Amazon readies its potentially game-changing set-top box, aims for March release

According to reports by CNET and Recode, Amazon has pinned down March as the birth-month for its Android-fueled set-top box. Adding hardware to its already rapidly-strengthening position in the streaming media space means this could be a game-changing move in a space that is already rife with tumult. 

We’ve kept Amazon and its ongoing set-top box project in the corner of our eye for quite some time now. Early whispers of the mega-company’s foray into media-streaming hardware surfaced in April 2013, with rumored names for the box including Kindle TV, Kindlebox, etc. Then in October, the Wall Street Journal hinted at Amazon’s aiming for the 2013 holiday season as a landing pad for the set-top box’s release. We delved into the saga again, reporting that the specifications of the box, now nicknamed “Cinnamon,” and, most importantly, its Amazon-only content limitation, had broadened.

It was deemed likely that applications appearing on the Kindle Fire tablets (Netflix, Hulu Plus, etc.) would also appear on the set-top box, positioning Cinnamon as a definite competitor of Roku and Apple TV.

Contextually, the box’s release could lend Amazon some seriously profitable steam: consider the retail behemoth’s ownership of the cloud servers used by Netflix, its relatively well-received lunge into original content, and its increasingly robust Amazon Prime service, and one can see the potential outcomes of such a move.

The plot thickens in light of a report last month from VG247: Amazon unveiled its plan to launch, sometime this year, a device dedicated solely to games and entertainment. Could this be bundled in with the set-top box? It’s certainly possible, considering Amazon’s posting of ads in search of veteran game designers for hire, just over a month ago via LinkedIn.

Theories and projections aside, one of the only certainties here is the undeniable fact that the content-streamer game is poised to change, for Amazon’s gain or loss.

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