Amazon sells cheap tablets, Chromecast II is incoming, the new Fire TV trumps the new Apple TV, The Witness offers puzzling goodness, and Conan conjures up new Facebook buttons.
Amazon Launches a $50 Tablet
So, whats everyone making of Amazon’s 7” £49.99 Kindle Fire Tablet. Spec’s aint inspiring, but .. its a steal at that price.
— The Jamsie (@Jamsie) September 18, 2015
It has been possible to purchase a cheap tablet for several years now, and I myself did so in 2012. Many people have chosen affordability over everything else, as iPads are anything but cheap. However, while Apple (with the new iPad Pro) and Microsoft (with the Surface Pro) have trended upwards, Amazon is trending downwards, seeking to sell cheap tablets in bulk.
The latest salvo in this race to this bottom is a new Kindle Fire Tablet priced at just $50. For that $50 you get a 7-inch screen with a 1024 x 600 resolution IPS display, a 1.3Ghz quad-core processor, 8GB of storage, 1GB of RAM, front- and rear-facing cameras, and seven hours of battery life. The whole thing is powered by the latest version of Fire OS, which is an extremely competent, if somewhat limited, operating system.
This is so cheap that, for a limited time only, Amazon is selling them as a six-pack, with the buyer paying for five and getting the sixth thrown in for free. That’s six 7-inch tablets for $250, which is still significantly cheaper than just one iPad. So, you won’t be getting the best tablet on the market, but you will be getting a tablet good enough for everyday use. For $50. Which can’t be bad.
A New Chromecast Is Imminent
My new internet lets me use my Chromecast to stream Netflix AND ALSO use my laptop! At the same time! I didn't even know what I was missing!
— Valerie Anne (@PunkyStarshine) September 9, 2015
Google is set to unveil a brand new Chromecast at the end of this month, if a report from 9to5Google is to be believed. The Google-focused site claims to have obtained internal documents showing the second-generation Chromecast in all its glory.
Chromecast Mk II, set to be announced on Sept. 29, looks a little peculiar, if we’re being honest, as it resembles a one-sided pair of headphones. Or perhaps a half-inflated balloon. Features include improved Wi-Fi, support for content feeds, and something called Fast Play, which we can only imagine lets you set your Chromecast up more speedily.
Google is also planning to launch Chromecast Audio, which should enable you to plug your Chromecast directly into a speaker using the auxiliary cord. Thus, you’ll be able to play music throughout your house using your Chromecast. Just in time for the addition of support for Spotify.
The Chromecast is already an awesome box full of tricks, so we can only imagine the Chromecast II will be more of the same.
Amazon Adds 4K & Alexa to Fire TV
This Amazon Fire TV stick is the best thing I have ever bought!!
— sophieee (@sophieewxx) September 8, 2015
One week after Apple launched the new Apple TV, Amazon has unveiled its new Amazon Fire TV. Amazon’s offering is, in many ways, better than Apple’s offering. Apple added Siri and gaming to the new Apple TV, but Amazon has the perfect answer… Alexa, gaming, and 4K video.
In order to compete with Siri, Amazon has brought Alexa (previously seen in the Echo speakers) to the Amazon Fire TV. Voice search was already an option, but Alexa can do so much more. Using the voice-enabled remote control means she can queue music, and order items from Amazon.
In terms of gaming, Amazon is releasing a version of the Fire TV just for gamers. This comes with a redesigned controller, a 32GB microSD card, and two free game downloads. All for $140. And both editions now support 4K Ultra HD video, which is a bonus for anyone with a 4K television set and access to 4K content. Your move, Apple!
Witness the Glorious Braid Follow-up
Jonathan Blow, the man who created Braid, one of the best puzzle-platformers of all time, is back with a new game. The Witness is another puzzle game, but this time with a healthy dose of exploration built in. Think Myst, with more freedom to move around and much more aesthetically pleasing graphics.
The Witness is due out for the PC and PlayStation 4 on January 26, 2016. Which is a rather sensible release date, allowing all of the bigger titles to fight for dominance over the holiday season. The trailer reveals just enough to draw you in without giving away all the game’s secrets.
Conan’s New Facebook Buttons
And finally, after finding out Facebook is developing a Dislike button, Conan O’Brien (or, more accurately, his legion of writers) came up with a list of his own potential Facebook buttons, all of which use the Facebook thumb in some way. My personal favorite is the “Your baby is not as cute as you seem to think it is” button.
It turns out that Facebook isn’t actually developing a Dislike button, but rather a way for users to express empathy and other emotions. Which could mean Facebook is set to be the latest entity to adopt emoji. The again, emoji are set to be the language of the future, so it makes perfect sense! [H/T CNET]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Are you interested in buying a $50 Amazon tablet? Will you be buying the new Chromecast II? Which is better: the Amazon Fire TV or the new Apple TV? Are you eager to play The Witness? What button(s) would you like to see added to Facebook?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.