Amazon's Fire tablets have been commoditized to the point where the average consumer can buy six-packs of them at a bulk discount... and that was 4 years ago. They get the job done and they're very cheap — both are good things — but they could be even cheaper. Best Buy is proving that point today with a one-day sale on the Fire HD 10. Read More
If your TV is tragically not smart enough—or otherwise lacks a way to play Amazon Prime Video—Amazon has been heavily pushing their line of Fire TV devices since 2014. While the 3rd generation Fire TV started shipping last month, Amazon just announced the new Fire TV Stick Basic Edition. Problem is, there's absolutely nothing new about this at all. Read More
Amazon's fork of Android is known as Fire OS, and it ships on all of the company's tablets and TV devices. The current version, Fire OS 5, is getting a bit long in the tooth; it's based on either Lollipop or Marshmallow, depending on the device. Amazon revealed quite a few new products recently, but one announcement flew under the radar - Fire OS 6.0. Read More
Back in 2010, Android 2.1 Eclair added voice dictation when the keyboard is open to let you use speech instead of hunting and pecking on your 3" display to type a few letters and characters. That function apparently never made it into Amazon's Fire OS Android fork on TVs (it's available on Fire tablets as far as I can tell). But that's changing now that Amazon is all about voice.
Fire OS 5.2.6 has been rolling to TV devices since September 13, but the official changelog was just posted and Amazon and says you can hold the voice button on the Alexa Voice Remote or the Fire TV Remote App (on your phone) when the keyboard is open to dictate text instead of typing one letter at a time. Read More
Back in 2015, Amazon released its cheapest tablet yet - the 'Fire tablet' for just $50 (with lock-screen ads). There's still a sizable developer community around the device too, with plenty of hacks and ROMs available for owners.
Now the company is following up with a new model, named the Fire 7. The Fire HD 8 is also getting a minor refresh, in case you need something a little bigger. The 7-inch tablet still starts at $50 with lock-screen ads, and $64.99 without. The Fire HD 8 starts at $79.99 with lock-screen ads, and $94.99 without. Read More
Just two days ago, Roku announced their new lineup of media center devices, and today Amazon has made public their latest Fire TV Stick. If you are unfamiliar with Amazon's hardware offerings, the Fire TV Stick is their competitor to the Chromecast (even to the point of Amazon removing Chromecast listings from their store). But unlike the Chromecast, and similar to the recently-announced Roku Express, all applications run directly on the device. The Fire TV stick also has a sizable game library, which is certainly unique at the price point. Read More
You might have heard that Amazon disabled the option for software encryption in the latest version of its Android-based Fire OS for the Kindle Fire series of tablets. (This isn't new - Fire OS 5 has been rolling out to various tablets since last year.) And if you read news that isn't Android Police, you probably also know that it's not the biggest story involving encryption right now. After consumer backlash following the Apple-FBI encryption case, Engadget reports that Amazon says it will return software encryption in the next major update.
Customers might have had something to say about the loss of encryption capabilities even without the highly public spat between Apple and the FBI over the San Bernardino iPhone case. Read More
Fire OS 5 is the latest release of Amazon's customized version of Android. As is tradition for the company's products, this firmware upgrade bumps devices up to being only one major version out of date. Instead of Marshmallow, Amazon's Fire gadgets are making their way up to Android 5.1.
Amazon has started pushing out Fire OS 5 to the 1st generation Fire TV and Fire TV stick. The 2nd gen hardware, which was already running 5.0.4, is also getting a boost. After the latest round of updates, all four gadgets should be left at 5.0.5. Read More
It's been about a year since Amazon released the first Fire TV Stick (give or take a couple of months), which was probably the best streaming stick at the time—arguably better than both Chromecast and Roku Streaming Stick. Naturally, the company didn't want to wait too long before updating both the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, though I'm not sure that I'd call what the FTV Stick got an actual "upgrade." Really, it's the same stick as last year, but now there's an option to bundle it with the voice remote for just $10 more than the normal price of $40 (making it $50). Read More
Amazon's phone, tablets, and other Fire devices run Android, but it doesn't come in the form you see on most devices. They all run a variant called Fire OS. The current version is based on Android 4.4, though this doesn't matter all that much once you take into account the sheer volume of changes Amazon makes.
Nevertheless, Fire OS 5 is on its way, and it will run Android Lollipop. Today Amazon has made a developer preview available for download. This will let software creators see how their apps perform on a Fire HD 6 or 7 running the upcoming version and spot any issues ahead of the official launch later this year. Read More