Amazon Ditching Android

Amazon pushes its physical products all the time on its website. Fire sticks, Fire TV, Echo, etc. The list of hardware it offers is pretty extensive. Amazon takes the approach of "cheap and replaceable" tech in order to make money with services and convincing you to buy stuff. But now Amazon is doing something unexpected: bringing the operating system of its products in-house. Jeff Parsons at Tom's Guide has more.

At present, the company uses its Fire OS, a fork of open source Android that sits inside the likes of the Fire TV Stick 4K Max, Fire Tablet series and Echo Show speakers. But that could be about to change. 

Various sources are claiming Amazon is building its own OS codenamed "Vega" that'll help it move away from Android for its upcoming products. A report in LowPass, claims it's in the advanced stages of development, while Zatznotfunny suggests it's already here. In the former case, Amazon is testing it on Fire TV streaming sticks while the latter has seen it running on a 3rd generation Echo Show 5.

What we do know is that Vega OS will be a “more web-forward application model” and take its foundation directly from Linux rather than forking from Android (which itself is Linux-based).

Ton's Guide

What I genuinely hope comes from this change is the longevity of Amazon's products. Every single Amazon device I've ever purchased (save one) have been trash. They are slow out of the box and slow down precipitously as the months pass. Kindle Fire tablets I once bought for my children in a little 'bargain basket' in a Best Buy lasted about a year before they were too slow to do anything. A brand new Fire Stick I purchased about 5 years ago is painful to use. Meanwhile my AppleTV from 2014 is still as fast and usable today as it was on Day 1.

What I suspect is Amazon isn't really looking to improve the experience but trying to cut costs by not relying on Android's development cycle and whatever roadblocks exist for building features. Hopefully the ability to sideload other app stores and capabilities will continue to exist on this new hardware, but my guess is that's not likely.

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