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Adventures In Rooting: Running Jelly Bean On Last Year's Kindle Fire

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the it's-good-to-have-a-hobby dept.

Android 41

concealment writes "Luckily, the Fire's low price and popularity relative to other Android tablets has made it a common target for Android's bustling open-source community, which has automated most of the sometimes-messy process of rooting and flashing your tablet. The Kindle Fire Utility boils the whole rooting process down to a couple of steps, and from there it's pretty easy to find pretty-stable Jelly Bean ROMs. A CyanogenMod-based version is actively maintained, but I prefer the older Hashcode ROM, which is very similar to the interface on the Nexus 7."

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first root (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41591059)

anybody want a rim job? Meet me in the men's room, handicap stall.

Re:first root (3, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#41591153)

RIM is hiring again?

Re:first root (1)

chronokitsune3233 (2170390) | about 2 years ago | (#41591269)

RIM isn't dead yet?

lol (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41591105)

So running a shitty OS on a shitty tablet? Pass....

Re:lol (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41591183)

ROfL So FUNnY WOW so FuNNY CaNT THInK SO FUNNY

Re:lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41596179)

Well, your mother likes it. At least, that's what I think she said. Kind of hard to be sure with my dick in her mouth.

Re:lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41599299)

So running a shitty OS on a shitty tablet? Pass....

My guess is, you're a Crapple Shill...an iSheep

Amazon streaming content (1)

magarity (164372) | about 2 years ago | (#41591297)

There's no app for amazon's streaming content but can't you just watch with the browser pop out widget? I got a first gen Fire free with opening a bank account so it's not a big deal if it completely bricks up; I'll have to try this out.

Can you still run the Amazon applications? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41591383)

I'm thinking of doing this since I have an older Kindle Fire and was disappointed to see Amazon won't be at least releasing some bug fixes for it. (it'll probably be my last Amazon hardware purchase because of that). So if I upgrade this to run the regular Android, will I still be able to run the Amazon applications that let me watch the Prime videos and sync/read my books that I've bought? I mostly use this to stream the free Prime movies and I don't want to lose that ability, but I like the idea of having a fully functional tablet.

Re:Can you still run the Amazon applications? (2)

yelvington (8169) | about 2 years ago | (#41591483)

No. You probably can install a Kindle reader app, but you can't watch Amazon video on a rooted device.

But as a Kindle Fire user and a veteran of much smartphone hacking ... I don't see the point in ANY of this. What are you actually gaining? What does "fully functional tablet" mean? If you don't like the Kindle launcher, install something else. I use http://golauncher.goforandroid.com/ [goforandroid.com] on my KF.

Re:Can you still run the Amazon applications? (2)

DrXym (126579) | about 2 years ago | (#41594045)

But as a Kindle Fire user and a veteran of much smartphone hacking ... I don't see the point in ANY of this.

The Kindle is a cheap(ish) / subsidized tablet running a proprietary fork of Android locked into Amazon's crappy app store. I can see the incentive for wanting to root the device and turn it into a standard android device. Not everyone watches videos through their tablet.

Re:Can you still run the Amazon applications? (2)

confusedwiseman (917951) | about 2 years ago | (#41595433)

The benefit is that you can get the Google Play store on the device. This can only be achieved after rooting the device. I much prefer the AOSP experience to the one that Amazon chose for me. I've also used go launcher, and a root control tool so that you could temp unroot and continue to use the amazon streaming. Dual boot is feasible, however, with the Kindle's limited 8gb of storage, a lot of storage space gets tied up in the "other OS" you're not using. I prefer the full tablet functionality, but that's the beauty of Android. Pick what suits you.

New non-HD version? (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 2 years ago | (#41591451)

What about the new $159 model that didn't get the Fire HD moniker?

Re:New non-HD version? (2)

kriston (7886) | about 2 years ago | (#41595573)

The new Kindle Fire non-HD has 1 gigabyte of RAM and the very same processor is now clocked to 1.2 GHz. The other components are entirely the same except for the missing ambient light sensor which was never enabled on the original Kindle Fire to begin with.

