Archive for the ‘New models’ Category

New Amazon device announcements!

September 19, 2017

New Amazon device announcements!

Well, it’s always nice to get one right! 🙂

I said last week:

“We’ve had strong rumors about new Fire TV devices: my guess is we will have the announcement by Tuesday (which is a traditional book announcement day)…”

Here is that Tuesday, and there are announcements!

Okay, okay…they haven’t announced the new Fire TVs at the time I write this, but they did announce in this

press release

they did announce a new

Fire HD 10″ with hands-free Alexa (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

and the day’s not through yet. 😉

I haven’t had time to look at this much yet, but I will later (it’s available for pre-order, releasing October 11). The hands-free Alexa part is new: you can turn on a mode when it is on wi-fi that will let you address it like an Echo (but presumably, it won’t hear you as well, since it won’t have those far-field microphones).

One thing I checked right away was to see if it will have Alexa calling and the drop-in feature like the

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

which would have solved an issue for me when that device wonderfully enabled a sibling to “attend” another sibling’s wedding.

How the Echo Show kept our family together at a wedding

Interestingly, they talk about how it is great for Skype calls! My guess is that they will enable Alexa calling on it (it’s wi-fi isn’t different from the Echo being able to do calls) before the end of the year.

I have to run, but I can’t go without mentioning the price, which is only $149.99!

Also, there is this:

“Fire HD 10 also includes For You, a new personalized page on the tablet home screen that makes it easy for customers to quickly get back to reading, watching, playing or listening—and to quickly find what’s next. For You learns what a customer loves to do on the tablet, and then presents personalized recommendations across a variety of entertainment categories like books, videos, songs, and apps to help customers get the most out of their tablet. Customers can also quickly access family photos from Prime Photos and see their local weather right from the For You home screen. The new For You page is also now available for customers on previous generation Fire tablets.”

I think we could still get those Fire TV announcements today…or there may be announcements over the next few days, we’ll see.

If you have comments (some of my readers have really insightful comments when new models are released), feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amaz on 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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Amazon device announcement imminent?

September 15, 2017

Amazon device announcement imminent?

You know how, just before a tsunami, all of the water may leave the beach, before it comes crashing back with a fury?

The same sort of thing may be happening right now with Amazon devices. 🙂

Well, at least with the

Amazon Fire TV 2nd generation (at AmazonSmile*)

Without my link, you’d have a tough time even finding it. It’s not on the

Fire TV family (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

page any more. When you find it, it says they don’t know when or if it will be back in stock.

I would bet it won’t be. 🙂

We’ve had strong rumors about new Fire TV devices: my guess is we will have the announcement by Tuesday (which is a traditional book announcement day), although it could happen Friday. It might also just appear in the store at midnight middle of the night Thursday with an announcement to follow Friday. The Fire TV has been a very popular item, and no reason to suppose it’s not a big part of the devices strategy. The “missing model” has 4.3 stars out of 5, with a remarkable 34,645 customer reviews. For comparison, the Kindle Voyage has about a third that many reviews (12,998).

The Apple TV was recently refreshed, and streamers are big. We may get a higher end version which includes Alexa with far field microphones, and maybe a refreshing of the inexpensive Fire TV Stick (which wouldn’t have those microphones, I would think).

As to other devices:

  • The entry level Kindle is in stock
  • All versions of the Paperwhite seem to be in stock. One interesting note: they have Kindle Unlimited for three months as an add-on for $1.99
  • The Voyage with both 3G and wi-fi and no special offers is out of stock, expected back October 18th
  • Most of the Kindle Oasis versions are out of stock: only the black version is available (the merlot and walnut are out of stock) and the Wi-Fi only is out of stock
  • The black Amazon Echo tower (my name for the original) is out of stock, expected back September 21st
  • The Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, and Echo Show are in stock. The Echo Look is still by invitation only
  • The Amazon Fire tablets appear to be in stock

My feeling?

At least two new Fire TV family members…one with Alexa, one Stick. The Oasis won’t be announced as gone, but is dwindling. They might keep one version. The Tap is probably fading out. This is likely to be the last big hardware announcement of the year…so auggies (VAM…virtual/augmented/merged/mixed reality headset/glasses) is a possible category. That last one could wait for software announcements…those could come later in the year. Oh, and Amazon could always surprise us with something new, like they did with the wand and the dash buttons.

