Android 13 is still pretty new, but Google is already working on the next major version of Android and Esper’s Mishaal Rahman has rounded up a surprising number of details about Android 14 considering how far away it is from release.

Meanwhile the developer of the Fire Toolbox utility for hacking Amazon Fire tablets has released a new version with a bunch of useful updates. Unfortunately one thing it doesn’t include is a reliable way to install and use the Google Play Store on newer Amazon tablets that ship with Fire OS 8 (in my experience, loading the Play Store on Fire OS 8 is one thing, but getting apps to run properly can be pretty hit or miss).

Here’s a roundup of recent tech news from around the web.

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  1. I finally got another Fire tablet, a “refurbished” 2019 edition HD 10. I’d had a 2nd-generation Fire on which I was able to replace the OS entirely and I was loathe to have to resort to just tweaking Fire OS with the Toolkit; I was hoping that the tablet would still have some version prior to 7.3.2.2 — believe it came with 7.3.2.3 and updated to 7.3.2.4 (despite my best efforts to prevent it doing so). Probably due to some misstep, the home button solution for a custom launcher wasn’t working, but I uninstalled Lawnchair (having made a backup of my settings) then reinstalled it through the new version of the Toolkit and applied the custom navbar button fix — so far, I’m happy with the result. I haven’t noticed problems with app compatibility, but I haven’t installed that much yet. Why doesn’t Amazon just offer to unlock bootloaders for a consideration? Amazon could supply a code to do so if users submitted their Fire’s serial number along with proof of individual purchase for a nominal charge, requiring that users take a short survey — relatively few users have the knowledge necessary to tinker with ROM and it should be relatively easy to preclude any systematic conversion of Fire tablets into Android ones for resale (by means of the manual submission of serial numbers and payment, the collection of e-mail, requiring that those requesting unlock codes take a survey, etc.). If Amazon were ever to develop Fire OS as an independent OS in its own right, no one could blame it if it became impossible to install Android apps on Fire tablets, but it can still achieve its goals and allow hobbyists to run alternative operating systems on Fire tablets, so why doesn’t it? You, Brad, and others help create buzz for Amazon by pointing out that the hardware is good value for the money — Amazon would only increase that by letting the few who can freely modify their personal tablets!