Amazon’s Echo Show runs Android and has Developer Options

The Amazon Echo Show seems to be running a very customised version of Amazon’s Fire operating system, which is based on Android. On nearly all Android devices, if you go into the device settings screen and tap on the device’s serial number several times, you’ll enable developer options. The same is true for the Echo Show.

To enable developer options, go to the Echo Show’s settings screen by either asking “Alexa, open settings” or by swiping down from the top of the screen and tapping the Settings icon. Next, select the “Device Options” menu item and scroll to the bottom to view the device serial number. Start repeatedly tapping the serial number and as you do so, you’ll see a countdown at the top saying “You are # steps away from being a developer.” Once you’ve tapped the serial number enough times, a new “Developer Options” menu item will appear below the serial number.

The Echo Show’s developer options are unfortunately very sparse. Most importantly, for modding purposes, it’s missing the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) options that you’d normally find under developer options. There also aren’t any options to enable apps from unknown sources. Those two options combined would have probably allowed users to install (sideload) and run 3rd-party Android apps on the device, but it doesn’t look like things are going to be that simple.

The first developer option is to turn developer options off. Doing so will simply require you to tap the serial number again to re-enable developer options. The second option lets you configure the wakeword preroll. I’m pretty sure the wakeword preroll refers to how many milliseconds of recorded audio, before you say the wakeword, is sent to Amazon. You’re able to select “Disable Override,” which is the default option, “Always normal preroll,” and “Always extensive preroll.”

Next is an option labeled “Ship Mode.” I’m not sure what this is for. Tapping it does nothing, but tapping it repeatedly causes the screen to go white, followed by a sideways message that says “Powering off,” before the device turns off. Turning it back on finds you going through the initial setup again, so it seems like some kind of reset. I don’t know how it differs from the “Reset to Factory Defaults” option found in the Echo Show’s non-developer settings menu, but my guess is Ship Mode triggers the initial setup process without wiping the device’s user data.

Following “Ship Mode” is a subsection titled “Debugging” with one option to turn on Wi-Fi Verbose Logging. I tried connecting to the Echo Show via ADB over WiFi with this option enabled, but had no luck. Lastly is an option to “Show touches,” which works the same way it does on other Android devices by displaying a visible circle wherever you touch the screen.

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2 comments
  1. Eric Work says:

    Does the preloader show up? Maybe if you’re really lucky they haven’t patched the read/write commands out like they eventually did on the Amazon Fire TV 2 and you can use that to modify the flash.

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