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(Bloomberg) -- Somewhere between Spotify crashing and Alexa failing to locate his favorite sushi place, Rafael Rivera decided he was dealing with an unfinished product.The software developer’s rectangular Echo Auto, perched on the dashboard of his 2005 Mini Cooper, picked up his voice seamlessly over blaring music or air conditioning. But repeated restarts and clunky mapping made the on-the-go hub for Amazon.com Inc.’s Alexa less useful.“Am I part of a beta program?” he recalls thinking. “Is this thing done?”Introduced almost a year ago and shipped to the first invited customers in January, the sometimes-buggy Echo Auto is the most visible element so far of Amazon’s ambition to take Alexa on the road.Behind the scenes, the company is trying to persuade automakers to bake the voice-activated digital assistant into their entertainment systems. Those efforts are gaining some traction—BMW and Audi earlier this year began selling select models that integrate Alexa’s software by default. But Amazon is entering a market already contested by Google and Apple Inc., not to mention automakers leery of ceding control of the dashboard to Big Tech.While colonizing the car probably won’t generate much in the way of revenue at first, just being there would help Amazon position itself for a coming era of voice-based services. “Amazon wants to get into the car in a big way,” says Mike Ramsey, a senior research director at Gartner who tracks the auto industry. “They sense that there is a big opportunity.”Amazon declined to make anyone available to discuss the program, but a spokesman pointed to comments Ned Curic, vice president of Alexa Automotive, made last month to the Automotive News: “The real North Star for us is to be embedded with all the cars,” Curic said. “We’re working very hard to get there because we believe that is the best experience.”The company has said it wants to make Alexa, its hub for trivia, music and Amazon products, ubiquitous. The company built teams in recent years charged with making the software useful beyond the living room, seeking ties to home automation and security companies, building out voice and video calling functionality and even exploring wearable devices and home robots.The first tie between Alexa and an automaker was, like many Amazon efforts, an experiment. In 2016, Hyundai Motor Co. rolled out the first application linking Alexa to a big carmaker in a tool that let owners of some models start their vehicle or set the climate control from an Alexa device.Amazon formalized its push a year later, hiring Curic, an executive with Toyota Motor Corp.’s North American subsidiary, to run the automotive efforts. Curic’s team plucked staff from Lab126, the San Francisco Bay Area hardware division behind the Echo speaker, and Amazon Web Services, the company’s cloud-computing arm. Amazon also went shopping for recruits who knew their way around the industry, seeking veterans of German stalwarts like Daimler AG, BMW and Volkswagen, companies that have been among the most aggressive in exploring voice software.Hanging over the exercise to take Alexa on the road is Amazon’s failure to build a smartphone to rival Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Apple. About 62% of people who use their voice to control music or other applications in their car today do so through a smartphone, a market dominated by Google and Apple, according to a survey by voice technology news site Voicebot and dashboard entertainment startup Drivetime. Another 32% opt for the software included in their car’s entertainment system while 6% use different technology, including the Echo Auto.“Amazon’s Achilles heel is not having a play on the phone,” says John Foster, chief executive of Aiqudo Inc. a startup working to tailor mobile applications for voice control. “They’re going at it the best way they can. But I do think they suffer from this disadvantage that Google is really starting to make clear.”Google, the company behind Android, the world’s most popular operating system, has gotten automakers on board, building ties that could be used to hook drivers into Google's Assistant, Alexa's biggest rival in the U.S. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi and Volvo are all building entertainment systems on Android.