Amazon reportedly to launch ‘Firetube’ set-top box before 2013 holidays

By Alexandra Burlacu | Oct 04, 2013 09:29 AM EDT

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Amazon is reportedly gearing up to launch a set-top box before this year's holiday shopping season, which would challenge rivals such as Apple TV and Roku.

The company was expected to reveal its set-top box weeks ago, along with its new line of Kindle Fire tablets. Amazon announced three new tablets at the event, but made no mention of the much-rumored entertainment device.

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Rumors have also suggested recently that Amazon has been talking to developers to get them to create exclusive games or to tweak their current titles for its upcoming Android media device.

According to 9to5Google, Amazon has trademarked the "Firetube" name in the U.S. and Canada, suggesting it would be used for an Android "Fire" gadget designed to deliver digital content to the "tube."

The "Fire" part of the trademarked name suggests that Amazon's set-top box may be based on Fire OS 3.0, aka. Mojito.

Shortly after news of the new trademark emerged, the Wall Street Journal claimed it learned from its own sources that Amazon is gearing up to launch its set-top box before the holidays. The tipsters reportedly told the publication that the device looks similar to a Roku player and can install media apps to provide content from various sources. Moreover, the upcoming set-top box would also serve as a vessel for delivering content from the Amazon Prime subscription and purchases/rentals via Amazon Instant Video.

If the Firetube box will also have access to Amazon's Android-based Appstore, users will be able to download all sorts of apps for Hulu Plus, Netflix, Vudu and others such.

"Fire OS includes the core email and productivity apps, but we take a different approach when it comes to content," revealed Amazon Kindle Vice President Dave Limp. "Our content-first approach shapes the design of Fire OS - the home screen makes the most recent content items available instantly on the Carousel or Grid and consumers can move between their media libraries both on the device and in the cloud with a simple tap. We've also deeply integrated Amazon services directly into Mojito, such as the Mayday button, Second Screen, X-Ray for Movies & TV shows, and now X-Ray for Music."

Amazon has reportedly not set a precise date for launching its new device, and it has yet to consider potential pricing. Developers who have been approached by the company, however, have apparently received a mid-October deadline to submit apps for the Firetube hardware.

It's all in the rumor state for now, but all signs seem to point to an Amazon Firetube set-top box launching sometimes before the 2013 holidays. 



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