While Amazon’s Fire TV devices currently run on Android, that might not be the case in the future. According to a new report, Amazon is moving forward with plans to replace Android with its own operating system, code-named Vega.
Ever since the first Fire TV player, all of Amazon’s TV-optimized devices have come running on Android. This isn’t the same version of Android found on Android TV and Google TV devices, but a forked ‘Fire TV’ version based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). This not only makes it possible for Amazon to offer more of a unique look, but also replace aspects like the Google Play Store with its own Amazon Appstore.
According to the latest edition of the Lowpass newsletter, Amazon is now in the process of building an alternative operating system for Fire TVs. In fact, the ‘Vega’ OS is not just for Fire TV devices, but other Amazon’s devices as well.
While Amazon has yet to say anything publicly about an operating system switch, the report explains Amazon has been working on its own OS for a few years now, even suggesting that select Fire TV devices powered by Vega could begin shipping as early as next year.
In terms of the reasoning behind such a change, switching to its own operating system would offer Amazon greater control over the experience. Specifically, greater control over updates and performance in general.
For example, while Google is already working on Android 14 (after deciding to skip Android 13) for Android TV, the latest version of Fire TV (Fire OS 7) is based on Android 9 Pie. With its own in-house solution, Fire TV might not trail behind Android TV proper quite as much.
Of course, Amazon and Google haven’t had the best of relationships over the years, so a move away from dependence on Google’s solution is likely to be a good move for Amazon in general.
From the end user point of view, the change may not matter all that much. If Amazon is able to largely match up the look and feel of the existing Fire TV experience, then users may not even notice the change, even if they do notice the performance improvements that seem likely to arrive with a custom-built solution.