Round up #175: Alexa Kids Edition, Prime will still be a bargain

Round up #175: Alexa Kids Edition, Prime will still be a bargain

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Amazon Prime will be cheaper than Netflix Standard on May 11th

Amazon Prime (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

is an incredible deal…and that will continue to be true after a price raise effective May 11th for new subscribers (the price increase goes into effect for renewals on June 16th).

The annual price is going up to $119 from $99. Yes, that’s a significant increase: about 20%. The last increase was in 2014 from $79 annually to $99…that’s a bigger increase in terms of percentage, about 25%.

It’s noteworthy, though, that it’s still just about $10 a month ($9.92, approximately). Standard Netflix is $10.99 a month (they have a cheaper one at $7.99…only one screen at a time, and no HD). Hulu is $7.99 a month…ad-supported (with commercials). No commercials on Hulu? $11.99 a month.

Now, that’s comparing apples to oranges…actually, it’s more like apples to the entire produce aisle. 😉

Prime is so much more than just video, and they keep adding more things. Here are just some of the benefits:

  • Prime Video (with HD and up to three at the same time…more than Netflix Standard)
  • Prime Reading (read from a selection of about 1,000 books and some magazines)
  • One free Kindle book to own each month (from a choice of usually six)
  • Unlimited photo storage
  • Free two-day shipping on many orders

and again, that’s not everything.

Even given all that, some people who perceive this as “over $100 a year” rather than “under $10 a month” will quit Prime over this, so why would Amazon do it?

We recently found out that Amazon has over 100 million Prime subscribers. That’s worldwide (and it’s very important to note that there are many more users than subscribers…if we count Significant Others, children, and so on, I would be confident that there are more people using Prime than the population of the United States), and this price change is for the USA. If the price raise was on 100 million subscribers, and it was $20…that’s 2 BILLION dollars. That’s significant, even to Amazon. 😉

They won’t just take that as profit: they’ll invest it in things that make Prime even more attractive to even more people. It’s not going to take much for those Prime buyers to make up the difference for any who do leave over this (which I think will be a tiny percentage).

I will say that if Prime was just video (which it isn’t), I find three major reasons why I don’t watch Prime as much as Netflix or Hulu:

  • For me, discovery is a lot harder…it’s easier to find things I want to watch on Hulu or Netflix. That means that Prime video is pretty much a back-up plan
  • There doesn’t seem like as much selection…Hulu for us is mostly current shows, Netflix is originals (I’m watching the new Lost in Space, for example), but we do watch older things on both
  • Most of you probably don’t care about this, but Prime Video is not available to me in VAM (Virtual/Augmented/Mixed/Merged Reality) space…and I watch video in VR just about every workday (during lunch, which I exercise)

Some of you may be wondering if there’s a way to extend your current Prime subscription at the current price before it goes up. Well, this

9to5 Toys article by Patrick Campanale

has a convoluted method…but there is a comment from someone who said they tried it last time and it didn’t work. It basically involves canceling and buying a gift membership for yourself.

We’re just going to pay the $20 more…

“Keep My Songs” by Monday, April 30

Amazon is no longer going to store your previously uploaded music…unless you tell them to do it before Monday, April 30th.

You just have to go to

Your Account (at AmazonSmile*)

then go to the Music Settings and click the “Keep my songs” button. I listen to music like this a lot…oh, and this doesn’t affect AutoRip music or digital music you’ve purchased…it’s just outside source audio you’ve uploaded.

I know this is late notice, but I think everybody will have gotten an e-mail about it already. I just thought a back-up (so to speak) alert was worthwhile.

Amazon’s 2018 Q1 financials

You can get the details

here

by listening to the webcast recording and/or looking at the slides, but bottom line…they did great! They more than doubled their profit (due in large part to their web services), and sales were up 43%.

According to this

CNN Money graph

the stock is up nearly 3% in the past five days (the webcast was on the 26th)…and more than a third up over the year.

Investors like them…they really like them! 😉

In-Car Delivery

In this

press release

dated April 24th, Amazon announced that Prime members in 37 cities and surrounding areas with certain types of cars (Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac and Volvo of particular kinds, and a connected car) will now be able to get packages delivered directly into the trunk of their cars…even when they aren’t they.

What they are doing is even better than what I wrote about as a joke in this April Fool’s Day post in 2017:

AFD News: Amazon to open brick-and-mortar department store

This can be a real game changer.

I can certainly see using this at work. With my car parked in a publicly accessible place, they could deliver something into my trunk with a four-hour limit (that’s on delivery day…it’s not that it takes four hours to get there.

Nice!

I can also see this on vacation, parked at a hotel. Of course, it would work at home, too. 🙂

What’s the cost for this service? It’s included in Prime! Worth ten bucks a month now? 😉

Kid-friendly Alexa

This

press release

from April 25th introduces the

Echo Dot Kids Edition (at AmazonSmile*)

and new Amazon FreeTime features for Alexa.

