Since launching Amazon Coins in May 2013, the virtual currency was locked to Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet. Today, the shackles of exclusivity are being torn asunder, replaced by the inclusivity of the Android platform. Americans, Brits and Germans all now have access to their Amazon Coins through the Amazon Appstore via the latest software update.
Beyond just being beneficial to consumers who prefer using virtual currencies for online purchases, Amazon Coins offers yet another method for phone and tablet application developers to receive payment (70 percent of the payment goes directly to developers). Of course, ultimately, this benefits Amazon the most, as the company skims the other 30 percent off payments for itself. Something's gotta pay for The Washington Post, right?
Amazon might still be working away on its far-out delivery drone project, but it's also reportedly cooking up something else, admittedly a little tamer, too: a Kindle checkout system and a P2P payment service. Yes, the former's exactly what it sounds like -- a Kindle tablet equipped with proprietary software and a credit card reader (like Square), at least according to the Wall Street Journal. Amazon supposedly acquired GoPago (a mobile payment platform for merchants) in 2013 to nudge this venture forward, though TechCrunch says it's not the only payment solution the firm's developing. Apparently, the company's also creating a cloud-based P2P payment system that might be accessible not just on mobile phones, but also on desktops, making it a veritable PayPal competitor. We just hope it doesn't tie up with Amazon's plans to "ship before you buy" if it does launch, because surprise credit card charges are a nightmare.
Thinking about replacing your textbooks with an iPad Air? Amazon's trying to make the transition a little better for you. The latest update to Kindle iOS app adds flashcards and improved in-book search for print replica textbooks, giving students a better way to find the topics they need for class, as well as a convenient way to catalog and study them. The update packs in a handful of items for non-students too, including page footers that display page numbers and time left (for audiobooks), a redesigned dictionary for iOS 7, an updated X-Ray experience and a new set of Notebook filters for sorting through annotations. It's not quite as hefty as the app's recent redesign, but if you're looking for some new features for the semester, you can get them at the app store.
If you've bought quite a library of Kindle books for yourself, you might have a chore scrolling through the lot to find the one you want. Thankfully for Android users, you can now organize your reading material into Collections with a new Kindle app update. What goes into a certain Collection is entirely up to you -- you may group them by genre, type or whatever category strikes your fancy. As you're choosing which book goes where, you can filter them by author or title, and unlike your physical library, a single book can be assigned to multiple Collections. Just like your reading progress, those Collections can be synced across multiple devices as long as you're logged in. The Kindle update brings a number of other goodies to the table as well, like accessibility support for Android's Talkback and Explore By Touch features so you can flip a page simply by reading aloud and the ability to toggle publisher fonts on or off. You'll also now be prompted to offer a star rating for a book once you're done reading it. So if you're a die-hard Kindle fanatic with an Android device, snag the update and lord it over your Collection-less iOS brethren while you still can.
Source: Google Play
If you're an Android user who likes to shop for music on the Amazon MP3 app, then you'll be glad to hear that it has received a much needed update. Most notably, the application now looks substantially better and is a lot speedier than before, with Amazon making nice design changes to the UI and tweaking things under the hood to make browsing through it all a breeze. This new version also brings the option to share what you're listening to with Facebook friends, as well as a fresh widget that allows you to have quick access to recently played tunes. It's available for download now, so go on and grab it from either Google Play or the Amazon Appstore.
Via: Android Police
Almost a year after it rolled out to select Ford models, Amazon has finally secured itself another automotive partner for its cloud music service. The company today confirmed that its recently-updated Cloud Player iOS app can now connect to in-car dashboards in BMW and Mini Connected cars, letting owners access their cloud-hosted music with the help of steering wheel controls or touchscreen displays. It's a big coup for Amazon, as it fights Apple, Google and Nokia to integrate its mobile services into our in-car dashboards. There's no word on whether Amazon and BMW intend to extend support to Android devices, but we have contacted the company to find out.Amazon (Businesswire)
Source: Amazon Cloud Player (App Store)
A mere three days after Motorola started selling the Moto G unlocked online, giant retailer Amazon is bringing the budget-friendly smartphone to its shelves. Pre-orders are being accepted as we speak, with the 4.5-inch device being priced at $179 and $199 for the 8GB and 16GB models, respectively. Unlike with Motorola's promise to ship the Moto G as early as December 2nd, Amazon has the arrival date listed for a couple days later, on December 4th. And if you've yet to determine whether this little guy is for you, then perhaps this here review can help during the decision-making process.
