Tuesday, December 22, 2015

How to Install Flash on Kindle Fire HDX/HD, Yr 2013-2014 models and Yr2015 Fire tablets. Step-by-Step guide on How to Play Flash video on Flash-intensive websites. Several tips on streaming video. Large update 1/9/15, smaller update 12/22/15

How to install flash to play flash videos on Kindle Fire HDX/HD and Fire tablets (released 2013-2015) for websites using Flash video but not offering the alternative HTML5 method after Adobe stopped active support of Flash on mobile devices

  As of January 2015, we had a quite reliable workaround now for the Year 2013-2014 Kindle Fire HDX and HD tablets and also for later pure Android devices.  This should also work with the Year 2015 Fire tablets.  I spent quite a bit of time testing various browser versions with various Flash player files recommended and settled on one combination that worked on all the websites I'd found challenging to most in the past.

    * (See EARLIER guide for Year 2012 Kindle Fire tablets.) *

WORKAROUND and Step-by-Step GUIDE to play Flash video on Year 2013-2014 Kindle Fire tablets and Year 2015 Fire tablets for sites that need the Flash-player workaround to function as expected (show videos, do customized Flash routines).
  Originally posted Dec 29, 2014 - revised Jan. 9, 2015 for clarity and Dec. 22, 2015 to add a changed setting.

  The following files have been tested with a Yr2013 Kindle Fire HDX and are for devices that use forms of Android versions 4.x and later.
  Yr2011 Kindle Fire had Adobe Flash support built in, before Adobe dropped Flash support on mobile devices.)

  These are methods of access for those who are bent on watching Flash Video or fancy Flash routines on photography and music-playing sites, etc., which make movement-oriented viewing difficult to do with today's tablets (ever since Adobe stopped support of Flash on mobile devices 2-3 years ago).

Amazon's Instant Video streaming library
  Note that Amazon Instant Video streaming works just fine with the Kindle Fire Silk web browser of course, and this feature offers a lot of video-viewing (40,000+ videos viewable at no added cost for Prime Shipping program members), and Amazon now has, increasingly, "exclusives" on popular video content and has worked on video-viewing compatibility with the larger popular websites.  I use the default Silk web browser most of the time, as a result, and use the Flash combo recommended here for video that Amazon's browser can't display yet.

For the later tablets released Fall 2013-2015
  Three files are needed and linked below, but FIRST do the following:
This combo of files works on the Yr 2013 devices and after, starting with Kindle Fire HD 7 (2nd Gen), Kindle Fire HDX (1st Gen) tablets, and they should work with the Yr 2014-2015 Fire tablets (see Current models listing.)  I'd love to get feedback on how it goes with the tablet model you're using for this.

  • Go to the 'Home' screen.
  • Swipe down (lightly pressing and pulling down) from the top of the screen.
  • That gets you the top row of moreo popular options to set.
  • Tap on "More" or "Settings" wheel (depending on the model) at the top right.
  • Go down the Settings list to "Applications" and tap on that.
      For Year 2015 tablets, Select "Security" rather than "Applications."
  • "Apps from Unknown Sources" is the first option.
          Turn ON "Allow Installation of applications not from Appstore."

Installation files have names that end in ".apk" ...

Then download and tap to install, to your Yr 2013 or later tablet, the files at the following links
  (the first one is a popular Android tablet file manager, if you don't already have it):
  1. 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.

    For 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.

  2. Dolphin's own http://dolphin.com/lab/en page has the specific Adobe Flash file offered by them.  This Adobe Flash player file was put together by surviveland (to work with later Android-based tablets) at XDA forums and it's explained there (in a long, complex thread most will not want to read).

      You should install this Flash file before running the Dolphin browser file that comes next.

      The file is named "install_flash_player_ics.apk"

  3. Here's a link to the file for Dolphin browser version 11.3.4 for those who can't access Google play directly.  The file is at 1mobile (most who read this blog will already have the 1mobile appstore app, which you use in the same way you use the Amazon appstore), and you can go there ON the Kindle Fire tablet app, Search for "dolphin browser" and direct download it, and it'll be installed for you.  This is easier than doing it at other sites which require a manual install.  This is the same file that is at GooglePlay today, with Jetpack (which helps with Flash) built in.

      (But, for others, here's an ALTERNATE link for those who'd rather download the file from Dolphin's own site, offering Dolphin for Android in an earlier version than the one at GooglePlay.  If the Dolphin site downloads a version that does not have "Jetpack" built in, then you would need to also download Jetpack, which is also on that page, separately, and install both files.  Dolphin also offers a beta version there.)   but 1mobile's file above is MUCH easier to get and autoinstall, and Jetpack is built into it.

      Google play says that the Dolphin version number varies with the device. v11.3.4 works on my Yr2013 Kindle Fire HDX tablet and should work on the Yr2013-2014 HD ones also.

      (For Nexus N9 users, Dolphin told a user Dec. 23, 2014
      "Dolphin does not support Flash in Nexus 9 for now.  Nexus 9 is with the 64-bit processor. We are working on this issue.?"

