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Switched On: Amazon’s Puzzling Prime Directive

Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about consumer technology.

Apple makes its money by selling devices. As such, it’s incentivized to have content — or at least the delivery of it — exclusive to its devices. For years, the company implemented DRM (digital rights management) on music sold through iTunes. It fought such restrictions, but nonetheless benefited from them. Even today it proclaims its leadership position in the number of applications available for its platforms; many of these arrive on the iPhone exclusively, at least for a while.

Netflix, on the other hand, makes its money selling content subscriptions. As such, it’s incentivized to have its content available on all suitable devices that consumers use. Indeed, the streaming company has covered an unmatched number of displays. One can access the service from PCs and Macs; iOS, Android and Windows devices; nearly every connected TV and Blu-ray player; major game consoles; Chrome devices; TiVo; and Apple TV. The Roku broadband video box began as a product that ran only Netflix.

Netflix is even available on the Kindle Fire, the tablet from its closest competitor in the broadband video subscription service in the US. While Netflix is generally believed to be far ahead of the service from the online retailer, Amazon is fighting hard. It’s signing distribution deals, producing original content, adding metadata via X-Ray and even allowing downloads of some titles on its Kindle Fire HDX.

Amazon Prime Video is available on iOS devices in addition to its Kindle Fire tablets, but unlike other Amazon apps like Kindle and its music store, it’s not available on other Android tablets or phones. While one could dismiss Android tablets, noting that Amazon already covers a lot of that ground with the Fire, it’s tough to ignore the penetration of Android phones, particularly such hot-selling devices as Samsung’s Galaxy S series. This is not an installed base like Windows Phone, where an app developer could rationalize abstaining by citing low share. And even if Amazon were to launch its own phone — as it’s rumored to be preparing to do — it would only be able to gain a small part of the addressable market in the next few years even if it was very successful.

So, is Amazon a device company that wants its service available as an advantage to its devices? Or is it a content-distribution company that wants its content broadly available?

So, is Amazon a device company that wants its service available as an advantage to its devices? Or is it a content-distribution company that wants its content broadly available? Judging from Jeff Bezos’ comments, the company doesn’t make much money when someone buys a Kindle device, but does when someone uses it. (“Using” in this case meaning “buying content.”) But there would be even less of a barrier to using that content if Amazon made it available to tens of millions of people who could easily access it if only Amazon would make some user interface tweaks to what is already an existing Android application and make it more broadly available.

There may be one other wild card to Amazon’s reluctance to make Prime Video more broadly available. The company has been rumored to be working on a television add-on. Much as Apple TV fits into Apple’s iTunes store and iOS devices, such a box (or dongle) — which would compete with Apple TV, Roku and Chromecast — would presumably work seamlessly with the Kindle Fire and potential Amazon phones. As Amazon’s hardware ambitions grow, it will have to weigh a unified user experience at the price of choice and flexibility — a quintessential dilemma faced by companies such as Apple, Google and Microsoft.

Ross Rubin is principal analyst at Reticle Research, a technology, media and telecom advisory firm, and founder of Backerjack, which covers crowdfunded product innovation. He blogs at Techspressive.

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Organize colors as quickly as you can with Compulsive [App of the Day]


I know, I know. The last thing we’re all looking for is another addictive puzzle game. But Compulsive is so addicting that we can’t let it go!

The premise is simple. You have a grid of colorful tiles, and it’s your job to join the like colors together. You can move any tile wherever you’d like to create bigger groups, as long as it’s moved next to a like color. Join 4 or more colors together to clear them from the game board. Easy, right?

There is one thing, though. When you move a tile, the two colors swap places. Here’s where the strategy comes in. You need to move them strategically so the tile that you’re moving lands next to a like color, otherwise it will be difficult to create big groups.

Compulsive 3

The game is complete with a few different game modes – Arcade (timed), Strategy (limited moves), Zen (free play), and Multiplayer. Multiplayer mode is set up through Google Play Games, so you can play against anyone you’d like.

Getting rid of ads will cost you $.99, but honestly, there aren’t that many to begin with.

Pick up Compulsive for free on Google Play!

