Amazon's big Fire TV announcement yesterday left us a bit perturbed that there's still no way to get Amazon Instant Video on standard Android devices, but the retailer is continuing to support the more conventional side of its business. Take the Amazon For Tablets app for example: the latest update adds some handy features, most notably support for the Amazon Fresh grocery service. But since Amazon Fresh is still only active in parts of California and Seattle, that won't effect a large percentage of users.
Today Amazon announced FireTV, its new preferred set-top box for pumping media out to your TV. The $99 box primarily emphasizes shows, movies, and music, but it can also run apps and games. Now Amazon Game Studios has provided a sneak peek at what it's working on. These are games that, as the company describes underneath the first YouTube video, are "built from the ground up for Kindle Fire tablets and Fire TV." Whether any of this content will eventually arrive on other Android devices remains to be seen.
Gary Busey has carefully crafted a reputation as a lunatic. True, a good part of that might just be his Hollywood persona, but you've got to admit it's entertaining. Someone at Amazon agrees, because they enlisted Mr. Busey's services for one of the first promotions of the new Android-powered FireTV set-top box. In this one-minute spot, Gary Busey talks to a lamp.
Amazon takes the initiative here, using a crazy shouting man to illustrate the fact that the competing Roku set-top boxes don't have voice control.
Amazon has made it easy to access its streaming content on a number of living room devices, but now it's finally making a play for your TV with its own box – the FireTV. This $99 black box contains a quad-core Snapdragon 600 processor (1.7GHz), 2GB of RAM, optical out, MIMO WiFi, and 8GB of storage. It runs a heavily modified version of Android as the base of Amazon's new content delivery platform.
One of the many, many wearables we saw at Mobile World Congress is now available for purchase, even if it is a little hard to find. Sony's Smartband SWR10, the company's answer to the Fitbit and similar devices, is now shipping from an Amazon reseller. We're not sure why one Amazon vendor seems to have it before everyone else, even before Sony's own store, but it's there if you want it.
Mega-retailer Amazon has scheduled a press event for Wednesday, April 2nd in New York City. The press invitation teases the event with the phrase, "Please join us for an update on our video business from [Amazon Kindle VP] Peter Larsen." A background with a couch and a bowl of popcorn makes it clear that Amazon's sights are set squarely on the living room.
The Verge is fairly certain that the event heralds an Amazon-branded set-top box, a la Roku or Chromecast.
It's easy to forget that Amazon has cloud storage products on Android now that Google has started pushing the envelope with Drive and Play Music. Amazon does offer its own photo backup app connected to a free 5GB Cloud Drive block. The app wasn't great, but now that's being addressed with a significant update.
The Ouya hasn't lived up to expectations, but the console is getting really affordable if you're looking for something quick and easy for living room gaming. Today's Amazon gold box deal includes the Ouya for $69.99 ($30 off retail) plus $25 in game credit. It's kind of like getting an Ouya for $45, all things considered.
Samsung really likes expandable storage. Pretty much every single Samsung phone and tablet out there includes support for MicroSD cards, and with today's Amazon Gold Box sale, you can take advantage of them. Amazon's one-day sale portal has heavily discounted Samsung MicroSD cards for sale, with dramatic discounts on both speedy cards and more economical options.
The "PLUS" MicroSD cards are the ones we'd recommend - they're considerably slower than the more expensive "PRO" models, but for expanded storage in a phone or tablet, you really don't need screaming speeds.