Tag Archives: Amazon

Amazon bans seller after threatening to sue customer for negative review

Amazon bans seller after threatening to sue customer for negative review

Happened to me more than once. In my attempt to treat myself with something nice from Amazon, I occasionally end up with the wrong product. Something that’s not exactly what I had in mind when hitting the “add to basket” button. Something that didn’t match my expectations or simply of inferior quality by my standards. It’s times like these I find myself contemplating whether I should leave a negative review or simply not bother. I usually go for the latter one. But had I known what an impact that decision can have, I might have gone the opposite way.

This is pretty much how it all went down; a customer buys a Mediabridge router from Amazon and dislikes so leaves a negative review. The original review is not available anymore but he even went a step further and suggested that the seller (company) fabricated positive reviews for its own products. Seller responds with a warning and threatens to sue. Customer edits review in response to the warning but also shares pain on Reddit where he finds vast amounts of comfort and support.

Amazon eventually sides up with its customer and bans seller’s selling rights. The outcome? Hundreds of reviews for the same product, far more negative than then original one. The seller took a hit but stood by its initial reaction suggesting that litigation will be used for the negative review.

Who is right or wrong I am not really sure of, but I don’t think it matters. What does matter is that there is such a thing as bad publicity in the marketplace, and it can either make you or break you.

LG Chromebase front and side view

LG Chromebase will be available May 26th

The LG Chromebase, the first all-in-one Chrome OS PC, has been announced to be made available to US customers on May 26. With 2 GB of memory, a 16GB SSD (solid state drive), and a dual-core Intel Haswell CPU, LG has followed the usual specifications found on most Chromebooks. For those unfamiliar with Chromebooks, these specifications would probably be seem insufficient. However, what makes Chromebooks and the Chromebase stand out, is that they run Google’s Chrome OS. Chrome OS is based upon Linux, so is very light and does not need many resources. In addition, since it only runs internet applications, it does not need many resources.

The Chromebase, though, stands out from the crowd of Chromebooks, because it is the first all-in-one PC running Chrome OS. With a 21.5 inch screen that has an IPS full HD display, it is a great all-in-one, and it only costs $349.

Side view of LG Chromebase with keyboard and mouse
Side view of LG Chromebase with keyboard and mouse

The device will be available for preorder on May 12, and will begin shipping on May 26. It will be available for preorder on Amazon, Newegg, and Tiger Direct, and includes a wired keyboard and mouse that have been customized for Chrome OS.

Back of the LG Chromebase
Back of the LG Chromebase

The device has 3 USB 2.0 ports on the back, and 1 USB 3.0 and headphone jack on the side. The bottom is lined with a MENU button for the display, the SD card reader, and power button. In addition, the back has an HDMI in port, so the PC can also be used as a second display. The PC also has built in speakers, and the usual 100 GB of Google Drive storage for two years is also included.

Source: OMG Chrome

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Koushik Dutta releases AllCast beta for Amazon FireTV

Koushik Dutta (Koush) is one of the more renowned Android developers around, and also a member of CyanogenMod. Shortly after the Fire TV was released, Koush posted a video of him mirroring his Nexus 5 onto his TV via, you guessed it, Amazon’s FireTV. We all wondered how long we’d have to wait before being able to try it for ourselves and it turns out that it has taken less than a week.

Koush has announced that he has submitted the app to Amazon for approval, but being the guy that he is, he has also released the APK so that anyone could go ahead and side load it onto their phone.

It’s interesting to note that, according to Koush, the APK is the “regular Android APK,” and can be used to mirror your Android phone with any other suitable Android device. As we all know, the Fire TV does run on Android and although, on the surface, it may not be immediately familiar to most Android users, its roots are the same and have allowed the app to work seamlessly.

The Fire TV offers gaming as well as the usual offerings of Netflix, Hulu Plus, and of course, Amazon Prime’s usual movie offerings. While it is the newest offering on the block, and separates itself from the crowd with the option to run Android games, rumors abound of Google’s own Android TV, which, as usual, will seek to usurp all forerunners. The battle for the living room started some time ago, and it continues to rage on. 2014 seems like a perfect year for breakthroughs, and consumers from all financial brackets should be in for a grand treat.

To download the APK yourself, head over to Koush’s Google+ Post and feel free to let us know how it runs on your device.

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Leaked: Amazon’s Supposed Game Controller

Ever since Ouya, companies have been trying to jump on the Android gaming console bandwagon. Rumours have been circulating for a long time that Amazon was also planning on launching a game console that will come with a dedicated controller and will be able to play the entire catalog on the Play Store out of the box.

