Amazon has launched its Chromecast competitor, the Amazon Fire TV Stick, which is available for pre-order today. This little dongle has four times the storage and twice the memory of Google's Chromecast, plus many of the features found in Amazon's Fire TV set-top box.
The Fire TV Stick will be released on November 19th, but you can pre-order it now for $40. As an added "thank you" for Prime customers, from October 27th to the 29th, subscribers to Prime can get the dongle for only $20, making it one hell of a bargain, even if you already own a Chromecast.
In a word, yes. Even without using one, the specs highlight that not only can the Fire TV Stick do everything the Chromecast can, it can more a lot more.
Yes, you can mirror your Android device's screen, thanks to Miracast compatibility.
Yes, it will work with all the apps that the Chromecast works with (except HBO GO, though you can stream a lot of HBO shows via Amazon Instant Video).
Yes, it's just as small and portable as the Chromecast.
But where it meets all the functions of the Chromecast, it also adds quite a bit more. Amazon Prime Music and Prime Video will be ready to roll out of the box, along with many other apps that reside on the device itself. If you don't want to use your Android device as a remote, the Fire TV Stick comes with a dedicated remote control.
It has has dual band Wi-Fi for better connections and streaming, has over 200 games ready for play, and even an optional game controller available for separate purchase. Amazon's ASAP feature learns what you want to watch so that it can pre-buffer movies and shows, allowing to to cut the waiting times to zero.
If you don't own a Chromecast (or other streaming device), and especially if you are an Amazon Prime subscriber, you should definitely pre-order the Amazon Fire TV Stick—hard to argue for $40, and a no-brainer for $20.
If you have a streaming device, it still may be worth your purchase—I bought one as fast as I could, and I already own a Chromecast and Apple TV. Just be aware that rumors of the 2nd-generation Chromecast launching this holiday season could very well come to fruition. But again, it's $20 and has a ton of functionality.