Amazon constructs physical book store in Seattle
Amazon has opened up its first physical book store today, in what can be best described as an unusual decision by the primarily-digital online retailer. It has built its brick-and-mortar store in University Village, Seattle, where it will provide real copies of books to customers, alongside gadgets including the Fire TV, Echo, Kindle eBook readers, and the Fire tablet range, with Amazon using its digital strength for stock selection.
Sprint adds 33 more countries to Open World roaming service
Sprint has expanded its Open World roaming scheme to cover 33 more countries. First introduced in August, the scheme now offers free texting, discounted calls from $0.20 per minute, and high-speed data for $30 per gigabyte in more than 50 countries. The new list of countries included in Open World include France, Barbados, the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Fiji, Gibraltar, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and Tonga, with customers able to add it to their service for free via the Sprint website or their local store.
Sprint offers to pay entire early termination fee, remaining handset payments
Sprint is offering to pay all the early termination fees and remaining smartphone installment plan payments for customers switching to the carrier. Extending the previous offer where it provided up to $350 towards the cost of the early termination fee, the new offer does not have an upper limit, but does require customers to port their number, buy a new smartphone at full retail or under its payment plans, submit their current devices for return, and provide Sprint with a bill showing the refundable charges within 60 days of activation.
Apple Canada moves headquarters to smaller but downtown location
Apple Canada has opted to downsize, despite record sales in the country. The company is said to be selling its former headquarters in the Ontario suburb of Markham for a smaller set of offices on Bremner Boulevard, near the Air Canada Centre. The move brings the administrative offices for Canada's Apple subsidiary close the company's Toronto store at Eaton Centre, now just blocks away and due to be renovated into a flagship store in the near future.
Video streaming service enters Cuba after US relaxes trade restrictions
Netflix is continuing its current strategy of fast expansion into new countries, by unexpectedly launching in Cuba. The video streaming service is being made available to residents of the country for the first time, following the recent easing of trade restrictions that have been imposed on Cuba by the United States since 1961, though potential users still have some obstacles in the way between them and watching House of Cards.
Broad proposal gains specifics; Internet penetration in Cuba about five percent
In a fact sheet released on Wednesday, the White House has outlined some of the ways normalization of relations with Cuba will impact trade and travel. The document covers not only how many cigars Americans can bring home with them from trips to the island nation, but encouraged telecommunications companies to improve the Cuban people's connection to the rest of the world.
Sky updates electronic program guide, adds recommendations, smart season recording
British satellite television provider Sky has started to roll out software updates to its Sky+ HD set-top boxes, updating the electronic program guide. A new "recommendation engine" will make suggestions of TV shows to watch based on previously downloaded or recorded content, reports The Next Web, with other changes including a "Smart Series Link" automatically recording new seasons of TV shows, DVD cover art, and the combination of HD and SD viewing options in On Demand.
Cuba to allow Cellphones
Cuba will start offering cellphone access to normal citizens, the country's state-run company ETECSA said today. Previously limited to certain government workers as well as outsiders roaming on the network, the cellular service should now be available to all Cubans within a few days. Exact pricing and the phones on offer are unknown, though the service is unlikely to include American companies such as Motorola or Palm due to trade sanctions.
Cuba lifts electronics ban
The new president of Cuba, Raul Castro, has formally lifted a ban on the sale of computers and other consumer electronics such as DVD players, say reports. "Based on the improved availability of electricity, the government at the highest level has approved the sale of some equipment which was prohibited," reads an internal government memo obtained by Reuters. Car alarms, microwaves, and rice and pressure cookers are among the other devices Cubans can now buy; TV sizes have expanded to include 19- and 24-inch models.