CM7 for the Kindle Fire adds hardware video support – here’s how to install it

Update: There’s also now an early build of CyanogenMod 9 based on Google Android 4.0 available for the Kindle Fire. It doesn’t work as well as CM7 yet, but if you want to take it for a spin, you can follow our step-by-step installation guide

Developer Whistlestop has released a new version of CyanogenMod 7 for the Amazon Kindle Fire. The latest version adds support for hardware video rendering, which means that Kindle Fire tablets running CM7 can now handle high quality audio and video playback.

While Whistlestop is still hoping to unlock support for Bluetooth on the Fire’s wireless chip, the latest build of CM7 is pretty much fully functional. Meanwhile developers are continuing to work on CyanogenMod 9 for the Kindle Fire which will bring Google Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to the $199 tablet.

It’s also now easier than ever to install custom ROMs on the Kindle Fire. The Team Win Recovery Project 2.0 (or TWRP 2.0) tool was released recently, allowing you to backup and restore your system or flash custom software.

Installing TWRP 2.0

If you’re already running CyanogenMod 7 or Amazon Kindle software version 6.2 or earlier, it’s relatively easy to set up TWRP 2.0:

  1. Download the latest version of the Kindle Fire Utility from the xda-developers forum and unzip the contents to a folder on your Windows PC.
  2. Connect your tablet to a PC with a USB cable.
  3. Double-click the run.bat file from the Kindle Fire Utility folder to launch the app.
  4. Choose the option for “Install latest TWRP Recovery” and follow the on-screen directions.

When that’s done you should have the FireFireFire bootloader and TWRP 2.0 recovery on your Kindle Fire.

If that doesn’t work, you may need to double-click the install-drivers.bat file before running the Kindle Fire Utility in order to allow your computer to recognize the Kindle Fire.

You can also check out our steps for installing TWRP 2.0 manually.

Using TWRP 2.0 to install CyanogenMod (or other software)

Once TWRP is installed you can use it to flash a custom ROM, backup or restore your device, or make other changes. Here I’ll show you how to use it to install the latest update.zip from Whistlestop.

If you’re running the stock Amazon Kindle software this will replace your operating system. If you’re already running an earlier version of CyanogenMod, this should just update your system while leaving your installed apps and settings inteact.

1. Download the latest update.zip from xda-developers.

2. Place it on your Kindle Fire’s “sd card.”

3. Turn off your Kindle Fire by pressing and holding the power button and choosing the option to shut down your device.

4. Tap the power button to turn on your tablet.

5. When you see the yellow triangle with a fire logo in the center, press and hold the power button for a few seconds and then wait for TWRP 2.0 to load.

6. Once TWRP is loaded, you can go to the backup section to backup your device. This will let you restore your Kindle Fire to its current state if anything goes wrong. I highly recommend doing this.

7. Next, from the home screen, tap the “install” button.

8. If the update.zip file is in the root directory of your SD card, you should see a file called update.zip in the window on the right. Go ahead and tap it. If update.zip is in another folder, scroll through the list of folders in the left window until you find it.

9. Tap the “flash” button to install the update.

10. When the install is finished, you can optionally tap the option to wipe the cache and dalvik cache (this is generally a good idea, but it’s not always necessary).

11. Tap the “reboot system” button to reboot your tablet.

That’s it. Your device will take a few minutes to reboot and then you’ll be running the latest version of CyanogenMod 7 or whatever operating system you just flashed. The next time you boot it will probably be much faster.

CyanogenMod 7 on the Kindle FIre

Incidentally, you can use the same steps to flash the latest official update from Amazon.

Latest Amazon Kindle Fire news and tips:

  • http://friendfeed.com/johanhorak johan horak

    What can I say. I even think I can do this after this great write up. Thanks. I will go and sleep over it and get inspiration to do it. Do it I will . Thanks for being a great resource for goooooks like me.

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

      To be fair, the tools are getting easier and easier to use. :)

      If you’re still running the stock Amazon software, make sure to turn off your WiFi right away though. Amazon is pushing out version 6.2.1 of its software and once that’s loaded the instructions above may no longer work.

      • http://friendfeed.com/johanhorak johan horak

        Thanks Brad. Reading all your posts I am aware that things are getting easier. And this is a lot easier then a few days ago. 

        I am stil using Amazon software. I used Root Explorer and changed OTASilentIsntall.apk to .bak .

        This was suggested to me by +Sean H and I posted his suggestion here on Google+  http://goo.gl/tXuht 

        Thanks again. I am exited to get back to this procedure tomorrow.

  • Firebreaker

    Does the tablet has to be rooted first for this procedure to work? Or should I be able to follow the steps with a recently-bought, non-rooted KF? (without the 6.2.1 update, of course)

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

      The Kindle Fire Utility will temporarily root your device to install TWRP.

      • Firebreaker

        I see, thanks! And by the time CM7 is installed, I assume it’ll have permanent root?

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

        That’s the plan!

  • http://friendfeed.com/johanhorak johan horak

    I am not getting past the first step. I have tried a lot of things but the program is not seeing my Kindle. My Kindle is called ADB something. So something worked. I may try the manual way.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_S6XD42U6USY7EDQJ6YNG43LQ2E Luke

    Everything went well until I arrived at the Yellow Triangle.  I pressed the power button to shut off and turn on the KF. The Yellow Triangle appears. I pressed and held the power button for the TWRP 2.0 to boot and the KF shuts off.  Now my PC won’t recognize the KF even after trying to install the drivers.  Please help!

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

      You’re stuck in fastboot. Install the drivers again, try rebooting your computer, and then use the Kindle Fire Utility to change the bootmode to “normal” (4000).

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_S6XD42U6USY7EDQJ6YNG43LQ2E Luke

        In the KF Utility, It says ” Error: Device Not Found.”  I did what was asked above to no avail. 

  • Celloguy123

    If I install TWRP 2.0 and backup my stock android version, can I restore that stock android non rooted version after I root and have CM7 installed?

  • applekopimanog

    Does CM7 on kindle support flash on browser?

  • dan

    for some reason after installing recovery the yellow triangle screen stays and pressing power doesn’t do anything. Ive had similar problems with my phone but I can usually pull the battery. How can I remove the kindle fire battery, it seems like there is no simple way.

  • Caldermody

    Installing TWRP if we get stuck here for a while, power down kindle and power back up— doesnt do anything. Now what?

  • Chris

    kindle fire “sd card”?  There isn’t an sd card slo or port.  I’m confused 

  • Brady Miller

    cant find the SD card on my computer. my kindles plugged in please help

  • Josrodle

    Hello, I need help, I install the CM7 and it worked right the first time, I turn off the Kindle and powered ON again and now just go to TWRP I try reinstalling the CM7, but only enters the TWRP, you could help me?