Posted: July 11, 2017
By Fiza Pirani, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The official 30-hour cyber shopping extravaganza began at 9 p.m. Monday and features hundreds of lightning deals popping up every five minutes, including a $499.99 deal on diamond stud earrings and big discounts on brands like Samsonite and Adidas.
Ahead of the launch, Amazon released a list of some of the hottest 30-hour deals and bundles on tech products and non-tech products alike.
The official 30-hour cyber shopping extravaganza began at 9 p.m. Monday and features hundreds of lightning deals popping up every five minutes.
Of all the top-notch Amazon Prime Day deals being rolled out for the big 2017 sale, the Amazon Echo, with its limited $89.99 price tag, is arguably the best bargain so far.
But just before Amazon Prime Day’s official launch on Monday, July 10, at 9 p.m. ET, Google slashed the price of its own smart speaker to $99, down from $129.
And when it comes to Apple’s HomePod, tech experts say interest in the anticipated smart speaker is on the rise.
So, which device is right for you? We’ve compiled prices, expert and consumer reviews and more details to help you make your decision.
Usual price: $180
Amazon Prime Day deal: $89.99 (Amazon)
The e-commerce giant’s voice-activated smart speaker is one of its most popular products, offering consumers the ease of playing music, making appointments, getting reminders, reading news and much more through its virtual assistant, Alexa.
One of the product’s biggest perks is its compatibility with dozens of smart home devices, such as Belkin smart outlets and Honeywell smart thermostats.
Experts at CNET describe the Echo as an “undeniably futuristic” smart speaker “that can control your whole house.”
Consumers and experts alike have noted the Echo’s sometimes lackluster sound quality.
Overall, CNET editors rated the product 8.3 out of 10.
Amazon’s smaller Echo Dot, normally priced at $49.99, will also be available for the low price of $34.99 for Prime members starting Monday.
Additionally, Amazon is offering the following Echo bundle deals:
Usual price: $129
One-week bundle offer with Chromecast: $99.99 (eBay)
Ahead of Amazon Prime Day, Google paired its $129 smart speaker with the popular $135 Chromecast streaming stick for a $99.99 bundle on eBay. The deal is marketed to last one week.
Though not as widely popular as Amazon Echo, the device that started the smart speaker trend, Google Home is gaining traction as the speaker with the “bigger brain,” due to its integration with Google’s search engine.
According to TechRadar, if the Google Home keeps up its pace, it might catch up to the Amazon Echo.
Other perks include high sound quality and more personalized virtual assistance than the Echo and integration with Chromecast, which makes for easy, high-quality digital entertainment, according to CNET.
Still, Google’s smart assistant does need some help, consumers and experts say, arguing that changing your tone and using different words to ask a specific question often confuse the virtual assistant.
CNET editors also rated the Google product 8.3 out of 10.
Price: $349 (Apple)
In addition to providing Alexa-like information on news, weather, reminders and more, Apple’s HomePod, with virtual assistant Siri, features wireless access to Apple’s Music library and a stellar musical experience.
The speaker won’t actually hit the market until December, but according to experts who played around with the HomePod at June’s big developer conference, “Apple has done a remarkably good job finding ways to get its speaker to feel like it’s filling a room with sound.”
The tiny speaker, according to The Verge, manages to put other smart speakers, such as the Amazon Echo or Google Home, to shame.
But experts can’t attest to the smart speaker’s “smart” qualities just yet. The integration with Siri didn’t seem to work at the June conference.
Unimpressed by the malfunctioning Siri integration, Tech Radar experts described the HomePod as “the wild card from Cupertino.”
Still, experts are waiting to fully weigh in until the speaker hits the market in December.