“Google has a much bigger footprint in the auto industry than Amazon does,” says Ramsey, of Gartner. “They’re getting big wins. Amazon is just starting to scratch the surface.”Other carmakers are going their own route.Some, like Daimler’s Mercedes, have thrown their weight behind proprietary voice software. The Mercedes-Benz User Experience system, like many automaker-branded software, is powered by technology built by Nuance Communications Inc., a software company in Massachusetts.“Each of these manufacturers wants to preserve their own brand” in the car, says Richard Mack, a Nuance marketing executive. “When you press that button on the steering wheel, Mercedes would much rather see their emblem come up rather than a Google or an Amazon or a Microsoft logo.”Amazon has tried to assuage carmakers worried about Google or Apple's potential automotive ambitions by suggesting Alexa could be one among several voice assistants embedded in a future entertainment system, according to two people who have heard the pitch, but aren't authorized to publicly discuss it. Amazon last year released tools that let carmakers build Alexa into their cars. The company has also tried to leverage Alexa’s popularity in the home, saying to potential partners that customers would rather use voice software they’re already familiar with than learn a new program while behind the wheel.As Curic’s team negotiated with carmakers, Lab126 engineers got to work on an end around, repurposing the Echo speaker’s microphone arrays and software, originally designed for homes, for noisy car environments. The device avoided dealing with in-car communications systems entirely by piggybacking off of customers’ smartphone to connect to Alexa servers.When it was released, analysts said the Echo Auto seemed to fill a gap in the market, offering a device that promised to bring modern voice control to older car models. It drew more than 1 million orders, Amazon said, though the device is still shipping in batches and only to invited customers.Reviewers said the device lacked polish, coming off at times like a work-in-progress. A reviewer at tech news site the Verge said some of the auto-focused applications Amazon touts on its website “are laughably bad right now.”It’s harder to get a read on how customers feel because Amazon, which helped popularize online product reviews, has disabled customer reviews for the Echo Auto.Ryan Adzima, who bought one to replace the outdated voice control system that came standard in his Jeep, is a fan. The owner of five Echo smart speakers figured the device’s introductory price tag of $25 was a bargain compared with replacing his entertainment system or buying a voice-activated navigation system.He liked the device, which heard his commands over road noise with the windows open and top down and easily handled tasks like calls and music. Connectivity, dependent on sometimes spotty wireless service around his Las Vegas home, left something to be desired, forcing him to reach for his phone to skip songs by hand when Alexa’s servers couldn’t be reached.Adzima isn’t in the market for a new car. But if Alexa is integrated in enough models by the time he is, he’ll consider it.“If I was sitting on a lot, and one car had Alexa built in, the other didn’t, and the cost difference wasn’t that much?,” he says. “That would definitely make my decision.”To contact the author of this story: Matt Day in Seattle at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at firstname.lastname@example.org, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
They're proposing a $2 billion contest to return Americans to the moon — far less than the expected cost of NASA's planned lunar project.
Back to school is not all bad when it means you can take advantage of retailers using this as an excuse to discount products. For example, Amazon is offering off to college deals, such as the Amazon Fire HD 10 32GB tablet is going for $99.99, or the Echo Dot is only $29.99. Get the Instant Pot Max 6-quart pressure cooker to help you prepare meals to save time so you can do more studying or relax after a long day, instead of spending hours to prepare a meal. Check out more of today's best deals from Amazon, Walmart, Dell, Best Buy, Rakuten, and BuyDig for Monday, Aug. 19. Read more...More about Gaming, Ipad Pro, Mashable Shopping, Fire Hd 10, and Instant PotIMAGE: Amazon$99.99$50.00 OFF (33%) ~~ $149.99 ~~ PrimeAmazon Fire HD 