I’d be surprised if we don’t get an announcement in the next few days, but what do you think? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Bonus deal: I know this will likely be too late in the day for some of you, but

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (at AmazonSmile*)

is $2.99 today…at least in the USA.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amaz on 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.

 

 

September 2017 is coming: what devices have been around the longest?

July 30, 2017

September 2017 is coming: what devices have been around the longest?

September is about a month away, and Amazon has often announced new hardware in that month.

Last year, I looked at the current Amazon hardware shortly before that, to give my opinions on which ones I thought might be updated.

Let’s do that again. 🙂

Kindle EBRs (E-Book Readers)

All-New Kindle E-reader – Black, 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) $79.99

The most recent edition is from  June of last year, and that’s when they added Bluetooth. They could update that, but they could also just lower the price. That’s a question for me at this point: do they really need four models of EBR now, and do the price points make sense? If the Paperwhite comes down $20 to get under $100, I don’t think they need two between $50 and $100. An under $50 Kindle could be attractive…I’m not seeing $80 as a good price point. I also think that EBRs are in competition with the Fire tablet line…it’s not the same experience, but I think many people are fine with reading on a backlit tablet, rather than having a dedicated reading device.

All-New Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) $119.99

It’s been more than two years since they updated this one. If someone wanted to buy a Kindle who had never owned one, this is still the one I’d recommend. The frontlighting makes it worth more money than the entry level model. I don’t find that the upgrades to the Voyage are worth the money for most people. If they wanted to update it and keep the price about the same, they could add Bluetooth and water-proofing. I could even see the price going up a bit.

Kindle Voyage (any configuration) (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) $199.99

Last updated in 2014. There are 12,972 customer reviews at time of writing. The Paperwhite has 47,415. Now, yes, the Paperwhite has been around longer, but I don’t sense the customer engagement with the Voyage. Could they simply drop this model? Maybe. They could also just leave it alone, maybe lowering the price, but I don’t see them doing much development on this.

The Oasis $289.99 (I’m not linking because it can’t be purchased without an animal leather cover)

This top of the line model came out in April of 2016. I’ve seen some very positive reaction to it, but a 4.2 star average isn’t exceptional (the Paperwhite has a 4.5). I don’t see them dropping this model: it’s good to have an EBR positioned as a luxury item. They could even update this one.

I could see this ending up with three promoted models (and maybe a dormant one): one for under $50, one for about $100, and one for well over $250.

Fire Tablets

Fire Tablets (at AmazonSmile*)

The Fire tablets were already updated this year. I don’t expect to hear much about this, unless they introduce a high end with something innovative.

Echo Family

Echo family (at AmazonSmile*)

We use our

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

every day. It’s even going to enable us to take a family member with mobility issues to a wedding…not for the ceremony itself, but at the social events around it. It will mean that people can walk up and talk to my relative, and our relative will be able to see what’s going on. I suspect that will be confusing for people at first, because they probably won’t realize our relative sees them. 🙂

I don’t expect that or the Dot (it’s doing too well) or the Look (I don’t think it’s gotten enough engagement) to be updated. The Tap is already off the family stripe (what the show you at the top of a strategy)…I use ours a lot (taking it to work with me), but I don’t think it’s been a hit, unfortunately.

As to the original

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

which I call “The Tower”, I think it is due.

That’s partially to deal with Apple’s device, so that would mean smaller and with better sound. It doesn’t mean cheaper, although it certainly could. My intuition is that people wouldn’t mind losing the big Tower design…I suppose they could also introduce one which is intermediate to the “hockey puck” Dot and The Tower.

I think there is still a lot of software innovation to come: one thing would be the ability of Alexa to recognize individual voices. In our house, for example, that might mean giving me the temperature in Celsius and my Significant Other the temperature in Fahrenheit, for example. That could also serve as one alternative for “password protecting” purchases (with an option for a number, when your voice isn’t recognized).

In terms of new Alexa devices:

I like the Dash Wand, but don’t use it that much.

A ring, a watch, a key fob…I could see a lot options for a tiny Alexa device (without “always on” technology).

An Alexa specifically for the car would make sense.

Fire TV

Fire TV family (at AmazonSmile*)

I do think these could see a significant upgrade…in addition to recent integrated Fire TV in a television (as opposed to the add on box or stick).

