Amazon reportedly has big plans to change Fire TV devices forever

Bye bye Android!

Amazon Fire TV 2-Series
(Image credit: Amazon)

Amazon has only recently refreshed its Fire TV Stick streaming devices, with the 4K and 4K Max models getting spec boosts, but there could be more radical changes afoot.

A report claims that Amazon is looking to swap its current Fire TV OS for a new, in-house operating system that isn't built using Android.

Since introducing its first Fire TV streaming device in 2014, Amazon has used an open source form of Android as the bedrock for the user experience. It has then built the Fire TV OS layer on top.

This has allowed developers to easily adapt apps for Fire TV devices and users have even been able to sideload Android apps onto their Sticks and set-top-boxes. A completely new operating system would change all that.

Indeed, Lowpass, which claims to have learned Amazon's plans through multiple sources, writes that the company has been approaching partners and app developers about the transition. It shouldn't, therefore, mean that the new devices will lose streaming services – they might even gain more.

Lowpass also claims that the new operating system is codenamed Vega, and that "most of the OS development is already done". It is based on a "flavour of Linux", much like the operating system that graces Roku streaming devices.

Vega has reportedly been worked on for the last six years and is being seen (internally, at least) as a rival to Android and iOS. When it's ready to roll out, which could be as early as next year, it will then likely be used on all Amazon devices, including Echo Show assistants.

We suspect that the new system will only be used on new devices going forward. We can't imagine Amazon wanting to replace the OS in every legacy Fire TV and Echo Show being used around the world already. It could cause massive issues, including compatibility with some of the streaming services and paid-for apps you might have already.

And, it's worth remembering that the main beneficiary of the change (at least to begin with) will be Amazon itself. We doubt your experience will be any better or worse. So, if you're currently in the market for a new streaming device, you don't need to worry whether a new Amazon Fire TV Stick will be defunct in the near future.

Not only are they excellent devices, you might even get yourself a bargain considering it's the Black Friday run-in right now.

Rik Henderson
News Editor

Rik is T3’s news editor, which means he looks after the news team and the up-to-the-minute coverage of all the hottest gadgets and products you’ll definitely want to read about. And, with more than 35 years of experience in tech and entertainment journalism, including editing and writing for numerous websites, magazines, and newspapers, he’s always got an eye on the next big thing.

Rik also has extensive knowledge of AV, TV streaming and smart home kit, plus just about everything to do with games since the late 80s. Prior to T3, he spent 13 years at Pocket-lint heading up its news team, and was a TV producer and presenter on such shows as Channel 4's GamesMaster, plus Sky's Games World, Game Over, and Virtual World of Sport.