'Amazon' Articles

Amazon Music Unlimited Launches With $3.99 Echo-Only Subscription Option

Amazon today launched Amazon Music Unlimited, its new standalone, on-demand streaming service. Amazon Music Unlimited is distinct from the company's Prime-only music library, which offers access to "over a million songs." By contrast, the new service promises access to "tens of millions" of songs from all the major labels. Prices start at $7.99 per month for Prime members and $9.99 per month for non-members, the latter of which puts it in the same cost bracket as Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play Music, and Tidal's standard price plans. A similar free 30-day trial is also being offered. In addition, Amazon is offering a separate $3.99 subscription plan for owners of connected speakers from the company's popular Echo range. The plan lets them stream music to Amazon's devices, but only those devices. A $14.99 per month (or $149 per year) family subscription plan for up to six people is currently in the works, and should become live later this year. Amazon says its library includes music from Sony, Universal, and Warner, as well as hundreds of indie labels, with thousands of curated playlists and personalized stations also accessible via the company's recently revamped mobile app. However, the service enters a crowded market already commanding millions of subscribers, which makes it increasingly difficult for newcomers to differentiate their service. In this respect, Amazon is likely betting on enticing existing Prime subscribers, and perhaps more significantly, those eligible for its Echo-only option, which could prove popular with a user base already familiar

Amazon Launches Dash Buttons in Germany, Austria, and the U.K.

Amazon has expanded its domestic goods-ordering Dash Buttons program beyond U.S. shores, bringing the devices to Germany, Austria, and the U.K. for the first time. The buttons have been available in the U.S. since March of last year, and enable Amazon Prime customers to reorder specific household items like coffee, toilet paper, and washing up liquid by pressing a physical button that's wirelessly linked to their Amazon account. Amazon has added over 100 popular household brands to its Dash program in the 18 months since its launch, in a bid to make reordering goods online a seamless process. Daniel Rausch, Director of Amazon Dash, said of the launch: "We've all experienced the frustration of running out of something we need—Dash Button and Dash Replenishment Service are designed to make that moment a thing of the past. "Dash Buttons offer the convenience of 1-Click shopping from anywhere in the home — they can be placed near those frequently used items you don't want to run out of, and when you see supplies running low, the Dash Button makes it easier than ever to order more. Just press the button and your item is on its way."Dash buttons cost $4.99 (£4.99 / 4.99 euros) each, but Prime members get the same amount discounted off their first order, making the first device essentially free. Amazon also announced it is launching its Dash Replacement Service (DRS) in the above countries. DRS lets connected devices like water filters and printers link up to the Dash system, either by manufacturers incorporating manual Dash buttons into the hardware, or enabling

Amazon and Pandora Each Nearly Ready to Launch Apple Music Rivals

Amazon and Pandora are closing in on licensing agreements with the world's largest record labels to launch their own streaming music services later this year, reports Financial Times. Both subscription-based services are expected to cost $9.99 per month, a price that has become the industry standard, and compete with heavyweights like Apple Music and Spotify. Amazon's offering could launch as early as September, according to the report, while Pandora is said to be making progress towards debuting its service later this year. Reuters first reported Amazon's plans to launch a standalone streaming music service in June, followed by a Recode report last week claiming the online retailer is also working on a $5-a-month subscription music service that will be exclusive to owners of the company's internet-connected Echo speaker. Amazon currently sells individual songs or albums through Amazon Music, while Amazon Prime subscribers can stream Amazon music, playlists, and radio stations for free, but the selection is limited compared to Apple Music and Spotify. Pandora's ambitions to launch its own subscription music service, likely based on its acquisition of "key assets" from Rdio in 2015, were first reported by The Wall Street Journal earlier this month. The company plans to offer two price tiers by also slightly tweaking its existing $5 per month ad-free option with select new perks like skipping songs and offline listening, the report said. Pandora currently offers customers in the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand the ability to listen to free, ad-supported

