Amazon


Black Friday Amazon deals: Price drops for Echos, Kindles and Fire tablets

PCWorld

When the cheapest Kindle e-reader drops to $50, it's difficult to resist snagging one on an impulse buy. Appealing to our most reptilian consumer instincts is just how Amazon rolls, and--right on schedule--the retail behemoth-cum-hardware manufacturer is dropping prices across its product lines. Here are all the Black Friday deals for the Amazon Echo, Kindle, and Fire tablet lines. We're also including links to our own coverage of the price-dropped devices (many of which are best in their categories, the Amazon pedigree notwithstanding). Amazon says these deals will end at the stroke of midnight on Monday, Nov. 27.


Six gadgets that work with your smart speaker to automate your home

Popular Science

Dozens of gizmos will work with one or both of these speakers, and third-party manufacturers continue to bring out additional ones. If you'd like to see all of your options, Google has made a list of Home-compatible devices and Amazon has collected the Echo-compatible ones. With so much smart tech out there, it can be hard to figure out which device to buy first. So we collected six of our favorite gadgets for smartening up your home. Google's dinky streaming dongle works like a charm with Google Home.


AWS ramps up in AI with new consultancy services and Rekognition features

#artificialintelligence

Ahead of Amazon's big AWS division Re:invent conference next week, the company has announced two developments in the area of artificial intelligence. AWS is opening a machine learning lab, ML Solutions Lab, to pair Amazon machine learning experts with customers looking to build solutions using the AI tech. And it's releasing new features within Amazon Rekognition, Amazon's deep learning-based image recognition platform: real-time face recognition and the ability to recognize text in images. The new lab and the enhancements to its image recognition platform underscore the push that Amazon and AWS are giving to AI at the company, both internally and as a potential area to grow its B2B business in this area. They come about a month after AWS announced it would be collaborating with Microsoft on Gluon, a deep learning interface designed for developers to build and run machine learning models for their apps and other services.


Amazon gives AWS customers access to its internal machine learning experts

ZDNet

Amazon on Wednesday announced the Amazon ML Solutions Lab, a new program that connects Amazon Web Services (AWS) customers with Amazon's own machine learning experts. Through boot camps, workshops, advisory professional services and other forms of programming, the program is designed to help Amazon's cloud customers figure out how to leverage machine learning. Competing cloud providers, from Microsoft to Oracle, have for some time touted their capabilities in AI and machine learning as a key value proposition as they try to make a dent in Amazon's market dominance. Amazon's response has been to point to its own internal use of machine learning. "Amazon has been investing in machine learning for more than 20 years, innovating in areas such as fulfilment and logistics, personalization and recommendations, forecasting, fraud prevention, and supply chain optimization," Vinayak Agarwal, a senior product manager for AWS Deep Learning, wrote in a blog post about the new service.


Snips lets you build your own voice assistant to embed into your devices

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French startup Snips is now helping you build a custom voice assistant for your device. Snips doesn't use Amazon's Alexa Voice Service or Google Assistant SDK -- the company is building its own voice assistant so that you can embed it on your devices. And the best part is that it doesn't send anything to the cloud as it works offline. If you want to understand how a voice assistant works, you can split it into multiple parts. First, it starts with a wakeword.


Apple HomePod's Rescheduled Release To Benefit Amazon Echo Series Holiday Sales

International Business Times

It has now become inevitable for Amazon's Echo series to reign supreme in the smart speaker market this holiday season after Apple decided to reschedule the launch of its HomePod device to early next year. This will consequently benefit the manufacturers of the Echo speakers. On Tuesday, DigiTimes disclosed that the delayed release of Apple's HomePod would translate to the domination of the Amazon Echo series in the market during the year-end holidays of 2017. The outlet also learned from a Chinese language report that Amazon has already received its supply of Echo Spot and Echo Show speakers for the holiday season. Amazon's Echo speakers are being manufactured by Foxconn Electronics and Compal Electronics.


Apple's HomePod has been in and out of development since 2012

Engadget

Have you wondered why it took Apple 3 years to come up with an answer to the Amazon Echo in the form of the HomePod? Apparently, it's because it wasn't really meant as an answer to the Echo. Bloomberg sources claim that work on the HomePod started in 2012 as a side project (common at Apple), and it was reportedly cancelled and resurrected "several times" as the company tried to figure out how a connected speaker would work in its lineup. It reportedly went through multiple dramatic redesigns, including a 3-foot-tall design chock-full of speakers. The company did study the Echo closely when it showed up in 2014, but dismissed its lackluster audio quality and set to working on something that sounded better.


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USATODAY

Meet Fingerlings, the adorable robot monkeys poised to be the holiday season's hottest toy. This Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, photo provided by Amy B. Stepp shows a fake Fingerling that she received after paying $17 on Amazon for what she thought was a real Fingerlings monkey. Shoppers rushing to buy Fingerlings, one of this holiday season's already hard-to-find toys, say that they are being fooled into buying fakes through Amazon and Walmart.com. NEW YORK -- Shoppers rushing to find Fingerlings, the robotic monkeys that are a hot toy this holiday season, say they've been fooled into buying fakes through outside sellers on Amazon and Walmart.com. The real Fingerlings, 6-inch multicolored monkeys, wrap around a finger, move, and make sounds.


When your kid tries to say 'Alexa' before 'Mama'

Washington Post

In Yana Welinder's house, her son will say "Papa!' to either her or her husband. "Mama" isn't in his vocabulary yet. But her son, who just turned 1, does have a name for another prominent figure in the household: "Aga!" Or, as the rest of us know her, Alexa -- Amazon's voice assistant. Welinder's son can't summon the assistant from the Echo speaker in their home on his own. But he knows what he's trying to do.


machine-learning-fear-of-an-ai-planet-colossus-the-forbin-project-1970-ai-machinelearning

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Movie history is filled with computers that make us miserable. Unlike today's computers that make our lives dreadful, like the little ones in our pockets eager to sell out our privacy for a nickel, or crash when we need them most, yesterday's computers were their own character in each film. Everyone knows how rude HAL got at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). In The Aries Computer (1972, a mysterious Vincent Price film that may have not been filmed or released, part of the Zodiac series) the reported plot was this: It's 2013 and a supercomputer named Aries has become a ruling force, and humans need to figure out how to take their power back. Later came films like Terminator (1984), with it's hive-mind Skynet keeping humans under its virtual thumb.