updated - July 8, 2020 Wednesday EDT
Amazon will begin releasing its own set-top box/game console through its website, as well as retailers such as Best Buy Co. and Staples Inc., in April.
People who know about the company's plans say the device will feature several different apps available on Roku Inc. and Apple Inc., and will run on a version of Google Inc.'s Android software, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The set-top box will appear in the form of a dongle or stick, similar to the Chromecast, TechCrunch reported. An anonymous source said the device should be able to stream full PC games, which would help the console compete with Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4.
While the price of the set-up box has yet to be announced, sources familiar with Amazon said the device would feature incentives available to members of Amazon's Prime streaming video and shipping program, the Wall Street Journal reported. The company announced last week that it will increase the price of Prime by $20 to $99 a year, due to the increasing cost of obtaining video.
The streaming service provides customers with over 40,000 movies and TV episodes to Prime members, including original programming such as the political comedy Alpha House, according to PC Magazine.
Amazon has talked with record companies and music publishers in recent weeks about plans to create an on-demand music-streaming service for Prime customers. The company has shared a pre-production version of its streaming device in order to choose app developers, and has suggested it will carry the Fire name the company uses for Kindle tablet computers, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Amazon's set-top box could further succeed against competing consoles if the device is added as an Amazon Prime member benefit, TechCrunch reported. The device could also plug into Amazon's new gaming controller, even though the controller is reported to be sold separately from any set-top box, and can be used with Kindle Fire tablets.
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