Russell Wilson in action during a Seattle Seahawks game at CenturyLink Field. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota) Deion Sanders may have been “Prime Time” during his playing days in the NFL, but Russell Wilson is a prime player when it comes to Amazon. The Seattle Seahawks QB has taken stock in the guys who helped him become the highest paid player in the NFL by actually purchasing Amazon stock for his offensive linemen as a “thank you” for protecting him every Sunday. Monday that Wilson sent a letter to 13 linemen, informing them that he was gifting them each $12,000 in stock in the Seattle-based tech giant. Wilson spent a total of $156,000 — a week after signing a contract extension with the Seahawks that will pay him a reported $140 million over four years. TMZ Sports shared a from Wilson in which he told his teammates that they “go to battle together” every Sunday and that he would not be where he is today without them. Wilson said he wanted to give the men something that would have a lasting imapact and help them prepare for life after football. “One of the ways I prepare is by investing in companies and ideas that I believe will grow and change the world,” Wilson wrote. “One of these companies is Amazon.” It’s an interesting choice in Seattle-area tech investments given that the team Wilson plays for is what it is because of the Microsoft billions made by the team’s late owner, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. And Wilson himself has helped the NFL and the company for the league — the Microsoft Surface. But maybe with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos did the trick in luring Wilson’s investment dollars. Or, the fact that Bezos , Wilson’s attempt at a social media startup, may have helped. “You have invested in my life … this is my investment into yours,” Wilson said in his letter.
is ready to challenge Apple with a cheaper, Alexa-powered set of wireless earbuds. If successful, it would carve out a space for the popular digital assistant, and its deep connections to the rest of Amazon’s ecosystem, in the mobile world Amazon has hitherto largely failed to penetrate. But that’s a big if. details the upcoming hardware, which sounds a lot like AirPods (and the handful of other wireless sets that have appeared): a pair of small wireless in-ear buds, a case that doubles as a charger and built-in controls and a mic so you can control your music, talk to friends and ask Alexa things on the go. Of course, the obvious question is how exactly this will work, given that AirPods have special privileges as first-party hardware that let them perform tasks others can’t yet do. If your phone is locked, non-AirPod headphones (for instance Galaxy Buds) can’t connect through their associated app to look stuff up or provide services. You can of course , but that’s a bit sad. Bloomberg’s report says that the Alexa headphones let you “order goods, access music, weather and other information,” but it isn’t clear under what circumstances. If you have to have the phone unlocked and an app open for it to work, the whole thing is a non-starter. And it seems unlikely that Apple would grant Amazon some kind of clearance to do the kind of things only AirPods can do. It’s conceivable that the headphones will, when possible, connect instead on detection of a command to a compatible Alexa device nearby with an internet connection — and there’s no shortage of those in many a tech-savvy home. But if you’re walking down the street and need to ask directions, you may have to pull the phone out, which rather negates the already somewhat limited convenience of owning a pair of wireless headphones. These difficulties, plus those associated with simply making such a sophisticated piece of hardware for relatively cheap, explain why the headphones have reportedly had a bit of trouble getting shipped. A cheaper price tag and potentially better audio quality may not be enough to make this particular endeavor a winner, but we’ll know more if and when Amazon goes official.