Amazon said to have paid $90 million to acquire maker of Blink Security cameras

Amazon plans to use the chips Blink have for their in-house devices
Image Source: AP Images Inc. has acquired the maker of Blink security cameras for $90 million (Rs 580 crores), in a secret bet on the startup’s energy-efficient chips, as reported by Reuters.

The foundation and the price tag of the deal highlights how Amazon is vying to sell more than just the next big camera. Amazon is venturing into using the exclusive Blink chips, which could extend the battery life of gadgets and lower the cost of production. The online retailer is looking to work on its Cloud Cam and then tap into its Echo speakers using the Blink chips.

The in-house devices that Amazon develops are done with a view of building strong relationships with its customers. Both, the Cloud Cam and the Echo Speakers require power source through plug-ins.

The technology developed at Blink enables their cameras to work for 2 years at a stretch using just one pair of AA lithium batteries. This acquisition could give birth to a generation of gadgets that are heavy on direct current, thereby increasing the portability of the gadgets.

The deal so far hasn’t gathered significant attention. The camera producer declared its takeover by Amazon with inadequate details of interest in a December 21 blog entry.

Examiners have seen Blink as a component of the retailer’s technique for Amazon Key, another program where customers can set up a smart lock and reconnaissance camera so deliveries can be done by slipping bundles inside their homes when they are away. Amazon additionally observes opportunity in the surveillance camera market as home innovation extends.

Sources: NDTV, Indian Express

6,500 temporary jobs created by Amazon India for Great Indian Sale

Amazon India, the e-commerce giant has reportedly created over 6,500 temporary jobs right before its mega sale in January. Amazon holds the Great Indian Sale every year with this years dates being  between January 20-24th, reports the Economic Times. According to Akhil Saxena, Amazon India’s Vice President (Customer fulfilment), 5,500 seasonal positions have been created across three departments at Amazon. These departments include fulfilment centres, sortation centres and delivery stations. These vacancies have been created in metros including Bengaluru and Hyderabad among others.

Saxena further added that 1,000 associates have been employed at the customer service centres to attend to the high influx of customer demands during the sale period. He also said that this enhancement they’ve incorporated will ensure an exceptional experience for customers during the sale. It will enable the company to consistently deliver high levels of customer experience, stated Saxena.

Amazon’s service partner stations have hired seasonal associates to allow faster deliveries during the course of the sale. Amazon has been extensively trying to expand its infrastructure and delivery services in an attempt to lead the e-commerce market by racing ahead of its competitors like Flipkart. The organisation has managed to establish a total of 41 warehouses, 150  delivery stations and over 25 sortation stations in the country. These additions have been made to facilitate the process of packing, shipping and delivery of orders. Around 13 customer service centres have been set up by Amazon India across 12 cities. The job opportunities created by such ventures will significantly make a difference to the working class in the country.


Sources: Economic Times, The Hindu Business Line

Amazon Alexa to hit the business market

Amazon’s Alexa is your new assistant at work. The device takes your command with the help of your voice. The increasing popularity has made the device to enter office spaces. Amazon is on a mission to give Alexa much more power by competing with Apple or Google.
The question that ponders is not the purchasing of Alexa but whether the businesses and conference rooms may trust the device with sensitive information. “Without a doubt, privacy and security is the number one issue,” said Geoff Blaber, analyst, CCS Insight.” Arguably that is more important than the functionality.” he adds.
To start off and understand the effectiveness, Alexa would be used for mundane and basic office activities like printing papers before doing anything confidential. Alexa is expected to turn tables with the new Amazon’s product. Its cloud computing software will allow businesses to create customised skills for the device. Specific business related questions, directions, travel and expenses for corporate offices include some of them.
A device like Echo is supposedly told to reduce the stress and overload of tedious tasks at work like, managing calenders, handling conference calls, checking availability of meeting rooms and so on. Alexa sell out has been 11 million already within a year after its launch. Reaching office spaces is the next logical step for the device, as Blaber says.



Samsung launches Galaxy Note 8 in India

Specifications –
Display – 6.30-inch
Processor – 1.6GHz octa-core
Front Camera – 8-megapixel
Rear Camera – 12-megapixel
Resolution – 1440*2960 pixels
OS – Android 7.1.1
Storage – 64GB
Battery Capacity – 3300mAh

After almost a two-year gap, Samsung is back with its Note series with the latest Galaxy Note 8 launched in India on September 12, 2017. The last phone in the series Note 7 was technically announced in India, but never hit the stores, prior to that Note was launched in the country in 2015.

