The gaming aspect of this will make it a winner. OUYA's big problem is that it didn't do streaming and was a bit clunky. Amazon has a big game library and just needs controller support.
As a parent, a $100 streaming box and game console that has cheap/free games is very appealing.
As a developer, the economics of game development for such a console is not so great, but maybe IAP would make it worthwhile.
that's not quite the same as a whole new platform.
> The gaming aspect of this will make it a winner. OUYA's big problem is that it didn't do streaming and was a bit clunky. Amazon has a big game library and just needs controller support.
I think the gaming aspects are the worst part and are entirely useless. Who wants to casual game with an underpowered box on a giant TV screen? Goofy games are fun on a 4-7" screen because expectations are low. On my TV I expect a crazy immersive experience, not "Candy Crush".
Perhaps they would have been better served by spending their time getting HBO-Go, Starz/Encore and Spotify all hooked into their little box. If they want to be the central hub for all things "media" and want to compel people to move off of their existing platform ( Roku and ATV ) it seems like they need to offer a more complete package.
Over 100 million Nintendo Wii consoles were sold. Now, we can bicker about how many of those buyers were into casual games or not, but regardless:
The market exists.
And meanwhile, there are phone games that are comparable to the big headline titles of the Wii etc - Bard's Tale, Oil Rush, GTA, etc.
If Amazon pushes the gamepad hard for the Fire TV, we could definitely see it in that space.
I just hope there are enough 2 player games worthwhile.
Give it time. These are usually 3rd party apps not built by the provider of the platform (as a note, my company just finished building Starz/Encore/Movieplex Play for Xbox 360). The important thing is that Amazon provides an Ecosystem,it just needs some time for all the other offerings to get on there.
The SDK just opened up to all third parties today as well https://developer.amazon.com/public/community/post/Tx1K5ORNN...
I'm looking forward to XBMC or other local streaming software coming to the platform. If that happens, this will literally be the ultimate set top box for me.
The Amazon Fire TV runs Fire OS 3.0, based on Android Jelly Bean (API level 17).
Young kids. There are lots of them about.
PS4 is very expensive. iPads are expensive, fragile, don't have user accounts, and you can't keep an eye on what's on screen from the kitchen while cooking dinner after school.
My 8 year old would eat it up. He LOVES his iPad games. If he can plan on the TV with his friends, he would be thrilled.
And I'd be fine dropping $99 for a box and < $5 for games.
You may expect a "crazy immersive experience" but I would venture a guess that you are not the casual mobile gamer.
To me, the Wii U was a failure in this regard. They tried to marry the "fun game in my hand" with the "fun game on the big screen" and the result was a messy, confusing experience.
One thing to keep in mind is mobile is a form factor, but no longer a "platform." In this case, the platform is Android. There are plenty of game types that would cross over well. Even better if you could sync state between platforms for a seamless anywhere experience. Imagine playing FFVII on your phone, and then when you get home pick up a PS2 like controller and continue playing that same game on your HDTV?
I think the biggest hurtle is the fact that consumers already have similar devices, and at $99 its not like the FireTV is a no-brainer. If they timed it right, and people are "rolling over" to the next set of devices?
Infinity Blade, Real Racing, etc. show you CAN get "crazy immersive experience" (or near enough thereto that 95% of users won't notice a difference) on a "phone". Given an iPad Mini (retail replacement cost $250 so you know it costs less than that to make) take away the HD+ display, touchscreen, cellular radio, battery, speakers, mic, and most of the flash storage, and you've got a sub-$99 dual-core 64-bit box that ALL your iOS games - from Candy Crush to Infinity Blade III - can run on right now ... and anything you get for that big screen can, in turn, run on your phone when Mom says you have to get in the car and you want to take the in-progress game with you.
By making it easy to port Android apps they could do well with this.