10 32GB 1920x1200 10.1" Tablet -- See Details IMAGE: Amazon$85$84.95 OFF (50%) ~~ $169.95 ~~ PrimePanasonic KXTG7875S Link-to-Cell DECT 6.0 5-Handset Phone System -- See Details IMAGE: Amazon$39.99$10 OFF (20%) ~~ $49.99 ~~Fire TV Stick 4K Streaming Media Player with Alexa Voice Remote -- See Details IMAGE: WORLD MARKET30% off Living & Dining sale -- See Details IMAGE: Amazon$849.99$149.01 OFF (15%) ~~ $999 ~~ PrimeApple iPad Pro 12.9-inch WiFi 64GB Tablet (Latest Model) -- See Details IMAGE: Amazon$29.99$20.00 OFF (40%) ~~ $49.99 ~~ PrimeEcho Dot (3rd Gen) -- See Details IMAGE: WALMART$299Nintendo Switch Console (New Gen, Improved Battery Life) -- See Details IMAGE: Amazon$19.99$15.00 OFF (43%) ~~ $34.99 ~~ PrimeEcho Connect -- See Details IMAGE: Amazon$549.99$250 OFF (31%) ~~ $799.99 ~~ PrimeArlo Pro 2 Wireless Home Security Camera System (4 camera kit) -- See Details IMAGE: Amazon$349$50 OFF (13%) ~~ $399 ~~ PrimeApple Watch Series 4 (GPS 40mm) -- See Details IMAGE: Amazon$179$20 OFF (10%) ~~ $199 ~~ PrimeApple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case (Latest Model) -- See Details IMAGE: Amazon$149.99$49.96 OFF (25%) ~~ $199.95 ~~ PrimeInstant Pot Max 6-Quart Multi-use Electric Pressure Cooker -- See Details IMAGE: Amazon$10.99$13.96 OFF (56%) ~~ $24.95 ~~ PrimeCyberPower CSP600WSU Surge Protector -- See Details IMAGE: Amazon$299.99LG V35 ThinQ 64GB 6" 2880x1440 QHD+ OLED Octa-Core Unlocked Smartphone -- See Details IMAGE: Amazon$999.99$300 OFF (23%) ~~ $1,300 ~~ PrimePhilips Brilliance 499P9H 49" 5120x1440 32:9 VA SuperWide Curved Monitor -- See Details IMAGE: Amazon$149.99$100 OFF (40%) ~~ $249.99 ~~ PrimeLinksys Business AC1750 WiFi Cloud Managed Access Point -- See Details IMAGE: AMAZON$129.95$30 OFF (19%) ~~ $159.95 ~~ PrimeFitbit Versa Lite Edition Smart Watch plus $20 Amazon Gift Card -- See Details IMAGE: Amazon$69.99$30 OFF (30%) ~~ $99.99 ~~ PrimeDash Deluxe Electric Air Fryer plus Oven Cooker -- See Details
BENGALURU: Prime Now, Amazon's two-hour grocery delivery platform, could be the primary vehicle for its foray into food delivery business in India, four people aware of the company's plan said. Amazon has also held preliminary talks with Ola's food delivery unit Foodpanda for a potential partnership for this business which could be extended to an acquisition, these people added. They have also held talks with Uber Eats. Prime Now, which was earlier known as Amazon Now, will serve as a platform focusing on high-frequency use cases of both food and grocery delivery, as Amazon looks to capture a bigger share of urban consumers. “Amazon has spent some time debating whether to build food delivery
Google, Facebook and Amazon and several other major tech companies will testify at a U.S. hearing on the French government’s digital services tax on Monday morning.
KOLKATA | NEW DELHI: Several electronics, smartphones and fashion brands said festive season orders from Amazon and Flipkart have surged up to 80% over last year in the expectation that consumer spending will revive during the Navratri-Diwali period. For online-focussed brands, festive orders have doubled, three senior industry executives said. Executives of leading brands said the marketplaces have projected a surge of over 40% in consumer traffic during the festive season, which is the largest shopping period for Indian consumers. The marketplaces expect much of these will be converted into actual sales led by discounts and first-time online shoppers, they said. 'Steepest Discounts of the Year'
For sellers looking to make extra cash from online retailing, the decision to go online is easy but the choice between eBay and Amazon might not be so easy.
Not all of us can go on big, fancy vacations all the time. But we can upgrade our bedrooms to feel like a luxury hotel and have ourselves a little staycation. It's the perfect way to treat yourself without paying very much. While there are tons of ways to transform your bedroom into a luxury suite, a cozy comforter is a great place to start. And lucky for you, we've rounded up nine sets that are on sale. If a down comforter is the epitome of coziness for you, but you're a grade-A allergy sufferer, this Serenity Silk Comforter is the next best thing. Made of 100% combed organic cotton and 100% long strand silk, you'll get the comfort and quality of down without getting the sniffles every night.
