Amazon has now officially declared its policy regarding Fire TV software updates to be a guarantee of at least 4 years of security updates after the device is last available for purchase. In doing so, it has set which year each Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Fire TV Cube, Fire TV Smart TV, and Fire TV Soundbar model may stop receiving updates. Unsurprisingly, having been released over 7 years ago, the 1st-gen Fire TV and 1st-gen Fire TV Stick are the first two models to no longer be guaranteed updates.
The 1st-gen devices were both released in 2014, with the main Fire TV debuting in April and the Firestick debuting a few months later in November. The original Fire TV was replaced by the 2nd-gen Fire TV the following year, in 2015, but the original Firestick wasn’t replaced by the 2nd-gen Fire TV Stick until October 2016. Adding 4 years to those replacement dates puts guaranteed security updates stopping in 2019 for the 1st-gen Fire TV and stopping in 2020 for the 1st-gen Fire TV Stick under this new policy.
Amazon has well overshot those end dates since both models have received operating system updates of some kind as recently as September of this year, not to mention the countless “system component” app updates that trickle in all the time. The Amazon page regarding this new update policy puts the words “at least” in bold when referring to at least 4 years of updates. This is likely to emphasize that the 4-year mark is not a hard cut-off, as is evident by the recent updates pushed out to the two 2014 models.
7+ years of software updates for any modern device is pretty impressive, yet alone going that long for Android devices, which are notorious for being abandoned by their manufacturers. Google, with one of the better policies, only guaranteed 3 years of updates for its Pixel phones, for example. It was only last month that Google switched to 5 years of security updates for its latest Pixel 6 phones, but kept OS updates at 3 years. Google does not guarantee updates for Chromecast, Google TV, or Android TV devices.
This change for the 1st-gen Fire TV and Fire TV Stick models certainly doesn’t mean they will all of a sudden stop working. It just means that, over time, they may become less secure and more vulnerable to attacks if Amazon does stop updating them. If you’re still using these older models, now might be a good time to consider upgrading to a more modern device, especially since Black Friday is just around the corner and sales are already starting.