Amazon's new Fire OS update brings picture-in-picture and more to Fire TV


Amazon barely said a word about it amid this week’s Echo smart speaker announcements and squabbles with Google over YouTube videos, but there’s a new version of the company’s Android-based Fire OS headed to the Fire TV.

The bulk of the details are relatively hidden in Amazon’s developer documentation, where the company announced Fire OS 6 will be based on Android 7.1.2 Nougat. 

Unfortunately, it looks as though you can only update to the new system if you have the third-generation Fire TV. As Amazon says on the developer page, “At this time, the previous Fire TV devices will not uplevel to Fire OS 6.”

That could mean a significant leap in features for Fire OS in general, as Fire OS 5 was based on Android 5.1 or 6.0, depending on the device.

The new OS brings Android TV features like picture-in-picture, which allows videos to keep playing in a small window while you browse other content.

Third-party apps that support live video streams will also have access to time-shifting, which lets viewers pause and rewind live feeds.

Fire TV owners will also get to take advantage of content recording, which allows multiple programs to be recorded at once. For that matter, they’ll also get to schedule recordings ahead of time, much as you would with DVR.

Amazon already changed the overall look of Fire TV interface earlier this month, so you likely won’t see much of a visual change when your update your device.

As for Amazon Fire tablets? It’s currently not clear if current models will get the updated OS as well, but Amazon should reveal that information in the near future.


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