featured
featured
PhoneDog Media Exclusive
Download iM5, now available in the App Store and Google Play. iM5 is a PhoneDog Media backed Social Platform to inspire real-life action through the crowdsourcing of ideas. See the video

From the time the Kindle Fire was announced by Amazon in September, I have questioned the exact purpose of the tablet. Even after spending nearly two weeks with it and reviewing it, I still question how the device will actually fit into my life. At which point will it fit into my routine? Will I actually ever use it? Or, like all of my other would-be awesome devices that I bought on high hopes, will it simply collect dust? I'm even more interested to learn what buyers and those who receive them as Christmas gifts will think of them as opposed to, say, a Galaxy Tab or iPad.

On the Fire, there is certainly no shortage of available content. It comes chock-full of Amazon's premium services: MP3, Cloud Player, Appstore, Newsstand, Books and Prime Instant Video. Between all of the different movies, television shows, books and magazines, there's surely something to keep users occupied. And in Amazon's Appstore for Android, you will find thousands of applications. But that's just it: thousands, not hundreds of thousands of applications.

Amazon's intentions are grand – grandiose, even. They have created an entire ecosystem within the existing Android ecosystem. In doing so, they have completely segmented their device from the rest, for better or worse. Unlike the Android devices we've grown to know and love, the Kindle Fire does not rely on Google's services. When you pull it out of the box, the Android Amazon tablet will not ask you to login to your Google account, you will not find Android Market and there are no other native services like Maps, Talk, Voice, etc.

For the average user, the Kindle Fire is (or will) serve just fine as a tablet and media consumption device. To the rest of us, however, these services are vital. If, like me, you are a weathered Android user who is vaguely familiar with what goes on behind the scenes with Android (in the development community), the Kindle Fire's software will seem rather ... drab and likely far to similar to Apple's walled garden for your liking. Luckily, the ability to side-load applications is there, and getting some of your favorite applications from Android Market on your tablet can be done with relative ease. It just isn't enough to win me over, though.

Applications that aren't designed specifically for the Kindle Fire, if they even work in the first place, are lackluster at best. They display inappropriately, in-app controls may be hidden by the navigation buttons on the Kindle's custom software and so on. In short, Amazon shot themselves in the foot by not skinning the Kindle software atop a tablet-optimized software version (which I understand may not have been an option at the time without agreeing to the Android Update Alliance since Honeycomb source was not available). Nonetheless, side-loading every application I need and using the Silk browser to check my email is far from efficient or enjoyable. This is where rooting comes in.

Now, I told myself when I bought the Fire that I did not buy it just to root it. For starters, some of Amazon's services (namely Prime Instant Video) will not continue to work once you gain root access. Instant Videos was one of my main reasons for grabbing a Fire in the first place, so rooting and losing access to those seems a bit counterintuitive, right? Not only that, but I did not want the Fire to simply become yet another device that I waste hours, days or weeks on hacking and modding to no end.

That was before. After two weeks of debating, I finally decided to pull out the USB cable, plug it into my Mac (for the first time) and root without regret. (I have no spine when it comes to Android and rooting, in case you haven't noticed already.) The whole process was extremely painless and only took me about two minutes. But why? What made me change my mind?

There are a couple answers to that question. I decided that as is, I would return or sell my Fire. I had barely used it since I finished the review and was contemplating selling it for something else. But it's a sweet piece of hardware and I didn't want to give it up on it so easily. With stock Ice Cream Sandwich instead of the Kindle software on the Fire, an okay tablet could be turned into a nifty little tool. On top of that, a workaround for getting Prime Instant Videos to play post-root was discovered. And with root access, you can quickly and easily (within a couple minutes) have all of Google's services and apps up and running (with a few hitches) alongside the Kindle software.

Personally, I no longer saw a reason not to root. It was a no-brainer. Having Android Market installed on the Fire makes a world of difference. I've replaced the stock Kindle software keyboard and loaded a third-party launcher to replace the default carousel launcher.

Is it perfect? No. Far from it, actually. But my experience is much better than before. And this should easily hold me over until someone comes forward with a working recovery and an Ice Cream Sandwich ROM for the Fire.