28/11/2013 - Pebble's e-ink smartwatch now available on Amazon
Pebble's slowly been expanding the places you can buy its e-ink smartwatch, but today it's landed at the biggest retailer of them all. Ahead of the Thankgiving celebrations, the company took to Twitter to announce the availability of the Pebble at Amazon, where you'll now be able to buy black, grey, orange, red and white models (rocking the new software update) for $148.99. While you'll still find them at Best Buy stores and sold by AT&T, Amazon's promise of free next-day Prime delivery might sway you if you're on a post-turkey impulse buying binge.Pebble (Twitter)
The Amazon Appstore has long been clunky and slow for anyone who doesn't own a Kindle Fire tablet -- even for basics like app updates. All that pain is now a distant memory, however, as Amazon has just overhauled the stand-alone Appstore for Android with a genuinely modern interface. The new client has sidebar-driven navigation that feels at home in the KitKat era, and it's much faster when browsing titles. If you've been ignoring Amazon's alternative storefront for a while, it may be worth returning for a second look.
A lot of us don't have much in the way of home automation, but we'd venture to guess that most of us would absolutely love having a smarter residence. Amazon knows this, and it wants to celebrate its Home Automation store by hooking you up with a Nest thermostat. The smart thermostat is valued at $250 and is just one of a plethora of products that Amazon is featuring to help you control your house easier, near or far. We've got three to hand out to lucky readers, so take a chance by entering in the Rafflecopter widget below!
19/09/2013 - Amazon brings GameCircle integration to iOS
Amazon's GameCircle framework has just gone cross-platform -- as of today, iOS developers can integrate the cloud service into their apps. The iOS programming interface mirrors its Android counterpart's ability to sync achievements, leader boards and saved games across devices, even if the player switches operating systems. Developers can also post any achievements and scores to Apple's Game Center. The tools are free to use, so those who want to build GameCircle into their next iPhone title just need to visit the source link to get started.
It looks like you may well start seeing more links to products sold at Amazon in your Android apps. The company has just announced the launch of its new Mobile Associates API, which will let app developers hook into its popular Associates program to earn a kickback of up to six percent on all products sold through their apps. Those purchases can be made either entirely within the app or through an external link to Amazon, and the API covers both Amazon's own Kindle Fire tablets as well as other Android devices (we wouldn't hold your breath for iOS support). In announcing the new option, Amazon said that it hopes it will provide an alternative revenue stream to fully paid, ad-supported or "freemium" apps for developers, but it'd also obviously also get quite a bit in return itself if they fully embrace it.
Wish the munchkins would be quiet while you read your favorite gadget website? The BBC feels your pain, and has released the CBeebies Playtime app to help keep 'em entertained and learning while you're on the go. The app comprises of four mini games, which include coloring with Mr. Tumble, learning words with Alphablocks and a racing game with Tree fu Tom. Designed to work offline, the software comes with parental controls and is available for free on iOS and Android devices as well as the Kindle Fire -- assuming, that is, you trust your little darling not to break a $200+ tablet.
Calling all app developers: Amazon just launched a new tool that you'll no doubt want to take a peek at. The company's Web Services (AWS) division has just introduced Amazon Simple Notification Service (Amazon SNS) with Mobile Push, which is described as a "fully managed, cross-platform push notification service in the cloud." The real kicker, of course, is this nugget: "With one simple API, application developers can easily send notifications to Apple iOS, Google Android and Kindle Fire devices." Amazon's allowing all AWS customers to use the service for free so long as the reach remains under one million users, but even if you exceed that, you'll only be asked to pay $1 for each additional million.
