After the Ouya became one of Kickstarter’s biggest success stories, other companies started scrambling to put together their own Android-based consoles. There was GameStick, GamePop, M.O.J.O. and even a rumored console from Amazon that never saw the light of day. According to VG247, that could soon change as “multiple sources” have told the site that an Amazon video game console will launch in 2014 for under $300. The sources also say that the hardware team behind the Kindle is designing the console, and the team has already begun demoing iOS and Android games. The device will be more than just a game console — much like the Xbox One, Amazon reportedly wants its set-top box to serve as a focal point for the entertainment center. Although the other Android consoles failed to attract a wide audience, Amazon has one of the largest storefronts in the world. If anyone can bring a device like this to the mass market, it’s probably Amazon.
Amazon rarely gives the media the time of day when news sites come knocking and asking for a comment, but a recent report suggesting Amazon is hard at work building a cable-killing pay TV service must have scared all the right people. The company’s public relations broke its silence on Tuesday evening when it flat-out denied The Wall Street Journal’s earlier report that the company is currently holding licensing talks with several major broadcasters related to an upcoming pay TV service that would rival traditional cable. More →
Although Intel’s cable-killing TV service may be dead, that doesn’t mean tech companies are done trying to disrupt the pay TV market just yet. The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon is in talks with several major entertainment companies for a new pay TV service that will offer live programming and directly compete with cable and satellite TV companies. The Journal’s sources say that the new pay TV program is still in its early stages and it’s not yet clear if entertainment companies will be willing to forge an agreement with Amazon given how happy they are with their current relationships with cable providers.
Amazon has already been doing massive amounts of damage to big box retailers and now it’s working on a new system that could be its final knockout punch. The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon last year was granted a patent for what it describes as “anticipatory shipping” that will look at consumers’ past buying habits and ship products that it thinks they will buy to nearby warehouses in anticipation of their orders. So for instance, if you’ve already bought all five A Song of Ice and Fire books from Amazon, the company will make sure to have the sixth book shipped to a warehouse near you so that when you order it the company can get it to you on the same day. More →
Amazon wants to know if it can turn the Kindle into an impulse buy, and it’s using CES attendees as test subjects to find out. GeekWire was one of the first sites to run across the “Kindle Kiosk” at the McCarran airport in Las Vegas on Thursday, just as CES was beginning to wind down. According to airport staff, the machine had been installed earlier in the week, a clear indication that Amazon hopes to attract the influx of tech-savvy visitors on their way out of the city. More →
The U.S. government this week approved unmanned aircraft tests for six states of the 24 that wanted to be in the program, Reuters reports, with drone testing expected to cover a variety of uses, including Amazon’s proposed Prime Air shipping solution. The FAA’s chosen sites for drone tests include Alaska, New York, North Dakota, Texas, North Carolina and Virginia. Of those, North Dakota has already contacted Amazon to propose testing. More →
Christmas Day online shopping results from PCs fell short of estimates, a new comScore report shows, despite having shown significant growth compared to the same holiday period of 2012. At $42.8 billion in spending for the 52-day period ending December 22nd, holiday shopping from computers rose 10% compared to last year, although that’s still 4% short of the anticipated 14% growth ($48.1 billion) estimate from the same company. More →
As if it could have ended any other way, Amazon managed to once again set sales records this holiday season. Amazon announced on Thursday that more than 1 million Amazon users became Prime members during the third week of December, and on the biggest shipping day of the year, more Prime items were shipped than any single day in the past. Amazon customers also ordered more than 36.8 million items on Cyber Monday alone — a jaw-dropping 426 items per second — including more Kindles than ever before. More →
Online shopping can be both a blessing and a curse during the holiday season. On the one hand, we can avoid all those pesky lines and slow-moving consumers at brick-and-mortar retailers. But on the other, we have to rely on retailers and delivery companies to ship all of those gifts and deliver them on time. Unfortunately, at least one major shipping service has admitted that it was caught off guard by unprecedented demand. Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, a UPS spokeswoman said that “the volume of air packages in the UPS system did exceed capacity.” More →
A recent exposé from Bloomberg Businessweek painted a critical picture of Amazon’s work environment for executives, but a petition currently gaining momentum in the UK suggests that things are far worse for some of the company’s warehouse staff. The Guardian points us to a petition on Change.org that had collected nearly 45,000 signatures as of the time of this writing. Under the heading “@AmazonUK: This Christmas, pay the Living Wage across UK operations,” the petition suggests that Amazon’s seasonal warehouse staff faces “demeaning” working conditions and also that they ”won’t earn enough to buy the bare essentials of life” due to Amazon’s low wages for agency staff. The petition is accompanied by the following letter: More →
Brick-and-mortar retail chains did not seem to have a great Thanksgiving week. But the latest comScore numbers show that online shopping not only had a terrific Thanksgiving but that sales growth is actually accelerating into December at a breakneck speed. This Christmas is particularly interesting for consumer electronics, because Apple has widened its smartphone selection, two new home game consoles have just launched and non-Apple tablet selection is unusually broad with Amazon, Samsung, Microsoft and a host of Asian vendors promoting their new lineups aggressively. More →
A new report from market research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners reveals Amazon’s not-so-secret secret weapon. The weapon itself — Amazon Prime — is hardly a secret, of course, but CIRP’s new study has seemingly uncovered just how big Prime is for Amazon’s business. According to CIRP’s study, which surveyed 300 Amazon Prime subscribers who made purchases over a three-month period ending in November, Prime account holders shop on Amazon twice as often as non-Prime Amazon customers. More importantly, they spend more than twice as much — CIRP found that Prime customers spend an average of $1,340 per year with Amazon while non-Prime shoppers spend $650 annually. More →
Amazon’s Kindle line of smartphones is a lot like Apple’s television set: A mythical creature that is only whispered of among analysts and supply chain sources but that never actually materializes. But now Digitimes‘ supply chain sources are claiming that next year will finally, at long last, see the debut of the Kindle phone. More →