How to install flash to play flash videos on Year 2012 Kindle Fire HDX and HD devices for websites using Flash video but not offering the alternative HTML5 method after Adobe stopped active support of Flash on mobile devices
* (See the LATER guide for How to install Flash on Kindle Fire HD and HDX Yr2013-2014 Kindle Fire tablets.) *
This blog article (originally Oct. 22, 2012 and updated Nov 27, Dec 5-6, 2013, Apr 26, December 22-27, 2014, and January 3-9, 2015, is a companion article to How to Install non-Amazon apps on Kindle Fire HD and HDX tablets.
The following works best for Kindle Fires before November 2013.
WORKAROUND and Step-by-Step GUIDE, for Yr2012 Kindle Fire tablets for sites that need the Flash-player workaround, to function as expected (show videos, do customized Flash routines).
For these older models
Per Amazon's Kindle Forum discussions, Kindle Fire HD and HDX owners are using, as needed, three files that provide a good workaround, the same 3 files that Google Nexus owners need to get Flash video on Youtube since the Adobe Flash (Non)Support travails.
Re those three files, linked below, FIRST do the following:
STEPS: (based on *~*Pineapple*~*'s guide from the forums:
Do the following on the Kindle Fire HD or Kindle Fire HDX tablets:Installation files end in ".apk" ...
- Go to the 'Home' screen.
- Swipe down (lightly pressing and pulling down) from the top of the screen.
- That gets you the Quick Settings Menu.
- Click on "More" at the top right.
- Go down the Settings list to "Device" and click on that.
- Choose to "Allow Installation of Applications From unknown sources."
Then download and tap to install, to your Kindle Fire 2/HD, the files at the following links, with your new Kindle Fire HD or HDX tablet:
- the free file manager app, ES File Explorer
[An EASIER alternative file-manager app for just installing app files (*.apk files) is Easy Installer, which does a search for install-files on your tablet and then shows them to you so that you can just choose which one to install without searching in file folders.
The first time you use Easy Installer -- be sure to tap its top-right Menu: (3 vertically-aligned squares)
Tap on 'Setting' and check the 'Scan Hidden Directories' box so that it can find hidden apk files.
So, if preferring an easier experience when just installing new apps downloaded from non-Amazon stores, use THIS file manager instead of ES Explorer where that is mentioned here.]
Most recommend ES Explorer, which drops files into the usual "Download" folder, because you can control a lot more in connection with your files if you use it regularly, but it can be more than some care to see for just an app-install job. I use the Easy Installer for app-installs and ES Explorer for other file management functions.
- the specific Adobe Flash file offered at XDA Developers Forum
Please read recommended alternate source just below.
The XDA Developers Forum file links for the Year 2012 file now lead to strange ad-crazy pages, one of which asks for your credit card info and one of which promises racy pictures.
So, since the actual recommended file uploaded by XDA forum's "Recognized Contributor" stempox is the Flash File version that ends with ".27" and that file is directly available at Adobe's Archives with no download fuss:
Here is the general Adobe Archive page for Flash Player files, and, more to the point, here's the direct Adobe link to that same (unmodified) file (Flash Player 11.1.for Android 4.0 (220.127.116.11) in Adobe's own archives.
- Here's the Dolphin browser (v8.5.1), identified in the forum post as "APK Download," which supports that specific Adobe Flash Player file.(I've, in the past, used the most recent Dolphin browser HD (v10.0.3), with the earlier Yr 2012 Kindle HD as that had worked well for me with the older special Adobe Flash Player file.)
HOWEVER, on the HDX 8.9" tablet I have, the older v8.5.1 Dolphin browser file, linked to above, works more smoothly with the current recommended Adobe Flash Player file.