The market has so far been defined by the capabilities of mobile devices. That means simplified controls and gameplay designed for short sessions. There's no technical reason for these limitations in the streaming box market, OUYA failed and Amazon might fail but the market still exists. Consumers have bought tens of millions of these devices just to watch TV, eventually someone will be able to expand to tap the couch gaming market. The price point is low, install base high, and the processing power is just sitting there and waiting.
But if the Fire TV gets enough traction there could be more "real" games on Android.
Also, don't sell mobile gaming short. There are current generation mobile chipsets capable of PS3 level graphics (especially given that many smartphones now have a resolution greater than that big television), and in this case they don't even have to live within the power bounds of a battery power deviced, opening up the high end (they claim it's a "dedicated" GPU, which is an odd phrasing in the era of SoCs).
PS3 level graphics are beyond satisfactory for a huge range of gaming genres (especially given that many of the PS3s limitations were courtesy of the 256MB/256MB memory limit).
mobile games are much closer to ps2. Gta3 was released for ps2 and now runs on android. My experience with gta3 wasn't a smooth one, although maybe a galaxy s5 would have a more consistent/smoother experience.
I feel like we have a ways before we get to true ps3 graphics. But I also agree not to discredit mobile games. For the price (about $140) and all the other benefits you recieve from the streaming video offerings, doesn't seem like a bad deal to me.
In this case while I was hoping it would be something really compelling like a Tegra K1, it's a 1.7Ghz quad-core Krait 300 APQ8064 with Adrena 320 graphics. That pushes about 225 million triangles per second, while the PS3 pushes 275 million. The PS2 pushed about 35 million. Of course triangles per second is an entirely incomplete metric, though the PS3 and the Snapdragon feature similar memory bandwidth (and fill rate), though the PS3 has dedicated video memory while the Snapdragon shares it with the CPU.
Overhead of Android and OpenGL ES eats into this significantly of course, but the fact that such a comparison is at all viable is pretty incredible.
Most game development companies have a multi-platform approach. Either they accomplish this with cross-platform development tools, or target iOS, Android, and XBox/Consoles separately.
Amazon has already gone through motions to making getting your Android app onto their Kindle Fire devices smoother, so I imagine getting it onto the FireTV wouldn't be much different.
So the story goes, you have a successful game that is gainin traction on multiple platforms and you want to expand your user base. Add game controller support to your android version, and now you're in every Prime customer's living room? edit: This is of course if people purchase the device, so that's the starter.
Netflix is fast obviously because you are just telling the chromecast to stream netflix itself, not "casting" it to chromecast. Same goes with youtube.
However "casting" performance for me is even worse than the described .3fps on my Chromebook Pixel that isn't running ChromeOS. And my LAN is fast enough to use mplayer over ssh/x-forwarding... Trying chrome tab casting in Debian on a Chromebook Pixel burns the Pixel up, with it being very obvious that the Pixel is the bottleneck.
Trying to video encode the "cast" tab without using hardware support maybe? I'm not sure, I haven't really investigated it further.
No problems. It played fine.
Maybe I'll try that myself later.
Incidentally I've just discovered that my Roku can have local videos streamed to it from my S3. It works flawlessly.
But I wasn't using my new access point as a router. For unrelated reasons, I replaced the 10+ year-old router with something newer and the Chromecast started working flawlessly even though I hadn't changed anything on the wireless side.
This is an AirPlay issue, right? For example, when I go to pause a song that is being AirPlayed to my Airport Express, there is a noticable delay before the song stops playing.
That's why you can use the Kindle app on your iOS, or Android, or web browser. Or Amazon Prime on PS3/4, Xbox One/360, Roku, iOS.
They don't have to kill the iPad; they just have to win every book reader.
I totally agree with that statement, I just was taken aback by the word "constantly."
Someone or some company is going to have to completely shatter our imaginations of this market. Until then, good luck getting any massive success.
I have been aching for a large library of easy and casual games I can share with my wife forever. She doesn't care about the AAA games and I'm willing to give those up if it means we can play together.
