Having effortlessly shifted from a bookseller to a trillion-dollar company with an extensive line of tech products, Amazon has brought us some of the best smart speakers and has even helped us choose the best Kindle to read our e-books. It's now looking to push the envelope even further, with reports that it's set to launch Amazon-branded TVs as soon as October, as well as a first-party TV designed in-house – although it's not entirely clear yet when that could be released.
Now that staff are slowly resurfacing in offices, buildings that once lay empty because of the pandemic are busy again, but the hours spent inside living rooms watching TV are likely to remain pretty stable. Amazon no doubt sees the potential in the TV sector, and while there are certainly more pressing questions to answer like, say, the type of consumer an in-house Amazon-designed TV could be aimed at, you've got to ask yourself one question: where does this stop?
Yes, according to Insider (opens in new tab), the new TVs will have screen sizes “in the range of 55 to 75 inches,” but will still be manufactured by third parties such as TCL. While some will be happy to hear of this development, I remain very much in the camp of those for which the news conjures up images of 1984-style two-way TVs – only these TVs don’t have Big Brother’s voice booming through them, but Alexa’s robotic tones.
Of course, it was always a given that these Amazon-branded TVs would come preloaded with Alexa as the key feature. Still, the cynic in me can't help but feel that Amazon is probably most concerned with getting its smart assistant into the focal area of homes that see the heaviest tech consumption – and less with bringing something new to the TV arena (though this is, of course, speculation). But I'd still hazard a guess that Amazon would be more than happy to sacrifice a couple of hundred dollars a TV to get Amazon and Fire TV Stick 4K content into as many households as it possibly can. Entangling more and more people into its wider product ecosystem is much more valuable in the long run to a company with a stock value that seems to just carry on growing (opens in new tab).
One brand to rule them all
This television malarky is by no means new territory for Amazon, either: it already sells self-branded Amazon Basics TV (opens in new tab) sets in India, where it partners with Radiant Appliances and Electronics to manufacture them. The October-release TVs will reportedly only have an Amazon-branded logo slapped onto them, as well, so third parties such as TCL will still be handling the manufacturing element. That in of itself feels like I'm being short-changed, although it's not unusual in a sector that outsources lots of the manufacturing process.
But it's rumors of Amazon's plans to release a first-party in-house TV that form perhaps the most intriguing part of this news. If it's true, then it means a far more aggressive approach from Amazon towards industry titans like LG and Samsung than we've seen before. Amazon would then have not only its more budget-friendly hardware, in which it partners with the likes of Best Buy to sell Toshiba and Insignia TVs, but it would now potentially be bringing a higher-end product to market, as well.
Although I'm sure that Vizio and Roku haven't been too happy catching wind of the rumors, what's arguably more interesting is how Amazon's deeper foray into the TV space might also be turning heads over at Apple and Google, as well. Both of which could – god forbid – be triggered into adopting a similar strategy if Amazon does decide to make move to capture the TV sector. For me, these are the unmistakable signs of the world inching closer and closer to its dystopian technology precipice. Once we lurch over the edge, a few tech brands will rule us all. And what to the voices of those brands, those that do their brands' bidding on cue? Well, that'd be Alexa and Siri.