Android-based Amazon set-top box reportedly launching in March

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There's reportedly going to be a new way to stream all of those Amazon Instant movies and TV shows next month, coming from Amazon itself.

The long rumored Amazon set-top box is expected to launch in March after the company scrapped its plans to release a so-called Firetube streaming device before Christmas, according to Recode.

As earlier rumors have suggested, it'll be an Android-based device that competes with Apple TV and Roku 3, and it should feature other third-party apps similar to those boxes.

The Amazon set-top box would also be in contention with Google Chromecast, which has just taken off with an open SDK and new apps - but its design will likely resemble a Roku device.

Amazon gaming console too?

Amazon has a growing catalogue of free movies and TV content through its Amazon Prime service as well as competitively priced Instant Video rentals and purchases of new releases.

But the imminent Amazon set-top box might not stop there. The company has been rumored to be launching an Ouya-style game console for some time, and that could tie into the new device.

After all, it's been hoarding game developers, and gaming capabilities seem to be what Apple has planned for its Apple TV 4 tipped to launch in April.

Kindle gets a buddy box

Amazon, known primarily for its online store and digital services, has gotten into the hardware business before with its line of Amazon Kindle e-readers and Amazon Kindle Fire tablets.

The company's devices run its own forked version of Android, which could be used by the set-top box, and its Google Play Store-alternative App Store.

Like the heavily promoted Kindle, expect the set-top box to get in your face soon with front page promotion and "you may also be interested in" suggestions every time you add a new movie.

Matt Swider