Those rumours had been going around for a year and it seems an image leak that was spotted by Zatz Not Funny will finally put to rest the curiosity that this rumour had managed to stir up over the year.

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The leaked image was traced back to have originated from Anatel, Brazilian Telecommunication company. According to the leaked image, the controller looks awfully similar to the Xbox controller. The supposed controller for the Amazon’s set-top box has the standard four face buttons marked, X, Y, A & B, along with two analog stick.

Interesting point to note the positioning of the sticks is exactly like that of the Xbox controller, with the left one swapping the place with the D-Pad. There’s also a dedicated button to let you connect to Amazon’s Game Circle. In addition to the standard buttons, the gamepad also features music playback button for easy music playback and control. The device runs on double-A batteries and communicates using Bluetooth.

Although the look is that of the Xbox controller, the console isn’t poised to compete with next-gen, but rather be a sub $300 set-top box that adds an additional entertainment value to the living room TV.

Source: IGN

Amazon to put Android in set-top box to compete with Apple, Roku

Amazon is all set to get Apple and Roku some serious competition with it’s own ‘web-TV’ or set-top box. According to reports Amazon will be using Google’s Android to build the box. Amazon already has a huge library of content (from Amazon Prime) which it can push to the living room through the box. Amazon, like Netflix, is also investing heavily in producing content to their own set-box. Amazon has also been hiring game developers and it won’t be surprising if the company also dabbles into gaming.

Problem with Amazon’s Android

Amazon is infamous for not supporting Android devices when it comes to their Amazon Prime service. You can watch content on iPhone and iPads but not on non-Kindle Android phones and devices, which is quite annoying.

So Amazon box can be bad news for customer if Amazon start pushing for their own hardware (like Kindle) to give access to their content instead of making it available to everyone irrespective of platform. It’s so irritating to see that I can’t watch my purchased shows and movies on my Nexus devices, so I have resorted not to buy such content from Amazon anymore as I can’t even watch it on my devices. I would wait for the day Amazon starts offering their content to non-Kindle Android devices.

I don’t really understand why Amazon is depriving Android users from getting access to their content. I really don’t think Amazon cares about ‘zero profit’ hardware, they should care more about making money from content, so why they are not making their content available to non-Kindle Android user is beyond my understanding.

Killer-Instinct

Amazon acquires Double Helix Games

Amazon has acquired California-based video game developer Double Helix Games, best known for the latest Xbox One exclusive Killer Instinct. The buy-out is part of Amazon’s “ongoing commitment to build innovative games for customers,” the company confirmed in a statement.

According to a report by TechCrunch, news of the purchase got first exposed in the form of an invite to a joint recruiting event by Amazon and Double Helix scheduled to take place in Los Angeles on February 13th. The two companies are planning to make the acquisition announcement on that day, the report said.

The deal comes hot on the heels of the recent rumors that the online retailer is mulling over releasing its own gaming console in the coming months.

Last week, a report by VG247.com said that Amazon is planning to launch an Android-powered “dedicated games and entertainment device this year priced below $300… [that]will compete directly with Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo.”

Besides ‘Killer Instinct’—its most popular game today, Double Helix has created a number of PC and console games including ‘G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra’, ‘Green Latern: Rise of the Manhunters’, ‘Silent Hill: Homecoming’, and ‘Front Mission Evolved’, among others.

The company’s forthcoming title, ‘Strider’, is all set to launch as early as this month on PS3.

Following the Double Helix acquisition, Amazon plans to support its present line-up of games and other future developments as well.

HP Chromebook

Year in review – top selling Chromebooks

Samsung Chromebook 11.6″ WiFi  – This companion currently retails for approximately $243 on Amazon. It features a Samsung Exynos 5250 Dual Core Processor, 2GB DDR3 RAM and a 16 GB Solid State Drive. The usual suspects like 2 USB ports (3.0 and  2.0) along with an HDMI port ensure that you’ll be able to connect to your usual set of accessories. While not the most powerful of Chromebooks, at this price point, it’s an impulse buy for many, and was one of the first to set the market on fire. 

Acer C720 Chromebook – This gentleman is one of the new kids on the block. The C720 is a bit sleeker than the older Samsung 11.6″ WiFi, and better yet, it’s priced at $199. This has seen it rapidly scale the ranks of Amazon’s bestsellers and has an average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. A Dual core 1.4Ghz Intel Haswell processor keeps it ticking along, and 2GB of memory along with a 16GB SSD come with the package. One of the beauties of this machine is that it’s rated at 8.5 hours of battery life and this should prove sufficient for all those who like to browse the web while sitting next to the pool.

