Top Prop from Amazon Prime Air

We have followed with interest the development of Prime Air from the original octocopter (with Charlie Rose) back in December 2013, through their FAA application (July 2014) and now the latest phase of Amazon’s drone delivery project is here with … Jeremy Clarkson!

Happy Cyber Monday & Some Spendfest Perspectives

Well it’s here!

Estimates around the £650 million mark for UK online sales today come from Experian but we are somewhat sceptical. Apparently Black Friday may have reached £600 million.

Amazon have released some item sales figures which show an increase of 37.5% year-on-year on Black Friday (even their UK press release comes from Luxembourg!). Their best sellers “…have included the Kindle Fire HDX 7” range with £100 off selected models, as well as the Dolce Gusto Mini Me Coffee Capsule Machine, Toy Story Ultimate Action Buzz Lightyear, diamond jewellery and men’s watches.”

IBM have published their Thanksgiving & Black Friday report (pdf) about what happened over there.

One difference between the UK & the US is the increase between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Using comScores figures over the last nine years through 2013 shows an average increase of Monday vs Friday of just under 50% whereas using Amazon UK’s unit figures only shows a marginal difference of some 2.5% last year. The 2 days though both here & over there we think are the most popular online shopping days in the year although Experian thinks that Manic Monday (Decmber 8 ) over here may be the most hectic day of all!

Enjoy!

A tablet worth every penny – 7,900 of them

fire HD 6 & 7 spec - click to enlarge

Amazon are now shipping in the UK their starter fire tablet the Fire HD 6 which at the economy end of the scale is definitely worth considering.

In the US it comes in at the magic $99. So that’s a sort of, conversion rate of  £1.26 = £1.

The Wall Street Journal reckon it’s a $100 Tablet Worth Buying and did some basic comparisons with some of its competitors.

Over here Tesco’s Hudl 2 (with its larger 8.3″screen) is shipping from today (and is instore tomorrow) but is a bit more pricey at £129 or half that if you have plenty of Clubcard points to burn!

Over there Amazon have introduced a Kids Edition of the HD at $179

We’ll leave you with their video;

Sources: Amazon, Wall Street Journal

Disclosure: We have marketing affiliate arrangements with Amazon

99’s for Apple & Amazon

Click to enlarge

Today is Apple’s day for their “special event” with the anticipated announcement of the iPhone6 and (increasingly likely) the iWearable which may or may not be called the iWatch.

Rumours of course abound and the somewhat unlikely combination of U2 and the Mayo Clinic are amongst the latest. Also we hear that many glitterati from the fashonista sector are expected. We wonder if Burberry may feature at the behest of Angela Ahrendts, their ex CEO, who is now Apple’s  Senior VP of  Retail & Online Stores.

You can watch the event live, running Safari on iOS or Mac, or on your Apple TV and “… follow every moment.”

Numerous live bloggers will be in attendance and Apple watchers such as:

will guide you through it all with their informed commentary.

In accordance with tradition the Apple Store is now closed and you can read “We’ll be back” in 19 different languages. Hungarian is our favourite as they can say it in one word “Visszatérünk”

We shall wait then watch from 6pm BST/10am PDTand likely report back (briefly) later tonight after it’s all over (around 9-10pm BST we guess).

Amazon in an attempt to make their FirePhones move off the shelves have cut the US starter price to 99cents.

The firePhone has also been launched over here  and can be pre ordered from O2  starting at an even lower cost of £nil on a monthly £33 2 year contract with availability indicated as Tuesday September 30. As in the US you also get (until December 31) a free year of Prime membership which normally costs £79.

Announced for the UK last week was the Amazon Fire TV also at £79. Availability is Tuesday October 14.

Disclosure: We have marketing affiliate arrangements with Amazon

Online shopping’s score

The first online sale (secure variety) was made 20 years ago today on (unsurprisingly) August 11 1994 and (again unsurprisingly) took place in the USA, but more surprisingly to us, was that the purchase  was of  the $12.48 CD Ten Summoner’s Tales by our very own Sting!

Here are:

Incidentally the album/CD now costs £4.96 over here (Amazon) which at current fx rates is about $8.33 and we’ re sure it can be added to your collection for much less elsewhere!

