Whenever an Amazon device goes on sale, someone inevitably says that Amazon is clearing out old stock to make room for a new model that must be right around the corner. Since the Amazon Fire TV Stick is currently on sale for $29.99 and this is the 5th sale for the device this year, which is unusually high, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about a possible Fire TV Stick 3. Here’s a rundown of what we know about the Fire TV Stick 3, when to expect it, and a whole bunch of speculation.
The current 2nd generation Fire TV Stick was released in October 2016, which was roughly 2 years after the 1st Fire TV Stick was released. The current Fire TV Stick will be 2 years old this October, so I think we’ll see a new Fire TV Stick 3 released near the end of this year, in October or November 2018.
But what about all the Fire TV Stick sales we’ve been seeing? Surely that’s an indicator of a new Firestick being released sooner than the end of the year, right? No, it isn’t. Amazon doesn’t tend to be the type to over produce their devices and necessitate a sale to get rid of stock. The only time that really happens with Amazon is if a device is a market failure, like the Fire Phone and all the sales it had at the end of its life cycle.
Amazon hardware sales are not an indicator that a new model will be coming out soon. A better indicator of a new Amazon device model coming out soon is a current device that unexpectedly goes out of stock and stays out of stock for a long period of time. It isn’t always the case, but several Fire TV models have become “currently unavailable” on Amazon several weeks before a new model is released. The 1st Gen Fire TV Stick voice bundle went out of stock about a month before the 2nd Gen Fire TV Stick was released and the Fire TV 1 went out of stock about a month before the Fire TV 2 was released.
As far as what we know about a potential Fire TV Stick 3, unfortunately, it’s nothing. There has been absolutely no indication whatsoever that a new Fire TV Stick is in the works at Amazon. Unlike past Fire TV and Fire TV stick models which leaked in one way or another, there have been no leaks at all of a Fire TV Stick 3. That’s not to say a new Firestick isn’t in the works. It’s likely just that Amazon has gotten a lot better at preventing leaks. We’re also still half a year from my predicted release date of October/November 2018, so it would be unusual to see leaks this early.
Since we don’t know what a Fire TV Stick 3 will have to offer, we can only speculate. I don’t think a new Fire TV Stick 3 will be all that different from the current Fire TV Stick 2. I’d expect it to have a very slightly faster processor, but nothing anywhere near the improvement we saw between the 1st Gen and 2nd Gen Fire TV Sticks. I would say we’ll perhaps see a bump up from 1 GB of RAM to 2 GB, but even that I don’t expect. I don’t think anyone who buys a Fire TV Stick 2 will be kicking themselves for not waiting for a new version.
I don’t think the Fire TV Stick 3 will be capable of 4K or HDR because I don’t think it’s possible yet to sell a 4K device for $39.99. I don’t think Amazon will increase the price of their entry level Fire TV Stick just to make all Fire TV models a 4K device. Until its possible to make a 4K Fire TV Stick for $39.99, which I don’t think will happen this year, I think the Fire TV Stick will continue to be a 1080p device.
That doesn’t mean a 4K Fire TV Stick this year is out of the question. I’d say there’s a 50/50 chance we’ll see a true Fire TV Stick capable of 4K and HDR that replaces the current Fire TV 3 pendant this year. If a 4K Fire TV Stick does get released, I think it’ll replace the current Fire TV 3 and be announced in addition to a new 1080p Fire TV Stick 3. I’d expect a 4K Fire TV Stick to cost $59.99, but a price of $49.99 is also plausible if Amazon wants to be very aggressive.
So, in my opinion, the Fire TV lineup this holiday season will be a new 1080p Fire TV Stick 3 for $39.99, either the existing 4K Fire TV 3 with a possible price drop or a new 4K Fire TV Stick for around $59.99, and the new cube-shaped Fire TV as the flagship model.