Posts tagged Prime

Apple Is Killing Finland, Says Prime Minister

Apple has a habit of sending technologies off into the sunset—see CDs, Firewire, Adobe Flash, and that’s just for starters. 

Running a whole country down, however, is a first.

According to Alexander Stubb, prime minister of Finland, many of the country’s economic woes stem from Apple’s iPhone—the devices that brought about the downfall of Nokia, the country’s former cell-phone champion, now a much-diminished part of Microsoft.

He also, bizarrely, pinned the decline of Finland’s paper industry on Apple’s iPad.

“A little bit paradoxically I guess one could say that the iPhone killed Nokia, and the iPad killed the Finnish paper industry,” he told CNBC on Monday.

See also: Nokia Unveils Three New Lumia Smartphones At Microsoft Build 2014

Finland’s sovereign debt rating on Standard & Poor slid from AAA to AA+ on Friday. But Apple isn’t solely to blame for that downgrade. Numerous factors went into its lowered economic prospects, including an aging population, lackluster business development and other matters. Stubb acknowledges that broader reforms are necessary, while remaining optimistic about making “a comeback.” 

See also: Nokia X Gets Axed By Microsoft

As for Nokia, the company’s phone business now operates under the umbrella of Microsoft, which lopped off as many as 12,500 jobs earlier this year. It still makes good phones—the Nokia Lumia 930, is regarded as one of the best on the market—but Windows Phone remains way behind Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android in popularity. 

Lead photo by Henkka

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All Roads Lead To Prime: Amazon Introduces Music Streaming Service

Amazon is officially in the music streaming business. Amazon today introduced Prime Music, a music streaming service available to Amazon Prime members. The new service will start with about 1 million songs and 90,000 albums, comprised of mostly older titles and hits from yesteryear. 

As part of Prime Music, Amazon is also consolidating its other music properties under the auspices of Amazon Music. The new Amazon Music will replace (but not substantially change) Amazon music services like its Cloud Player and the Amazon MP3 store. Users that use the Amazon vinyl AutoRip feature will find their music unchanged in Amazon Music. 

Prime Music will allow users to mix the music they own with music from the Prime catalogue to create as well as access hundreds of pre-arranged “Prime Playlists.” The service is completely advertising free for Prime members and will allow users to download songs from Prime Playlists to play on mobile devices. Kindle Fire HD and HDX owners will get Prime Music with an over-the-air update while the app will be available on iOS and Android as well.

Prime Music is available to Amazon Prime members, the company’s subscription service that features two-day shipping on many items in the Amazon store as well as video streaming with Amazon Instant Video and the Kindle lending library. Amazon announced earlier this year that it would increase the yearly fee for Prime to $99 (from $79) starting this year.

Serving The Prime Beast

Prime Music itself is nothing special. The library is relatively limited to older music at launch (much like Amazon Prime Instant Video is limited to older movies and shows) and will launch without any music from one of the largest record labels in Universal Music Group, according to The New York Times. 

If you are a Spotify subscriber, Prime Music is going to be disappointing in its breadth of selection. Amazon doesn’t seem to care as the point of Prime Music is not necessarily to beat Spotify or other music streaming services, but rather to increase the value of Prime to gain and retain users after Amazon hiked up the price. 

Focusing just on what Amazon Music does and does not have in terms of library selection and features would be a disservice to what Amazon has put together with its Prime content strategy. Think about it like this: For basically $100 a year, you get access to unlimited streaming of a variety of movies and television shows, unlimited streaming a good amount of music, the ability to share books with other Kindle users and two-day shipping for almost everything sells. 

Compare all the aspects of Prime with what it would cost to maintain Netflix (starting at $7.99 a month) and Spotify ($9.99 a month) subscriptions, not to mention other services like HBO Go and Hulu Plus or Pandora’s ad-free premium service and Prime looks like a deal. The problem with Prime’s content vis-à-vis the competition is that you are limited to older content, but many users may make that compromise if it saves them between $100 and $200 a month.

In the end, all of Amazon Prime’s content properties are tangential to its real purpose. The real objective of Prime is to get more people on Amazon, buying physical products from its warehouses. Amazon entices with free unlimited two-day shipping and all of the content included in Prime is just a way for Amazon to get more eyeballs on its site, buying more stuff. If music can help achieve that goal, it is an easy feature for Amazon to roll out to its Prime members.

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Google Glass Isn’t Ready For Prime Time, Says, Uh, Google

In case you were wondering if Google Glass is ready for prime time, here’s the final word on that, straight from the horse’s mouth: It’s not.

