Roughly this time last year, Amazon unleashed a ton of Alexa devices on the world, including the Spot and new Echos. It follows, then, that the company’s got something up its sleeve for this year, just in time to prime the pump ahead of the holidays.
According to a report from CNBC, the retail giant is planning to release “at least” eight Alexa hardware devices at an event later this month. The list is certainly diverse, including an automotive gadget, amplifier, a receiver and a subwoofer. Those last three likely work in tandem and would put the company in direct competition with the likes of Sonos.
Ditto for the automotive. Companies like Garmin already offer in-car Alexa products, while carmakers have begun incorporating the assistant into their infotainment systems. It’s an interesting tact, given that the company has appeared more inclined to let third parties do much of the
Continue reading "Amazon reportedly has an Alexa microwave and more on the way"
It’s the biggest night for television and streaming media services tonight as the stars are gathering to celebrate themselves at the 70th annual Emmy Awards
Tonight’s event at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles promises to be a big one for streaming media services like Netflix
(with 122 nominations), Hulu
(with 20 — thanks mainly to the amazing The Handmaid’s Tale), and Amazon
(which nabbed 22 nominations, mainly on the strength of the marvelous The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel).
Netflix’s dominance at the awards show marks the ascent of streaming as the biggest thing in new media — but the traditional networks, premium and basic cable, aren’t giving up without a fight.
Emceeing tonight’s festivities are Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update
hosts Michael Che and Colin Jost. The two are coming off an incredibly popular run which saw both comedians continuing the tradition of being one of the consistent
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Last November, Amazon quietly re-entered the diapers market
with the launch of its own private label diapers under the Mama Bear
brand – its first diaper brand since pulling its Amazon Elements line back in January 2015
. Now, Amazon has added a new, exclusive premium diapers brand, this time under the new name of Earth + Eden
. Unlike Mama Bear, which is the Amazon equivalent to something like Pampers, Amazon’s Earth + Eden appears to be more of a competitor to premium diapers, like those sold on Honest.com.
The Honest Company touts its diapers’ super-soft, safe, gentle, hypoallergenic, and most importantly, sustainably-sourced materials, as does the Earth + Eden diapers’ product page.
The Amazon diapers are described as:
Cruelty free – not tested on animals; Made with SFI Certified sustainably sourced fluff; Printed with non-toxic water-based inks; Produced in a Zero Waste to Landfill Facility
In the Q&A section
Continue reading "Amazon takes on The Honest Company with an exclusive brand of eco diapers, Earth + Eden"
On May 11 Netflix
released the teen dramedy “The Kissing Booth
” just as the school year was wrapping up for teens across the country.
By June, the company had a smash hit among the tweenage set, and Wattpad
, the company which owned the rights to the The Kissing Booth
, had its first true breakout vehicle. The story, written on Wattpad’s
publishing platform by Beth Reekles, was a proof point for the company’s thesis pitching a new twist on the old model of discovering stories and creative talent for the entertainment industry.
Behind the success of the film is a nascent movement among startup companies that are trying to open the doors of Hollywood’s dream factory to a broader group of creative professionals by riding the wave of fan fiction and user generated content all the
Continue reading "Startups are giving writers and filmmakers more ways to make it in Hollywood"
Now that Amazon’s proven the efficacy of Go with a trio of Seattle locations, the retail giant is starting to open up its cashier-free Go stores at a steady clip. New York and San Francisco are already on the horizon, and the company just sneakily launched a new store in Chicago.
ChicaGo, as it were.
Opening this week at 113 S Franklin St, the fourth Go store is the first to open outside of Amazon’s hometown. It’s also one of six expected to launch this year. Venture Beat notes that the store is keeping the fairly conventional weekday hours of 7AM to 8PM, though unlike other two of the other locations, it will be closed over the weekend.
As for what’s being offered up, it’s fairly standard convenience store fare, including breakfast, lunch and dinner meal kits and hot food.
For now, the locations largely thrive on
Continue reading "Amazon’s cashier-free Go store opens in Chicago"
By now you’ve probably heard of the Defense Department’s massive winner-take-all $10 billion cloud contract
dubbed the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (or JEDI for short).
Star Wars references aside, this contract is huge, even by government standards.The Pentagon would like a single cloud vendor to build out its enterprise cloud, believing rightly or wrongly that this is the best approach to maintain focus and control of their cloud strategy.
Department of Defense (DOD) spokesperson Heather Babb tells TechCrunch the department sees a lot of upside by going this route. “Single award is advantageous because, among other things, it improves security, improves data accessibility and simplifies the Department’s ability to adopt and use cloud services,” she said.
Whatever company they choose to fill this contract, this is about modernizing their computing infrastructure and their combat forces for a world of IoT, artificial intelligence and big data analysis, while consolidating some
Continue reading "Why the Pentagon’s $10 billion JEDI deal has cloud companies going nuts"
Mary Meeker is leaving Kleiner Perkins to build a new fund and she’s taking the firm’s growth team with her.
The news, first reported by Recode
and confirmed to TechCrunch, is the latest high-level departure at one of the most prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firms.
Joining Meeker in her new fund are Kleiner Perkins GPs Mood Rowghani and Noah Knauf, as well as Juliet de Baubigny, a partner. According to the firm, this is less of a messy break-up and more of an amicable and intentional decision to spin-off Kleiner’s growth-investing unit.
“The environment for venture has evolved — with larger checks being written for seed and A rounds and more support from partners required to build companies — demanding a high degree of specialization and extreme focus to excel,” a spokesperson for Kleiner Perkins said in a statement provided to TechCrunch. “The changes in both areas have led
Continue reading "Mary Meeker, author of the Internet Trends Report, is leaving Kleiner Perkins"
Things have been pretty quiet on the Amazon HQ2 front. Earlier this year, the online retail giant announced that it had whittled the list of potential host cities for a second headquarters down to 20, but beyond that, the company hasn’t shared much. Looks like we’ll be getting an answer before end of year, however.