A lot of the parental control features are free, and then there is a paid “Amazon FreeTime Unlimited” tier ($2.99 a month), which gives more content use (certain Audible books, apps).

That’s what they have for Kindle books, too.

They didn’t create a new Unlimited product for Alexa…they added features to the existing plan. If you already subscribe, this is just an expansion of what you get.

This is a clever move…I’d recommend you take a look at the page. Oh, and the $79 for the Kids edition includes a free year of FreeTime Unlimited.

The “Alexa Brain” initiative

Alexa is going to get a whole lot more conversational and useful…and soon.

According to this

TechCrunch article by Sarah Perez

there are some major improvements ahead!

  • Alexa will remember things you tell it, for future recall
  • Alexa will have “context carryover”…in other words, Alexa will be able to stay on topic. If you say, “When was Stephen King born?” and follow it up with, “What’s his newest book?” it should be able to answer that
  • Alexa will automatically launch “Skills” (the Alexa equivalent of apps) that will answer your question…even if you haven’t previously enabled it

Prodigious week, huh? 😉

I’m guessing some of you have opinions about these…feel free to share them with me and my readers by commenting on this post.


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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

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7 Responses to “Round up #175: Alexa Kids Edition, Prime will still be a bargain”

  1. Jeffrey Brown Says:

    Thanks for the info, Bufo! I don’t believe that we received an email about “saving” our digital music, and we have hundreds of albums currently ripped to Amazon! Your notification really saved our bacon! I’m curious about what the kid’s features will be for the Dot, too- our kid currently has an Echo in his room, but we would appreciate some of the features of the new dashboard, if it were available for his Echo. He actually had a Dot, originally, but the sound quality just wasn’t there.

    Thanks!

    • Phink Says:

      Speaking of the music thing I have always paid $25 a year to have my entire CD collection linked to Amazon rather than just what I have bought from them. If you buy an MP3 from Amazon then it’s automatically linked to Amazon music. I noticed a month or so ago that instead of over 8,000 songs available to me on Amazon Music it was only 2 or 3K which is the music I’ve bought from them. Then, I got an email saying they were doing away with whatever that plan was called.
      You basically paid $25 a year and Amazon would scan your HD and if you had a song or CD on your HD they’d allow that song or CD to be linked to and played on Amazon music apps or the Echo could play it. I liked it because I could ask Alexa to play any song I owned. I hate to see it go. Perhaps I’ll use my Bose now to play music more with my iPod classic hooked to it. I was beginning to think the Bose had gone obsolete, despite its much better sound. Turns out it’s not so obsolete after all. However, I can’t tell the Bose “Shuffle my songs on the everywhere group.”

  2. Phink Says:

    I wish I could get car delivery but NE Arkansas is the last to get anything. One of our neighbors had a package stolen just last week. The back of my car would be much safer.

    As far as Prime I almost cancelled it last time. I hardly ever watch any shows on Prime that could not be watched on Hulu or Netflix and we have both. Also, I’ve gone from ordering 112 times in 2015 I think it was to 45 last year.

    One reason is because Walmart has gotten so much better at internet orders. I used to get tons of stuff from Prime Pantry but now use Walmart most of the time. They have 2 day free shipping on orders of $35 or more and most times their pantry items and grocery items are cheaper than Amazon plus a larger selection as well. Prime pantry shipments cost $6 you know and Walmart pantry items are free.

  3. Lady Galaxy Says:

    I wish Amazon would offer various tiers of Prime. Start with basic $99 for shipping only with add on fees for Prime Music & Prime Video.

    I mainly use it for shipping. Since I have Kindle Unlimited, I can’t use the book lending option. I’ve rarely found a Kindle First Read that I actually read all the way through. There are some months when I don’t download any Kindle First Reads at all. I rarely watch Prime Video because it doesn’t play as seamlessly as Netflix Video. Also, since I don’t have wi-fi or a smart TV, I can only play it on my computer. I do listen to Prime Music sometimes while I’m doing other things on my computer, but I could live without it.

    • Phink Says:

      Lady Galaxy, I use a ROKU to stream. I’m sure you’ve thought of that already or a Fire Stick. Myself, I like the ROKU so much better than the Fire Stick for a few reasons but mainly because the Fire Stick doesn’t have a few apps I use such as VUDU. Well, last time I checked they did not have it.

      • Lady Galaxy Says:

        My TV is 18 years old and refuses to die. I’m not sure if it has the kind of connection ports I’d need for either a Fire Stick or ROKU. It already looks like an octopus!

        It does have an HDMI port, but that’s in use for my DVR. It does not have a USB port. It has dual RCA ports, and I could probably try an RCA to USB adapter, but both sets of RCA ports are in use for the DVD and the DVR. The only unused port is the RF input.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Lady!

        I’m impressed! Maybe it decided to model itself after a show which debuted 18 years ago…Survivor. 😉

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