The Glass team took to Google Plus (where else?) to defend its smart facewear gadget against a whole host of accusations … er, “myths” … that have been circulating about the device. Nestled in among them was Myth 4, an item that speaks to its relative lack of polish and bugs. 

Myth 4—Glass is ready for prime time

Glass is a prototype, and our Explorers and the broader public are playing a critical role in how it’s developed. In the last 11 months, we’ve had nine software updates and three hardware updates based, in part, on feedback from people like you. Ultimately, we hope even more feedback gets baked into a polished consumer product ahead of being released. And, in the future, today’s prototype may look as funny to us as that mobile phone from the mid 80s.

The company’s position should come as no surprise. Google has always been clear that the current model of Glass is an early version—it even dubbed it Project Glass and made it only available as a developer release. The only thing missing was a neon sign slapped on it blinking “prototype!” 

But rounding up this laundry list of issues and adding point-by-point responses is an odd tack to take, especially from a big tech player with a penchant for unleashing beta products and services. It even posted an etiquette guide last month, in the hopes of minimizing any “glasshole” behavior of its users. All that suggests the company’s getting a little tired of the barbs pitched at its pet project. 

The litany of “myths” covers some common critiques, from Glass’ $1,500 priceyness and presumably well-heeled target audience to distraction and privacy. Especially privacy. Out of the 10 myths rebutted by Google, no fewer than five touch on privacy and surveillance concerns: 

Myth 2:  Glass is always on and recording everything

Myth 5: Glass does facial recognition (and other dodgy things)

Myth 7: Glass is the perfect surveillance device

Myth 9: Glass is banned… EVERYWHERE  

Myth 10: Glass marks the end of privacy

Hey, Google—defensive much?

The Google+ post likens Glass to smartphones, the reigning and ubiquitous mobile devices with integrated cameras. What it fails to address is that phones aren’t always poised and ready to shoot photos or video, or that someone holding their phone up in your general direction is usually a pretty good tip off he or she is about to immortalize your likeness. If someone is wearing Glass, it’s pointing wherever they’re looking—and the device still has no LED to alert others when it’s recording. (Its screen may light up, but that’s not remotely the same thing.) 

Here’s hoping the Glass crew can put as much effort into actually resolving these issues as it did defending itself against them.

Image by Flickr user tedeytan

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Amazon Jacks Up The Price Of Prime To $99

Amazon has increased the price of its Amazon Prime membership program today to from $79 to $99 annually. The raise of the price for Prime has been anticipated since Amazon’s last quarterly earnings call when CFO Tom Szkutak said that it was likely that the company would elevate the cost to consumers by $20 to $40.

Amazon Prime allows members free two-day shipping as well as access to Amazon’s Prime Instant Video television and movie streaming service as well as free access to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. Prime was introduced by Amazon in 2005 and had not seen a price increase since its inception in 2005. The price of Prime for students will remain at $49. Amazon Fresh, the company’s grocery delivery service, will remain $299.

The Prime price increase will go into effect for existing users on their renewal dates. If your Amazon Prime memberships has already been renewed in 2014, the price increase won’t go into effect until the renewal date in 2015.

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That Amazon Prime Price Hike Is Already Happening In Europe

Amazon is raising the price of Amazon Prime subscriptions in the U.K. and Germany by roughly 60% to 70% starting February 26, it announced Friday. The new fee coincides with Amazon’s decision to include streaming video in the deal for its European customers and may be a sign of things to come for U.S. users as well. Amazon said a few weeks ago that it may impose similar increases for domestic Prime users, who have access to free streaming since 2011



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Prime Talk: Prof. Seo Sang-heui on Bird Flu Outbreak – Arirang News

Prime Talk: Prof. Seo Sang-heui on Bird Flu Outbreak
Arirang News
For more on the the threat of avian influenza expanding across the country and ways to contain the potential damage from the virus, we are joined in the studio by Dr. Seo Sang-heui professor of Veterinary Medicine at Chungnam National University.

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That Amazon Prime Membership May Be Getting Pricier Soon

Amazon CFO Tom Szkutak revealed that the company may be hiking the price of its popular Amazon Prime service—possibly by as much as $20 to $40 beyond the current $79 annual fee. Szkutak spoke during Amazon’s fourth quarter 2013 earnings call today.

The reason is obvious. Shipping is expensive, and Amazon’s current system is groaning under the burden of all the free shipping Prime allows. Szkutak said that transportation costs are up, and so are Prime shipments. (He said that Prime units have grown to 19 million from 1 million.) 

Prime membership also includes access to Amazon’s free video-streaming service and the ability to “borrow” some Kindle e-books for no additional cost.

In the same announcement, Amazon’s financial results fell short of Wall Street expectations, despite revenue growth of 20 percent to $25.59 billion.

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