Monday, May 21, 2012

Installing Android ICS on Amazon Kindle Fire

I love my Kindle Fire, it was a good buy, and worked great. Rooting is a must, as you cannot buy or install much on it if you do not have an US Bank issued credit card. But after getting a iPad, it seemed liked getting behind. Having Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich on my Galaxy S, I knew the problem was not the device, but the OS version. I tried installing ICS a while ago, but could not run Netflix, and YouTube, almost everything else worked, but the video part was important. So after a short while, I went back to the Kindle OS (Android 2.x, with a "you cannot get lost" interface).

But reading about the developments in ICS, and that video is now supported, I decided to try again. The process is real simple, but risky. For a couple of hours, last time I tried it, I ended with a bricked kindle. But in the end it all went back to normal.

The first step for me was installing Kindle Fire Utility:

The instructions are there, and with this took, you can root your Kindle, once rooted you can install TWRP Recovery. With this software, you can also return your Kindle back to stock, so don't worry about "much" leaving your Kindle useless. There is also an Kindle "unbrick" utility available somewhere.

Then you can install a new ROM, the one I found was here:

I have tried 05-12 Kernel #10 full stock CM9 and it is working like a charm.

You will also need Google utilities, that have to be installed after that, the place I have downloaded them, and it works great is:

ics-20120429 version has worked for me.

In general it works very good, just like any other tablet running ICS. Netflix and YouTube work, as well as Zinio, and Kindle. Google new Play Store works, Google Chrome beta and many more. The interface is nicer that Amazon Kindle library style interface.

You can also change the language on you Kindle, specially to avoid the annoying corrections.

Problems found:

I will say there are three problems affecting me, right now, none of them have convinced me to return to Amazon old interface.

  • Some magazines are not available in Kindle for Android client
  • I could not find Kindle 100 free books list , strange as it works on ipad, but you can use Amazon full website list: Kindle Free "Bestsellers" 
  • Kindle cannot be accessed through the USB port, there is no option to share the USB to you computer, the best work around is to boot the Kindle and use the USB mount in TWRP Recovery
  • Battery would discharge in around a day, the battery life is kind of OK, maybe around 4 hours using video, but when not use, the battery would discharge anyway. Charging indicator and lights do not work either.
  • Microphone still does not work for me, but if you program requires audio to launch, it will work, but input audio will not be usable.
Bottom line:

If you use your Kindle Fire outside of the US, and use you Kindle mainly in your house or office, you will have a better experience tranforming it to and ICS Tablet.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Ubuntu does not recognize windows partitions

Trying to install Ubuntu 12.10, the Ubuntu installer does not recognize that a Windows partition exists. Looking around, it seems kind an usual problem, but with not many real solutions. Browsing around I found an utility to "fix"my partition table. My partition table was working great in Windows, so "fix" is more appropriate than fix.

Being myself I Windows person, I selected the Windows version of the program:

to run it I used

fixparts 0:

The first thing I got was:

NOTICE: GPT signatures detected on the disk, but no 0xEE protective partition!
The GPT signatures are probably left over from a previous partition table.
Do you want to delete them (if you answer 'Y', this will happen
immediately)? (Y/N):

Now I understood the problem. I used this disk to install MacOS, and the leftovers made the problem. I selected, Y (for yes) and then w to save and exit. Booted Windows again to see everything was OK, and then reran the Ubuntu installer. Now it recognizes my partitions. Now I might even try to install MacOS again, instead of Ubuntu.

The solution to this problem came from:

So if you do not understand what I did, maybe you will from there.