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Litany of Questions about the Kindle Fire


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#1 Andrew

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 01:47 PM

So, I just got a Kindle Fire last week; my first 'mobile device'. I like it, but not being able to access root is a bore. So, I've been looking at rooting it. It runs Android 2.3.4, and from what I've read this version has been successfully rooted. There are several guides I've seen of varying complexity, but I've found little covering the potential risks involved. I'd rather not brick my brand new, expensive toy as you can imagine.

Are there any Bleepers who have successfully rooted a Kindle Fire? Any tips, comments, suggestions, warnings, etc. would be most welcome. Also, given that I can "side-load" applications already, what benefits does gaining root provide?

Can I turn the Kindle Fire into a more general-purpose tablet computer (as opposed to a content-delivery and consumption medium for Amazon. This is my main question, I'd say, since that's what I really would like to do.)

If I root my device, will it continue to function as it has been, the only change being that I can now ssh into the device as root?

-

Another question which has popped into my head is security related. Being a veteran Windows user, I have developed a healthy Pavlovian aversion to installing random software I find on the internet (or, in this case, an App Store.) I've seen more than one Android antivirus being advertised, but I also saw a recent report which stated that the majority Android AV solutions are crap. Is an antivirus application necessary for Android at this point, and if so, which one?

Also, what apps would you recommend? I've already found one app I can't live without (FileExpert) and another that is just plain cool and useful (Wifi Analyzer.)

Does the Amazon App store represent an accurate cross-section of available Android apps? I note that Google also has an app store, but that as a Kindle owner I am unable to download apps from it. For the most part, apps on the Amazon store are... fluffy. That is, most of them seem to lack any real usefulness or indeed any real reason for existing. Either their function is trivial, scammy, or makes the suspension of disbelief a minimum system requirement. Another large group of 'apps' would be better implemented as a PDF, website, or (e)book. Are there other app stores than these? Are they better stocked? Would I need to root the device to access such other stores that may exist?

And finally, I note that all Android 'apps' are written in Java. However, Java isn't the native Linux format and I'd wager that most of the system software is written in C. Therefore, it must be the case that Java apps are not the only user-supplied software which can be made to run under Android. If my compiler were able to target Arm-based Linux would I be able to compile a native Android program and run it on my Kindle? Would I need root to do so?


So, basically tell me everything you know about Android and the Kindle Fire. :)

Edited by Andrew, 13 March 2012 - 01:55 PM.


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#2 stiltskin

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 08:51 PM

I can't answer your first question.

For the second one, there have been a few malware instances on Android. Almost all of them have come via the app store. However, it's not as easy to get infected as it sounds.

First of all, those infected have downloaded new apps, not ones that were vetted. The newest ones are always a risk like that.

Secondly, when you install something, it asks for permissions. In all cases I heard of, users didn't bother to read the permissions for services the apps asked to have access to. If they had, most of them would have refused to allow it.

Finally, every one was removed both from the app store and from the devices within 15 minutes of Google being notified of an infection. Windows wouldn't be anywhere near as troubling if they had system that did the same thing.

If it will make you feel better, get antivirus. But I had one for e little while and dumped it once I realized that it's not that easy to get infected, and it's almost impossible to stay infected if you get everything through the app store.

I get a lot of apps from Amazon. But I don't know how much of a cross section they offer. I manage most of my stuff through the Google app store. If you ever get rooted, install the Google app market first. You can continue getting them from Amazon as well if you'd like. They have a free app every day. But the Google market defintely is a lot easier to me to work with.

I don't know an answer to your compiling question. I don't program (except what some people call "programming" of a lot of scripts under linux, and maybe the rare web page), so I don't know the answer. But I believe you'd need to Andriod stuff to do your compiling under or the result would likely not work well with Android. Some things might since the Android kernel is a modified linux kernel. But I'd make no bets on how much, if any, would work.

#3 tg1911

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 09:10 PM

Rooting the device will not change any of the functions, but will give you Admin access to the device.
I don't know about the Fire, but most Android phones come pre-loaded with all kinds of garbage (like a factory install of Windows) that you can't uninstall.
With root access, you can uninstall anything you want.
You, are the Boss.

For just about anything to do with the latest Android hacking:
http://forum.xda-developers.com/forumdisplay.php?f=564

I get most of my apps from:
http://getandroidstuff.com/android-applications/
http://www.appbrain.com/
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#4 Andrew

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 10:23 PM

Thanks for the suggestions. If I keep it, I'll root it for sure.The walls are too high in this garden <_<

With root access, you can uninstall anything you want.
You, are the Boss.

Yes. That is precisely what I want. :grinner:

#5 tos226

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 08:01 PM

If it will make you feel better, get antivirus. But I had one for e little while and dumped it once I realized that it's not that easy to get infected, and it's almost impossible to stay infected if you get everything through the app store.

As easy as on Windows, sorry, yes Dalvik VM protects, still infections do happen :)
AV tests here:
http://www.av-test.org/en/tests/android/

#6 tos226

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 08:05 PM

Some rooting instructions (I don't have kindle fire, but rooted another tablet)
http://www.androidpolice.com/2011/12/23/exclusive-how-to-easily-root-the-amazon-kindle-regardless-of-its-software-version/

Also, Avast can be installed from Amazon market. I read it someplace, so you need to hunt for instructions.

#7 Andrew

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 08:52 PM

OK, I rooted it :grinner: Now to figure out how to abuse this new power.

#8 tos226

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 09:20 PM

Neat, have fun trashing it :)
Are you going to share the procedure on this forum? I ask 'cause I've been thinking of getting kfire.
Andrew,
Did Superuser come with your rooting materials? It's essential to have, because it'll ask you 'do you allow this application to have root access'. Otherwise you might get in trouble if you don't know what those apps pull on you. Since most, practically none, need root access. On my tablet a screenshot app and a a better explorer (Root explorer) need admin rights, nothing else. Root explorer was handy to be able to stuff in my hosts file from windows into the etc folder and making SDcard read-write when it was only read-only, also system backup. Can't do that without root access.

If interested in avast (has app=blocking firewall), read Reply#9 here about a special prcedure somebody developed
http://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=92072.0

Edited by tos226, 16 March 2012 - 09:26 PM.


#9 Andrew

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 05:19 AM

I followed these instructions: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1410223

I had to install the Android SDK (which I was thinking about doing anyway) and run a few commands from an elevated command prompt (this was in Windows 7.) Much quicker and easier than I had anticipated.




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