Making the best of a bad situation (5, Interesting)

Dreamlandlocal (978245) | about 2 years ago | (#41591459)

The original Kindle Fire OS is an abomination. Out of the box it has possibly the worst UI in the mobile space and it is quickly apparent that a concerted effort was made to restrict what you can (consume Amazon content) and can't (everything else) do with the the hardware.

Anyone who reads this site, owns a Kindle and has not modified the default configuration in some way is doing themselves an enormous disservice. From side-loading a new launcher and few of quality-of-life apps, to rooting, to a flashing a whole new ROM, there is a variety of ways to make the best of your (bad) situation.

Despite the best efforts of devs, last year's kindle fire is ultimately a very flawed device. It has absolutely nothing to recommend it over the alternatives and if the new crop of kindles is anything like the last generation, take your $200 and spent it on a Nexus 7.

Re:Making the best of a bad situation (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41592645)

Personally I went from ICS back to the stock Kindle firmware. Once you root it and add Google services it's not bad. A little unstable, sure, but certainly not an abomination. I downgraded mostly because I like my devices to have a niche, and a 5" phone with JB would overlap a lot with a 7" ICS or JB tablet, leading to one falling into disuse.

The stock Otter launcher is content-oriented rather than app and widget oriented. It works great for movies, books, and documents which is kinda the point of buying a Fire over another Android tablet. You can't get Amazon Prime Video Streaming, or the Kindle Lending Library on stock Android, and going through your entire book/document/movie collection every time you want to resume something is going to be a pain after a while, if that's the primary use for your tablet.

If you want stock Android, go with a Nexus. If you want to consume Amazon content, go with a Fire. There's not much point in buying one and doing tons of hacks to make it behave like the other, unless you change your mind. Personally, I think the Fires have enough advantages to justify their purchase, but that's me.

Re:Making the best of a bad situation (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 years ago | (#41593419)

The original Kindle Fire OS is an abomination. Out of the box it has possibly the worst UI in the mobile space and it is quickly apparent that a concerted effort was made to restrict what you can (consume Amazon content) and can't (everything else) do with the the hardware.

Which was the entire intent of the device.

Amazon's business case for the Kindle hardware is the exact opposite to that of Apple. Apple sells content to promote the sales of hardware. (iTunes makes very little revenue compared to hardware sales. How much profit gets made is unknown).

Amazon, though, sells hardware at cost to promote the sale of content (of which they make 30% or more).

Remember, Amazon sells books, movies and music, and the whole purpose of the hardware is to promote sales of all that stuff - after all, you buy the hardware once, but if they have you constantly buying books (especially now that the agency model is bunk - go away iBookstore, go away B&N nook store - you're interfering with our sales), music and movies, Amazon makes a good chunk off that.

It's partly why Google decided to get in the game with the Play Store - Play Books, Play Music, Play Movies.

But to be honest, for 7" tablets, you might as well go with a Nexus 7. You can do everything the kindle does, but it's more open.

Re:Making the best of a bad situation (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41596267)

But to be honest, for 7" tablets, you might as well go with a Nexus 7. You can do everything the kindle does, but it's more open.

That's why Amazon's strategy of selling devices at or near cost is brilliant, although I'm not sure they're actually doing that given what comparable devices (e-Ink models aside) cost from AliExpress or DealExtreme. They can give away their app and not have it be a conflict, because they're focused on selling blades, and it's all the same to them whether you connect the blades to the amazon shaver or some other shaver with the kindle adapter. I hacked my NST and it runs the Kindle app just fine, as well as the Amazon Market app. I only read free books on either, though.

Re:Making the best of a bad situation (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 years ago | (#41597119)

That's why Amazon's strategy of selling devices at or near cost is brilliant, although I'm not sure they're actually doing that given what comparable devices (e-Ink models aside) cost from AliExpress or DealExtreme.

Trust me, the cheap tablets are crap. If you're lucky they'll have decent specs, but most of the time, they won't. The screen will be crap (and finding ones with 480x800 is NOT difficult... the Kindle and Nexus 7 are a more respectable 600x1024). The touch, if you're lucky it will be capacitve, but most likely resistive (with standard awful glare common to cheap touchscreens, etc).

