Amazon may be lesser known for making mobile devices than they are from selling millions of items online, but their Fire lineup of tablets has been rather successful, so they released a Fire branded smartphone around this time last year. When they released their first Android tablet, the Kindle Fire, while it was targeted towards being a device that allowed to store a lot of e-books, there were some apps from the Amazon App Store that it could run as it was using the Android operating system and they made sure that it was very affordable in a time when even smaller tablets were expensive.
The Fire phone doesn’t share the same story though, while it was never intended to be a flagship phone, its specs were somewhat outdated especially considering the $650 price that it had when it was released. The screen, at 4.7 inches, was already on the smaller side and only had HD resolution in a world where Full HD screens were fairly common. Its design was kind of bland with Gorilla Glass 3 covering the front and back and it was complemented with plastic. It featured the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and 2 GB of RAM, the internal memory options were 32 GB or 64 GB and they were non-expandable, so that couldn’t have helped either.
It featured some unique technology like the four cameras in the front that helped to create a 3D effect or depth sensation across the entire UI and it integrated some features that were particularly useful if users were fully invested in the whole Amazon ecosystem. Even when the company didn’t sell as many phones as they wanted, it’s still nice to see that they have supported the Fire phone by releasing some updates to enhance the Fire OS that runs on top of Android 4.4 KitKat. Now, Amazon has announced the Developer Preview for their next major update called Fire OS 5 that will be based on Android Lollipop and will power Fire tablets, Fire TV and Fire TV stick as well as the Fire phone. The company is encouraging developers to access this new OS to make sure apps work fine by the time it gets released. They offer an App Testing Service right from the browser which help evaluate if an APK will be compatible and discounts on Fire tablets. There’s no word on the improvements that Fire OS 5 will bring, but with the new design language from Lollipop and the 3D effects of the Fire phone, interesting design choices could be made and it could be a prelude of the next generation Fire phone.