The Amazon Fire Tablet has been one of the best bargains for the past few years for folks looking for an entry-level tablet with relatively decent build quality and specs. For a starting price of $50 you get a 7 inch IPS display, a quad-core processor, a microSD card slot, and front and rear cameras.

Amazon’s sweetening the deal for Prime Day this year. Through July 11th, you can snag a 7 inch Fire tablet for just $30 and up if you’re an Amazon Prime member.

That’s a pretty great deal if you want a basic device for web surfing, watching videos, and playing games. But what if you’re not keen on Amazon’s app and media ecosystem? Does the recently release 2017 version of the Fire Tablet support custom ROMs, root, or other hacks?

Nope. Not yet, anyway. But you can install the Google Play Store if you want to make it easier to download and install third-party apps that aren’t available from the Amazon Appstore.

So here’s the deal: the new tablet is a little thinner and lighter than the model Amazon first release in 2015. But under the hood, the hardware is pretty much the same.

What’s new is that the 2017 model ships with the latest version of Fire OS, which is a heavily modified version of Google Android. Hackers have been modifying the older tablet since shortly after it launched, by rooting it and loading custom recoveries and custom ROMs, among other things.

But since there’s currently no simple method for rooting a device running Fire OS 5.4 (which is what the 2017 model ships with), you’re either going to have to role up your sleeves and start hunting for security vulnerabilities yourself or wait for someone to develop a new method for rooting the tablet or otherwise bypassing security restrictions that keep you from loading unsupported software.

You don’t need root access to load the Play Store though. You just need to install a series of 4 Android apps to enable all of Google’s services. Once you’ve done that, you get access to both the Google and Amazon app stores, although without root access, there’s no guarantee that Amazon won’t disable Play services in a future software update.

All told, if you want a fully functional tablet that runs something closer to stock Android software, for now you might want to look elsewhere. Barnes & Noble also has a $50 tablet with a 7 inch display, and the NOOK Tablet 7″ has the Play Store pre-installed.

Even if you’re not interested in hacking the Fire tablet to install any officially unsupported software, Amazon’s cheapest tablet is still a pretty good piece of hardware for $50 (or $30.

It has a reasonably decent (if not super high-res) display, and it’s a more than serviceable device even if all you ever plan to use it for is surfing the web or watching videos. Heck, those aren’t even bad prices if you just plan to make it an internet-connected alarm clock.

And in the future, maybe you’ll be able to root the tablet or perform other modifications: almost every Amazon tablet to date has been hacked in one way or another. It’s worth keeping an eye on the Amazon Fire forum at xda-developers to see if anyone breaks through Amazon’s security locks.

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14 replies on “Amazon’s 7 inch Fire tablet (2017) isn’t easily rooted… but you can install the Google Play Store”

  1. I’ve gained temp root on this device using the Wondershare one-click root utility. I should note that the stock boot image is secured with dm-verity and AVB 2.0. So, gaining full root or even mounting /system as R/W would cause bootloop unless the boot image can first be set and flashed as insecure. So far, I have dumped all 13 partitions in hopes of discovering a full root exploit, by decompiling and reverse engineering the stock firmware. However, in the meantime, should you dislike Amazon’s home screen layout for this tablet, there is a launcher hijack exploit which will “steal” the stock launcher and replace it with a custom launcher. If anybody wants access to it, let me know and I’ll give you the link. Root is not required for the launcher hijack kit. We have a small group of devs working on root for this device at XDA. My username there is MotoJunkie01. Check us out at XDA, but I will update any progress here.

  2. I am on my Kindle fire hd 8 right now, and I have the Google now launcher, play store, stock Android apps, status bar, and even Google pixel navigation bar; all without root. ?

      1. Yes, for the play store. All you do is download a few apk files and sign into the play store. It’s super basic.

    1. Does anyone know if future updates will disable the google play store? Also is there a way currently to disable Amazon OS updates without root?

      1. 1. No way to know, but this current method has been working since October, and there have been many updates since.

        2. Nope.

        3. If I recall correctly, even if that does happen, any apps you currently have installed will probably continue to work as long as they don’t rely on Play Services.

    2. Also is it possible for apps from the google play store get disable from future Amazon uodates?

  3. As an all-purpose Android tablet – yeah, the Fire tablets are bad options. But if you know what you’re getting into, they aren’t bad at all. And being a popular Amazon device, they’re probably second only to iPads in the sheer number of cases and other accessories available.

    I still maintain that when you combine them with Freetime, there isn’t a better kids device on earth. We have two – an HD 8 for the ten-year-old and a 7 for the four-year-old. They can find a new book every single night and still not put a dent into what’s available. And I love knowing that they can play games without ever accidentally clicking an add or being coerced into buying more features. And if you throw in SD cards and get a good headrest holder, they’re perfect movie players for long car trips.

    We have one extra 7 in the house, and it is used as a dedicated Logitech Harmony remote. $30 well spent for that purpose. It also came in handy when my daughter had a sleepover… we had plenty of devices available for them to play multiplayer Minecraft all night. It was like watching a Gen-Edge version of the Warcraft 2 and Starcraft LAN parties we had 20 years ago. 🙂

  4. Adding the Google Play Store from apks works, as in previous versions. No need to root for that

  5. There is also a $50 Nook which has access to the Google Play Store and doesn’t have advertizing. It seems to be a better deal that the Fire tablet. It’s also lighter.

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