Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX tablets have 7 inch or 8.9 inch displays, Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processors, 2GB of RAM, and Amazon’s custom version of Google Android, called Fire OS.
Hackers have been finding ways to replace Fire OS with custom firmware for a while, but up until recently that process has involved a tool called Safestrap which bypasses a locked bootloader.
Now there’s a way to unlock the bootloader, which should make it easier (and safer) to load custom kernels, custom ROMs, and custom recoveries on Amazon’s tablets.
Xda-developers forum member dpeddi has posted tools and instructions for using them. Note that you’ll need a rooted tablet running firmware version 3.1.0 through 3.2.4. If you have newer software, you’ll need to find a way to downgrade, if possible. And if you have a Fire Phone, this method won’t work at all.
The instructions also assume you have a PC running Linux software, although it might be possible to modify the steps to have them work on OS X or Windows.
All told, it might be easier for most users to just buy a new tablet if they’re unhappy with the Fire OS software. But the Fire HDX tablets have excellent displays, reasonably fast processors, and most importantly, if you already have one it’s nice to know there may be a way to get more out of your tablet.