Also, the standards for games these days is really low. I see children playing total crap all the time. Gone are the days you beg your mom to spend $60 buying you one game where upon you had to spend the next 6 months playing it before you would get another one. Parents will buy a game on their phone and hand it to their kid like its the pacifier of the 21st century.
There are tons of dongles and sticks with gaming added as an afterthought. I'm interested in seeing somebody truly tackle the space Ouya promised to deliver - the low-cost Android gaming device.
Seriously, Google needs to wake up and notice that other people are doing a better job with Android than they are.
Seeing that it's Bluetooth, I hope support for it trickles into mainstream Linux.
- Voice Search
Are those enough of a value proposition? Probably not to make converts. I suspect the main buyers will be those who simply have bought into Amazon Instant Video as opposed to iTunes in the past. Let's see what Apple's next revision of Apple TV offers.
God yes. The level of stupidity of all the set-top boxes I've used is staggering. I sit there and use a tiny keyboard to type in B-R-E-A and get tons of hits for things nowhere close to Breaking Bad until I practically type out the whole title.
I'd love to be able to just say the title and be done with it. Heaven forbid I'm ever allowed to say "Season pass, bob's burgers, new episodes only," and walk away. I do similar things with my Nexus phone and google now. The tech is certainly here.
I'd settle for a non-braindead mobile or desktop client, I don't even need voice. I have a Sony Blu-Ray/Internet box whose remote app on iOS is literally the same up-down-left-right pad the remote has, but you have to swipe just right to get it to register. Why not just give me the same menu options the box has, but in a reasonable mobile device metaphor? I can't tap "Services" -> "Hulu" -> "TV Shows" -> type "SNL"; I have to navigate the set-top box's menu while trying to look at my phone at the same time. Mind-bogglingly bad.
It's cheap enough that even if you don't like it, your not out that much money.
But that includes anyone with Amazon Prime.
> Let's see what Apple's next revision of Apple TV offers.
Is Apple's next revision of Apple TV going to let me watch iTunes content from non-Apple devices? You're glossing over this as insignificant when, for lots of us, it's a deal-breaker.
All the films you'd want to watch have to be paid for now. Pretty glad I stuck with my Lovefilm disc renting option - far better choice, despite the fuel burn used by Royal Mail to get it to me.
Well, I'm in. If you can play Minecraft Pocket Edition on a big screen, I suspect my nephews will be clamouring for one pretty quickly.
People want one box that does it all. Not a GoogleBox, AppleBox, and an AmazonBox. That's madness.
They want one box, preferrable for less than 100 bucks, that will play Hulu, Netflix, Prime, Vudu, Youtube, GooglePlay, iTunes, Plex, etc.
Right now, the _only_ way to do this with one box is to build your own NUC HTPC for a couple hundred dollars.
Amazon offers Amazon devices because they think you will be a better customer if they control the complete experience. However I can't imagine they would stop supporting Prime Video and Kindle on Android and iPad just to pump up their own device market. That's putting the cart before the horse.
I hate the word "just". The iPad is "just" a big iPod Touch. The new feature the client wants is "just" a simple checkbox. Etc.
Not only does that single word abstract away hundreds of person-years of work; it ignores the fact that products often gain market traction despite being "just" $existingThing + $minorChange, whether by reaching a tipping point of quality and experience, or through other intangibles like ecosystem, name recognition and marketing.
I love my AppleTV (mostly), but I'm keeping an eye on this thing (hopefully its software is higher quality than the Fire tablets).
I had a friend excitedly text me about this today so I looked it up. On the device's page  there is a 'compare to xyz' box they literally place 3 other devices that have existed for a while now and looking through this, it appears to me to be "just" amazon's attempt to get into this space without providing a lot of additional value.
Looking at the list they provide there each of the devices provide all the functionality I personally would ever want in a streaming hardware solution. They have "just" provided Apple TV for Amazon, they have not extended the paradigm as far as I can see.
I'm hoping that controls will span both devices, so settings that are made on the tablet will also take effect on the TV.
