E-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN - Analyst Report) has already witnessed huge success with its Fire TV Stick which was rolled out in 2015. Now, it has upped the ante with the release of its second generation Fire TV Stick, with enhanced features, including an Alexa remote.
The Fire TV Stick is a streaming media dongle which can be plugged into a television set's HDMI port to stream video from a Wi-Fi home network. It is basically a smaller and slower version of Fire TV, similar to Roku’s streaming stick and Google’s (GOOGL - Analyst Report) Chromecast.
On being plugged into a HDTV, the stick allows easy and instant access to hit movies and popular TV series through Amazon Instant Video and Prime Instant Video, live TV, sports, music, and channels like Netflix (NFLX - Analyst Report) , Hulu Plus, Sling TV, HBO Go, SHOWTIME ANYTIME, and WatchESPN. Users can also play games by using the Amazon Fire TV remote – Fire Game Controller.
New Features & Pricing
On the hardware front, the second generation Amazon Fire TV streaming media stick will feature a quad-core Mediatek 8127D processor, an upgrade to the dual-core ARM Cortex A9 processor, used in its previous stick. Also, the new stick comes with an 802.11ac WiFi support, which is very effective. However, the storage capacity of the new stick remains the same, featuring 8GB internal storage and 1GB of RAM.
On the software side, the new Fire TV Stick will run on the same Fire OS 5 operating system, a modified version of Android 5.0 Lollipop.
Price at $40, same price as the previous model, the new stick has a lot more to offer. The addition of the Alexa remote, Amazon's voice assistant, which cost an additional $10 previously, is the icing on the cake.
Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service allows users to interact with the device by speaking to it. The user can open applications, ask queries similar to Google Now, and control other Fire TV functions easily. To facilitate this, the new Fire TV Stick has a redesigned remote with a microphone button on its front.
However, the new Fire TV stick will still not be able to stream 4K video which Amazon's Fire TV box does. But the addition of Alexa remote should lure customers to its new stick instead of spending more for streaming 4K video.
Amazon expects to start the shipment of the device in late October.
Technology has brought about a sea change in consumption habits and platforms. Therefore, to keep pace with the change in digital consumption patterns of books, video, music and gaming, Amazon and other leading technology companies like Google and Apple Inc. (AAPL - Analyst Report) are investing in platforms, content and people to develop suitable technologies.
Amazon’s latest move is yet another effort to beef up its content. It will help to grow Amazon’s video sales and attract new users.
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