Europe’s biggest tech trade show – IFA 2019 – has officially kicked off and we’re well into day two, with the biggest brands exhibiting their greatest tech developments on the market. If it’s a consumer-tech focused company, you can bet your bottom dollar they’ll be there, except for Apple, which always chooses to skip IFA and CES.
The announcements spewed out by Amazon today, unveils a plethora of more than 20 new Fire TV-branded devices, including a next-generation Fire TV Cube, Fire TV Edition soundbar from Anker — its first incursion into “Fire TV Edition” audio products — and around 15 new Fire TV Edition products (including the first OLED Fire TV Edition smart TVs).
There has been a tough competition between Amazon’s Fire TV and Roku in the international market, with Amazon acquiring the top spot in the European sub-continent and Roku hovering at the top level in the US market.
Amazon claimed that its Fire TV devices currently sports more than 37 million monthly active users worldwide, which is 6.5 million ahead of the 30.5 million from Roku as reported in Q2. Both these companies offer packages that may be used by more than one person in a household, but each household only gets counted as one account as long as they’ve casted through the platform in the previous month.
We as consumers will be getting the best of both worlds, so a tough but healthy competition is always welcomed.
Speaking of new additions to the Fire Family , the all-new Fire TV Cube is one of the more interesting additions to the lineup as it counts as a big upgrade, over the existing product. The device offers a hands-free Fire TV experience, and has become the testing ground for many Fire TV software enhancements before they roll them out to the wider product lineup.
The 2019 Fire TV Cube now includes an improved “hexa-core” processor that’s twice as powerful as the one that came with the older device. Besides providing “instant access” to Dolby Vision and 4K Ultra HD content, at up to 60 frames per second, the new Cube also includes on-device processing with Local Voice Control, which lets faster execution of common voice commands like “Alexa, go home,” or “Alexa, scroll left,” for example. Amazon claims these commands will now execute up to 4 times faster.
Marc Whitten, vice president of Amazon Fire TV, stated, “Fire TV Cube was the first hands-free streaming media player powered by Alexa, and since launching last year we have gathered a wealth of feedback from customers about how they use voice in the living room.”
” Over the past year, we have continued to expand and advance the Fire TV Cube experience based on this feedback with dozens of new features including Multi-Room Music, Follow-Up Mode, and Alexa Communications. These key learnings carried over and guided the development of the second-generation Fire TV Cube, and we are excited to introduce this new-and-improved experience to customers around the world,” he said.
Users will be able to control their compatible TV, soundbar, A/V receiver, cable or satellite box, besides other smart home devices by way of the device’s support of multi-directional infrared technology, cloud-based protocols and HDMI CEC, combined with Alexa’s AI technology.
Let’s talk about the pocket-pinch of the new Fire TV Cube. It’s currently available for pre-order in the U.S. for $119.99, in Canada for $149.99, the United Kingdom for £109.99, Germany for €119.99 and Japan for ¥14980. It ships on October 10 in all markets except Japan, where it ships on November 5. And it will be sold in a package with Ring Video Doorbell 2 for $249.99.
Amazon’s Fire TV Edition array is growing as well. This is the licensed version of the Fire TV OS available to other manufacturers for use in their own products.
This IFA also witnessed a ground-breaking announcement of more than 15 new products from brands including Skyworth, Arcelik, TPV, Compal and others.
With plans to expand its business further in this domain , Amazon has teamed up with companies like Dixons Carphone, Amazon is all set to launch JVC – Fire TV Edition Smart 4K Ultra HD HDR LED TVs, which are its first one-of-a-kind Fire TV Edition products in the U.K. Priced at £349 and up, they’ll be sold by Currys PC World and online at amazon.co.uk .
In addition to this, Amazon has partnered with IMTRON, owned by MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group, to launch another lineup of Fire TV Edition smart TVs under the private label OK. These will be available in Germany and Austria, as will the 11 Fire TV Edition smart TVs from Grundig. This will be including the first OLED Fire TV edition television.
Following Roku’s announcements of its own wireless soundbar, Amazon launched the Nebula SoundBar from Anker, thereby expanding its Fire TV Edition into home audio.
Amazon’s expansion of its Fire TV Edition-branded products into the audio industry is also meant to challenge Roku on the success of its Roku TV-branded television sets, which runs on the Roku OS.
Despite Roku leading in the U.S. markets, Amazon still takes the number one spot in the international market and its further expansion into home-audio-products is an open challenge to Roku. Amazon’s strategy is to team up with a suite of new partners for Fire TV Edition and focus on the international markets where it still remains unbeatable.