Amazon has released a software update for its first smartphone, adding several new features and improvements. But the biggest change may be that Fire OS 4.6.1 is based on Android 4.4 KitKat.
That means the Amazon Fire Phone should support third-party apps that require KitKat and it also includes some key features from Android 4.4 including support for Bluetooth Low Energy and support for sending items from your phone to a supported printer.
Google released Android 4.4 more than a year and a half ago. Since then, the company has released Android 5.0 and Android 5.1 and the next version of the mobile operating system may be on the way soon.
Still, Amazon’s update is notable because when the company launched the Fire Phone in mid-2014 it shipped with a version of Amazon’s Fire OS software that was based on the even older Android 4.2.
Fire OS is a customized version of Android which Amazon uses for its smartphones, tablets, and TV boxes. The operating system has a custom user interface and tight integration with the Amazon Appstore but does not include the Google Play Store or Play Services.
Among other things, version 4.6.1 includes:
- Option to change the home screen wallpaper
- Notification previews on the lock screen
- Support for color emoji in the keyboard
- Automatic HDR photography option
- New calling options including support for managing up to 5 people on a conference call and deleting all previous calls from your history
- New messaging options including ability to delete or forward multiple messages in a conversation or swipe to delete conversations
There are also improvements to the calendar, accessibility improvements, and new enterprise features. You can find more details in the release notes.