It would appear that Amazon will be adding a full-fledged shopping app to the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. A nonfunctional version of the upcoming shopping app has just leaked on the Amazon appstore (screenshot). The app description states that “with the Amazon TV app, you will be able to enjoy a lean back shopping experience on the largest screen in your house, using just your Fire TV remote.”
Apart from a short-lived weather app, Amazon has never listed any of their first-party Fire TV apps in the appstore, which is why this new shopping app listing is likely a leak that was never meant to be seen publicly. The Fire TV pulls images and information for apps, which it uses in its user interface, from the Amazon appstore. Amazon’s own apps that come pre-loaded on the Fire TV, like the Prime Photos and Music apps, likely have internal appstore listings for the Fire TV interface to pull from. This leaked shopping app listing is likely meant to be one of those internal-only listings.
Another giveaway that this app is not meant to be listed in the Amazon appstore is that, if you install it, which you shouldn’t, it registers itself as a system app, as opposed to a user app. Amazon’s own default Fire TV apps, that either come pre-installed or are installed through operating system software updates, are all system apps so they cannot be uninstalled. Even though this shopping app is coming from the appstore, if you install it, it cannot be uninstalled. Even factory resetting the Fire TV does not remove the app.
It turns out this shopping app is actually included in the 126.96.36.199 update as a system app. That is why it appeared as though I could not uninstall it. The app has now been pulled from the Amazon appstore, but if you happened to have purchased it while it was available, the inert version included with the 188.8.131.52 update will now be accessible on all of your devices, although it still crashes when launched.
When you try launching the shopping app, it immediately crashes. It is likely dependent on changes to the Fire TV operating system, which have either not been add or activated yet, to function correctly. This is likely because the app is meant for beta testers, just like the leaked Silk browser for the Fire TV. I expect the app will look and function much like the Amazon shopping app recently released for the Apple TV.
Amazon has been working on full shopping capabilities on the Fire TV for some time, ever since I first found an early form of this upcoming shopping app. It seems the success of Alexa, and its shopping capabilities, took priority over a dedicated shopping app for a while. It seems the shopping app is being worked on again and will likely be launched soon.