Amazon Sets Second Annual 'Prime Day' for July 12

Following last summer's inaugural, one-day sale event called "Prime Day," Amazon this morning confirmed that it will be bringing back the Black Friday-like discounts this summer on July 12 (via Fortune). The company is referring to the second entry of Prime Day as the "biggest Amazon event ever," exceeding over 100,000 deals when it launches at midnight PT on the 12th. As last year, Prime Day is exclusive to those members who subscribe to Amazon Prime, the online retailer's $99-per-year service which nets users access to exclusive Amazon video series, free two-day shipping, and one-hour delivery on certain orders. The company said last year that its first Prime Day broke sales records set on Black Friday in 2014, and with new deals popping up "as often as every five minutes" this year, it hopes to set a new record again in 2016. Prime Day is a one-day only global shopping event exclusively for Prime members. On Tuesday, July 12, the second annual Prime Day will be the biggest global Amazon event ever. Members in the U.S. can shop starting at midnight PT, with new deals starting as often as every five minutes throughout the day. With 100,000 deals exclusively for Prime members, across nearly all departments and product categories in ten countries, there will be something for everyone. In fact on the first annual Prime Day in 2015, worldwide members ordered 398 items per second, exceeding Black Friday records at the time. Amazon is also promising greater inventory this time around, including a TV stock that is "double what it had for Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Amazon Debuts Book-Skimming 'Page Flip' Feature for Kindle Devices and Apps

Amazon has announced that a new feature called "Page Flip" will be rolling out to its iOS and Android apps, Fire tablets, and Kindle e-readers as a free, over-the-air update beginning today. The feature gives users a digital approximation of skimming through a book, making "it easy to explore books while always saving your place." When activated, Page Flip pins the current page to the bottom left of the screen to remember your current reading spot, allowing you to skim through the rest of the book to find a specific passage, map, or simply peek ahead at what's next. A new "bird's eye view" feature truncates an entire book into a scrollable column of pages, making it easier to find highlighted passages from previous pages. Page Flip is a reimagined Kindle navigation experience that makes it easy to explore books while always saving your place At a glance, easily recognize specific pages as you jump around. Pictures, charts, your highlights, and the layout of each page are easy to see with Page Flip’s pixel-accurate thumbnails that automatically adjust as you change your font and margin settings. At launch, Amazon says PageFlip is available "on millions of books," with plans to continuously add new entries "every day." Similar to Kindle's X-Ray feature, supported books will be identified on their eBook store page with a "Page Flip: enabled" marker in the feature list. The Amazon Kindle app is available from the App Store for free. [Direct Link

Amazon Reportedly Preparing to Launch New Music Streaming Service

Amazon is planning on launching a new standalone music streaming service that would compete against Apple Music and Spotify, reports Reuters. The new service will be priced similarly to rival services and will feature a "competitive catalog." The service will be offered at $9.99 per month, in line with major rivals, and it will offer a competitive catalog of songs, the sources said. Amazon is finalizing licenses with labels for the service, which likely will be launched in late summer or early fall, the sources said.Amazon currently offers Prime Music to Amazon Prime members as a perk, but the service only boasts a catalog of 1 million songs. Comparatively, both Apple Music and Spotify boast catalogs of over 30 million songs. The online retailer is looking to launch a new streaming service because it "believes a comprehensive music service is important" in its effort to be a "one-stop shop for content and goods." Amazon Prime, in addition to free shipping options, currently offers subscribers access to the Prime Video streaming service, Prime Music, unlimited photo storage and the Kindle Owner's Lending Library, which includes 800,000 free ebooks. Reuters suggests Amazon's music strategy will be two-pronged, with basic streaming for Prime users and a more robust alternative for an extra fee. Amazon recently debuted Amazon Prime Video as a standalone service, allowing users to subscribe for $8.99 a month without paying for the full $99 Amazon Prime bundle. The standalone Prime Video service is identical to the service offered with Amazon Prime. Amazon Music with

Amazon Wants 'Acceptable Business Terms' to Offer Prime Video on Apple TV

At Recode's Code Conference today, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was asked why the online retailer does not sell either the Apple TV or Google Chromecast. Bezos reiterated that Amazon chooses not to sell video streaming devices that do not include Prime Video capability and that the company wants "acceptable business terms" before bringing the the app to devices. We sell Roku, we sell Xbox, we sell PlayStation. We're happy to sell competitive products on Amazon and we do it all day. We sell Nest thermostats. When we sell those devices, we want our Prime Video player to be on the device and we want it to be on the device with acceptable business terms. We can always get the player on the device, the question is whether you can get it on with acceptable business terms. And if you can't, we don't want to sell it to our customers because they're going to be buying it thinking you can watch Prime Video and then they're going to be disappointed and then they're going to return it.When pressed by The Verge's Nilay Patel on whether "acceptable business terms" meant paying Apple's 30 percent cut on in-app purchases and subscriptions, Bezos declined to answer, only stating that he wanted to keep private business discussions private. Amazon ceased selling the Apple TV and Google Chromecast last October, saying that it was important for Prime Video to interact with streaming devices it sells to avoid customer confusion. In November, Amazon confirmed to engineer Dan Bostonweeks that a Prime Video app was in development, with the company saying that it hoped to launch the app by the end

