Amazon Launches Cash – A New Way to Shop from A to Z

Amazon Cash Me Outside

If you have always wanted to shop at Amazon, but have been hesitant to due to the need to use a credit or debit card, yesterday the company announced a new way you can shop on their site with Amazon Cash.  The new service will give consumers a chance to add cash to their Amazon.com balance via showing a barcode at a participating retailer, then having that cash immediately applied to their Amazon account.  Amazon says that you can add any amount between $15 and $500.

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Unlocked Smartphone Savings at Amazon

A hand holding up a Sony Smartphone
Credit: Recombu.com

Despite Samsung having recently updated their Galaxy smartphone lineup and Apple’s rumored “iPhone 8” more than likely on the way this fall, there are still plenty of other smartphones out there.  If you are in the market for a new phone, Amazon has some great deals today and tomorrow only on smartphones from makers Sony, Lenovo, Asus and more.  What is great is these phones come unlocked, so they should work on any carrier.

Proposed Bill in Michigan Would Alert Cable Customers About End of Promo Rate

Cable Bill
Credit: TheIndyChannel.com

Cable customers in Michigan may soon be able to get a leg up on knowing when their future cable bill might increase.  A bill has been introduced within the Michigan State House that would let customers know when their promotional rate is about to expire.  We frequently see those promotions about getting a great rate for 12 months, and then after that, it has been up to consumers to keep tabs on the expiration date.

According to MLive.com, the legislation was introduced into the House by House Democratic Whip, Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield.  The bill also has twelve co-sponsors.

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Apple Planning Retail Store Revamp

Apple
via Vulcanpost.com

According to company plans shared with MacRumors, Apple is planning to eliminate certain retail positions within its stores.  Come the end of April, positions that are slated to be on the chopping block include Business Manager, Business Events Lead, Events Coordinator and Events Lead.  Apple Store Leaders had started the process of informing affected employees about the change of plans earlier this week, and expectedly many were caught off guard by the sudden changes.

In particular, the cut to the Business Manager position came across as the largest shock, due to them being responsible for bringing in up to 20 percent of overall store sales by leading the Business Team.

“These managers have established relationships with various small and medium businesses in their markets.  Their position is highly specialized and often times not easily understood by retail leadership who do not have experience in B2B sales,” according to the source.

Affected employees have been told that they can either take a lower level (which of course can also mean lower paying) position, or take two months of severance pay.

Both managers and affected employees have already been notified about the change, with a larger scale announcement forthcoming that has been scheduled for April 23.  It is unknown if Apple may share further information in regard to its retail plans at that time.

T-Mobile Introducing New Technology to Help Protect Consumers Against Robocalls

A picture of Will Forte as Robocall
T-Mobile wants to help you against calls like this.
There’s the saying about different things in life being certain, usually death and taxes, but one we can all probably relate to is getting ready to sit down, have dinner with your family, and then your phone rings with some unknown robocall.  Sometimes the calls are constant, sometimes a voicemail is left, other times it can be nothing at all.

Mobile carrier (or should we say Un-carrier), T-Mobile is looking to ramp up these efforts to help consumers by introducing Scam ID and Scam Block to help protect customers in the robocall fight.  With the Scam ID feature, customers get automatically alerted when an incoming call is likely a scam.  Then if you want to take it a step even further, Scam Block can prevent scam calls from even reaching you at all.

“Every year, three out of four people in the US get at least one scam call – and fraudsters cheat consumers out of more than half a billion dollars per year!” said Neville Ray, Chief Technology Officer with T-Mobile.  “So the T-Mobile team designed a brilliant set of patent-pending technologies – then built them directly into our network, so there’s nothing customers have to do.  No hoops to jump through, no app to download.  Like most T-Mobile technologies, it just works.”

As for how it “just works,” here’s the release from the company’s site:

Every time someone calls a T-Mobile customer, as soon as that call reaches the T-Mobile network, patent-pending technology analyzes it – in milliseconds – against an advanced global database of tens of thousands of known scammer numbers. The database is kept up-to-date in near real-time by analyzing every call that comes into the network with behavioral heuristics and intelligent scam pattern detection. When a match is found, the T-Mobile network tags the incoming call and warns the customer that it’s likely from a scammer. Because of the way T-Mobile’s network manages voice traffic, the Un-carrier is capable of analyzing every call to identify and block scammers.

If a customer prefers never to be bothered by scam calls, they can simply turn on Scam Block, and T-Mobile will terminate the call before it ever reaches the customer – stopping the scammers cold.  The customer is always in control and always has the power to decline or block scam calls. 

The company will enable these features on a rolling basis starting with T-Mobile ONE customers.  New T-Mobile ONE customers will automatically get Scam ID starting on April 5.  Postpaid customers can enable Scam ID April 5 by dialing #664# and pressing the call button in their phone’s dialer.  For turning on Scam Block, customers can dial #662# and then hit dial.  But if you’d rather turn Scam Block off, as there is always that chance the service could block calls you might actually want, hit #632#.

More information on the company’s efforts can be found here.  Also, if you currently are not a T-Mobile customer, and wish to learn more, head here for benefits.

Capcom To Go Retro with 6 Disney NES Classics

PC, PS4 and Xbox One owners who might be feeling a little nostalgic will probably appreciate Capcom’s latest release, following up on their release of their Mega Man Legacy Collection and DuckTales remaster.    

Familiar titles include Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers 2, Darkwing Duck, DuckTales, DuckTales 2 and TailSpin.  Features include getting 1080p graphics on the original 8 bit sprites, as well as rewind feature should you struggle with certain levels or sections within the games.  Also included are a boss rush mode, a time attack challenge, and a Museum section showcasing Capcom’s original concept art and the development process that went into each game.  

Look for it to debut on April 18, for $19.99.

HT: 9to5Toys

End of a Smartphone Era: BlackBerry Quitting Hardware Business

BlackBerry logo
We hardly knew ‘ye.
While the writing may have been on the wall for quite some time given trends, it appears BlackBerry is finally throwing in the towel.

According to Re/code, BlackBerry announced Wednesday that it will stop internal development of smartphones, and will rely on partners for any future hardware efforts.

“The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners,” said CEO John Chen in a statement. “This allows us to reduce capital requirements and enhance return on invested capital.”

Chen also said that the company’s move to selling software is ‘taking hold,’ and that its revenue from software has doubled year-on-year.

I still remember when BlackBerries first came out, and were the device of choice for businesses everywhere.  Now it seems the iPhone and other Android devices are the go to for many enterprises.