This article is an update from a previous story published on the Streaming Advisor in September 2013. To see the original piece click here.
Not just Speculation
Amazon has a press event scheduled for Wednesday in NYC. And it looks as though the device in going to be called the Firetube. We found pretty convincing evidence this Saturday with pictures to prove it. To see that story click here. The story on Fire Tube has been hot since an Amazon filing during the fall. The company has also made a number of moves in the past year indicating something big on the horizon. This should come as no surprise as it is a natural follow up to news in 2012 when Amazon began recruiting for development of a new product . The statement contained this very telling passage.
“We are working on a new revolutionary V1 product that will allow us to deliver Digital Media to our customers in new ways and disrupt the current marketplace. We believe this new product will be even bigger than Kindle.”
Could the spate of game developer hires and other murmurs be linked to this patent?
If Amazon in fact does release a Firetube streaming device it should be ready to ship the streamer quickly. It will be ready to ship out quickly to its base of Amazon Prime customers. The Kindle Fire roll outs have been smooth as silk. It will be the first real game changer in the market. The product will get major press and Amazon is unlikely to make the same mistake as Google did with its sloppy roll out of the Chromecast. There will be thousands ready to go. A sleeping giant is about to awaken. And when it emerges the whole market may be in for a major shakeup. The reasons for this are numerous.
Unique Force in the Marketplace
Amazon has a very different way of making money than other tech companies, media distributors, or retailers. This is because of its unique position as a retailer that produces high end media products that in turn encourages its customers to purchase completely unrelated products. Most technology based companies make money from the sales of their physical products, units sold. For instance Samsung makes money based on selling cell phones to carriers, branded TV’s, Blue-ray players and the like. Retailers on the other hand make money when people come walking in to their stores and walk out with products. For stores like Best Buy that means that they profit by selling Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets and its E-Readers. But on the other hand as Jeff Bezos was recently quoted during his announcement for the newest Kindle Fires saying, “We want to make money when people use our devices, not when they buy our devices,”
What does he mean by that?
Amazon makes money every time someone buys a .99 app for the Kindle Fire. Amazon makes money each time someone at a coffee shop killing time buys an episode of a recently aired show from Amazon Video on demand. Amazon is no different than Apple in that regard. Its iTunes Store and App Store are set up in a similar way. But Amazon can create capitol in a completely different way.How? By encouraging customers to utilize Amazon Prime. On the surface, Amazon Prime membership appears to be a service that saves its subscribers money by providing free shipping, use of the free lending library for its E-books as well as access to a large library of television shows and movies along with its coming original content. This means that when Christmas rolls around and all of the Big Box retailers are advertising the Kindle Fire and E-Readers to entice customers to come early on Black Friday what they are doing is inviting customers to buy everything else for the holiday season from someone else. The company almost always gives away a free month of Prime membership with the Kindle Fire It is very likely that the same thing will happen when they purchase the new item. So now if someone needs new cords for that TV from Target the hardware can be purchased right from Amazon with free shipping. What is the hot toy this year? One click buying means that you can have it at your home packaged and ready to go in two days. Would you like to fight traffic at the mall instead? The Prime program is like an incentive card that you need never have a key chain addition for. And its tablets are a mobile store that you can access anywhere that you reach the Internet. On top of that Amazon does have an incentive based credit card program with its Amazon branded Visa card. The card earns costumers points that can be used to purchase products from….Amazon of course. This is a company with not only its own ecosystem but its own gravity. Its sales strategy is so disruptive to traditional big box stores that some have stopped carrying the Kindle Fire.
What to Expect while we are Anticipating
When it gets in to the DMR game it is going to have a very well thought out strategy and it will be set up to make a profit. There will certainly be a way to shop for everything Amazon sells. Expect integrated
video reviews of many of the top selling products on the site right at your fingertips. I expect there will be a very branded experience. Expect to be able to listen to Amazon’s audio books with on screen X-Ray integration. Movies and TV shows from Amazon Instant will be an obvious feature and users should expect IMDB integration along with it in the least. The company has a new feature which allows those using Amazon Instant Video service to find info about music in a given movie and of course purchase it. This would certainly be a logical feature in the new device. One has to wonder if the remote has a purchase button on it.
Performance and Hardware Could we see a Quad Core?
It will likely be a high performing device with a top of the line processor that will more than meet what is currently on the market. If the hardware of the Kindle Fire HDX is any indication then whatever is the top of the line processor used in the set top platform at that point will be matched or exceeded by Amazon. The company has advanced metrics on what the public is looking for in set top devices and a library of reviews on all of the devices on the market whether they have a Google TV format, Apple TV, Roku and even the Android based machines. While they will definitely do their due diligence on customer needs the public has already told Amazon what they like and dislike about all of their potential competitors.
Amazon may even find a way to integrate Android gaming. Multiple reports including USA Today have said that Amazon will be selling a dedicated game console but I have a feeling that the game info is being floated because it is going to be integrated with a streamer. There was a recently leaked picture of a game controller. The OUYA valiantly tried to open this market as an Android gaming console but it has yet to catch on. Why would Amazon try and integrate games into its streaming device? Because it will be another revenue stream and reports indicate that the device will come with a dedicated controller. But if the system happens to allow console emulators or advanced games a second controller with more options than what is included might be nice. I wonder if there is anywhere to order one? See how this works? The game idea may be a non starter but if Amazon unlocks that formula successfully it will be a big deal.
Third Party Integration?
It will have the sorts of capabilities Roku Customers and maybe even Apple customers have always hoped for. Expect it tointegrate seamlessly with the Kindle Fire in a similar fashion to how Apple products integrate with the Apple TV. It should be seen as a major shot across the bow that the new kindle Fire is Miracast capable. Expect Miracast integration not to be limited to the Kindle Fire but there will likely be features that are only fully accessible with its products just as an added incentive
to purchase their own hardware. It would be a bonus if the device integrated Discovery And Launch Protocol (DIAL) which is the same technology used in the Google Chromecast and soon the Roku. This is the protocol that allows tablets (including the Kindle Fir) and cell phones to seamlessly “Cast” Netflix and YouTube via the Chromecast. I would expect that Amazon will also have numerous partnerships with companies to allow for multiple video apps capable of being used by which ever protocols are available.
The kindle Fire is sold at most at a break-even price and you should expect any streaming device to be sold the same way. This is done so that people can easily be pulled into that sales vortex. Right now regardless of the quality of the competition various versions of the Kindle Fire make up a number of top 20 sellers on Amazon, though new iPads debut.