Note 8 is becoming the talk of the town for its 6.3-inch display along with the price tag of Rs 67,900 attached with the model. The bezel-less Infinity display in the phone ensures that the phone has a more compact factor compared to the other six-inch-plus displays.

With a 18.5:9 aspect ratio and S Pen support, Note 8 sports the largest screen ever on a Samsung Galaxy Note handset. Other features include the dual rear camera setup, first for any Samsung smartphone till date, along with iris scanner and face recognition feature.

Another highlight in the Note 8 is the Bixby virtual assistant. Bixby is more efficient in understanding Indian dialects, accent and context, giving the phone a stronger market in the country.

Launched in its 64 GB inbuilt storage variant, the smartphone will be available in Maple Gold and Midnight Black colours. Apart from select Samsung retail stores and the Samsung online store, the phone will also be available on Amazon. Pre-bookings in the country will be available now and shipping to users will be started from September 21.
Along with the phone, the buyers will be getting a free clear case, and AKG-tuned headphones. A free wireless charger bundled with the smartphone, as well as a one-time screen replacement will be bonus offers for early buyers.

Sources: Indian Express, NDTV

Walmart partners will Google for voice activated shopping

World’s largest retailer Walmart has joined hands with search engine giant Google to give its customers voice activated shopping experience.

It has been revealed that Google will soon start offering Walmart products to consumers who shop on Google Express which is the firm’s online shopping mall, reported the New York Times.

The partnership between the two firms was announced on Wednesday, August 23 and it is the first time that Walmart has made its products available online.  The news that has been surfacing along with this partnership is that it a testament to the mutual threat both the companies face from the online leader Amazon.

This is Google’s biggest retail partnership and along with offering highly personalised shopping experience, it is a direct completion to Amazon’s Alexa-powered Echo device with dominates this area.

Giving his comments on the same, Marc Lore, CEO of Walmart’s US e-commerce business said that voice shopping is becoming a more important part of everyday shopping behaviour. And with this personalised partnership people will be able to shout out generic items like milk or bread, and Google Assistant will know exactly what brand or quantity the consumer wants.

Walmart has claimed that it will be tapping 4,700 stores in the United States for this service.

Sources: NDTV and The New York Times 

Transgender woman sues Amazon for workplace harassment

Online retail giant Inc has been sued by a transgender woman and her husband on Wednesday. August 9. The couple has accused the company of subjecting them to severe harassment and physical threats when they were working at the company’s warehouse in Kentucky.

A group which is representing them said that the couple’s case was striking given the firm’s vocal support of LGBT rights, reported Reuters.

The lawsuit that Allegra Schawe-Lane has filled states that she was subjected to taunts such as “shemale” and “crossdresser” from her co-workers. Even her husband became a victim of this and received crass comments about their sex life.

It also stated that the couple filled a series of complaints with their supervisors while they were working at the warehouse, but no action was taken.

The couple has claimed that the firm violated federal and Kentucky laws banning sexual discrimination in the workplace. In many courts such kind of discrimination is ruled as a form of unlawful sex bias.

Amazon, however, has not given any comments on the lawsuit. Recently, Amazon also released a feature show with a transgender lead titled ‘Transparent’.

Sources: Reuters, NDTV

OnePlus 5 launched in India, available exclusively on Amazon

The much-awaited OnePlus 5 finally launched in India on 22 June at an event organised by the company in Mumbai. The smartphone comes in two variants. The base model comes with 6GB RAM and 64 GB internal storage while the upper model comes with 8GB RAM with 128 GB internal storage.

The smartphone incorporates a 5.5” Full HD AMOLED display at a resolution of 1080 x 1920 with a pixel density of 401 ppi. It is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5 with the fingerprint sensor embedded into the home button. The phone is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor consisting of 8 cores coupled with the Adreno 540 GPU. OnePlus 5 packs a 3,300mAh battery and supports OnePlus’ Dash Charge technology. Although the battery is 100mAh lesser than its predecessor, OnePlus 3T, however, the company claims that the Dash Charge is enough to power the phone through an entire day after a near 30 minutes charge.

OnePlus 5 sports an all-aluminum frame with a dual camera setup consisting of 16 MP and 20 MP sensors, the latter being a Telephoto lens assisted by a dual LED flash. The front camera is a 16MP shooter. The phone comes equipped with Bluetooth 5.0 and a USB Type-C charging port flanked by a 3.5 mm audio jack. The OnePlus 5 runs Oxygen OS which is based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat.

The base and the upper model are priced at Rs 32,999 and Rs 37,999 respectively. The smartphone is exclusive to Amazon and is sold in two colour options – MidnightBlack and Slate Gray.


Gadgets 360The Indian Express