Amazon’s next Fire 7 tablet will come with a new version of the company’s Fire OS operating system, called Fire OS 8 (h/t to Liliputing and AFTVNews). It’s based on Android 11, which is a pretty significant upgrade to the foundational tech currently powering Amazon’s tablets; the previous version, Fire OS 7, is based on Android 9, which was released in 2018.
According to Amazon’s developer documentation, the update could bring a few new user features. For one, it brings a system-wide dark mode to the OS that developers can make their app follow. Mostly, though, it’s good for privacy and security. Along with various updates to the permissions system, the upgrade should also make it easier for Amazon to push security patches. Google isn’t providing updates to Android 9 anymore.
Currently, there’s only one tablet that Amazon’s documentation shows as having Fire OS 8: the 2022 Fire 7. Given that the 2020 Fire HD 8 has more or less the same chip, it seems likely that it could run Fire OS 8 if Amazon decides to update it. The company didn't immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment on whether it intended to update any of its existing tablets with the new version of the OS.
Even if the update doesn’t mean that the 2022 Fire 7 will have a dramatically different UI than the 2019 version, the Fire OS upgrade could make things easier for developers going forward. While there will still be plenty of Fire OS 7 devices kicking around for quite a while, the fact that Amazon’s not introducing a device running it in 2022 means that it will eventually begin to tail off. In turn, that’ll let developers start to use features and code that wouldn’t work on Android 9, which could be especially helpful if they’re developing for both Amazon and Google’s app stores; at this point, almost 60 percent of Android devices are running at least Android 10.