A group of developers are continuing to work on improved versions of Google Android 4.0 for the Amazon Kindle Fire.
Amazon’s $199 tablet ships with a customized version of Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but by rooting the tablet and installing custom software it’s possible to turn it into an (almost) full-fledged Android tablet running CyanogenMod 9, a custom version of Android based on Google Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
- There’s a custom lockscreen which no longer has a camera option (since the Kindle Fire doesn’t have a camera).
- Instead the lockscreen has a volume toggle option.
- Long-pressing the power button brings up a CyanogenMod options menu for taking screenshots, adjusting audio settings, shutting down, or rebooting the tablet.
There are also a number of bug fixes affecting screen rotation, Google Talk, and thumbnail previews of running apps.
Developers are still trying to fix a number of outstanding bugs:
- There’s no support for hardware video decoding, so Netflix and YouTube HD video won’t work.
- There are some serious sleep-related bugs.
- The CPU can get stuck at high or low speeds.
- Flash video won’t play in the web browser.
Android 4.0 feels pretty solid on the tablet if you don’t need support for hardware video decoding and if you don’t mind rebooting from time to time if you run into another problem. But this is still very much a work in progress — CyanogenMod 9 is still in the alpha testing stage for all supported devices, and the Kindle Fire build is still quite new.
If you want to install CyanogenMod 9 on the Kindle Fire you’ll have to root your Kindle Fire and install TWRP 2.0. Then you can follow our step-by-step guide for installing CM9 on the Kindle Fire, using the latest update.zip files.
If you’ve already install an earlier version of CyanogenMod you can update to the newest version by downloading the VideoTouch1-29.zip file to your tablet, rebooting into TWRP 2.0 or another recovery app and flashing/installing the update. It should update your operating system without deleting your apps or preferences — but it’s always a good idea to use your recovery app to make a backup of your system before you get started.