Tag Archives: Amazon

With Amazon Instant Video and More, Is Xbox 360 the Center of Your Entertainment?

Amazon has announced the launch of the Instant Video app for Xbox 360 that gives customers access to movies and TV episodes on their console. Xbox Live Gold members who also are subscribed to the Amazon Prime service can now access over 17,000 movies and TV episodes from Amazon. If you don’t have the Amazon Prime subscription, you can purchase any streaming video content and watch it on your Xbox 360 console.

amazon_instant_video_xbox_360

Download the Amazon Instant Video application from the Apps section of the Xbox dashboard. Once in the Amazon Instant Video application, sign in using your Amazon credentials and instantly watch the videos you want. While you can shop the Amazon Instant Video store from the web on a PC, Mac or tablet, you can’t do that from the console! Bummer, yes. Buying and renting movies directly on your Xbox 360 is not currently supported, although, anything you buy or rent will appear in Your Video Library on your Xbox 360.

The app includes a new Watchlist feature, similar to Netflix Queue, that lets you manage your queue and purchased content in a playlist from your computer. The app is Kinect-enabled, and you can use gesture or voice commands for the navigation through the app. Amazon’s WhisperSync feature that makes reading on Kindle devices and mobile/desktop apps seamless finds a neat, similar use in the app. You can start a video on one device and continue it from the same point on a second device like a Kindle Fire.

Xbox has become the center of entertainment offerings from Microsoft (Farewell Zune?). Microsoft has been building content partnerships progressively bringing the HBO Go app and Xfinity On Demand app to Xbox 360. The brand also enjoys a favorable buzz in the industry, unlike the often-messed up Windows Live or Zune, and the unification of entertainment options under the Xbox umbrella might just give Microsoft the right impetus for the next generation of Windows and Windows Phone.

[Screenshots] Amazon Joins Consumer Cloud Race With Desktop Clients

In the past few weeks the consumer cloud industry has seen some exciting announcements. Microsoft updated SkyDrive with several useful features like:

  • ODF Support
  • Desktop clients
  • Remote file browsing from within the browser
  • Dropbox-like single folder sync and storage
  • Paid storage
  • Updated mobile apps

These updates were announced just days before Google introduced the much awaited Google Drive. Like SkyDrive, Google’s consumer cloud storage and sync service has:

  • Desktop clients
  • Multi-format support
  • Single folder sync and storage
  • Paid storage

The other big player in cloud storage and cloud products—Amazon—too launched desktop clients for it consumer cloud. Unveiled to little fanfare, Amazon introduced desktop clients for users to upload files to their Cloud Drive account on Amazon. The desktop clients just help you upload the files and there is no Finder or Explorer integration. The Windows and OS X clients are the same, after installation a cloud sits in the taskbar for you to drag files to upload. Some details about Amazon’s cloud drive:

  • Free 5GB
  • Paid expansion up to 1000Gb for $1000 a year
  • An ugly web interface
  • Integration with Amazon’s Cloud Player

Here’s are screenshots of the desktop app:

Tour of the Amazon Cloud Drive app:

Preferences available:

You can download the clients from Amazon’s site.

Amazon Starts Live Streaming Events, YouTube Live Watch-out

Amazon is one of those companies that silently enters a market and then beats odds to command a significant market share and position. The company has become a formidable force in cloud computing with EC2 and AWS. The company’s infrastructure is being used by competitor Netflix to host content as Amazon offers multimedia streaming services.

The company also entered the tablet market with its Kindle Fire and is now considered to be the leading Android tablet OEM. Going forward it seems that Amazon plans to compete with YouTube Live by offering live streaming of select events. Earlier today there were lengthy stories about how Amazon is looking to strengthen its luxury clothing lineup and this push needs Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to travel to fashion events in New York City. It turns out, Amazon is live streaming an event and its a first.

For Kindle Fire owners this might turn out to be an very interesting development. The company offers books, consumer cloud (walk through coming up soon), movies, songs, and possibly soon live streaming of events directly on the tablet devices. This positions Amazon has a major player in the entertainment industry. If Amazon does in fact bring Live Streams directly to Kindle Fire, the tablet becomes a powerful content consumption device and surprisingly, Amazon is the one offering the content. While I continue to fantasize about what might happen, you can head over to Amazon.com to view the Met Gala Red Carpet live.

Met Gala is some fashion event that has something to do with museums.

HTC One X Now Available At AT&T For $199.99

The HTC One X is one of the most powerful Android smartphone. This handset was announced and showcased at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2012 in Barcelona. The HTC One X runs on the latest Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) Operating System. This handset is already available in most of the European and Asian countries. However, the launch of this handset was delayed in the US.

