Recent reports suggest that Amazon (AMZN) may be the first major vendor to offer a $99 tablet. According to a report from TechCrunch, the company is preparing to offer a Kindle Fire HD tablet equipped with a TI OMAP processor and a 7-inch display with a 1280 × 600 pixel resolution. The report follows Amazon’s announcement earlier this month that it was dropping the prices of its 8.9-inch model in the U.S. The Wi-Fi-only version of the Kindle Fire HD dropped from $299 to $269, while the LTE version was reduced by $100 and is now offered for $399. Amazon’s current 7-inch Kindle Fire costs $199, while an older version can be had for $159. An Amazon spokesperson denied the report, claiming the company is already hitting the “lowest price points possible for that hardware.”
Amazon (AMZN) on Wednesday expanded availability of the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 tablet to the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Japan, while also announcing a price cut for both the Wi-Fi and 4G LTE versions of the slate in the United States. The Wi-Fi only version will be available for $269, down from $299 at launch, while the 4G LTE version will see a price drop of $100 to $399. The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 is equipped with an 8.9-inch 1920 × 1200 pixel resolution display, 1GB of RAM and a 1.5GHz dual-core TI OMAP4 processor. Amazon’s press release follows below. More →
Amazon’s (AMZN) Prime service is one of the Internet’s hidden gems. For $79 a year, the company offers Prime members free two-day shipping and access to thousands of streaming TV shows and movies. For frequent online shoppers, Prime is a no-brainer. While Amazon has never disclosed how many people have signed up for Prime, recent estimates suggest the service is quite successful. More →
The news broke last week that Google (GOOG) is working with a number of national retail chains to create a same-day shipping service that will compete with Amazon Prime. It was previously reported that Google would undercut Amazon (AMZN) and offer the service for between $64 and $69 per year compared to $79 for Amazon Prime. Sources speaking to TechCrunch have now explained that pricing hasn’t been finalized, however, and the service is being tested at a price of $4.99 per delivery. The same-day shipping service, which will be known as Google Shopping Express, is reportedly being tested in the San Francisco Bay area with local partners and national retailer Target (TGT). It is still unclear when Google plans to announce the service.
The ease with which consumers can purchase just about anything on Amazon’s (AMZN) website has helped the company change the face of retail. In the future, spending money on Amazon’s website could get even easier thanks to technology revealed in a patent the company was awarded late last month. Amazon’s “Gravity-based link assist” technology would help users by drawing pointers toward a link or button using a virtual gravitational field, thus reducing the frustration of misclicks and missed taps. While the patent has some clear potential in terms of accessibility, the technology has the added benefit of helping users click links that lead to products available for purchase from Amazon.
It has been suggested that Amazon (AMZN) will enter the smartphone market this year with a new Kindle phone. The company has long been rumored to be developing a smartphone that will run a heavily customized version of Android, similar to its Kindle Fire tablets. Earlier rumors indicated that Amazon was planning to release the device in the second quarter of 2013, however manufacturing hiccups have reportedly caused the smartphone to be delayed until later this year. According to Digitimes, issues relating to the device’s mobile platform will see Amazon miss its original June timeframe for the launch. When the smartphone is finally announced, it is expected to cost between $100 and $249, and could even be bundled with six months of 4G LTE data.
Google (GOOG) has made a name for itself by entering established markets and launching bigger, often better products that ultimately become dominant, and the company may now be targeting a space currently occupied by rival Amazon (AMZN). According to TechCrunch, Google is quietly working with a number of nationwide retail chains — the blog speculates that retail parters may include the likes of Walmart, Target and Walgreens — to create a next-day shipping service that will undercut Amazon Prime. The service will reportedly cost between $64 and $69 per year compared to $79 for Amazon Prime, and no launch timeframe was provided in the report.
Amazon (AMZN) has had a hell of a ride in the tablet market. The first Kindle tablet rode on the wave of Kindle eBook readers’ success and made a big splash. That turned into bitter backlash due to software and hardware quality problems, however. Now, Amazon has managed to stage a remarkable tablet comeback. According to a Yankee Group survey, Amazon is the second most desirable vendor among consumers planning to buy a tablet. More →
The new Ooyala study on video consumption patterns highlights just how much tablets are now outperforming the PC, smartphone and video game console platforms when it comes to long-form video watching. The long-form video category is the lucrative Holy Grail of content delivery. Videos longer than 60 minutes tend to be feature-length movies, the product category that commands a stiff premium compared to network TV shows or online comedy clips. Apple (AAPL), Samsung (005930), Microsoft (MSFT), Nintendo (NTDOY), Sony (SNE), Netflix (NFLX), Amazon (AMZN)… who isn’t trying to hit the jackpot in the digital movie distribution competition? More →
Amazon (AMZN) has quickly learned that having alleged neo-Nazis guard your warehouses isn’t the best PR move. The Associated Press reports that Amazon has cut ties with HESS, a security company that has alleged ties to neo-Nazi groups and that shares a name with Rudolf Hess, who served as Hitler’s deputy in the Nazi party. Although Amazon didn’t say whether HESS had actual links to neo-Nazi groups, the company did acknowledge that HESS engaged in “discrimination and intimidation” against Amazon warehouse workers, as revealed during a documentary that aired last week on German TV channel ARD.
The last thing Amazon (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos probably wanted to read this week was that his company had allegedly hired a security firm to guard its warehouses in Germany that just happens to be linked to neo-Nazis. Per the International Business Times, a documentary that aired on German TV channel ARD this week accused Amazon of hiring HESS, a security company that has alleged ties to neo-Nazi groups and that shares a name with Rudolf Hess, who served as Hitler’s deputy in the Nazi party. According to the International Business Times, “the documentary showed the guards invading and searching [warehouse workers'] bedrooms and kitchens, and telling the workers that they were mandated to ‘keep order’ in their homes.” Amazon, for its part, denies that it hired HESS and says that it is “currently examining the allegations concerning the behavior of security guards and will take the appropriate measures immediately” and that it does “not tolerate discrimination or intimidation.”
Companies very rarely warn twice in 40 days about the same problem. When it happens, it usually indicates that something so unexpected is taking place that executives just cannot wrap their minds around it. One example is HTC’s (2498) string of warnings last winter when its Android success story suddenly unraveled. Another is Barnes & Noble (BKS) and its Nook warnings on January 2nd and February 13th. More →
More than eight multinational companies compete in the mobile market, however Apple and Samsung pull in all the profit. According to a new report from Canaccord Genuity, per Forbes, Apple (AAPL) earns 69% of all operating profit among leading device makers, while Samsung (005930) controls a 34% share. In 2012, companies such as BlackBerry (BBRY), LG (066570), and HTC (2498) barely broke even, while Nokia (NOK), Motorola and Sony (SNE) operated at a loss. Apple’s mobile business has the highest operating margin of all companies, measuring in at 41%, compared to Samsung’s 21% and HTC’s 6% margin. More →