Amazon’s new Fire TV voice remote with app shortcuts will ship April 14th
Just a few days ago Protocol writer Janko Roettgers pointed out a new Amazon Fire TV remote listed in the FCC’s database, and now, according to AFTVNews, the third-gen Bluetooth control is going on sale. Naturally you can purchase it on Amazon if you absolutely must have the $30 device, which adds four prebaked app shortcut buttons (Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+ and Hulu) as well as one that takes to you a live TV guide with a grid for apps like Sling TV, YouTube TV or Philo.
Other than that, the only visible changes are the addition of a blue Alexa-themed button to initiate voice commands (replacing a black button with a microphone icon) and the words Fire TV added to its branding at the bottom. It still takes two AA batteries, and can control connected devices via HDMI-CEC. It’s not compatible with some older Fire TV hardware (early boxes, sticks and older Fire TV Edition TVs), but otherwise it should be a smooth replacement item once it starts shipping on April 14th.
So far we don’t know if Amazon is close to releasing a new player to go with the remote, or if this more likely to show up paired with new televisions from third parties. App shortcut buttons are somewhat divisive — AFTVNews notes that some Fire TV Edition remotes already included them — as they’re only useful if they link to services you use (it doesn’t appear this remote will officially support remapping, although Roku is testing a model that will) and can even be a hindrance, popping open apps immediately if you press one by accident. Still, they can also make things easier if you have someone in the household who just wants to get to their preferred service quickly, without navigating through a bunch of menus.
Alexa Voice Remote (3rd Gen) with TV controls on Amazon – $30