Amazon Fire OS update based on Android Nougat will add new features

Amazon Fire TV with Alexa
Hidden behind the glamor and glitz of new hardware was another quiet news announcement from Amazon: The Android-based Fire OS for Fire TV is getting an upgrade. The Amazon Fire TV Gen 3 will be launching with Fire OS 6, which is based on Android 7.1.2, otherwise known as Android Nougat. The update first appeared on one of Amazon’s developer pages and was later reported on by Android Police.

But what about the previous devices, such as the popular 2015 Fire TV — will they be getting an upgrade as well? In response to this question, Amazon has simply said, “At this time, the previous Fire TV devices will not uplevel to Fire OS 6.”

Uplevel? Cute, Amazon. But that’s bad news for existing customers, many of whom who are being left behind.

On the developer page, Amazon wrote, “Amazon Fire TV Gen 3 runs on Fire OS 6, which is based on Android Nougat (Android 7.1.2, level 25). However, previous Fire TV devices (Fire TV Stick Gen 1 and 2, Fire TV Gen 1 and 2, and Fire TV Edition) remain on Fire OS 5 (which is based on Lollipop, or Android 5.1, level 22, and some backported Marshmallow).”

So it looks like the upgrade will only be for the third-generation Fire TV. It is possible that existing devices will receive the update some time in the future, however: Amazon didn’t explicitly say that they are being retired.

Amazon Fire OS 6 will bring some nifty features to what is already one of the best streaming devices. It will include picture-in-picture mode, which will allow Fire TV to play videos in a small window while you browse for other videos. It will give you the ability to record content — multiple shows at a time — as well as schedule recordings much like a DVR, and allows users to pause, rewind, or even fast-forward through live content.

In addition, Fire OS 6 will be launching with 4K and Alexa support. Although Android Nougat came with the multi-window feature when Google first launched it, the developer page does not mention whether this will be available for Fire OS 6. So it’s very possible we won’t be seeing that feature here.

Another feature that gives users more control over the app is the ability to check permissions at runtime. And users will also have the ability to revoke individual permissions when they are prompted. Additionally, Amazon recently announced a bunch of new Echo devices.

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