Amazon acquired a company called TenMarks several years ago, and today it has released a writing curriculum through it for teachers and students.This online curriculum is designed to help teachers guide students through the maze that is learning to write; it involves online activities that can be completed using a smartphone or other connected device.TenMarks, which features ‘an amazon company’ on its homepage, is billed as an Amazon K-12 Education effort.In addition to math, the service now offers a writing curriculum for teachers who sign up for the service.The curriculum says it offers ‘everything you need to teach writing,’ including short writing exercises and lessons that take place via ‘text messaging.’The software is tailored toward a new generation of students who have largely grown up with modern computing devices and smartphone-based messaging.
When it comes to ebooks, most people still think of Amazon.The Internet company has long dominated the online publishing market, having been the driving force behind the rise of ereaders and digital books.Still, competitors remain and notable among them is Kobo, which has launched its own ereaders over the years.The company launched its own online ebook subscription service back in February, and now it is back with audiobooks.Kobo’s audiobooks arrive as an alternative to Audible, which is an Amazon company.The audiobooks are being offered alongside a monthly subscription which works in a way similar to Audible.
Amazon's Alexa last month gained the ability to recognize different voices.Now Amazon is taking that feature a step further, by teaching its voice assistant to offer up personalized responses when it recognizes a customer's voice.A handful of developers are already testing this new capability, and this personalization tool will be more broadly available to developers next year, Amazon said Thursday.The personalization ability, part of a wave of new features unveiled at Amazon Web Services' annual re:Invent conference, could help make Alexa more enjoyable for customers to use and help cut down on the smart assistant's sometimes canned responses.Moving forward, more personalization could help Alexa come across as more human, making people want to interact with her more often, and help the assistant carry on longer conversations.Developers could use the new feature to create Alexa skills (Amazon's term for voice-enabled apps) that can remember past interactions or preferences set by specific users, helping Alexa offer more personalized responses, Amazon said.
To watch the latest episode of "This is Us" on your Amazon Fire TV, all you have to do now is ask Alexa to play it.Amazon on Thursday expanded the capabilities of its voice assistant to work with third-party apps on its TV box.The initial list includes Bravo, CBS All Access, Hulu, NBC, Showtime and Sony PlayStation Vue.Previously, you could use the Echo, Echo Dot or Echo Show to search and control playback of Amazon Prime Video movies and TV shows on the Fire TV.Now you'll be able to use your voice to search, control playback and change the channel within the supported third party apps.You can say, for instance, "Alexa, watch 'The Handmaid's Tale'" or "Alexa, play 'Homeland.'"
When you're the CEO of one of the world's most famous companies, you should celebrate your achievements.You'd think that, for Amazon's Jeff Bezos, this might include buying Whole Foods, outwitting Apple and Google in smart speakers and generally creating conniptions in the whole retail industry.On Thursday, however, Bezos spread his feathers and clucked with pride at something far more unexpected.He took to Twitter to crow about a huge success at the Amazon Web Services re:Invent conference, which took place this week.They'll be calling Bezos "The Colonel" now.I contacted Amazon to ask how many competed, who won, how many wings they ate and whether they suffered any after-effects.
Amazon is going to start driving its Treasure Truck around UK cities like London and Manchester.The Treasure Truck will sell one item at a time.Amazon said it wants to give customers the excitement people felt as children when they heard the ice-cream van coming.The company will drive its Treasure Truck around different UK cities with one surprise product at a time — often at a discount.Customers must order a product through the Amazon app first, before going to collect it from the truck.It's a fun and engaging way for the company to sell products that people might be struggling to find elsewhere on the high street.
Like it or not, and many definitely don’t, ads have become part and parcel of the modern digital life.What makes ads the villains, however, are the way people have unscrupulously used every trick they can come up with to inconvenience or, worse, mislead users.Google has been cracking down on inappropriate uses of ads on Android, and the latest to get the banhammer are apps that put those ads on phones’ lockscreens.The new Google Play Developer Policy on “Lockscreen Monetization” isn’t a blanket ban on ads on lockscreens.The documentation is actually very simple and specific:“Unless the exclusive purpose of the app is that of a lockscreen, apps may not introduce ads or features that monetize the locked display of a device.”
