(Updated October 24, 2013) – According to reports, the Amazon set top box (possibly named FireTube or FireBox) will not be ready for the Holiday 2013 shopping season. Delays are likely to push the launch in to 2014. More updates to this story as we learn more. -source: TheVerge.com
According to a recently published article on The Wall Street Journal, there is an Amazon TV box coming for this 2013 shopping season. The smart tv craze isn’t going away, this much we know. Because a lot of people bought their HDTV prior to smart tv, there is a decent market out there right now for set top boxes or smart tv dongles. For Amazon, getting another way for consumers to connect to their ecosystem is a money making and low risk venture.
Expect this Amazon TV box to be cheap. With Roku at around $50 and Apple TV priced around $100, expect Amazon to slide somewhere between Apple TV and a Roku box. I also think it’s worth mentioning that Google has been rumored to have their own gaming/settop box in the works. If Google comes into this space, expect prices to shift even lower. The real money for a company like Amazon is with their Prime membership and the ability to keep customers in their growing online ecosystem. Amazon hasn’t been shy about their hardware aspirations.
There also is likely going to be a gaming aspect to this Amazon set top box. Does that mean a specific Amazon gaming controller? Possibly. There is a wide range of Android games and that number continues to grow. With Android being the base for the Kindle Fire tablets, it is expected that a Amazon TV box would run similar versions of Android. It’s just not clear whether Amazon is looking to have their own exclusive games or not.
Last month, Amazon filed for a trademark for “Firetube” in both Canada and the United States. It’s not clear at this point what it is, but it would likely be a streaming service of some kind. Afterall, doesn’t YouTube need a competitor? It’s mostly speculation at this point. Firetube might also be a USB type dongle which is similar to the Google Chromecast which essentially makes your TV a smart TV and allow for direct streaming of content. We hope to have more details early in 2014.
We are following this story for pricing and release date details. Although Amazon and their online services are US based, expect Amazon Canada to be part of the set top box experience. Canada may have to wait until the new year, but Amazon will likely push out an international release also. Typically their hardware hits US markets first, with other areas of the globe waiting a month or two for their chance to buy the devices.
[source: Wall Street Journal]