Amazon (AMZN) Launches Android-driven Fire TV Set-top Box

Amazon Fire TV

Amazon.com (AMZN) has finally unveiled its long-rumored streaming media device called ‘Amazon Fire TV’. At an event in New York City Wednesday the company showed off its $99 product, which is a thin rectangular television set-top box for streaming movies, TV shows and music, and is available for order now on e-commerce giant’s website.

The HTML and Android-based platform has a quad-core CPU with a full 2GB of RAM, Mimo dual-band Wi-Fi, which enables it to be 3x faster than latest set-top boxes from Roku, Apple (AAPL) TV, and Chromecast, and comes with plenty of apps including Netflix (NFLX), Hulu Plus and Youtube, which are obviously must-haves for any TV streaming device today. The relatively small and compact accompanying remote is Bluetooth.

Besides voice search Fire TV also comes with gaming capabilities, which Amazon says are pretty affordable. The Seattle, Wa.-based company said it worked with games publishers including Disney (DIS), Gameloft and others to create a better gaming experience that would let users play “a wide variety of games.” There are more than 1,000 free game titles, with paid ones averaging under $1.85 per title.

Amazon poured millions of dollars into creating the Fire TV device to enter the streaming video set-top box competition. While Bezos’ company undoubtedly will sell a healthy number of the boxes, it remains to be seen, when, or even if, the company will see a return on that investment.

“It remains to be seen how well this will sell,” Forrester’s Jim Nail said [via Boston Herald]. “But Amazon is a smart company, and they have a strong relationship with not only 20 million Prime users but also millions of other people who purchase from them. This is their strategy to try to build world domination in video.”

Shares of Amazon rose $1.56, 0.46% to $343.52 Thursday in pre-market trading hours, extending their y/y rally to 28.30%.

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