Exclusive: Amazon is working on a 3rd-Gen Fire TV Cube code named Gazelle

Amazon’s current flagship Fire TV model, the 2nd-gen Fire TV Cube, was released in late 2019. While it’s still the best-performing Fire TV model and is holding its own among other premium streaming devices, at nearly 3 years old, it’s due for an update. It’ll probably come as no surprise, but I’ve found solid evidence that Amazon is currently working on a 3rd-generation Fire TV Cube under the code name Gazelle.

Each Fire TV device has a unique designation called a build model that starts with “AFT…” and can be used by app developers to identify precisely which version and generation Fire TV is being used. For example, the 1st-gen Fire TV Cube uses the build model AFTA and the 2nd-gen Fire TV Cube uses the build model AFTR. Over the last few weeks, Amazon has pushed out Fire TV software updates that contain a never before seen build model AFTGAZL with strong evidence that it is the designation for an upcoming 3rd-gen Fire TV Cube.

The new build model on its own is certainly not enough evidence to conclude a new stand-alone Fire TV model is coming since Amazon’s software updates regularly gain new build models for the numerous Fire TV Smart TVs being released on a regular basis worldwide. However, unlike most of the other Fire TV build models, the new AFTGAZL model is grouped with both previous Fire TV Cube models in Amazon’s recent software updates, with all three explicitly identified as Fire TV Cubes, due to their unique capabilities that separate them from other Fire TV models.

The letters after “AFT…” in the build model are usually a reference to the device’s code name. For example, the “A” in the 1st-gen Fire TV Cube’s “AFTA” build model is the first unused letter in its code name Stark, since both “AFTS” and “AFTT” were already used for older Fire TV models. The “R” in the 2nd-gen Fire TV Cube’s “AFTR” build model is for that model’s code name Raven. I made the obvious guess that “GAZL” in the new 3rd-gen Fire TV Cube’s build model stood for Gazelle and was able to find a recently uploaded “Gazelle.jpg” image on Amazon’s server of a Fire TV Cube, which confirms the new device’s code name. The “Gazelle.jpg” image doesn’t reveal anything about the device, as it is identical in every way to an image of the existing Fire TV Cube. There is no way to know if the next Fire TV Cube will actually look identical to the current Fire TV Cube or if Amazon is just using a temporary placeholder image for the new model, which Amazon has done in the past with other unreleased models.

As for specs of the unreleased 3rd-gen Fire TV Cube, very little is known at this time. Unlike my past Fire TV device leaks, none of the information I have about the new model comes from insider sources. It is all derived from digging through recently released Fire TV software updates that contain code that is common between existing Fire TV models and this new one. Other than the new Gazelle model being classified as a Fire TV Cube, the only other specs that the software updates reveal are that it has an internal speaker and internal IR blasters, just like the existing Fire TV Cube.

Moving into speculation territory, I’d say it’s safe to assume that the new Gazelle model will move up from WiFi 5, found in the current Fire TV Cube, to WiFi 6. That’s because the recently released Fire TV Stick 4K Max is the first Fire TV model to feature WiFi 6, so it would be absurd for the next flagship Fire TV to not match that cheaper device’s WiFi capabilities. I also expect Gazelle to have a faster CPU and GPU, but I honestly wouldn’t be too disappointed if the same 6-core CPU in the existing Fire TV Cube is used in the new model if it means it has a lower price or the cost that would have otherwise gone into a better SoC was used elsewhere for other improvements, since the existing SoC still outperforms nearly every mainstream streaming device.

I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t expect the 3rd-gen Fire TV Cube to be much different from the existing model. There is undoubtedly a laundry list of hardware features that enthusiasts would want to see in a new flagship Fire TV model, but I suspect Amazon will stick to its formula of bumping up a few key specs and leaving most of the device unchanged from the previous model. While flagship device buyers tend to be the most vocal customers, the unfortunate truth for enthusiasts is that budget-friendly Fire TV Stick models make up over 90% of all Fire TV devices in the wild, which leaves very little reason for Amazon to put a lot of effort into the next flagship Fire TV.

