After months of speculation, Amazon has finally unveiled their long-rumored set-top box/game console. Dubbed the Amazon Fire TV, the ultra slick, all black device will reportedly fit a wide variety of needs, but it is being positioned as a set-top box/streaming competitor first and foremost.
The Fire TV is available for purchase starting today and it retails for $99. The device boasts a quad core processor and 2 GB RAM — far more computing power than the average set top box (Apple TV, Roku, etc) — which should help set itself apart from the pack. What’s more, the device offers a unique voice search feature through its remote with which users can easily switch between apps and services.
Speaking of those services, the Fire TV will hit all the important notes; that is, it will offer Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Hulu Plus, and MLB.TV, as well as a few unique apps like Twitch. Again, Fire TV isn’t supposed to offer something wholly different, but its faster processor and more RAM should help make all of these apps a little snappier.
Here are the official specs for the Fire TV:
- CPU: 1.7 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Krait 300
- RAM: 2 GB
- Internal Storage: 8 GB
- GPU: Qualcomm Adreno 320
- Bual-band wireless radio
- Resolution: 720p, 1080p
- 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi
But, of course, the big point of interest for us is Fire TV’s gaming services. We’ve heard for quite some time that Amazon was looking to break into gaming, but now that the device is out in the open it appears that they have a very particular goal in mind.
See, while the Fire TV will support games, Amazon sees it as a device for casual gamers (i.e. mobile users) who do not currently have an option to game on their TV. That becomes more readily apparent when you consider that the Fire TV is Android based and doesn’t actually ship with a game controller.
The Fire TV game controller is the same design that leaked earlier this year – with the media control options across the bottom and familiar offset joysticks – and still calls to mind the OnLive controller in terms of form factor. However, this game controller will require an additional $39.99 purchase. It does come with 1,000 Amazon Coins — the company’s virtual currency — and an exclusive first person shooter/tower defense game called Sev Zero, but those who want the device for gaming will actually end up paying about $140.
While it might seem like Amazon is starting small, with only a handful of games currently available for the Fire TV (Minecraft: Pocket Edition, Asphalt 8: Airbone, Monsters University), it seems like they are actually setting the stage for what could be an exciting future. In fact, Amazon has been quietly solidifying their games division with the recent acquisition of Killer Instinct developer Double Helix, and now Kim Swift (Portal) and Clint Hocking (Far Cry 2) have joined their team. Needless to say, the future for Fire TV’s games division could be very bright.
What do you think of the Fire TV? Were you hoping for something a little more gaming focused? Will you buy one?