(If you want the the latest Dolphin browser despite that, you can get it from 1mobile -- To use any android appstore, you just download its store app, which will work like the Amazon store app). The Dolphin makers continue to update that browser; HOWEVER, the one file that's recommended at the Amazon Kindle forum is the v8.5.1 linked to above, so it's better to just get v8.5.1 linked above to be sure, especially with the HDX tablet)
When you receive notification that the Adobe Flash Player is downloaded, run either the ES File Explorer (files will be in the "Download" folder usually) OR the Easy Installer app to find and install it.
Tap the filename to install the file (in both cases).
Dolphin HD Browser settings
When you've launched the browser, the usual Android Menu icon (it's square and looks like an air conditioner or a washboard) can be tapped to bring up several options.
- Tap on "More" (it has 3 lines).
- Then tap on the 3rd option, which is "Settings."
- Go down to "Web Content" and tap "Flash Player" -- the choices are:
- Always on (videos will auto-run - easiest but it'll slow down some page loads and sometimes Flash routines will cause crashes, one reason Steve Jobs hated it).
- On Demand (You'll tap a blank rectangle -- or one with a down-arrow in it -- to have it run only when you want that.)
- Off (I see no reason to use this.)
- Other settings - ones I use, in case you wonder what might work:
. Auto-fit Pages: ON
. Default Zoom: 200% (Close up)
. Open Pages in Overview: ON
Very interesting additional Dolphin setting:
Getting back to the Main Settings page list, the FIRST one is "User Agent." I tend to use "Desktop" there because I don't like oversimplified mobile-device optimized pages, which are built for small smartphones.
But more important, the webpages you visit with the tablet will tend to know you're a visiting Android, or Android device :-) and sometimes will not run Flash as a result.
For example, SOME TV video pages will actually NOT allow videos to run on Android devices but will allow them to run for "Desktop" devices or on iPads. This is where you can camouflage your device as a a 'Desktop' or iPad :-)
Remember to change it back when needing to use the Android setting though.
Then, after installing the app files and making sure that the Flash setting is set to run Flash either Always or On Demand, you'll be able to switch to the Dolphin HD browser app when needing to see a video requiring Flash.
Troubleshooting. Restarts - I had an HD Youtube video close on me one night in October 2012 after a few seconds. Twice, after I'd been running the browser with many tabs open. When quite a bit has been run on a tablet, sometimes memory gets fragmented and there's not enough to hold what's needed in 'contiguous' mode and then an app will close.
In case that might be the reason, I just powered off the device from the Home page, which will clean up the memory the same way our computers do upon power-off or restart. After doing that, I had no problems with that same 9-minute Youtube High Definition video and played it full-screen a few times, using the Dolphin browser and the Adobe Flash Player file that members of the Kindle forums recommend.
Other app stores that are recommended when Amazon does not have a particular app Besides 1mobile.com, popular ones are androiddrawer.com, m.getjar.com, slideme.org, handango.com, and others. As with any appstore, you can search for an app and download it to the tablet. This is because Amazon has always allowed the option of installing appication files "from unknown sources" despite what you'll read on large tech sites (for reasons I don't understand, since they spend space talking about 'rooting' the tablets or doing 'modifications' on them and the normal mode requires none of that. Just a checkmark on a box.
I always recommend though that people wait a few days before getting apps from any other sites, to see if anyone is having problems with malware (even at Google Play market, when Google allows access, but Google doesn't acknowledge Kindle Fire devices). Google doesn't take as much time to vet apps as Amazon does, to test for both malware or incompatability.
Amazon's appstore has been growing fast the last year. Of course, if Amazon carries the app, it's definitely best to get it from Amazon because Amazon does a strong vetting of the apps they offer and because it's the way they make revenue from (now the highest-quality hardware) tablets sold at closer to cost.
They also keep for you a copy of each Amazon appstore app you download, in your Amazon Cloud area, which is useful when you are getting another Kindle tablet or if you just need to re-install the file. I think it's important to support the Amazon Android appstore, but I also think it's important that Amazon make more good and updated apps available to us at a faster pace, and maybe they should have a suggestion box for the more popular requests.