Hell, even some of the old 7" Android tablets were complete pieces of crap - the Kindle Fire, Nook Color/Tablet/whatever, and Nexus 7 actually being pretty decent pieces of kit that really do up the level of quality in what to expect.

Hell, just compare the build quality of a Kobo Vox to a Kindle or Nexus or Nook. For $50 more, it's pretty obvious that the $200 tablets outclass the $150-and-below in practically every way.

Re:Making the best of a bad situation (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41599393)

I don't have money for any of that crap right now anyway. I have a nook simple touch, which I got barely used for $70. It's in great shape, even after I dropped it once and had to open the case because it had popped open along one edge. Performance at anything other than running reader is abysmal, but I have hopes that the recent display hacks will be ironed out into something solid soon and that will help a lot, especially with the launcher.

Re:Making the best of a bad situation (1)

Blue23 (197186) | about 2 years ago | (#41606009)

But to be honest, for 7" tablets, you might as well go with a Nexus 7. You can do everything the kindle does, but it's more open.

I've got two young children and my KF holds up well for them. Nexus 7 with Fit Glass instead of Gorilla Glass makes me concerned - more from lack of knowledge about how Fit Glass stacks up. I've had friends lose (cheap) tablets to dropping, so far the KF has held up against two sub-10 y.o. kids.

Admittedly, that may not be the standard use-case here on /. :)

Mine is rooted (4, Interesting)

Jaktar (975138) | about 2 years ago | (#41591467)

I jumped through a few ROMS before I settled on the Hellfire Kindle Sandwich.
http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1585814 [xda-developers.com]

Unless things have changed, you don't get hardware acceleration unless you're using some modified version of the stock ROM (hence the sandwich).

It runs reasonably well for what I do with it, which is next to nothing. If it wouldn't have been free, I wouldn't have it.

Re:Mine is rooted - same but with Jandycane ROM (2)

spd_rcr (537511) | about 2 years ago | (#41591753)

I've been running the latest ROM from project Jandycane over on XDA, hardware acceleration works just fine. The one thing I haven't bothered to sort out yet is the sleep mode. With the stock Kindle Fire ROM you can hit the power button and leave the Fire in your bag for a week or two without the battery running down, now it's running in the background as if it were a phone and the battery's flat in a day.
Otherwise, it works far better now that it did unmodified.
If you want to run Amazon apps, just register it as one of your android devices and re-send the apps to it.
This article is a bit dated, Jandycane is now on 1.7.3 updated last Oct.1st, but it hasn't changed that much.
http://www.androidauthority.com/kindle-fire-jelly-bean-tablet-ui-jandycane-custom-rom-105945/ [androidauthority.com]

Re:Mine is rooted - same but with Jandycane ROM (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41592823)

get a battery app to shut off wifi when sleeping. Will help tons with your consumption.

Re:Mine is rooted - same but with Jandycane ROM (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41594423)

get a battery app to shut off wifi when sleeping

What a complete and utter clusterfuck.

What about the Nook? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41591573)

I bought my wife a nook Tablet instead. It seemed to have better hardware. It boots Cyanogen Mod7 from a microSD card and the rare occasions she needs the stock image she just pops the card out. I think it was a great buy for the time.

Language issues (4, Funny)

Macgrrl (762836) | about 2 years ago | (#41592235)

Rooting means something entirely different [urbandictionary.com] in Australia, I was a bit taken aback by the subject line when it scrolled past my screen.

Re:Language issues (2)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#41593113)

What word do they use instead to mean "gaining superuser privileges" in Australia?

Re:Language issues (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41593227)

Well, rooting still means "gaining superuser privileges". The difference is that those privileges and their usage are just a bit more enjoyable than being able to run a custom OS build on an Android tablet :)

Re:Language issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41594809)

What word do they use instead to mean "gaining superuser privileges" in Australia?

They call it: "Royale with superuser privileges".

Another bunch of open source crap (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41592327)

over 2 and a half hours after posting and this comment will be the 15th comment on this article. No one cares about this kind of shit. And yet a handful of neckbeards still don't understand why people aren't adopting their open source crap... Get over it. The public has voted and open source doesn't mean much to anyone except for geek wanna-be faggots.

