The latest round of software updates for most Amazon Fire TVs, Fire TV Sticks, and Fire TV Edition televisions has overhauled the look and feel of Alexa’s visual responses and has even added some new functionality that makes the voice assistant more useful. Those improvements have come at a cost because they’ve also disabled the ability to use voice dictation for the on-screen keyboard.
A little less than a year ago, Amazon pushed out software update 18.104.22.168 to all Fire TV devices that added the ability to speak into the voice remote to dictate the text you wanted to enter into the on-screen keyboard. It was surely among the most highly requested features by Fire TV owners, so it was very well received. While the new capability had a few issues, such as not working in apps that used a custom on-screen keyboard instead of the default Fire TV on-screen keyboard, it was great to speed up tedious text input in most scenarios.
Unfortunately, the new 22.214.171.124 software update that is currently rolling out to all older Fire TV models and the 126.96.36.199 software update that was pushed out to the newer Fire TV 3 (pendant) have disabled the ability to use your voice in place of the on-screen keyboard. Pressing the microphone button on the Alexa voice remote while the default Fire TV keyboard is on the screen now just makes a standard Alexa request, just as it used to do prior to the addition of keyboard voice dictation.
The only device that I know for sure still has keyboard voice dictation is the Amazon Fire TV Cube. I do not know if the feature has also been removed from the newer Toshiba Fire TV Edition televisions, or if it was ever available in the first place, but all other Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, and Fire TV Edition models no longer have keyboard voice dictation.
I’ve reached out to Amazon to see if the loss of keyboard voice dictation on older Fire TV models is a temporary consequence of the updated Alexa interface that will be restored at a later date, but I have not yet received a response. I will post an update if I receive any additional information.
Amazon has informed me that removing keyboard voice dictation was not their intention. They said they’re looking into restoring the functionality as soon as possible.