Last week, it was reported that Amazon was quietly developing its own operating system that would replace Android on its Fire TV devices before expanding it to other products, including the company’s many smart displays. Janko Roettgers revealed the details in his Low pass newsletter. The report predicts that Amazon’s software, named Vega, could appear on Fire TV streaming hardware as early as next year.
But as discovered Zatz not funny!it turns out that this new local operating system is already in use on the latest Echo Show 5, which lists its software as “OS 1.1” instead of the expected Fire OS. This low figure clearly indicates that we are dealing with a completely new platform; The Echo Show 8, by comparison, currently runs Fire OS 220.127.116.11. In terms of appearance and user experience, the Vega OS is very similar to the Fire OS that it replaces.
Using his own sources and scouring Amazon job postings, Roettgers has pieced together the history of Vega’s development and says the Linux-based operating system is at a “fairly advanced” stage. Amazon has reportedly informed certain partners of the imminent abandonment of Android, which until now was the basis of its Fire OS fork software.
Amazon’s operating system is already present on the latest Echo Show 5, and Fire TV could be next
By rolling out its own operating system, Amazon would effectively start from scratch, meaning developers of popular streaming apps would have to create new versions specifically for this new platform. But Fire TV, in particular, has enough popularity to force developers to play along: in March, Amazon announced that it had exceeded 200 million devices sold worldwide.
Having full control over its operating system from top to bottom would also help Amazon squeeze even more ad revenue from Fire TV, its smart displays (whenever that change happens), and other products. Additionally, this will allow the company to keep the software up to date at its own pace; Fire OS and many Android-based TV streamers are often based on older versions of Google’s platform. But Fire TV owners are already expresses concerns on the possibility that Amazon’s custom operating system would eliminate power user features such as sideloading.
To his autumn material event, Amazon showed off its latest Fire TV OS features, including more nuanced conversational voice search (powered by AI) and a streaming binge that aggregates content from many streaming services. The company also rolled out its Ambient Experience to more devices: the mode that can display widgets and other information visible when Fire TV streaming products are inactive.