Wed. Oct 20th, 2021
Amazon’s Fire OS vs. Google’s Android: What’s the Difference?

Amazon’s Fire tablets run Amazon’s personal “Fire OS” working system. Fire OS is predicated on Android, but it surely doesn’t have any of Google’s apps or providers. Here’s what meaning, and the way precisely they’re totally different.

It’s not likely right to say that Amazon’s Fire tablets run Android. But, in one other sense, they do run a whole lot of Android code. All the apps you’ll run on a Fire pill are Android apps, too.

The Quick Answer

For the common individual, the large distinction between an everyday Android pill and Amazon’s Fire pill is that the Google Play Store isn’t current on the Fire pill. Instead, you’re restricted to Amazon’s Appstore and the apps accessible there. You additionally gained’t have entry to Google’s apps or Google’s providers. You’ll be utilizing Amazon’s personal apps—the Silk Browser as a substitute of Chrome, for instance.

RELATED: What Custom Android Launchers Are and Why You Might Want to Use One

There are different variations, in fact. Amazon doesn’t make it potential to alter the launcher as you usually can on Android units, so that you’ll be utilizing Amazon’s house display expertise. Amazon’s house display expertise can present a grid of apps, but it surely additionally reveals you movies, music, and ebooks from Amazon. The house display even accommodates Amazon’s procuring website, making it simple to purchase extra stuff — and provides Amazon more cash.

Fire OS does have a pleasant, kid-friendly “Kindle FreeTime” function that may be mixed with an “Unlimited” subscription for entry to 1000’s of kid-friendly academic apps, books, films, and TV reveals. Amazon even sells a Fire Tablet designed particularly for youths that bundles in quite a lot of providers and provides a pleasant, “kid-proof” case. These kid-friendly parental-control options are one among Fire OS’s extra distinctive options.

RELATED: How to Turn an Android or Fire Tablet Into a Kid-Friendly Device with FreeTime

But what does the distinction actually imply? Well, should you simply need an affordable pill for searching the internet, going by way of emails, and watching movies, there isn’t that large a distinction. If you need the complete ecosystem of Android apps with out leaping by way of hoops, you would possibly wish to get a extra typical Android pill.

That’s Amazon’s worth proposition, in any case. You can get an affordable, $50 Kindle Fire pill—however you’ll have to make use of Amazon’s appstore and providers as a substitute of Google’s. Amazon hopes to earn more money off you in digital gross sales. The least expensive model of the pill even ships with lock display ads, and you need to pay a little bit additional if you wish to take away them.

Android, Google Mobile Services, and AOSP

There are actually two Androids. There’s the Google “Android” you see on units from Samsung, LG, HTC, Sony, and different large gadget producers. And this isn’t simply the Android OS—it’s an Android gadget the producers have had licensed by Google. The gadget makes use of the Android OS, and ships with Google Mobile Services, which incorporates the Google Play Store and different Google apps like Gmail and Google Maps.

But Android can be an open supply challenge. The open supply challenge is thought, merely sufficient, as the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). The AOSP code is licensed beneath a permissive open-source license, and any producer or developer can take the code and use it for what they need.

Google Mobile Services is just not a part of the Android open supply challenge, and many issues that folks consider as “Android” — together with the Google Play Store and all of Google’s providers — aren’t included in Android. They’re licensed individually.

The least expensive Android tablets—the variety you get for $30 straight from a manufacturing unit in China—are simply this AOSP code. If you need Google Play on them, you need to set up Google’s apps individually after you get the pill.

Why Amazon Created Fire OS Instead of Using Google’s Android

Amazon needed to create its personal working system for its tablets. Rather than ranging from scratch, Amazon takes that Android AOSP code and modifies it to create “Fire OS.”

This saves Amazon time as a result of they will piggy-back off Google’s efforts reasonably than ranging from scratch. It additionally means all these current Android apps will be simply “ported” to Fire OS, which is mainly the similar factor as Android anyway.

But why doesn’t Amazon simply use Google’s Android? Well, Amazon needs to manage the complete expertise. Rather than handing you off to Google Play for app purchases, video leases, music downloads, and eBooks, Amazon needs you to make use of the Amazon Appstore, Prime Instant Videos, Amazon Music, and Amazon Kindle apps. That’s the level of the Amazon Fire pill line, anyway—it’s an affordable window into Amazon’s providers. Once you have got the {hardware}, you’re extra more likely to spend cash on extra Amazon providers and merchandise.

Google Play Services is Only for Google’s Android

RELATED: Not Getting Android OS Updates? Here’s How Google Is Updating Your Device Anyway

Increasingly, increasingly more of what a typical individual thinks of as “Android” is definitely a part of Google Play Services and Google’s personal apps. Many of the typical Android apps in Google Play are written to make use of Google Play Services for entry to GPS areas, funds, and plenty of different issues. These apps can’t simply be put straight onto a Fire OS gadget, the place Google Play Services isn’t current. Amazon has to offer different APIs for builders, and builders could must do a bit of labor to port their Android apps from the Google Play Store to Amazon’s Fire OS. That’s an enormous purpose why not each Android app is current.

Amazon Appstore vs. Google Play

As we talked about earlier than, the largest distinction for the common Kindle pill consumer will likely be the presence of Amazon’s Appstore as a substitute of Google Play. Android app builders can select to record their purposes in the Amazon Appstore in addition to Google Play. Not each developer does—however many do.

In observe, this implies you don’t have entry to all the Android apps you usually would with an Android pill, however you do have entry to fairly a number of. You can search the Amazon Appstore on the internet to see if the apps you employ can be found in Amazon’s Appstore.

Amazon additionally makes its “Appstore” app accessible for obtain. You can set up the Amazon Appstore on customary Android smartphones and tablets, after which obtain apps from there as a substitute of Google Play. They’re Android apps, in order that they’ll run on each Android and Fire OS.

But You Can Turn a Fire Tablet Into a “Google Android” Device

Because Fire OS is so near Android, there are a selection of steps you may take to make the Fire pill extra like inventory Android (with out rooting). These embrace installing the Google Play retailer, utilizing a extra conventional launcher, and turning off quite a lot of Amazon-specific options.

RELATED: How to Make the $50 Amazon Fire Tablet More Like Stock Android (Without Rooting)

None of that is formally supported by Google or Amazon, however it’s potential, and it doesn’t even require rooting your gadget. The large distinction right here is that you need to do a bit of labor to make it occur. And, in fact, it’s potential Amazon could crack down on this in future variations of Fire OS and make it harder. But as of Fire OS 8, no less than, that hasn’t occurred but.


For an affordable pill for watching movies, studying books, listening to music, searching the internet, checking e mail, and utilizing Facebook, Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets are a fantastic deal.

Android customers who need entry to the complete Play Store and all of Google’s apps—with out hacking about—might want a typical Android pill.

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