The Uttar Pradesh Police has registered a case of fraud after an Amazon customer here alleged that he got a second-hand Sony phone delivered to him instead of a new Apple iPhone that he had ordered, a police official said on Sunday. Amazon India, however, said it is investigating the matter on its end and assured speedy resolution. "I had ordered an Apple iPhone XR and made an advance payment of Rs 58,410 on Amazon website on August 3 in the name of my father. The next day the Amazon delivery boy brought a package which had a Sony Xperia phone inside an Apple cover. The phone was old and used. I immediately called up Amazon customer care and was assured that they will resolve the issue by August
Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos all made predictions before the turn of millennium that are still coming true today.
Five Amazon executives gave individual campaign contributions to the Congressman who led the House antitrust investigation into their company just two months before their hearing in July, it has been revealed. In July House Democrat Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island led a hearing where lawmakers grilled executives from Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google on their business and anti-competition practices. Just two months prior in late May, five senior Amazon executives - CEO of worldwide consumer Jeff Wilke, CFO Brian Olsavsky, general counsel David Zapolsky, SVP of worldwide operations Dave Clark and SVP of North America consumer Doug Herrington - made individual contributions to Cicilline's
(Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. Investors are bracing for a significant downturn in the world economy, cutting earnings estimates amid a market sell-off. While all cyclical industries face some form of risks, some companies within each sector are more vulnerable than others as the outlook deteriorates.In recent recessions, technology and finance were the triggers -- the internet bubble caused the 2000 market crash and subprime lending led to the 2008-2009 global financial crisis that spread to housing, manufacturing and consumer demand.“The financial sector was leading in 2002-2007. In this cycle, it’s the tech sector,” said Bloomberg Chief Equity Strategist Gina Martin Adams. Still, she cautioned that in spite of the warning signs, it may be too early to predict a recession, adding that “tech is the strength of the economy.”Here are five global companies that may stand to lose more than others:AmazonAmazon.com Inc. is among the most cyclical U.S. internet companies because the Seattle-based e-commerce giant relies heavily on consumer spending. It’s also been building its employee base, adding more than 600,000 jobs and hundreds of huge warehouses to store and ship products. Some of those costs are fixed, while others may be hard to reduce quickly if there’s a steep economic decline. It also faces regulatory risks.“Amazon’s near-term growth may be at risk as macroeconomic conditions worsen, regulatory scrutiny rises and spending cycles spark concern,” Jitendra Waral and April Kim, analysts at Bloomberg Intelligence, wrote in a recent note. “If demand were to slow amid Amazon’s increased spending on logistics, profit would face a double whammy.”One of Amazon’s fastest-growing new businesses -- digital advertising -- is also susceptible to economic ups and downs. Still, Amazon is riding a broad e-commerce growth trend that is unlikely to reverse during a recession.SwatchMakers of luxury items tend to endure more risks in a recession than producers of mass-market consumer goods. This time around, the effects would be compounded by U.S.-China trade tensions and protests in Hong Kong, which has already hurt the city’s economic outlook.Swatch Group AG, the biggest maker of Swiss timepieces, has more exposure to Hong Kong than any other luxury company, generating more than a third of the group’s sales in the Greater China region, according to Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Jon Cox. The maker of Omega watches also has a smaller presence in the steadier luxury categories of jewelry and fashion than rival Richemont, which owns brands including Chloe, Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier.The high-end segment has also been far less elastic in a downturn. In 2009, Swiss watch exports slumped 22% amid the financial crisis.So far, the economic slowdown in China has done little to damp the appetite of Chinese consumers for luxury goods. But watchmakers are feeling the effects of the sometimes violent demonstrations in Hong Kong, their largest export market. Timepiece sales there could plunge as much as 40% in the second half, Cox said.Swatch also faces sluggish watch sales in Europe. If the U.S. takes a turn for the worse, the industry could be hit