Amazon Prime just got a nice upgrade, as well as a downgrade.
First, the good news. Prime members will be able to download and view movies and television shows from its Prime library offline on mobile devices (Android or iOS). No connection? Not a problem. This is a feature even Netflix doesn't offer, and should be a big boon to travelers, beachgoers, and those who don't want to eat up their mobile data minutes when they're not on Wi-Fi. You'll need to download the Amazon Video app to your device (Android users, head to http://amazon.com/GetAndroidVideo or http://amzn.to/1IBFZlU if you're on iPhone or iPad) and download a video or show under the Amazon Prime section of the app while you have an internet connection.
A few days ago, I took a flight for a vacation and didn't want to pay the Gogo inflight Wi-Fi fee, so I was stuck with old fashioned entertainment like reading (I survived and, thankfully, so did my kid). Flying back tomorrow, though, with this new Amazon Prime benefit, we'll have movies and TV shows at the ready. Thanks Amazon!
On the "no thanks" side of things, though, Amazon Prime's two-day delivery can no longer be considered truly unlimited. The company is testing a program called "Ship by Region" that would allow merchants to decide which regions they'll ship items to in the free two-days-or-less timeframe. In regions outside of that, you won't get a two-day guarantee and shipping could take longer. In other words, as WSJ reports, your address will decide whether or not you'll get that Prime two-day shipping when you purchase from these certain sellers.
Right now it's just a test and it only applies if you buy from one of these merchants, but it also makes shopping with Prime a bit more uncertain and murkier.
Hopefully, you won't be affected by the Ship by Region test and it will be dropped. At least we've got new offline video streaming as a consolation.