In Short

Amazon is a Seattle-based online retail giant that is best known across the world as the "everything store" where you can buy practically anything you want and have it shipped to you in short order. Aside from its retail business, Amazon is well-known for its digital goods marketplace, where it started by selling books, followed by music, movies, TV shows and eventually Android apps through the Amazon Appstore. Amazon offers a lot of this content for free or reduced prices via its Amazon Prime service, which costs $99 per year but has several benefits including free media and free two-day shipping on most items it sells.

In order to support its digital content business, Amazon has used a dual-prong strategy of launching apps for various platforms that can work with its content library, and selling its own first-party hardware that only offers content from its stores. The first hardware effort is the now-famous Kindle line to read books on, followed by the like-named Kindle Fire lineup that replicated a full-powered tablet experience that many had become familiar with via the iPad and other Android tablets. The Kindle Fires run a modified version of Android called Fire OS, have access to the Amazon Appstore rather than Google Play and are generally considered to be popular choices for specific kinds of users.

Branching out further, Amazon launched the Fire TV, which is a media-focused set top box that's essentially a Kindle Fire without a screen. It is a small, yet powerful, box that streams content from Amazon, Netflix, Hulu and dozens of other providers, while also offering access to Android game titles with an optional Bluetooth controller. In the summer of 2014, Amazon also announced the Fire Phone, which completes its Fire OS expansion to all modern platforms — set top boxes, tablets and phones.