According to The Wall Street Journal, Amazon will release its streaming device in early April, which will reportedly have the Fire brand name (like its Kindle Fire tablets) and a simple remote.
Reports also say that the Fire device will look like Google’s Chromecast dongle, which resembles a thumb drive that can plug right into the TV.
The Fire dongle will run a version of Google’s Android operating system, and will offer many popular apps available on set-top boxes like Roku and Apple TV, which include Netflix, Pandora and Hulu Plus.
Amazon’s dongle will certainly integrate its own streaming app and Prime, likely with incentives for Prime members.
Having a streaming device of its own will allow Amazon to cash in on ad and app download revenue that it previously missed out on by only offering its video streaming app on other devices like Roku and Apple TV.
Amazon is also working on a set of new original TV shows and an on-demand music-streaming service for Prime users, which could be easily delivered and advertised on the Fire device.
Pricing on the new streaming device remains unclear, but it’s likely to land somewhere in the same price range as Chromecast, since they have the same form factor. Chromecast sells for $35 while Roku’s cheapest streaming device is about $50.
Back in October, it was reported that Amazon’s set-top device was codenamed “Cinnamon” and would be available in time for the holiday season of 2013. Sources also suggested that Amazon talked with software developers and cable providers at that time to secure content partners for the set-top device.
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