Amazon reportedly plans to replace Android-based Fire OS TV operating system

Mike Wheatley

Amazon is said to be working on an alternative to the Android-powered Fire OS TV operating system, and it could roll out the first devices using the software as early as next year.


That’s according to a report from Janko Roettgers of Lowpass, who ascertains that Amazon has been working on the new OS, codenamed “Vega” since at least 2019. The evidence comes from various sources, job listings, forum posts and unguarded boasts on LinkedIn, Roettgers said. He adds that Amazon is thought to have more or less finalised core development of the OS, and is now focused on creating a software development kit and developer outreach.

It’s believed that Amazon wants to use Vega as a replacement for Fire OS, which is the operating system used by its Fire TV sticks and Fire TVs, as well as the Kindle Fire tablets and others. Vega is said to be based on a flavour of Linux and use the popular JavaScript-based React Native application framework. Due to this, Vega may simplify application development for Fire devices as well as other React-based platforms, including some smartphones and desktops.

Amazon’s Fire OS is really just a fork of the Android Open Source Project, and is similar to the Android TV platform in many ways. The Fire Max 11, launched in 2023, runs Fire OS 8, which is based on the Android 11 release from 2020. Some Fire TVs are based on an even older version of Android. The Android base is a familiar entry point for developers that have previously built Android apps, but it’s believed Amazon wants to make life easier. In addition, Android also comes with significant technical debt due to its origin as an operating system for mobile phones. Essentially, a lot of its code is unnecessary for running many modern smart home devices.

By ditching Android, Amazon would also avoid additional conflicts with Google. Amazon has long fought with Google over its use of the Android code, with the latter company believed to have pressured some TV brands not to build Fire TVs. Amazon later came to an agreement with Google that allowed it to partner with companies such as Hisense and TCL, but dropping Android completely would give it the freedom to work with many more TV manufacturers.

The Vega OS (not an official name) could start shipping as early as next year, Roetters’ sources said. It would first appear on Fire TV devices and media sticks and would later be integrated with Echo smart displays, Fire Tablets and even in-car entertainment systems. According to Roettgers, a customised operating system would give Amazon better control over advertising and paid services created by third-party developers.