Amazon’s kid-friendly storytelling app is now free, and works with Alexa

Amazon’s chat-style fiction app, Amazon Rapids, is now free, giving parents and kids unlimited access to the hundreds of stories in its catalog. Previously, the company charged $2.99 monthly for that privilege. Some of these stories will also be available to listen to through Alexa’s Storytime mode, which was launched last summer.

Rapids made its debut in 2016. The then-subscription based service was meant to get children interested in reading, by presenting short stories in the style of text message conversations between characters. The idea was that these types of stories might be easier for a young reader to handle — according to Amazon, the app is aimed at five- to 12-year-olds. Rapids also offered an age-appropriate, PG alternative to some of the competing chatty fiction apps aimed at a more PG-13 audience, like Hooked and Yarn.

The app can also read stories aloud, and offers young users a built-in glossary, to look words up as needed. These features, the company says, are “a great way to encourage young readers and build their confidence […] ahead of the new school year.”

This isn’t the first time that Amazon’s stepped into the world of child-friendly apps. Its FreeTime service gives kids plenty of age-friendly content, like books, websites, and videos bundled into a monthly — or yearly — subscription service. While this app was one time relegated to Amazon’s line of products, like Fire tablets and Kindles, it has since been expanded into a standalone iOS and Android app.

LG’s budget take on the Galaxy Note is now an Amazon Prime Exclusive phone

LG’s Stylo 4 is one of the few phones you can get with a built-in stylus, and now the phone has arrived on Amazon as a Prime Exclusive, bringing the price down from $300 to $250.

The Stylo 4 has a large 6.2-inch display with a resolution just above 1080p, and it includes a slot on the bottom right corner of the phone for storing its stylus. When you pull the stylus out, you can immediately start writing on the screen of the phone — even when the screen is off — to start taking notes. If you pull the stylus out while the phone is unlocked, options will pop up for you to start taking notes, launch a specific app, or select a portion of the screen to record a GIF.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because all of those stylus features are found on Samsung’s wildly popular Galaxy Note line of phones. But the Note line is far more expensive — you can get it on sale at this point, but the phone costs $950 — and the Stylo 4 is at least one-third the price. LG’s phone isn’t as nice and isn’t likely to run and hold up as well as the latest Note, but if you want a similar stylus experience, LG’s providing it at a much more affordable price.

The phone is a midrange device, but it hits all the right spec notes for the price range. It comes with a Snapdragon 450 processor, which is low-end but one of the better options, and it comes with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage — the basic specs you need to have a usable Android phone. It’s also running Android Oreo and includes a USB-C port, neither of which is a given in this price range. (There’s a fingerprint sensor and a headphone jack, too.)

The Stylo 4 is around a month or so old at this point, though it’s gotten a pretty choppy rollout. LG first announced a phone called the Q Stylus in early June, which was nearly the same thing as this phone, but it wasn’t made available to buy. A month later, in early July, the Stylo 4 started launching on T-Mobile and prepaid carriers like MetroPCS and Cricket. You can actually get the phone for cheaper in some cases if you buy it locked to a prepaid carrier, though MetroPCS also shaves the price even lower by reducing the amount of RAM.

As with other Prime Exclusive phones, the discount comes at the cost of preinstalled, non-removable Amazon apps on the phone, like Audible and Alexa. These aren’t a bad trade-off for a $50 discount, especially on a phone with enough storage to spare and where a low price is a key feature.