But, and it's a big one, any video service other than Amazon is treated as a second class citizen. So, without the kids AYCE package out yet I'm a bit disappointed. I think Amazon would do well to follow the Roku style and have cross-provider search and navigation.
In any case, it will move to be the kids TV media device now as it still isn't ready to be my primary media device.
Which is not an insignificant demographic. There's a whole lot of folks who actually arent invested in the Apple ecosystem, this addresses a huge market segment, regardless of whether games are included.
Not dangerous for Amazon, just dangerous to me!
My Roku 3 might laugh at 1080p video but there's an advantage for Amazon if they can improve on the UI (fluidity and ease of navigation).
As to the specs of the device, while it's certainly true that specs alone mean little (especially vague, close to meaningless specs like "quad core"), the hardware put a ceiling on what the device is capable of doing. And in this case right off the bat it can do voice search, which as an Apple TV user I would actually be a convert for: It is an act of pure brutality to search on the Apple TV device.
Even just that the remote does not use infra-red is a hugely compelling feature to me.
EDIT: given that I mentioned the specs being vague, I should correct that on Amazon's dev site they list specifics, and it has a powerful CPU/GPU combo. Actually the same SoC as the Nexus 7 (2013), running at a higher frequency.
Same price, the only differences are that the Fire TV has voice search (don't care), a bunch of technical specs that the layperson doesn't care about, and a bunch of games (don't care). It's missing the checkbox for HBO GO (deal breaker for me personally).
I was expecting something like a monthly subscription for all-you-can-watch access to any TV show on Amazon Instant (not just the free Prime episodes). Kinda bummed because I really like Amazon as a content provider, but I'll be sticking with Roku for now.
I guess I'm bummed that it means it's unlikely the prime video interface will get any better on Roku, but Prime Instant video quality is already so much worse for me then any other source it's not that big a loss.
Well, Amazon is at least available on a variety of platforms whereas iTunes is only on Apple devices -- and will always only be available on Apple devices.
- All iTunes content is available on Mac, Windows & iOS devices, and all downloaded music is playable on all devices that support AAC. Apple doesn't offer a pure streaming service (AppleTV masquerades as one) so you're stuck with iOS, Windows, and Mac for purchased video content.
- Google Play content can be streamed to any device with an app or modern browser (Linux requires Flash hacks), but can only be downloaded to Android devices. You can't download a movie to play offline on your PC, Mac or iOS device.
- Amazon Instant Video is streamable to any device (Linux requires flash hacks) EXCEPT 3rd party Androids -- Amazon requires you to buy THEIR Android Kindle devices. Downloadable/offline content is only available on Windows.
- Netflix is streamable to any device with an app (Linux requires silverlight hacks). There is no downloadable content.
Let's be clear here, iTunes is never coming to any non-Apple device unless the company takes a radical departure from what it has been doing the past 10 years.
Amazon is in the content distribution business and playing catchup on having the devices to support it (because, for some reason, having their app on a smart TV and set top box doesn't seem to be enough).
This is a pretty good offering, but it's clear that, HuluPlus and Netflix aside, the big players [Google|Amazon|Apple] wants to have their own device ecosystem, and are fighting to differentiate theirs. For $99, these streaming devices are a disposable income purchase that gives you benefits in a particular ecosystem. Amazon has no particular advantage in this race yet, they're still coming from behind.
That's like, a real advantage.
No; iTunes runs on Windows.
Also, you can use Apple TV with non-iTunes bought stuff although it does support iTunes sourced media of course, and fewer channels than Roku et.al. I usually just use it for Netflix, streaming radio stations and podcasts, and YouTube.
But let's not pretend like this means that it will becoming to Roku, Android, or the dozens of other places that you're likely to want to watch media content. Places where Amazon already is, and is expanding to more.
I don't agree. Google and Amazon are trying to get into Apple's device ecosystem game as it's way more profitable and offers more control than inserting apps on devices, which seems a failed strategy. Microsoft has already taken this approach with Surface and Xbox. And they're actively putting blocks up to their biggest competitors, which all about locking-in consumers to their ecosystem.
