Alexa

Apple Music to Debut on Amazon Echo Devices Soon

Anymore, one has an equal amount of music streaming services to choose from as there are smart home speakers.  Two of the most popular have been Apple Music for streaming, and Amazon’s Echo devices for a smart home speaker.  Before you only had one option if you wanted to utilize Apple Music.  The HomePod.  Now the service and smart speaker are about to be united.

Sonos Debuts The Beam

Sonos Debuts Alexa Home Theater Speaker, Ups Apple Integration Sonos Inc. introduced the Beam home-theater smart speaker and said its products would be integrated in July with Apple Inc.'s new AirPlay 2 wireless music-streaming system. The Beam is a sound bar designed to sit below a television set and replace the ...

Read More...

Amazon Releasing Echo Dot to Be Geared for Kids

Echo Dot The Echo Dot has [easyazon_link identifier="B077JFMVGP" locale="US" tag="scriptnotes00-20" localize="y"]now made its way[/easyazon_link] to your kids' room. Well, it may have already been there, but now Amazon is marketing it with colorful new bumpers and software updates.

Echo Dot: Premium Edition?

On the surface, aside from the colorful case, it would appear that there's "not much to see here."  However, Amazon was able to find some items to help justify the new premium.

Brian Heater, reporting for TechCrunch:

From a hardware perspective, there’s not really a lot different here. The Echo Dot Kids Edition is essentially a standard Echo Dot, with a color bumper to help it withstand your standard kid jostling and the same “two-year worry-free guarantee” the company introduced on its kids’ Fire Tablets. That means it’s covered for accidental and intentional breakage, should the little one take the thing apart out of curiosity.

At $80, it’s a $30 premium over the standard Dot. That price jump is largely due to the software included herein, making the device a bundle of sorts. It covers two years of FreeTime Unlimited— which includes a new premium version of the company’s smart assistant built for kids. That includes a bunch of child-friendly content, including 300 Audible books, an ad-free version of iHeartRadio Family and skills and content from the likes of Disney and National Geographic. Amazon’s also partnered with Disney and Nickelodeon on alarms, so kids can get woken up by the likes of Coco each morning.

Like the free version of FreeTime, it also includes a number of parental controls that can be adjusted directly from the Alexa app, similar to what the company has already rolled out on the tablet side of things. Parents can adjust time limits, filter out explicit content and review their kids’ Alexa activity from the new parental dashboard. The Dot also features the new intercom functionality rolled out from Alexa, but disables the ability to call Echos outside of the home network.

However, there aren't any new privacy features that are built into the hardware.  There is still the mute button and parents can also prevent the device from answering questions.

For those who are interested, the [easyazon_link identifier="B077JFMVGP" locale="US" tag="scriptnotes00-20" localize="y"]Echo Dot Kids Edition[/easyazon_link] is available for pre-order today and will start shipping on May 9.

[easyazon_image align="center" height="500" identifier="B077JFMVGP" locale="US" localize="y" src="https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41Vi3SDUBHL.jpg" tag="scriptnotes00-20" width="500"]

Amazon Prime Day is Coming July 11th - Are You Ready?

Prime Day You have probably heard by now that this year’s Amazon Prime Day will be coming up soon on July 11, 2017. For those unfamiliar with Prime Day, it’s generally a one day only event that Amazon holds for its Prime Members to gain access to deals on items. It is generally the largest shopping day of the year for the online commerce giant, rivaling Black Friday. Read on for more details about this year’s event, in addition to a couple offers Amazon is offering to get this year’s festivities started!

According to Amazon, the third annual Prime Day will be Tuesday, July 11, 2017 with hundreds of thousands of deals exclusively for Prime members around the world. New this year, members can enjoy 30 hours of shopping starting early at 6pm PT / 9pm ET on Monday, July 10, 2017 – with new deals as often as every five minutes.

In an effor to highlight small businesses on Prime Day, Amazon said that nearly 40 percent of the Lightning Deals that happen during the event will be from small businesses and entrepreneurs looking to hit the ground running.

“Our members love Prime Day and we have been thrilled by the response over the last two years. It is inspiring us to make it even better this year for Prime members,” said Greg Greeley, Vice President, Amazon Prime. “Every part of our business is working to deliver more deals for a record number of shoppers. This year’s Prime Day is too big for 24 hours – so we’re giving Prime members 30 hours to shop!”

In an effort to help shoppers stay organized, deals will be organized by more than 20 themes, including topics like pet lovers, gardeners, techies, artists, and more. And of course, what would be a Prime Day shopping extravaganza without Alexa?For users with Alexa devices, Amazon is introducing even more Alexa-exclusive deals discoverable through Echo devices and Fire Tablets.

