Amazon's new Fire TV Cube turns Alexa into your remote


And as expected, it's a hybrid between a Fire TV and an Amazon Echo. The new device can also do typical Alexa tasks, such as playing "Jeopardy!" or fetching the weather, even when the TV is off. The firm didn't explain why its entry into the market was delayed, considering countries like Finland and Peru had access to both the Alexa assistant and Amazon Echo, but it might be something to do with the AI now supporting the French language.

Nvidia's Shield also offers hands-free streaming using Google's digital assistant. Sure, you can do that with commands Amazon has created for the Fire Cube, such as "Alexa, show me more", but it's better with a remote.

The Fire TV Cube has dual-band Wi-Fi built in but also comes with an Ethernet adapter for a wired internet connection. Advanced beamforming technology combines the signals from the individual microphones to suppress noise, reverberation, content now playing, and even competing speech to make sure Alexa clearly hears your request, even next to your TV. Amazon assures that this was an edge case that should never happen again.

Amazon engineers have been promoting the development of foreign language applications with the release a year ago of Cleo Alexa, a skill whose primary objective is helping Alexa understand different languages and dialects. If you're closer to the Echo Spot in the kitchen, for example, only that device will reply, and in an appropriate way. Thankfully, with this launch of Alexa is France, that will no longer be a problem. We'll be interested to see how well this works in practice.

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And then there's the third thing: the Fire TV Cube triples as a universal remote.

It can also stream in 4K HDR with Dolby Atmos, at least from services that are supported on Fire TV.

Amazon Prime members who pre-order today or tomorrow, June 7 and 8, can pick one up for $89.99.

Leaked ahead of its official launch, the Fire TV Cube is a small, cubed set-top-box that combines the full Fire TV streaming experience and an Amazon Echo. Plus, for a limited time, customers can pre-order Fire TV Cube and Amazon Cloud Cam together for $199.98 a $40 savings.