The post Organize colors as quickly as you can with Compulsive [App of the Day] appeared first on AndroidGuys.


HTC One M8 boosted benchmark scores with high performance mode

HTC One M8 Gray Silver

In a move that resonates of something Samsung would do (or did), it has been discovered that the HTC One M8 is achieving higher benchmark scores due to its high performance mode.

HTC have admitted to the move, which essentially turns everything to max and then some in order to squeeze every bit of performance out of the hardware to achieve the highest possible score. It’s slightly different than what Samsung did with their previous devices where code was embedded within their version of Android to artificially boost the benchmark scores.

htc one m8 benchmark


In the above graph, AnTuTu developed a new type of test which aims at identifying fudged or exaggerated benchmark tests. The first result using AnTuTu 4 is the standard benchmark test using the device as-is, whereas the bottom test AnTuTu X is the raw result ignoring any performance enhancing attributes or settings that may have been enabled. As you can see, the HTC One M8 differs drastically in the results, whereas the other devices results are fairly similar.

What do you make of HTC’s move to increase the score? Does it really matter? Let us know in the comments below.

The post HTC One M8 boosted benchmark scores with high performance mode appeared first on AndroidGuys.


NSA may have spied on 122 foreign leaders

German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the World Economic Forum

We’ve known for a while that the NSA has spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other international leaders, but it now looks like that surveillance was just the tip of the iceberg. Der Spiegel and The Intercept have published an Edward Snowden leak revealing that the NSA snooped on as many as 122 foreign heads of state in 2009, ranging from Merkel to Ukranian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. A custom search system, Nymrod, helped the US agency both locate transcripts of those leaders’ communications as well as secret reports. The National Security Council tells The Intercept that President Obama’s administration hasn’t tracked Merkel and doesn’t plan to start, but it also didn’t deny that the German leader had once been under close watch.

That’s far from the only espionage to have taken place in Germany, however. Der Spiegel adds that Britain’s GCHQ reportedly conducted wide-scale surveillance of German communications firms, including satellite providers Cetel and Stellar as well as equipment provider IABG. As with its Belgian monitoring operation, the UK looked for network administrators, executives and other “access chokepoints” it could use to infiltrate the companies’ systems and spy on key suspects. GCHQ isn’t commenting on the leak other than to say its actions are “authorised, necessary and proportionate.” Germany begs to differ, though — its Federal Prosecutor is investigating the possibility of espionage charges related to the breaches.

[Image credit: Remy Steinegger / World Economic Forum, Flickr]

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Via: The Verge

Source: Der Spiegel, The Intercept


Colorem: Color Blocks Wisely is simple premise with increasing difficulty

There is no shortage of puzzle games in the Play Store, but Colorem: Color Blocks Wisely offers a fresh spin on the familiar puzzle game concept.

The concept is simple. The player is given four colors, and one by one they must color blocks on a grid in an effort not to place two blocks of the same color next to one another. The name “Colorem” is extremely appropriate, because the user will find themselves tapping through the various colors attempting to find the perfect combination of brick colors. While this seems like a simple concept (and the first few levels demonstrate that quite well), the execution proves fun and addicting.

The puzzles get increasingly complex, and once the player selects a color for a block and moves on, they can no longer change that color. It can be frustrating being unable to change the color, but that just adds to the difficulty of the game.

There are currently 30 levels, which provides a couple hours of entertainment. The developer promises more levels are coming, which is great for players who appreciate the simplistic but strategic gameplay.

The game is free in the Play Store, but is a supported. The ads are not present during gameplay, but between levels they do appear and occupy the entire screen.

For a free game that offers a few hours of frustratingly fun puzzle-play, Colorem: Color Bricks Wisely is sure to please anyone looking to get their puzzle fix.


The post Colorem: Color Blocks Wisely is simple premise with increasing difficulty appeared first on AndroidGuys.


Feedback Loop: The future of VR, remote controls and breakfast phones

Welcome to Feedback Loop, a weekly roundup of the most interesting discussions happening within the Engadget community. There’s so much technology to talk about and so little time to enjoy it, but you have a lot of great ideas and opinions that need to be shared! Join us every Saturday as we highlight some of the most interesting discussions that happened during the past week.

