Amazon Prime Instant Video Coming to UK

On Friday Geekanoids brought you the news that Amazon is possibly working on a Set-Top box to rival devices such as Roku and Apple TV. Today we want to talk about another recent change that’s happening at Amazon in a few days time and that is the launch of Amazon Prime’s unlimited streaming service. Whilst those of you who are in the United States will have had the Prime streaming service for quite sometime, it’s only now being released in the United Kingdom. The Amazon Prime streaming service for the UK is basically a rebrand of it’s LoveFilm service which Amazon bought in 2011 and would bring it inline with the Amazon Prime streaming service that’s been in the US for a while now.

If you already an Amazon Prime customer and signed up to take advantage of their free one day delivery service then you will already be signed up to take advantage of the new streaming service when it launches on Wednesday. If you're not already an Amazon Prime customer then you will need to signup for the service in order to get access to the new service which although it costs just £49 per year at present it’s about to jump to £79 a year. If you're looking to get in on the cheaper price you better be quick.

Unlike other streaming services this one is going to remained tied to the Amazon Prime delivery service so you can’t currently signup for just the streaming service or just the delivery service for a cheaper premium, sadly it’s all or nothing. Having said that it’s actually only a £7 per year increase for those who were already had a yearly streaming plan with LoveFilm’s instant streaming service also you get the benefit of access to over Amazon’s vast library of 500,000 kindle titles to choose from.


Is Amazon working on a Set-Top Box?

For about a year now there have been rumors of Amazon releasing a Set-Top box that would allow you to easily watch content from Amazon Instant Video. We first heard the rumors last April that Amazon was working on something like this but it was later revealed in October that the project has been met with delays and that was the last we heard of it.

According to ReCode author Peter Kafka Amazon could be ready to launch their Set-Top box as early as March. If these rumors are true then it definitely poses a threat to devices such as the ROKU and Apple Tv. Amazon have recently been heavily investing in it’s web video lineup and are now producing their own shows much like Netflix have done. We recently heard that Apple has taken it’s Apple Tv from a ‘hobby project’ to a fully fledged product line so maybe they know something about Amazon’s plans?

Amazons Set-Top box is expected to run on a forked version of Android much like the Kindle Fire series of tablets does. It has also been noted that Amazon have been on a hiring spree for game developers and that they plan to release a gaming console running on Android based hardware. It will be interesting to see if these are two separate devices or are part of the rumored Set-Top box.


Amazon cuts Kindle Fire price by £30, new models incoming

Amazon has dropped the price of its cheapest tablet by £30. The Kindle Firewill now set you back just £99, the company has said in an email to customers.

You know what this means: there's new models a-coming. We've already seen leaked snaps of the next Kindle Fire HD, so Amazon could well be trying to clear stock ahead of the launch, which is expected before the end of this month.

The next 7-inch Amazon Kindle Fire HD leaked this week, and apparently there's an 8.9-inch version in the pipeline, too. The new models will look alike, with a new angular design. The 7-incher should have a resolution of 1,920x1,200 pixels -- that's the same as the new Nexus 7 -- while the 8.9-incher should have 2,560x1,600 pixels...

Read the full story here... Source: CNET

Amazon Kindle Fire HD 2 leaked pics hint at new design

What looks to be Amazon's next 7-inch tablet has been glimpsed, in a series of leaked snaps.

The pictures, which hint at a major redesign for the Kindle Fire HD tablet, appeared at BGR, and clearly show a more angular, Batmobile-esque look, complete with new buttons.

An 8.9-inch sequel is also in the works, and will look 'almost identical' to the 7-inch version, the report says, also mentioning that we'll likely see the mythical device revealed before the end of this month, according to 'trusted sources'...

Read the full story here... Source: CNET

Amazon supersizing its food delivery business?

Never mind the books, movies, music, computer gear, and whatever else you might buy from Amazon. How about a nice banana? The e-tail giant is seriously considering a big move into the grocery-delivery business, according to a report.

The company is set to expand its Seattle-only AmazonFresh service to Los Angeles as early as this week and to the San Francisco Bay Area later this year -- with launches in 20 other urban areas in the U.S. and abroad contingent on the success of the LA and SF businesses -- Reuters reports, citing two unnamed sources.

It's true that fresh food doesn't stay fresh for long, and that the banana you ordered three paragraphs ago can also get easily bruised in transit. Those facts make an online grocery business a risky prospect (just ask Web 1.0 casualty Webvan). But Amazon is hoping to make its profit from other items ordered at the same time as groceries, according to another Reuters source, supermarket analyst and consultant Bill Bishop, who told the news service that Amazon is eyeing as many as 40 markets.

