Fire TV Cube is a new device soon to be released by retail giant Amazon.
Now, nobody could accuse Amazon of not making enough Alexa devices. At time of writing there are seven devices (not including third-party units) dedicated to the voice assistant.
But we could be about to see one more added into the fold. Unlike the other smart speakers, this one looks like it isn’t going to bear the Echo moniker, instead being called the Fire TV Cube.
Official details are pretty thin on the ground at the moment, but given that Amazon has confirmed the name, we’re confident that it’s going to be a Fire TV device, and are fairly certain that we know what type of device it’s going to be thanks to a leak.
Fire TV is Amazon’s video streaming device, that allows you to plug-and-play your way to Amazon’s vast depository of content. You can already use Alexa on certain Fire TV devices, but only by pressing a button, or using a separate Echo device.
In this piece we’re going to be taking through everything we know for certain, the leaks, the rumors, and the things that we’re hoping to see from this new device.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Currently unconfirmed – most likely a Fire TV / Echo hybrid device
- When is it out? No fixed date, but seeing as Amazon’s talking about it we think 2018
- What will it cost? Given how aggressively Amazon prices the Echo range, we’re thinking it’ll be around $100
Fire TV Cube: official announcements
At time of writing, the only official announcement comes from Amazon’s website; there is a single, cryptic page emblazoned with the words: ‘What is Fire TV Cube?’
The words are backlit by a blue line, an obvious homage to the blue ring of light that sits at the top of the Echo devices, hinting that this is going to be an Alexa-powered device.
Under that, it teases that there are more ‘details coming soon’ and then there’s a button for signing up to a mailing list.
That’s it. We told you it was thin pickings. But, you’ll be happy to hear we’re pretty confident we know more about the device thanks to a leak from 2017.
Fire TV Cube: leaks and rumors
We have a fairly solid idea of what the Fire TV Cube is going to look like (yes it’s a cube) thanks to a leak from AFTVNews.
In the leaked image (above) you can see a device that has the same buttons and blue rim of Amazon’s Echo speakers, but in a square box.
We have faith that this leak is genuine thanks to the device that it’s sat next to. That’s the 2017 Amazon Fire TV, which at the time of the leak hadn’t been revealed yet.
In the leak, AFTVNews confirmed that the device will have a far-field microphone array and speaker built in, as well as infrared emitter that will allow it to control televisions and A/V equipment.
In terms of specs, we’ve not had a leak to the same extent of the other Fire TV devices (yet), but seeing as this is a flagship device we’re expecting 4K, with the ability to stream at 60fps like the 2017 Fire TV.
Fire TV Cube: what we want to see
Good sound quality
As a speaker specifically designed for television enthusiasts, we’re hoping that the sound quality is good enough that it can act as a television speaker, rather than a glorified television remote.
As there have been a number of smart speakers hitting the market recently (notably the Sonos One and HomePod), it wouldn’t be completely outside the realm of possibility for Amazon to make the Fire TV Cube their hat in this particular ring.
On a similar subject, if the Fire TV Cube is going to be a TV speaker, we’re hoping that there’ll be some way of linking multiple devices together to make a tannoy (or even surround-sound) system.
This is a feature that Apple has been touting for the HomePod, but is yet to deliver. Amazon already has the ability to create a network of Echo devices, so we’re hoping this technology can be used to solve the problem that is still taxing Apple.
High frame rate
The 2017 Fire TV dongle is capable of streaming at frame rates as high as 60fps, but considering some TV sets are coming out now that can handle 120fps, we're hoping that a flagship television device is going to be ready to handle this new format.
Voice search and control
With Alexa integration on current Fire TV devices you can search for shows by name, star, genre, and more. We're hoping that this device will have full functionality, including the ability to control playback.
Smart home control
Given the Cube is likely to have IR, we're holding out hope that it may also have Zigbee, the wireless protocol present in the Echo Plus, also making the Fire TV Cube a smart home hub.
- Want to know about what else Amazon's been working on? Check out: Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition makes Alexa voice assistant child friendly