If you’ve turned on the TV, shopped on Amazon, or read a magazine in the past seven years, you’ve heard the word Kindle. With an uber-popular line backing the Kindle name, Amazon emerged with their new line; Fire. With no sign of slowing down, Amazon has become a household name in terms of technology. Welcome to the Amazon Nation, it’s on Fire.
What began in 1994 as an online retailer for books, Amazon.com is now the single largest internet based company. In its early days, Amazon quickly added products to their online availability. Now, the website that is widely known as the place to go when you need something online, Amazon.com has ventured out of their retail box and started creating technology to rival the best in the business.
In 2005, Amazon made incredible strides with the announcement of Amazon Prime. In the beginning, Prime was a paid service that offered shipping discounts, including free two-day shipping. Currently, a Prime membership comes with access to a huge catalog on Amazon Instant Video, Prime Music, and the Kindle library.
In 2007, Amazon turned the reading world upside down with the unveiling of their Kindle, an e-reader to contend with Sony’s e-reader models and others of its kind. The release, controversial with die-hard traditionalists, marked a gigantic shift in the publishing world. No longer were writers bound to the traditional brick and mortar publishing houses, and self-publishing is an attainable reality. Now in its seventh generation, Kindle is to e-readers what Kleenex is to tissues.
Competition in the e-reader emerged in 2009 from Barnes and Noble, with the release of their Nook line of products. Barnes and Noble, however, has since proven to be a minimal challenger as authors have emerged with issues surrounding Barnes and Noble’s availability of their e-books. Even tangible book loyalists are slowly beginning to succumb to the draw of the Kindle.
2011 saw the release of the Kindle Fire tablet, a 7” creation designed to compete with Apple’s IPad and weighing in at nearly a third of the price. Amazon loyalists snapped the Kindle Fire off the virtual shelves as soon as it released, selling nearly 7 million units. Reviewers agreed it could actually provide stiff competition for Apple’s tablet.
In 2014, Amazon dropped the Kindle from the Fire’s name and rebranded simply as the Fire HDX. Both loyalists and former naysayers are tipping their hats to the redesigned tablet. With its redesigned processor and graphics display, both the 7” and 8.9” models are heavy performers already. The Fire family is also ranked among the top tablet for customer satisfaction.
The most talked about new feature of the Fire HDX is the Mayday Button. This button will connect users will Amazon Customer Service 24/7, every day of the year. The Amazon reps are there to answer questions, troubleshoot, and provide revolutionary tech-support without having to put down your device.
In April of 2014, Amazon extended the Kindle/Fire family with the announcement of Fire TV, a device to suit all streaming needs. Fire TV will not only run your favorite streaming programs, but it will do so in 1080p and three times faster than Roku or Apple TV. With features such as ASAP, an instant start program that promises buffer-free viewing and voice search, Fire TV is certainly gearing up to take down its competitors.
2014 was a big year for Amazon with a huge new announcement that allowed them to push their way into a brand new industry; smart phones. With the introduction of the Fire Phone, available only to AT&T customers, Amazon cemented its future as a technology contender. The Fire Phone features Mayday as well as Firefly, a technology that can recognize phone numbers, household products, music, movies, and TV.
With their expansion into the streaming world, Amazon cemented their place as a media powerhouse. Amazon Instant Video serves as a respectable rival for Netflix and Hulu Plus, while Prime Music creates competition for such music streaming services as Pandora and Spotify. Their digital catalog continues to grow daily and offer a multitude of options for both viewing and listening.
Amazon hasn’t knocked lightly at the technology door, but has, rather, entered the game with a bang. They’ve proven themselves as a force to be reckoned with, and a powerful one at that. With their innovative technology inventions and massive additions to their online store, Amazon.com has promised they’re not going away anytime soon.