This Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Amazon is offering some of the best prices ever on its tablet lineup. You can pick up an Amazon Fire 7 inch tablet for $30 and up, an Amazon Fire HD 8 for $50 and up, and an Amazon Fire HD 10 for $100 and up.
Those represent discounts of $20, $30, and $50, respectively… and it’s worth pointing out that even at their normal prices, these tablets represent some of the best bang for your buck in terms of specs, support, and build quality at an affordable price.
Of course, there’s one down side: the tablets ship with Amazon’s Fire OS, which is based on Android… but which doesn’t include the Google Play Store. That means out of the box you have access to a lot less apps than you would if you were using a typical Android phone or tablet. But there’s a workaround.
I picked up an Amazon Fire HD 8 earlier this year (when it was also on sale for $50), and thanks to some help from the xda-developers forum, I found out that it’s pretty easy to install the Google Play Store and other Google apps and services on the tablet (including YouTube, Google Maps, Google Play Books, and Google Play Movies & TV).
In a nutshell, all you need to do is go into the tablet’s settings and enable installation of apps from unknown sources, then install 4 Android APK files to get Google Play up and running.
That got a little more complicated recently, because when Amazon rolled out Fire OS 5.6.0 it introduced a bug that makes it look like you can’t install apps from unknown sources. But there’s a simple workaround: launch the installer, then hit the power button to turn your screen off. Hit it again and the “install” button should change from grey to orange and allow you to proceed.
Anyway, I’ve tested the installation of the Play Store on my Fire HD 8, but the same steps should work on the 7 inch Fire tablet and the Fire HD 10. You can find step-by-step instructions in our guide:
Making Amazon’s 2017 Fire tablets more Googley (Play Store, third-party launchers)
For what it’s worth, if you’re reading this on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, while the $30 Fire 7 tablet looks like a great deal, I think the $50 Fire HD 8 and $100 Fire HD are even better deals. Not only do you save more money, but you get higher resolution displays, more RAM, and more storage space for not much more money.
Is rooting an option for this device? Or are they still somehow avoiding getting rooted?
Any one else having GMail crash after a few seconds on the Fire 10?
Have you tried rebooting? I was getting some odd behavior at first. I didn’t try gmail, however.
turning the screen off doesn’t work for me. the install button is always orange, but can’t be clicked
As I reported above, the process was hit or miss for me, requiring several tries. I’m not sure turning off the screen ever worked, and switching to another program only worked about 25% of the time. So it takes some repetition.
Same, do you have the HD 7?
Here’s my tablet experience. I had a Nexus 7 (2012), which was largely a PoS. Slow and laggy after the first update. I also had an early Fire 7 of a subsequent date, and it was about the same. I now have a current Fire 8 and Fire 10. The First 10 seems to be by far the best of the group. Not totally lag-free, and not up to say a device running a Qualcomm 625, but clearly acceptable. I bought it mainly to read magazines, which is now feasible due to the larger screen. Anyway, unless the larger size is an issue, I’d recommend the 10 over the 8.
As to the recent glitch in installing from unknown sources. the fix suggested worked, but it always required several tries, with switching to another program seeming to work better. I did have a password setup though–so maybe turning off the screen would work better without that.
Yeah, and hopefully this is just a temporary glitch that’ll be fixed in a future software update. I’ve seen suggestions that it’s just a bug and not an international change. But the timing is awkward, since I know a lot of people will be wondering how easy it is to install apps from outside the Amazon Appstore on the tablet this week.
Fortunately it’s not something you need to do a lot!
I had trouble getting the Play Services to install. The error implied the file was corrupted. I was saving the files to an sd card and inserting into my Fire 10. Only when I downloaded the file from the web from the Fire 10 did the process work.
I’m not sure what would cause that, but with the current version of the Silk browser you can access downloaded files directly, so you don’t need a file manager program. Ignoring this new problem of “install” being grayed out, that makes the process very easy. You can then delete the files from memory after you install them.
This has tempted me for a while. I’m a little worried that you see, from time to time, security issues with Google Play Store. And immediately Google is on-the-job fixing things.
Now – Amazon’s Fire OS, it would stand to reason, also has vulnerabilities. But I never see anything about them and never see anything about Amazon hurriedly fixing them. Amazon has a large ecosystem and seems like it would be a target.
It makes me worry that what I don’t know (or hear or read in this case – about them being attacked and/or fixing security issues) can hurt me.
You don’t even hear about Amazon updating Fire OS to get security updates Google has done on the underlying Android system. Perhaps that happens all the time and is not mentioned?
The second part may be a concern–I don’t know–but you’re right you seldom see news of Fire OS security updates. As to the first part you could download the Play Store and then mainly download from there. That would leave only the pre-installed apps, which seemingly should be okay.
BTW, if you don’t need the higher resolution screen, this one is always $99 and now $69. It comes with 7.0, but I doubt they have a stellar update policy–Amazon may be better?????
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