The HTC One X is exclusively available for the AT&T subscribers in the US. Last month, AT&T announced the price and availability of this device. Now, the HTC One X is finally available for purchase in the US. You can not only get this device from AT&T, but you can also get it from Amazon. Check out the complete specs below.

htc one x

HTC One X features a 4.7 inch Super LCD HD display, sporting a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, Corning Gorilla Glass, 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, HTC Sense 4, Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) OS, 8 megapixel camera, Full HD (1080p) video recording, 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera and more.

Other features include a 3.5 mm headset jack, DLNA connectivity, microUSB 2.0, 1 GB RAM, 32 GB internal memory, 25 GB DropBox cloud storage, Internal GPS Antenna, Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, 4G LTE Connectivity, NFC (Near Field Communication), HDMI, HTC Watch, Beats audio and a 1800 mAh battery.

AT&T is currently selling this device for $199.99 with a 2 year service agreement. On the other hand, you can purchase this device from Amazon at a much lower price of $149.99. To get the powerful HTC One X, head over to AT&T or Amazon.

iPad Market Share Soars to 68% as Kindle Fire Shipments Decrease

You know that so called “iPad killer”? Well, it isn’t doing well at all after all. Today, research firm IDC has released its data on worldwide tablet shipments for the first quarter of 2012. It reveals that even thought there was a quarterly drop in iPad shipments of over 20%, Apple’s share of the tablet market soared from last quarter’s 54.7%.

The significant increase came from the expense of Android tablets. This expense came from Amazon’s Kindle Fire which has seen its shipments collapse from 4.8 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011 to less than 750,000 units last quarter. Ouch! “iPad killer” indeed. It should also be noted that Amazon has never revealed the exact number sold during Amazon’s conference calls.

However, Amazon has taken second place in the tablet market during the fourth quarter with a 16.8% share of the market as the Kindle Fire debuted in the United States. Even though IDC did not report a number for  Amazon’s first quarter shipments in its press release, it did say that Amazon’s share dropped to “just over 4%” in the total tablet market of 17.4 million units, yielding shipment volume of roughly 700,000-750,000 units for Amazon.

Create A Photo Gallery With Your Dropbox or Amazon Storage

Dropbox is great way to keep your files in sync or have a backup. Google Drive is out and perhaps you are planning to switch sides. Most surely you wouldn’t be willing to let go of your “hard earned” storage with Dropbox referrals. If you are looking for an alternative use for Dropbox, try using it as a private web gallery for your photos. Wondering how? Well you can always create a public(or selectively shared) folder and put some designed web pages in it and create a website to show off those images. Well if you find the task daunting, Openphoto will do all the hard work for you. All you need to do is use your Dropbox or Amazon S3 account to sign up.openphoto-intro

Sign up for Openphoto by entering your email, opting for a unique URL and granting permission to your Dropbox or Amazon S3 storage. Once you are into it, go to the upload page and upload some of your favorite snaps. You can just drag and drop files to upload them. The upload is powered by Plupload a file uploading service. As the files are listed hit the “Start uploading” to initiate uploading.

Use the Menu at top left corner to go to the gallery or manage photos. You can create groups to add people to share photos with, which is good for creating a private network for buddies. You can also edit uploaded photos to share them with group or add tags to them for better chances of finding them.

Sadly uploading via the Dropbox desktop client is not possible which means if you add an image to the OpenPhoto folder within the Apps folder in Dropbox will not add it to your gallery. Also you cannot use Dropbox and Amazon S3 storage at the same time. The app is somewhat similar to Lightbox only Lightbox can be handled with both mobile and web interface. An app for iOS and Android for Openphoto is wanting in and would have been better to get users more willing to join.

However the network being closed, lets you create a more private page for people you choose to share with. Also the core concept behind this app is to create a social experience without letting others control your data. Your data stays with you and you have sole ownership of the photos on Dropbox(or Amazon S3) and you can take them down anytime you choose. The idea deserves credit in an age where almost every other social network is more concerned about feeding off your data or information you generate. Photo sharing being the latest startup trend, and privacy a major concern, the idea might work for people who want a network for sharing their images without the notion of being chewed for the last bit of data. I just loved it for the second choice alone. Take a look at my album if you wanna get started with how it looks.

Amazon Appstore is More Profitable than Android Market (Google Play)

Apple’s iOS is still the top smartphone platform in terms of apps, with over 550,000 apps, while Google’s Android comes a close second with around 400,000 apps in the Android Market.

However, when it comes to generating revenue, iOS is still miles ahead of the Google Play Store. According to Flurry’s research, a top iOS app generates more than 4 times as much revenue than a top Android app on the Play Store.

Surprisingly for us, and humiliatingly for Google, Amazon’s Appstore is much better than the Google Play store in terms of generating revenue from apps. It generates 89% of the revenue generated by iOS apps, and more than thrice the revenue generated by Android apps on the Google Play Store.

Appstore Revenue Comparison

Amazon seems to be having much more success than Google with Android. It has the most popular Android tablet, the most profitable Android App Store. Now you know another reason why Google wants to jump into the tablet fray with its own budget Nexus tablet – it can’t let Amazon milk its Android cow, while it stands on the sidelines.

