There’s a new build of CyanogenMod 7 available for the Amazon Kindle Fire, and this time audio works. CyanogenMod 7 is a custom version of Google Android based on Android 2.3 Gingerbread. It offers a much more Google-like experience than the default software that comes with Amazon’s tablet, but when developer JackpotClavin released the first build of CM7 for the Fire last week sound didn’t work.
JackpotClavin has started working on porting CyanogenMod 9 to the Kindle Fire. That will bring Google’s new Android 4.0 operating system to the tablet. In the meantime, he’s pretty much abandoned his CM7 work, calling it a proof of concept and recommending that users hold off on installing it.
But another developer has picked up where JackpotClavin left off. Whistlestop has released an updated version of CM7 for the Kindle Fire, and this time audio works. There are still a few bugs, but he’s working to squash those as well, and Whistlestop is hoping to figure out how to enable support for Bluetooth on Amazon’s tablet as well.
If you’ve already installed JackpotClavin’s version of CM7, then installing Whistlestop’s update is a snap. All you have to do is download the latest update.zip file from the first post in his forum thread and use it instead of Jackpot’s.
Then you can follow our step-by-step instructions for installing CyanogenMod 7 on the Kindle Fire. Or you can follow our even-easier instructions for installing TWRP 2.0 and using the custom recovery tool to install the latest version of CyanogenMod. As of December 19th, the latest update includes hardware accelerated video playback functionality as well as support for audio.
Note that you will lose most data and settings, so make sure to backup anything important before getting started. Files stored in your Kindle Fire’s “sdcard” section will still be there though, so if you’ve already downloaded APK files or other data you’ll be able to access them after switching from JackpotClavin’s build to Whistletop’s.
Since the Kindle Fire doesn’t have physical volume buttons, adjusting the volume can be a bit of a chore. You can go to the home screen, tap the menu button, choose “settings,” select “sound,” and then “volume” to get a volume slider.
Or you can install third party apps that give you quick access to the volume from your home screen or other areas. One nifty app is called Volume Control by RubberBigPepper, and it lets you adjust the volume simply by sliding your finger up and down the right side of your Fire’s display.
Running CM7 instead of the stock Kindle software makes it easier to install third party apps that aren’t normally available for the Kindle Fire, including apps that can change the default behavior of the tablet. For instance you can install third party keyboard apps more easily.
The bad news is that you can’t use some of the Kindle Fire’s default apps when you’re running CyanogenMod 7. For instance the Kindle for Otter app which lets you borrow eBooks from the Amazon Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and read “personal documents” emailed to you account will only run on the Kindle Fire with Amazon’s software.
You also can’t stream movies from Amazon Instant Video if you’re using CM7, since the Instant Video app detects that you have root access and disables streaming.
Developer g1011999 also got audio working on his software for the Kindle Fire this week. The difference is that he’s working on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich… but he doesn’t have WiFi, the accelerometer, or the light sensor working yet.