As Amazon and Google fought over the YouTube app on the Fire TV, Amazon played a trump card. To counter Google’s efforts to pull the Fire TV YouTube app, Amazon launched a web browser. Yet it may have an unexpected side effect.
Increasingly in recent months, we are hearing from app developers that the browser on the Fire TV lowers the importance of rushing out a Fire TV app because Fire TV users can access the service through their browsers.
Although the browser may offer access to services that do not have a Fire TV app, the downside is the browser versions are far less user-friendly than apps.
Often the teams behind apps are surprisingly small. This means they need to focus on a few apps at a time. The Fire TV browser and the growing number of services are promoting the browser as a temporary fix until they can get around to a Fire TV app.
This could also explain why many streaming players like Roku do not offer a browser. They likely want to force services to create apps for their devices instead of just making a version for their browser.
It will be interesting to see if the official YouTube app returns to the Fire TV if Amazon keeps the browser. Will they drop their browsers to force apps back to Amazon? Only time will tell.
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