Ever since Google’s Android operating system debuted back in 2010, it’s allowed other vendors to create their own take on it, from smartphones to tablets.
Amazon has done precisely that with FireOS, curating a look that makes it known that you’re in Amazon’s world.
It even appeared in the much-maligned Amazon Fire Phone back in 2014, which only lasted for a year before it was cancelled.
However, the similarities between FireOS and Android are too many to count, but there are some use cases that could make you wonder if a Fire device could work in your household.
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Differences with Android
FireOS first appeared in 2012 with the Kindle Fire tablet, as a means to rival Apple’s iPad mini. Since then it split into different versions, appearing on devices such as the Fire TV, the Echo Show and Fire tablets. However, Amazon has made sure to keep the user interface and the color scheme to match its branding, with orange abound when you access the settings app, or browse the apps installed on your Fire tablet.
Instead of Google’s Play Store, you access the Amazon App Store instead. This features a wide variety of apps, but it's also accessible from Amazon’s own website. This way, if you see an app you like there, you only have to purchase it and it will download directly to your Amazon Fire device. It’s a much easier way for Amazon to manage what apps are available for the Fire line.
But the more you delve deeper into FireOS, the more you may find familiarity, especially if you have an Android phone. You can avoid Amazon’s gatekeeping and use alternative third-party apps instead, enabling features such as mouse support and even the ability to run games and movies that aren’t present on Amazon’s store.
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As FireOS runs on a version of Android, it also means that it’s open to a wide variety of games. For example, the Xbox GamePass app can be used on a Fire tablet, and with some rejigging, a Fire TV stick. Essentially you will be able to play Halo 2 on your TV, with a controller of your choice paired to the device. It’s an incredibly appealing aspect, especially for those who don’t have an Xbox. You can just launch the app and carry on with your game of choice.
However, with Amazon’s own gaming streaming service, called Luna, in testing, it could help transform FireOS into a much more appealing gaming device to enable even more access to games that only require a controller and an internet connection.
Prime Day Incoming
As Amazon Prime Day is rumored to be landing around the end of June, it also means that it’s a great opportunity to look into a new Amazon device, especially if you want something to just play games on.
With restrictions slowly lifting and more opportunities available to meet with people, travelling will come back into force again. This only means that having a Fire HD tablet just for watching your favorite James Bond films could be the perfect use for one.
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Daryl had been freelancing for 3 years before joining TechRadar, now reporting on everything software-related. In his spare time he's written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', alongside podcasting and usually found playing games old and new on his PC and MacBook Pro. If you have a story about an updated app, one that's about to launch, or just anything Software-related, drop him a line.