Like many Apple users, I’ve carried a Siri device everywhere since 2011, so when Amazon introduced the original Echo speaker in November 2014, I couldn’t accept an AI assistant that was “anchored” to the $200 speaker’s single room. Why would I want to use Amazon’s Alexa only in my kitchen, for instance, when I could get similar assistance anywhere from the iPhone in my pocket?
Amazon doesn’t disclose Echo sales numbers, but a key external metric suggests that the company’s smart speakers are having a great 2017 holiday season. On Christmas Day, Amazon’s Alexa app took the #1 spots on both the U.S. Google Play and iPhone App Stores’ free app charts, reflecting plenty of fresh Android and iOS user demand for the software used to set up Echo speakers. The #1 rankings placed Alexa ahead of perennially popular apps such as Facebook Messenger, YouTube, and Spotify, no easy feat for an app dependent upon a hardware purchase.
My parents have not heard of Alexa or Google Assistant, and probably have no idea Cortana exists on their Windows 10 computers. They may have approved of their son studying Computer Science, but they’re not particularly tech-savvy themselves. My father hates the burden of smartphones (he turns his off or leaves it at home at every opportunity) and my mother doesn’t even have a phone. I figured the original Google Home would be a decent starting point as any.
(Reuters) — The U.S. tax overhaul is a boon to Silicon Valley technology companies like Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc, which will enjoy big tax cuts and the chance to bring back billions of dollars from overseas at a reduced rate.
Above: Illustration on the theme of a construction site. The year 2017 may be remembered for many things in technology, such as Amazon’s big push into offline retail, milestone moments in autonomous vehicles, or major breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI).
Tidal, the high-quality music streaming site designed mostly for musicians disillusioned with iTunes and Spotify royalties, is amazingly still here. As first noted by The Verge, Tidal’s latest push for continued attention arrives today in the form of new Android TV and Apple TV apps. And yet, we’re in shock the service still exists.
Hot on the heels of Amazon’s late November port of its Silk web browser from Fire tablets to Fire TV, Mozilla announced today the release of Firefox for Fire TV, a free “full web” browser optimized for televisions. Firefox runs on second-generation or newer Fire TV and Fire TV Stick devices.
After a decade selling boxes that play other companies’ TV shows, Apple last year started developing and acquiring original TV programs — a tangible major step into content for the hardware and software maker, rumored since mid-2015. Consumer electronics giant Sony made the same move back in 1989 by purchasing Columbia Pictures’ TV and movie studios, instantly becoming a major Hollywood player. Buying a respected studio with existing employees, development deals, and IP is easier than building one from scratch.
Above: France - Eiffel Tower - CloudsAmazon’s cloud computing arm, Amazon Web Services (AWS), has announced that its first French data center is now officially open for business.
Netflix and Hulu may be bigger names in video streaming, but Amazon’s Prime Video service is building momentum: according to Amazon (via iPhone in Canada), the Apple TV version of Amazon Prime Video was the most downloaded of any tvOS app ever in its first seven days. The app offers subscribers unlimited streaming access to a number of “Amazon Original” shows, as well as a collection of movies and TV shows from other studios, similar to Netflix.

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