Engadget Forums

This week, we discussed the future of virtual reality gaming in light of Facebook’s purchase of Oculus, loosened things up a bit by sharing some of our favorite WiFi network names, pondered the evolution of the remote control, sought advice on new cameras and celebrated promotional gadgets like the Breakfast Phone. Head on past the break and join the conversation in the Engadget forums.

What excites you about the prospect of virtual reality?

Earlier this week, Facebook bought Oculus VR for $2 billion and it caused many to wonder about the future of virtual reality gaming. It’s long been an unrealized fantasy for many gamers. Will Facebook’s acquisition herald a new age of VR and if so, what excites you most about it?

Best WiFi network names

We’ve seen some pretty creative WiFi networks in our time that range from the downright inappropriate and juvenile to witty insights about our neighbors. Kris is asking fellow Engadget readers to share some of the best WiFi network names that you’ve seen.

Are remote controls becoming obsolete?

Despite the numerous options for streaming television, we still find ourselves spending a lot of time sitting in front of our home theater systems. Frank ponders the future of the remote control. With so many new ways to control our home theaters and set-top boxes, how do you think the remote control will evolve?

Camera for photography and video tutorials

Macouno is creating some new video tutorials for his website and is looking for a new camera that has some decent photographic chops, but also features good video performance. Do you have any recommendations? Help him out!

Free and limited edition corporate gadgets

Earlier this week, our main social media man, John Colucci, was one of the lucky few to receive a Taco Bell breakfast phone. This prompted Kris to ask about other noteworthy gadgets that companies have given away for promotional purposes. The CR-48, Google’s original Chromebook, comes to mind. What other free gadgets have companies given away for free and have you been lucky enough to get one?

That’s all this week! Do you want to talk about your favorite gadget or have a burning question about technology? Register for an Engadget account today, visit the Engadget forums and start a new discussion!



Yahoo might be building an online video platform, but you won’t be able to use it

Yahoo’s reportedly planning to launch a web video platform in the next few months, and it intends to fill it with familiar faces and professionally made clips. How? By poaching some of YouTube’s biggest stars, at least according to Recode. The website’s sources say Mayer and her crew are trying to win over popular YouTubers with the scent of money. Yahoo’s apparently offering them (presumably) large guaranteed rates or bigger ad revenues for their videos, in an attempt to benefit from YouTube users’ increasing discontent about how little they’re earning on the platform. The company even promised them extensive marketing and the chance to promote their clips on Yahoo’s well-trafficked home page.

Before you prepare to switch platforms, know that Yahoo’s video service supposedly won’t be open to everyone. If what Recode’s saying is true, it won’t be like YouTube where anyone can upload anything, even grainy, vertical clips — it’ll be exclusive to famous video creators the company’s currently handpicking. The website’s sources claim, however, that Yahoo will either develop its own content management system or acquire an existing video service like Vimeo in order to make the service available to more people after a year. They also say that this is second phase in Yahoo’s plans to make it big in the web video space, with the launch of the company’s Screen app for iOS being the first. With video being huge these days, we wouldn’t be surprised if Yahoo’s truly taking a crack at it in an effort to regain its losses.

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Source: Recode


Shazam is now more social and better-looking on iOS, Android is next

As part of an ongoing major redesign on mobile, Shazam has just rolled out a new version of its iOS app. Adding to the changes we saw last month, today’s update focuses on offering improved social sharing features, an even better lyrics experience and a more polished UI throughout the application. Users will now see in-depth artist biographies, redesigned album and song pages, as well as the inclusion of videos for songs. Shazam also points out that the app was also tweaked to have enhanced audio recognition and suck a little less power out of your iDevice — much like Skype did recently with one of its apps. The update is initially only available for iOS, but the Android crowd can expect these revisions to come “in a couple of weeks.”

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Source: App Store


Effective Techniques To Get More YouTube Views And Subscribers

Since its introduction, the YouTube has developed at a rapid pace. In these days, it is one of the top most popular social media websites. A number of people are using the site for different purposes, but there are hardly any people, who are not familiar with it. YouTube is a video sharing website that permits, business organizations and people to upload videos of any type and size at no cost. You can use this site in the form of a marketing tool as it is a cost effective and effective technique to communicate with regular and potential customers.