The the market leader in the "generic video streaming app everywhere" space (Netflix) is crowding out all competitors in this space unless they have exclusive content (HBO Go, HuluPlus, etc.) Apple maintains its market in the face of Netflix because of its wider content selection and the wide availability and affordability ($99) of its devices.
Amazon will be able to compete well here (this FireTV looks like a good offering) but we haven't seen what this year's AppleTV has in store, so it's not a slam dunk.
Correct, can't wait for the counter argument.
> I don't agree.
Great, here it comes...
And then the rest of the post is about how the lock-in strategy is more profitable. Not sure if that's true or not, but doesn't have anything to do with my argument that being available on many devices is an advantage for the consumer.
I spoke about profitability and the ecosystem because this shit matters and will affect your assumptions. Case in point: Microsoft and PlaysForSure, which they eventually undermined by pushing their own devices.
Amazon is already blocking Android tablets. Why won't they block future things? Will they support future SmartTVs and devices now that they have their own? Doubtful.
To say sorry, they sent me a Bluray drive that would stream so I can't complain really. It is just a fact that with a renting subscription service, they can end it and change it any time they want without much warning, and you're stuck. I probably need to get out of the mindset that they're going to be loyal with you after you're loyal with them. There isn't any loyalty with a subscription service (I get a month's film viewing when I pay for the month so I get what I pay for).
This appears to be the problems of subscription services, and to some extent cloud services, particularly those from Google and Ubuntu (goodbye One!). Apple seems to be better as their MobileMe system has been going forever.
I don't see any evidence that they are going to abandon other devices. The Kindle Fire didn't stop them from releasing an iPad app for Amazon Video, for example.
In reality the number of platforms they need to target is fairly small. There is the iOS world, there is Android, Roku, and HTML5. The vast majority of TV and blu-ray player apps are the same HTML5 app.
I would be concerned if Fire TV and Kindle Fire became too popular that they might abandon/neglect the other apps, but that's not likely to happen.
I'm in the UK. Is there some sort of subscription capability for a flat monthly fee? (Easier to budget for you see)
> I was expecting something like a monthly subscription for all-you-can-watch access to any TV show on Amazon Instant (not just the free Prime episodes).
That would be prohibitively expensive. You're talking about basically every popular show on TV.
For a person already invested in the amazon ecosystem, this doesn't have to be better than roku, it merely has to be about as good.
I own two rokus, but I also have amazon prime and my kid has a kindle fire. I will definitely consider this next time I need to upgrade (about once every 3-6 years judging by history)
But when both sides agree on price and ink the deal, HBO will get a premium announcement compared to the others. It will work out just fine.
It seems like Amazon recognized the popularity of streaming services for parents of young kids and is setting this up just for them...
The only Amazon device I have is an old Kindle, but FreeTime would be used a lot if I had a Fire.
"Remote with no line of sight required" - not checked for Chromecast. While kind of true since Chromecast doesn't have a dedicated remote, but the devices used to control it absolutely don't require line of site.
If you have videos on or subscriptions to iTunes, Netflix, and Amazon Prime (as I do), there's no box I'm aware of that will let you watch all three. So you end up using your Apple TV and then Roku or another box -- the Playstation 3 in my living room takes a long time to boot, and a long time to load the Netflix app, draws quite a bit of power, and is overkill for merely watching streaming video. The Amazon Fire TV, assuming it's fast enough, will add another device to my living room cabinet but make it a lot faster to switch to watching Amazon Prime videos.
Ideally Apple would allow Amazon to add Prime Streaming to the Apple TV box, or Roku would get the iTunes library. Then I could have an all-in-one box. But we all know that's not going to happen...
Airplay is a thing.
How is that a "workaround"?