Am I saying you should go root your Kindle right now? No. Not unless you want to and feel comfortable with the process. (Oh, and PhoneDog is not responsible if you decide to root and something goes wrong during the process and your Kindle Fire becomes unusable or damaged in any way.) All I am saying is that with a little elbow grease and a few side-loaded applications, the Kindle Fire can be transformed from a nice toy to a snazzy little machine. (If you already feel the Fire is spectacular, you don't need to root.) Once Ice Cream Sandwich makes its way (unofficially) to the Fire, developers and ever-curious users will have a field day with this thing, which is the real reason I want to hang on to it.

I respect what Amazon was trying to do with the Kindle. They have created quite an astonishing device for a relatively small price. And they have already caused a ripple in the tablet industry, especially when it comes to pricing. But the out-of-box experience for me was a bit underwhelming. I felt boxed in and secluded from the apps and services I specifically look for in a tablet. For now, rooting will have to do.


Don't forget to VOTE! Each week, PhoneDog Fans vote for their #1 smartphone in the Official Smartphone Rankings. Vote now and contribute to the industry's most relevant weekly ranking charts


Products mentioned in this Article



eBay prices for the Amazon Kindle Fire 7 inch Black


Related posts



Comments & discussions  

70 Reactions to this post

"Do you root your Android gadgets?"


Please limit your reaction to 140 characters or use comments for a longer reply :)
Add
Thanks for your participation! :)

