Amazon has announced a major new milestone for Fire TV as it expands the technology to in-car entertainment and more.
That milestone? Fire TV has passed more than 40 million active users, Amazon says. And its moves this week indicate that it’s not going to slow down anytime soon.
As is the case with its Alexa-powered smart speakers and other devices, it’s getting hard to keep track of the Fire TV ecosystem. In addition to its own Fire TV-branded set-top boxes, Amazon notes that it debuted the first Fire TV Edition smart TV three years ago and that brand has since grown to include over 150 models in over 10 countries. And this year, it is expanding the program to include in-car entertainment systems, sound bars, and even service providers.
On the automobile front, Amazon is now partnering with BMW and Fiat Chrysler to bring hands-free Alexa capabilities, touch screen interfaces, and offline media playback functionality to in-car entertainment systems. Content can be streamed using a vehicle’s Wi-Fi or LTE connection, Amazon says, a mobile hotspot or any other WAN-enabled device.
Fire TV Edition for Soundbars—Amazon must have some former Microsoft executives branding these things—expands Fire TV to a fairly obvious new device type, and the Nebula Soundbar—Fire TV Edition is now being joined by the TCL Alto 8+ Soundbar—Fire TV Edition in the US and Canada and the TCL TS8011 Soundbar—Fire TV Edition in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. Amazon notes that Anker, Polk Audio, Tonly, and others will release Fire TV Edition for Soundbar products later this year, and that they will include new features like Dolby Atmos support, compatible device control, HDMI switching, far-field voice control, and various partner customizations.
As for service providers, Amazon has partnered with Tata Sky in India and Verizon in the United States. The firms will offer Fire TV hardware directly to their customers in what Amazon says is “a more customized and cost-effective way.” Fire TV Edition for Operators is available now in North America, Europe, India, and Japan.