KitKat? In 2015? And it wasn’t already on KitKat? At this point, it’s hard to look at the Amazon Fire Phone as much more than on overly ambitious misstep. Amazon saw some good success with its Kindle Fire tablets, and last year the company attempted to parlay that fortune into its first smartphone. With some interesting hardware and a software package that gave users something different from standard Android offerings, the Fire Phone took a bold swing at the market – and totally whiffed. Just because shoppers haven’t flocked to the Fire Phone doesn’t mean Amazon’s abandoning it, and today we see the company continue to support its handset with the release of a new software update, one that among other things finally brings the Fire Phone to the world of KitKat.
Amazon’s Fire OS fork of Android means that it tends to lag significantly behind mainstream devices in its support for the latest Android revisions. The version 3.5 Fire OS that the Fire Phone launched with last year was based on Jelly Bean. With today’s Fire OS 4.6.1 update, the Fire Phone joins its tablet brethren with some system software erected on a KitKat framework.
That brings support for things like Bluetooth Low Energy, new keyboard options, improved lockscreen notifications, and more. Will the update be enough to reverse the direction of the Fire Phone’s fate? We doubt it, but it’s still admirable that Amazon has resisted the urge to throw in the towel and shutter its Fire Phone project entirely – we appreciate every update we can get.