Our Fire TV, interestingly, could use more power. We recently got DirecTV HBO as part of our phone package, so I added that app…and it does seem to be pushing the limits of the device.

Other possibilities:

  • They are doing more branded phone deals, and I think that will continue, with Alexa onboard being the draw. I do still want a fully functional Alexa app for my existing SmartPhones (Galaxy for my personal phone, iPhone for work)
  • I expect Amazon to get into virtual/augmented reality in a really noticeable way this year, and there could be an announcement around that. I’ve started referring to virtual/augmented reality hardware as “auggies”. I’m not saying Amazon would produce a branded headset, but something…that might also wait for closer to the holidays, though
  • It wouldn’t surprise me to see Amazon get into Amazon branded SmartHome devices (plugs, lightbulbs), and perhaps a hub

I have some other thoughts, but I’m interested in what you think. If Amazon introduces new branded hardware in September or August, what would you guess? Do you think they’d keep the Voyage and drop the Paperwhite? Is the Tap on the way out? Are recent unavailabilities of some devices a sign that they are being replaced? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* 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 you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

Echo Show: first impressions

June 29, 2017

Echo Show: first impressions

Well, our

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

is here!

There’s no question that when you set it up, it’s a cool…thing. 🙂 I say that, because it isn’t really obvious what it is at first. It’s sort of like the first Kindle back in 2007, or I suppose a television set in 1948. It does something for sure, and it’s clear that something is futuristic and pretty unprecedented…but just how you’ll use it, and how it will fit into your life, is a bit of a mystery. You have no doubt that it will fit into it, even become important…but for now, the right reaction seems to be a half smile and bemusement.

Let’s back up a little, and talk about unboxing it and setting it up.

I had been very impressed when our Dash Wand arrived…the packaging was great! I was hoping for a repeat of that, but it take me some effort to get it out of the box. There was a slip cover that didn’t want to slip off (and I didn’t want to tear it), and several pieces of tape to remove. No big deal, but not the exemplary experience of the Wand.

Out of the box, it was simple. Just plug it in, and follow the instructions. It does have a touchscreen and as far as I could tell, I did have to use it…Alexa does most of her processing in the cloud, so I’m sure it needs to be connected before it can carry on a conversation. I did have to enter my wi-fi password: nowadays, Amazon devices generally already know mine, so I don’t have to do that…I think it may not have known who I was until we were into the set up, but then I feel like it should have been able to do my password. Oh, and it needed to update the software before it would work…that took maybe fifteen minutes.

It’s shape is kind of a wedge…not entirely unlike the original Kindle, but it makes sense for this to be able to stand up easily. Unfortunately, that does mean that when you turn on the video monitor, it may not show you someone sitting on the couch, for example, depending on where it is…you might see the above them instead.

The video display area is about the size of a 7″ tablet, like a Kindle Fire…then there are maybe four inches of non-display below that. The whole thing would be about the right size to be a trivet for a salad plate. It’s not very deep, but you couldn’t really hang it on a wall.

The screen quality looked great to me! The colors in the introductory video were nicely muted, but vibrant colors were clearly possible. The sound is good, and can get quite loud.

The screen has a background picture, and then rotates through useful information, like what is on my calendar and the weather, as well as some news.

It understood me pretty much like an original Echo. I did ask it to show me “otter videos” and it came up with “odd or videos”, which believe me, weren’t the same thing. 😉

The only “ad” I saw was a suggestion that I get Amazon’s unlimited music package, which I don’t want at this point.

When I asked it who an actor was, it did show me a picture of the actor. I asked for Brussels sprouts recipes, and it could show me a video. When selecting from choices, you can say a number.

I asked it to take a picture, and it did, and then uploaded it to Prime videos. There were several modes for that.

I did the “drop in” thing from the Alexa app on my phone to the Show in the same room. Unfortunately, that created quite a bit of feedback…and I had to say a few different things to get it to stop. Drop in is just a way to initiate a call (a videocall, in this case), and have no action necessary on the other end for it to start. I could have stopped the video, if I wanted to do that. However, if I want to see our dogs during the day (and if I can get it to show them how low they will be), that would work well.

It could control our lights, shows us the weather, and so on, just like our Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Tap.

