Tag Archive for ‘Amazon’

Amazon and Apple Strike Deal for Prime Video in-App Purchases and Subscriptions ➝

A great piece by John Gruber, diving head first into the whole Prime Video in-app purchase thing and explaining the payment method that is available in a few different scenarios.

➝ Source: daringfireball.net

Amazon Announces Updated Eero Router ➝

Eero was my go to router hardware before they were acquired by Amazon. But unfortunately Amazon had to add a bunch of Alexa cruft to the product, which I’d prefer to keep out of my house. Now, when it’s time for me to purchase a new router setup, I’m not sure what I’ll do. Hopefully my current Eero routers will last a good number of years and maybe there will be some well-designed,rock-solid competition at that point.

➝ Source: theverge.com

An Amazon Team Reviews Recordings From Echo Devices ➝

Matt Day, Giles Turner, and Natalia Drozdiak, reporting for Bloomberg:

Amazon.com Inc. employs thousands of people around the world to help improve the Alexa digital assistant powering its line of Echo speakers. The team listens to voice recordings captured in Echo owners’ homes and offices. The recordings are transcribed, annotated and then fed back into the software as part of an effort to eliminate gaps in Alexa’s understanding of human speech and help it better respond to commands.

I’m glad I bought HomePods.

Google Assistant Tops Loup Ventures’ Tests, Siri Shows Greatest Improvement ➝

Gene Munster and Will Thompson:

We asked Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa, and Cortana 800 questions each. This time, Google Assistant was able to answer 86% of them correctly vs. Siri at 79%, Alexa at 61%, and Cortana at 52%.

Their results show that Siri has improved at a rate greater than any other assistant since the last time they tested. That feels right to me. I haven’t documented my results and it’s entirely anecdotal, but Siri feels a lot better to me today than it did last year.

It’s also worth noting that, when it comes to accuracy, Google Assistant is on top followed by Siri, Cortana, and Alexa. That runs counter to what most people talking about these services tend to claim. That could mean that these results are flawed or that everyone believes that Amazon is ahead when they actually aren’t.

I suspect they are accurate, though. Keep in mind, Google was tinkering with voice recognition services back in 2007 when they launched GOOG-411. Amazon didn’t start working on Alexa until sometime around 2010.

We’re Nowhere Near ‘Good’ ➝

Joe Cieplinski:

I say this with no small amount of respect for how hard this technology is and how far it has come recently. I’m as excited as the next geek when it comes to the future of AI and voice recognition. I think it’s all super cool.

But it’s not good. Not for most people. It’s barely past the point of being a parlor trick, if we’re being honest. Answering trivia questions? Turning on the lights? There’s a reason even early adopters generally resort to using these devices for a small set of simple tasks. That’s about all they can do reliably.

I firmly believe we’ll get much better voice assistants eventually, but the fact of the matter is “good” is a long way off.

It’s still very early days for voice assistant technology.

Amazon Prime Video Arrives on Apple TV ➝

I’ve had Amazon Prime for a few years, but have avoided watching anything on Prime Video. I know AirPlay is a thing, but if a video service isn’t available natively on my platform of choice — I watch everything on Apple TV — then I’m just not going to bother with it. But now that Prime Video is finally available on Apple TV and I can actually start to care about the service.

I’ve spent most of the day watching Mr. Robot on the service. This is a show that I’ve had my eye on since it debuted in 2015, but haven’t had an opportunity to watch because it wasn’t available on any of the services I used. I’m only a few episodes in, but I’m really enjoying it so far.

Apple and Amazon Seeking to Acquire James Bond Film Rights ➝

Tatiana Siegel and Borys Kit, writing for The Hollywood Reporter:

The James Bond sweepstakes has taken an unexpected turn. While Warner Bros. remains in the lead to land film distribution rights to the megafranchise — whose deal with Sony expired after 2015’s Spectre — a couple of unlikely suitors have emerged that also are in hot pursuit: Apple and Amazon.

The tech giants are willing to spend in the same ballpark as Warners, if not much more, for the rights, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter. MGM has been looking for a deal for more than two years, and Sony, Universal and Fox also had been pursuing the property, with Warners and Sony the most aggressive.

But the emergence of Apple — which is considered such a viable competitor that Warners is now pressing MGM hard to close a deal — and Amazon shows that the digital giants consider Bond one of the last untapped brands (like a Marvel, Pixar or Lucasfilm) that could act as a game-changer in the content space. Apple’s and Amazon’s inclusion in the chase would indicate that more is on the table than film rights, including the future of the franchise if MGM will sell or license out for the right price.

Amazon’s Next Echo Will Be More Like Apple’s HomePod ➝

Devindra Hardawar, reporting for Engadget:

Amazon is working on a new Echo that will improve on the first speaker in practically every way, a source tells Engadget. And, not surprisingly, it’s aiming to take some of the hype away from Apple’s HomePod.

The new Echo will be both shorter and slimmer than the original, almost as if it were three or four Echo Dots stacked on top of each other, our source claims. Amazon is also softening its design with rounded edges and a cloth-like covering, rather than the current Echo’s plastic shell and flat ends. And yes, it should sound better, too. The company is packing in several tweeters this time around, instead of just relying on one large tweeter and a woofer (for low end).

Perhaps this is the Amazon Echo that Ming-Chi Kuo claimed the HomePod was aiming to compete with. Instead of the Echo Show, which I assumed he was referring to.