"Amazon has been testing this for years and now it's time for them to harvest what they've learned by expanding outside Seattle," Bishop is quoted as saying.

Reuters also notes that, aside from the threat posed to supermarkets and other food purveyors by a giant like Amazon taking a bite out of the market, the e-tailer's grocery effort could ultimately touch FedEx, UPS, and other package pushers: Amazon will deliver the edibles with its own vans, and success on the grocery front could lead to a broad network of company delivery trucks, which could handle nonfood items as well, Reuters says.

We've contacted Amazon for comment and will update this post with any info we get from the company.

Source: CNET

Amazon said to be developing 3D smartphone

Amazon is reportedly working on two smartphones, including one that would have 3D capability.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Amazon is developing a device that features a 3D screen that can be used without special glasses. Citing "people familiar with the company's plans," the Journal wrote that the phone would use retina-tracking technology that would make the images seem to be floating "like a hologram and appear three-dimensional at all angles." What's more, users might be able to navigate through content using just their eyes...

Read the full story here. Source: CNET

iTunes maintains its music download dominance as Amazon plays catch-up

Nearly 10-years after the iTunes Music Store first opened up for business, iTunes remains the market leader in digital music downloads.

According to a research report published by the NPD Group earlier this week, iTunes accounted for approximately 63% of all digital music downloads in 2012. Trailing behind is AmazonMP3 with a somewhat respectable 22% share. While Amazon has a ways to go before even getting close to Apple, the world's largest online retailer has been making significant gains in that regard. In 2011, Amazon's share of the digital music download market checked in at 15%, representing a solid 50% increase year over year.

"Since the launch of Apple's iTunes store, digital music downloads have become the dominant revenue source for the recorded music industry and iTunes continues to be the dominant retailer," said Russ Crupnick, senior vice president of industry analysis at NPD. "There's a belief that consumers don't need to buy music because of streaming options, when in fact streamers are much more likely than the average consumer to buy music downloads."

The report adds that 44 million Americans downloaded a digital song or album last year.

To help contextualize the raging success that is the iTunes Music Store, Apple in early February announced that consumers had downloaded over 25 billion songs. That averages out to about 15,000 songs downloaded per minute.

The iTunes Music Store currently offers over 26 million songs to choose from and is available in 119 countries.

[Source: TUAW]

Amazon to Acquire Goodreads, A Social Network for Bookworms

Amazon announced on Thursday its intentions to acquire Goodreads, a popular socialnetwork in the literary world. Neither Amazon nor Goodreads disclosed the terms of the agreement, so it’s unclear what the selling price was, although Goodreads will keep its headquarters in San Francisco. The social network has upwards of 16 million users who have created more than 30,000 book clubs.

“Amazon and Goodreads share a passion for reinventing reading,” Amazon Vice President of Kindle Content Russ Grandinetti said. “Goodreads has helped change how we discover and discuss books and, with Kindle, Amazon has helped expand reading around the world. In addition, both Amazon and Goodreads have helped thousands of authors reach a wider audience and make a better living at their craft. Together we intend to build many new ways to delight readers and authors alike.”

We assume that last line means that Amazon will embed an easy way to interact with fellow Goodreads members into its Kindle software.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

Kindle Fire HD 8.9 in the UK today, a bigger Fire for £229

Amazon is bringing its 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD tablet to the UK, joining the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD five months after it made its debut in the US.

The Fire HD 8.9 is essentially the same as Amazon's existing tablet, putting books, music and movies from Amazon into an easy-to-use interface. The larger screen has a higher pixel count at 1,920x1,200, making it possible to play video in 1080p.

Amazon promises 10 hours of battery life, while the 8.9-inch Fire HD plays host to a slightly speedier processor -- a dual-core affair clocked at 1.5GHz, rather than the 1.2GHz chip in the 7-inch model.

£229 gets you the 16GB option, though if you've got a little more cash, a 32GB model can be yours for £259. An extra £10 means you won't see 'Special Offers' -- ie ads on the lock screen. A case is also available (see above), doubling as a stand when you fold its cover back, but it's not cheap, setting you back another £40. 

Amazon says the Kindle Fire HD is its best-selling product online worldwide, so there could be a lot of interest in this device. I wonder, though, if there's much appeal in the larger, pricier tablet when the 7-inch option is similar and more portable.

The 7-inch option won three stars in our review, as we praised its simple interface and good screen. But it was a real kick in the teeth that movies weren't available to download and watch offline, with the only option being streaming via Lovefilm. That's no good if you're travelling or on a plane, and is a gripe that's still present on the larger 8.9-inch tablet.

[Source: CNET]