Amazon’s Fire OS, which runs on all of its Fire tablets and Fire streaming sticks/boxes, is finally getting an upgrade to 7.1.2 Nougat. While this forked version of Android is a pretty big step up from Fire OS 5 (which is based on Lollipop or Marshmallow depending on the device), unfortunately, version 6 won’t be rolling out to many devices…
Amazon’s Fire brand of tablets and smartphones has mostly been panned as a flop. The company’s intense focus on being cheap and transferring every last penny of saved value onto the customer seemingly doesn’t translate into a culture good at building attractive devices, it seems. Nonetheless, Amazon has an updated version of the Fire OS that powers these things out and available for developers to test their apps on.
It seems that Amazon is finally throwing in the towel with its Fire Phone. After the hype leading up to its launch, Fire Phone has been struggling to stay afloat. It’s best to think of the Fire Phone as a smaller version of a Kindle Fire tablet, but with a few extra gimmicks and features thrown in along with a free year of Amazon Prime.
Amazon today announced a new hardware product called Echo. It’s essentially a speaker unit dedicated to being a voice-control system. It kind of sounds like Google Now but in a speaker for a single room instead of in your Android smartphone, tablet, or watch.
You can set alarms, control music, ask about the weather, search the web, ask questions, and access local news. It streams content via Bluetooth and WiFi, and connects to the Fire Phone (if you have one), iOS via the browser, Android, and desktop computers via the web. Instead of “Okay Google,” you say “Alexa” to start speaking the device. You’ll need a Fire OS/Android device to take full advantage.
The whole concept is very futuristic, and it’s unclear how beneficial this will be to people with voice-controlled phones. But, hey, this comes from the developers of a faux-3D phone, so this is not completely out of left field. The Echo is $99 for Amazon Prime users, $199 for everyone else, and (for some reason) you need an invitation to receive the honor to buy one of these things.
Amazon’s recently released new line of Kindle Fire hardware and 3.0 Fire OS software is certainly making inroads thanks in no small part to Mayday. Well, Amazon isn’t wasting any time making improvements as they introduce Fire OS 3.1 this morning which includes Goodreads integration, “Second Screen” technology which lets you “fling movies and tv shows from your tablet to your TV” and enterprise-ready features.