Amazon announced seven new devices — stepping up its hardware battle with Apple — including a new version of its Fire TV set-top with support for 4K Ultra HD video, a video-game model of the Fire TV and a $50 tablet.
The launch of the next-generation Fire TV isn’t a surprise: Amazon stopped selling the initial model last month, an indication that a successor was coming down the pike. The company’s $50 Fire tablet, with a 7-inch screen, had been previously reported.
Amazon’s lineup of new products, timed ahead of the holiday shopping season, come a week after Apple introduced an upgraded model of its Apple TV box (which does not support 4K video), the iPad Pro tablet for business users, and the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus smartphones.
Here’s a rundown of the Amazon’s fall 2015 hardware family:
- Fire TV: At $100 — the same price as the first-generation device — the new box provides 75% faster performance and expansion slot for 128 Gigabytes to download apps and games (in addition to 8 GB built-in). With 4K support, users will be able to watch Amazon Video’s Ultra HD titles on compatible TVs; those include series such as Amazon Studios’ “Transparent,” “Better Call Saul” and “Orphan Black” and movies such as “Captain Phillips,” “Men in Black 3” and “Moneyball.” Services available on Fire TV remain the same and include Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, HBO Now and WatchESPN. Slated to start shipping Oct. 5.
- Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote: The $50 HDMI-based adapter now includes for voice commands, like the Fire TV set-top, letting users speak the name of a movie, TV show, actor, director or genre to get search results. Amazon says the new Fire TV Stick has four times the storage and twice the memory of Google’s Chromecast. To ship Oct. 22.
- Fire TV Gaming Edition: Priced at $140, the bundle includes the new Fire TV, new game controller, a 32 GB microSD card and two games: “Shovel Knight” and Disney’s “DuckTales.” Also to ship Oct. 5; purchased separately, the Fire TV Game Controller is $50.
- Fire tablet: The $50 device features a quad-core processor, front- and rear-facing cameras, up to 128 GB of expandable storage. Also available in six-pack discount at $250. Ships Sept. 30.
- Fire HD 8 and Fire HD 10: Tablets with 8- and 10.1-inch widescreen HD displays, priced at $150 and $230 respectively, are “designed for entertainment.” The new devices, each at a slim 7.7 millimeters thick, include quad-core processors and stereo speakers with Dolby Audio. Fire HD 8 is available in four colors: black, magenta, blue and tangerine; Fire HD 10 comes in either black or white. Shipping Sept. 30.
- Fire Kids Edition: New $100 tablet with 7-inch screen (versus $150 in the initial model launched last year) includes an updated kid-proof blue case; one year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, which includes more than 10,000 books, videos, educational apps and games; and 20,000 prescreened, age-appropriate websites and YouTube videos. To ship Sept. 30.