by a reversal of the recovery in its second-biggest market.Swatch ExportsDaimlerThe German corporate giant just doesn’t just face a slowdown in its home market -- it also has substantial exposure to a potential downturn in the U.S. The automaker produces two high-margin SUVs in Alabama and its Freightliner division is the leader in the North American heavy-truck market. Demand for transportation of goods tends to closely mirror broader economic swings and analysts say heavy-truck sales in the region have peaked following years of robust growth.Daimler AG relies on the U.S. for about a quarter of the group’s revenue last year. That’s more than Germany or China, where it operates a joint venture with BAIC.After two back-to-back profit warnings following their debut in May, Daimler’s new leadership duo has vowed to improve efficiency. Profitability at the Mercedes-Benz passenger-car division has been sub-par compared with its peers, and the car unit is up against waning demand in its two biggest markets by volume: China and the U.S.CaesarsAn economic downturn could be particularly ill-timed for Caesars Entertainment Corp. The largest owner of casinos in the U.S. is about to increase its debt load again to finance a megadeal, after struggling for years to recover from a 2008 leveraged buyout that left it saddled with debt at the height of the Great Recession. (Caesars ended up putting its largest division into bankruptcy to clean up its balance sheet.)Caesars is set to merge with Eldorado Resorts Inc. early next year in a deal that involves $8.2 billion in new financing, amid rising competition from new casinos, both online and at its properties. Unlike some of its peers that focus more on luxury, such as Wynn Resorts Ltd., Caesars operates a lot of casinos in small markets including Tunica, Mississippi, and Metropolis, Illinois. Combined with Eldorado, it will have 60 owned, operated and managed casino–resorts across 16 states.And even the Las Vegas Strip, once considered invincible as a gambling destination, has yet to see casino revenue return to its 2007 high.Toll BrothersA major economic slowdown would almost certainly hit home sales and prices for builders like Toll Brothers Inc. “If we do go into a recession, housing isn’t going to be the cause,” said Drew Reading, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “It’s going to be the victim.”The bigger challenge for the industry right now is affordability, especially in high-cost metros on the West Coast. Toll Brothers, the largest U.S. luxury homebuilder, has been trying to diversify geographically. But it’s still highly reliant on California, where it got nearly a third of its revenue last year.One the plus side: Single-family housing starts still haven’t returned to historical levels more than a decade after the financial crisis, which means homebuilders won’t be sitting on as much supply if the economy takes a turn for the worst.\--With assistance from Christoph Rauwald, Kevin Miller, Corinne Gretler, Noah Buhayar, Ian King, Christopher Palmeri and Alistair Barr.To contact the reporter on this story: Cécile Daurat in Wilmington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Crayton Harrison at firstname.lastname@example.org, Linus Chua, Steve GeimannFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Logitech Harmony remotes are fantastic for people who love gadgets and need to have the latest and greatest tech within arm's reach at all time. For the rest of us, however, there are other much less expensive options out there to control all of our home entertainment devices. The best-selling universal remote on Amazon's site is the GE 33709 Universal Remote Control, and it's a perfect example of a cheaper option. How much cheaper, you ask? It's only $9, and an upgraded version with backlighting that controls six devices instead of four costs less than $16!Here's some key info from the product page: * MULTI-DEVICE CONTROL - Operate up to 4 different audio and video components such as TVs, Blu-Ray/DVD Players, Cable/Satellite Receivers, Roku boxes and other Streaming Media Players, Soundbars and More * BEST REMOTE CODE LIBRARY - This universal remote works with ALL MAJOR BRANDS and supports thousands of the latest audio/video equipment. * Does not work with Roku streaming stick, fire TV stick, or other RF streaming devices * SIMPLE SETUP - This remote comes pre-programmed for Roku and Samsung TVs and includes an easy to follow online setup video providing trouble-free setup, auto scan technology and a master volume control, allowing you to control the volume no matter what device you are operating * TRUSTED BRAND - GE is the leading brand in universal remote controls and is backed by free U.S.-based technical support. Call the experts at 800-654-8483 with any questions or issues about your purchase