Amazon has announced a new version of its Fire TV Stick, a compact streaming dongle that’s a direct rival to Google’s Chromecast. The new streaming device comes with improved hardware, a more affordable price and will ship starting this October.
The new Amazon Fire TV Stick comes with a 1.3GHz quad-core Cortex-A7 processor along with the Mali-450MP4 GPU. It’s also packing 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, according to GSMArena. Amazon claims that the new hardware should make the new dongle 30 percent faster than its predecessor. As for connectivity, it comes with 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1 (upgraded from Bluetooth 3.0) support and an HDMI output.
The new Fire TV Stick is also capable of laying H.265 (HEVC) video format. Unfortunately, the dongle is only capable of streaming full HD 1080p resolution videos. This will most likely not get the attention of users who’ve already invested in 4K TVs, especially now that Google is expected to announce a new Chromecast next week that’s capable of 4K streaming.
One huge advantage of the new Fire TV Stick is its price tag. The dongle sells for just $39.99, far more affordable than the rumored $69 price tag of the upcoming Chromecast Ultra. As for software, the new Amazon Fire TV Stick will be running Fire OS 5, a modified version of Android 5.0 Lollipop. The dongle also lets users play games, which is yet another advantage over the Chromecast.
Another feature that has made its way to the new dongle is the addition of Alexa, which can now be controlled by the included Alexa Voice Remote. Users would be able to ask Alexa to search for shows, movies, open apps and control playback, according to ArsTechnica. Users will simply have to press the mic button on the remote to initiate a voice command for Alexa.
The new Fire TV Stick is now available to preorder from Amazon and is expected to start shipping on Oct. 20. Early birds will also be rewarded with free content from Amazon Video, Hulu and Sling TV, according to Engadget.