Amazon is really vying for attention in the music downloading arena. Despite having launched its Cloud Player last month, Amazon still doesn’t generate as much interest as do the upcoming cloud music services of Apple and Google. And despite selling music at prices generally lower than those at iTunes, Amazon still ranks a distant number two as a retailer of mp3s. In a bid to get folks to switch over from iTunes, Amazon is now extending their 69-cent offerings to chart topping songs.
Amazon had been offering 69-cent songs for some time now, but had limited the selection to older or niche songs. As of today, they began offering top-sellers including Katy Perry’s “E.T.” and Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” for only 69 cents. Popular songs like those currently sell for $1.29 on iTunes. Read the rest of this entry
The ASUS Eee Pad Transformer, an Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) tablet with a 10.1-inch screen and an optional QWERTY dock, made its U.S. retail debut today, and it’s flying off of store shelves. Amazon and Target appear to have already sold out of initial stock of the unit, and Best Buy’s website currently says that the $400 tablet is backordered, too. ASUS announced the Eee Pad Transformer late last month, and it’s equipped with a dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, 1GB of RAM, a 1.2-megapixel camera for video chat, a rear-facing 5-megapixel camera, and it’s rated for up to 9.5 hours of battery life. There’s no word on when U.S. stock will be replenished, although Best Buy’s “ship to store” option says the unit usually ships to the store within 3 to 5 days.
If you’ve been excited about the launch of the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer…well, you apparently weren’t the only one, and we hope you’ve already grabbed yours. Amazon made the Transformer available for sale in the US early this morning…and was sold out within just a few minutes. Likewise, Target lists it as “unavailable” and BestBuy.com already has it showing up as “backordered.” We don’t know how many were made available for this first-round release, but apparently it was not enough to meet the demand for the product.
Honestly, this isn’t that surprising, given that it’s basically a Honeycomb tablet that docks onto a keyboard to make a nice laptop-like device when you want that experience. It’s a very cool device concept, and it’s priced at a VERY competitive $399. That is, if you can find one.
Stay tuned, we’ll keep you posted.
Amazon’s Cloud Drive and streaming Cloud Player services dropped earlier than expected; the rumors had only really begun to coalesce a few days before, claiming the online retailer was struggling with the same content owner licensing issues that were plaguing Google and Apple. Instead, it seems, Amazon pushed ahead with the launch and simply expected the labels to fall into line. That, unsurprisingly, isn’t going down well, and despite Amazon’s protestations, it looks like the labels are readying themselves for a legal fight.
Asked whether it was negotiation new licenses for the cloud-storage services, Amazon told AllThingsDthat it felt it did not need them. ”We do not need a license to store music in Cloud Drive” it argues, “the functionality of saving MP3s to Cloud Drive is the same as if a customer were to save their music to an external hard drive or even iTunes.”
However, while Cloud Drive – the remote storage part of Amazon’s proposition – is one matter, the content streaming of Cloud Player, with clients available for PC, Mac and Android, is another. That seems to push the company into streaming, which, Sony Music reckons, demands a new license. “We hope that they’ll reach a new license deal,” spokesperson Liz Young told Reuters, “but we’re keeping all of our legal options open.”
According to music industry sources, Amazon only informed the record labels of the Cloud Player plans last week, leaving discussion of potential licensing issues until later on. So far, nobody has suggested that Amazon is actually doing anything illegal, and the frustrations appear to be the retailer’s cavalier attitude toward communications. Still, with Apple and Google both expected to launch their own streaming services this year, you can bet the content owners are looking closely at how they could take a cut of the cloud-streaming pie.