Amazon’s in-house Vega OS is already on the new Echo Show 5

A report surfaced last week that Amazon has been working on its own in-house operating system called Vega OS as a replacement for its Android-based Fire OS. Dave Zatz of Zatz Not Funny! has now discovered that the latest version of the Echo Show 5, released earlier this year, is very likely already using Amazon’s new operating system.

It turns out the 3rd-gen Echo Show 5 is running a new operating system with a very low version number of 1.1. This is distinctly different from all other Echo devices that have operating system version numbers like for the Echo Show 8 and for the previous generation Echo Show 5, which are both version numbers that coincide with Fire OS 7 and Fire OS 6.

The low version number is very compelling evidence that the entire OS has changed but digging into Amazon’s source code notice packages reveals more evidence. The provided files for the latest Echo Show 5 have many Android-specific components missing and even indicate that the files are for a “vega-build” operating system. The new operating system is also very likely the reason why the new Echo Show 5 does not support Netflix, while the previous two Echo Show 5 models do support the streaming service.

While the original report about the existence of Amazon’s new Vega OS heavily focused on it coming to Fire TV devices, its use on Echo devices makes a lot more sense. The first few Echo devices used a custom Linux-based operating system before making the switch to Fire OS 5 in early 2016. Echo devices are a good candidate for using a new, and presumably lightweight, operating system since those devices don’t need to maintain compatibility with a huge number of 3rd-party apps and services, like a Fire TV or Fire Tablet devices would need to do.

If Vega OS actually makes its way onto a Fire TV device in the future, it will surely be on an all-new model and would very likely not be put on any existing devices. A theoretical new Fire TV model running Vega OS would likely have a much more limited number of compatible streaming services, so I can’t see it unilaterally replacing Fire OS across the entire Fire TV lineup. A more likely scenario would be seeing it offered on a new budget-friendly Fire TV Stick or low-cost Fire TV Smart TV to give buyers the option to save a bit of money in exchange for a much more limited selection of apps and services.

It’s far too early to tell if Vega OS will sweep across all of Amazon’s devices or if it will be just an alternative for Amazon to use in select devices that can benefit from the new OS. My bet is on the latter. Android has become a very bloated operating system over the years and each new version seems to hurt device performance a little more than the last. Vega OS is, presumably, a more purpose-built OS with less of the unnecessary overhead that comes with Android. Devices like the Echo Show 5 can benefit from that without giving up too many existing features. I don’t think the same can be said about Fire TVs and Fire Tablets, so it might be a while before we see Vega OS on Amazon’s more complex devices.

  1. Raymond says:

    I’m hoping that they stay on those devices only

  2. Alan Lavoie says:

    I’m interested in new OS’s entering the tech arena. This is good and positive news to me.

  3. Becky Zaloudek says:

    I think they are trying to make Android disapper, SO
    that APPLE will be a MONOPOLY and no COMPETITION. Consequently, they will own you and you pay whatever they charge.
    I’m all about competition.

  4. Don says:

    Would it be advisable to stock up on Fire Sticks so I could sideload apps??

  5. Norm says:

    This will cause loss of consumers. The only reason people buy their garbage is to side load 3rd party apps.Go woke go broke. Android TV it is!

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