Having previously challenged Apple’s iPads and Apple TVs with rivals called Fire and Fire TV, Amazon today debuted a series of new Fire tablets and Fire TV media streamers at remarkably aggressive price points. Led by the new $49.99 7″ Fire tablet, the Fire tablets aim to dramatically undercut iPads on price, while the $99.99 4K Fire TV and its siblings were designed to leapfrog new and old Apple TVs with specific features…
The sub-$50 7″ Fire tablet features a 7″ IPS display, quad-core 1.3GHz processor, and 8GB of internal storage with up to 128GB of microSD expansion. Amazon is also offering a the 7″ Fire in a six-pack (via promo code FIRE6PACK) for $249.99 — less than $42 each, or six tablets for less than a single iPad mini — and a $99.99 encased Kids Edition with a “no questions asked” two-year replacement plan. The new 8″ Fire HD 8 ($149.99) and Fire HD10 ($229.99) come closer to basic iPads in specs, omitting Retina-caliber displays and metal bodies for designs billed as “almost 2x more durable than the latest iPad Air.”
Amazon’s direct challenger to the fourth-generation Apple TV is the $99.99 Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and Alexa, which includes a quad-core processor, support for 4K and HEVC video streaming, Alexa-aided voice control, 802.11ac wireless, and up to 128GB of microSD storage expansion. For $10 less than the new Apple TV, a $139.99 Fire TV Gaming Edition has the same basic design and specs as Amazon’s entry-level model, but includes a wireless game controller, an extra 32GB of storage, and two games. Amazon is also offering $39.99-$49.99 Fire TV Sticks with standard and voice remote controls to challenge the $69 third-generation Apple TV.
Sales of the Fire TV reportedly eclipsed the Apple TV earlier this year, as Amazon took third place away from Apple in the media streaming device market. Roku and Google have dominated the market with competing devices.
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Hmm…the new Fire TV is very tempting…very very tempting….It has Amazon VOD obviously, which ATV doesn’t have, HBO Go, Netflix, Showtime…What am I missing here…what does the ATV have that FireTV doesn’t have? I was thinking NHL GameCenter Live, but with Kodi, all you have to do is install the NHL addon, and you get it on the Fire. I think that’s another big difference — you can stream stuff from local NAS devices, and they have official support for external USB storage, something the Apple TV will never have. There are also plenty of AirPlay apps you can get from the app store; I wonder if 4K AirPlay would work. Then I could ACTUALLY watch my new iPhone videos in 4K! I don’t see any reason not to buy this thing — I currently have the ATV 3rd gen, and I still have no idea what features (if any) it will get compared to the new ATV. If they don’t give it any updates, I’m done with ATV. And the new one not supporting 4K is a horrible decision by Apple. For the price they want, plus the iPhones supporting 4K video, there is no reason why the ATV shouldn’t support it also.
Damn, you may have just sold me on this. I’m thinking now that I’ll get one of these new FireTVs and wait to see if there’s some killer app for the AppleTV that I “need.” I didn’t realize you could AirPlay to the FireTV…
I am sure some people in the comments are gonna be like, but who does own a 4k tv and where is the content!
There’s plenty of content. Netflix have been doing 4K for over a year now and Amazon started doing 4K about 6 months ago.
That’s one provider, and 4K content makes up a very small portion of their total offering.
To answer Ali’s question, studies currently show that UHDTV ownership is at about seven percent in North America, and just over three percent globally, projected to rise on a steeper curve. But, where should it be before it makes sense to add it as a feature? Twenty percent sounds like a good number, so let’s set a marker there, for the purposes of discussion. It will be the year 2018 when twenty percent of North American households own a UHDTV, according to market analysis. Western Europe will hit that mark in closer to 2019, and the rest of the world won’t get there until 2020.
This is to say nothing about the content delivery mechanism. There may be content out there for download, but what percentage of households have an Internet connection capable of getting it pulled down at an acceptable speed? Netflix (which requires you to sign up for their most expensive service tier if you want UHD streaming) requires “A steady Internet connection speed of 25 megabits per second or higher.” The average connection speed in the United States is 12 megabits per second, according to Akamai’s most recent report. South Korea topped that chart with an average of about 24 Mbps.
Based on sensible economics, it doesn’t make sense for Apple, or anyone else, to add 4K support to a low-cost, mainstream device for at least another year. Anything before that is purely grandstanding and marketing hype.
And Amazon will be adding 4K rentals of new movies soon too.
Hmm…somehow I doubt this $50 tablet is aiming for the iPad mini. It looks like a cheap POS but for its intended purpose (consuming video) I’m sure it will be good enough for people who want a cheap tablet for their kids.
I have to admit, the 4K support makes it pretty tempting. I have Prime and get all my books from Amazon… but I have a lot of movies from iTunes that keep me committed to the Apple ecosystem. Here’s hoping they fix this mistake and come out with a new Apple TV within a year with 4K and free upgrades to 4K video as 4K versions become available. Idk, man.
$50 tablet will be HUUUUUUUUUGE for Christmas this year… seems like a good starter tablet for kids/grandparents.
I do have a Fire TV, but I get most of my 4k content from Netflix or my PC games on said 4k TV. So if Amazon gives the extra of free 4k content (part of my Prime membership), I’m sold, but if will sell me 4k movies I’m keeping my old FHD Fire TV stick.
Apple’s decision to go with a box that is incapable of 60hz 4K is just embarrassing. After all this time waiting for it, that’s a pretty huge misstep.
It will be announced in 2 years as “never done before & revolutionary feature” insert jonny ives speach – as 4k stream through our pvc free filters travel seamlessly from our apple tv to a home tv”
It may already be there but locked..in which case a software/ firmware upgrade can unlock the feature.
They probably saved it for when they release the apple TV subscription plan … Or earlire if pressure mounts.
It’s not there. It’s been spec’d as having HDMI 1.4, which maxes out at 4K 30Hz, without any of the new UHD standards such as wide colour gamut and expanded dynamic range.
It’s not there — period. The hardware is incapable of doing it.
Unfortunately for the average consumer that doesn’t read the specs, the Amazon box only supports 4K at 30Hz.
I’m an apple fan, but was greatly disappointed this year by the fact most of their tech isnt really new or innovating, yet they claim it to be and slap on a huge price… for once i cannot justify their pricing plans… especially considering for the ipad mini, ipad air, and the iphone all come with a cheaper smaller battery (something apple forgot to mention)… construction has moved from solid built machines to cutting costs by gluing everything in place.
My problem is i dont really like android products — well, for most part i think are over priced, plastic, and the OS doesnt help matters — however, the fact i have amazon prime for shipping and videos, their new entry level 7″ tablet has tempt me and i have it on pre-order… i can honestly say for $50 that i dont expect an awful lot — but considering apple are charging $300 for a 7″ tablet that pretty much does the same it has pulled me away from that…
The ipad pro was shocking – you cant even run full desktop versions of their software – microsoft office is still the mobile versions with a few add-on features…
I was excited by the apple TV, but theres no expansion and all games must be compatible with their remote — yet now i am very tempted by amazon TV box that has a dedicated gaming controller and has expandability…i can add 128gb of extra storage…
Apple are not exclusive anymore – and if other companies are even convincing me to look elsewhere then apple need to shift up a gear… charging the high price for essential the same tech is not going to go well…people will continue to still buy because it is apple, but it wont always be that way.