Rooted Kindle Fire video screenshotAs of November 1st, Amazon’s new $50 Kindle Fire got root. XDA Developers Forum put up files and links for the root process. XDA also posted a video on the root from @RootJunky, which gives a step-by-step guide to the whole process. The procedure requires downloading a batch file for Windows (or script file for Linux), and connecting your Fire tablet to your PC. Be warned: Quite some complicated fiddling around with drivers etc. may be needed.

The question is, unless you’re a diehard tech nerd (like yours truly), would you want to root the Kindle Fire? If the device was completely locked against installation of the Google Play Store and regular Android apps, there’d be a good case for rooting. But you can get these anyway by a far quicker and simpler process. If you want to get rid of the stock Amazon launcher – which locks you into Amazon’s shop-window services – then go for it. RootJunky does, and provides a supplementary video (see picture) showing how to install both Apex Launcher and Google Now launchers.

Personally, though, I’m not put off by Amazon’s storefront so long as I can use the apps I want to use. The Books part of the service for one is a genuine plus. And in any case I’ll continue using the shop window to keep TeleRead readers updated on Amazon’s latest developments. But right now, the only functionality I’m really missing by not rooting is the freedom to change launchers. As Chris Meadows has reported elsewhere, Amazon probably doesn’t want to lock the system down too tightly and lose extra sales in the process, so for the time being, all these options should remain available.

If a really persuasive and exciting mod for the $50 Kindle Fire – such as a version of the latest CyanogenMod tailor-cut for it – comes along, then I might consider rooting. But for now, I’ll continue to splash around in the stock-Fire-OS-5.0-Bellini-plus-Google-Play-Store kiddie pool. That’s quite good enough for me. For those of you who want it, the root is out there.


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