I’ve been trying it for about an hour or so, and my first impression? Clearly, it’s going to be important. It’s also going to get a lot better than it is now, but it’s already a good thing. It’s a bit like being told you have a super power, but not knowing how to use it. 😉

I’ll work with it more tomorrow, so I’ll have more to say. In the mean time, here’s the

Amazon Echo Show help pages (at AmazonSmile*)

This is what’s there:

LEARN MORE

Let me and my readers know if you have specific questions, or tips and tricks (or just thoughts) you want to share by commenting on this post.

Important update: I’ve add a new

Things to do and things to know about the Amazon Echo Show page

and yes, that’s intended to be a little rhyme. 😉

I’m just going to throw factoids in there, and encourage you to comment on it with things you would suggest should be added (and once I’ve approved them, they can be seen as comments whether or not I add them to the page. I will review them, because I do get spam comments on this blog). I’ve barely started it, but my guess is that I’ll have more than 100 in there before the end of the weekend. Probably most useful when searched, however you are able to search a webpage on your device.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* 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! :) 

Amazon Dash Wand: first impressions

June 17, 2017

Amazon Dash Wand: first impressions

Well, that got here quickly!

I just wrote yesterday about the

Least expensive Alexa hardware so far: Amazon Dash Wand…free (sort of) for Prime members

and it arrived today!

It feels fully baked…I was impressed with the execution! Some Amazon hardware has seemed like it was rushed to market, but not the ADW.

The packaging was great: elegant, and clear. They don’t tell you this on the product page (that could have used work), but it comes with the batteries you need.

Putting the batteries in was simple. Setting it up was really simple! I didn’t need to download an app, just go to a website on my phone. I didn’t even have to enter a wi-fi password, since Amazon is storing those for me. I also didn’t have to put in a username and password (my phone already knows that…maybe this works because I have the Amazon shopping app on my phone).

I checked: it wouldn’t read me a Kindle book. It did answer weather questions and the time…and it does sound much better than our

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

You hold down a button to talk to it, or to scan.

Interestingly, it didn’t find something when we asked for it…it even told us that Amazon didn’t have the one we had ordered before (which impressed me…that it said we had ordered it before).

However, when I scanned it, it did show up in our cart!

At this point, there is a tweak I would make. It didn’t tell me that something had been successfully scanned…it wouldn’t have to do that with words, just a reassuring tone would work.

The magnet to put it on the fridge seemed to have the right amount of strength. It also comes with a hook, so you could hang it.

This would work well as a guest device…our Tap could work for that, too, but this is quite elegant. They could pick up the wand and ask Alexa to turn on the light. 🙂 That did work, by the way. I should say that it seemed to take longer to think than our Echo devices, but it wasn’t bad.

My verdict at this point: I think it’s a winner! 😉

One other quick note: Amazon may be buying Whole Foods…

What do you think? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* 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! :) 

 

Least expensive Alexa hardware so far: Amazon Dash Wand…free (sort of) for Prime members

June 15, 2017

Least expensive Alexa hardware so far: Amazon Dash Wand…free (sort of) for Prime members

I want Alexa everywhere!

Amazon’s digital assistant is like Iron Man’s Jarvis…and it does more and better than the original Star Trek’s computer on the Enterprise.

Well, on the latter, the computer’s abilities weren’t always the same…but it took quite a while to look up something (and we could hear relays closing), and it couldn’t interact with the ship much. If it could, Kirk would be saying, “Computer, fire photon torpedoes”…or perhaps, “Computer, open ‘Battle Time’ skill!” and letting it manage everything. Oh, wait, they tried that…right, Dr. Daystrom? 😉

I have it on our Echoes (Dot and original). I have it on my Tap I take to work. I have it on our Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. I have it on my Galaxy S7 (as part of the Amazon shopping app) and my work iPhone (again, through the app).

When I don’t have Alexa available, I know it…sometimes, I really want to ask Alexa something, even when that’s not an option.

You can get Alexa for free (if you own a compatible SmartPhone with that shopping app), but the least expensive hardware option from Amazon to date has been the

Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote | Streaming Media Player (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

for $39.99, although the

Echo Dot (at AmazonSmile*)

currently matches that price, because of a

Big sale on some Kindles and Echoes

Amazon just introducde a $20 option…and

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

members get a limited $20 credit when they purchase some things, so it’s cost neutral. Details on that here:

For a limited time, receive a $20 promotional credit when you register your Amazon Dash Wand with your Amazon Prime account (at AmazonSmile*)

Now, this isn’t part of the Echo family: it explicitly says it won’t play music.

