Monday, December 5, 2011

Kindle Fire Overseas experience

I bought a Kindle Fire to replace my old Kindle (less than a year old). I live in Guatemala City, Guatemala and that is considered overseas (I do not why, if you can go thru México to here). Living overseas is considered almost a sin, and the Great Wall of the AAs (MPAA and RIAA) is worse than the Great Firewall of China.
Back to the Kindle Fire, the first thing you can notice is that you can buy Kindle books without a problem, sometimes at a higher price, but it works. You can buy at the normal Amazon Store also.  You can download e-mail (including gmail) using the included mail app. You can browse the Internet. Buy, download, read Kindle books.
You cannot stream movies and music.
But you cannot buy at the Amazon App store, and it is my understanding that you have to register a credit card with an U.S. address and from an U.S. bank to buy at the app store, having a U.S. registered address in your credit card or in Amazon is not enough; it has to be from a U.S. bank. The only apps I could install from the Amazon App Store were a couple of apps I downloaded one day that the store was open to the world, I believe by mistake, and that's it, no free apps, no paid apps, nothing.
My first option was to look for alternate stores; Android Market is not available either. And did not want to root my Kindle Fire on the first day, so I looked for alternatives. First you have to allow Installation of Applications from Unknown Sources (located in Settings, Device), then look for stores that have an apk download option, these are the ones I am using:

  • ·         SlideMe (http://slideme.org)
  • ·         Soc.io (http://soc.io)
  • ·         Aptoide (http://www.aptoide.com)
Each store has many apps, but you cannot find everything here, but there is a wide selection of apps. The Kindle Fire defaults to Amazon App Store, so is a little annoying but it works. Not all applications work so you have to do your homework. Google Apps, including Gmail do not work either and I believe you have to root your phone to make them work (I will take about this, another day).