Fire OS

Fire OS
Written in C (core), C++, Java (UI)[1]
OS family Unix-like
Working state Current
Source model Proprietary software based on Open source Android[2] and in all devices with proprietary components[3]
Latest release Fire OS[4] / June 28, 2018 (2018-06-28)
Latest preview Fire OS 5 Developer Preview for Amazon Fire TV[5] / August 17, 2015 (2015-08-17)
Marketing target Kindle Fire, Fire HDX (tablet computers), Amazon Fire TV, Fire Phone
Package manager APK
Platforms 32-bit and 64-bit ARM
Kernel type Monolithic (modified Linux kernel)
Userland Bionic libc,[6] mksh shell,[7] native core utilities with a few from NetBSD[8]
Default user interface Graphical (Multi-touch)
License Proprietary EULA; based on Apache License 2.0
Modified Linux kernel under GNU GPL v2[9]
Official website

Amazon Fire OS is an Android-based mobile operating system produced by Amazon for its Fire Phone and Kindle Fire range of tablets, Echo and Echo Dot, and other content delivery devices like Fire TV; the tablet versions of the Kindle e-readers are the Fire range. It is forked from Android. Fire OS primarily centers on content consumption, with a customized user interface and heavy ties to content available from Amazon's own storefronts and services.

While the Kindle Fire line has always used customized distributions of Android, particularly 2.3.3 (API level 10) (Kindle Fire) and 4.0.3 (API level 15) (Fire HD), Amazon only began referring to the distribution as Fire OS beginning with its third iteration of Kindle Fire tablets, which includes the Fire HD 2nd generation and Fire HDX models. Unlike previous Kindle Fire models, whose operating system is listed as being "based on" Android, the Fire HDX "Fire OS 3.0" operating system is listed as being "compatible with" Android; Fire OS 3 is forked from Android 4.2.2, (API level 17).[10][11][12] In the Fire HD (3rd generation) and Fire HDX (2nd generation) tablets, Fire OS 4 is included that is forked from Android 4.4.2 (API level 19).[13][14] Fire OS 4.5.1 is based on Android 4.4.3.[15][16] Fire OS 5.0 is based on Android 5.0 (API level 22).[17] Fire OS is based on Android 7.1.2 (API Level 25).


Fire OS uses a customized user interface designed to prominently promote content available through Amazon services, such as Amazon Appstore, Amazon Video, Amazon MP3 & Audible, and Kindle Store. Its home screen features a carousel of recently accessed content and apps, with a "favorites shelf" of pinned apps directly below it. Sections are provided for different types of content, such as apps, games, music, audiobooks, and video among others. A search function allows users to search through their local content library or Amazon's stores. Similarly to Android, sliding from the top of the screen exposes quick settings and notifications. Fire OS also provides integration with Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter. X-Ray is also integrated into its playback functions, allowing users to access supplemental information on what they are currently viewing. On the Fire HDX and Fire Phone, an additional function called "Mayday" allows users to connect directly to a support agent for assistance via one-way video chat. Amazon claims that most Mayday calls would be answered within 15 seconds.[18][19][20] The OS features a user system, along with Kindle FreeTime, a suite of parental controls which allow parents to set time limits for using certain types of content.[21]

Fire OS 5, which is based on Android 5.0 "Lollipop", uses an updated interface. The home screen now features a traditional application grid and pages for content types as opposed to the previous carousel interface. It also introduces "On Deck", a function which automatically moves content out of offline storage to maintain storage space for new content, the speed reading tool "Word Runner", and screen color filters. Parental controls were enhanced with a new web browser for FreeTime mode featuring a curated selection of content appropriate for children, as well as "Activity Center" for monitoring usage by children.[22][23][24] Fire OS 5 removes support for device encryption; an Amazon spokesperson stated that encryption was an enterprise-oriented feature that was underused. However, in March 2016, after the removal was publicized and criticized in the wake of the FBI–Apple encryption dispute, Amazon announced that it would be restoring the feature in a future patch.[25][26]

Fire OS devices are exclusively tied to Amazon's software and content ecosystems; they do not offer the Google Play Store or come pre-installed with any other of Google's proprietary apps or APIs, such as Google Maps or Google Cloud Messaging. Fire OS does provide proprietary alternatives to Google's platforms; for example, in lieu of Google Maps, Fire OS offers Here Maps (now Here WeGo) with a clone of Google Maps API 1.0. As Fire OS is intentionally designed to be incompatible with Google's official Android compatibility standards, Fire OS devices do not include Google's proprietary software or use the Android trademarks.[3] However, as with other Android devices, third-party apps can still be sideloaded via APK files, although full compatibility is not guaranteed if the app depends on Google services.[27]

Members of the Open Handset Alliance (which include the majority of Android OEMs) are contractually forbidden to produce Android devices based on forks of the OS, therefore Kindle Fire tablets are manufactured by Quanta Computer, which is not an OHA member.[3]

List of Fire OS versions

The releases are chronologically sorted and categorized based on the underlying version of their Android codebase.

