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I recently purchased two Kindle Fire HD 8 tablets from Amazon for my kids to stop the endless fights for a single gaming device. My kids primarily use them for Minecraft and the occasional YouTube video. As an Amazon prime member, I can access tons of videos and music which is really fantastic. What really surprised me is the screen and overall build quality, it’s really a sturdy device – especially for the price. Don’t forget we are talking less than $100 here. Of course you shouldn’t expect an iPad Mini but the Kindle Fire HD is definitely a super-bargain on its own. I have yet to see a comparable Android tablet for less than $300 that comes anywhere close to the Kindle Fire HD. Battery life is decent, I get about 8 hours of use out of it. If I didn’t already have an iPad Pro, Daddy would get one for himself, too ;)
Upcon closer inspection, it turns out that Kindle Fire HD 8 runs Amazons “Fire OS” which is basically Android in disguise. As such, the Kindle Fire offers you a selection of popular apps in Amazon’s own App Store. However, your app choices are somewhat limited. For instance, there’s no Google Maps, no Gmail and no YouTube app – at least not the official Android versions. And because Google Play Store hasn’t been installed on the device, there’s no officially supported way to tap into the massive offering of Android Apps.
Warning: The following procedure is potentially against the ToS of Amazon and could void the warranty of your device. Do this at your own risk.
But there’s a way you can perform a post-install of the Google Play Store without hacking the device (but it could void your warranty) or potentially breaking the law. Simply check out the instructions on HowToGeek at https://www.howtogeek.com/232726/how-to-install-the-google-play-store-on-your-amazon-fire-tablet/.
An alternative way is to “sideload” an app by copying it from SD card to the internal storage of your Kindle Fire HD 8.
It’s just a matter of installing a few APK’s (you need to enable developer mode on your Kindle Fire HD 8 to allow “unsafe” APK’s, make sure to turn this option off after you are done with the installation) to get the full Google Play Store on your device. It took me about 10 minutes before I was up and running. Sure enough, all of the popular Android apps were available and most of them apparantly perfectly on the Kindle Fire HD 8.
My motivation for trying this small hack was to see whether I could get the Roon Labs Remote Control App on the tablet. and yes, I can confirm it works great on both tablets! So if you are still stuck with a smartphone and don’t want to invest a large sum into a tablet for a Roon Remote, give the Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8 a try. It’s a dirt-cheap solution that works marveously well. And who knows, you might find other uses for the Kindle Fire as well. At least my kids enjoy them for immensively for gaming.