iPad Declines Yet Again Amid Worst Tablet Quarter Since 2012

The latest data from research firms IDC and Strategy Analytics reveals that iPad market share declined for the ninth consecutive quarter as the worldwide tablet market continues to slow. Apple now has between 22.1 and 25.9-percent market share among tablet vendors, down from between 24.3 and 27.2-percent in the year-ago quarter. Apple reported iPad sales of 10.3 million during the March quarter earlier this week, compared to 12.62 million in the year-ago quarter. IDC and Strategy Analytics data shows Samsung trailing in second with 6 to 6.5 million tablets shipped, amounting to 14.0 to 15.2-percent market share during the first three months of 2016. IDC data shows that Amazon experienced explosive 5421.7-percent year-over-year growth, with its market share rising from just 0.1-percent to 5.7-percent on the strength of new low-cost Fire tablets. The research firm noted that it did not count the Fire HD 6 in its Q1 2015 numbers. Strategy Analytics did not share Amazon data. Lenovo and Huawei rounded out the top five in both datasets, with both vendors having shipped between 2.1 and 2.2 million tablets during the quarter. Their respective market shares ranged between 4.5-percent and 5.5-percent, amounting to only a slight variation between the IDC and Strategy Analytics data. Global tablet shipments reached between 39.6 and 46.5 million during the quarter, the latter of which is the lowest total since the third quarter of 2012, according to Strategy Analytics. Nevertheless, IDC noted that convertible 2-in-1 tablets continue to experience growth, with quarterly

Apple Inks Deal to Use Google Cloud Platform for Some iCloud Services

Apple has signed a deal with Google that will see the Google Cloud Platform providing some of the cloud infrastructure for iCloud and other cloud-based Apple services, reports CRN (via Business Insider). Apple reportedly established a $400 to $600 million deal with Google last last year and has, as a result, "significantly" cut down on its reliance on Amazon Web Services (AWS). According to the sources, Google executives have told partners that Apple is spending between $400 million and $600 million on Google Cloud Platform, although this couldn't be independently confirmed. Also unclear is whether this range refers to an annual spending rate or a set amount of capacity.While the money Apple is now paying Google was previously spent on AWS, Apple has not stopped using Amazon's cloud computing services entirely. Apple has never confirmed the cloud services that power iCloud, but past rumors have pointed towards AWS and Microsoft Azure, suggesting Apple will continue using multiple services to meet its needs. According to The Information's Amir Efrati, who has confirmed Apple's plans, it will take a year for Apple to transition to using Google Cloud Platform. It’s true, @iCloud to be partially powered by @googlecloud. But will take a year & unlikely to be profitable. @awscloud lost $ from iCloud.— Amir Efrati (@amir) March 16, 2016 Since last year, Google has been aggressively pursuing deals for its Google Cloud Platform, led by former VMware CEO Diane Greene. Google and Amazon have been involved in ongoing pricing wars, but Google claims to be the "price/performance

Amazon Expands Echo Family With 'Amazon Tap' and 'Echo Dot'

After launching the Echo over a year ago, today Amazon announced two new additions to the lineup of voice-controlled smart hubs that house the company's personal assistant Alexa. Users will now be able to purchase a more portable version of Echo with Amazon Tap, and even expand the device's power into other rooms with Echo Dot. The $130 Amazon Tap is a more rugged, pick-up-and-go alternative to the original Echo, housing built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and the company's Alexa operating system. Instead of interacting with Alexa through always-on functionality, Amazon Tap requires users to tap the microphone button on the front of the speaker to access the service's voice commands. If connected to Wi-Fi or a mobile hotspot, users will be able to gain access to all of the normal, cloud-based features the Echo grants at home. Amazon Tap TechCrunch got a brief hands-on demo of Amazon Tap and came away largely satisfied with its sound quality and battery life: Amazon demonstrated the sound quality to me before Tap went out today and I can say it did provide an impressive musical experience. Duel-firing Dolby speakers enable Tap to provide rich, 360-degree quality sound. It’s also meant to tote around and comes with a pretty solid battery life for that purpose. A fully charged Tap will last for up to nine hours of playback or three weeks in standby mode. Alternatively, Amazon also has created a new household expansion to Echo with Echo Dot. The small, palm-sized device will let users expand the capabilities of Echo to different rooms of their house for $90, or half of

