So the big news is that Amazon Echo is now available for all to purchase, with a July 14th ETA. And, instead of going mass market at $200 as originally presented, it arrives at an even more palatable $180 (having dropped the physical remote). Considering a decent Bluetooth speaker could run that much or more, the voice-controlled, multi-function Echo is really a fantabulous deal when you consider all it offers.
When originally introduced as an Amazon Prime exclusive in limited numbers for $99, I picked up two. Back then, it didn’t do a whole lot — it was largely a silo-ed experience that I mainly used as a voice-controlled alarm clock and iHeartRadio terminal. But the product team has been iterating at a furious pace, bringing native Pandora, Hue control (!), and Audible integration… with promises of more to come and a developer SDK.
TiVo’s gearing up for a new round of television advertising targeting cord cutters with a pair of DVR birthing videos. Generally speaking, most ads that attempt to be clever and edgy are neither. I found the spots very mildly amusing, but think the company would have been better served with more focus on the product’s capabilities (like Virgin) – beyond a rushed description that refers to Amazon Instant or Amazon Prime Instant video streaming as Amazon Prime. (I get brevity in a 30 second spot, but this is the company that couldn’t always spell Roamio.) Further, while I don’t know if TiVo took this through a focus group, I suspect “record antenna TV” versus “record over-the-air HD” is a clearer, more powerful descriptor, plus you still have OTA in the product name and cord cutting references. They do wisely avoid TiVo Roamio OTA pricing options, as that’d consume the entire 30 seconds… not to mention, changes could be in the air. Ultimately, the commercial’s value to TiVo largely depends upon where exactly it’s shown along with the corresponding audience’s sensibilities.
TiVo’s out with price cuts across their line…
First, now is probably not the time to buy a Roamio OTA. With TiVo planning a “late July” announcement in regards to their recently acquired Aereo trademark, it’s best for cord cutters to hold off… unless another amazing deal comes along. I also wouldn’t recommend the base Roamio, as it lacks streaming and MoCA bridging — especially when those features, plus 2 additional tuners and 500GB more storage, can be had for just fifty bucks more — assuming you’re OK with cable-only and a warrantied refurb.
In preparation for the new features of iOS9, specifically around keyboard shortcuts, I thought it was time to finally figure out a keyboard solution for my iPad. After some research, I narrowed it down to either the Logitech Keys-to-Go and the Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard. Both keyboards are similar in terms of features and dedicated buttons for quickly accessing iPad functions. But in the end, I preferred one over the other.
If you value how the keyboard “feels” when typing, the Keys To Go (K2G) are more responsive compared to the Microsoft Universal Mobile and the soft material makes the keys nicer to the touch. The K2G is water resistant if you decide to spill that drink on it at the office desk or pot of pasta sauce at the kitchen. :-) Also, the K2G has a physical on/off switch which I prefer. You know that the keyboard is actually off. The MS Universal, you turn if off by putting on the top cover which is kinda cool, but there are times when you wonder whether it’s really turned off. Continue Reading…
Update! Roku has asked TechCrunch to remove an inaccurate statement and tells us: “Roku does not collect data from a customer’s WiFi network nor collect data from any other devices on a customer’s WiFi network.” Move along on, folks! Original story follows:
Assuming neither TechCrunch nor Roku misspoke, our streaming boxes (and sticks) will soon begin snooping on us. As Roku looks to generate revenue beyond meager hardware margins, they’re getting serious with measurement and advertising. And I get the need to monetize. However, the incoming ad platform piloted on Crackle is all sorts of creepy:
These interactive ads can also be personalized using data like a user’s location, as well as by tracking information collected on devices running on a household’s Wi-Fi network using traditional means.
Geo-targeting is a generally accepted practice to fine-tune offers, but sniffing my network to see what other devices I might be running is well out of bounds. Further, what other data will be passed along? For example, as Roku ramps up their analytics business, how might folks linking a Plex library or having installed an “adult” channel feel?
Nest gathered the press yesterday to introduce a refreshed Nest Protect,
Dropcam Nestcam, and mobile app. While it’s clear the Google subsidiary is starting to pull an ecosystem together as they refine their offerings, the pace isn’t exactly breathtaking and I’m not motivated to further open my wallet. In fact, given ecobee’s incoming support for Apple HomeKit and remote sensors, I might finally make good on promises to unload my Nest thermostat. You?
More thoughts on the announcements, in reverse chronological order… because Twitter: Continue Reading…
Beyond its premium construction and physical page turn nubs, the Kindle Voyage’s prime selling point has been its higher resolution display. Well, today, the dynamics have shifted … as Amazon has just introduced an “All-New” Kindle Paperwhite that features a 300ppi e-Ink screen, while retaining its $119 price point — $80 cheaper than Voyage. Along with the new Paperwhite, Amazon is also taking this opportunity to more formally introduce their new font and layout engine.
As for me, I got my pre-order in. Once I’m done checking out the upgraded Paperwhite when it releases June 30th, I’ll pass it on to Mom. All that’s really left for the Kindle line is waterproofing… and, until then, I’ll be sticking with Ziploc.