In the mean time, despite losing the market share war, Apple’s iOS remains the best platform for developers, and hence, users.

Why Android Tablet Makers are Screwed and Apple Will Have the Last Laugh

Working title: Why Android Tablet Makers are Screwed and Apple Will Continue to Capture Most of the Tablet Industry’s Profits

It’s clear now that Apple is positioning the iPad as a reasonably priced tablet, which provides the best experience to users. Initially, almost all Android tablets were priced much higher than the iPad, but once that strategy failed, most of them are now focusing on the budget segment to capture tablet market share.

The iPad, which was one of the best priced tablet just a couple of quarters ago, now seems like one of the most relatively expensive ones. However, it remains one of the most low priced Apple products, and the best tablet you can buy. This is why despite the flood of cheap Android tablets, Apple still commands a majority market share, and an even higher proportion of the tablet industry’s total profits.

Apple iPad
The iPad. Being smug. Rightfully though.

Amazon was the first tablet maker to kick off the race to the bottom, with the $200 Kindle Fire. It has been a hit in terms of sales, but has weighed on Amazon’s profit margins, with Amazon taking a small loss on each sale.

Now, almost everyone is competing with each other to launch a cheaper Android tablet. Google itself is rumored to be working on a $199 Nexus tablet, which would force other tablet makers to price their products even lower. Once you start competing on price, with no other differentiating feature, it doesn’t take long for the whole segment to become loss making as a whole.

The only tablet maker which isn’t competing on price is Apple, and they don’t really need to, with iPads selling like hot cakes, and selling way more than all Android tablets combined, despite being priced much higher.

Windows 8 is still at least 6 months away from launch, and Windows 8 tablets will likely be priced higher than the entry level iPad, which now starts at $399.

In the meanwhile, while Android tablet app support remains pathetic, Apple continues to improve the iPad ecosystem, further bolstering its position as the best tablet on the market, increasing the gap between the iPad and every other tablet on the market.

This is why, despite having a lower profit margin for the iPad relative to its other products, Apple seems to be the only tablet maker which can remain largely profitable in the long run, while Android tablet makers fight amongst themselves and bleed each other with losses, with only a few biggies like Samsung and HTC possibly standing till the end.

PS: Even Amazon is positioned well, as it never intended to make money by selling the Kindle Fire hardware, but on digital content that it could sell to Kindle Fire users. Most other Android tablet makers are screwed, because selling hardware is the only way they intend to make money, and that seems to be a game in which the only winning move is to not play at all.

Amazon Kindle Fire
This little guy spoiled it for everyone. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

Google Drive May Finally Be Coming in April 2012

Google’s rumored cloud storage service – Google Drive – has reportedly been in development since 2006, with rumors of an imminent launch surfacing every 2-3 months. However, according to a report by GigaOM, it may finally be launched this April.

Google’s Gdrive will reportedly offer 1 GB of free storage, and charge for additional space, which is less than what Dropbox or Microsoft’s Skydrive offer.

It will come with a local client for all major platforms, and also support a web based interface which will be similar to the Google Docs interface. It may be integrated with Google Apps and Google Docs, with multi-user support, and sync capabilities across multiple devices.

To maximize its reach, Google may bundle it with Android devices.

Google has been too late to this space, which it could have easily dominated had it launched something a couple of years ago.

While Google Drive may not generate a lot of revenue directly for Google, it may help it gather more data about users, and improve its search results in some way.

With its massive data centers lined up across the globe, it is one of the few tech giants which could provide cloud storage services at a low cost. It will be interesting to see how Dropbox, Box and other competitors respond to Google’s entry in the space.

Rumor: Amazon to Launch 3 New Kindle Fire Models in 2012

Amazon launched the Kindle Fire to enter the booming tablet space in late 2011. The Kindle Fire has been a huge hit, selling millions of units, and is probably the most popular tablet after the Apple iPad.

According to a new report by a Taiwanese daily, Amazon may be planning to launch three new variants of the Kindle Fire in 2012. With the three new Kindle Fire models, it will target different segments of the market.

1. 7 inch Kindle Fire (1024 x 600 pixels)
2. 7 inch Kindle Fire (1280 x 800 pixels)
3. 8.9 inch Kindle Fire (1920 x 1200 pixels)

All three variants will likely have different hardware configurations as well. The low end 7 inch model will likely be priced at $199 and compete with cheap Android tablets, while the high end 8.9 inch one will compete with the iPad and premium Android tablets. All three variants will be assembled by Taiwanese manufacturers like Quanta.

Amazon will have to roll out a better budget tablet soon, if it wants to compete with the rumored Google Nexus tablet, which will supposedly be priced in the same range. It will likely price all these tablets as low as it can, and just barely break even, while making money by selling content on the tablets, like it always has.