Tuesday, March 6, 2012

KindleFire - breaking out

I am the proud owner now of a Kindle Fire - a nice $200 7inch Android pad that arrives with very close couplings to Amazon who produced it. You cannot for example use the Google Android Market - only the Amazon version - and this market insists that you have a US addressed credit card even for free apps.

So the goal here, much described in many sites, is to make the Fire more usable but hopefully to retain the rather nice Amazon look and feel. This posting is a summary of my way through the various sites and the "gotchas" that I had to work around.

These are the main steps:

  • Root the device - some later steps require superuser access so the aim here is to install SuperUser.apk
  • Install the GoogleServicesFramework.apk which runs in the background on the Fire
  • Install Vending.apk which is the Android Market application.
Rooting the Fire

There are many possibilities but the one I preferred also allowed me to install a recovery image. This image, which the Fire boots into and waits a while for a key press before a normal boot, allows complete system images to be backed up and restored.  This means that the native state of the Fire can be saved in case anything goes wrong.

The Kindle_Fire_Utility provides a pretty self-explanatory interface to setting up the root access and recovery image. The only problem I had was finding that "Fastboot" did not work on the Fire - best left alone!

The utility looks like this and the two options required are 
  • 3 Install permanent root with Superuser
  • 5 Install latest TWRP recovery

If all goes well the Fire should boot into a screen with a yellow triangle. Doing nothing leads to Kindle Fire after a pause. Pressing the Power button leads to a totally touch based recovery console.

Installing the GoogleServiceFramework

My first download would not install through ADB.

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