A new report from Cord Cutters News claims that “sources close to the new Fire TV OS” say Amazon will block all 3rd-party apps (i.e., sideloaded apps) like Kodi from being installed on the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. The “new Fire TV OS” being referred to is likely the upcoming interface redesign expected later this year. I’ve reached out to Amazon regarding this article and they’ve told me the rumor is wrong and that there is no change planned for 3rd-party app support on the Fire TV.
I know some of you might not necessarily believe Amazon, so I’ve spoken with Luke from Cord Cutters News to learn a bit more about his sources and what they’ve said regarding the matter. I’m not at liberty to reveal any details, but based on what I’ve been told about the origin of this rumor, I suspect it’s more likely a misunderstanding of the new UI than Amazon actually secretly removing 3rd-party app support.
My best guess is that some change to the way developer options are accessed on the upcoming new Fire TV interface is spurring these rumors of Amazon blocking sideloading. In the latest 18.104.22.168 Fire TV software update, Amazon has added a new “Developer Options” menu to the hidden Developer Tools Menu in Fire OS. I’ve speculated that a future Fire TV software version may move the ADB Debugging options, which are necessary for sideloading 3rd-party apps, into this hidden menu. If this were to happen, it could very easily be interpreted as Amazon blocking 3rd-party apps because, to the uninformed, it would appear that there was no longer a way to enable ADB Debugging.
While the article is over a year old now, you can read my thoughts on Amazon blocking Kodi and why I don’t think it is likely to happen. The same goes for blocking all 3rd-party apps. If there is ever a move to block Kodi, I expect Amazon would first try blocking it with the Fire TV’s app blocking function, which has yet to happen, long before they took the drastic measure of blocking all 3rd-party apps.