With confirmation that Fire OS 6 will debut next month when the new 4K HDR Fire TV 3 ships and indication that it will bring with it new features, the question many of you have is if your existing Fire TVs and Fire TV Sticks will also receive the new operating system. Amazon is not ready to commit to saying yes or no right now.
Amazon has been steadily updating their Fire TV developer documentation the last few days with new information about Fire OS 6 and the new Fire TV 3. On the page that addresses differences between Fire TV and Android TV app development, Amazon says the following:
“Whether the previous Fire TV devices running Fire OS 5 will eventually be upleveled to Fire OS 6 or not is unknown/undecided.”– Amazon Developer Documentation
Even if current Fire TVs and Fire TV Sticks do get updated to Fire OS 6 eventually, it might not be for a while. When Fire OS 5 debuted on the 2nd generation Fire TV in October of 2015, it wasn’t until February of 2016 that older devices were updated to the new operating system.
Amazon is handling the release of Fire OS 6 very differently from the release of Fire OS 5. With Fire OS 5, Amazon committed very early to supporting existing devices and released a developer preview of Fire OS 5 to the 1st generation Fire TV and Fire TV Stick several months before it was set to debut on the Fire TV 2.
This time around, Amazon has chosen to not have a developer preview for Fire OS 6 and has only now revealed its existing, less than a month before its debut. This could be a move to avoid the delay and disappointment customers experienced when Fire OS 5 was released.
Even though several customers were testing the Fire OS 5 developer preview for several months prior to Fire OS 5’s official debut, the new operating system was plagued with numerous bugs that severely delayed its arrival on older devices. This left many impatient customers angry and disappointed.
By not committing early to releasing Fire OS 6 on existing devices, Amazon is giving themselves a lot of flexibility. In the event that the new operating system is not as polished as they hope, which is what happened when Fire OS 5 first made it to customer’s homes, Amazon won’t have the millions of impatient existing device owners pressuring them to hurry.
All we can do is wait for the Fire TV 3 to be released and hope Fire OS 6 is well received. That might improve the chances of the new operating system arriving on older devices. If I were to guess which devices were most likely to be updated to Fire OS 6, I would say the order from most likely to least likely is: Fire TV Edition television, Fire TV Stick 2, Fire TV 2, Fire TV 1, and Fire TV Stick 1.