Add a mic to the Amazon Kindle Fire for just a few dollars

The Amazon Kindle Fire is a 7 inch tablet with a high quality display, a speedy dual core processor, and the ability to run thousands of Google Android apps. But one thing Amazon’s tablet doesn’t have is a built-in microphone.

You’d think that would mean you cant run sound recorders or voice communication apps such as Skype on the Kindle Fire — but it turns out there’s a solution that only costs a couple of dollars.

All you need to do is buy a headset which offers headphones and a mic, but which connects to a device using just a 3.5mm jack. This is the type of headset that can typically be used with cellphones. You’ll need to to make sure the headset has a 4-connector TRRS plug, and it’s possible that not all headsets will work.

But if you already have a cellphone headset you might want to try connecting it to your Kindle Fire to see if it works. If not, the folks a xda-developers recommend a few different options that you can pick up from Amazon for just $3 to $5.

Since the Kindle Fire doesn’t have its own microphone, voice apps won’t show up in the Amazon Appstore on the tablet. You’ll need to install a third party app store such as GetJar, SlideMe, or even the Google Android Market in order to install Skype, Google Voice, or similar apps.

Update: It turns out that Skype does not work, even with an external microphone. 

You can do that by following our instructions for side-loading apps or even app stores.

Update: I just tried this trick with a Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet, and it works… but not as well. The sound quality is better on the Kindle Fire than the NOOK Tablet when using the same headset. The good news is the NOOK Tablet already has a built-in mic, but it’s not usable with all third party applications.

Latest Amazon Kindle Fire news and tips:

  • Nards Barley

    Then presumably you can do the same thing with the Nook Tablet, no?

    P.S.
    I was pretty surprised by the the sale items ONLINE still available from Best Buy on Saturday.

    Yesterday, I could have purchased the Iconnia tab 7″ for $189, the Toshiba Thrive 8″ for like $287 and just now the Asus Iconia 10″ for $229, all with free shipping.

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Acer+-+Iconia+Tablet+with+8GB+Memory+-+Silver/3815032.p?id=1218435210854&skuId=3815032

    • http://www.liliputing.com Brad Linder

      The NOOK Tablet has a built-in mic, so it’s not as important… but I haven’t checked to see if the NT hardware supports an external headset mic.

      • Nards Barley

        hmmm. But I take from your post that I can probably use Skype now with a headset with the Kindle Fire..  This isn’t possible with Nook Tablet’s microphone last time I checked.  So I was thinking it might be with the headset, however.

      • http://www.liliputing.com Brad Linder

        Yup… works with the NOOK Tablet. The sound quality is kind of awful, but it works. 

  • Jb82

    Nice! This was the one thing really stopping me buying a Fire.  I tried it out yesterday at Target and it was a nice tablet hardware-wise but not so sure about the UI. 

  • Al Hartman

    I installed Skype on my Kindle Fire, and I had a Microphone/headset from my old iPhone. Skype immediately disconnects the call when someone answers, or calls and I answer. I’ll try again when I get the headset I ordered from Amazon.

    Edit:

    In researching the pin-outs, it appears that the iPhone and HTC type Microphone/Headsets have opposite pinouts on the ground and microphone. I’m betting that the grounded mic input is what causes the disconnect. You can’t use an iPhone headset/Mic with a Kindle Fire.

    • Kford02

      Which headset did you order?  Just curious as I went to Walmart and bought an earbud set with Mic and it did the same thing to me. 

      • Al Hartman

        I ordered the one recommended above. It didn’t work.

  • Fernando_aranguiz

    I have my KF rooted, install Skype, bought 3 different sets of microphones/earphones and I am not able to make a call. As soon as the phone is dialed, the call is dropped.

    • Onerepublic55

      Its likely because there is no official Skype app for Fire.  Side-loaded apps can be wonky. 

  • Kford02

    Just as an FYI, I bought the $3 headphones recomended above.  I have not rooted or done anything but sideloaded Skype onto my fire and it does NOT work.  Every time the call tries to connect it fails.  If there are settings involved can we get more info please?

    • Eliya Voldman

      hello Kford02,
      Have you resolve your issue? I’m asking because I have exactly the same you experienced …
      Thanks,

      • Kford02

        To be honest I haven’t tried any more I spent about $20 trying 3 different earbud’s trying to get this to work and it would not and I haven’t found/heard anything online to say that it actually does.  So for now I am just enjoying my fire.  I am keeping an eye on the posts to see if it will work, but noone else has responded.

  • Eliya Voldman

    Hello,
    As you recommended I bought a mic , installed Tape-a-Talk and verified on my Kindle Fire that my mic works. Then I installed Skype 2.5.0.108 and verified that I can send IM. BUT my goal is to make a call. The problem is that when I try to make any call ( even to test echo123) call failed. I can’t even cancel my call. What could be wrong? Maybe I need another Skype version or some additional trick ?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Jose

      Well, I have bought 2 types of mics and so far non have worked(one of them was the exact same one as the one shown on the picture.) I would recommend text plus free but the only problem is that you have limited minutes. I actually tested it on my KF and it worked but so far I can’t respond because the mics I bought don’t work. If you could tell what are the earphones you bought then it would help me a lot. Please tell me the exact model # if you can. :-)

  • Anonymous

    So, in retrospect, Brad, let’s see if I’ve got this right. First you wrote an article telling everyone “All you need to do is” buy this and install that, and, bam, you’ll be able to use Skype on the Kindle Fire. Only, as it turns out, you had never done that yourself. In other words, you didn’t know what you were talking about. Only later, when people who trusted you wasted their time and money, and trustingly asked for more info, did you bother to do the fact-finding that you should have done in advance.

    • http://www.liliputing.com Brad Linder

      Actually, the “facts” weren’t entirely clear when I wrote this. I originally published the post based on information from the xda-developers forum when I was away from my Kindle Fire.

      When I later got a chance to test this out on the Kindle Fire I confirmed that you can indeed record audio using an external headset, but Skype doesn’t support that mic and I updated the post with that information as soon as I had it. 

      In retrospect, yes, it would have been better if I had taken the time to test this before writing about it. But it’s a bit too late for that. 

      • John Quigley

        You also say Google Voice works. is that true? every place on the web says Google Voice doesn’t. But I guess i will find out tomorrow when i buy one

    • oneweek.oneweek

      The microphone is working with some of the tape-a-voice apps.  but did not work with google voice (the app does not do anything); with skype, there is a circle and slash sign on the microphone, i.e. skype can not find the microphone.
      These are tested on my kindle.
      Hope somebody change the skype app so it would recognize the inline microphone.

  • Tr

    what a lousy unhelpful article

  • John

    Will Sprint’s Web captel Android work with the kindle fire? Will this mike work OK for making phone calls via wi-fi?

  • http://www.facebook.com/rhyous Jared Barneck

    Has anyone confirmed that a call can be made using Google Voice on a Kindle Fire?

  • jade

    It actually works with some ear buds and inline mics ,so