Amazon Prime Video Coming to New Apple TV Possibly Within a 'Few Weeks'

Last month, Amazon removed all Apple TV and Chromecast product listings from its website because the devices do not offer its Prime Video streaming service, which the online retailer said may cause confusion for customers. Nearly a month later, the new Apple TV remains unavailable on Amazon, but that could soon change. Amazon appears to have confirmed to engineer Dan Bostonweeks that it is developing a tvOS app for Prime Video that could launch before the end of 2015. "Hopefully, within a few weeks span, you will be able to see the Amazon Instant Video app feature on your Apple TV," the company purportedly said in an email. I sent feedback to Amazon via the Amazon Instant Video iOS app about supporting tvOS. They say it’s in development.— Dan Bostonweeks (@danimal) November 28, 2015 Apple was wrongly criticized by some in October for seemingly not allowing Prime Video on the new Apple TV, but shortly after the company provided a statement to BuzzFeed News emphasizing that “all are welcome” on the platform -- Amazon simply had not submitted a Prime Video app for the tvOS App Store.Apple tells BuzzFeed News that “all are welcome” on its new Apple TV platform. But Amazon — which recently purged Apple TV from its store — doesn’t have a Prime Video app in the Apple TV App Store. And as of a few days ago, it hadn’t submitted one.Amazon told BuzzFeed News it “doesn’t have anything to share” on the topic at the time, but it now appears the company is actively developing a tvOS solution. Amazon Video allows Prime members to instantly stream tens

Apple, Google and Others Form Coalition to Push Technology in Financial Sector

A handful of technology giants -- including Apple, Amazon, Google, PayPal, and Intuit -- have announced a partnership in the formation of the Financial Innovation Now coalition (via Re/code). The group aims to promote tech-friendly policies and changes within the financial services sector in Washington, D.C. Those behind the group will work to alter the political debate on relevant issues like tech security, mobile payments, and fraud prevention in the favor of its partners. “A technological transformation is going to make financial services more accessible, more affordable and more secure,” said Brian Peters, executive director of Financial Innovation Now. “The challenge in Washington is making sure policy-makers understand that, and they’re comfortable with it, and they don’t apply old rules to new technology.” Thanks to the growing popularity of mobile payments solutions like Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and PayPal, the companies behind such services are positioning themselves as part of the future in financial services discussions in Washington, since they're more part of the conversation than ever before. The partnership also intends to work together to achieve blanket improvements for each individual service in topics like user security and authentication, faster payment processing, and "access to basic financial services for the two billion people in the world who are underserved." Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site

New Apple TV Tidbits: Limited App Discovery, User Guide, Amazon Pulls Apple TVs, and More

The new Apple TV officially launched today at Apple Stores and select resellers in the U.S. and other first wave countries. As customers begin receiving their new Apple TV deliveries around the world, the following are useful tidbits about the new fourth-generation device. Apple TV Support and User Guide - Forum Discussion Apple has updated its Apple TV Support portal for the new Apple TV, including an official Apple TV User Guide that contains detailed information about how to set up and use the streaming box. The user guide is broken down into several categories: Getting Started, Basics, Siri, iTunes, App Store, Photos, Music, Home Sharing, Search, Accessibility, Safety and more. Apple TV apps - Forum Discussion iMore has shared a video that scrolls through all of the new Apple TV apps currently available through the tvOS App Store. Due to the current lack of discoverability, the video searches tvOS apps based on their first letter in alphabetical order. Eli Hodapp at our sister website TouchArcade explains in his Apple TV first impressions:If screenshots on Apple pages are any indication, categories for the Apple TV App Store are coming (maybe?) but as of this writing, there's a distinct division between the haves and the have-nots in the Apple TV app world. Currently, the Apple TV App Store only shows what's featured. If your game isn't featured, it effectively doesn't exist. There's no way to browse genres, top lists don't exist (this arguably might be a good thing), and finding something that isn't featured requires typing its name in the search

Amazon to Cease Selling Apple TV, Google Chromecast Over 'Prime Video' Incompatibility

