Amazon sells cheap tablets with decent screens and reasonably adequate specs because the company wants you to spend money on Amazon products and services. And that’s one of the reasons Amazon Fire tablets ship with a fork of Android called FireOS rather than stock Android software – because it allows Amazon to ship its own app store and put its own music, video, and eBook services front and center.
But folks have been hacking Amazon tablets for as long as the company’s been offering them. These days if you buy a brand new Amazon tablet you can probably install the Google Play Store, maybe load an alternate home screen and launcher app, and make some other changes. But Amazon doesn’t make it easy to completely replace the operating system. If you have some older Amazon tablets though, it is possible to unlock the bootloader and load a custom Android ROM, or even a completely different operating system like postmarketOS.
That prompted me to do a little digging in the postmarketOS wiki, and I discovered that there’s work underway to port the operating system to a bunch of Amazon tablets including some 7 inch, 8 inch, and 10 inch models released between 2015 and 2019.
That means the newest model with any support for postmarketOS is nearly four years old. And some features aren’t yet working on that tablet (including audio and Bluetooth). But some of the other models are better supported. And it’s still pretty impressive to see that there’s an unofficial way to install the operating system as a FireOS replacement on some of Amazon’s tablets released between 2015 and 2019.
Here’s a roundup of recent tech news from around the web.
This tablet features a 7 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel display, a 1.3 GHz MediaTek MT8127 quad-core processor with Mali-G450 graphics, support for WiFi 4 and Bluetooth 4.0 LTE, and originally shipped with Fire OS 5, which is based on Android 5.1.
Megi’s rk2aw tool can change the boot ROM bootloader load order on some devices with Rockchip processors to make it easier to boot first from an SD card. Works with the PinePhone Pro and other devices with RK3399, RK3588, and RK3566/68 chips.
The developers behind the GNOME desktop environment are thinking about changing the Activities button at the top of the screen to a more abstract dynamic workspace indicator that may be less confusing.
According to Windows Central’s anonymous sources, Lenovo may be working on a Legion Go handheld gaming PC with an 8 inch display and an AMD Ryzen 7040 processor. No word on pricing or availability (or if it’ll ever come to market). The author of this article speculates that it could look something like the Legion Play prototype that Lenovo produced, but never sold to the public. But that was an Android-powered device. I suspect a Windows model would be larger (and probably noisier, with a fan for active cooling).
Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Go 3 will allegedly have a 12th-gen Intel Core processor, at least 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, and most likely a higher starting price. Expect a similar design to the Laptop Go 3, but new AI features.
This week’s updates include news related to Ubuntu Touch OTA-2 Focal, Nemo Mobile, Droidian, and other Linux-for-phones operating systems and apps. There are also some updates on the Megapixels camera app for Linux smartphones.