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Acer C720P Chromebook – The C720P is essentially identical to the C720 in terms of looks and specifications, but one thing stands out. That’s right, this beauty features a touch screen. Like many others, I have not fully appreciated or realized the need for touchscreens in laptops, and maybe I won’t for some time to come, but the C720P has one, and can be had for $300. The added feature does have one drawback though; it’s rated as having 7.5 hours of battery life. The good news is that if you are indeed into touchscreens, then you’ll still consider it a steal of a deal. 

HP Chromebook 14 – Many, including myself, were excited to learn of HP’s entry into the Chrome OS arena. It’s not that the other OEMs did a terrible job, although some might argue that they did, but it was more a feeling of excitement to see what a new player would bring to the game. Does this new player have any tricks up his sleeve that we had not previously seen? Will he woo the crowd with special features and looks? Sure enough, the Chromebook 14 brought a new design to the table, and was reminiscent of laptops that we had grown to love. Smooth lines, two-toned colours and beautiful curves gave it an identity of its own. You can currently have ‘the 14′ for $300 on Amazon. Like those who have gone before, it comes with an Intel Celeron 2955U dual core processor clocked at 1.4Ghz. The processor is accompanied by 2GB of ram, a 16GB SSD, and and the usual compliment of connective ports.

Chromebook Pixel – I know it’s not a best seller, and it was never intended to be, but this article wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Pixel. Introduced in February of this year, the Pixel caught everyone off guard. It was a Chromebook that looked sleek and sexy, well machined, and featured a touch screen. This monster, unfortunately, was priced at $1300 for the Wifi version with a 32GB SSD. As if $1300 were not a big enough insult, the wifi version was accompanied by an even more expensive $1500 LTE version that had 64GB of storage. Both models had 4GB of ram, featured a core i5 processor and bore a noteworthy screen resolution of 2560×1700. At the time of release, it featured the highest screen resolution of any notebook on the planet. As with all good products, opinions were divided. Many expressed discontent with the price but it was always seen as a device for developers, and one to show other OEMs what Chromebooks could look and feel like. Considering the much publicized rise of Chromebooks this year, I think it’s fair to say that this move paid off and paved the way for what turned out to be a great year for Chrome OS.

We bid sayonara to 2013 and wait for more surprises and the continued development of Google’s Chrome OS in 2014.

Sources: Amazon
Image Source: Trusted Reviews

 

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NSA reportedly plants spy malware on laptops purchased online

It’s NSA season again. A recent article from Der Spiege claims that the NSA has been intercepting and planting malware onto laptops that were purchased online via Amazon or any other such vendor. ‘Der Spiegel’ apparently had access to some NSA documents.

This is the another piece in the long list of discoveries that were first revealed by Edward Snowden in 2013. It is claimed that the NSA, through a special unit (TAO), makes good use of the FBI and CIA in order to discreetly intercept the shipments of laptops and other computer related components. In order to plant these bugs, a process code named ‘COTTONMOUTH’ is used. This process involves the use of a USB powered device, which is used to plant the bug and the operation has been in effect since circa 2009.

Several companies like Dell, Seagate, Western Digital, Samsung and even Huawei are listed as being targeted by the NSA. These products are purchased by millions yearly, and one shudders to think about the extent of the penetration of the TAO’s dealings.

Several companies like Dell, Seagate, Western Digital, Samsung and even Huawei are listed as being targeted by the NSA.

The description is nothing short of what might be seen in the latest Hollywood Blockbuster. It is reported that the TAO agents have access to FBI planes, which they use to intercept shipments and plant the bugs and malware. Some TAO operations can take as little as 30 minutes, and they disappear without a trace.

This latest leak joins the long line of NSA related findings that have popped up recently. The public is aware and is increasingly cautious about what they do, say or even buy. Add this to the fact that a federal judge recently ruled that the NSA’s spying is legal, and we have a huge battle on our hands; one that we will probably never win.

It’ll be interesting to see how the purchase patterns of the public changes if any at all. In the mean time, we patiently wait for the next leak regarding the NSA.

Sources: The Verge, Der Spiegel, The Guardian
Image Source: Kertoon

 

 

 

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Best Android Tablets 2013

Before we knew it, we’re in December. A fortnight is all that stands between us and a brave new 2014. Preceding this, are the usual Festivities of Christmas. To some of us, that means being vary of the 3 ghosts of Christmas and cherishing the festival for what it is. To some others, it’s been a well earned break from  a frazzling 12 months. What about the rest? Time to go lighten your pockets with the money saved up from the rest of the year as prices come plummeting down for anything and everything!

