US media is reporting that the device, dubbed ‘Frank’, would create a hub for the company’s online video services.
Many of the features touted for Frank will be familiar within the pay-TV market, recording live TV, streaming video to a smartphone for later viewing, the difference is that Frank will connect to Amazon’s Echo speakers and fire TV devices as the parcels company extends its reach through the home.
In the United States the launch is being interpreted as a blow to Tivo, whose shares slipped following the reports, but it is equally a challenge to pay-TV operators already seeing Amazon buying up content they could once claim as an exclusive.
Among the smart speakers Amazon Alexa remains the market leader, but according to Strategy Analytics, it is losing ground. In the first quarter of 2018 Amazon shipped about 4 million Alexa units, while Google shipped about 2.5 million units, and newer entrant Apple shipped about 600,000 of its HomePods.
An upgrade to Amazon’s Fire TV stick is also in the works.