Amazon Prime fee jumps to $99 a year

Amazon's Prime premium service just got a little more expensive.

For the first time, the online retailing giant will raise the membership fee for Prime, hiking it by $20 to $99 a year. Amazon Student Prime will rise $10 to $49 a year. Prime members will pay the higher fee when their accounts come up for renewal.

The critical cut-off date is April 17. If your renewal comes up before then, you'll still pay the original $79 fee. If comes up on April 17 or after, you're stuck with the higher fee.

Prime, introduced nine years ago, … Read more

The 404 1,276: Where we follow Justin into the darkness (podcast)

We're taking a different approach to the show today with a story from Memorial Day that takes the entire episode, but trust us--it's worth it. It's a tale of survival, of tech failure and success, the power of nature, and a tightrope walk above surefire doom. What's the closest you've ever come to the end? This is mine.

After you're done with the story, this is the Fenix LED flashlight that got me through the night and this is the SLX Extreme Snow Lizard case that kept me safe.… Read more

Samsung: Our price hike to Apple was scheduled

The 20 percent increase that Apple's now paying Samsung for the mobile processors it uses in iOS devices was scheduled at the beginning of this year and not simply payback for any legal losses, according to a new report.

Seoul-based newspaper The Hankyorek (via The Street) reports that the two companies agreed on the new processor prices earlier this year, contradicting an earlier report that suggested Samsung strong-armed Apple into paying more when the iPhone and iPad maker could not find a replacement.

The reported 20 percent increase brings a 1 percent to 2 percent hit on Apple's … Read more

My Tracks records your runs

Perfect for outdoors enthusiasts, Google's My Tracks app records your path, speed, distance, and even elevation while you walk, run, bike, or do anything else that a GPS signal can follow. And for those who are a bit more serious about their training, the app even lets you hook up with a few third-party Bluetooth biometric sensors, including Zephyr HxM, Polar WearLink, and ANT+ monitors.

To get started, just open up My Tracks and hit the record button at the top of the screen. From there, so long as you have a strong GPS signal, My Tracks will plot … Read more

Verizon plans price hikes for Fios, wireless users

The cost of Verizon's Fios and wireless service are expected to go up during the next several months, as the company hikes prices and introduce new plans that demand customers pay more for the data they consume.

Speaking at the JP Morgan investor conference Tuesday, Fran Shammo, Verizon Communications' CFO, said the company is planning to increase fees and prices for its Fios Internet and TV services. He also promised investors that wireless customers would soon be spending more on its service after the company implements a new "data share" plan for its 4G LTE network.

Shammo'… Read more

Will Redbox pull a Netflix with its price hike?

Et tu, Redbox? Coinstar, owner of the Redbox service, is raising DVD rental fees by 20 percent, due to an increase in operating expenses. Let's see if this stirs a Netflix-like outcry.

Netflix's decision over the summer to increase prices for those who had both streaming and DVD-rental plans was met with intense anger from subscribers. Those customers, who were previously paying $9.99 per month for DVD rentals and streaming, are now forced to pay $15.98 per month for the same level of service.

As soon as the price hike was announced, many subscribers loudly declared … Read more

Will Netflix reverse price hike? Outlook not good

Some Netflix customers are holding out hope that the Web's No. 1 rental service, will reverse a decision to raise prices, according to a CNET poll. Comments made last night by Netflix spokesman Steve Swasey, however, didn't sound encouraging.

"These are our prices," Swasey said when asked whether Netflix might change its mind or reduce the amount of the price increase.

An unknown number of Netflix subscribers have taken to the Web to bash the company for doing away with a hybrid price that covered the rental of streaming video and discs. Customers who used to … Read more

Five ways Netflix still needs to improve itself

While everyone's been in an uproar about Netflix pricing, few are discussing Netflix itself--and what's still broken about it. Netflix needs its pricing model problems fixed, but Netflix also could use some improvements to how its service works, too--particularly on mobile devices.

Related links • How Netflix could get out of its pricing mess • Social media backlash over Netflix pricing • Netflix alternatives

As a service, Netflix is at a crossroads. Is it streaming? Is it a DVD delivery service? Is it best as both? For myself, even though I subscribe to the DVD/streaming combo plan, I find myself rarely playing the DVDs I order. They sit on a shelf and collect dust. That's because I'm not a big living-room TV watcher: I cut the cable cord over a year and a half ago, and prefer to use my iPad, iPhone, or laptop to easily stream video. So, to me, Netflix is a streaming-video service.

Therefore, let me address Netflix's faults on those terms: as a streaming-video entertainment service. While we're venting our frustrations over paying more for what Netflix offers, there's no better time to cast an eye on what still doesn't work well on Netflix to begin with. Fix what's broken with Netflix, and maybe, if the service improves, it just might be worth a higher subscription price after all.… Read more

preGame 25: Multiplayer preview

Today on preGame, we'll take a look at the multiplayer modes of two highly anticipated shooters: Medal of Honor and Crysis 2. It's no secret that the Modern Warfare franchise has changed the face of online military-based shooters and with the two gameplay trailers we'll screen today, we think that change is as apparent as ever.

A few technical difficulties prevented us from demoing our scheduled game today, Shank. Fortunately, we'll be able to show you the graphic novel-inspired beat-em-up downloadable title next week, along with a chance to win one of two codes redeemable for … Read more

Xbox Live Gold subscribers face price increase

Gold members of Microsoft's Xbox Live premium online service should expect a $10 price hike in yearly memberships beginning November 1. Director of programming for Xbox Live Larry Hryb, or Major Nelson as he's commonly referred to, recently announced the increase on his Twitter feed along with a link to the new pricing structure.

Annual memberships will go up from $50 to $60, three-month rates from $20 to $25, and monthly prices from $8 to $10. Gamers in the U.S. aren't the only ones incurring the higher prices; Xbox Live members in Canada, Mexico, and the … Read more