Will Amazon destroy the Apple TV with an Android console?

Today in Open Source: Amazon preps Android gaming and TV console launch for later this year. Plus: Linux Mint versus Ubuntu versus Chromebooks, and a first look at the Maxthon cloud browser for Linux

Amazon's Kindle TV?

GameSpot is reporting that an Android gaming and TV console is on the way from Amazon.

Retail behemoth Amazon will launch its rumored Android-powered games and entertainment device in 2014 at a price point below $300. The device shown to publishers is believed to be about the same size as the redesigned PSOne, grey in color, and featuring sharp edges.

Overall, Amazon's console aims to be the focus of the living room, tying together the suite of entertainment content Amazon offers--like digital music, movies, games, and TV shows.

More at GameSpot
Amazon Android Games
Image credit: Amazon

I speculated about this a while back in an earlier article. It seems like a smart move for Amazon to push its content and services into the living room. Their product seems to be clearly modeled on the Apple TV, but with games and apps included with the system (the current model of Apple TV does not offer games or apps, but this may be changing soon).

The thing that gives me pause about it though is the potential price tag of the console. The article simply says it will be "below $300." That's a very vague pricing possibility, and price might be very important since Amazon is not the only one rumored to be working on this kind of console.

Apple TV has been around a long time, but reports seem to indicate that Apple has finally stopped considering it a hobby. Apple TV now has its own link on the front page of Apple's online store, and rumors are swirling that a revamped Apple TV - with an app store and gaming capabilities - might be launched very soon.

Currently Apple TV sells for $99, and that's quite a bit below $300. If Apple launches a beefed up Apple TV that can play games then it's possible the price might rise accordingly. But I doubt very much it will be anywhere near $300.

So Amazon is going to have to make sure that it's Android-based console is priced competitively with Apple TV. Fortunately, Amazon is known for offering low cost products that allow it to make money via content rather than through hardware sales. I expect they'll do something similar with this new Android gaming and TV console.

I wonder what Amazon will call their new console. The Kindle TV? While it wouldn't be very original, it probably makes sense since the Kindle is such a well known brand. A Kindle TV would become another part of the larger Kindle product family.

I expect that the Kindle TV or whatever it is called will also offer music, TV shows, movies and other content. Amazon would not be foolish enough to limit it just to games when the company makes most of its money from the sale of content. So the new console will offer the largest variety of content categories possible.

One thing that perplexes me about Apple is how long it's taken them to produce a version of Apple TV that can run games and other apps. They may still beat Amazon to market with this kind of product, but it should have happened years ago.

Apple has been dragging its feet for what seems like an eternity with the Apple TV. Their reticence has given Amazon time to prepare to enter the TV console market. Apple may yet rue the day it let Amazon catch up to the Apple TV with an Android-based alternative.

We'll have to wait and see what the final specs and prices are on each product. It may play out the same way it has with tablets. Apple will hit the market first with a higher priced, premium product. And then Amazon may follow with a lower cost, budget-conscious alternative.

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