Amazon doesn’t make many hardware products. But the devices it has focused on – ahem, Kindle – have done extremely well. According to a new report, we’ll soon be able to add another Amazon gizmo to that list, as the company is reportedly working on a TV set top box to rival Roku and Apple TV.

The scoop comes from Bloomberg Businessweek, which cites the infamous “people familiar with the project.” They say that the set top box will feature Amazon streaming content (duh), and will release this (Northern Hemisphere) autumn.

Growing the business

Why not? A set-top box could be a big boost to Amazon Video on Demand (think iTunes rival) and its Prime Instant Video (think Netflix rival) services. Right now, you can stream those services on the PS3, Xbox 360, Roku, and the web, but not on Apple TV.

The source didn’t know whether Amazon would include access to rival streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, etc.), but ultimately concluded that it was likely. Other services would help sell the devices, and Amazon’s content would be featured much more prominently – just like on the Kindle Fire.

Unless Jeff and Bezos and company change their ways, we’d likely see a rock-bottom price for the set-top box. The retailer sells its Kindle eReaders and tablets for little or no profit, banking on digital sales to turn a profit. An Amazon TV box would be ripe for the same strategy.

Analysts also expect Amazon to release a smartphone sometime in the future – possibly this year. If the smartphone joins a set-top box at the company’s annual Kindle event, then we could be in for quite a show.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek