Amazon announces Fire TV, an Android-based everything box

amazon_fire_tv-640x480At its latest event this morning, Amazon announced Fire TV, an Android-based video-streaming and quasi-gaming device for your television.

The diminutive box is much thinner than the Ouya console but quite a bit larger in length and width. It compares more favourably to the size of an Apple TV, though Amazon is touting the box as much more capable with a wider array of content.

The console–though we’d hesitate calling it a gaming console–is built around Android and features a 1.7GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and a standalone GPU like the one you’d find in a smartphone.

The device, which plugs in via HDMI, is meant for consumers to properly utilize the wealth of content available on Amazon’s own InstantVideo marketplace, as well as its partners Flixster, Hulu, Crackle, Vimeo, Vevo, Pandora, and many more. The company is touting over 200,000 TV episodes and video rentals as low as 99 cents.

amazon-fire-game-controller-image_1280Amazon has also introduced the Fire Game Controller, an add-on that costs $39 on top of the $99 console. The controller ties in with the Fire TV’s gaming capabilities with titles from the newly-minted Amazon Game Studios which seems to have dozens of projects in the works already. Popular titles such as Minecraft Pocket EditionAsphalt 8: Airborne, and others, will be coming to the console shortly.

Perhaps the most impressive technology under the hood includes Amazon’s proprietary technology they call ASAP, or Advanced Streaming and Prediction. Based on your watching habits, Fire TV actually pre-buffers your video content so you can click play and begin watching the video right away, with a target of zero wait time.

Amazon has a handy comparison (read: competitor hit list) with its other handy features, such as its remote that requires no line of sight, voice search, and certified Dolby Digital Plus surround sound.

The remote itself has a microphone built into it, so that voice search doesn’t involve yelling at the television, which should make it especially useful if Fire TV is tucked away behind the clean-lines of that Ikea Bestå television unit.

We’ll have a review of the Amazon Fire TV as soon as we can get one to test out, so stay tuned!