Amazon is getting ready to introduce two new Fire TV models, including a souped-up HDMI dongle as well as new Fire TV box that comes with integrated far-field microphones for voice control as well as an integrated speaker. In other words: It doubles as a small Amazon Echo.
This is all according to a report from AFTVNews.com, which was able to unearth not only specs but also a picture of both devices (shown above). Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to the report, the new flagship Fire TV is going to be cube-shaped, with four buttons for volume control, as well as to mute the internal microphones, on top. There is also a LED light bar that works similar to the LEDs integrated into Amazon’s Echo speaker, signaling when the device is in active listening mode. And it apparently also packs an IR blaster, which should make it possible to control TVs and other living room equipment as well.
What’s more, the device is supposed to work even when a TV is turned off, so users will be able to query Amazon’s cloud assistant Alexa or even listen to music without always turning on the big screen. However, given the size, the audio quality of the cube likely isn’t anything to write home about.
Compared to this, the other device that Amazon will introduce soon is looking rather pedestrian. The new Fire TV dongle trades the stick shape against a small square box that can hang behind a TV, thanks to the integrated short HDMI cable. This device will support 4K and HDR, and leaked specs put its performance above the current-generation Fire TV Stick, but below the current-generation Fire TV box.
AFTWNews reported that the new Fire TV dongle would be announced this month, and go up for sale next month. The cube with built-in microphones apparently isn’t quite ready, and may not even see a release this year. Then again, Amazon is likely going to push hard to make sure it won’t miss the holiday shopping season.