Amazon has been using “forked” versions of Android for its products for several years now, but it appears that it plans to replace it with a new web-based version of the Vega OS, starting with its new Fire TV devices.
From Fire tablets to Fire TVs and other devices, Amazon has used Android as a fork of AOSP, on most of its Android devices, which eschews Google’s services and significantly adapts the platform. But while the apps may be common across Amazon, Samsung and other manufacturers’ tablets, visually the software is dramatically different. In addition, Amazon tends to lag far behind in updating Android versions: even Amazon’s latest tablets still run Android 11.
Apparently, it was this, as well as the excesses of using a full-fledged operating system on a product as simple as a smart display, that prompted Amazon to switch to its own OS called Vega.
According to Roettgers, Amazon has been working on this project since around 2017, with “hundreds of people” working on the development, and “most” of the work has already been done. Apparently, Vega is already being tested on Fire TV devices, and Amazon plans to start shipping new hardware with the new OS early next year.
It’s unclear whether this change will apply to Fire tablets, which rely more heavily on Android apps, but it will certainly be useful for Amazon’s Echo smart displays. There’s reason to believe that the new OS could be used in in-car entertainment systems as well.
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