Amazon is promising “amazing deals” this year in advance of its annual Prime Day. Prime Day, a day of shopping for deeply discounted items, takes place over a 30-hour period this year. Beginning at 9 p.m. ET on July 10, the sale will run until 3 a.m. ET on July 12. However, dedicated shoppers can get a jump on some bargains as Amazon is starting sales related to Prime Day on July 5. Here’s a schedule of pre-sale days and what’s being offered:July 5: Alexa voice shopping July 6: Amazon MusicJuly 7: Amazon VideoJuly 8: Everyday EssentialsJuly 9: Amazon Reading How do you shop the sale? You need to be a member of Amazon Prime. Or, if you are not a member, you can sign up for a 30-day free trial and use that trial membership to shop.
How do you keep up with the sales? Download the free Amazon App. Once you download it, you can go to “Today’s Deals,” then click “Upcoming” and you will be able to see all the deals 24 hours before they are offered. If you click “Watch this deal,” the app will send an alert when that deal is starting. Amazon is encouraging shoppers to create a shopping list of items they are interested in. Should those items go on sale during the event, Prime members will be notified. If you’re feeling a bit guilty during your shopping spree, Amazon has something for that, too. The company will donate a percentage of the price of all eligible purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. What will be on sale? According to Amazon, more than 100,000 items will be on sale during the event. Televisions will be a popular buy as in the past, according to the company. “Prime Day will include amazing TV deals, with a variety of great brands including the all new Element 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV - Amazon Fire TV Edition. Amazon is planning one of its largest total volume TV deals in history with a record level of inventory but once again, the TV deals will likely sell out.” You will also be able to find deals on unlocked phones from Alcatel, BLU, Moto and Nokia. You can also get four months of Amazon’s streaming music service for .99 cents. The company is offering up to 40 percent off book titles with a Kindle Unlimited subscription. The subscription offers access to more than a million book titles. The books can be read on any smart device.Anything new? Here’s what’s new for this Prime Day sale, according to Amazon: Explore deals you’re into - Find deals organized by more than 20 of the most-shopped-for themes. From pet lovers to gardeners and techies to artists – find your deals even faster. Voice shopping - There will be even more Alexa-exclusive deals for members with an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Amazon Tap, compatible Fire TV or Fire tablet. Watch a deal - The Amazon App allows early deal watching in every country. Preview, track, and shop deals while at home or on the go with deal alerts on the Amazon App. Learn more at amazon.com/watched. Amazon global store - Prime members in China and Mexico will be able to shop both local deals as well as select deals from other countries from the Amazon Global Store. “Our members love Prime Day and we have been thrilled by the response over the last two years. It is inspiring us to make it even better this year for Prime members,” said Amazon Prime vice president Greg Greeley. For more information, click on the Amazon Prime Day 2017 Insider’s Guide.
As you take advantage of the biggest bargains from the multi-million dollar company’s sale of the year, take a look back at its humble beginnings.
Here are five things you probably didn’t know about Amazon:
1. It began in a garage.
Like many big companies and hit bands that once started in a college dorm room or basement, Amazon’s humble beginnings originated in the garage of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
2. It was originally called “Cadabra.”
Yes, as in “Abracadabra.” But as soon as people began confusing “Cadabra” with “cadaver,” that name went out the window.
Bezos instead chose “Amazon.com,” to suggest something of a large scale.
3. When it went live, it only sold books.
Amazon.com wasn’t always “Amazonian.” When it went live, it actually only sold books. But now, Amazon.com sells everything from electronics to apparel to groceries.
4. Every time a purchase was made, a bell would ring in the company office.
This humble tradition of the most popular online store in the U.S. is no longer.
5. In 2012, a web services crash cost the company millions of dollars.
Amazon’s web services went down for an hour in October 2012, mainly affecting eastern states. This cost the company millions of dollars.
Start warming up your shopping finger because Amazon’s Prime Day, the annual bargain basement sale put on by the world’s largest online retailer, starts Monday night.
This year, Amazon has promised there will be more merchandise available, avoiding some of the problems of past years when popular items went fast.
The sale begins at 9 p.m. ET on Monday night.
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