Traces of a new model leaking into Amazon’s Fire TV software updates are usually an indication that the new device is nearing its release date. Amazon typically announces new Fire TV models in September and releases them in October, so I expect we’ll learn a lot more about the new 3rd-gen Fire TV Cube in the coming months. That said, electronic device manufacturers are still plagued with part shortages and pandemic-related delays, so we might not see the new model released until early next year.

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63 comments
  1. Al says:

    Can I ask you help? I have an Amazon cube, gen2. On the remote, there are 4 quick buttons; prime video, netflix, disney+ and hulu. Can these be reprogrammed to other apps?

    Thank you!

  2. 666 says:

    The current CPU doesn’t support AV1 so it needs to be changed, 4k max does already. It wouldn’t kill them to make the cube in a 2 or 3 other colors and add a clock to the side.

    • Greg says:

      I knew something fishy was going on – so glad to hear this news!!

      @666 – Clock is a great idea!!

    • Yeah, AV1 support is a given too, since Google is essentially requiring it for YouTube. The 3rd-gen Cube definitely won’t have the exact same SoC. It just may end up being a very similar one with some minor tweaks, like the differences between the SoC in the Fire TV Stick 4K and the 3rd-gen Fire TV Stick. I should have mentioned that.

      • 666 says:

        I don’t think it will be a small change in soc because the one they’re using now, the amlogic s922x is kind of old and it really doesn’t have a small upgraded version like the mediatek ones used on the sticks have. The s905x4 allows for av1 but it’s rather weak (quad core), if they want av1 without downgrading in power, I’d guess they’ll go to the Amlogic A311D2 or just ditch Amlogic and have all their line-up run on mediateks.

      • Neogeo71 says:

        If AV1 is required by Google, will YouTube stop working on existing devices?

        • Shirley Dulcey says:

          Not for quite a few years. There are plenty of older devices out there that don{t support AV1. Netflix and YouTube will continue to send streams using older, less efficient codecs to those.

          But.. you may not get as good an experience. Either they will use more data, which can mean more buffering, or the stream will be encoded at lower quality. Farther down the line, the streaming services might stop offering 4K to those old devices and limit them to lower resolutions such as 1080p.

        • Shirley is spot on. The 1st-gen Fire TV and Fire TV Stick don’t support HEVC/H.265, but those devices are still chugging along just fine even though the streaming industry primarily uses those codecs. I would say that fear of losing support is not a reason to upgrade unless your device is 6+ years old. If/when services switch to newer security standards, that’s when they tend to cut off older devices because logging in would no longer be possible. That’s what happened with the original Apple TV being made obsolete.

  3. Swagui says:

    I would imagine a fire cube with a studio echo speaker included and a camera like the portal tv

  4. Shirley Dulcey says:

    The recent fire sales on the Cube also suggest that a new model is on the way.

    As for what we’ll get, I expect that it will have AV1 support and WiFi 6, or maybe even 6e. A faster CPU will come along for the ride with the AV1-capable SoC. Aside from that it’s likely to stay the course, looking and behaving similarly to the current Cube.

  5. Steve says:

    I’m wondering in addition to the new cube, if we might see new Omni TV models this fall.

    • There are several new Fire TV Smart TV models scattered around the software updates, but most have little to no extra info other than their existence. I was initially going to include what I found about them in this article, but I couldn’t confirm as much about the TVs as I could about the new Cube. I will say that there is evidence of a set of new Fire TV Smart TVs code named “Kaine” that have hints of either being all-new Omni/4-Series TVs or an international release of the existing Omni/4-Series TVs for the UK and Germany. I couldn’t pin down which of those two it was, if any, so I left them out of the article.

  6. Kir says:

    1. support for all languages ​​- like all Android devices.
    2. exFAT (!!!!!)
    3. mouse support. and the right button works “Back”
    4. 3.5mm audio output
    5. USB-C (USB 3.0)

    .

