Amazon.com has just announced the next generation of its Fire TV Stick. The portable streaming player comes packed with enhanced connectivity features, including an Alexa Voice Remote to better search content from the wide selection Amazon offers. Best of all, the price tag remains the same at $39.99.
The news from Amazon follows multiple devices getting Alexa support, most notably its full-fledged Fire TV media player. The retail giant has also introduced Alexa’s voice assistant features to the automotive industry, teaming up with Hyundai and BMW to control car settings and functions remotely.
Amazon Fire TV boxes also received an interface update earlier this month. The Fire OS 5 update’s primary focus was on search functionality, providing a more comprehensive result home screen and enhanced integration with Alexa through the voice remote.
Amazon Fire TV Stick: A better, faster, and more intelligent entry-level player
While the new Fire TV Stick from Amazon may not have much going for it design-wise, it does not need to. Its simplicity is key as a portable device, and what matters is the punch it packs under the hood.
The second-gen Fire TV Stick will remain with 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of internal memory settings, but connectivity and performance will vastly improve.
Amazon has replaced its old dual-core Broadcom chip for a MediaTek quad-core MT8127 capable of decoding HEVC content. Moreover, the Fire TV Stick will now come with Bluetooth 4.1 support instead of the old 3.0. Wi-Fi connections on the portable player will leap forward to an 867 Mbps 802.11ac model.
However, the Amazon Fire TV Stick continues to be an entry-level player mainly for 720 and 1080p TV sets, while 4K streaming remains an exclusive feature of the $99.99 Fire TV.
The Vice President of Amazon Fire TV Marc Whitten expressed his joy for the top quality device they have on their hands.
“WE ARE PROUD THAT OUR CUSTOMERS HAVE MADE AMAZON FIRE TV THE #1 STREAMING MEDIA PLAYER IN THE UNITED STATES. WITH MORE THAN 120,000 REVIEWS AND A 4.2 STAR RATING, THEY’VE ALSO MADE THE FIRE TV STICK THE MOST REVIEWED PRODUCT EVER ON AMAZON” said Whitten.
Roku and Google join in the streaming battle against Amazon
Whitten’s words come as the competition for streaming market dominance intensifies. Roku recently announced a full revamp of its five streaming players, with prices starting as low as $29.99.
Xiaomi’s Mi Box also made its debut by accident at Walmart last week, with a reported $69.99 price tag. Apparently, Google is also working on a 4K Chromecast player, and numerous rumors place the device to launch before the end of 2016.
The new Amazon Fire TV Stick is readily available for pre-order on Amazon, and it will start shipping on October 20.