Bigger Than Drones: Here Are 2 New Ways Amazon Wants to Rule Your Daily Life

Amazon's launching a TV box to compete with Google and Amazon. But why's the company also delivering groceries?

Apr 9, 2014 at 11:45AM

Fire Tv

Source: Amazon

Online megastore Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) wants to pull a Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and become ingrained in multiple aspects of our daily lives. The company has discussed Sunday deliveries, drop-off lockers, and even drone deliveries. The company's two newest projects garnering interest include a television box to compete with Google, Roku, and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and a test run of a grocery delivery service. Will these projects help grow Amazon's loyal consumer base? 

Amazon truly excels at cross-promoting services to users. That's why the company sells the Kindle Fire tablets at a loss, to promote sales of its digital products. That process is about to take a step further with the Fire TV streaming box. It's a lucrative market to enter, as Apple TV brought in more than $1 billion in sales last year, but it's also a saturated one.

Does Amazon's Fire TV stand a chance against the competition? How does the box relate to the company's grocery delivery service? 

Fire TV heats up
Streaming television boxes have become the rage in recent years, with the market including Roku, Apple TV, and Google's Chromecast. How does Amazon's Fire TV differ from the other offerings? 

Fire TV has the least in common with Apple TV and Chromecast. The latter isn't technically a "box" since it's only available as a stick that plugs into an HDTV and is then operated wirelessly with either a mobile device or computer.  Many users will find using, say, a smartphone as a remote a tad annoying. However, Chromecast is the cheapest at $35 compared to $99 for the boxes. 

Apple TV has more in common with the Fire TV. Both boxes can operate with a remote or with a mobile app. The number of third-party apps is comparable though the details differ. Fire TV, for example, includes Showtime Anywhere whereas Apple TV has HBO Go. The standout difference is that the Fire TV supports gameplay with an optional gaming controller and the company's extensive games market available for purchases.  

Amazon's most direct competition comes from Roku, which offers a range of devices starting at a $49 stick and ending with a $99 box similar to the Fire TV. A selling point for the Fire TV is the decent number of third-party apps that it offers straight out of the gate, with the likes of Netflix and Hulu Plus appearing alongside Amazon's own Instant Video library. Roku has had more time to sign up partners over the years, though, and its third-party apps currently dwarf the Fire TV's. Roku also offers users the ability to play games.

Fire TV could win with loyal Amazon shoppers, particularly those accustomed to the Kindle Fire interface and using the cloud for storage. The box could end up catching up to Roku quickly if the Fire TV proves that it can sell. Amazon's box stands alone in offering voice controls, but it's doubtful that will serve as the deciding factor for most customers.  

Dash device for groceries 
Dash looks like a high-tech pregnancy test, but it's actually a handy way for customers to scan barcodes to put on a shopping list for AmazonFresh, the company's grocery delivery service. Customers can scan packages or simply speak the product's name and then check the list and order on a computer or mobile device. Dash doesn't cost anything, but it is also currently invitation only.

Amazon Dash

Source. Amazon 

The basic setup could prove incredibly handy in the future. AmazonFresh only delivers to Southern California, San Francisco, and Seattle at this time, though. Amazon will likely roll out the service to more cities in the future, but people in the rural Midwest might remain firmly out of luck. 

How would AmazonFresh benefit those in metro areas where grocery delivery services such as Peapod already exist? Fresh offers free same-day deliveries on orders over $50 and will pick up goods from a variety of area stores without an extra charge. Customers can also choose from a wide selection of products that can deliver with the order.

Dash could prove Amazon's main advantage if the device -and AmazonFresh- receive wider rollouts. 

Foolish final thoughts 
So how do Dash and AmazonFresh relate to the Fire TV? The projects all exemplify Amazon's cross-branding. Dash encourages people to use Fresh, which also allows the purchase of online merchandise. Fire TV's structure encourages the use of Amazon's own app store. This strategy means that Amazon can afford to take some losses, such as the sale price of the Kindle Fire tablets, in order to pick up business in another area.

Television and grocery shopping aren't the only markets that technology is disrupting
The plastic in your wallet is about to go the way of the typewriter, the VCR, and the 8-track tape player. When it does, a handful of investors could stand to get very rich. You can join them -- but you must act now. An eye-opening new presentation reveals the full story on why your credit card is about to be worthless -- and highlights one little-known company sitting at the epicenter of an earth-shaking movement that could hand early investors the kind of profits we haven't seen since the dot-com days. Click here to watch this stunning video.


Brandy Betz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends, Apple, and Google (C shares). The Motley Fool owns shares of, Apple, and Google (C shares). Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.


Compare Brokers