Fire OS 7 likelihood on existing Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick models

Now that we know a new Fire TV model with an Android 7 based operating system is being worked on by Amazon, the question many Fire TV and Fire TV Stick owners have is will their device receive the updated operating system? Obviously, there’s no way to know for sure at this point, and I don’t expect Amazon to announce anything regarding the topic anytime soon. So, let’s take a look at what Amazon has done historically with the Fire TV specifically, and also their other Android-based devices, to try to predict the future.

The Amazon Fire TV line of devices is relatively young at just under 3 years old, so we don’t have too many past major updates to go off of. When the Fire TV launched in April 2014, it ran Fire OS 3, which was based on Android 4.2.2. When the Fire TV 2 launched in October 2015, it was the first device to run Fire OS 5, which is based on Android 5.1 and is the latest operating system. Those are the only two major Fire TV software versions that have existed.

In June 2015, Amazon announced Fire OS 5 along with a developer preview that allowed anyone to voluntarily install a pre-release version of the new operating system. The developer preview included the 1st-gen Fire TV and 1st-gen Fire TV Stick as compatible devices. At the time, we did not know the 2nd-gen Fire TV was being worked on and set to launch 4 months later.

I expect Amazon will release a similar developer preview of their Android 7 based operating system, which will probably be called Fire OS 7 in the coming months. There’s a very good chance Amazon will include at least some of the existing Fire TV models in the developer preview. If they didn’t, it would mean the upcoming “AFTN” Fire TV model would launch with no way for Fire TV app developers to test their apps on the new operating system ahead of time, which would be a disaster.

To avoid launching a new device that was incompatible with apps on its first day, it’s pretty certain some existing Fire TV models will be updated to the Android 7 based operating system, so apps are compatible when the new Fire TV model launches. At the very least, it’s probably safe to assume both the 2nd-gen Fire TV and 2nd-gen Fire TV Stick will receive a software update for the new Android 7 based operating system. Those are the two newest devices, so they should have no problem running the new operating system, and they’re different enough to where developers need to be able to test apps on both variants.

The main unknown in my mind is if the 1st-gen Fire TV and 1st-gen Fire TV will also be updated to the Android 7 based operating system. In my opinion, there’s a very good chance both will receive the new operating system. That’s because it’s in Amazon’s best interesting to keep updating those devices for as long as their hardware is physically capable of running the new operating system well. The only reason I see not to updated the 1st-gen devices is if their hardware, mainly their 1st-gen Fire TV Stick, is too dated to run the new operating system, which hopefully won’t be the case.

Amazon is not in the market to make most of their profit from selling hardware, like say, a company like Apple does. Amazon aggressively prices their hardware, at nearly the amount it costs them to make it, with the intention to make most of their profit on content sales through that hardware. The longer a device stays in use, the greater the potential for Amazon to profit from the sale of the device. As long as 1st-gen Fire TV models can smoothly run the new operating system, without negatively impacting the user experience, Amazon will want to keep that massive pool of customers on the latest operating system, because that translates into the most potential for profit.

Amazon’s Fire tablet line is older than the Fire TV line. Looking at Fire tablet update history, it appears the oldest Fire tablets to receive Fire OS 5 were released in 2012. That means they were over 3 years old by the time they received Fire OS 5. The oldest Fire TV model will likely be around that age when the new operating system is expected, so it’s hopeful that all Fire TV models will eventually be updated to the new Android 7 based operating system.

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18 comments
  1. xnamkcor says:

    My Gen 1 Fire TV seems to have the same specs as my LG G Pad 8.3, and that got 7.1 thanks to CM and LOS. So, as far as it being a “hardware” issue, I doubt it. I’m already on the developer list and I got OS 5 back when that was a new thing. If they don’t up me to 7, I might just look for a LOS or community ROM.

  2. Mewtwo says:

    When will they update to use the kernel of Oatmeal Cookie?

  3. Roy says:

    I have a Kindle Fire 7inch HDX tablet on OS 4. It would be nice if they would update to OS5? The one thing I like about this tablet that it screen mirrors video to the firestick and fire tv really nicely. So any possibility that the OS HDX tablets OS will be upgraded to at least OS 5?

    • Pong says:

      I’m also have hdx 7 32g OS4 never update to OS5… getting old but still work great the best tablet then..just bought firehd 8 16g 3nd generation OS5 the best tablet now…I still waiting for fire Tv 3nd generation coming soon.

  4. nyder says:

    Don’t care. My FireTV 1 works just fine as it is. I don’t see it not working unless all video switches to x265, then I will have to upgrade my AFTV, so I’ll get a new one or whatever else is good at the time.

  5. Ujn Hunter says:

    Am I the only person that doesn’t understand the reasoning for “updating” all of these devices? I understand fixing bugs, but see no reason in overhauling the whole system multiple times…

  6. Adam says:

    I don’t know if I want it since a large reason I bought the Fire TV2 was to use Kodi, and now SPMC, with my 5.1 system, and everything is working flawlessly right now. I would be worried that I would lose surround sound in SPMC with a newer version of Android. I imagine I could still downgrade if that came to pass.

    • xnamkcor says:

      I remember when Android was delving into x86. The one reason I never tried it was the lack of a large existing library of programs. I’ve mostly used MX Player. Kodi seems weird and the GUI does weird things.

      PS: “Developers developers developers developers developers developers developers developers developers developers developers developers developers”-Steve Balmer

  7. 2WhlWzrd says:

    Rooted 1st gen stick with OS 5 here. As far I know, 1st gen devices still don’t have the new UI update. Which make me wonder if we will get it at all, and makes me doubt we will get another OS upgrade.
    Also have a new 2nd gen stick, waiting on a root solution. The OS 7 upgrade would be nice as it should give us native DTS capabilities, but according to the KODI developers, Amazon has expressed no interest in changing their proprietary audio handling to meet Android standards.
    I know that Amazon Prime and Netflix can do 5.1 audio, but have read many comments from HBO Now subscribers on Fire TV devices that report only stereo capabilities. Seems rather anti-competitive.
    I may consider the new device when it is released in the future, but if things haven’t changed, I will probably go with a Xiaomi Mi Box for about the same price from what we’ve heard so far.

    • Bbbn says:

      You sound like a shield TV kind of user.

      • sean powell says:

        The shield is way better device. More powerful. I have both. I know for sure Kodi will work for ever on shield. But Amazon will be blocking it soon. So you be scew.

        • Ichijoe says:

          Working forever?! What gives you this idea? Once upon a time Kodi used to work just fine with ye ‘Old AmLogic Hardware CODECs giving you a full Hardware acceleration. That, was about Two generations ago. Today that bit of Code has been given the short end of the –it dipped Stick, and got told to bugger off. Practical upshot of which is those AmLogic, and other such SoC Provider CODECs no longer work within Kodi, and have to fall back on decoding such stuff via Software.

          Granted the Shield does NOT have that problem… Yet! But, it’s only a question of time. So please use words like forever with a bit more care.

        • xnamkcor says:

          I’ve heard of “Blocking” before. I I’ve heard that Kodi us “dying” or something, but I’ve never not been able to use it on my Gen 1 Fire TV.And up until a month ago, I was running Fire OS 5 stock.

  8. Steve says:

    I’d just like our 1st gen FTVs to finally get the updated gui, it’s really annoying to have it on our 2nd gen for so long now and not have it on the 1st gen’s.

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