Amazon chooses Best Buy to sell Alexa-enabled smart TVs

Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.                  Amazon Best Buy

While Best Buy and Amazon announced the deal Wednesday, the companies' CEOs, Hubert Joly and Jeff Bezos, sat side by side talking about the deal with a handful of reporters on Tuesday.

Televisions with Amazon's Fire TV platform built-in have been around for the previous year but not on the scale expected for the coming months in 2018. The televisions also support Amazon's virtual personal assistant Alexa, so you can shout out commands and control your smart home from the comfort of your couch. Unlike with an Echo device, you have to hit a button to reach Alexa, as it's not listening for a wake word.

Amazon's decision to partner with Best Buy is an interesting one. Best Buy will also become a seller on Amazon.com where it will be the exclusive seller of such sets. Fire TV Edition smart TVs will be available from Best Buy stores, online at BestBuy.com, and also will be listed on Amazon.com but sold by Best Buy as a third-party seller. Customers might be more apt to grasp the benefits of an Alexa-powered set if they can try one out.

Charlie O'Shea, a retail analyst at Moody's, said the "win-win" deal will boost traffic at Best Buy and it gives Amazon another brick-and-mortar space to show off its products. "It's only possible because we trust each other". The new Fire TV Edition smart TVs will be available for purchase in Canada later this year.

"Our partnership with Amazon is exciting because we believe Fire TV Edition delivers an incredible user experience and further strengthens the growing connection between home theater, home automation and voice control", he said.

Best Buy and Amazon, of course, still compete on many fronts, like selling electronic accessories and video games. The first step in the new partnership will see Best Buy launch more than 10 4K and HD Fire TV edition models from Insignia and Toshiba, starting this summer.

The retailers announced today (April 18) that they're joining forces to sell televisions across the US and Canada.

"There's never going to be enough scale online-most volume still happens offline-if they want to be successful with those products", he said.

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