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Amazon takes on Apple Music, Pandora and Spotify with new streaming service

You’ll need a canoe for all this streaming

It’s game on at Amazon as its new streaming music service, called Amazon Music Unlimited, kicks off today. For $8 a month or $80 a year, users can stream tunes from Amazon’s considerable catalog, and if you’ve got an Amazon Echo homebot, you can get Music Unlimited for just $4 per month. The service offers many of the same features as those it competes with, such as Pandora, Apple Music and Spotify.

Amazon says playlists are curated by both humans and computers, and yes, Alexa can take over DJ duties for you, including requests by voice of course. There are also radio stations based on artists, genres, and even particular decades, along with lyrics and even commentary from artists about their music in an interesting feature called “Side by Side.” You can use Music Unlimited free for 30 days before deciding if you need yet one more streaming music service.

Got a new Toyota Prius? Take it back in for this recall ASAP

Yesterday we told you about the big VW and Audi recall over a possible fuel leak problem, today comes news that one of the highest of high-tech cars, the Toyota Prius, has also been bit by the recall bug. Toyota is telling owners of 2016 and 2017 models of the popular hybrid to get them back to dealers so a problem with the parking brake system can be fixed. Apparently, crashes and injuries have already been tied to the defect.

The recall affects nearly 340,000 cars worldwide and about 94,000 cars in the U.S.

Samsung’s very spendy Note 7 mistake

Samsung continues to circle a deep level of tech hell due to its exploding Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, and apparently, they are still in the dark as to what exactly is making them go boom.

According to a story in the New York Times, Samsung has not been able to get a Note 7 phone to overheat and pop under lab conditions, despite trying. Following the initial recall of the devices in September, Samsung issued a software patch that limited the battery from charging to over 60 percent capacity, which of course greatly hobbled the phones’ stamina. It didn’t help.

Then Samsung told buyers of the original phone to immediately trade them in for new “safe” replacements, and placed blame for the problem on a battery supplier. That didn’t help. Samsung also changed battery suppliers. That also didn’t help. However, Samsung has been burned to the tune of having almost $20 billion in market cap wiped away in the stock market, and of course, they are now a pariah among safety agencies, airlines, and millions of consumers.

They’ve also had to restate expected earnings, with a huge drop in expected profits. Can this incident take down the whole company? Not likely: Samsung is a huge company and smartphones, while important, are just one of hundreds of products it makes. But it could be a long road back for a family-owned company that had risen from obscurity to become an icon of the rise of South Korea’s now booming tech industry.

If you have a Note 7, shut it off, trade it in and move on. We’ve got a link here to help you get a new phone or refund.