Written by Natalie MootzNatalie has been writing for the web since dinosaurs roamed the earth. Or at least since dinosaurs achieved blogging technology. She's also written for About.com and Joystiq.
New Woody Allen series coming to Amazon Prime Instant Video
Amazon announced yesterday that it has contracted with Woody Allen to write and direct a half-hour streaming series for the company's Prime Instant Video service. Amazon is fresh off its two Golden Globe awards for the original series Transparent and the show's star, Jeffrey Tambor.
Amazon is looking to prove it's not a one-trick pony and followed up the awards announcement with news about the new Woody Allen series. In the past, Amazon has let its customers vote on the pilots of TV shows - essentially greenlighting by way of crowdsourcing. However, the company signed Allen's new series without going through the same public process.
It's a risky move for the retail giant, given that Allen brings with him controversy over alleged sex abuse. The association with Allen might be polarizing to Amazon's customer base. When asked why Amazon moved away from the crowdsourcing approval process, Amazon Studios VP Roy Price, told the New York Times: "What we've learned, which is kind of our theory from the beginning, is that you really have to go with passion."
More Amazon Echo invitations issued
Still waiting for your own HAL-9000 computer assistant? If you've requested an invitation to buy an Amazon Echo and haven't received it yet, you're in luck. Amazon sent another batch of invitations to wait-listed customers yesterday.
Amazon's strategy in releasing the Echo, a voice-controlled music and information gadget, has been to offer them for purchase in smaller batches and keeping those who want to purchase them on an invitation list. Even if your invitation comes this week, Amazon has said the product won't ship until June. Also, you'd better check your email often since the invitations are only good for seven days.
The Amazon Echo, a Siri-esque personal assistant designed to sit in your living room and answer questions or play music, costs $99 for Amazon Prime members and $199 for everyone else. The Echo is a 9" high cylinder speaker with surround sound access to your Amazon Music list and a Google-ish ability to answer random questions you throw at it, but only if you precede your question with its name, "Alexa". I, for one, am glad it's not named Dave.
If you're interested in learning more about home gadgetry, check out our reviews of home automation systems here.