You might as well burn that $200
November 28, 2011 9:01 AM   Subscribe

So I've got a Kindle Fire - I don't need an interface to the Amazon ecosystem so I'll probably never use it - unless.... I root it. So...

I'm tech savvy enough, but no experience with Android anything and I know enough to ask what I should be thinking of before I take a breath and do it.

I like the idea of a $200 tablet - I haven't bothered with an iPad as I've got a touch and an iPhone, and for ~$600 I'm not interested.

I like that I'd have access to the Android marketplace, what else might I be able to or want to do?

And why might I not do it? (I'm okay with voiding the warranty and not being able to see Amazon video content, and I understand I could brick it. I'm looking for reasons it just wouldn't be useful or fun to bother with it.)
posted by mrs. taters to Technology (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Gizmodo put together a blog post on the subject.

Rooting the device is simple and, as far as I know, doesn't actually remove any functionality from the device other than the interface - Amazon's ecosystem is available on any mobile platform. I haven't heard any talk about it hamstringing the device's performance, either.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:25 AM on November 28, 2011

Rooting does cut you off from Amazon Video, but if you're not planning on paying for Prime and/or buying Video on Demand stuff it's not a great loss.
posted by Oktober at 9:32 AM on November 28, 2011

There are no hardware buttons, save for power, so make sure whatever you replace the OS with has software controls for hardware functions. It is also not very powerful, so don't expect games or anything requiring heavy lifting to work too well.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:37 AM on November 28, 2011

Button Savior is a good option for getting soft keys on the screen.

Don't rule out gaming at all. The Fire has better specs than the first Nook Color, and I play games all the time on my rooted Nook.

Android is really fun to play with if you like to tinker, so if you've got that sort of mind, you can come up with a bunch of fun things to do with it. I use my rooted Nook primarily for reading, gaming, videos and music.
posted by SpiffyRob at 10:52 AM on November 28, 2011

No reason not to do it. But there aren't many options yet. You can install the google market and google apps which will require root. Otherwise, you can already sideload 3rd party apps without root.

You don't need button savior as the device puts the soft home/options/search/back keys at the bottom of the screen, even for 3rd party apps.

The dual core 1.0ghz is just as powerful as most other tablets and I've had no issues with speed.
posted by wongcorgi at 11:28 AM on November 28, 2011

Many of the issues that Marco Arment reports here are ones I have experienced myself with my own Fire, FWIW. On the other hand, poor performance could be due to the Amazon OS, so replacing the OS may fix that. I don't know if software controls are built into the UI, but that might be worth looking into.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:39 AM on November 28, 2011

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