Shop Direct have carried out some research in the UK to celebrate this anniversary. The sort of, overview of the outcome is that 95% of us shop online now with 25% of us doing so at least once a week. We started off buying books online, way back when, and still do so but our most recent purchase is likely to be fashion.

Shop Direct’s research by Opinion Matters analyses the results by gender, age region and city, the latter of which we found particularly interesting and which we may may return to in more detail at a later date. In the meantime  here’s an analysis of the 25% who shop at least once a week online by city which we’ve compiled and added country info. Scotland scores but Northern Ireland doesn’t!

We’ll leave you with Shop Directs celebratory video of the last online shopping score which includes an insight into their “… new in-house user experience (UX) laboratory at its head office in Liverpool as a way to get closer to and interact with customers using their websites”. Shop Direct  includes Very.co.uk, Littlewoods.com and isme.com.

Research methodology

The research was carried out by Opinion Matters between 29/07/2014 and 01/08/2014 with a sample of 1,163 UK adults who shop online. All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines.

Amazon Prime Air Approaches Takeoff

Following its drone / octocopter publicity last December Amazon have now formally applied (July 10) to the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) as follows.”In order to allow outdoor R&D testing for Prime Air in the United States, we are submitting this petition for exemption pursuant to Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.”

Interestingly they indicate that they may have already undertaken some testing outdoors in overseas countries.

The overview of their objectives and the reason for Amazon Prime Air is said to be:

“At Amazon, our energy comes from inventing on behalf of customers. Amazon Prime Air, a new delivery system that will get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using aerial vehicles, is one invention we are incredibly passionate about. We believe customers will love it, and we are committed to making Prime Air available to customers worldwide as soon as we are permitted to do so.”

As far as “exemptions” are concerned the FAA have already granted some commercial ones on a pretty limited basis.

You can download the full amazon petition from the Federal regulations.gov website and, if suitably qualified submit your comments!

We’ll leave you with a rather good runover of Prime Airs progress from Time

Disclosure: We have marketing affiliate arrangements with Amazon.

firePHONE, firefly – Mayday Mayday Mayday

The overall reaction is remarkable we think for the paucity of comment on the call element of what is, after all is said and done, a mobile phone!

Having said that we think it is certainly smart in terms of features, some gimmicky, some not. Showrooming has just reached a new level  with firefly’s ability too scan over 100 million items of which, we guess, the majority can be acquired on Amazon.com.

General comment seems to be some surprise at the pricing being somewhat more expensive than envisaged (starting at $199 for a 2 year contract) but the “free Prime for a year” offer saving $99 is quite an incentive.

In hands-on terms some of the features including gesture control are possibly not as smart as they could be. Apps are a significant concern as with the specially “forked” android system being used many of the standard ones are not at this stage available and email systems must be a consideration. At 4.7” the screen size is unsurprisingly larger than Apple’s 5S at 4”.

There’s a useful competitive comparison over at the WSJ detailing iPhone 5S, Samsung Galaxy S%. HTC One and Motorola‘s MotoX

We guess the firePHONE will ship, like Kindle Fire tablets a smallish % of the overall market (over 1 billion globally)  but where it is present it will achieve up to perhaps 5% points share and globally will ship several million units a quarter peaking over the holiday season. There will of course be an intial surge with maybe between 7 & 10 million max sales in Q3 this year in the US

As far as any UK availability is concerned (US from July 25) the only comment TechRadar got from an Amazon employee was “Stay tuned” which if previous tablet precedents are used as a guide could take us  into at least Q3 of 2015.

In terms of the media event itself which you can watch in full (just under an hour and a half in total)  Jeff Bezos, as usual, was impressive and we particularly liked the use in the opening video sequences of customer application videos to attend the announcement. Amazon had 60,038 requests and had  300 invitations so that’s a 200/1 shot!

