Alexa Shortcut Panel arrives on Fire TV devices with quick access to Smart Home, Weather, Library, and News

Amazon Fire TV devices have gained a new feature called the Alexa Shortcut Panel. When you tap the microphone / Alexa button on your remote, the shortcut panel appears in the bottom third of the screen with buttons that provide access to the Smart Home Dashboard, which was recently revamped, the Weather, your video Library, and to News, which launches the Fire TV News app.

Much like the quick access shortcut screen, which is launched by holding the Home button, the Alexa Shortcut Panel can be brought up no matter what you are doing on your Fire TV. Whether you are in an app, browsing the Fire TV interface, or in the Fire TV’s settings, quickly tapping and releasing the microphone button will cause the panel to appear on top of whatever screen you are viewing at the time.

As mentioned, selecting the Smart Home shortcut will immediately load up the Smart Home Dashboard, which gives you access and control of your smart lights, plugs, and security cameras. The Weather shortcut will bring up Alexa’s standard forecast card for whatever location you’ve configured in your Fire TV options under Settings > Preferences > Location. Weather is the only shortcut that does not take you away from whatever Fire TV screen or app you are viewing at the time.

Selecting the Library shortcut will load the Library section of your Fire TV, which you normally access from the Find tab on the Fire TV’s main navigation menu. This is where you’ll see your Watchlist, Purchases, Rentals, and DVR content if you own a Fire TV Recast. Lastly, the News shortcut will simply load Amazon’s own News app that comes pre-installed on all Fre TV devices.

While it’s great to see additional functionality like this added to the Fire TV and the microphone button, I can’t help but be a bit disappointed in the lack of any kind of customization options. The four shortcuts and their functions are fixed and cannot be modified. Maybe having an array of various shortcuts to choose from is expecting too much, but, at the very least, it would have been nice to choose which app the News shortcut opens. As it is now, the News shortcut just seems like yet another way of advertising Amazon’s own services.

The Alexa Shortcut Panel is currently starting to roll out to Fire TV devices, so there is a good chance it is not yet available on your own device. Amazon says it will be available “broadly on Fire TV devices in the United States” so it seems like most Fire TV models will receive the new feature. It is expected to be rolled out more widely by the end of the month.

23 comments
  1. Jim Carter says:

    I like it! Between this and the camera preview ability afforded me by the 4K Max, I’m brimming with options to keep an eye on my surroundings in the most convenient ways possible. Thanks for keeping us current on new features!

  2. TechyChris says:

    I think we can all agree that customization is not Amazon’s Forte. So, I’m not surprised. I mean it only took them 6 years to gives us a favorites row, with 6 whole apps…wow.

  3. AFTVUser says:

    I suppose not too surprisingly, the panel is working on my Stick and on one of my 2nd-Gen Cubes, but not the other, so I guess this is yet another of the “controlled” rollouts, to which I am well accustomed after these many years “dealing” with Fire TV devices.
    Oh, and the Blink (owned by Amazon) camera issue still exists on all devices, meaning not usable via the Dashboard.

    • wlion1 says:

      Elias, if you still have any contacts at Amazon. Let them know this is unacceptable.

    • Daniel M OConnell says:

      If your talkn about the live view I think u need a subscription for that feature

    • AFTVUser says:

      As an added data point only, and as anticipated, my “other” Cube now has the dashboard enabled, but still no Blink live viewing via the dashboard on any of my devices.
      And given the season, if I may, I’d like to end this post with a short prayer: Lord, grant unto they who complain about the complainers at least a modicum of understanding with regard to the utter, if not laughable, irony of their very own posts. Amen, and Merry Christmas, everyone (yes, even the Grinches)!

    • Nate says:

      “… I guess this is yet another of the “controlled” rollouts, to which I am well accustomed after these many years “dealing” with Fire TV devices.…”
      I’ve been working with computers and electronic devices continuously since the 1980s and I don’t know of a single company that does not use what you refer to as “controlled” rollouts, that is software and firmware updates are always rolled out in measured bursts, never in one enormous tidal wave. No matter how much alpha and beta testing is done before release, there are always going to be unanticipated glitches to be discovered, reported and corrected along the way.

    • AFTVUser says:

      As of today, my Blink cameras are now accessible and viewable on all of my Fire TV devices via the Dashboard.

  4. wlion1 says:

    Cannot View Blink Cameras (XT or Mini). Disappointment.

  5. Cinema 12 says:

    It would be nice to add clock/time to shortcuts.

  6. letour_001 says:

    Elias,

    Is the NEWS app going away on Fire TV? That seems to be the case on Fire Tablets. The following is now at the top of the screen when you open the NEWS app on a Fire Tablet:

    THE NEWS APP IS NO LONGER SUPPORTED AND WILL BECOME UNAVAILABLE ON YOUR TABLET DEVICE, ON OR SOON AFTER, JANUARY 10TH, 2022. YOU CAN FIND ALTERNATIVE NEWS APPS IN THE APPSTORE.

  7. Alastair Martin says:

    Great the News app leaving, just need the ability to delete prime video, amazon kids and amazon music which take up memory

  8. Nate says:

    What a bunch of grouches!
    Is it okay if I say I like it? LOL!

    • letour_001 says:

      Yes, it is okay.

      I like the NEWS app as well. Perhaps it stays on Fire TV devices, but is being dropped on Fire Tablets.

    • Jim Carter says:

      People are increasingly wallowing in self-pity over the most inconsequential things. Over the past few days I’ve been using my Fire Stick to follow the news of the poor folks who have lost their homes, jobs, and everything they own to weather events. Of course, those losses don’t compare to the fact someone can’t remove Amazon content from the Amazon device they freely purchased.

  9. Hectare says:

    Hey that’s actually useful…quick access to my DVR content

  10. John Smith says:

    looks like more useless broken garbage just like the “screen mirroring” which still doesn’t work at all and which does not get detected by ANY android device EVER
    it has not rolled out to my 4k stick yet and thank god ,I don’t want to see all the garbage pop up whenever I press the mic for Alexa anyways

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