Amazon Wants to Drop Android, and May Already Be Hiding its Home Grown OS in the Echo Show




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Amazon is in the process of breaking away from Android and moving its family of devices to its own operating system, according to a report from last week by Janko Roettgers’ Lowpass. On Tuesday, Dave Zatz of Zatz Not Funny spotted the new OS, codenamed Vega, running on a third-generation Echo Show 5.

Zatz shared a photo of a kids variant of the Echo Show 5 owned by Zatz Not Funny writer Adam Miarka showing the device running OS 1.1 (Echo Ship 1560/75). As he points out, the OS description is different than what’s listed in its open source disclosure.

It marks the latest evidence that Amazon is moving toward its own operating system. For the retail giant, having full control of a custom OS means the ability to fully dictate how its products work, similar to how Apple offers an end-to-end experience with its phones, tablets and computers. Running on a variant version of Android means being well behind the latest updates and being reliant on Google, which it doesn’t have the best relationship with.

But a move to new OS could be jarring for consumers, who are able to take advantage of Android’s ability to side-load apps, including big ones like YouTube TV.

The desire to offer your own operating system is tempting for big technology companies but can prove disastrous if they can’t get the proper third-party support. History is littered with companies with failed operating systems, such as Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS for smartphones or Samsung’s attempt to push Tizen into phones (it still powers its smart TVs).

Amazon, with a broad ecosystem of Echo and Fire TV products, likely has the breadth and reach to attract developers, but it remains to be seen how quickly apps will embrace the new OS.

Vega OS is expected to officially come out next year in new Fire TV devices.

A spokesman for Amazon wasn’t immediately available for comment.

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