Amazon reportedly ditching Android in Fire TV and more | Phones

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Amazon has been using “forked” versions of Android to power its products for years now, but the company is apparently planning to swap that out with a new web-forward “Vega” OS starting with new Fire TV devices.

From the Fire Tablet to the Fire TV and more, Amazon has built much of its hardware on the back of Android, and specifically by using AOSP to “fork” the OS to skip out on Google services and heavily customize the platform. While apps can be shared between an Amazon tablet and one from Samsung and others, visually the software is drastically different. Amazon also generally lags well behind on Android versions, with even the latest Amazon tablets still running Android 11.

Apparently that, and the overkill that comes from running a full smartphone operating system on a product as simple as a smart display, has inspired Amazon to move to an in-house OS called “Vega.”

A report from Janko Roettgers on Lowpass reveals Amazon’s plans to switch to “Vega” on “all of its new devices” in time, starting with future Fire TV launches. The Linux-based, web-forward operating system would replace Android on Amazon’s TVs and rely on React Native to develop apps in Javascript. Those apps would work on the new “Vega” OS, as well as other devices.

Roettgers says that Amazon has been working on this effort since 2017 or so, with “hundreds of people” working on development and “most” of the work already done. Apparently, “Vega” is already being tested on Fire TV devices, with plans apparently in store for Amazon to start shipping new hardware using the new OS as soon as early next year.

It’s unclear if the change would ever apply to Amazon’s Fire Tablets, which more heavily rely on native Android apps, but it would certainly make sense for Amazon’s Echo smart displays. Evidence suggests it…

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