Amazon plans to stop selling some streaming video devices that compete with its Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, reports Bloomberg. It will no longer offer Google's Chromecast or Apple's Apple TV for sale in its online store. Amazon today sent an email to marketplace sellers notifying them of the upcoming change. The site plans to disallow new listings for the product and remove existing inventory on October 29. As a reason for the removal, Amazon is citing compatibility with its Prime Video streaming service, which is not available on devices from Google and Apple."Over the last three years, Prime Video has become an important part of Prime," Amazon said in the e-mail. "It's important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video in order to avoid customer confusion."Other set-top boxes and consoles, including those from Roku, Microsoft, and Playstation, do have apps that allow customers to stream Amazon Prime Video and thus won't be affected by the new ban. For Apple customers, this means the new fourth-generation Apple TV will not be available for purchase via It also suggests the device will not be gaining an Amazon video app and will continue to be incompatible with the Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Debuts New Fire TV with 4K Video & Alexa Voice Assistant

Amazon today announced the follow-up to last year's Fire TV streaming device, simply dubbed "The New Amazon Fire TV." The new $99 box is getting a handful of new features, including 4K ultra HD video streaming, the addition of the company's Alexa voice assistant into the operating system, and a processing boost of 75 percent over last year's model. The introduction of Alexa will allow customers to play their music, check on the score of a sporting event, and see how the weather is outside, all while using their voice. Speaking into the Fire TV remote will bring the voice assistant up -- who made her debut in the Amazon Echo last fall -- and she will eventually become more acclimated to each customer's speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences. In addition to 4K ultra HD streaming, the company promises higher quality basic HD video for everyone who doesn't have a television set that supports 4K settings. Amazon has also introduced expandable storage, allowing customers to increase the 8GB of on-device storage all the way up to 128GB for a variety of apps and games. “The team has packed an incredible amount of technology and innovation into a tiny package,” said Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO. “The new Fire TV includes 4K support, more processing power, Alexa integration, the largest selection, and exclusive features—for less than $100. The new Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote brings voice search and Alexa integration for less than $50. These are powerful devices at incredible prices.” Concerning games specifically, the company also announced an

How to Get the Best Resale Price for Your iPhone 6, 6 Plus or 5s

With the "iPhone 6s" and "iPhone 6s Plus" expected to be announced at Apple's September 9th media event, and released a few weeks later, now is the time for prospective upgraders to begin exploring trade-in and resale options for their current iPhone or Android-based smartphone. Getting the best value for your iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5s or other current smartphone can help offset a significant portion of your next iPhone purchase, but resale and trade-in prices will drop significantly between now and the launch of new iPhones, so it is best to move fast. MacRumors compared iPhone trade-in prices from various services using a 16GB iPhone 6 from AT&T as a baseline. Trade-In Programs Gazelle announced today that it is offering a Best Price Guarantee on iPhone 6, 6 Plus and 5s trade-ins until September 9th, promising to beat the trade-in values offered by Apple and carriers AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. Gazelle's Best Price Guarantee covers all storage sizes and colors and includes a 30-day grace period, meaning that you can lock in your trade-in price now and wait until you have your new iPhone before sending in your current one. Average Price (16GB/AT&T): $301 (iPhone 6), $326 (iPhone 6 Plus), $166 (iPhone 5s) Payment Method: Check by Mail, Amazon Gift Card, PayPal or Charitable Donation Resale Method: Ship iPhone to Gazelle (Free) NextWorth offers a similar trade-in service as Gazelle for the iPhone 4 through iPhone 6 Plus. NextWorth quotes are valid for 30 days, allowing you to lock in a trade-in price on your current iPhone and ship it

Amazon Prime Video Introduces Offline Viewing for iPhone and iPad

Amazon's Prime Video streaming service today announced the ability for its users to download television shows and movies to an iPhone, iPad, or Android device (via Re/code). The service had previously supported such a feature, but it was exclusively available for Amazon's own Fire tablets, with today marking the first expansion onto Apple's smartphones. The feature will let Prime users download video content for later viewing when not in direct proximity of a trustworthy Wi-Fi connection, but won't be available for every single show and film currently offered on Amazon Prime Video. The company still claims to have "thousands" of videos ready to support the new service. The feature isn’t available for every video Amazon streams, since Amazon needs to work out deals with individual content owners (that is – pay them more money). Amazon says it has “thousands” of titles available for download. And it looks like those titles include a pretty diverse lineup: There are Amazon’s own home-grown shows, like “Transparent”, of course. But also offerings from CBS (“The Good Wife”), Fox (“Sons of Anarchy”), MGM (“The Hunger Games”) and Paramount (“Star Trek Into Darkness”). Re/code reports that "in most cases," users will have 15 to 30 days to view the content once it has been downloaded. Today's announcement aims to bolster Amazon Prime Video -- which is bundled into Amazon's $99/year Prime service -- with a feature most other streaming services have yet to support. Users can download the updated app -- now called "Amazon Video" -- from the App Store for free [Direct Link