Amazon could be getting into healthcare, and the company's reportedly had conversations with generic drugmakers about it, CNBC reports.It's the latest hint in recent months that Amazon is serious about healthcare.Worry about the prescription drug business being Amazon'd has sent healthcare stocks tumbling, and is even credited with sparking the potential $60 billion+ CVS-Aetna deal.Conversations with generic drugmakers could mean that Amazon is interested in either helping generic drugmakers distribute prescriptions to pharmacies or by selling the generic prescriptions itself.We just got another hint about Amazon's ambitions in healthcare.CNBC reported on Thursday that Amazon has had exploratory talks with the drugmakers Sandoz, the generic drug unit of Novartis, and Mylan.
With the second series of The Grand Tour starting next week, Amazon is obviously in marketing overdrive to try and get people to subscribe to Prime and watch.Part of its plan involves a competition, asking students to develop a Grand Tour-based skill for Alexa - with a trip to New York at stake.The first part of said competition asks people to pitch their ideas for an Alexa skill.The idea is that it should enhance the Grand Tour experience, and be interesting enough for viewers to use on a regular basis.The Grand Tour being The Grand Tour, judges aren't necessarily looking for something that's just useful.According to Amazon the skills will be judged on fun and functionality, engagement, innovation, and feasibility.
Apparently there's a thing in America where Amazon drives a lorry about town, a bit like the Coca-Cola lorry, only with consumer electronics and food inside it.They're bringing it over here now too, so get ready to have the life sucked out of you by the misery of the Treasure Truck -- the Black Friday that turns up outside your house playing a little tune."WHAT'S ON THE TRUCK TODAY?"is the question children are supposed to excitedly ask their parents when the lorry rolls into their downtrodden district on the scheduled day, as the big thing about the Treasure Truck is that it only sells one item at a time -- and it changes each day.So if you're lucky it's the solid-state hard drive day; if you're unlucky it's a load of comfort blankets for dogs or, even worse, Bluetooth speakers.Amazon says buyers can expect deals to include food and even some video game offers, plus it's using an image of a Nintendo Switch on its advertising for the promotion, which would incite riots should it trundle into town full of consoles for £30 off the RRP.
AWS RDS instances get virty to cut cloudy storage costsThe company started out provisioning virtual copies for test and dev and so forth.It then evolved into a supplier of personal virtualized data environments, covering on-premises and public cloud environments.RDS integration into Delphix's DataOps product fits with this.Initially it supports Oracle DB on Amazon RDS, with additional data sources to come, and provides self-service capabilities to copy, refresh and rewind data automatically.Delphix says it reduces Amazon users' storage costs on AWS.
Those who create the future often fail to anticipate the downsides of their creations.I'm therefore swooning with admiration at a new patent that's just been granted to Amazon.The company has at least considered what might happen when one of its delivery drones encounters mechanical difficulties.The idea is that Amazon's technicians and computers would take a look at where the drone is flying, examine the terrain below, take account of any wind or other weather conditions and then automatically break up the drone into smaller pieces that might cause less damage as they fall.Amazon included a drawing to help envision the effect.This is no small concern.
The good news: Early signs from Amazon indicate the company is committed to keeping Alexa open to rivals and the public.Smart assistants haven't yet replaced smartphone apps as the primary way we interact with computers, but Amazon is already preparing for what might happen if they do.The company's Echo devices, which are powered by Amazon's Alexa assistant, are early leaders in the smart-speaker category.Thanks to their success and Amazon's decision to license Alexa widely for use in other companies' devices, the e-commerce giant has positioned itself to have a preeminent role in speech-based computing.If the trends continue — and voice becomes the dominant way we interact with our devices — Alexa could become the primary way we search, shop, and consume media online.During IGNITION on Thursday, I interviewed Toni Reid, Amazon's vice president in charge of its Alexa and Echo businesses.
