Amazon devices have taken over my house! – News
There are a lot of devices in today’s technology age. Companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft and others are continuing to compete for your hard earned dollar. One company that you might not include in this list, is the famous shopping site, Amazon.com. Amazon has come a long way since their original inception of buying books and everything you could need “from A to Z.” I became a prime member some time ago as I enjoyed their benefits of two-day shipping. Since then they have added to the benefits, and have actually added to the price, and now include prime videos along with commercial free prime music. Some of their other benefits are cloud storage and Prime Now etc. etc. etc.. I’m not here to tell you the benefits of a prime subscription but rather the devices behind that subscription.
I began with buying my wife a Kindle device many years ago to replace her Nook Color by Barnes and Noble. She enjoys reading and thus I thought this would be a good present. The Kindle line has since evolved from paper white editions to full color and even some with impressive specs. Since the Kindle that I bought for my wife, I was one of the 1st adopters of the FireTV. Now they may have started off a little rocky but now, in my opinion, they are the top dawg when it comes to streaming boxes. Lemme explain a little why I have that opinion. The FireTV runs a version of Android with an Amazon skin on it. I find the remote with voice control very responsive and amazing. The 4K version even includes the voice assistant, Alexa. Alexa is much like Siri and Google Now from other competitors. She is always learning and getting new skills from 3rd party developers and Amazon alike. I’ll dive a little more into that later. As far as FireTV it is one of the only streaming boxes that streams Amazon’s content of video and music and if you have Prime, this is a must. Other Android boxes won’t stream these and Roku doesn’t allow the download of additional applications such as Kodi for internet streaming. So while there are many many other streaming boxes, the FireTV takes the cake for me because it offers all the functions as the others and includes the streaming options from Amazon.
Last year I was sent an invite to try a new product from Amazon which was called the Amazon Echo. This is simply a wifi bluetooth speaker that works off your house wifi or so I thought. It arrived and I set it up which was painless. It wakes with a word such as Alexa, Amazon or Echo. I received it in July and since then we haven’t had to make a shopping list. We simply tell Alexa when we see that we are out of something, “Alexa, put milk on my shopping list” and sure enough she adds whatever you ask and it is accessible in the Amazon Alexa mobile app. I found this genius as I often do the shopping for our family and I enjoy the digital checklist and once I put the item in my shopping cart simply hit the check next to it and it crosses it off the list. She, Alexa, also provides many other features such as any artist you would want to listen to from Pandora, Amazon Music, iHeart Radio, Tune in or Spotify. The list is ever expanding and continues to amaze me at the music that she plays. It is truly a party favorite to have company over and they ask her to play their music. It is fun and people are shocked at her abilities. When I really want to WOW them, I’ll tell her “Alexa, turn off the kitchen light” and the Belkin WeMo light switch that I have connected to my kitchen light turns off and on with the sound of your voice. Pretty cool indeed. My son finds new applications to have Alexa help him with his homework with questions like “Alexa, whats 5 divided by 12” and sure enough she spits out a response. This device just sits atop my fridge and is always listening, which is kind of Terminator creepy, but it works well. She spits out any information that is on the internet. I usually have her deliver me the morning news from all sources such as ESPN, CNN and NPR. She’ll tell me when the next football game is on and when a movie is playing near me, at which theater and the times of the movies. So ReviewJunkies should thank her as she is how I find my movie times and am able to review them on this site. She is constantly being updated and evolving, hopefully not into a Skynet, but she’s amazing. Recently they’ve added Dominos ordering along with Alexa ordering, giving you the ability to order at the sound of your voice. By far one of the best pieces of tech in this techie’s house. They have included the Amazon Echo Dot and also the Amazon Tap to take “Alexa” with you anywhere. These are great devices and I have enjoyed each of them. I have a video review of each below.
I bought the Amazon Fire Phone for my wife for Christmas last year and within three months I was buying my own version. This phone received a lot of criticism from many sources because of lack of apps and other things, however, I found that I installed the Play Store, as it is an Android phone, and am able to load any of the apps that anyone else can and also combine it with amazing battery life and I’m a happy camper. Granted it doesn’t have the best camera, but it is doable. It gives me unlimited storage of all my pictures and videos in the Amazon Cloud and that is viewable on any of my other Amazon devices such as my FireTV or Fire Tablets.
This past week was the 2nd Annual Prime day, which I was able to score some great kid tablets at a great price. The 7 inch Fire Tablet shipped to my door for 25 bucks. How can you beat that? It comes with great software that others charge an arm and a leg for known as Freetime. It controls the kids time limit on the tablet and lets multiple users login to the same tablet. Again this is just an Amazon skin that runs on top of Android but it will also stream Amazon music, movies, pictures, videos and then brings into the mix Netflix, Pandora and many other countless options.
So in conclusion I am hooked to Amazon a lot like people are hooked to Apple products, however, mine doesn’t have the DRM locked only to Amazon devices that iTunes carries with it. Jeff Bezos has a lot of tricks up his sleeve and Amazon is only going to improve further and further. I was personally WOWED this past week with Amazon Now. Order something and an hour or two later, there it is at your door, using that same Prime Membership and not a penny more. Get on the Amazon train folks. It’s moving fast.
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