Along with the announcement of the all-new Fire 7 tablet, Amazon has quietly revealed that the next major version of Fire OS, its in-house flavor of Android, will debut in June on the new tablet, as Liliputing first spotted. Fire OS 8 will be based on Android 11, which is a significant move up from Fire OS 7, which is based on Android 9.
Fire OS 8 will add a large set of Android features from Android 10 (API 29) and Android 11 (API 30) to Amazon’s operating system. However, Amazon points out that not all aspects of Android 11 will be supported in Fire OS 8, such as File Based Encryption (FBE). Some of the newer Android improvements supported in Fire OS 8 include dark theme support, one-time permissions, sharing improvements, and background activity restrictions.
Based on the two-year cadence Amazon was following for the releases of Fire OS 5 in 2015, Fire OS 6 in 2017, and Fire OS 9 in 2019, Amazon was due to release Fire OS 8 at the end of 2021. For reasons we’ll likely never know, Amazon has pushed the release into mid-2022 with the Fire 7 tablet. It’s probably safe to assume that all future Fire tablets and Fire TV devices will be released with Fire OS 8 as well, but there were still Fire TV Smart TVs with Fire OS 6 released far after Fire OS 7 debuted, so you never know.
As for upgrading Fire OS 7 devices to Fire OS 8, that’s another big unknown. Amazon has been pretty good about updating Fire tablets to its latest OS version, since several Fire tablets that launched with Fire OS 6 have received updates to Fire OS 7 already. I wish I could say the same for Fire TV devices, but the opposite is true since no Fire TV models that launched with Fire OS 6 were ever updated to Fire OS 7. Amazon still sells the Fire TV Stick 4K with Fore OS 6, even though all other Fire TV models are running Fire OS 7.
We’ll have to wait and see if Amazon continues its current trend of only updating some Fire tablets to newer versions of Fire OS while keeping Fire TV devices on the version they launched with. That’s not to say that Fire TV devices do not receive any updates, which isn’t the case. Fire TV devices, as well as Fire tablets, are updated all the time, but they just never make the leap from one major Fire OS version to another. The last time that happened was in 2015 when Fire TVs were updated from Fire OS 3 to Fire OS 5. We’ll see if that happens again in 2022 for any of the existing Fire TV models.