Shelly Palmer: Feb. 19

Shelly Palmer: Feb. 19

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Amazon is introducing a new way to pay for apps, games and in-app purchases via its Kind Fire using a new program called Coins.

The program will debut in May to U.S. customers. Amazon is giving away tens of millions of dollars in coins to its existing customers.

For more details, check out ShellyPalmer.com.

Amazon Coins is an alternate way (to credit cards) for people who own Kindle Fires to purchase apps, games and in-app purchases.

The program will debut in May to U.S. customers. When it does, Amazon is giving away tens of millions of dollars in coins to its existing customers.

It comes at a strange time, as other similar programs are going the opposite route. Facebook introduced Facebook Credits in 2011 as a way to simplify the market and have one shared payment system, but got rid of the program 18 months later.

The real idea behind this is that by implementing such a system, Amazon will give customers a reason to check out the app store again (Here's coins, enjoy some free apps!) and hopefully hook them into spending more money. TechCrunch calls Coins "steroids for the App Store" for this reason.

The whole Coins system contrasts with the way that Google and Apple run their App Stores ... both of those companies have gift cards that only allow you to purchase digital content ... new music, new movies, new games, etc. If Amazon gave away gift cards instead of Coins, there'd be no real way to control where that money went, and it wouldn't re-vitalize or re-energize the App Store.

Staples is also beginning to bring 3D printers into its stores.

3D printing is a way of creating actual physical objects with a printer, rather than just printing words to a page. These printers read special files and print objects one layer at a time.

This program would be let you upload a CAD file to the Staples sever, then just like their "regular" printing services, you could go and pick up the item once it's completed or they can ship it to you.

They're soon going to begin running a pilot program in Belgium and the Netherlands.

3D printing is also sometimes called additive manufacturing and was one of the points President Obama touched on in his State of the Union address last week.

The program will eventually come to the U.S., but there's no timetable for that yet. The program was just announced this past week.

--Shelly Palmer

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