At the Standard Hotel in New York City last night, AT&T held an event where a slew of reporters queued up for a momentary, tightly controlled preview of the Amazon Fire Phone. No videography was allowed, but it was enough time to see what sets the Fire Phone apart from the competition. The verdict is dim, even compared to something as dismal as a Windows Phone.
The front of the phone is surrounded by 3D cameras that track the motion of your face to see how your head orients to the phone. On a map of New York City, moving the gadget around in front of our eyes caused us to peek around the buildings. In order to see into the distance, we tilted the phone like we were searching for something hidden inside the edge of the screen, which was a little cool at first, but was more glitzy then convenient.
As techies anxiously await the news on Amazon’s unnecessarily camera-loaded phone to be released tomorrow, we’re wondering why no one has developed a smartphone that can simply hold a 24-hour charge.
In an effort to combat one of the most devastating first world problems, ChargeAll has started a campaign to fund the “world’s smallest portable power outlet.”
Amazon is preparing to unveil a new piece of hardware tomorrow, and the tech world is waiting on bated breath for more details while making a few wild guesses in the mean time.
Many have speculated that they’ll make a play for the cell phone market, but a close look at the promo video reveals the true nature of the device:
the robots are coming
If you haven’t heard, Amazon is adding a thing or five to continue expanding whilst capturing our hopeless devotion.
Two weeks after announcing the addition of 9,000 robots to their workforce, the company revealed their plan to open a marketplace for local services.
The new marketplace will enable consumers to use Amazon to find people who can help them with home repairs, haircuts, massages, babysitting and any other services, Reuters reported.
Were you hoping Amazon would go away so you could stop buying things you don’t need solely because they come in two days? Oh well.
Amazon is about to multiply their robot army times 10, CNN reported.
The online retailing giant announced plans to increase their robot workforce to 10,000 by the end of this year. Currently, Amazon employs 1,000 of the wondrous warehouse machines.
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.
This week’s deal: Oyster, the Netflix for books, signed a deal with Simon & Schuster that will give Oyster subscribers access to Simon & Schuster’s entire backlist.
Oyster, a service that charges $10 a month for all-you-can-read access to a library of half a million books, just added heavyweight Simon & Schuster to their list of publishers. That makes two of the Big Five companies that dominate the publishing game, and if Oyster can sign on the remaining three publishers, they could take their place among companies like Spotify and Netflix as one of the great subscription titans of the decade.
The Internet has made it possible for anyone with a computer to publicly attack anyone else. This extends to authors, whose Amazon review sections are sometimes derailed by trolly, abusive comments.
A group of authors is circulating a Change.org petition to stop “author harassment” in Amazon’s user reviews, MediaBistro reports:
Amazon is denying that it’s developing an “over-the-top” live streaming service for televisions. [The Verge]
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority approved a pilot program last night that requires companies operating employee shuttles (cough Google and Facebook) to obtain permits and pay fees. [Recode]
The Internet is about to have its “big bang.” On Feb. 4, thousands of domain names, like .pizza, will be on sale. [Quartz]
Don’t freak out Marissa with this news, but Tumblr’s traffic is reportedly declining. [Forbes]
Uncarrier T-Mobile is launching Mobile Money, a low-cost bank account for people who are uncomfortable with traditional banks. Interestingly, users can access more than 4,000 ATMs for free. [CNet]
Uber is distancing itself from an accident in San Francisco that killed a six-year-old. The company says the car wasn’t providing an Uber service during the incident so they’re not at fault. [PandoDaily]
Amazon is slowly putting on its boxing gloves against Netflix. It quietly rolled out its first ad for Prime Instant online video. [Recode]
Netflix has 77,000 sub-categories even though you’re just going to watch 30 Rock again. [Atlantic]
Apparently PlayStation 4 owners watch three times as much porno compared to their Xbox One counterparts. [BuzzFeed FWD]
CES is going to be flooded with celebrities like, uh, Olivia Munn. [AdWeek]
Google is expected to announce a partnership with Audi next week. The two companies will develop an Android-based in-car entertainment and information systems. [WSJ]
Everybody is cautiously excited about Twitter’s stock. This is partly the reason why: “Twitter’s total market value is one-third that of Facebook, which has five times as many users and more than 10 times the revenue.” [New York Times]
People are really liking the Google Chromebook. It accounted for a fifth of commercial laptops sold in November. [AllThingsD]
Amazon announced that on Cyber Monday it sold more than 426 items per second — or 37 million items sold on that one day alone. [BGR]
Shorter: CEO of Large Company Has a Packed Schedule. [New York Post]