An iPad, iPad Mini, iPod, or iPhone is your remote - the AppleTV remote is horrible anyways and I've personally long ago tossed it. Fire up your new remote and play anything you like... it's incredibly simple.
I'm sure your solution works fine for you. But be careful in projecting your use case to everyone's. :)
> During its presentation, Amazon said that it has been paying close attention to the complaints of customers who have been using the other companies' devices through Amazon—namely that search is difficult, performance is laggy, and the ecosystems are closed—in order to build its own streaming device." 
For instance, what they're doing with the child-oriented mode is what I wish Apple had done with the iPad and iPhone, a long time ago.
It just seems easier for me to do this in my hand than ten feet away, especially when I have to try to enter text into a TV interface.
Even that aside, my girlfriend doesn't want to use my phone to navigate, so she has to install Netflix on her phone too. And set up the user account there. Multiply that by every service we have (and Amazon Instant isn't on Android)... it's just clunky. Fine, but clunky. Having it all centralised on one box works better, as far as I'm concerned.
But there are other times when I wish there were another option available as well.
What exactly were you expecting to read in here?
So does the Fire TV. The remote control is still a device you have to have in hand. And, personally, I'd take using my phone or tablet instead anyday.
It's gotten to the point that I think any device that uses its own proprietary remote control with physical buttons is a failure in UI design.
I've done countless usability studies and in-home studies where we looked at the behavior of people who have access to a remote control and apps on their phone or tablet that can launch content or control their set-top box. People loved the idea of this, but guess what the majority of users end up doing? Picking up the physical remote control.
And tasks that you may think are easy and intuitive are not always for the average user. We saw many people struggle to play content via AirPlay.
Remember, part of good UI design is embracing 40 years of ingrained behavior.
A cheap, disposable remote is no bad thing.
That's not how it works. Anyone connected to your Wifi, is "set up" to use the Chromecast and can stream from any number of apps like YouTube, Netflix, Google Play Music and Movies, Pandora, and now even Rdio and Vudu.
They still need to set up those apps on their phone. They need to log in to Netflix, Amazon Instant, etc. etc. even if they never watch content on their phone.
Amazon Instant doesn't have an app that works with Chromecast that I'm aware of.
The bummer with this remote (and the roku remote) is that if you have an AV system hooked to the TV you need a separate remote for volume. I wish there was a tiny bit of learning on these sort of remotes.
We also have a Roku and used that before the Chromecast, but the Chromecast is more popular with everyone (kids) in the house for the aforementioned reason of communal use. It's like the Nexus Q was supposed to be, but for video.
As to your other point, I see lack of shared remote as a good thing. I get to control what they kids watch. And when they are old enough to stay at home they will most likely have their own device.
How old is your box? I'm still happy with mine, despite it being a couple of years old. I was thinking of getting a new one, but if the new ones are of poorer quality...
I used to have one of the originals, it was great.
I'm waiting a bit to see if the next RokuBox or AmazonBox ends up supporting iTunes videos (which is a nice to have, but not a must have.)
I am getting ready to dump a good $500 on a brand new setup just to replace my Roku because it is so bloody painful to use.
You can also wirelessly mirror your tablet display to your Fire TV with Kindle Fire, as well as other Miracast-enabled phones or tablets starting later this year. Fire TV supports standards like DIAL, so app developers can enable multi-screen experiences based on open technologies.
Unless they block Airplay, which is not unusual. Like Amazon Prime didn't allow streaming until recently. HBO Go also took a while to allow it.
It will only take one great game for this thing to pop. With a system that enough users will have in the living room someone is going to put together a fun free-to-play FPS and that will be enough for it to be the clear winner over AppleTV / Chromecast.
Voice search is a big deal if it works the way I think it does. TV is easy, everyone knows how to use one and how to find what they want to watch. Navigating between Netflix, Hulu, Instant, iTunes, Cruncyroll, NBC ... is a pain. Even on my AppleTV navigating Netflix alone is the worst.
