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Amazon announces the Fire TV Stick Basic Edition to make your dumb TV smarter

The new Fire TV Stick Basic Edition is available in over 100 countries, but if you live in the US, it's not much of an upgrade over 2016's Fire TV Stick.

Published onNovember 7, 2017

Amazon might have announced an avalanche of devices a few weeks ago, but notably absent was any upgrade to its Fire TV Stick. The retail giant rectified that today when it announced the Fire TV Stick Basic Edition, but to call it an upgrade would be a stretch.

On the outside and inside, nothing has changed about the Basic Edition from its predecessor. In other words, we’re looking at a 1.3 GHz quad-core MediaTek processor, 1 GB of RAM, and 8 GB of native storage. Even the physical dimensions remain the same between the two, so we’re not kidding when we say nothing has changed between the two Fire Sticks on the outside and inside.

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What has changed is the Basic Edition’s remote, which no longer has the Alexa voice control integration that the previous generation’s remote included. Another possible difference could be the software – 2016’s Fire TV Stick runs Fire OS 5, which is based on 2014’s Android Lollipop, but it is unknown what Fire OS version the Basic Edition runs.

This change would make more sense if the Basic Edition was more affordable than its predecessor, but it’s actually more expensive: $50 for the newer Fire TV Stick, while last year’s version debuted at $40.

All in all, we’re left scratching our heads over what exactly is new about the Fire TV Stick Basic Edition. It’s made even more confusing by the fact that Amazon continues to sell last year’s Fire TV Stick.

From what I could gather, the Basic Edition doesn’t exist to replace 2016’s Fire TV Stick, but as an option for the rest of the world. The Basic Edition is available in over 100 countries, likely due to Amazon’s desire to push Prime Video into as many homes as possible around the world.

In other words, even though you can purchase the Basic Edition in the US, it’s really meant for everyone else. We won’t stop you if you live in the US and want to pick up the Fire TV Stick Basic Edition, however, so you can find the means to do so at the link below.

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