Amazon: Sure, you can root the Kindle Fire tablet

Amazon Kindle Fire

The Amazon Kindle Fire is different from any other Android tablet on the market because while it runs Android under the hood, it’s designed to be an Amazon device first and foremost. When you turn it on, you’re greeted with a bookshelf with your books, music, movies, and apps — not with customizeable Android home screens.

It comes preloaded with Amazon’s app store, music store, movie store, and kindle eBook store. But what if you want to run apps that aren’t available from those stores or change the software interface?

Amazon won’t try to stop you. A company official tells PC Magazine that he expects people to root the tablet and make changes.

That’s not to say Amazon will support rooted devices or make it easy for people to gain root access and change the functionality of the operating system. But while Apple tends to push out security updates for its mobile devices shortly after a new exploit is discovered by jailbreakers, Amazon doesn’t seem all that concerned.

It should be interesting to see whether Amazon’s streaming movie services continue to work once you root — one reason some companies tend to block access to rooted devices is that theoretically there are fewer checks in place to prevent you from downloading and saving content you’ve only paid to rent.

But it’s likely that Amazon will be selling the $199 Kindle Fire tablet at or near the price it costs to make the tablet with the hopes of locking customers into its digital media platform and making money by selling music, movies, books, and apps.

If you have no intention of buying those things from Amazon, the Kindle Fire might still be a worthwhile investment if you’re looking for a high quality tablet at a reasonably low price — especially if you can root it.

The Kindle Fire will have a 7 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel capacitive multitouch display, a 1 GHz TI OMAP4 dual core processor, 8GB Of storage, and an operating system based on Google Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

Even if you don’t root the tablet, Amazon says you’ll be able to install apps that aren’t available from the Amazon Appstore by side-loading them with a USB cable (or possibly by downloading them from the internet).

The Amazon Kindle Fire is expected to ship in November, but it’s already available for pre-order.

  • Nards Barley

    so no micro SDHC card slot? W/O it, fewer people altering its OS, right?

    • Anonymous

      Depends, you can still side load mods and install Apps and fewer people can be offset by having a lot more people use this device.

      Lack of Amazon actively blocking such efforts should also make it easier as you don’t have to worry about any method being blocked. 

      It’s just easier to do if it had a SD card slot.  Though if the USB port supports host mode then you may be able to use USB drives or even a USB card reader instead.

      Though you may have to provide external power as only the full size USB ports can provide power.

      While the low price point may allow more to consider modding the unit for expanded capabilities.

  • Bob

    Of course Amazon wouldn’t stop people from hacking. They’ve seen the popularity of the NC, which in no small measure came from it being hacked. At $200, they aren’t making profit from the KF, but they aren’t losing money. The NC was only $50 more, and that’s a year ago, with a smaller manufacturing volume. Lastly, it’s less work for them to try keeping up with the hackers.

    But without a SD, it’s inherently harder to hack. You still can do it, but the number of people who are willing to will have to be more hardcore, meaning a much smaller group of people.

    USB port access is more problematic, as most of the micro-USB variety only puts out 100mA, meaning that it only works for a few USB keys and very few flash card readers. You’d need to have an external power source, like a USB battery pack.

    Another issue: What makes the NC so desirable for hacking is that you can’t brick it, since it boots from the SD first. That won’t be the case for the KF. You also won’t have the either-or choice of having the alternate OS on the SD. Internal install will be the only choice.

    To sum, I’ve little interest in the KF, despite the low price and good hardware. If B&N can have the same hardware even at the higher $250 price, I’d still get that for the hackability. But I have a feeling that B&N will be under strong pressure to match the $199 price. All the better for us consumers.

  • Bob
  • Matti

    Kindle it with fire!!

    …sorry, couldn’t resist