To get your ready and prepared for the deals you might be after, Amazon is offering a $10 credit for users who might not have signed into their app for the first time. Unfortunately if you have already, you’re out of luck.

Here are the terms and conditions of that deal:

  • Offer valid for Prime members only who are active at the time of first sign-in to the Amazon Shopping App
  • Offer expires at 11:59 p.m. (PT) July 31, 2017.
  • Offer only applies to products sold by Amazon.com
  • Offer does not apply to digital content.
  • Offer good while supplies last.
  • Shipping charges and taxes may apply to discounted and free promotional items.
  • Items must be purchased in a single order and shipped at the same speed to a single address.
  • Offer limited to one per customer and account.
  • Taxes, shipping and handling, and gift wrap charges do not apply when determining minimum purchase amount.
  • The maximum benefit you may receive from this offer is $10.
  • You will receive an e-mail from Amazon that indicates the dollar amount of the promotional code. The e-mail will also provide instructions on how to redeem the promotional code.
  • Promotion code expires at 11:59 p.m. (PT) July 31, 2017.
  • Promotion code only applies to items sold by Amazon.
  • Amazon reserves the right to modify or cancel the offer at any time.
  • Offer is non-transferable and may not be resold.
  • Offer discount will be allocated proportionally among all promotional items in your order.
  • If any of the products or content related to this offer are returned, your refund will equal the amount you paid for the product or content, subject to applicable refund policies.
  • If you violate any of these terms, the offer will be invalid.
  • Unless an Amazon Gift Card is the stated benefit of the promotion, promotional codes (including those placed directly in accounts) may not be redeemed for Amazon Gift Cards.

Another offer is that if you have yet to stream Prime Video to your TV, you can get another $10 in free credit. Terms and conditions of that deal can be found via the link.

Another great deal, and one that I’m considering myself, is 40% off of Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited service, which allows readers access to thousands of books a month! Or if you prefer books of the audio variety, you can get 40% off of an Audible.com membership from now until July 11th.  Prime Members can also get 4 months of Amazon Music Unlimited for 99 cents!

Most of all, if you are not a Prime member yet, and want to take advantage of the above, or any forthcoming deals on Prime Day, remember Amazon offers 30 day trials to the Prime Membership service. That way you can take advantage of these deals, and then if you decide it’s not for you, you can always cancel and not miss out!

Low income households can also take advantage of Prime at $5.99 a month, and if you’re a student, you can get six months free!

Make sure to check it out, and certainly if you have any questions, let us know in the comments, and enjoy the savings!

SaveSave

Amazon Echo - Lowest Price This Year!

Amazon Echo Today only, Amazon is offering the lowest price yet this year on its Amazon Echo home speaker product, coming in at $129.99.  This amounts to a savings of 28% off of the list price!  Note that the offer ends at 8:59 PM PST today, so make sure you take advantage if you've been waiting for a price drop like this.

The Echo holds a place on our counter top and we have loved ours.  In the kitchen, it can come in extremely handy for multiple timers.  Say you have something on the stove, but also have something baking in the oven at the same time.  You can name the different timers, so that way you know which one is ready to go.  We also love it for its integration with Alexa, where you can order Alexa-exclusive voice shopping deals.  There's also hundreds of Alexa skills you can utilize with it, such as ordering a pizza from Domino's.  It also integrates nicely with Amazon Music Unlimited, producing a decent quality sound.

See below for more details on the product, and let me know if you have any questions on our usage!

  • Plays all your music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more using just your voice
  • Introducing Alexa calling and messaging, a new way to be together with family and friends. Just ask Alexa to call or message anyone with an Echo, Echo Dot, or the Alexa App.
  • Fills the room with immersive, 360º omni-directional audio
  • Hears you from across the room with far-field voice recognition, even while music is playing
  • Answers questions, reads the news, reports traffic and weather, reads audiobooks from Audible, gives info on local businesses, provides sports scores and schedules, and more using the Alexa Voice Service
  • Controls lights, fans, switches, thermostats, garage doors, sprinklers, locks, and more with compatible connected devices from WeMo, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Nest, ecobee, and others
  • Always getting smarter and adding new features, plus thousands of skills like Uber, Domino's, DISH, and more

Amazon Prime Members - Get Dad a Last Minute Echo or Kindle Today!

