New Amazon Fire takes aim at Apple

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) may have justified that hike in Prime membership fees with the introduction of Amazon Fire, a set-top box that streams content from Amazon and entertainment partners.

The box is clearly positioned to compete with Apple TV and Roku, and is priced competitively with Apple's device: both are $99. Like its competitors, the box is essentially a hard drive that connects to the TV and streams content through a wireless network.

There are a host of apps that let viewers access content from partners including Showtime (but not HBO Go), Hulu Plus, Pandora and Netflix. But of course, it's optimized to work with Amazon's Instant Video service.  

There's also an Amazon Fire game controller.

Amazon Fire is all about Amazon making itself indispensable to shoppers, whether it's ubiquitous availability, fast and free shipping, same day delivery or increased entertainment options.

With Amazon Fire, the higher Prime membership fees become a bit more defensible, and attractive to consumers. In March, the online retailer announced the annual membership fee for its Prime membership program, that includes streaming services, would go from $79 to $99.

For more:
-See this Amazon Fire explanation
-See this endgadget review

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