Monte Ferguson If your smart enough to root. you should be smart enough to remove root warranty still good.
John Fisher Hey David Olivarez I used to be an android fanboy until I got SICK of having to constantly root and update my device to make it work. You stfu and stop being so defensive it's just a dang phone jeez.
Bryan Platt Yes sir, HD 2 in the house best all-around phone in the world the problem with rooting is that a lot of devices arnt supported an can't get root that's something ppl should know correct me if I'm wrong but I know I'm not, an some can get just root an that's all no roms or much else an you lose your warranty so if y'all are interested do your research but it is very much worth it if your phones are supported their a good many out that are.
Igor Rebenko The term "root" in Australian slang means "to have sex with some one/thing" So every time u make a post like this, I can't help but laugh.
Rodrick Darling If u don't know Google it!!......... for the guys, just imagine if you could root your girlfriend!!! I'd root my muthafreakin toilet if it had a USB connection
Mark Belkowski Yes i always root & unlock. I make themes and roms.
Gerard Anaya Rooted dell streak. Put the unofficial leaked 2.2 on bcuz at&t were douches and wouldn't release it officially. Took them 7 months after I got my dell streak to send the update OTA.
Marshal Cooper I had the O.G. G1 and rooted that phone, worked my way through the G2, Galaxy S 4G, the G2x and now the Galaxy S2. Rooting gets rid of all the carrier bs and helps the phone perform much better. Not to mention you usually get the new Android OS Weeks sometimes months before official release. All you apple fan boys go troll somewhere else, didn't you read the caption on this thread? It asks if we root our "Android gadgets". For all who don't know what root is or how to do it, go to www.theunlockr.com That site will guide you all the way with detailed description and video. Android FTW!!!
Hector Portalatin I hav "OG" HTC MyTouch 4G rooted with Darkside Sence Rom v3.5 very fast performs well, I'm just waiting for that ics Rom to come out for my phone :)
Hector Portalatin Rooting allows u to gain MORE CONTROL over ur Android device, change the way it looks completely improve BATTERY LIFE DRAMATICALLY and allows to optimize its performance overall, if you have an Android rooted it now, its easy to learn I PROMISE you won't be disappointed if u root. Go do research learn the benefits 8)
Jody Al What is Rooting ?
Adrian Salazar Jr. Just recently got a nexus s which I rooted and flashed to android 4.0 ice cream sandwich...
Adrian Salazar Jr. Yup, www.xda-developers.com is the source in getting ur android device rooted. Just hit the forums ...
James Vincent I root anything that can be
Kevin Knox Rootes this mofo...to the foolest,,,,,ricking an EVO,,3D,,,,,Yeah Baby
Scott Sanders Absolutely!
MiShelz Fulmer Absolutely. Although I don't buy a phone based on future updates or whether I can root it. It has to be amazing out if the box. Rooting and modding are just for fun.
Jith Raj yes of course to get latest updates and features. For good old desire, its a must have ;P
Brad Haislip How do you root your phone
Jose Pablo Islas Immediately lol
Sairus Soliman Always !!!!!!!
Aaron Couts Rooted my DROID3 and I will never go back to not doing it, not one bit of bloatware on my phone, and no ads in my internet browser woohoo.
Kristi Bryan Armstrong I have no clue about rooting...fill me in please oh please!
Jim Antrikin Nope. But I'm old.
Devonne Illusive Man Akinyele Yup rooted my sensation 4g to use all of its 1.51ghz chip
Steven Perez @Zack you sound like a fucking old person who doesn't like to bend the rules
Alex Guitar Hack the planet!
Malika A Williams What is root?
Lin Sisongdeth Yes, it was slow but hardly any roms :( sgs4g.
Peter Trinh Three tablets and all phones rooted!
Ariel Alvarez Can I root a boost mobile prevail????????
Ariel Alvarez Wat happens wen u root it?
Kyle Adams I would never even own android
Ray Dull I have rooted all of my android phones since my g1,most never even booted to the stock rom.
David Olivarez @john fisher .... Guess u haven't heard of jailbreakin dumb ass the only way to make face time work on 3g. O wait android can run on 4g and skype wit out root! Damn iPhone fan boy stfu
John Fisher This is the only way to make an Android device work properly...why should you have to root to make it work?! iPhone FTW
Tony Abiama Always root, you'll never know what your missing
Izgil Mardahayev Absolutely.
George Kosta Petroff Yes rooting is a must. I rooted my LG Optimus V, and next I'll flash gingerbread ROM since VM doesn't respect thier customers enough to provide LG's update. Corporate greed.
David Olivarez 80% ppl do the other 20% don't know how.
Sam Rick Of course I do.I mod and hack the hell outta my device.
Yajnavalkya Bandyopadhyay no and never. it void ur waranty. after the warranty period is iver root it and enjoyyyyyyy
Kerry Omlin ROOT THE UNIVERSE!!!!!!! HACK THE WORLD!!!!!! The only way to unlock a phones full potential is to root.
Lee CrescentFresh Hollis Of course I do.
Kamil Galimski Only if the phone I'm using needs it. Otherwise I don't NEED it for the extra customization and stuff.
Jasper Johnson Well what the hell is rooting!!?!???!??!!?!
Bas Verhoog Yep, SGS with Mintberry MIUI, and Glitch V13.
David Smith Of course, the g2x was useless until root...
Zainal Abidin Totally agree with Miguel!
Steve Hirjak I had to due to an outdated phone.
Gary Bowling Yes, currently running Hypersensation ROM and Faux Kernel on my Sensation 4G, Android Revolution HD is a good one if you like HTC Sense.
Miguel Rodriguez Hell yeah, I love custom roms like MIUI and Cyanogenmod. Plus I overclocked ny EVO 3D to 1.6Ghz and my transformer to 1.6Ghz as well. Rooting let's you fully utilize the android platform..the only reason why someone wouldn't is because they might be unsure how to or just don't want to.
David Cohen Indeed....
Devin Vosburgh I am an attention whore and refuse to be forgotten about by my carrier...so I take matters into my own hands. *nods* yup, I do.
Shawn Poling No i dont think it's necessary.
Dustin Carney Hell yea, only the cool kids root.
Brian Edwards always. In fact, I've made a custom kernel for the last 2 devices I've had. Infuse (Infusion kernel) and Thrill (Thrillz).
Danny Spaide of course i do, every single one i've owned
Chris Hagood Stuff like my Asus Transformer, I've never found a reason to root. Asus makes good, timely updates. Now with phones, such as this OG Droid I'm still carrying around I just have to.
Guillermo De León Yeah! It's the best thing to do.
Andrew Hawkes yes... the only way to keep the HTC desire usable
Zach Cline Rooting is not necessary.




Most popular Videos
Most popular Videos
Most popular Videos

Most popular Reactions
Most popular Reactions
Most popular Reactions

This weeks "People's Choice Rankings" best smartphones
People's Choice Rankings


See all hot devices