During a speech at the Economic Club of Washington this week, CEO Jeff Bezos said a decision will be made in 2018, though didn’t provide any insight into which way the company was leaning.
Cities around North America have been following all over themselves to win the bid, which Amazon says will bring 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in investment. The move comes as Seattle, the home of HQ1 has put the company under increased scrutiny. In July, Amazon helped kill a business tax designed to help fund low-income housing and homeless shelters.
Local tax breaks
Continue reading "Amazon’s HQ2 location will be announced this year"
Watching the current price madness is scary. Bitcoin
is falling and rising in $500 increments with regularity and Ethereum and its attendant ICOs are in a seeming freefall with a few “dead cat bounces” to keep things lively. What this signals is not that crypto is dead, however. It signals that the early, elated period of trading whose milestones including the launch of Coinbase
and the growth of a vibrant (if often shady) professional ecosystem is over.
Crypto still runs on hype. Gemini
announcing a stablecoin, the World Economic Forum saying something hopeful
, someone else saying something less hopeful
– all of these things and more are helping define the current market. However, something else is happening behind the scenes that is far more important.
As I’ve written before, the socialization and general acceptance of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial pursuits is a very recent thing. In the old days –
Continue reading "It’s the end of crypto as we know it and I feel fine"
In a tweet
this morning, Amazon founder (and the world’s richest man) Jeff Bezos announced that he and his wife were creating a $2 billion fund to finance a network of nonprofit preschools and donate funds to organizations helping homeless families.
“The Day 1 Families Fund will issue annual leadership awards to organizations and civic groups doing compassionate, needle moving work to provide shelter and hunger support to address the immediate needs of young families,” Bezos writes in a statement.
There’s also a Day 1 Academies Fund that will launch a network of free, Montessori-inspired schools in low-income neighborhoods.
Bezos said the schools will employ the “same set of principles that have driven Amazon
.” Which, for Bezos, means an intense focus on the customer.
The funds are called the “Day 1” funds because they align with Bezos’ stated philosophy of “maintaining a Day 1 mentality.”
Starting a network
Continue reading "Jeff Bezos launches $2 billion fund to finance preschools and help homeless families"
, the Swedish startup that wants to take on Google and others in mapping the world by way of a crowdsourced database of street-level imagery, is taking an interesting step in the development of its platform. The company is now working with Amazon, and specifically its Rekognition API, to detect and read text in Mapillary’s
database of 350 million images.
The first application resulting from the new feature will come from a large US city (that Mapillary will not name right now), which plans to use the information that will now be “readable” from parking signs to build a parking app.
“Parking is a super hot space and [parking information] is one of the most asked-for pieces of data that people want to use Mapillary for,” said Jan Erik Solem, CEO and co-founder of the Malmo, Sweden-based startup. He said that while parking will be the first application and one
Continue reading "Google Street View rival Mapillary collaborates with Amazon to read text in its 350M image database"
If you weren’t done watching tech giants get grilled by lawmakers, mark your calendar for September 26 in what’s expected to be another riveting round of questioning.
Policy chiefs from AT&T and Charter, along with senior executives at Apple,
and Twitter will face questions from the Senate Commerce Committee later this month
about how each company approaches safeguards to consumer privacy. The tech and telco companies will be asked to “discuss possible approaches to safeguarding privacy more effectively,” among other things.
Noticeably absent is Facebook; though the committee says the witness list is subject to change.
Committee chairman Sen. John Thune ssaid the hearing will allow the companies to “explain their approaches to privacy, how they plan to address new requirements from the European Union and California, and what Congress can do to promote clear privacy expectations without hurting innovation.”
Beyond that, it’s not clear exactly what the
Continue reading "Apple, AT&T, Amazon, Google among tech giants called to Senate Commerce Committee"
Amazon announced today that it’s expanding Whole Foods Prime Delivery to 10 additional U.S. cities. The full list, which includes 38 cities all told, now includes Charlotte, Las Vegas, Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Raleigh, Seattle and Tucson.
In addition to that, the retail giant has also expand coverage in three existing major markets: New York, L.A. and Dallas/Fort Worth. Those spots, along with Charlotte, Raleigh and Seattle, also have alcohol delivery courtesy of the service.
Delivery is one of a laundry list of services available to Amazon Prime users. Service is available between the hours of 8AM and 10PM and can be accessed via Echo with the “Alexa, shop Whole Foods” command.
Amazon acquired the high-end grocery chain last year for $13.7 billion. The deal helped Amazon control yet another retail vertical, taking on services like Fresh Direct with grocery delivery.
Sorry Santa Claus, Jeff Bezos is your Father Christmas now. Amazon, in its ongoing quest to utterly dominate the holiday season, has announced plans to start shipping real, live Christmas trees, come November.
That news comes courtesy of The Associated Press, which notes that the seven-foot-tall Douglas firs and Norfolk Island pines will be sent via Amazon box, sans water. Shipping should occur within 10 days of being cut down, so as to keep them green. The firs will run around $115 a pop, along with $50 for a wreath.
This isn’t the first time the online giant has dabbled in trees. Amazon dipped its toes in the water by offering up Charlie Brown-style trees measuring less than three-feet last year. Third-party sellers also used the platform to sell their own larger trees.
The whole prospect likely isn’t very appealing for those who’ve made tree shopping a part of
Continue reading "Amazon will start selling real, large Christmas trees"