WSJ: Amazon launching its Apple TV competitor next month

By , Mar 18, 2014

Amazon (smile box logo 001)

Building on previous reports, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Amazon is set to begin shipping its long-awaited video-streaming device next month. The device will thrust the e-commerce giant into a highly competitive space occupied by Apple, Google and others.

Citing sources familiar with the product, the outlet claims that the device will carry a variety of apps available on Roku and Apple set-top boxes and run on a version of Google’s Android software. And like Amazon’s other hardware devices, it will likely carry the Fire brand…

The Journal’s Greg Bensinger has more:

“Pricing remains unclear, though the people familiar with the company’s plans said the device likely would come with incentives available to members of Amazon’s Prime streaming video and shipping program. Last week Amazon said it is increasing the price of Prime by $20 to $99 annually, in part because of the rising cost of acquiring video. […]

Amazon has distributed a pre-production version of its streaming device to select app developers, and has indicated it will carry the Fire name Amazon uses for Kindle tablet computers, these people said.”

Bensinger goes on to say that the device, which is believed to resemble Google’s Chromecast dongle, has been in development since April of last year. Apparently Amazon plans to ship it with a simple remote control, and will possibly sell a more advanced controller separately.

amazon gamepadAmazon-branded controller leaked by Brazilian regulatory agency last week

The above photo is one of several that were discovered in a filing on a Brazilian regulatory agency website—similar to our FCC—last week. As you can imagine, it has spawned speculation that Amazon has serious gaming ambitions, particularly after its purchase of Double Helix.

So I’m really anxious to see what Amazon has cooked up. The company will soon be competing toe-to-toe with Apple on every front— app store, media store, tablets, set-top box, streaming music service—except for smartphones, and honestly, I don’t imagine those are very far off.

Apple, for its part, is rumored to be readying a new version of its Apple TV, but we have yet to see anything materialize.

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  • Cesar Morales

    Controller could be smaller. If Apple TV could be compatible with xbox and ps3/4 controllers and games could be installed, maybe? Just maybe… It would gain better popularity.

  • Rowan09

    The Chromecast is garbage and I would assume this going to follow along those lines. I’m very disappointed in what you can do with the Chromecast especially coming from Google.

    • speedu

      Why do you think Chromecast is garbage?

      • Rowan09

        It’s doesn’t play avi files, without an Android phone you can’t really stream anything and without a media app from the play store your not even allowed to stream contents like movies from your phone. I got one from my friend and I was really disappointed. I bought an Android Micro PC which is an hdmi stick with the full Android OS and I’m completely satisfied with it.

      • ps

        It is wrong that you cannot stream without an Android device. I have friends who stream youtube/Netflix through their iphones/ipads. When you say doesnt play AVI files it is a drawback but there are many ways to play avi files. Just install Plex on your laptop and it can play anything you want. I just looked at android PC on amazon. I personally did not use it but looking at the 3 star review it is definitely bad. Many major apps are supporting chromecast so I dont see a problem with it.

      • Rowan09

        I own an Android PC (Rikomagic MK808 IV) and it works like any other Android device. Reviews are misleading at times because a defective product will affect the rating.

  • tstsr6

    Is anyone actually working on a jailbreak for ATV 3? I think the only way apple can get more people buying the Apple TV is to open it up more and allow programs like XBMC to run on it

    • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

      I was interested in the Apple TV until I learned about Micro Android PCs. They’re pretty much a jailbroken Apple TV out of the box at a lower price…all those jail-broken Apple TV ads on craigslist are now garbage.

      • tstsr6

        Yeah but I use airplay a lot so need that function on my box :( otherwise they would be perfect – that or the raspberry pi

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        Yeah, if only iDevices supported mirracast. There are some AirPlay apps on the Play Store, but they probably wouldn’t be as smooth as the official stuff…

  • Laszlo Gaspar

    Without full access to the Google play store I cant see how amazon expect to gain any traction.