During a press event in New York City on Wednesday, Amazon took the wraps off of its $200 Kindle Fire tablet. The Kindle Fire is equipped with a 7-inch display and will have access to all of Amazon’s services including AmazonMP3, Amazon Prime, Amazon Kindle, Amazon Instant Video and the Amazon AppStore. The tablet is powered by a dual-core processor and weighs 14.6 ounces. Customers can pre-order the Kindle Fire today and it will ship in November. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos also unveiled a brand new version of his company’s popular eReader, dubbed the Kindle touch. The $99 Kindle touch is equipped with an infrared layer on top of the E-Ink display to help avoid with any interference while reading. It also has Amazon’s EasyReach technology for turning pages by tapping the screen in specific areas. In addition, an X-Ray feature allows users to view where and when certain characters or places take place in a book. Amazon will also sell a separate Kindle touch 3G model for $149. Pre-orders for the Kindle touch eReader begin today and will ship by November 21st. Finally, Bezos announced a new standard Kindle for $79 that does not offer a touchscreen. It is available now and will also ship today. We are hoping to bring you hands-on photos with Amazon’s new devices shortly. In the meantime, be sure to keep your browsers pointed to our live coverage of the event. Read on for the full press release from Amazon. More →
Amazon announced on Thursday that it has inked an agreement with NBCUniversal to provide its subscription customers with access to 1,000 Universal Pictures movies. The deal is in addition to the online retailer’s recent agreement with CBS to offer shows such as Star Trek and Cheers to its customers. The new content includes films such as Being John Malkovich, Jetsons, Flipper, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Billy Elliott. Amazon is largely expected to release at least one tablet in the coming months, which will provide its customers with near instant access to its Amazon Unbox, Amazon Mp3, Kindle, Cloud Music and Cloud Drive services. Comcast owns 51% of NBCUniversal while General Electric owns the remaining 49%. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Read on for the full press release. More →
Roku has just announced support for Amazon Unbox Video on Demand movie streaming with its diminutive Netlix set-top box. Up until today, the little box was capable of streaming Netflix content to your friendly living room television set. It’s a great step in the right direction, providing access to Amazon’s more than 40,000 title library, and greatly increasing the relative value of the $99 box. That being said, we’re still not entirely sold on the value of the system, given the generally limited reach of both the Netflix streaming and Amazon on Demand catalogs. Couple that fact with a somewhat awkward user interface and you have a good idea that’s still somewhat flawed in its execution. That said, it certainly looks like the company is committed to increasing content and providing more value down the road, so we’ll continue to keep our eyes open in the hopes that some of our gripes will be heard.
Say Goodbye to Amazon Unbox. Say Hello to Amazon Video On Demand. Launched on Wednesday, this new video streaming service does as it drab name says; it offers streaming, ad-free video on demand. PC owners can stop taunting their OS X friends as the new Video On Demand service is compatible with Macs (finally!). If you own a Tivo, a Windows Media Center extender box (can we say Xbox360 instead?) or a Sony Bravia Internet Video Link TV, you can join the streaming party, too. While not as slick as Hulu (or free for that matter), the Amazon interface is functional with all the typical controls to control playback and view in fullscreen mode. It offers Amazon’s entire catalog of 40,000 movies and TV show which exceeds Hulu and Netflix in sheer volume of content. Movie rentals are $2.99 to $3.99 while TV rentals are $1.99 and expire 24 hours after purchase. With a free 2 minute preview available for all videos, you can at least try before you buy. Overall, we must say that Video on Demand is a respectable attempt at streaming video. Enjoy the Hoopla while you can, though, as you, Amazon, may be upstaged September 9th.