Amazon Cloud Drive Now Includes Unlimited Cloud Storage Plans

Amazon on Thursday announced two new unlimited cloud storage plans for Amazon Cloud Drive, enabling users to store an endless amount of photos, videos, movies, music, and files. Amazon users can choose either the Unlimited Photos Plan for $11.99 per year or the Unlimited Everything Plan for $59.99 per year, with a free three-month trial available for each plan for customers that want to try the service. The lower-tier Unlimited Photos Plan allows for an unlimited number of photos to be stored on Amazon Cloud Drive, alongside up to 5GB of additional storage for videos, documents and other files. The more expensive Unlimited Everything Plan allows for unlimited storage of photos, videos, files, documents, movies and music with no restrictions. Amazon Prime members are already provided with an Unlimited Photos Plan at no additional cost.“Most people have a lifetime of birthdays, vacations, holidays, and everyday moments stored across numerous devices. And, they don’t know how many gigabytes of storage they need to back all of them up,” said Josh Petersen, Director of Amazon Cloud Drive. “With the two new plans we are introducing today, customers don’t need to worry about storage space—they now have an affordable, secure solution to store unlimited amounts of photos, videos, movies, music, and files in one convenient place.”The addition of unlimited cloud storage makes Amazon Cloud Drive a more competitive alternative to other cloud storage services such as iCloud Drive, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Dropbox. Apple does not offer unlimited iCloud storage, providing

Amazon Hints at Upcoming Apple Watch App

Although it went unmentioned at Apple's big Apple Watch event on Monday, an Amazon spokesperson hinted to TechCrunch that the company is looking "to expand to other devices", suggesting an Apple Watch app could be in the works for the device's launch next month, or sometime in the future. TechCrunch believes the app will be largely similar to the Android Wear Amazon app, letting users search using their voice, access their Wishlist, and use Amazon's 1-click check-out for shopping in a hurry. Image Mock-up via TechCrunch When asked for an official statement, the online retailer kept a vague description over the future of the company's appearance on the new Apple wearable, though given the ubiquity of the service, it's hard to imagine an Amazon Apple Watch app not showing up at all. “Amazon is constantly innovating on behalf of our customers. We are committed to being anywhere customers want to shop. That includes watches. We have an Amazon shopping app for Android Wear and will look to expand to other devices.” Multiple third-party apps were showcased at the event on Monday, but few were actually given in-depth moments at Apple's already packed keynote address. Most recently, Fandango confirmed its movie-focused service will arrive as an app on the Watch in time for the device's April 24 launch

Amazon Ends Wallet App Beta Program, but Still No Sign of Apple Pay Loyalty Rewards Program

Amazon today ended the beta for its Amazon Wallet app, approximately six months after the company launched it last summer. The company began sending emails last night to those signed up for the beta, announcing the company would be shutting it down and removing the Wallet app from Google Play and Amazon's own Appstore (via CNET). Unlike Apple's new Apple Pay payments service that ties directly to credit and debit cards, Amazon Wallet focused on gift and loyalty cards that users could manage and store within the app for use in physical stores or online. Amazon did not confirm whether the Wallet app might be revived in the future, but did mention it was a learning experience for the company as a whole. "We have learned a great deal from the introduction of the Wallet and will look for ways to apply these lessons in the future as we continue to innovate on behalf of our customers," Amazon spokesman Tom Cook said in a statement.The company has been far more than an online marketplace for a few years now, throwing its hat into the ring of everything from streaming devices to personal voice assistants. But it hasn't been clear sailing either, especially with the Fire Phone, which debuted last summer. The phone received mediocre reviews and has seen a series of price drops in an attempt to sell more units. Loyalty programs are currently one aspect missing from Apple Pay, but the company has been rumored to be planning a rewards-focused loyalty program for the service. Reports late last year hinted at a holiday launch date for the service, though the rumors failed to