Amazon launches Fire TV stick to rival Chromecast

Amazon continues to expand beyond its core online retailing roots with the introduction of new products. The company’s latest gadget, the Amazon Fire TV Stick, plugs into a television’s HDMI port, and allows users to access Amazon and Netflix video, as well play games and stream music.

The Amazon Fire TV Stick launches in the US on the 19 November, and will retail for just $39. No UK launch date yet, but previous launches of Amazon products in the US have typically been followed up quickly by a launch in the UK.

On its website, Amazon is promoting the new product and service in a direct comparison with Chromecast. The Fire TV Stick has twice the memory of Google's device and four times the storage capacity. With a dual-core processor and a 1GB memory, the performance of the stick should be impressive at least.

When the stick is plugged into a TV the user will have access to Amazon's on-demand video and music stream, and be controlled by a remote that will be supplied with the stick. The services accessible in the UK may differ from those in the US but those currently mentioned are include Amazon Prime Instant - well, duh - Netflix, Crackle and Hulu Plus for video, and Pandora and Spotify for music streaming.

The games library will initially include Flappy Birds Family, Tetris and others based on the two Disney films, Toy Story and Monsters University. Amazon will also be making good use of Twitch, the games-focused streaming service it's currently buying for about a billion dollars.

The stick will go on sale with the Fire TV box that has been available in the US since April this year for $99. The TV box is expected to go on sale in the UK within a few weeks. Companion apps for iOS and Android devices will follow an unspecified time afterwards.

Google has the advantage of a head start over Amazon with millions of Chromecast already sold and in use, but the Fire Stick isn't short of features. It'll be interesting to see which device the public ultimately favours.

Source: The Guardian

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