Amazon

Amazon Says ‘Screw It,’ Charges 99 Cents for Fire Phone

It's like an iPhone, but worse! (Facebook)

Customers are so excited about the iPhone 6, they’re willing to pay people to wait in line at the Apple Store for them. Sadly, we can’t say the same for the enthusiasm surrounding the Amazon Fire Phone, whose price has just been reduced to a measly $0.99.

The phone, which has been on the market for less than two months, has already decreased nearly $200 in price, Time reports. Amazon Devices’ vice president, Ian Freed, described the news in a press release today:

Fire is now 99 cents with a two-year contract, plus customers get one full year of Prime included. With access to all of the Prime content, Mayday, 32GB of memory and free unlimited cloud storage for photos, plus the exclusive Dynamic Perspective and Firefly features, Fire is another example of the value Amazon delivers to customers.

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Rise of the Drones

Our Thoughts and Prayers Are With India As Amazon Starts Testing Its Delivery Drones There

Can't wait to hear these buzzing above.(Screengrab: YouTube)

When Amazon announced their plans to deliver orders via drone, the world was hopeful, yet skeptical.

But what we thought were nothing more than Amazon’s wildest fantasies may be coming true. Two sources with knowledge of the project’s development revealed that initial testing for the Prime Air drone delivery service could begin as soon as October, according to India’s The Economic Times. Read More

Unproven Thieries

The Netflix of Everything: Why Companies Don’t Want You Making Decisions

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Netflix, as you may have heard, is great. A digital economy of scale allows us to pay a ridiculously low price for an ocean of streaming video that we could never hope to watch in all the years we might live, and in return we typically get frustrated by moderate price increases and the recent removal of 24. We keep our subscription through thick and thin, largely because it would be a slight inconvenience to cancel it. Other companies have caught on, and all the big players are trying their hands at movies, TV, music, video games and more. We in the media tend to call this modern incarnation of an old idea “The Netflix of blank.”

It doesn’t stop with entertainment. There are subscriptions for beauty products, clothes,  groceries, contraception, razors, and pretty much everything else you could imagine. Even neo-taxis, like Uber and Lyft (which still require you to make a purchasing decision every time you use them) function mainly by banking on the idea that they can become a sort of transportation default, thus avoiding that pesky moment where people check to see if they’re really getting a deal or not. None of this is new (magazine subscriptions, cheese of the month clubs, Costco, etc.), but both digital distribution and the logistical streamlining of the 21st century are supercharging it. Read More

YouTube Killed the Video Star

YouTube Is Coming After Spotify With a Clone Called ‘Music Key’

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The Internet’s largest players are slowly figuring out that nobody wants to pay for music or movies, no matter how low the cost. So to figure out what’s next, they’re looking a the rising subscription giants like Netflix and Spotify and just, well, copying them.

YouTube is planning to launch a massive music subscription service called YouTube Music Key, Android Police reports. The service has no planned release date, but Google has already bought the domain youtubemusickey.com, and a series of phone screenshots show off the service’s basic features. Read More

Flappy Bird

Flappy Bird Has Returned In the Lamest Way Imaginable

Woooow looks fab. (Amazon)

Perhaps feeling threatened by copycats, everyone’s favorite addicting game, Flappy Bird, has made a triumphant return — well, sort of.

The game, which was pulled from the app store by creator Dong Nguyen in February, has finally re-emerged, the Verge reports. The catch? It’s for some reason only available on Amazon’s Android App Store, and can only be played on a TV hooked up to Amazon’s Fire TV set-top box. Uh, okay. Read More

Freshly Minted

Why’d Apple Buy Beats and Booklamp? Probably to Build a Massive Subscription Platform

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Welcome to Freshly Minted, where we examine an overlooked deal or funding announcement in tech from the past week and tell you what you need to know and why it matters.

The deal: Apple acquired book analysis startup Booklamp for an alleged $10 to $15 million, likely to begin work building a book subscription platform, or something much bigger.

Apple is always stark and shady when it comes to their acquisitions. They’ve bought a number of under-the-radar startups, and when asked why, they offer up the same response:

“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” Read More

Stream It

You Can Now Opt for Slower Amazon Delivery in Exchange For Free Instant Video Credits

The options are overwhelming. (Screengrab: via Amazon)

While it’s hard to miss Amazon while they’re flying drones around the Space Needle and building a 10,000 strong robot army, we would’t blame you if you’ve been too captivated by Netflix to care that Amazon has a ton of content available for instant streaming.

In what we assume is a tactic to bring some avid streamers to Amazon Instant Video, the company is offering Prime customers Instant Video credits in exchange for a little more time to deliver their packages. Read More