Amazon has announced that the Echo Show 15 will soon gain a full-fledged Fire TV interface with a free update. The Echo Show 15 has always had the ability to stream video from a limited number of services, such as Netflix and most recently with the newest addition of Sling TV compatibility, but essentially turning it into a Fire TV will unlock many more services and capabilities. It will presumably also, for the first time, bring the Amazon Appstore to an Echo Show device.
The interface demonstrated on the Echo Show 15 during today’s Amazon event most closely resembles the one used for Fire TV’s in vehicles. That would make sense since the Echo Show 15 uses a touch screen and the Fire TV for Auto implementation also has touch support. However, Amazon will also allow for a 3rd-gen Alexa Voice Remote to be paired with the Echo Show 15 if you prefer to interact with the Fire TV interface on the device that way.
What isn’t clear yet is how much of the Fire TV experience, specifically related to apps, will actually be available on the Echo Show 15. Amazon has never allowed the installation of apps on Echo Show devices, instead choosing to just pre-load all capabilities. The Fire TV interface that was demoed on the Echo Shows 15 listed Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, Disney, Paramount, ESPN, Tubi, Sling TV, Pluto TV, Freevee, Starz, and Twitch apps. Many of those apps and services aren’t available on any Echo Show device at this time, so I presume there is some kind of access to the Amazon Appstore for those apps to be accessed.
Having the Amazon Appstore available on the Echo Show 15 would be a big departure from how Amazon currently sees those devices as providing curated walled-garden experiences. I guess now I have to pick up an Echo Show 15 and report back what can and can’t be done once the Fire TV experience arrives.