UPDATE, 10/10: Betabeat spoke to members of New York City’s publishing community, who feel “insulted” by Amazon’s decision to open a brick-and-mortar store.
UPDATE, 10/09: According to the Wall Street Journal‘s sources, Amazon’s brick-and-mortar store will be located at 7 W. 34th Street, across from the Empire State Building.
Betabeat reached out to Amazon requesting further details about the store. “We have made no announcements about a location in Manhattan,” a spokesperson responded.
So we made the voyage down to 7 W. 34th Street, where we spoke with a doorman inside the lobby. “I don’t know anything,” he said, when we asked if Amazon was opening a retail store in the building. The building currently contains offices, as well as Mango and Express retail stores on street level.
We popped into Mango, where a security guard said he’d noticed construction in the 7 W. 34th Street building. “Nobody knows what that’s about,” he said.
Betabeat also called the building manager of 7 W. 34th Street, but the person who answered the phone said the manager wasn’t available. When we asked if he knew anything about the Amazon store, he hung up on us mid-sentence.
Rise of the Drones
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.
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.
YouTube Killed the Video Star
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
The Future of the Ebook
The “Maker Movement,” which seeks to revitalize American Manufacturing with open source tools and 3D printers, and has captured the attention of everyone from Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to the White House. So why shouldn’t an ecommerce giant like Amazon try to edge their way into the action?
Amazon launched a new store for 3D-printed goods Read More
Oyster is on a roll lately. They’ve been signing up new publishers, launching new apps, getting good reviews — they’ve even gotten people to rightfully start calling them the “Netflix for Books.”
To add to all of that, as of this morning Oyster is launching their desktop app, making their books available wherever there’s a working browser tab. Though Read More