WATCH ALL THE MOVIES (on a kindle)
September 24, 2012 11:09 AM   Subscribe

Can I hook up a Kindle Fire to an external hard drive?

Without a laptop or the equivalent as a go-between?

I have a couple of kids I need to keep entertained on a long road trip, with long stretches without wifi. I was hoping to put a bunch of movies on a hard drive, and then hand them a kindle, which they could plut into the hard drive to access the movies. I know there's no official way to do this, but are there any hacky work-arounds?
posted by nushustu to Technology (10 answers total)
No, it's the wrong kind of USB interface. The two ends of the USB wire are "master" and "slave". Computers have "master" interfaces and devices like HD's have "slave" interfaces. The Kindle's interface is "slave" and it isn't possible to connect two slaves together. (Or two masters, either.)

A netbook could do that, though -- if there's something to plug the HD into for power. (You got a 110 volt outlet in your car?)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:14 AM on September 24, 2012

There is no way to hook up a device via USB, but there are wifi enabled external drives which should do what you want.

Seagate GoFlex Satellite
Kingston W-Drive
posted by wongcorgi at 11:17 AM on September 24, 2012

A better answer would be a netbook and a really huge SDHC holding your video, or two of them, or three. An HD is overkill; you can pack a lot of video onto a handful of SDHC chips.

A 64G SDHC runs $41 now.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:20 AM on September 24, 2012

I doubt that the Kindle Fire knows how to talk to a wifi-enabled HD. It isn't really supposed to be a general purpose tablet; it's supposed to be a device to allow you to buy things from Amazon. Amazon only included the abilities which made it better at selling Amazon products.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:24 AM on September 24, 2012

@Chocolate Pickle

The app to access the Widrive is here

The Seagate appears to just use a web browser.
posted by wongcorgi at 11:44 AM on September 24, 2012

And to clarify, the UI of the Fire is Amazon content oriented, but Amazon does have an app store and you run just about any Android app by sideloading and installing.
posted by wongcorgi at 11:46 AM on September 24, 2012

Do you already own the kindle?
posted by drezdn at 12:17 PM on September 24, 2012

I don't own one, but the wife has had her eye on one for a while.
posted by nushustu at 12:35 PM on September 24, 2012

This actually is possible, but it requires a good bit of fairly technical hacking to get it working. The feature is called USB OTG (USB on-the-go) or USB host mode. It is not available on the current Kindle Fire stock software. The process for getting it running is long and complicated, so this is a SUPER quick summary:

1. Hack Kindle Fire to install a JellyBean ROM that has USB OTG enabled. This wipes out your original Kindle software and replaces it with a full, user-supported and updated version of Android. You will lose access to Kindle Fire-specific content from Amazon (like free streaming video from Amazon Prime). You may also void your warranty and potentially brick your device.
2. Make sure the device is rooted. (This may be done by default with these ROMs. Not sure).
3. Buy and install Stickmount from the Android Market.
4. Buy and install a file manager (like Astro) from the Android Market.
5. Buy a USB OTG cable.
6. Buy a USB hard drive or Flash drive.

Connect the USB OTG cable and Flash drive or hard drive. Open Astro, browse to the media and hit play.

The upside is your Kindle Fire becomes a full fledged tablet, with access to a newer, full version of Android and Google Play, along with your USB media. The downside is that it's complex and you might break your Kindle Fire.

Here's a Youtube video showing the finished product, and there is a lot more detail on
posted by cnc at 1:30 PM on September 24, 2012

Adding so that it's clear, Android Market and Google Play are the same thing.
posted by cnc at 2:27 PM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

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