Devs who have historically had to build and maintain different push architectures for separate platforms will likely fawn over such a universal approach, and while it's certainly not the first of its kind, it's the first to be backed by a stalwart such as Amazon. Hit up the outfit's SNS portal to get started, but please, don't take this as a green flag to up your spamming efforts -- we all know how that turned out for Farmville.
Amazon won't be winning any awards for its clumsily-named Cloud Drive Photos app, but with this latest update, it could win over the affection of its user base. Whereas last time we left Cloud Drive Photos, Amazon's focus was, well, all about photos, this time the app spotlight falls on video for the first time. Now, users will be able to auto-save, secure, manually upload or download and stream any video from Amazon's cloud that falls within the service's 2GB or 20 minute-clip limit. Photos aren't entirely left out of this version 1.7 bump, though, as images viewed while in landscape will now scroll by as larger previews. Thrilling stuff, non? Here's to hoping the next inevitable update obliterates the company's silly naming scheme for something more succinct -- perhaps, just Cloud Drive? Nah, that'd make too much sense.
Source: Google Play
And just like that, the great Apple and Amazon "app store" legal tousle ended. Today, Apple was granted its request to dismiss the suit it filed back in 2011 to prevent Amazon from using the app store moniker for its Android software market. Part and parcel with the dismissal, Apple also gave Amazon a covenant not to sue, assuring Bezos and company won't have to run this particular legal gauntlet again. We aren't sure exactly what prompted Apple to finally drop the suit, but given indications that the court was inclined to take Amazon's side of things fairly early on, this resolution isn't terribly surprising. Should you wish to read the good news in legalese, we've included the court's order as the source below.
Source: Court Order [PDF]
Looks like gamers with Amazon Kindle tablets will no longer be competing amongst themselves... because starting today, Amazon's proprietary GameCircle platform is now open to all Android devices. The backend cloud service has offered up leader boards, achievements and progress saves to Kindle users for a year now, and as of today, it also supports conflict resolution between mobile devices. The reveal comes at an interesting time, which parallels the recent launch of Google Play game services. Naturally, it's reasonable to speculate that Amazon's move could be an attempt to keep its service relevant. More than 500 games currently support GameCircle, but for all Android users to benefit, developers must first integrate the latest API into their games. At least they now have a bit of motivation to do just that.
Now that the summer book frenzy is in full swing, anything that helps us read a little faster is welcome -- so we're glad that Amazon just pushed out a relevant update to its Kindle app for iOS. The new 3.8 release adds line spacing options, so readers can fit more (or less) on to a page without tweaking the font. Those whose eyes demand an extra-large font can now pick one, too. Amazon is also laying some early groundwork for back-to-school with a focus on notation. It's at last possible to make highlights that span multiple pages, and Print Replica Textbooks gain filters for bookmarks, highlights and notes. Whether you're trying to get a jump on classes or just want to cram in one more novel during vacation, you'll want to swing by the App Store for the upgrade.
Via: The Next Web
Source: App Store
Forget Bitcoin: Amazon's got a digital currency of its own coming to the Kindle Fire called Coins, and it's finally arrived after three months of preparation. The virtual money, which was originally announced back in February, is now ready to go for anyone who frequents the Amazon Appstore or uses a Kindle Fire. Bezos & Co. is willing to throw in a bit of an investment to get you started, as the online retailer will hook up existing and new users with 500 free coins -- a value of $5. Need more than that? Head to the More Coverage link below to grab as many coins as fits your fancy.