Android 2.3 Gingerbread
6.3.2 longer movie rentals, Amazon cloud synchronization
6.3.4 latest version for Kindle Fire (2011)
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
7.5.1 latest version for Kindle Fire HD 7" (2012)
8.5.1 latest version for Kindle Fire HD 8.9" (2012)
10.5.1 latest version for Kindle Fire (2012)
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
3.2.8 rollback point for Fire HDX (2013)
3.5.0 introduces support for Fire Phone; Android 4.2.2 codebase
3.5.1 Fire Phone maintenance version
Android 4.4 KitKat
4.1.1 latest version for tablets released in 2013 Fire Phone latest version for the Fire Phone
Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
5.0 (Bellini)[28] introduction of Fire TV
5.1.4 Fire TV devices August 2016 November 2016 December 2016 March 2017 June 2017 August 2017 – November 2017, only for Fire HD 10 (2017) with hands-free Alexa November 2017 January 2018 March 2018 July 2018, latest version for all tablets released 2014 and later (Hands-Free Alexa For Fire 7 & HD 8 (2017) only) April 2018, latest version for first and second generation Fire TV devices
Android 7.1 Nougat October 2017, released on third generation Fire TV December 2017[30] May 2018[31]

List of Fire OS devices

See also


  1. "Android Code Analysis". Retrieved June 6, 2012.
  2. "Philosophy and Goals". Android Open Source Project. Google. Retrieved April 21, 2012.
  3. 1 2 3 "Google's iron grip on Android: Controlling open source by any means necessary". Ars Technica. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
  4. " Help: Fire Software Updates".
  5. Jesse Freeman. "Announcing the Fire OS 5 Developer Preview for Amazon Fire TV".
  6. "libc - platform/bionic - Git at Google".
  7. "master - platform/external/mksh - Git at Google".
  8. "toolbox - platform/system/core - Git at Google". Archived from the original on February 9, 2014.
  9. "Licenses". Android Open Source Project. Open Handset Alliance. Retrieved September 9, 2012. The preferred license for the Android Open Source Project is the Apache Software License, 2.0. ... Why Apache Software License? ... For userspace (that is, non-kernel) software, we do in fact prefer ASL2.0 (and similar licenses like BSD, MIT, etc.) over other licenses such as LGPL. Android is about freedom and choice. The purpose of Android is promote openness in the mobile world, but we don't believe it's possible to predict or dictate all the uses to which people will want to put our software. So, while we encourage everyone to make devices that are open and modifiable, we don't believe it is our place to force them to do so. Using LGPL libraries would often force them to do so.
  10. Hollister, Sean (September 28, 2011). "Amazon's Kindle Fire UI: it's Android, but not quite". This Is My Next.
  11. "Amazon confirms Kindle Fire HD models use Android 4.0 under the hood". Engadget. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  12. "Kindle Fire Device and Feature Specifications". Amazon developer portal. Inc. Retrieved December 18, 2013.
  13. "Updating Your App for Fire OS 4 - Amazon Apps & Services Developer Portal".
  14. "What's new with Amazon's Fire OS 4.0 "Sangria"?".
  15. Adrian Kingsley-Hughes. "Amazon begins rollout of Fire OS 4.5.1". ZDNet.
  16. " Help: Fire HD 6 (4th Generation) Software Updates".
  17. "Publish to Fire OS 5".
  18. "Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 review". TechRadar. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  19. Kevin Parrish. "Amazon Reveals Kindle Fire HDX Tablets, Fire OS 3.0 Mojito". Tom's Hardware. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
  20. Edwards, Luke. "Amazon Kindle Fire OS 3.0 Mojito: What is it and is it coming to my tablet?". Pocket-lint. Retrieved December 2, 2013.
  21. "Hands On With Amazon Kindle FreeTime". PC Magazine. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  22. "What's new in Amazon Fire OS 5 Bellini?". Pocket-lint. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  23. "Amazon's Fire HD 10 tablet a rare misfire for company". Fortune. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  24. "Feature-stuffed Fire OS update makes Amazon's tablets even more kid-friendly". PC World. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  25. "Amazon quietly disabled encryption in the latest version of Fire OS". The Verge. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  26. "Amazon pledges to bring device encryption back to Fire OS this spring". The Verge. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  27. Segan, Sascha (December 2013). "How To Run Free Android Apps On the Kindle Fire". PC Magazine.
  28. "What's new in Amazon Fire OS 5 Bellini? - Pocket-lint". Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  29. " Customer Discussions: Fire OS 5.1.1 Available for Download". Retrieved 2016-11-11.
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