Amazon has long had its sights set on the living room if rumors are to be believed. The company is already reportedly working on a game console. Before it gets to that, however, it may be working on something a little simpler.
Re/code reports Amazon is readying a set top box that would rival the likes of Roku and Apple TV. It would obviously serve as a delivery device for Amazon Prime Instant Video, but it would also serve as a streaming device for competitors like Netflix and other streaming apps that support Android.
Speaking of which, Amazon is reportedly forking Android again for its set top box’ operating system. It will probably be very similar to the Fire OS that’s seen in its Kindle Fire devices, but with some UI tweaks for easier remote navigation.
Interestingly enough, Amazon was reportedly originally planning to launch its new set top box around the holidays last year. Those plans were put on hold though, and now Amazon plans to launch its new set top box as soon as March.
A set top box is an interesting, if not expected, move for Amazon as it enters into the world of original programming. Its shows were initially available via the Web or through one of its many Amazon Instant Video apps on game consoles and video devices. By moving to its own hardware, Amazon can finally control the content and delivery method.
While I alluded at the start that the set top box and Amazon’s planned game console are two different pieces of hardware, that may well not be the case. The company could very well intend for its set top box to also play games. The only thing preventing that is cost as Amazon is said to be positioning its game console as a competitor to the PS4 and Xbox One. A powerful Android games console would have to cost $250 at minimum and consumers used to seeing set top boxes go for $100 or $150 aren’t going to pay for an Amazon set top box if all their interested in is streaming video. That logic drives my prediction that Amazon will introduce separate hardware dedicated to playing games later this year, or they could just buy Xbox.
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