It’s easy to fall for most marketing gimmicks by various players in the industry. Being advocates to free software, we understand the value of hard earned money as well as the hardships that the people employed by various brands had to undergo before their products reach markets for you to merely walk in and purchase and “to the extent possible” have a delightful and hassle-free experience. We will be comprehensive and impartial in our quest to help you find great Android Tablets tailor made for your preferences.
This will be classified into 2 classes based on size.

  1. “Mini-tablets (<8”)”: which includes all tablets under 8 inch screen size.
  2. “Standard Tablets (8”<)”: for tablets including and above 8 inch screens

Both classes will feature categories that are selected based on the understanding of what consumers expect from their devices. A winner will be picked for each.

  1. “Value for money”: This doesn’t merely signify affordability. It is a measure of what you are given in return for an investment made. Tablets can be more expensive but have greater value if they provide more. We also understand that there are audiences who want something with an almost hassle free experience for as little as no charge.
  2. “Out of the box experience”: Android is known for its flexibility and customizability, but we understand why people have difficulties changing or adding something either due to the learning curve or being hard pressed for time. This category deals with picking the ones with the easiest learning curves.
  3. “Latent potential”: Even the latest is not enough, there are some who’d prefer living on the bleeding edge with their tools. The deciding factors here are the lengths of official support, strength of the developer community etc.
  4. “Build quality and aesthetics”: Paying a premium for your device and ending up with a disappointingly cheap feeling plastic is not an uncommon experience. Certain rough handling and damage on portable devices isn’t uncommon either. With some bezel and giant screen, most devices look the same at a glance. This evaluation is for those who look for devices that look the part while maintaining robustness.
  5. “Allrounder”: Finally, the “One device to rule them all”. This is the device we believe you should be looking at.
  6. “Notable mentions”: These are occasional choices that gave us a dilemma. We understand that everyone has varied priorities and adds excessive difficulty in evaluating our options. Therefore, even if we pick a winner, the other will be listed under a “Notable mention”.

Mini-tablets (<8”) Value for money:

Winner: EVGA Tegra note 7
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EVGA Tegra note 7 sports a 1280 x 800 IPS display, 5MP snapper at the rear, VGA front cam, NVidia Tegra 4 processor noted for 30,000+ scores on the popular AnTuTu benchmark suite, Direct Stylus technology from NVidia which allows capture of the width of a line to be captured, game streaming capabilities from PC to TV, Afraid to mortgage your property? You don’t really need to, with a price tag of 199$, and hopefully discounts during holiday, this tablet offers value that you only had dreams of!

Noteworthy mention: AGPTek 7” tablet

agptek_7
This can only be purchased on sites like Newegg and Amazon. With a myriad of under 100$ price tags and running Android 4.2, these tablets are just what you’re looking for if all you want is a capable tablet for almost nothing. Do be careful as tablets are easily mistaken for one another. When buying them, read the description and look out for “android 4.2” in the descriptions.

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Will Linux power Amazon Drone and Google Robots?

While Amazon was planning to deliver goods via drones, Google’s Andy Rubin was already busy working on a project which is more droid like. Google “moonshot” an ambitious “10-year vision” for building state of the art robot hardware and software plans to change the whole robotics space in the course of time. And if we trust Google, which uses open source software in large scale, these robots may be well powered by Linux.

Earlier this year, Google has released a prototype of the self-driving car which had Linux running in its core. Ubuntu based self-driving Toyota Prius logged 500,000 miles of autonomous driving with no accidents caused by the computer. Its can be expected that rather than reinventing the while, Google engineers may use Linux in their drones too.

In the meantime, Google has quietly acquired seven robotics companies all over the world, which include Schaft, a Japanese tech company acclaimed for making humanoid robots. Other companies include Meka, Redwood Robotics, Industrial Perception, Bot & Dolly, Autofuss, and Holomni. From the scale of investment from Google, it can be confirmed that this is not just another toy project.

Some of the application areas which robotics can be useful include manufacturing and logistics. While not currently aimed for consumers, these robots will be a geat help in electronics assembly which is mostly manual.

There is a possibility that Robot Operating System (ROS) may be combined with Android, just like Rethink Wireless’ Baxter. There are already some engineers working to build a ROS compatible cloud services for robots, which can put this revolution one step forward.

In next one or two years maybe we will be able to see Linux powered robots in action. This will put forward another space which is run or dominated by Linux.