Remember the EVO 3D? Swap out the HTC logo for an Amazon one, and you just might be onto something. According to a new Wall Street Journal report, one of the world's most famed forkers of Android is looking to expand its mobile portfolio by adding the one crucial device it lacks: a phone. As the story goes, the company has been toiling on a pair of smartphones as well as an "audio-only streaming device," all to "expand its reach beyond its Kindle Fire line of tablet computers." If you'll recall, we've heard that Amazon was dabbling in similar works since at least 2010, but the notion of expanding the Amazon ecosystem is now more pertinent. One of those phones is a higher-end device that offers up a glasses-free 3D display -- it's bruited that it would use "retina-tracking technology" to enable visuals that "seem to float above the screen like a [Tupac?] hologram." In fact, that eye-scrolling technology that was initially rumored to be a part of the Galaxy S4 may instead make its debut on Amazon hardware.
Of course, rumors of an Amazon phone have been running just about as long as rumors of a Facebook phone, but it seems that the company is (still) making a very concerted effort to further expand into the hardware arena. We're told that the prototypes are being nurtured within Amazon's Lab126 facility in Cupertino, "where each of the devices have been under development, the efforts are known as Project A, B, C and D, or collectively as the Alphabet Projects." If all goes well, Amazon could release at least some of these products in the coming months, but there's also the chance that every last one of 'em could be "shelved because of performance, financial or other concerns." Come to think of it, it's been a hot minute since Amazon threw a launch party for anything -- what say we change that, Jeff?
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Amazon let its world domination plans be known last month when it asked developers to start submitting apps to line its virtual displays in more countries. While China was notably absent from immediate expansion plans, Amazon launched its Appstore there during the weekend, opening the doors to one of the biggest mobile device markets. As Reuters notes, the Google Play store is available in China, but only serves up free material, whereas Amazon's Appstore has a selection of both free and paid software available for users. While the company launched its e-book store and e-reader apps in China last December, devices are still waiting for their ticket over. Now, with the release of the Appstore, we suspect it's only a matter of time before the Kindle and Fire ranges make fashionably late appearances.
Amazon is rectifying the long wait for a Kindle for Android update today with a version 4.0 refresh that carries with it a major UI redesign. The library view looks very different: instead of a basic grid, recently read items are presented in a rotating carousel at the top of the home screen, while the navigation panel has been expanded to provide quicker access to books, documents and periodicals. The actual reading pane remains untouched, so whether you're using a smartphone or a tablet, your e-copy of War and Peace should still look the same. To have a peek at Kindle's new look, Android users can go ahead and download it from the source.
Via: The Next Web
Source: Kindle (Google Play)
Amazon's just updated its Appstore today with a much welcome offering for avid gamers: Xbox SmartGlass. Microsoft's app-based second screen solution has been available on iOS and Android since late last fall, but despite sharing a kernel with Google's OS, hadn't been made dispensable to Kindle Fire / Fire HD owners until now. The app's been configured to scale natively on Amazon's refreshed tablet line, letting users navigate their Xbox 360 remotely, push and pull streaming content, as well as access achievements, messaging and Xbox Music. So if it's the living room of the future you're after, you might want to hit up the source and make that free download your own.
Amazon has big plans for its incredibly successful (we guess?) Appstore on Android, which include expansion to "nearly 200 countries," -- after rolling out in Europe and Japan -- but it's asking for developers to get on board first. So that its store shelves aren't empty when they open up in places like Brazil, Canada and Papua New Guinea, it's securing app submissions and making sure devs opt-in to international distribution. Peter Sleeman, Director of P2 Games, is quoted in the press release claiming his company saw 4-5x sales of a recent app on Kindle Fire compared to Google Play. That feat is echoed by several others quoted, citing Amazon's in-app purchasing system and features like GameCircle. There's no word whether this global rollout will be followed by wider distribution of its other media services and branded hardware, but given the predictable path it's followed so far that seems like a safe bet.
While it's still got some distance to make up, BlackBerry has swiftly reached a milestone of sorts -- its first 100,000 apps. According to the announcement, BB10 has notched up over 30,000 new games and apps over the last seven weeks, all before it's even entered the USA. Notable new additions include the Kindle reader, available today, which Amazon confirmed back in January. There's also apps from The Wall Street Journal and OpenTable, with the promise of eBay, CNN, Rdio, Skype, Viber and more arriving "in the coming weeks."