Amazon and Best Buy are putting aside their rivalry for the time being, and instead teaming up in order to sell smart TVs powered by none other than Amazon’s Fire TV operating system. At a Best Buy store in Bellevue, Washington, the CEOs of the respective retailers, Jeff Bezos and Hubert Joly, unveiled their new collaboration. In total, the duo will sell 11 models of these TVs beginning this summer. The actual hardware will be provided by Toshiba, as well as Best Buy’s own brand, Insignia. Not only will you be able to buy these television sets in Best Buy stores and on its website, but also through Amazon.com.
The move may seem strange given that the two retailers have traditionally battled for market share, but Bezos told reporters that despite the fact that the companies seem at odds, the two companies “trust each other,” which makes a “deeply integrated” partnership possible. And to be fair, Amazon and Best Buy have worked together in some capacity for many years — for example, you can find certain Amazon products like Kindles at Best Buy brick and mortar locations.
However, in this instance, Best Buy is the one with plenty to gain. As the Wall Street Journal notes, the new deal allows Best Buy access to Amazon’s expansive online customer base. “What’s new in this partnership is the depths of the physical integration between the software and the hardware,” Joly said. “The two companies are retailers but they’re also product companies.”
So what exactly can we expect from the new televisions? For starters, you’ll definitely have deep Alexa integrations — all TVs will come equipped with a voice-capable remote, and can also be controlled via your Echo device. You can ask Alexa to turn on the TV, change the channel, or find you a specific show to watch. It’s unclear as of yet exactly how much these television sets will cost, though it’s likely the case that they’ll be more expensive than the Fire TVs that Amazon made in partnership with Element in 2017. Those TVs, by the way, are sold out and will not be restocked.
“Amazon and Best Buy have a long history of working together, and today we take our partnership to a new level,” noted Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos in a press release. “These Fire Edition smart TVs by Insignia and Toshiba deliver beautiful visuals and all the movies and TV shows you love, with an experience that gets better every day with Alexa.”
The first TV to launch will be the Fire TV Edition Toshiba smart TV, which will be made available at Best Buy this summer. Other models will soon follow in the U.S. Canadian customers will also be able to reap the fruits of this new partnership, though they’ll have to wait until later in 2018.
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