Father's Day At Script-Notes, we like to spend time to save our readers time, and money.  If you've run out of "time" for shopping for Dad for Father's Day, Amazon has some great deals going on Echo and Kindle devices!  The catch though is you have to be an Amazon Prime Member for them to reach you (or him) in time for Father's Day.

Read on for more...

As we mentioned above, if you're a Prime Member, you can go ahead and order today, and you'll be in luck and get free shipping.  If you're sitting on the sidelines though, and not a Prime Member yet, don't fear.  You can click below for a 30 day free trial to still take advantage, and of course if you decide it's not for you, can go ahead and cancel.  From personal experience though, Amazon has found numerous ways to provide value for its members.

That said, let's get to the deals.  As we mentioned at the outset, Amazon has a lengthy listing of deals available for its Echo and Kindle devices.  We own both a regular Echo and the Kindle Paperwhite ourselves, and love both.  The Echo has come in extremely handy in the kitchen for setting multiple timers, playing music, getting sports score updates and getting NPR news flash briefings.  For the reader in your household, the Kindle can be great and portable and has adjustable lighting if they like to read at night.

Without further adieu, here are the discounts:

Echo Devices

Kindle Devices

Happy Shopping, and a Happy Father's Day to all fellow fathers out there!

Hurry - New Amazon Music Unlimited Subscribers Can Get 2 Months Free

Amazon Music Unlimited Anymore, it probably seems like there are about as many streaming music services as there are songs available.  More so, each service is trying to do what it can to differentiate itself from the other, competing for your dollars. Just like you might be loyal to a particular type of car, sometimes it can be fun to try something else.  If you have been clamoring to change things up, Amazon is currently offering two free months of Amazon Music Unlimited to new users.

In order to partake in this deal, you have to do so via Amazon’s promotional page.  After arriving at the page, click on Enter Your Code.  After the pop-up window appears, enter the code MOREMUSIC, then hit Apply.

Next up, follow the link in step two on the page in order to sign up for the service with your Amazon account.  Even better is that Amazon Music Unlimited offers up a free 30-day trial to all new users, but that promotional piece automatically gives you a $10 credit toward a second month’s subscription.  Then once the third month kicks in, you’ll be charged $10 a month for the service, or if you are an Amazon Prime member, it will only come with an $8 price tag.

What is key to remember though is that Amazon Music Unlimited is not the same as Prime Music.  The latter service is a free service specifically for Prime members.  The key difference is that the Unlimited service has “tens of millions” more tracks compared to the two million available within Prime Music.

Even cooler is that Amazon’s music services also have Alexa integration which can allow you to play songs on an Echo device, or even find a song based on the lyrics.

So if you’re interested, you may wish to hurry as the $10 credit offer only lasts until the end of the month.

Amazon Echo Dot - Certified Refurbished Available for 24% Off

Amazon Echo Dot While we have gotten a lot of use out of our regular Amazon Echo speaker (available certified refurbished at $134.99), it's understandable that it might not be in the budget for everyone.  However, if you've been looking for a chance to get into the smart speaker craze and get a start on your smart home, Amazon is currently offering the second generation Amazon Echo Dot for 24% off its "brand new" offering at $37.99.

The smaller Dot, is a hands-free, voice-controlled device with a small built-in speaker - you can also hook it up to your speakers or headphones over Bluetooth or via a 3.5 mm audio cable for delivering stereo sound to whatever speakers you choose.

Other features include:

  • A Certified Refurbished Echo Dot is refurbished, tested, and certified to look and work like new
  • Echo Dot (2nd Generation) is a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses Alexa to play music, control smart home devices, make calls, send and receive messages, provide information, read the news, set alarms, read audiobooks from Audible, and more
  • Connects to speakers or headphones through Bluetooth or 3.5 mm stereo cable to play music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn
  • Introducing Alexa calling and messaging, a new way to be together with family and friends. Just ask Alexa to call or message anyone with an Echo, Echo Dot, or the Alexa App.
  • Controls lights, fans, switches, thermostats, garage doors, sprinklers, locks, and more with compatible connected devices from WeMo, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, Nest, ecobee, and others
  • Hears you from across the room with 7 far-field microphones for hands-free control, even in noisy environments or while playing music
  • Includes a built-in speaker so it can work on its own as a smart alarm clock in the bedroom, an assistant in the kitchen, or anywhere you might want a voice-controlled computer; Amazon Echo is not required to use Echo Dot
  • Always getting smarter and adding new features, plus thousands of skills like Uber, Domino's, and more

Hurry: How To Save Money on Mother's Day Shopping

Mother's Day We're three days out from Mother's Day, and if you haven't picked up anything yet, you're probably wondering how to save money on Mother's Day shopping.

