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September 9, 2021
Unperturbed by its questionable track record in the device market, Amazon has decided to launch an own-brand TV.
Amazon likes to use the word ‘fire’ for its most risky hardware bets, famously stumbling in the smartphone market with the over-priced, under-featured paperweight back in 2014. There were also Fire branded tablets and a Fire set-top box, which didn’t seem to fared much better. On the other side of the ledger, the Kindle remains the default e-book reader and the Alexa smart speakers have long led the market.
So perhaps Amazon figures introducing a bit of Alexa special sauce will persuade people to buy an Amazon telly in a mature and competitive market dominated by Korean and Japanese vendors. The Fire TV Omni Series features voice-control as its unique selling point for all those people sick of the hassle of having to use a physical remote control.
“We’ve reimagined what a TV can do by building it with two of our most popular experiences at the core—the intelligent always-available power of far-field Alexa, and Fire TV’s content-forward approach to entertainment,” said Daniel Rausch, VP of Amazon Entertainment Devices and Services. “Our new Fire TV Omni Series smart TVs, with hands-free access to Alexa, make controlling your TV faster, simpler, and more natural.”
One lesson that does seem to have been learned is that it’s asking too much of a brand to expect it to take on the premium players in a new market, now matter how big the parent is. So these Fire TVs start at just over 400 bucks for a 43-inch one. That’s not much more than the cheapest equivalents revealed by a quick look at the Curry’s website, so fair enough.
So reliant is Amazon on Alexa as the key feature that the press release even went on to explain the kind of stuff you could ask this telly to do, such as “Alexa, what should I watch?”, which will then save you the hassle of even having to choose something to mong at for the rest of the evening. “Alexa, what am I doing with my life?” was not one of the listed suggestions, but it should have been.
For many, the usual concerns about Alexa devices will apply to this new TV, such as having a cloud device constantly listening to everything you say, which may be why the Alexa brand wasn’t used. There was also a refresh of the Fire Stick range, which confers much of this telly’s functionality onto your existing one, thus further weaking the case for it. The Fire TV will probably do better than the Fire phone, but that’s not saying much.
As the Editorial Director of Telecoms.com, Scott oversees all editorial activity on the site and also manages the Telecoms.com Intelligence arm, which focuses on analysis and bespoke content.
Scott has been covering the mobile phone and broader technology industries for over ten years. Prior to Telecoms.com Scott was the primary smartphone specialist at industry analyst Strategy Analytics’. Before that Scott was a technology journalist, covering the PC and telecoms sectors from a business perspective.
Follow him @scottbicheno
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