I’m checking to see if it will read text-to-speech enabled Kindle books: I can see it as a handy bedside item.

That’s not what it’s designed to do, though: it’s designed for shopping. You can magnetically stick it to your refrigerator (the Echo voice remote used to (and may still…I’ll have to check) come with a magnetic cradle, but this is magnetic itself).

You can ask it to order things for you…and it can also scan barcodes to order things. That’s one of the big things for Artificial Intelligence in the future: how can it sense the world? For years, we’ve been the sensory apparatus for our computers…we would have to tell them what was going on in the real world, from punch cards to keyboards to mice to touch. That’s sort of like our relationship to dogs. 😉 Dogs have better sensory apparatus, and we do more of the cognitive work. AI/computers can do some specific types of “mental activity” better than we can (recall of specific data, but increasingly, predictive tasks and other things…an AI just got a perfect score on Ms. Pac-Man, something no human had done before), but most are pretty limited on the kinds of generalized perception humans can do. While we can’t smell things like a dog or use echolocation like a dolphin (although some humans have shown they can use it to some extent), we actually see and hear pretty well…and process the data very efficiently (if imperfectly).

The ADW (Amazon Dash Wand) has an “eye” for scanning.

It will do some Alexa tasks: it will answer questions and control your smart home. By the way, if it really sounds like it does in the video on the product page, it’s much better than the Dot.

Now, I do have to say: the product page is sorely lacking. I’m asking questions, but for example, it doesn’t list what powers it. Is it a replaceable battery? Do you charge it? On another topic, can it Bluetooth (I don’t think so)?

You also get 3 months of a normally $14.99 a month Amazon Fresh membership…I’ll have to see if that is automatic renewal or not.

Overall, it’s a very intriguing item, and I am ordering one.

Update: here is the direct link Amazon Dash Wand (a href=”https://smile.amazon.com/Amazon-Dash-Wand-With-Alexa/dp/B01MQMJFDK/ref=sr_1_3_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1497534770&sr=8-3&keywords=amazon+dash+wand”>at AmazonSmile*)

What do you think? Are you going to get one? If you are not a Prime member, would you pay for it? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* 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! :) 

Just breaking: Fire tablet line revamped with Alexa, and 20% off mix and match 3 pack

May 17, 2017

Just breaking: Fire tablet line revamped with Alexa, and 20% off mix and match 3 pack

Amazon just sent me a press release announcing a revamp of the

Fire tablet line (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

and an introductory deal.

press release

The deal is by using the code

FIRE3PACK

for any three…you could get two of the kids’ editions and an 8″, for example, and get 20% off. You could get three of the entry level $49.99, and instead of paying $149.97, you’d pay $119.98 (based on my rounding and without tax and possible shipping and in the USA buying from Amazon.com).

The deal ends June 6th, and here are the details on the discount:

Terms and Conditions (at AmazonSmile*)

Oh, and here’s a press release with multimedia:

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170517005706/en/

I need to look over the product details more, but thinner, lighter, better battery life and wi-fi connectivity, better screen, yada yada 😉 and the same price point for the least expensive model.

The 10″ is not mentioned.

Here’s something I think is key:

Amazon is now making Alexa not just a way to get to content, but a way to manage our lives and to connect with human beings.

It seems quite likely we’ll be able to do videocalls through Alexa Calling on these devices (even if not right away).

Frequently Asked Kindle Questions: Alexa Calling edition

If that’s the case, and if that’s how we routinely communicate with loved ones (Significant Others, grandkids, grandparents, and so on), having an inexpensive, portable way to do that becomes very important.

If Alexa runs my car, feeds by pets, does my shopping lists, manages my calendar…I’ll want access to it everywhere, which will increase considerably the demand for tablets. Videocalling, I think, is one of those things that can push people (especially those with even minor vision challenges) to tablets over phones (besides the cost difference, of course).

Virtual/Augmented reality headsets, especially ones you can almost forget you are wearing, have a few years (probably five) before they overtake phones even for the technically comfortable, so there is time to do this with tablets. I do still expect Amazon to make a big VAM (Virtual/Augmented/Mixed/Merged Reality) play this year, though. 😉

What do you think? Some of my readers are really good at parsing these press releases and tech specs…feel free to let me and my readers know what you’ve found or what questions you have by commenting on this post.


