Amazon is giving its Fire TV Stick an upgrade in time for the holiday shopping season: The company will start shipping a new Fire TV Stick with a more powerful processor and a remote control with microphone for voice input on October 20.
The new Fire TV Stick pretty much looks like last year’s model, but features a more powerful quad-core processor, which should make for a snappier user experience. Unchanged is the $39.99 price tag, as well as the fact that the Fire TV Stick maxes out at 1080p. 4K video fans have to instead buy a Fire TV set-top box, which starts retailing at $99.99.
The biggest change is that Amazon is now including a remote control with microphone in the box, which makes it possible to control the Fire TV Stick with voice commands. The Fire TV Stick taps into Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant to make sense of voice input, which also means that users can query Alexa about the weather, or ask her to order a ride from Uber, much like they can with Amazon’s Echo speaker.
Amazon isn’t the only company releasing updated streaming devices in time for the holidays. Earlier this week, Roku introduced five new streaming devices, including an entry-level streamer that’s $10 cheaper than Amazon’s stick. And next week, Google is expected to unveil a 4K-capable Chromecast streaming adapter.