We can’t yet see the official Amazon “See what customers have to say” promotional video on YouTube so pending its appearance here’s a third party upload.
You can of course see the two videos on Amazon.coms site

Disclosure: We have marketing affiliate arrangements with Amazon

A FirePhone for All

Click to view Amazon.com videos

UPDATE 8.15pm BST:

It’s here (or rather there from 25 July) – No UK mention yet. Some features:

  • Mayday button
  • Firefly scanning ability for over 100 million items & growing
  • Dynamic perspective (sort of 3D simulation)
  • Tilt scrolling
  • Much more

Pricing in US is $199 via AT&T for 32gb for 2 year contract we think (unlocked $649)

We will add much more tomorrow. Initially impressed.

Looks like in fact the Amazon / Jeff Bezos announcement today may in fact initially have only US availability as the rumour mill has AT&T as the sole US carrier and … discussions taking place with O2 and Vodafone over here.

Predictably much comment concerns the likelihood of low pricing including possibly free (or subsidised) carrier elements with Mashable saying “But Amazon doesn’t care about helping you keep in touch with friends; it cares about putting its industry-leading online retail store and services in your pocket and your hands almost 24/7.”

We don’t disagree but we think we can rely on Amazon to come up with some eye catching facilities apps or whatever like eg the Mayday button on their Kindle Fires which they recently told us “… the Mayday button is now the most popular way for Fire HDX customers to contact customer service, and the average response time is just 9.75 seconds.“ The button also is used for 75% of all customer contacts on the HDX.

So far we can’t find any details of any live streaming of the Seattle media event due at 10.30am PT which is 6.30pm BST.

There are of course numerous live bloggers prepping for the reveal and we noticed the following:

Pending our update shortly after the event we’ll leave you with the teaser video “ it’s a …, it’s a … it’s a…” We continue to hope it’s a FirePhone!


Disclosure: We have marketing affiliate arrangements with Amazon.

Lift off for the FirePhone on June 18?

Amazon have announced a “ launch event” by its CEO and founder Jeff Bezos to be held in its home town of Seattle on June 18.

The announcement on its site has some hints in the questions asked of developers to get an invite such as:

  • Which app(s) have you developed?
  • Describe an innovative way in which you have used gyroscopes, accelerometers, or other device sensors in your app development.
  • Are you interested in developing apps utilizing a new type of sensor?
  • Do you have machine learning experience? Please describe.

Also the launch picture looks like the back of a …

Most commentators think it will be a smartphone with added features including a 3D interface involving  multiple cameras.

We rather like the FirePhone name we have just penned & trust it will be adopted by Mr Bezos.

Hopefully the event will be live streamed and we will return to comment come June 18/19 or if you are in Seattle or nearby you can apply for an invitation here

The teaser video has comments like “That is awesome” “It moved with me” “How does it do that?” and “WOW”

See or rather listen for yourself!

Disclosure: We have marketing affiliate arrangements with Amazon

A Third of Most Valuable Global Brands are Techs

BrandZ part of the WPP group  have just published their consistently excellent  Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2014” which is  commissioned by them and conducted by Millward Brown Optimor.

All you need and more is available from the BrandZ 100 site!

Now on to the results (our Technology categorisation is, as ever, our broad definition which adds 13 brands to the BrandZ category – mainly from their Telecoms and online only retailers sectors):

  • The top 4 overall most valuable brands are from the technology sector
  • 6 of the overall top 10 are from the technology sector
  • 11of the overall top 20 are from this tech sector
  • 32 of the 100 are from this tech sector
  • Of the Top 20 risers (the greatest value increases over 2013)  a staggering 9 are techs (Tencent + 97%,  Movistar +56%, Facebook +68%, BT +61%, Baidu +46%, Yahoo +44%, Amazon +41%,  Google +40%  and Siemens +36%.)
  • 3 of the 7 newcomers to the top 100 are techs Twitter at #71 {the highest new entrant) Linkedin at #78 and PayPal at #97

Click to enlarge

Nick Cooper, managing director of Millward Brown Optimor commented “Google has been hugely innovative in the last year with Google Glass, investments in artificial intelligence and a multitude of partnerships that see its Android operating system becoming embedded in other goods such as cars,”

Last year we thought Google might make #1 which has happened but our hoped for top 5 for Amazon just d out on a top 5 position.

Next year we reckon Google will stay there Apple & IBM could both move down the charts allowing some uplift for Amazon. Tencent will also likely make further huge strides.

We’ll leave you with their Top 100 countdown video.