Here are some great ways to do some last minute shopping:

CardCash.com (Note we do not receive an affiliate commission from this vendor and just wish to help you save!)

This is one of our favorite discounted gift card web sites to save extra money on as they frequently run promotions for additional discounts toward the weekend, and they're back again this weekend.  With code: MOM, you can save an extra 6% on gift cards at Victoria's Secret, 6% at Forever 21, 6% at Lane Bryant, 6% at White House Black Market, 6% at H&M, 7% at Payless (which you may want to get a jump on due to their closing stores), and 6% at many more brands!

Amazon.com

If you have an Echo device from Amazon, as well as have a Prime Membership (another good gift idea - you don't even have to wait for shipping!), you can save plenty on lots of great gift ideas from chocolates to bracelets, to even $30 off of a new Echo (which is great with the new Alexa calling features!)  Make sure to check out our other post on how you could possibly save an additional $25 off your purchase of $50 or more if you have an American Express card!

Or if she might prefer a tablet, there's also deals to be had on the HD8:

Travel

Does your Mom (or Dad) like to travel?  Then you might check out IHG, which operates many familiar brands like the Holiday Inn and more.  They are currently running a promotion where if you book early, you can save up to 15% off of the usual prices!  We had a lot of our wedding festivities at the Holiday Inn here in Michigan and were quite pleased with the service and amenities!  Other options include Priceline, which is currently running a Memorial Day sale for up to 20% off on select hotels until 5/30.

Another favorite hotel chain that we like to travel to is Hilton, where you can get Mom a $50 daily credit for every night of their stay, at thousands of Hilton Hotels worldwide with code RPTVS1!

Chocolate and Food

Does Mom have a sweet tooth?  You can get 20% off Mother's Day gifts at Ghiradelli.com with promo code BESTMOM20.  Or another great gift, get Mom HelloFresh and save her some time from having to go out into the throngs of the grocery store.  We love the convenience with our HelloFresh meals, and how much time it saves us.  Plus they measure everything out for you, leading to lack of wasting of ingredients.  Right now, you can get $40 off your order with this offer!

Flowers

Of course you can't go wrong either with 1-800 Flowers.  Make sure to check out their Deal of the Week!

So there you go.  Hopefully this has been able to help you with some last minute shopping ideas, and save some money at the same time!  However, if there is an idea you're looking for for your own Mom, please let us know in the comments, and we'll try and do what we can to help find you a good deal!  Most of all though, make sure to take this Mother's Day, and spend time with your Mom.  Put down the devices, and just actually be present in the moment.

That is probably more than she could EVER ask for.

Happy Mother's Day!

Amazon Unveils the 'Echo Show' - Coming in June

Amazon Echo Show On the tail of yesterday's report, today brought forth Amazon's unveiling of their new Echo product, the Echo Show.  Indeed, the Echo show is a smart home speaker system that gives the consumer everything in the usual Echo speaker, but now includes a 7 inch touch screen.

Users will also be able to watch video flash briefings, YouTube, get a visual of music lyrics, check security cameras, swipe through your photos, get a check on the latest weather, edit your to-do and shopping lists, in addition to a host of other features.  Thanks to far-field voice recognition, eight microphones, beam-forming technology, and noise cancellation, users can be heard from anywhere in the room, in addition to being heard over any loud music that might be coming from the speaker itself.

In addition to a new video chat experience, that allows users to be able to make hands free calls to contacts who also have an Echo Show, or the Alexa App, there is a new feature called "Drop In."  This lets users quickly contact or send messages to other Echo Show users, for quick tasks, like letting them know its time for breakfast, or check in on their little one's nursery/bedroom.

Of course, what would a smart speaker be, without smart home features?  The device will connect to products like Hue and Wink, as well as get visuals on your kitchen timers, and the latest news.

For news and information you can see and hear, just ask Alexa for your video flash briefing from CNN. Curious about the latest movie trailers or a need a how-to video from YouTube? Just ask.

Echo Show helps keep you organized at home. Start a timer in the kitchen and watch as it counts down, or easily see and manage your family’s calendar. Sign in to the Alexa App to take your to-do and shopping lists with you. Just add an item to the list from home, and whoever is out shopping will see it added instantly on their Alexa App.

If you are interested, the Amazon Echo Show is now available to pre-order in black and white for $229.99.  It is expected to start shipping on June 28.  As a special offer celebrating the device's launch, those who purchase two Echo Show devices at once can save $100 off of the order.

What do you think readers?  Will you be checking this out?  Leave a comment below!