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Fire TV Cube: Amazon's new bid at smart-home simplicity

Fire TV Cube: Amazon's new bid at smart-home simplicity Featured

Amazon on Thursday unveiled the Fire TV Cube, essentially the love child of a Fire TV streamer and Echo speaker rolled into one boxy design.

The device becomes Amazon's 11th Alexa-powered gadget, which may seem overwhelming for someone just learning about the company's smart speaker lineup. Yet the purpose of this particular device appears to go further than being just another Alexa product, pointing to Amazon's vision of making our connected homes simpler and more refined, not just jammed with more electronics.

At a briefing earlier this week in a Manhattan hotel, Sandeep Gupta, a Fire TV vice president, gestured toward three separate remotes that operated a nearby TV: there was the cable box remote, the TV remote and the sound bar remote. Using the Cube sitting by the television, he bypassed the familiar juggle of remotes with the help of voice commands and the Cube's slim remote.

"The goal here is to declutter people's lives, declutter the complexity of controlling your home entertainment system and make it easier to use," he said.

The Cube, which the secretive company uncharacteristically teased out earlier this year, serves as one more element in Amazon's bid to dominate the smart home. That work includes the company's portfolio of Echo smart speakers, Ring and Blink security cameras and video doorbells, and its Amazon Key in-home delivery service. But as the company has raced to come up with more and more new gadgets for the home -- reportedly even cooking up a home robot -- it will likely need to combine more of these devices' functions and simplify things for us, lest we get confused by all these options or get crushed under a mountain of Amazon doodads.

The Cube may help with that, allowing folks to cut down on all those remotes, and remove the need for separate Fire TV and Echo devices. Those may be small steps, but could eventually add up to a more seamless smart home of the future. That's the hope, anyways.

The new gadget also highlights Amazon's work to specialize its Echo devices for every room and scenario in your home, starting with the generalist Echo speaker, then building up to the Echo Look for you closet, Echo Spot for the nightstand and now Fire TV Cube for the entertainment center. The Cube is also part of Amazon's continued work to add Alexa controls into nearly all its consumer devices, including its Fire tablets and previous Fire TV devices.

Additional Info

  • Origin: cnet/GhAgent