Fire OS Overview (Amazon Fire TV)

Fire OS is the operating system that runs Amazon’s Fire TV and tablets. Fire OS is a fork of Android, so if your app runs on Android, it will most likely run on Amazon’s Fire devices too. You can quickly check your app’s compatibility with Amazon through the App Testing Service. As a developer, you might not have to adjust your Android code at all to publish your app on Amazon’s platform.

Fire OS Versions

There are two versions of Fire OS:

  • Fire OS 5: Based on Android 5.1 (Lollipop, API level 22)
  • Fire OS 6: Based on Android 7.1 (Nougat, API level 25)

With the exception of Amazon Fire TV (Gen 3), which runs on Fire OS 6, all other Amazon Fire TV devices and Fire tablets run on Fire OS 5.

Device Fire OS Version
Fire TV (Gen 3) Fire OS 6
Fire TV (Gen 2) Fire OS 5
Fire TV (Gen 1) Fire OS 5
Fire TV Stick (Gen 2) Fire OS 5
Fire TV Stick (Gen 1) Fire OS 5
Fire TV Edition Fire OS 5
Fire TV Stick Basic Edition Fire OS 5

Most Fire devices receive over-the-air updates to get Fire OS updates automatically. Not every Fire device receives a push of the same Fire OS version at the same time. Sometimes the updates roll out to different devices at different times.

You can see your version of Fire OS by going to Settings > Device > Fire TV and looking at the “Software Version” details. Release notes for Fire OS versions are provided in Amazon Fire TV Device Software Updates in the Fire TV end-user documentation.

Differences in Services

At the core, both Fire OS and Android share the same core. The main way Fire OS differs from Android is in the services. Instead of using Google’s services (for activities such as browsing, location, messaging, payments, and so on), Fire OS might use Amazon’s services. Most notably, Amazon uses the Amazon Appstore to list your app while Google uses Google Play Store.

If your Android app connects into Google’s ecosystem of services, porting your Android app to the Fire OS platform may require you to tap into Amazon’s ecosystem of services instead.

When you’re building your app, follow the standard Android documentation. Where there are differences to account for with Amazon’s Fire OS platform, they’re noted in the documentation on this site.

The goal is to provide as much parity as possible with Android (minus Google’s services) so that you don’t have to learn another development platform or make changes to your existing Android app.

The following table contrasts services from Google with similar services from Amazon.

Google Android Fire OS
Google Maps Amazon Maps API
Firebase Cloud Messaging Amazon Device Messaging
Google Play In-App Billing Amazon In-App Purchasing API
Google Play Games Services Amazon GameCircle
Cast SDK Fling SDK
Google Mobile Ads SDK Amazon Mobile Ad Network
Advertise Your App
Sign-In with Google Login with Amazon
Google Play Developer API Developer Publishing API