My current Amazon Giveaways

LAST DAY TO ENTER!

One Murder More (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

the award-winning, highly-rated mystery by my sibling, Kris Calvin!

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/398897583537603c

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Kris Calvin on Amazon (to my knowledge, all that you’ll get is a notification when Kris publishes a new book in the Kindle store, although I don’t know that for sure…that’s all I’ve ever seen for authors I follow, I think. Kris is working on the second book in the Maren Kane mystery series.

Start:May 10, 2017 7:44 AM PDT
End:May 17, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

Thanks to the hundreds of people who have entered my previous giveaways for a chance to win Kris’ book! I don’t benefit directly from Kris’ book, although we have had a lot of conversations about it. 🙂

Join thousands of readers an

Amazon Giveaway for And Then There Were None!

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/3e6a60b4814649a3

Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winner.
Requirements for participation:
Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
18+ years of age (or legal age)

Start:May 12, 2017 6:24 PM PDT
End:Jun 11, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

===

Star Wars Day through 40 years of Star Wars!
Giveaway by Bufo Calvin
  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
    • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
    • Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
    • 18+ years of age (or legal age)

Giveaway:
https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/0ce7b24b32a4a670

Start:May 4, 2017 6:32 AM PDT
End:Jun 3, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

It’s going on that long in part so that it covers the actual 40th anniversary of Star Wars (of the release in the USA) on May 25th 2017. Also, this book, which has good reviews and is new, is $14.99 in the Kindle edition…which is a lot for me for a giveaway. 🙂

Good luck, and may the Force be with you!

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

 * 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.

It’s available for pre-order! Amazon Echo Show available for pre-order

May 9, 2017

It’s available for pre-order! Amazon Echo Show available for pre-order

I wrote about it as a rumor yesterday, but you can pre-order (for June 28th at time of writing) now!

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

As expected, it is a new device…I would even say a new class of device.

You can buy two of them for $100 off with the code SHOW2PACK.

I’m going to publish this right now, because pre-order dates often get pushed back…and they may run out of stock. Then, I’ll update this later.

I’ve already ordered mine. 🙂

Update:

I think the biggest piece  of this is the calling and messaging, and I’ve had a chance to read over more information on it. Here is the (quite thorough) subpage

Alexa Calling and Messaging (at AmazonSmile*)

Note that this is not going to be just for the Echo Show: you’ll be able to call and message people with other devices…for free. That was always the promise of VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol), but this could actually have an impact…especially if it works internationally, but that’s not necessary.

The message, by the way, is a voice message…not a text message. It’s like leaving a voicemail.

It will work with all of the Echo devices…and the Alexa app, which people can download to a SmartPhone (iPhone or Android) even if they have no Echo device at all.

More later, but I’ll mention a few quick things:

  • You can see some wi-fi videostreams on your voice…for example, from your Ring doorbell
  • You can see lyrics with some songs…we have that in some places already, but this could make for nice sing-alongs 😉
  • You can watch YouTube videos…presumably, those could be entire movies, many of which are on YouTube (quite a few older, public domain movies and TV shows, but that’s not all)
  • Flash briefings can now be video, including well-known services

As you find things, feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post!


My current Amazon Giveaway

Star Wars Day through 40 years of Star Wars!
Giveaway by Bufo Calvin
  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
    • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
    • Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
    • 18+ years of age (or legal age)

Giveaway:
https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/0ce7b24b32a4a670

Start:May 4, 2017 6:32 AM PDT
End:Jun 3, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

It’s going on that long in part so that it covers the actual 40th anniversary of Star Wars (of the release in the USA) on May 25th 2017. Also, this book, which has good reviews and is new, is $14.99 in the Kindle edition…which is a lot for me for a giveaway. 🙂

Good luck, and may the Force be with you!

Congratulations to Patty B, who won a copy of my sibling’s mystery

One Murder More (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

in the giveaway which finished yesterday!

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

 * 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.

 

Rumor: Amazon releasing new hardware as soon as Tuesday

May 9, 2017

Rumor: Amazon releasing new  hardware as soon as Tuesday

We’ve talked before about a possible

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

with a screen.

Today, there is a flurry of rumors about Amazon introducing a new device…as soon as tomorrow local time (Tuesday, May 9th).

My sense on this is that this could really happen…a leak before a release is not unprecedented.