Subscribers and views

It is generally an immense video marketing tool. Whenever users like a specific video of any type, the ranking of that video improves in an automatic manner. This makes other users interested about the video. In fact, increasing subscribers is also an ideal method to enhance the visibility and popularity of any video on YouTube. Online marketers are forever seeking for new and effective methods to enhance the number of YouTube subscribers and views. Many websites such as can help in this regard.

Effective tips and tricks

There are so many things you need to understand so that you can increase the views for your YouTube videos in an easy and quick manner. Here are several tips and tricks mentioned below that assist you in increasing the YouTube views:

  • You can make a video of any type that your potential audience will love to watch. Business organizations must come up with an effective video that must attract their potential audience. You can post a video about everything or anything. The video needs to have an interesting and attracting title with the existence of relevant keywords.
  • Most of the users not at all bother involving the description in their videos. This is due to the fact that they either are too busy or still too lazy for researching the advantages of descriptive features of the YouTube. The description assists users in identifying that they are watching the correct and suitable videos. The description must contain a brief summary about a particular video. You need to use the correct keywords in the summary. There are several tools available on the World Wide Web that can support you in generating the correct keywords.
  • The thumbnail is the miniature icon that emerges besides the links of the videos on YouTube. It represents a snapshot, which is one of the scenes from the video. There are no particular criteria for snapshot, but you must remember to create a relevant and interesting snapshot of a video. The snapshot must make the potential viewers click on the link of the videos.
  • It is important to post the videos of high quality and authorized nature because no one will see the poor quality and unauthorized videos as this seems irrelevant to them.
  • You can purchase YouTube views, if you have currently posted a YouTube video and you can attract your target customers towards it. It will enhance the ranking of your YouTube video that leads you in attracting a number of viewers towards your video.

You can opt for any of the tips and tricks to get huge traffic towards your YouTube video.


4 Plain but Successful Ways to Catch the Attention of Fans for Your Facebook Business Page

Social media is the place where you can relax, connect with friends and family and take a time out. Social networking websites are not bombarded with the business advertisements, having Newsfeeds   or just pages clogged with Newsfeeds. We can have plenty of good time on the social networking sites. But when it comes to business Facebook networking is also a great platform where you can expose your business to huge crowds. Facebook provides the users an option of creating business page. But how to increase Facebook fans is a common problem which people face. Here are a few simple ways by which you can get Facebook likes.

Get paid likes

According to the social media experts building an audience organically from a scratch is almost impossible task on the Facebook. The Facebook algorithm that decides the content displayed on the Facebook pages now prevents the branded content from showcasing. If you are looking for effective way to get likes for your Facebook then paid promotions are the ideal solution. Today, you are easily going to find a business that can easily help you in getting Facebook likes. You can search on portals like can help get the likes.

Don’t be boring

It is important that you have an authentic profile on the Facebook. There is no other way that is going to work out here. The Facebook and other social networking sites are of social nature and this is going to make people like your pages and stuff on the Facebook. The Facebook page you are having is not just a page; it is a foyer of your business. If you will just talk about your business, then it will be boring for people and they are naturally going to get bored. Be personal and people are definitely going to respond.

 Ask for peoples’ opinions

Engaging with your customers is difficult you just have to do is conversation. Ask people about their opinions related to your business on Facebook. Ask them questions. The only difference in the Facebook is that instead of one person you will be asking large groups here. But the trick here is that talk to them like you are just talking to just one person not thousands.

 Run competitions on your Facebook page

Giveaways have to be engaging, simple and should be worth the time. It has to be something which people can complete on time. A simple poll or survey will assist you in engaging people on your Facebook page. Today you are going to find free applications for that or questions which people can answer. Anything quicker will be great. Give something related to your business and provide a free service or product to the winner. This will also assist you in marketing. On the other hand, this marketing strategy will go viral because of the competition.

These are the few tips that will help you in getting more likes for your Facebook page. If you cannot purchase likes then these ideas from the experts is going to work out best for you to attract fans on your Facebook business pages.

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