Amazon Prime Instant Video setting needing a change for tablet-viewing
NOTE - The April 26 2014 blog update added info on a setting for those on viewing Amazon Prime Instant Video and who, for some reason, don't see a Flash option on their tablet screens.
The Amazon Instant Video setting for Web Player Preferences if viewing on mobile devices should be set to "Adobe Flash" rather than "Silverlight,: which is for desktop computers.
I imagine that Kindle Fire tablets are optimized for Amazon's own Instant Video feature or vice versa.
HBO GO was added for FireTV in December.
See the updated info for the HBO Go app below. HBO GO has been available for some time with the Kindle Fire tablets, and until now, if you also had a FireTV and wanted HBO Go on that, you'd have to use the tablet to 'mirror' it to an HDTV. That' no longer necessary.
NOTE: - The December 2013 update had to do with
(1) the recommendation of an older Dolphin browser version for the HDX line + advice on downloading the specific flash app-file recommended for Kindle HD and HDX (and Nexus tablets) and with
(2) the Network TV Full Episodes being available in dedicated app form now, with the Networks favoring their own apps for mobile-device watching (probably having to do with ad statistics) and restricting mobile-device access on web video versions.
(3) On Dec 8, I added the Adobe Flash Player Non-Support History page.
Where the Dolphin web browser tends to work best on tablets with a "user agent" setting of "Desktop" mode instead of "Android" in those cases, that workaround has been hampered by some new Network processes.
One upside, of course, is that Network TV full episodes are now easily watchable via their dedicated apps, some of which are at Amazon's appstore and those that aren't can be downloaded by using 1mobile.com's appstore.
(1Mobile now has over 800,000 apps available from GooglePlay, athough you'd search there for the NBC TV or CBS TV apps having the usual network logos and showing the highest number of downloads -- or you can just view and match their icons, app names and version #'s with the apps that are listed on GooglePlay itself.)
TIP2: Amazon's own browser currently handles Youtube well by taking you to the mobile version of that site, showing you a smaller version of the video selected from a search and, when you click on one, shows you a full screen version of it in decent quality w/o your needing to change (via a long-press) the Youtube video gear-wheel setting at the right-bottom of a video, to change the video quality.
Youtube's mobile area was completely re-written by Youtube to use HTML5 rather than Flash and in the recent past sometimes had a somewhat smaller selection of videos, but they are very similar now. Amazon works with the HTML5 via their new experimental Flash-replacement streamer, which will be described further below.
Silk CAN handle Acorn.TV (British TV shows) well in 'Automatic' reading-view setting.
With the Flash file recommended here, it is more reliable. but that file is not necessary for the 'mobile' reading-view setting, though the 'automatic' setting is recommended.
The current Chrome Beta browser at 1mobile appstore also runs acorn.tv with the current recommended Flash file, as long as you don't click the Chrome browser menu setting for "Request desktop site. Oddly, the Dolphin combo recommended here does not run acorn.tv videos.
NOTE: The quality of streaming will be affected by the speed of your Internet connection.
Providers of DSL home Internet access usually use a default, first-tier lower speed that's often about 1/6th the speed of cablemodem speeds, so if you love to watch Internet streamed material via WiFi network connections in your home, I do recommend cablemodem access like Comcast's.
Apps already carried at Amazon's appstore:
WatchABC, which includes viewing of LIVE ABC programs rather than just after the fact, is quite a boon and is much more stable now after some updates. (I think that CBS app (available at 1mobile.com) requires a 5-day delay.)
Amazon's appstore also carries PBS, Smithsonian TV apps, and other TV apps. If you Search the Amazon store for "TV" you'll also see apps for Discovery; History; WatchESPN; RAI; and several others.
In December 2014, Amazon added HBO GO to the Fire TV. It won't be ready for the Fire TV Stick until the Spring. It's been available for the Kindle Fire tablets for some time though, which means you can use the "mirroring" display feature in the Yr2013 HD and HDX tablets to watch HBO Go on the HDTV if you're an HBO subscriber and have a Yr 2013 or later Kindle Fire tablet.
