Amazon has taken the wraps off its long-rumored Android-powered console, the Fire TV. What the company has announced isn't quite a console in the classic sense. Instead, it's more like the Ouya or a Roku: a small, cheap box that lets you consume a variety of media. The Fire TV looks to bring both ideas together, with games, media streaming, and voice commands.
"Tiny box, huge specs, tons of content, incredible price-people are going to love Fire TV," said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. "Voice search that actually works means no more typing on an alphabet grid. Our exclusive new ASAP feature predicts the shows you'll want to watch and gets them ready to stream instantly. And our open approach gives you not just Amazon Instant Video and Prime Instant Video, but also Netflix, Hulu Plus, and more. On Fire TV you can watch Alpha House and House of Cards."
Amazon is bringing media experiences from the Fire lineup of tablets to the Fire TV, including services like Amazon Instant Video, Amazon MP3, Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, ESPN, Pandora, and more. Amazon FreeTime parental controls and the Amazon X-Ray entertainment info service are coming along for the ride, and in addition to the new Kinect-like voice search capabilities.
"Simply speak the name of a movie, TV show, actor, director, genre, app, or game into the remote, and the results will appear instantly," says the company in its press release. "Voice search leverages the search data and expertise of Amazon.com and IMDb, and is optimized to understand Amazon's video, app, and game catalog."
The Fire TV features a 1.7 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Krait 300 processor backed by an Adreno 320 GPU, 2 GB of RAM, and 8 GB of total storage. 8 GB is small, but Amazon expects most of the content to stay in the cloud. The tiny box has an HDMI and optical audio out, allowing user to output 1080p, 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus surround content to their televisions. The Fire TV will set you back $99.99 with its included remote and if you're looking to really play games on it, you'll have to drop another $39.99 for the controller. The controller itself will come with 1,000 Amazon Coins for buying in-game content.
So what games can you expect on the device? For now, the same games you'd find on any other Kindle Fire device. Amazon has announced Minecraft, Asphalt 8, Riptide GP2, Monsters University, The Game of Life, Despicable Me: Minion Rush, Telltale's The Walking Dead, and NBA2K14. Amazon's presentation mentioned developer support from Disney, Double Fine, Gameloft, 2K Games, Ubisoft, Sega, and Telltale Games. Amazon Game Studios is developing on original titles for Fire TV, like first-person shooter/tower defense combo Sev Zero, which comes with early controller purchases. Currently, there's no word on what Double Helix Games is working on. All the games listed look to be on the cheaper, mobile side, with Amazon boasting the lower prices of its initial titles.
And when will it be released? Today! You can head to Amazon and buy the Fire TV right now.