Black Leather Band Version

  • $175.99 – Huawei Watch (Stainless Steel w/ Black Leather Strap)
  • $206.99 – Huawei Watch (Stainless Steel w/ Stainless Steel Link Band)
  • $206.99 – Huawei Watch (Stainless Steel w/ Stainless Steel Mesh Band)
  • $240.99 – Huawei Watch (Black Stainless Steel w/ Black Stainless Steel Link Band)
  • $239.99 – Huawei Watch (Gold/Pearl)
  • $239.99 – Huawei Watch (Gold/Sapphire)
  • $323.99 – Huawei Watch (Jewel/Pearl)
  • $329.99 – Huawei Watch (Jewel/Sapphire)
  • $350.99 – Huawei Watch (Rose Gold Plated Stainless Steel w/ Brown Leather Strap)

The list price for the Huawei Watch starts at $350—so if you’ve been waiting for it to drop in price, now’s your chance to grab one for a lot less cash. The base model is almost 50% off, while other models with blingier designs that use gold-plated metal and/or Swarovski crystals also have gotten large price cuts.


Amazon teases Prime Day deal bash with free Prime trials


One year ago, Amazon celebrated its 20th anniversary with a sale event/Prime membership promotion dubbed Prime Day. Now the online retailer wants to make Prime Day an annual tradition. Amazon recently announced that Prime Day for 2016 would take place on Tuesday, July 12.

The catch? Only Amazon Prime members can partake in Prime Day deals. As with last year’s promotion, if you’re not a Prime member you can get the deals by signing up for aPrime 30-day free trial.

This year, Amazon’s leading up to the big day with special promotions and previews that began on Tuesday, July 5. On Friday, it’s the tech section’s turn with a “Gadgets on the Go” Prime Day preview that includes sales on mobile-friendly devices and accessories.

In our quick look at Friday’s gadget deals there weren’t a ton of items to get excited about. You can get a Polaroid Cube video camera for $65 instead of the usual $100. There’s also a price cut on the Anker PowerCore cell phone charger. Amazon is selling the charger for $27 today, while Anker’s price on its own online store is $40.

That’s a nice deal, but don’t buy the hype that this is truly 66 percent off as Amazon claims. As we’ve seen time and again with Black Friday deals it may be 66 percent off the list price, but the list price is almost never the actual price you pay at Amazon or any other online store.

But again, this is just the warm up.

The impact on you at home: On Tuesday, Prime Day 2016 will offer more than 100,000 deals worldwide including lightning, limited time deals and standard sale prices. In the U.S., Amazon says there will be almost twice the number of sale TVs than on Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. That doesn’t necessarily mean more TV models will be on sale just that more of those select sale items will be available for you to buy compared to the big holiday sales.

More than just deals

Amazon’s also offering a few contest giveaways for U.S. residents on Prime Day. There will be select Prime Music playlists associated with a chance to see twelve different artists live. Listening to the playlists enters Prime members into a draw to win a chance to see performers such as Carrie Underwood, Blink-182, Norah Jones, Flo Rida, and The Lumineers.

Uploading a photo to your Prime photo account enters you into a contest to win $5,000 worth of Amazon gift cards. Prime members can also get 40 percent off a Kindle Unlimited membership on the big day.

Finally, for Echo, Echo Dot, and Tap owners, Amazon is adding some special deals if you use the company’s Alexa digital assistant. On Prime Day, users of the smart speakers can ask, “Alexa, what are your Prime Day deals?” Additionally on Friday, Alexa owners can get special deals by using the same question or by visiting

Following Prime Day 2015, there were complaints that the deals were a little on the lackluster side. Nevertheless, Prime Day was a big deal last year and probably will be again in 2016—even if the deals don’t live up to the hype.
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Amazon Echo now helps you to order merchandise from Amazon

Amazon Echo

Suitable news, Amazon enthusiasts: You may now order Amazon merchandise using your Amazon Echo.

VentureBeat pronounced Friday that the new voice-managed ordering feature started out rolling out to Echousers on Friday, and even as there are a few boundaries, You can order from a huge swath of the Amazon product catalog.

Consistent with the organisation, You can order digital track and various bodily gadgets from Amazon, as well as region gadgets on your buying cart or take a look at your order reputation. Every person Amazonconsumer with a US mailing deal with and a 1-Click on charge method installation can buy digital track,but ordering other products calls for an Amazon Prime membership.

As for the ones obstacles, You may’t purchase clothing, shoes, jewelry, or watches out of your Amazon Echo. Amazon Sparkling, High Pantry, Top Now and add-on items also are at the no-pass list. items alsowant to be “Top-eligible,” In keeping with Amazon.

The capability to order products from Amazon looks like 7c5d89b5be9179482b8568d00a9357b2 function,but it’s one that the employer has been operating in the direction of for a while. An earlier Amazon Echosoftware program update permit you to buy any object from Amazon which you formerly bought the usage of Amazon Prime, so this new replace effectively builds off of that.

Previous updates also introduced the capacity to look up movie times and NFL sport scores, discover an area to consume through Yelp, and manipulate domestic automation tech.

In case you haven’t yet obtained this state-of-the-art update, you need to get it soon.

Disclosure: The writer of this text presents copywriting offerings to TechSoup, a nonprofit agency that works with Amazon Net services and lots of different generation groups to provide nonprofits with generationservices and products. His position at TechSoup does now not have an effect on his paintings for thisebook.

Amazon is making it even less complicated to buy stuff on Top with just your voice

Diagram showing Amazon "Alexa" technology on an Echo device

Diagram showing Amazon “Alexa” generation on an Echo device
Source: Amazon
Diagram showing Amazon “Alexa” technology on an Echo device
Amazon is shifting toward a global in which shopping on-line is as simple as uttering a word.

Nowadays, the organization announced that individuals of its Top service can now order “tens of millions” of items with Alexa, Amazon’s voice-controlled assistant. Previously, Top participants who very own one in every of four gadgets with Alexa ought to do that with matters they have purchased in the past or through“Amazon’s Desire,” a carrier in which the organisation selections merchandise.

Jogging out of the residence but simply remembered you’re out of espresso? “Alexa, order Starbucksespresso,” Amazon offers as an instance. Some other: “Alexa, order Charmin bathroom paper.”

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The feature will check the energy of Amazon’s artificial intelligence, particularly as competitors, mainlyGoogle, are bringing their personal voice-search merchandise to the house. To peer this selection take off, Amazon will even need to maintain Top membership growing.

Both of those problems are many of the massive threats to Amazon’s sterling boom.

Why one tech fund supervisor is hot on Amazon, not a lot on facebook

Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg

shares of Amazon are extra appealing than facebook inventory because the e-trade massive‘s longtime period course to growth is clearer than the social network‘s street to destiny revenue gains, Josh Spencer, portfolio manager of the T. Rowe fee worldwide generation Fund, said Wednesday.

Amazon has two routes to achievement with its online retail commercial enterprise and its Amazon webofferings unit, the market chief in cloud computing offerings, Spencer said. but in his view, it’s difficult to see the following leg of growth for fb.

He stated he’s now not satisfied its foray into virtual reality with the Oculus Rift headset pays off, even though he acknowledged he might be incorrect. Spencer also stated he does no longer like to beviewed as betting towards facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

it’s now not a lot taking some thing far from fb. it is just seeing opportunities somewhere else,” he toldCNBC’s “Squawk on the street.”

To make certain, facebook is still expanding its middle commercial enterprise. In its state-of-the-artquarterly report, it said advertising revenue surged 57 percentage 12 months over 12 months to $five.2 billion.