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Move Over UPS: Amazon Delivery Vans to Hit the Streets

Olaoluwa Abimbola, who was part of Amazon's test of the program, said that the amount of packages Amazon needs delivered keeps his business busy

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Move Over UPS: Amazon Delivery Vans to Hit the Streets
Move Over UPS: Amazon Delivery Vans to Hit the Streets. Pixabay
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Your Amazon packages, which usually show up in a UPS truck, an unmarked vehicle or in the hands of a mail carrier, may soon be delivered from an Amazon van.

The online retailer has been looking for a while to find a way to have more control over how its packages are delivered. With its new program rolling out Thursday, contractors around the country can launch businesses that deliver Amazon packages. The move gives Amazon more ways to ship its packages to shoppers without having to rely on UPS, FedEx and other package delivery services.

With these vans on the road, Amazon said more shoppers would be able to track their packages on a map, contact the driver or change where a package is left — all of which it can’t do if the package is in the back of a UPS or FedEx truck.

Amazon has beefed up its delivery network in other ways: It has a fleet of cargo planes it calls “Prime Air,” announced last year that it was building an air cargo hub in Kentucky and pays people as much as $25 an hour to deliver packages with their cars through Amazon Flex.

FILE - Packages move down a conveyor system were they are directed to the proper shipping area at the new Amazon Fulfillment Center, Feb. 9, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif.
FILE – Packages move down a conveyor system were they are directed to the proper shipping area at the new Amazon Fulfillment Center, Feb. 9, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif. (VOA)

Recently, the company has come under fire from President Donald Trump who tweeted that Amazon should pay the U.S. Postal Service more for shipping its packages. Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, said the new program is not a response to Trump, but a way to make sure that the company can deliver its growing number of orders. “This is really about meeting growth for our future,” Clark said.

Through the program , Amazon said it can cost as little as $10,000 for someone to start the delivery business. Contractors that participate in the program will be able to lease blue vans with the Amazon logo stamped on it, buy Amazon uniforms for drivers and get support from Amazon to grow their business.

Contractors don’t have to lease the vans, but if they do, those vehicles can only be used to deliver Amazon packages, the company said. The contractor will be responsible for hiring delivery people, and Amazon would be the customer, paying the business to pick up packages from its 75 U.S. delivery centers and dropping them off at shoppers’ doorsteps. An Amazon representative declined to give details on how much it will pay for the deliveries.

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Olaoluwa Abimbola, who was part of Amazon’s test of the program, said that the amount of packages Amazon needs delivered keeps his business busy. He’s hired 40 workers in five months.

“We don’t have to go make sales speeches,” Abimbola said. “There’s constant work, every day. All we have to do is show up.” (VOA)

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Amazon To Roll Out 4 New Alexa Built-in Devices Next Month

Echo Dot and Echo Plus will start shipping this month while Echo Sub will be available later this year

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Google , US, Alexa
The logo of Amazon, online retailer is seen at the company logistics center in Lauwin-Planque, France. VOA

Four Indian manufacturers on Monday announced to launch new products like portable headsets, smart speakers and set-top boxes with the Amazon Alexa built-in.

The hardware manufacturers are iBall, Sirena Technologies, boAt and MyBox who have integrated Alexa into their products with the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) which enables developers to integrate Alexa directly into their products, bringing the convenience of voice control to any connected device.

All four devices will be available beginning next month, enabling customers to ask questions, play music, control smart home devices and more, the AVS said in a statement.

“Breathe-M” from iBall is a wireless Bluetooth over-ear headset with built-in Mic for just Rs 2,225 while “Vood” by Sirena Technologies is touted as one of the world’s smallest portable smart speakers for Rs 2,699.

“boAt Stone 700A” is a shock and water proof smart speaker for Rs 7,999 and “MyBox” Alexa Kit for the set-top box (STB), paired with a voice remote, costs just Rs 1,999.

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The Alexa Echo Dot devices include the official Saint Louis University logo and are equipped with specific skills to provide information on local events and campus life. VOA

Earlier Alexa built-in devices that were launched in India were Pulse 3 and Plus 3 Max headphones from Motorola for Rs 1,599 and Rs 2,599, respectively and Bose Home Speaker 500, Bose Soundbar 500, and Soundbar 700 for Rs 39,000, Rs 59,000 and Rs 79,000, respectively.

Amazon last month launched a new line-up of Echo devices and an Echo companion device in India.

At Rs 4,499, Echo Dot comes with a new speaker for crisper sound and an updated fabric design.

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Echo Plus with a built-in Zigbee hub, an upgraded speaker and a new design will cost Rs 14,999.

With Echo Sub, you can add rich bass to music playback on Echo devices for Rs 12,999.

Echo Dot and Echo Plus will start shipping this month while Echo Sub will be available later this year. (IANS)