  7. The Skulls paylist says:

    only cause youtubers will promote this why specs aren’t so good wow wif6 gezz the specs arnt worth the price as it is anyways when you got meecool has better specs only way we get better specs if youtubers dont promote crap this would be 1gig box cause it amazon they will promote it

    • Tom Milliken says:

      If you know what your doing you can get a Cube for $19 brand new and Mecool ain’t got shit on Amazon with updates and even tho the s922x came out 4years ago it’s still only beaten by the Shield (TegraX2, same processor is used in the Nintendo Switch), so yes if AV1 and Wifi6 can be added to the s922x why change it

  8. Darryl G says:

    Nice to know. Hope it is able to lock the ‘auto resolution’ from changing itself while I change content, it’s preventing me from getting 4K on certain apps. Thanks.

  9. Jing Pak says:

    Any hope of Gigabit ethernet port?

    • Ari says:

      That’s exactly what I was going to say!! My Apple TV 4K gets almost a gigabyte (around 960 megabytes) upload/download on speedtest.

  10. Marc S Ciresa says:

    An octacore 64 bit chip and 4gb of ram and 32gb of storage!

  11. Harry says:

    I bought a new Amazon Cube TV, during set-up it gave an error that unable to update. Contacted Amazon Support, four different techs tried to help but could not fix. I had to return it and still using my Fire Stick.

  12. Martin Phillp says:

    The new Cube really needs a USB Type C port and an upgraded Ethernet Adaptor for faster speeds.

    • Mark says:

      My 2nd Gen Cube gets faster speeds over wi-fi than direct connect…and I have high-speed fiber into the house.

      • Adam says:

        Probably because, if I’m correct, the Ethernet adapter in the Fire Cube is topped out at 100 Mbps, whereas wifi can go way higher with good reception, so your possibly gigabit(?) fiber never really comes into play.

        • Shirley Dulcey says:

          Correct. Amazon’s Ethernet adapter is only 10/100. It’s not important in normal use because no streaming service uses bit rates that even approach 100 Mbps, let alone exceed it. It also doesn’t speed up software updates much because most of the time is spent installing the update, not downloading it. The higher speed could matter if you sideload Plex (or a similar app) and have local content that uses higher bit rates.

          • Adam says:

            Yeah, the latest Fire Cube’s NIC is definitely up to the task of current commercial streaming service requirements that top out at around 25 Mbps for what is currently called “4k” or “UHD”, which also includes Atmos and all the goodies.

            Honestly IMHO, the current Fire Cube network hardware is pretty future-proofed against any potential commercial streaming requirements for quite some time. If all you do is Netflix, Amazon Prime, Youtube and … honestly, any commercial streaming server in existence that I know of, you’re pretty well set for a long while with the current Cube’s network hardware.

            The only contemporary advantage I see for a gigabit NIC is for local streaming of direct rips of real actual uncompressed 4k media or downloaded high bitrate files, both of which contain information that the online streaming services are omitting from their stream because they, almost certainly accurately, estimate the public won’t miss.

            But, I’m talking well outside my expertise here. The information on local media streaming requirements, optimal or even minimal, is sparse, to say the least.

          • Martin Phillp says:

            Which is why I have to use a NVidia Shield for Plex and Emby over the Cube.

    • Rik Emmett says:

      I use a small micro USB to USB C adapter, but yes, I’m sure they will move to USB C.

  13. BobR says:

    Agree it would need to catch up to Firestick Max features, but what else will differentiate it — a real RJ45 GigEth port, what else? I picked up an Apple TV 4k during Prime Day for $109. Around that price I would get the Apple TV over Cube 3 for normal streaming

  14. Chris Balfour says:

    Hopefully gigabit LAN will be there at last. It’s criminal not to include it on such a model

  15. Kir says:

    The IMAGE QUALITY of the Fire TV Cube 2019 is much,
    much (!) better than the Stick Max and 4K. much! and the
    image quality of the Stick is at the level of Chinese junk

  16. Mikhail says:

    I hope Amazon comes out with a firestick device that with DVR capabilities and more storage. The firestick storage has never increased.

    • Shirley Dulcey says:

      Amazon sells the Fire TV Recast, a networked DVR that can interact with Alexa and with a Fire TV. But they have never offered a device that combines the DVR capability with a Fire TV or Stick.

