Thoughts on an Amazon Fire TV 2

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With the recent release of new Fire Tablets and Kindle E-Readers, the Amazon Fire TV is now the oldest product in the family of flagship Amazon devices. That got me thinking about where we are in the lifespan of the current Fire TV and what the future will bring.

Branding
amazon-hardware-family
The image above was included under the heading “MEET THE FAMILY” in a promotional email sent out yesterday for the new Fire Tablets and Kindle E-Readers. That Amazon Fire TV logo sure does stick out as the odd one out among the recent rebranding of Amazon’s devices. The Fire TV was the first Amazon device to omit the Kindle name; a trend Amazon has continued with the new tablets. The Fire Phone was the first Amazon device to omit the Amazon logo; a trend Amazon has once again continued with the new tablets and e-readers. From a branding perspective, the Fire TV is already outdated and due for a refresh.

Hardware
fire-tv-specs-comparision
From a hardware perspective, it’s an entirely different story. The Amazon Fire TV is a powerhouse compared to its current competition. I wouldn’t be surprised if the current Fire TV specs stay on par with the next generation Apple TVs and Rokus. Amazon has definitely tried to make the Fire TV future proof when it comes to hardware. The Fire TV’s $93 manufacturing cost proves they packed as much into the device as they could. I know many owners will be quick to point out the limited internal storage, but whether we like it or not, the trend keeps moving towards the cloud for storage, and none of Amazon’s devices have shown any signs of diverging from that trend. From a specs perspective, the Fire TV wont be outdated anytime soon.

Life Cycle

“I think for a lot of people they will have it (Fire TV) for two, three or four years.” -Peter Larsen, Amazon Vice President

When it comes down to it, the big question is whether the Fire TV 2 will be released next year or the year after. Amazon Vice President Peter Larsen has been quoted saying “We update these things at least once every two years. So I think for a lot of people they will have it for two, three or four years.” when speaking about the Fire TV. Every device from Amazon, apart from the very first Kindle E-Reader, has been updated like clockwork on a 1 year cycle. That said, the current Fire TV is a very capable device. Enough so that it could easily be the first recent Amazon device to break the 1 year renewal trend. Remember, the rest of the world is just now starting to get their hands on the Fire TV. Some won’t even see their orders ship until the end of the year. A 1 year cycle would have a 2nd generation Fire TV be released just 4 months after some orders for the current Fire TV leave the warehouse. I’d imagine that would make quite a few Amazon customers upset. If I had to pick a date, my money is on a late-2015 to early-2016 2nd Generation Fire TV release. Just in time for when 4K TVs start to go mainstream. Fire TV 4K anyone?

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15 comments
  1. Artur says:

    Just to note, Kindle Fire HDX 7” and Kindle Paperwhite both don’t get updates this fall.

  2. Mike says:

    There hasn’t been enough software to use all the horsepower of the fire tv. It would be a waste unless the software plans to get better. The game front has been lacking for months so don’t see how better hardware would improve that.

    • Rick says:

      Agree completely. The hardware is more than sufficient for what they have delivered from the software side. They haven’t convinced developers to use the Fire TV, and further upgrading the hardware isn’t going to do anything. Especially games – what isn’t a tablet port is a lazy effort at selling something for a buck or two, very little coming close to the unit’s capabilities.

  3. forty0z310 says:

    usually you see an upgrade to a device when there are price drops on a product. We have seen price drops on the current firetv. Sure some will upgrade if there is a new version of firetv but I think that most will stick with the “current gen” of firetv. It runs really good and xbmc is really what we care about here. To me the firetv runs xbmc perfect. I’m coming from a Appletv2 and the Appletv just wasn’t for me. It was to slow and not much you can really do.

  4. hdmkv says:

    The biggest issue with FTV gen 1 is the paltry 8GB storage (of which only 5+ is usable). Can’t install more than a couple of games before being forced to remove games(s) to install new ones. Other than this, I’m happy with FTV. Another nice thing would be for Amazon to allow sideloaded apps to appear on home screen.

    • Jim says:

      I’m sure you’re aware of this, but if you root your device, you can install a custom launcher that has any app you’d like listed and easily accessed. This includes selecting the AFTV Launcher app that is the default stock launcher that you’re referring to.

      • matt says:

        That is IF you don’t have 5.1.1.3 firmware… Mine auto updated and I even blocked the URLS on the firewall. Ohh well, I can still get XBMC to run so i’m OK with it. Just wish I could side load an SNES emulator and access a USB storage for all the ROM’s…

      • hdmkv says:

        I’m aware, and tried a fast 16GB USB stick for app storage, but performance on apps/data being pulled from USB was sluggish, especially games.

      • Tony says:

        You do not have to be rooted to do that just get Firestarter apk

  5. Tinwarble says:

    Although it’s fun to speculate on the next iteration of the Fire TV, I don’t think that we will see a new version for a while. As stated in the article, the Fire TV is already a powerhouse and if I had to take a guess for the next version, I would put my money on it being closer to late 2016.

    I think the better speculation would be in whether the Fire TV will get a Android TV, or at the least a Fire OS based on Android TV update which would make it a more “TV friendly” device and make it so that more of the capabilities of the SoC can be used. Especially for those of us who use it mainly for XBMC/Kodi.

  6. dbdoshi says:

    I am looking forward to USB 3.0 port in the new FTV and native support for USB port. I can live with ~5 GB of internal storage, but USB 2.0 is just not good enough.

  7. jimberkas says:

    I really like the fire tv and think its time for roku to up their game (have four of those). I’ll probably try the Nexus Player next. But if someone was able to just install the Android TV ROM on the FTV, that would be pretty sweet. I just like to tinker, hardly ever actually have time to watch shows or movies, and certainly no time for gaming. these streamers are just awesome tinkering devices since they are so cheap.

  8. Mark W says:

    The next generation of Fire TV (and Roku for that matter) should include an OTA tuner and USB External HDD/DVR. Now you’ve got the complete cord cutting device.

  9. williameto says:

    I would be happy with a compatible TV Tuner dongle like the one that you could purchase as an accessory for Boxee Box back in the day.

  10. Kodi Fire says:

    Fire TV 2 is great news for Kodi fans! This means more processing power for watching HD content. Also, it will be capable of emulating more games and more systems than the current FireStick (see current list of compatible N64 games at kodifiretvstick.com).

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