More Amazon hardware rumours – a Chromecast-style stick?

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Another day, another trickle of rumours about Amazon’s grand hardware plans. For ages there have been repeated rumours that the company are working on some sort of set-top-box that will plug into your TV… now the rumours are pointing at something more akin to Google’s Chromecast.

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The Chromecast – which oddly enough launches in the UK tomorrow is a small dongle that plugs into a spare HDMI port, and enables the streaming of various web content straight to the TV – so you can watch YouTube videos on the big screen, and so on.

Amazon’s, umm, dongle is rumoured to be similar in form factor, and presumably be controlled with either a tablet, phone, or that fancy games controller we found out about the other day.

The most interesting thing is perhaps another rumour on the gaming front. Previously, we had all assumed that the controller would be used for controlling relatively low-tech Android games, like you can play on your phone. The suggestion is though that Amazon are instead looking into launching a game streaming service – a la On Live, which could make playing the sorts of triple-A blockbuster titles we see on the Xbox One and PS4 possible with just an Amazon dongle and an internet connection.

The way it would work is pretty clever. Like On-Live, all of the complex processing is done on a server somewhere hundreds of miles from your house – so all the dongle would do is relay your button presses to the server, and stream a video of the generated image back to your screen. This would make perfect sense too – one of the billion other things Amazon do is offer big server infrastructure, through the Amazon Web Services platform. So they’re already half way there.

The device is rumoured to be launching next month (at least in America, presumably) – so we should hopefully know more then. Then we can start asking Amazon why they’re apparently buying parts for making mobile phones….

James O’Malley