It is true that Steam was already doing that, but I think the audience of people with a PC plugged to a TV screen in the living room or that owns a Steam box is not as big as what the Fire TV owners might end up being
Sony has had extensive and widely-used support for indie game development for the PlayStation platforms for quite some time.
Microsoft has has had so-so support for indie developers (choice between them essentially acting as your publisher or fending for yourself in the Xbox Live Indie Games wasteland), but they're trying to fix that with ID@Xbox.
Then, of course, there's Ouya, if you're in to that sort of thing. It's an Android platform too.
What I meant to say however (and I apologize for the way I phrased it) is that this is makes it even easier for indie developers to reach a wide audience.
Not only do I expect that it will be fairly easy to port Android Tablet games to the Fire TV, I also think that the strategy of offering a TV box that has a Games marketplace as a bonus feature is a strategy that will allow Fire TVs to sell a lot more than Ouyas.
OUYA has lots and lots of their own problems, but they are the most polished version of the "get indie developers on TV" idea.
Or at least, they were, until today's FireTV launch.
My guess is Amazon is doing the opposite. They're probably practically giving away the hardware in hopes they'll realize more profits on the content you buy. And a device like this is just a small piece of a larger puzzle for Amazon and with their previous hardware experience its not a giant leap for them to produce a proprietary box.
For Roku, their device line is the puzzle. So sure, they have an easy to use SDK it is also proprietary. I'm guessing Amazon built the Fire TV on Android so new apps are really just Android apps.
: They did this last year and as a result I will never buy another Roku product again.
: I'm still dumbfounded that they based it on Visual Basic. Carl Sassenrath is an employee now. In my opinion they'd do well to scrap their existing VB-style SDK and base the next generation on Rebol.
I looked into writing for Roku, cracked open some docs, and that was the end of that.
I will buy one for sure
It probably has more to do with Apple than Amazon.
I think Amazon is trying to lock customers into thinking of Amazon products first whenever they search for anything Amazon sells.
This guess is made without knowledge of the specific situation between Apple/Amazon but having dealt with some similar service providers (when working for an electronics company).
Amazon is attempting vendor lockin.
If this thing played Blu Rays, I could dump my DVD player, my XBOX 360 (my wife and I mostly only play casual games or Wii, this seems like a good fit), and my reliance on other gaming consoles.
Amazon wants all roads to lead back to Amazon. This strategy is clear. They have their Instant Video streaming service, as well as their Appstore on pretty much any device or platform they can get on. They want ubiquity, so they can attract streaming customers from other services and THEN, and only THEN, lock them in with original content or a better customer experience.
They haven't done "vendor lock in" the same way we think of when we think of Microsoft or Apple. In fact, they've made it pretty clear they want fully compatibility with Android, which almost assumes its helping Google in the process.
They want Vendor lock in, not in the sense that your data isn't portable, but that you rely on only their services. They do this by slowly pushing you onto more of their specific hardware and bundling more services essentially exclusively with their products
Looking at it the other way, Amazon could build 20 teams to maintain the streaming software on all the devices, something that would be difficult to do at scale, profitably, while providing the solid customer experience Amazon has come to be known for. The detractors there would say "who cares if they don't lock you in, they cant, it sucks its slow and it crashes all the time." In my mind, Amazon is making the right choice, especially in the wake of Apple and Google.
As the customer, I couldn't care less. There is no "lock in" in this regard.
Wonder if its a DRM issue, or other hardware security issue for Android devices.
I suspect it's to attempt to railroad people into buying the Fire range of Android-based devices. Not for me thanks! Why do I need another Android device?
Mind you, if the Lovefilm "By Post" application is anything to go by, Amazon can't find any decent Android developers in the world to employ because that piece of software is dreadful. Truly truly dreadful. Buggy, crashy, laggy, all three. They decided to not use native lists but use some weird HTML system; look at the licenses on that app. It's rubbish.
So, either railroading or they can't find decent developers to write a video streaming app. After all, BBC iPlayer uses Air I think. That was never a painfree experience on Android.