What you need to know
- Amazon is reportedly developing its own operating system, internally known as Vega, to replace Android on its smart displays, TVs, and other smart home products.
- Vega is based on Linux and uses React Native, which would allow developers to create apps that run on both Amazon's new and old devices.
- Amazon could start shipping Fire TV devices with Vega as early as next year, and it could eventually replace Android on all of its products.
Amazon is reportedly developing its own operating system as an alternative to the forked version of Android currently used in its tablets, TVs, and smart home devices.
Janko Roettgers from Lowpass reports that Amazon's building an in-house replacement for Android, which is internally known as Vega (via 9to5Google). Word on the street is that the company has been test-driving it on Fire TV streaming adapters, and Amazon's already let their partners in on the plan to make the switch.
The report, which cites job listings, reference materials, and sources familiar with the project, reveals that Amazon has been working on the OS since 2017. Additionally, the retail giant has supposedly approached chipmakers about developing a new operating system for its devices.
Vega is also tipped to be at an advanced stage of development. It's based on Linux and designed to be web-forward, and a large team within Amazon's Device OS division has presumably been involved with the effort for quite a while.
Sources suggest that Amazon could start shipping Fire TVs with Vega around 2024. That said, Amazon is said to be bringing the OS to all sorts of devices, including car entertainment systems and other hardware products, marking a comprehensive shift away from Android across all Amazon products in the future.
Roettgers highlights a few reasons behind Amazon's plan to part ways with Android. Firstly, Android's got a bunch of extra code that's just dead weight for a smart home device. Plus, Fire OS has been playing catch-up because it's tied to Android Open Source Project, remaining stuck at Android 10 and 11, while the latest Android version is now widely available. And there's the added headache of potential Google restrictions on manufacturers doing Amazon-powered TVs.
There's no official release date mentioned in the report, but Roettgers claims that "most of the OS development is already done." Amazon is now reportedly working to get an SDK in shape and cooking up some sweet incentives to woo developers into jumping on board.
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Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.