The rumors (and there are more than one) include that it will be capable of making phone calls.

We need to know more about the implementation, but there are some interesting possibilities.

One obvious question: does it need to use your phone?

If it’s working over wi-fi, no. It could use VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol). That doesn’t mean it’s free, necessarily.

If it is using your phone, then it wouldn’t cost any more to you.

So, why would somebody need this? What’s the advantage over a tablet or laptop?

Alexa is about voice, so you’d have to guess that would be part of it. “Alexa, call my veterinarian’s office”. How is that better than your phone?

I would use it, sure. I don’t walk around my house with my phone, although many people do. I could do a lot of what I do with our Echos on my phone…hey, I can use Alexa on my phone, for that matter (using the Amazon shopping app).

It’s just easier to just “talk to the air” and have stuff happen. 🙂

The biggest advantage for me would be for it to a super speakerphone…making calls is one thing, but receiving them and having the voice heard easily by multiple people in the room…that’s another whole level.

None of that requires a screen.

The screen could do videocalls…that might be nice.

The screen, though, could also show us information.

Alexa currently sends “cards” to my phone and can send them to a tablet…it can show information on our Fire TVs, too.

The screen might be a better form factor…larger, without being too large.

My guess is that the device will also have a camera. That camera could be for videocalls…but it could also be for augmented reality. 🙂 I know I’ve been harping on that for Amazon, and I wouldn’t really expect it at launch, but it could happen in the not too distant future.

For example, it could do a “magic mirror” thing, like the Face app or PhotoLab. It could morph you into an older version of yourself, or give you cat ears.

It could show you an Amazon product and combine it with your actual room. That would get us towards my 2016 April Fool’s Day post:

AFD News: Amazon introduces ‘Narcissus’, augmented reality mirror

🙂

If we are getting a hardware announcement, we could see some other changes…I have to believe that there is a water-resistant Kindle in our future. 🙂

Here’s a search that will get you the rumors…I’ll be interested to see what happens, if anything, in the next few days.

https://www.bing.com/news/search?q=amazon+echo+new+phone+capable&FORM=HDRSC6

Update: thanks to regular reader alanchurch for a comment on this post which resulted in a change.


My current Amazon Giveaway

Star Wars Day through 40 years of Star Wars!
Giveaway by Bufo Calvin
  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
    • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
    • Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
    • 18+ years of age (or legal age)

Giveaway:
https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/0ce7b24b32a4a670

Start:May 4, 2017 6:32 AM PDT
End:Jun 3, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

It’s going on that long in part so that it covers the actual 40th anniversary of Star Wars (of the release in the USA) on May 25th 2017. Also, this book, which has good reviews and is new, is $14.99 in the Kindle edition…which is a lot for me for a giveaway. 🙂

Good luck, and may the Force be with you!

Congratulations to Patty B, who won a copy of my sibling’s mystery

One Murder More (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

in the giveaway which finished yesterday!

New Fire tablet announced: and Alexa is coming to some older model Fires

September 9, 2016

New Fire tablet announced: and Alexa is coming to some older model Fires

Apple may not have announced a new iPad this week, but Amazon announced a new

All-New Fire HD 8 Tablet, 8″ HD Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

It can be pre-ordered now for release on September 21st.

It is new and improved…

  • The battery now lasts up to 12 hours
  • It has twice the storage…it comes in 16GB and 32GB models, and you can add an SD card for up to 200GB more
  • It has 1.5GB of RAM…50% more
  • It comes in your choice of four colors: black; tangerine; magenta; and blue
  • “Blue Shade”, which shifts the color spectrum of the Fire so it won’t tend to keep you awake at night, will now be able to automatically activate and deactivate based on local sunrise and sunset

Most importantly to me, Alexa is coming to this device…and some older Fire tablets! That’s the “parse-onality” of the Amazon Echo. I use Alexa every day on a variety of devices. It gives me information, plays music, and controls the lights in our house.

In this

press release

it says that Alexa will be coming to the following Fire models in the coming months:

all-new Fire HD 8, Fire HD 10, Fire and last year’s Fire HD 8 tablets

Where it says just “Fire” there, that’s the least expensive model.

This new model is $89.99 in the least expensive configuration (16GB, ad-supported). The “Fire” is $49.99.

I had said I thought Amazon would likely introduce new hardware…here it is. 🙂 There may be more coming…

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.


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