Amazon relaunches Twitch Prime as Prime Gaming

Amazon Prime is highlighting its offerings for gamers today with the launch of a service called Prime Gaming.
This is a new version of Twitch Prime, a service that Amazon launched four years ago tied to the popular game streaming platform that it acquired in 2014.
In both its old and new incarnations, Twitch Prime/Prime Gaming offers free games, game content (like weapons and skins) and a free Twitch channel subscription, all as part of a standard Prime membership. In today’s announcement, the company said Prime Gaming includes “more new content for more games than ever before, plus more free games, and a monthly Twitch channel subscription.”
Esports expert Rod Breslau tweeted earlier today that this rebranding was in the works.
Prime Gaming currently offers in-game content for Grand Theft Auto Online, Red Dead Online, Apex Legends, EA Sports FIFA 20, League of Legends and more than 20 other PC, console and mobile games.


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Amazon launches new Alexa developer tools

Amazon today announced a slew of new features for developers who want to write Alexa skills. In total, the team released 31 new features at its Alexa Live event. Unsurprisingly, some of these are relatively minor but a few significantly change the Alexa experience for the over 700,000 developers who have built skills for the platform so far.
“This year, given all our momentum, we really wanted to pay attention to what developers truly required to take us to the next level of what engaging [with Alexa] really means,” Nedim Fresko, the company’s VP of Alexa Devices & Developer Technologies, told me.
Maybe it’s no surprise then that one of the highlights of this release is the beta launch of Alexa Conversations, which the company first demonstrated at its re:Mars summit last year. The overall idea here is, as the name implies, to make it easier for users to have a natural


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Amazon Fire TV now pulls in live TV content from Sling TV, YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV

Amazon is upgrading its Fire TV’s live TV experience through new integrations with several live TV streaming services, including Sling TV, YouTube TV, and Hulu + Live TV. Live content from these services will now appear within key areas with the Fire TV user interface, including the Fire TV’s Live tab and Channel Guide, making Fire TV feel even more like a cable TV replacement than before.
Already, Amazon Fire TV had offered integrations with nearly 20 other apps in a similar fashion, including live TV apps like Philo and Pluto TV, as well as its own Prime Video Channels.
But the addition of Sling TV, YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV brings in the three largest and most popular apps among cord cutters who are paying for a live TV experience. Sling TV has 2.31 million subscribers; YouTube TV has over 2 million; and Hulu + Live TV has 3.3


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Amazon made a bigger camera-spying store—so we tried to steal its fruit

Enlarge / Amazon Go Grocery’s first location in the Seattle neighborhood of Capitol Hill. (credit: Sam Machkovech)
SEATTLE—For how far and wide Amazon’s digital footprint reaches, the company clearly wants to advance into real-world space as much as possible. And to that end, Amazon runs some of its most ambitious experiments in its headquarters’ city before rolling them out nationwide.
As our staff’s sole Seattle resident, I pull the short straw of testing these by default.
In 2015, I shopped at Amazon’s first stab at a brick-and-mortar bookstore (you know, those old things Amazon has been accused of putting out of business in the first place) before that chain’s eventual nationwide launch. In 2016, I delivered Amazon packages as a gig-economy driver, before this kind of contract employee became a commonplace part of the nationwide Amazon Prime Now network. And in 2018, I picked through the first “cashierless,” camera-filled Amazon Go convenience store


Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1656322

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Amazon Dash buttons get chucked on the scrap heap this month

The much-maligned Dash button from Amazon is being killed off for good. Having previously announced that they were being discontinued, Amazon has announced that as of the end of this month, it will no longer be possible to place orders via a physical Dash button. This does not mean that the Dash ordering service is ceasing completely — it will continue to exist in the form of virtual Dash button that can be accessed from a range of devices. In fact, it is the success of virtual Dash buttons that negates the need for physical buttons, prompting Amazon to discontinue… [Continue Reading]


Original URL: https://betanews.com/2019/08/02/amazon-dash-button-ends/

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Expanse fans, no need to worry—Amazon orders season 5 of its new sci-fi show

It’s back! The long-awaited fourth season of The Expanse returns on its new network, Amazon Prime. It will now apparently also air a future fifth season.

May 2018 initially looked like an anxious month for fans of television’s best sci-fi show in years, The Expanse. The ambitious SyFy series based on James SA Corey’s beloved novels had just the right mix of visual gusto, gripping action, geopolitical drama, and addictively tense pacing to keep us glued for its three seasons. (We learned Belter! We podcasted!) But then, unexpectedly, SyFy did what SyFy does—it cancelled the show ahead of its S3 finale.
Luckily, Expanse fans know the rest of the story. Less than a month later at National Space Society’s International Space Development Conference in Los Angeles, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced that his company would be saving the series and producing a fourth season as an Amazon original. And this weekend, Bezos and co.


Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1542775

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Amazon caught selling counterfeits of publisher’s computer books—again

Enlarge / At left, a counterfeited No Starch book. At right, the real deal. (credit: left, Bill Pollock; right, Jon Sawyer (@jcase))
Bill Pollock, the founder of the tech how-to book publisher No Starch Press, called out Amazon on February 13 for selling what he says are counterfeit copies of his company’s book, The Art of Assembly Language—copies that Amazon apparently printed.

Just discovered today a new case of copyright infringement directly by AMAZON’S CREATESPACE. Not the first time! This is obviously NOT printed by No Starch. Kindly report any other cases to us. Please RT and share. @amazon @nostarch pic.twitter.com/ayjebwTiOI
— Bill Pollock (@billpollock) February 2, 2019

One of the Amazon printed fakes. Note the poor spine wrapping. @nostarch pic.twitter.com/3pcm0BYVHN
— Bill Pollock (@billpollock) February 12, 2019

Even the photo for the book’s main listing on the Amazon marketplace is of a fake, showing a misaligned spine image.

After Pollock’s post on Twitter on


Original URL: https://arstechnica.com/?p=1456467

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Amazon’s revamped Alexa app makes it easier to manage your smart home

Amazon’s Alexa app has just been given a major visual overhaul, largely focused on helping users set up and control their smart home. From the app’s new devices tab, users can view all their different Alexa-enabled devices and groups on one screen, as opposed to switching between tabs like before. And the app is much more colorful, too. Instead of a set white icons on a dark background, Alexa’s device groups – like Living Room, Kitchen, Bedroom, etc. – now feature colorful backgrounds, so you can find the one you need with just a glance.
An overhaul of the devices section was needed, not only for aesthetic reasons, but because Alexa owners are stocking their house with more than one smart device.
According to a Nielsen report on smart speaker adoption released earlier this month, 4 out of 10 U.S. smart speaker owners today have more than one device, for example. Smart


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Amazon Prime Video is coming to Comcast’s cable boxes

Comcast and Amazon today announced a new partnership that will see Amazon’s Prime Video service integrated into Comcast’s Xfinity TV set-top boxes. This is the first time that Prime Video content would be added to a cable operator’s platform in the U.S.. It’s also a particularly interesting choice on Comcast’s part,  given that Amazon is directly competing with pay TV providers through its Prime Video Channels a la carte TV subscriptions. And these will be available to Comcast’s customers via the Xfinity X1 set-top box as a result of this deal.
Today, Amazon offers over 160 premium Prime Video channels, including HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax and others that have been previously sold as add-ons to cable TV subscriptions. Being able to access to these channels over-the-top – without a traditional TV subscription – is one of several factors that have convinced some consumers to cut the cord with cable TV entirely.
In other


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