KF Dramas (2)

dflek (2748165) | about 2 years ago | (#41592921)

I tried a lot of different configurations, almost bricked my Fire, created a Frankencable to resurrect it and eventually settled on JandyCane (a great, stable ROM). Through this entire process I learnt a valuable lesson... Unless you are in the US, just buy a Google Nexus (in my defence they weren't available at the time).

I have a Kindle Fire and a Google Nexus 7 (3, Interesting)

linuxguy (98493) | about 2 years ago | (#41593923)

I have a Kindle Fire and a Google Nexus 7. My advice to anybody out there considering buying an Amazon Kindle Fire is: "Don't do it"

Do yourself a favor and buy the Nexus 7. Kindle Fire OS is utter crap. It has limited hardware, is slower, cannot compete on battery life or RAM or cameras ... the list goes on. In a world with Google Nexus 7, nobody should be buying Kindle Fire.

Re:I have a Kindle Fire and a Google Nexus 7 (0)

kriston (7886) | about 2 years ago | (#41595555)

You completely missed the point.
You can save a lot of money getting the Kindle Fire and the article explicitly describes how to replace the Kindle Fire OS. Did you even read the article at all?

Re:I have a Kindle Fire and a Google Nexus 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41597381)

I have heard great things about the Nexus 7. I ended up getting a Kindle Fire because I was trying to find carrying cases that matched my collection of colorful ties that I could easily afford. At the end of the day, I found some Chinese suppliers who could provide me with cases that matched pretty much everything for $7 each.

I don't actually use the tablet for more than the occasional MP3 or to enjoy watching Silk do its "interpretive" display of web pages. (I miss NetFront and Opera Mobile...)

I also recommend against the Fire unless you are using it as a metrosexual fashion accessory, it's pretty good in that space and got me plenty of compliments.

(Posting anon because I obviously should be playing Sudoku during staff meetings rather than posting /.)

Re:I have a Kindle Fire and a Google Nexus 7 (1)

denobug (753200) | about 2 years ago | (#41598371)

I have both a Kindle Fire and a Nook, which I rooted and put CyanogenMod on. At the end of the day I end up using Fire much more often than using the rooted Nook.

I think someone earlier has said it. Kindle arrange the layout to be content driven while normal Android OS has a layout more apps and widget driven. While I didn't like the layout at first, Kindle's design is fairly efficient to utilize and to consume contents, especially when I am doing mostly is reading a book, or use one or two apps consistently at a time. In fact I find it cumbersome enough to use Nook I have not turn it on for a few months. Almost everything I need to do on a 7" tablet I can do on a Kindle Fire.

For the 10" tablet that might be a different story. I would definitely prefer to be able to type and create something, therefore probably looking forward to a more fully-featured OS platform, and a solid external keyboard attached. Hate to say it but Surface looks really good right now for what I need it to do.

Call that a root? Now this is a root... (2)

DeathElk (883654) | about 2 years ago | (#41594187)

Come down to Oz, Andro-nerds. I'll give you an adventure in rooting.

Stupid question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41597099)

Sorry - I have a stupid question. If I do this to my Fire, I won't have the Google Marketplace (Play Store?), or GMail, or Google Maps, etc., right? The device has to be a "certified Android" to have those, right?

My adventure in flashing my kindle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41597235)

I tried to put jelly bean on my kindle fire and guess what! It briced it instantly beyond repair....Nothing even happenes when i push the power button. Trust me it wasnt user error i didnt do anything wrong

again (1)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | about 2 years ago | (#41600259)

It would be really nice if Amazon made a video app available to ALL Android phones and Tablets. They released an IOS app but probably figured Android users could just download Flash and play it on their browsers. Well, Flash is going away and is not support on JellyBean, which I have on my Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

Avoid scAmazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41660835)

Knowing scAmazon they will find a way to block that with a firmware update coupled with a block on their store, their ebooks included. Better to go with a Linux tablet [pcworld.com] such as one from Tizen [pcworld.com] as it is fully open and free as in freedom.

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