In preparation for my summer holidays this year, I bought a new tablet to replace my aging (and slow) Tesco Hudl. Again, I didn’t want to spend much money – I’ve suffered at the hands of Apple’s built-in obselescence previously, and the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8 seemed to fit the bill quite nicely.
The only trouble with a Kindle is it runs FireOS – a fork of Android – rather than a “stock” Android. That means no Google Play store, which means you’re limited to the apps that are in Amazon’s store. By and large that’s OK – I installed iPlayer, OneDrive, OneNote, Spotify, etc. but there is no YouTube and the browser is Silk, not Chrome.
I tried sideloading packages from unofficial sources, following advice from Arash Soheili (Android Cowboy). That got me Chrome and YouTube but without the ability to log in to a Google account (so no syncing of shortcuts, no visibility of subscriptions, etc.). It seemed that installing Google Play Store and installing the apps properly needed me to root the Kindle.
Then, last night, I found a HowToGeek article that was a) easy to follow and b) linked to @RootJunky (Tom)’s script that did all the heavy lifting. Within a few minutes and one reboot I had installed the Google Play store on my Kindle Fire HD; logged in to my Google account; and downloaded Chrome and YouTube – both working perfectly.
Just one point to note – Amazon must have updated their method of unlocking the device to remove ads from the lock screen as that part of the script didn’t seem to take effect on my device.
With the last hurdle out of the way, this means I can recommend that my 10 year-old son, who wants to buy a tablet (and is too young for a smartphone), can buy something cheap like a Kindle rather than spending far too much money on a more fully-featured tablet in a dying market:
Android Police’s tablet traffic, 2011-2016. Android tablets are basically dead. pic.twitter.com/35pI1SSXhy
— David Ruddock (@RDR0b11) October 13, 2016
— Charles Arthur (@charlesarthur) October 15, 2016