Amazon’s Fire brand of tablets and smartphones has mostly been panned as a flop. The company’s intense focus on being cheap and transferring every last penny of saved value onto the customer seemingly doesn’t translate into a culture good at building attractive devices, it seems. Nonetheless, Amazon has an updated version of the Fire OS that powers these things out and available for developers to test their apps on.
In its blog post, Amazon shared that Fire OS 5 is built off Android 5.0 Lollipop – Fire OS 4 was on KitKat – and that unlike last time around, developers will be able to run their apps on hardware updated to the new OS to test for compatibility issues before its public launch slated for later this year. The preview version will run on both the Fire HD 6 and HD 7 tablets.
For those who don’t have access to a Fire tablet, the company’s App Testing Service has been updated to Fire OS 5. All a developer needs to do to test their app in a virtualized version of the OS is drag and drop their app’s APK into the testing service, and will receive feedback “within 90 seconds.”
Finally, as a way to encourage developers to purchase a Fire tablet to test their apps on, the company is offering $50 off on the Fire HD 7, with the discount limited to two purchases per developer. To redeem the deal, developers must go to the Amazon Developer Portal dashboard and under the “Announcements” label will be a listing about a device discount for developers.
Since this is of course Amazon’s heavily modified version of Android, don’t expect all the visual and functional goodness that comes with Lollipop.