Amazon Builds Out Mobile Development Services

Amazon Web Services announced a new Simple Notification Service for Apple, Google, and its own Fire devices that allows developers to send notifications to all of these platforms via one, unified API. The new service is free for up to one million notifications per month, and then $0.50 per each additional million messages published. This move comes on the back of analysis that reveals that users want to be updated about things that they care about, even when they’re not in the app itself. Indeed, Microsoft is pushing Windows Azure as a platform for mobile services, including push alerts, so expect to see more news around development push notifications in the coming months.

Amazon Expected To Overhaul Kindle Fire

Based on insider reports, Amazon is expected to overhaul the Kindle Fire for this year. Though Kindle desirability is second to Apple’s iPad lineup, Samsung’s tablets overtook the Kindle as far as sales are concerned. In an attempt to capitalize on Samsung’s tablet stumbles, Amazon may be looking to launch new Fire models for the holiday shopping season this year. The first will be a replacement for the base model 7-inch Fire, with a new panel that boasts the same resolution as the Fire HD. There will also likely be an upgrade to the Fire HD, improving the panel to 1,920 x 1,200-pixel resolution. Finally, the 8.9-inch model is also expected to undergo an overhaul, upgrading its pixel count to 2,560 x 1,600 – which is more pixels than Apple’s 9.7-inch Retina display. What’s more, expect some design changes along with these new models – a more angular, chiseled approach – that results in some weight loss and the relocation of the power button. Expect to hear more about these major additions to the tablet market come early fall.

Amazon Purchases Evi, Gets Into Voice Recognition

Amazon has acquired Evi, a voice recognition software company specializing in technology similar to Apple’s Siri, for $26 million.  This buy has fueled rumors of Amazon’s effort to create a smartphone, but is likely to also find a home on the Kindle Fire.  It will be interesting to see how the technology is applied and how it will affect Amazon’s market share in the mobile sphere.

Amazon Announces Online Currency

Amazon’s payment system just gained another method in Amazon Coins, an online currency designed to encourage Kindle Fire users to buy apps and in-app items.  When the currency is launched in May, Amazon will give away tens of millions of dollars worth of free Amazon Coins before enacting the standard purchase rate of 1 US Cent per coin.  While the purchase of Amazon Coins is a somewhat cumbersome process, perhaps it will make some Kindle owners feel more inclined to spend big on Farmville.