About

On e-Reader Tech News we track down the latest e-Reader news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great e-reader tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest devices and accessories.

Recent Comments

February 2017
M T W T F S S
« Jan    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728  

Rooting Kindle Fire to Enable Full Google Android Market – instructions that actually work

First and foremost, let me give you a fair warning: if you choose to follow these instructions – you are doing so at your own risk with full understanding of the fact that although they have worked for me and some other people there is still a chance that you may end up irreversibly damage your device ending up with $199.00 shiny paper press. I will not be able to help you even if I had the time to figure out what went wrong, which I will not. If you are cool with this, then continue, otherwise enjoy your Kindle Fire as it is right now, which is already quite good.

You will need to root your Kindle Fire first. “Rooting” means enabling the Android OS to give application full administrative (root) access to the system. Permissions are given to specific application only. While it may not seem like a huge security risk, you should consider that by giving another app root access you’ve increased “attack surface” as far as security threats are concerned. If that app has a security hole or just by virtue of poor design can be manipulated by another piece of code on the system into doing something, that other piece of code can gain root access to the system without your knowledge. It’s also worth mentioning that you can manually screw up your system by mishandling an app that has root access.

Another side-effect of rooting Kindle Fire specifically is Amazon Instant video streaming and downloads not working. This can be fixed by unrooting your device later. Even after unrooting you still keep access to Google Marketplace and can install apps from there.

Rooting Kindle Fire

  1. If you don’t have it already, download and install Android SDK from here: http://developer.android.com/sdk/index.html (choose the recommended download)
  2. Open %userprofile%\.android\adb_usb.ini file with notepad and add the following line at the end
    0x1949

    In case you are wondering – it is the hardware ID code of Kindle Fire

  3. Find google-usb_driver folder in the folder where you installed Android SDK. Within this folder, find android_winusb.ini file. Edit this file with notepad. In case you installed Android SDK under “Program Files” or “Program Files (x86)” directory you will need to run notepad as administrator
  4. Add following lines to the file twice. First after [Google.NETx86] and then after [Google.NTamd64]
    ;Kindle Fire

    %SingleAdbInterface% = USB_Install, USB\VID_1949&PID_0006
    %CompositeAdbInterface% = USB_Install, USB\VID_1949&PID_0006&MI_01
  5. Turn on your Kindle and enable installation of Applications from unknown sources
  6. Connect your Kindle to your PC.
  7. Open Windows device manager. Find “Kindle” device in the device tree. Right-click and select “Update driver”. Manually point Windows to the location of android_winusb.ini file you edited in step 4
  8. Download SuperOneClick from here: http://shortfuse.org/
  9. Run it (it will ask for administrative access to the computer) and click on the “root” button. Within a minute your Kindle Fire will be rooted. When asked if you want to install Busybox, you can say “No”
  10. If you “Force stop” Amazon Video process or just restart your Kindle fire you will see that Amazon Instant Video doesn’t work anymore. This means that you are on the right track.

Installing Google Android Market on Kindle Fire

  1. Download gapps.rar from here: http://www.multiupload.com/DGMBZZNOXM. In case the link is broken, check this thread for updated link http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1349902 and let me know. You will need WinRar or 7Zip to unpack this file. To install Google Market you only need 2 files from that package: com.market.apk and GoogleServicesFramework.apk. Copy these files to your Kindle Fire
  2. Download Root Explorer from here in your Kindle Fire browser : http://www.apktop.com/wp-content/plugins/download-monitor/download.php?id=582. Open the download apk file and install the app
  3. Run Root Explorer, give it root access and find apk files from step 1 on your device. They should be /sdcard folder.
  4. Run and install GoogleServicesFramework.apk
     
  5. Tap and hold on com.market.apk and select “Move” from the menu. Navigate to /system/app and press “Mount R/W” on the top. If it doesn’t work (button doesn’t change to “Mount R/O”, you need to Force close and restart “Root Explorer”. Select “Paste”
  6. Find copied com.market.apk file and long tap it. Select “permissions” and enable “read” and “write” for “owner” and just “read” for “group” and “others”. Everything else should be disabled.
  7. Tap on com.market.apk to install it and then open. In case the app will not open, reboot Kindle Fire, run Root Explorer (it should be at the top of your carousel) and run com.makert.apk from /system/app again. There is no need to “Mount R/W” this time around.
  8. When asked, create or register your existing Google account with the Marketplace app.
  9. Once Market app opens it may hang the first time around. If it does open it again by redoing step 7. At this point you will not be asked to login again. The problem is that Market will not show up in the list of installed apps. You will need a way to launch it when you want to install apps. We’ll take care of this in the next step
  10. Install SystemPanel or a similar app from the Market. It will help you to open Marketplace later and it is a good and useful app in itself.
  11. SystemPanel will show up in the app list of the device so you can always run it. In the installer menu will be a shortcut that will open Google App Market
  12. That is it – you can now enjoy much broader selection of apps from Google App Store.
Unrooting Kindle Fire
At this point you can get Amazon Instant Video Streaming back by either:
  • Unrooting your device via same SuperOneClick tool you used to root it
  • Install OTA RootKeeper so that you can turn root on and off right from your Kindle Fire without having to use your computer

After device is unrooted you need to “Force stop” Amazon Video app and restart it for video to work again.

Enjoy!

Kindle Fire Rooting Likely To Come Quickly

So, Amazon knows that some of you will be rooting the Kindle Fire by now.  It’s hard to imagine otherwise at this point, given the state of the competition and the community of Android enthusiasts who love to unlock the full functionality of the OS.  What’s fairly unusual about Amazon’s approach to this, though, is that they don’t really seem to care and won’t be making any major moves to prevent it.

For those unfamiliar with the term, “rooting” a device means gaining unrestricted access to the device’s software in order to, among other things, install a fresh or custom version of the operating system that is more in line with what you are personally interested in.  The Nook Color, for example, was widely regarded to be an impressive budget tablet after rooting despite its less than impressive default feature set at release.  Rooting is common practice on Android devices, especially when by default these devices prevent users from accessing the Android Marketplace or when manufacturers stop supporting software updates for older devices.  This is essentially the same process as Jailbreaking your iOS devices and the results are comparable.

Amazon representative Jon Jenkins, director of the Silk browser project for the Kindle Fire, admitted “It’s going to get rooted, and what you do after you root it is up to you.”  In the same interview he admitted to not even being sure if the bootloader was locked, which is just one of the many ways that Android is closed off to potential hackers.  This doesn’t mean that Amazon will offer any special support for such endeavors, and indeed it will still most likely result in a breach of warranty for anybody who chooses to go this route, but they don’t seem to see much profit in staying on top of any potential exploits and holes in the security.

It’s a novel approach for a major developer.  For the most part companies tend to overreact to what they view as a threat, often to the point of forcing normal users into less enjoyable experiences as a result.  It also implies a certain level of confidence in the experience being delivered.

Amazon is essentially gambling on the idea that the Kindle Fire’s unique interface and distinctness from the generic Android experience will be enough to keep users locked in.  They have spent a great deal of time and effort, by most accounts, in creating something distinct that customers will feel worth investing in.  Of course it will probably help that without the Kindle Fire‘s OS it will likely be difficult to make use of Amazon’s cloud services.  If the Silk Browser is genuinely faster than the competition as it claims to be then that alone would be enough to make you hesitate to switch.

Basically, if all you want is the hardware then you’re in luck.  Grab it, root it, play with normal Android all you want.  It provides a decent amount of power for the $199 price.  What many of us are hoping for though, and what I think Amazon is banking on, is that they have done a good enough job to make it not even worth the effort.