Amazon's own Instant Prime Viewing
And then there's always Amazon Instant Prime viewing, which now includes downloadable files for watching offline, and Amazon keeps adding exclusive material on that feature while providing optional X-Ray background info on actors in the scene you're watching.
TIP 3: - Amazon's new HDX tablets provide what has been described by major tech-site reviewers as the fastest and smoothest experience on tablets today. If multmedia files are your focus and you want them accessible on your device to play offline, get a device with more storage than 16 GB though.
I didn't want to pay a few hundred dollars for a multimedia tablet (also, magazines are huge) and wind up feeling constrained, since I also have a lot of photos on mine, so I got the 64GB one and love the freedom from worrying about space, Cloud or no Cloud.
I think of it as a built-in SD card space. Still, a 32GB tablet will be enough for most users.
When shopping different makers and models and analyzing costs, note that a key competing tablet will cost an additional $100 to get to each higher level of storage space - to 32 and to 64GB - and that one does not play Flash on web sites created with Flash.
ADOBE and Flash Support
In October 2012, Youtube and other Flash video no longer worked on newer Android devices like the Nexus tablet line and the Android-based Kindle HD's because Adobe stopped supporting Flash on later models of mobile devices.
The workaround has been to use a web browser that supports an Adobe flash player file that works with later mobile devices. (Since all this No-Flash drama happened, Amazon has been working on its own workaround, at Youtube and with a growing number of web sites.)
Many of us are able to view, using Amazon's own default Silk web browser, some of the main Flash-playing sites, even for network TV full episodes now, as mentioned, as Kindle Team has been working on Amazon's Experimental Streaming Viewer which works with a limited number of sites, but they are large, popular ones, and Amazon is expanding the number of websites that will be able to work with it.
Here's my earlier introduction to the Experimental Streaming Viewer, with some initial tips that will help, though there may be some added web-browser setting changes needed via the browser menu for some.
A KEY step is to enable "Accelerate page loading" setting in the Silk web browser menu (it's now the default setting on the HDX tablets), which automatically turns 'ON' the Advenced Setting of "Prompt for experimental streaming viewer."
Amazon has now been able to improve Experimental Streaming Viewer so that Youtube videos can be viewed without any special work on the part of the user, using Youtube's mobile version of the site.
(Just be sure to look at your Silk browser's web menu Settings option and choose to use that experimental feature with a check mark on that box.)
The Alternative Flash Support File, when needed
For needed Flash support otherwise (to be used with the Dolphin browser instead), the Amazon Kindle Forum regulars have relied on the XDA Developer Site for the latest working files to be tested by knowledgeable XDA forum members and offered for download for use with given device models. That's the source of these two files for the Yr 2012 Kindle Fires.
***The actual ADOBE statement on Flash Player support (or not)
for types of tablets and the Android versions involved
is now part of the Adobe Flash Player History page.
RELATED posts on Kindle Fire HDs which are useful also for the
(Descriptions of Kindle 7" features will apply to the 8.9" models also.)
. Getting non-Amazon apps on Kindle Fires
(The basic models of each Kindle Fire tablet line
have storage space limitations though.)
. Google Maps, Street View and other apps on my Kindle Fire,
via enabling one device setting
. How to play Flash on Year 2013-2014 Kindle Fire tablets
. Downloading and playing YouTube videos on Kindle Fire HD.
Also, TubeMate app for Youtube will download videos to play on your Kindle Fire,
and BSPlayer app will play almost ANY video format.
. Using the camera and Video, Panorama mode, Time Lapses
. Add Wi-Drive pocketable disk/stream'g for Kindle models
and for other tablet or phone devices,
or, Portable wireless 320G Patriot Gauntlet drive/stream'g for 7" & 8.9" devices.
. App for WiFi file transfers w/o cable.
For reference, here is the Current Global Listing of available Kindle devices.
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