If you want to know what the Walmart of the future looks like, it's best to look at Amazon for a rough sketch.Walmart continues to move its business online as Amazon moves offline, and they're becoming the first two truly omnichannel retailers in the process.Walmart is still the indisputable leader offline as the largest retailer in the US — and possibly the world— by sales, while Amazon still dominates online.As businesses start to think about an equilibrium between online and brick-and-mortar, there's no better time to consider what America's biggest retailers will look like in the future.Walmart was first to the punch, launching its limited pilot program with August Home in September.There are larger examples from just this year
At its AWS re:Invent conference last week, Amazon announced two new monetization updates for Alexa skill developers: in-skill purchases and the ability to make payments via Amazon Pay.In-skill purchases will enable developers to sell premium content or digital subscriptions within their skills, and the extension of Amazon Pay will allow third-party developers to accept Amazon Pay for in-skill purchases.Several skills — including Sports Jeopardy!, Match Game, and Heads Up — are already planning to adopt the in-app payment capability through Amazon’s developer preview, which will be available broadly in 2018.While this model has helped Amazon emerge as an early leader with the most voice apps of any platform, the current solution is limited in scope.Implementing new monetization tools for Alexa skills bodes well for Amazon’s long-term success in the nascent voice assistant market:It will likely encourage developers to focus on creating high-quality skills.
The deal is the largest in 2017 and comes as rumors that Amazon could be entering the healthcare space circulate.But the acquisition has nothing to do with Amazon and is simply good for business, according to some analysts.CVS Health is set to acquire Aetna for $69 billion in the year's biggest deal, the companies announced on Sunday.Some analysts have speculated that Amazon's baby steps into the healthcare industry could have spurred the acquisition, but that is decidedly not the case, George Hill, an analyst at RBC, said on Monday."We view this deal as offensive by both companies, looking to a more vertically integrated, consumer directed, value-based care delivery future, and not a response to any threat from Amazon," Hill said.Amazon's entry into the healthcare space is only speculative at this point and details are scarce.
Aussies who’ve been spending the last week refreshing the amazon.com.au site in expectation of doing a spot of shopping with the ecommerce giant finally got to see the store in all its glory on Monday.Up to now, Amazon’s local store only offered a tiny selection of items, mainly its Kindle ebook readers and audiobooks.There’d been much speculation Down Under recently about when Amazon would get around to launching a full-fledged online store, as the company had already confirmed its intention while failing to offer a specific rollout date.But with the holiday season now in full swing and December 25 fast approaching, it’s finally flipped the switch in a bid to grab some of that all-important Christmas coin.While Amazon’s all-new Australian store includes electronics, clothing, toys, games, and more, it doesn’t yet offer the range or quantity of its online stores in, say, the U.S. and U.K. There’s nothing like AmazonFresh food delivery either, and Prime shipping isn’t coming until the middle of next year.In the meantime, Amazon Australia is offering free shipping on orders over AU$49.
(The site has hosted a Kindle store since 2013, but Aussies haven't been able to buy anything more than ebooks).And it already has a well established overseas presence; it began selling books in the UK and Germany in 1998, just three years after launching in the US.Country manager Rocco Braeuniger says Amazon hopes to "earn the trust and the custom of Australian shoppers in the years to come."The Australian store launched with 23 categories, including electronics, DVDs, PCs and software.It also stocked general merchandise ,like clothing, baby and beauty products.Amazon.com.au also sells Kindle eReaders (which were previously only available in Australia through third-party retailers) and the Fire TV Stick streaming device.
Amazon Business launched in the UK in April, letting businesses procure goods on the platform.Service already has 90,000 UK customers, from sole traders to FTSE 100 companies.LONDON — 90,000 UK companies are using Amazon Business just eight months after launch.Amazon disclosed the usage figures for its business procurement platform in the UK for the first time on Tuesday."It's a one-stop shop for business customers to buy what they need to operate their business," said Bill Burkland, head of Amazon Business in the UK."What we noticed is that a lot of businesses were indeed shopping on Amazon.
Amazon recently launched ‘Pet Profiles’ on the Amazon.com marketplace.Now you can add your family’s furry (and scaly) friends to your account, because pets are people too.Upon signing up your first pet you’ll be given a one-time 20 percent discount on your next pet food order.There’s also member-only discounts on pet-related items for customers who have set up the new profiles.Getting started is simple, navigate to Amazon.com and select “Pet Supplies” from the list of departments.Once there click on “Pet Profile” in the horizontal menu.