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(Pocket-lint) - Amazon isn't a typical Android manufacturer. Although it's well known that Amazon uses Android as the platform to power its devices, it's not using the same Android as you'd find on the latest Samsung or Pixel phone.

Instead it relies on the Android Open Source Project - AOSP - the base code for Android and then adapts it all to suit its own ends. This is different to skinning as you'll find on a smartphone, as there's no Google apps on Amazon devices. Instead it's using the foundation code in a similar way to Huawei and some refer to this as a "forked" version of Android.

That means that Fire OS - as found on the Amazon Fire tablets - works in a similar and familiar way to Android, but in the grander scheme of things, it's not really comparable with those running Google Mobile Services.

What version of Android is Fire OS 8?

The big change that comes with Fire OS 8 is that it move to Android 11. Android 11 was launched in 2020, but don't run off thinking that means it's out of date, because we're literally talking about code and Fire tablets aren't really comparable to other Android devices.

However, it actually incorporates some elements that were introduced in Android 10 - but this doesn't mean all elements of Android 11 are incorporated.

Fire OS 7 was based on Android 9.

What's new in Fire OS 8?

There are a range of new features that will be available in Fire OS 8 that will improve the environment for developers and result in better devices. Some of the following will need to be used by developers to enhance apps, but some you might find in changes to the experience that Amazon offers.

There may also be new features introduced by Amazon which have not been revealed - just as we don’t know the date or the models that will get the update - just that we'd expect it to roll out in 2022 and (probably) make its debut on the new Fire 7 tablet.

Dark Mode

System-wide dark mode arrived with Android 10 and Fire OS 8 will allow apps to opt in or out of the dark theme, meaning you get more choice over how your apps will look.

Settings in apps

One of the changes in Android 10 allows system settings relevant to an app to be accessed directly from the app without having to exit - for example Wi-Fi. This should allow for greater control when using apps.

HEIF support

High efficiency image file (HIEF) is an image format that allows greater quality images in smaller file sizes. Apps using this could potentially load faster or use less data when showing their images.

Background activities

There's better control over what apps do in the background, for example limiting access to location data in the background or stopping an app from starting itself in the background and interrupting you.

Permissions controls

One of the new elements in Android 11 was one-time permission controls. Rather than granting an app access to permissions (that might be the camera, mic or location) on a permanent basis, you can grant that permission for one occasion. It's another method of preserving privacy by limiting what apps can do.

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Writing by Chris Hall.