An Amazon Fire TV app developer has posted on Amazon’s developer forum seeking answers about a pair of unreleased Fire TV models that appeared in their app’s access logs. The first new device identified itself as an “AFTN” device, which, thanks to a leaked benchmark I discovered earlier this year, we already know is a new mid-tier Fire TV model that Amazon is working on. The second new mystery Fire TV model identified itself as an “AFTA” device. This is the first time this model has ever surfaced and it is very likely the successor to the current 2nd-generation Fire TV.
A Fire TV developer, who posts under the forum name Jacek, first posted about discovering an unrecognized AFTN Fire TV device 4 days ago. Someone, likely an Amazon employee, using the device ran Jacek’s app and the incident was logged by Jacek’s server. While this does further confirm that the AFTN device, which leaked earlier this year, is a new Fire TV model, it does not reveal any new information about the device because the leaked benchmark from March contains far more information than the user agent that Jacek’s server logged. The only thing of note is that the AFTN devices that Amazon is testing are now running a version of Fire OS that is based on Android 7.1.2, whereas these devices were running Android 7.1.1 when they were first discovered.
What is far more interesting is the new comment that Jacek posted earlier today which revealed that a second unrecognized Fire TV model also accessed their servers through their Fire TV app. The second unrecognized Fire TV model identified itself as an AFTA device, which is a new model that has never been discovered before today.
Amazon assigns all of their Fire TV models a unique build value that the device broadcasts to apps and servers. This allows developers to know which device is using their app or accessing their servers, so that they may handle the request differently if necessary. As Amazon’s developer documentation explains, all Fire TV build values start with “AFT” followed by one or two additional letters that identify each unique model.
The first Fire TV, released in 2014, was identified as an AFTB device and its successor, the Fire TV 2, was released in 2015 as an AFTS device. The first Fire TV Stick, released in 2014, was an AFTM device and its successor, the current Fire TV Stick 2, was released last year as an AFTT device. The newest member of the Fire TV family is the Fire TV Edition television, which identifies itself as an AFTRS device.
Since the model identifier of all Fire TV devices is broadcasted to every app that the device runs and every server that the device accesses, it’s almost inevitable for a tester at Amazon to inadvertently reveal the existence of a new device. This is how we learned of the existence of the current Fire TV 2 several months before it was released.
We’ve known for some time now that Amazon is working on a new AFTN Fire TV model. The leaked benchmark from that device indicates it will be the first Fire TV device capable of playing 4K video at 60 fps as well as the first to support HDR video. While those video playback specs surpass that of the current Fire TV 2, which can only play 4K video at 30 fps and does not support HDR, the gaming specs of the AFTN model are inferior to the Fire TV 2.
While it’s still a very capable device, at a month shy of being two years old, the Fire TV 2 is probably due to be replaced. The lack of a powerful GPU leads me to believe that the AFTN Fire TV model is not a successor to the current Fire TV 2, but rather a new mid-tier model that will be positioned for those who want an inexpensive 4K and HDR streaming device without any extra bells and whistles. That leaves the newly discovered AFTA Fire TV model as the most likely successor to the Fire TV 2.
Unfortunately, we don’t have a leaked benchmark full of information for the AFTA Fire TV model, like we have for the AFTN model, so we don’t know much about the device. Jacek, the app developer who discovered it, says it has the same user agent as the AFTN model, so all we really know is that it exists and that it too is currently being tested with a version of Fire OS based on Android 7.1.2.
Jacek also notes that both the AFTN and AFTA devices appear to be connecting from India, while only the AFTN device has also connected from Seattle. Since Amazon’s main headquarters is in Seattle and they do a lot of their quality assurance testing in India, both locations are likely to house new unreleased models. The fact that the AFTN model made an appearance from multiple locations could indicate that it is further along in its development process and is closer to being released.
It now seems very likely that Amazon will be releasing two new Fire TV models in the coming months. They have most commonly released new Fire TV models in October, so it probably won’t be long before we learn more about these new devices.