This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
Amazon's long-awaited (and long-rumored) video streaming device will launch in April, reported the Wall Street Journal. The device will include a variety of apps available on Roku and Apple and run on a version of Google's Android software.
But unlike a large set top box like Apple TV, the device will resemble Google's USB stick-sized Chromecast and Roku's recently launched streaming player, reported TechCrunch.
The video streaming device will put the ecommerce giant in direct competition with Apple, Roku and Google's Chromecast, which is a popular seller on Amazon's own website.
Why would Amazon add another streaming video device to the growing pile? Amazon already offers a streaming video service through its premium Prime service, the company's loyalty program that offers a free shipping service and guarantees two-day delivery to customers who pay an annual fee of $79. Amazon is increasing the membership price to $99 annually.
But because it doesn't have its own device, users have to first buy or rent videos on Amazon's website and then go to its streaming video app to watch it. It's not the best experience.
Plus, this prevents Amazon from delivering its own ads to customers. An Amazon streaming device would improve the user experience and help the company push its Prime Instant Video service, which competes with Netflix. It will also help the company promote the original programming it produces.
Thumbnail photo: Flickr user Silus Grok