  17. Craig says:

    I will be buying this if it offers a good enough spec boost over the previous. USB C, gigabit ethernet and WiFi 6 is a must to stay relevant.

  18. priority1 says:

    An addition of ARC capability would be wonderful!

  19. Sean says:

    Will the new box have a gigabit ethernet socket

  20. Rik Emmett says:

    With the crash of crypto currency, Amazon should be able to make significant upgrades to the SOC of the new cube at little to no extra cost, but it really only benefits those using the cube outside of the Amazon ecosystem and the same goes for high speed ethernet. The 16GB of storage is the main attraction for the cube to be able to install all of the apps from a cable subscription. The sticks lack the storage capacity and many apps do not allow installation on external storage anymore.

  21. MBR says:

    Reminds me of the old Boxee Box, just not as cool or relevant for the times. Still like one.

  22. Rayzor says:

    *sigh* guess there will never be a true next gen update to the Fire TV 2nd gen. Shame that. Still pound for pound the best Fire TV device Amazon ever released.

  23. Kurt says:

    Add a led clock like the dot,
    Rechargeable remote via USB c and qi, like a drop in dock
    Back light on remote
    As the high price you don’t get a lot, my new Samsung tv has replaced my TV cube 2nd gen, faster doesn’t need to reboot every week or so,

  24. clocks says:

    One feature I would like to see, is something similar to the upscaling feature that the ShieldTV has.

  25. thetechjester says:

    I’d LOVE to see:
    1. A sleep timer! Please, for the love of everything holy, add a freaking sleep timer! Just like the one they’ve had on every Dot I’ve ever owned.
    2. GB Ethernet port.
    3. WiFi6 would be icing on the cake.

    • clocks says:

      I’m pretty sure if you set the sleep timer on your tv, the FTV will stop streaming and go to sleep when the TV does. At least I think that is how mine has been working.

      • thetechjester says:

        True. But,and I know this may sound like I’m whining, the whole point of me integrating everything in the house over to Amazon land (especially using a Cube to control TV, AVR, game consoles, BD, etc) is to reduce the number of remotes I have to use to control every device and do it all with their remote and my voice.

  26. Rik Bert says:

    I’d be happy if they jacked up the system ram to 6 gigs and more storage ram to 128 gigs for storing movies and music internally instead of having to connect external USB port memory. Also a built-in gigabit net RJ45 would help to resolve wifi interference from a microwave oven for those that have an open floor plan (kitchen/family room) living space.

  27. Bert says:

    If it doesn’t have a real Ethernet port then I won’t get it.

  28. RJ says:

    You wouldn’t be disappointed if they used the same CPU from 3 years ago?? Are you on crack?

  29. Dave says:

    What’s your problem with the. New 4 k fire stick
    You can’t put I’m your wifi password

  30. Ryan says:

    I want to see Wifi 6 on the new model

  31. Stephen O. Frazier says:

    There’s no comment re what types of devices this updated Fire Cube will work with – in particular, hearing aids. Will it incorporate Bluetooth Auracast technology that would allow it to stream to multiple users of ear buds, hearing aids or other hearing augmentation devices?

  32. Steve says:

    In addition to WiFi 6 and the SoC upgrade to handle AV1, I would also redirect them to integrate a USB-C port, not doing so would greatly reduce its appeal and make it outdated almost immediately.

  33. Steve says:

    I wouldn’t “expect” not redirect

  34. Jeff Stadt says:

    If They add a new soc that would be great. But what is really needed in a streaming device? Av1, USB-C, Storage (16gigs), Ram if going to 64-bit os, Gig Nic, Wifi 6. IMO if the os is not coded to take advantage of the new CPU whats the point. The current os is so out dated and the interface is very much lacking. Very little to no customization by the user. 3rd party launchers no go. If Amazon wants to stand out with a great device alot has to be changed and revamped. I just dont see them doing it. We will get a new soc some other improvements but nothing to say WOW. 2 options in developer mode is a joke for the end user buying. As a buyer we should have some control over how we would like to set it up and use the device. I am hoping for good things when it is released. Just have to see. +

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