  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 IMPORTANT
When you've launched the Dolphin browser, this 11.3.4 version's menu is the Dolphin image at top right (rather than the usual washboard rectangle).  Tap it to bring up several options.
  1. Tap on "Settings" at the bottom left of the opened menu).
  2. Near the top of the list is "Dolphin Jetpack - it helps with Flash and is now built-in and you should be sure to turn it ON, with a checkmark at the left against a green background.
  3. Go down to "Web Content" and tap that.
  4. Then 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).  I use this one so I don't have to turn it on when needed.
    • On Demand  That means you'd need to do an extra tap to start it when something isn't running because you didn't want it to always run.
    • Off  (I see no reason to use this option.)
  5. 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
  6. ALSO, make sure Javascript setting, just below Flash, is On or Enabled.
Important additional Dolphin setting: (that you can change back and forth)
On the main settings page, Customization subsetting has, in FIRST spot, "User Agent."   I tend to use "Desktop" there because I dislike oversimplified mobile-device optimized pages, which are built for small smartphones. AND some TV broadcast sites as well as medici.tv (live and archived classical concerts) will run ONLY if they think you are on a desktop.  If they see you're an Android device :-), they will insist you get a mobile app that is difficult for Kindle tablet users to get from Google play.
  Youtube may run a bit smoother if you choose 'Android' setting instead, but I don't see much of a difference. Right now I can use 'Desktop' setting and see the normal youtube instead of being sent to the mobile version of youtube.

  Again, 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 (if using Amazon's Silk browser by default) when needing to see a video requiring Flash.

The usual DISCLAIMER for adding files for added functionality
  As with the steps for the past two years, these are files that are for requested workarounds based on various findings by Android experts at XDA Developers Community Forums and would be considered when really wanting to view Flash video that is not working for you on some favorite sites with Amazon's built-in "Silk" web browser (which is ultra capable these days).
  Also, guides to add install files to get a missing function -- in this case, to allow the playing of Flash almost anywhere -- should be used mainly by those familiar with basic File Manager utilities (this applies to normal Windows, Macs, and Android file-manager utilities).

  There are NO software modifications and NO risky "Rooting" involved.  However, no guarantee is made, of course, that they'll function ideally on your specific device on all flash-video sites, although this type of workaround for the older models has been used successfully for over two years now (see comments) and this file combo is working really well for me on the HDX on almost all Flash-video pages.
 The degree of success of this workaround on your specific device may depend on sufficient storage space remaining, memory (do this from a fresh power-up), and healthy hardware.

Troubleshooting.   Using 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.

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 will spend a lot of space talking about 'rooting' the tablets or doing 'modifications' on them and these workarounds require 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 finally 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 viewing Amazon Prime Instant Video on tablets or phones 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.

Another browser, "Puffin" can run flash video on websites - far less smooth and doesn't play Flash during evening hours
Puffin Free Browser.  However, again, Puffin's intro cautions that it's limited to daytime use.
  "Puffin Free is the free version of Puffin family, and supports Adobe Flash during the daytime everyday (It usually starts from 8 am to 4 pm, but the duration is subject to change without prior notice)." Have left in this info because some recommend Puffin for simplicity and because it does work with Flash when the sun is shining -- and because I think this daytime allowance of Flash for the free version is so odd.  So, I've included it for the record, although its display tends to be lower-resolution than with the other browsers.  I haven't run across the paid-app version yet.

Flashfox promises Flash support but crashes on some sites;

Large popular video sites on which Amazon's Silk web browser does work currently
Amazon's own default Silk browser currently handles Youtube well by taking you to the mobile version of that site, showing you a small 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.  Its Silk tablet browser can no longer view NBC's full episodes on the tablets though.

  Youtube's mobile area was completely rewritten by Youtube to use HTML5 rather than Flash and in the recent past sometimes had a somewhat smaller selection of videos, but they're about the same now.  Amazon works with the HTML5 via their new experimental Flash-replacement streamer, 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 Chrone browser menu setting for "Request desktop site.  Oddly, the Dolphin combo recommended here does not run acorn.tv videos.

  NOTE: The general 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.

  Video or TV broadcast Apps already carried at Amazon's appstore:
  WatchABC, which includes viewing of LIVE ABC programs rather than just after the fact, is often a boon but is now much less stable than earlier this year. Too many ads too.  CBS app is now available at Amazon but I think full episodes require a 5-day delay before they can be shown.  Let me know if that's changed. (No time to test that as I want to get this update up.)

  NBC's full episodes are available only on laptops or desktops currently, BUT Dolphin CAN show these on your Kindle File tablet when (as explained above) you set the "User Agent" to Desktop.  I tend to leave it at that setting, and I just used Dolphin to semi-watch a Dateline hour on NBC.

  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. PBS's app is fantastic.  So is Smithsonian but there are fewer full hour shows on it.

  And then there's always Amazon Instant Video viewing, which 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.

  Remember to be sure to use (or change) the Amazon Instant Video setting for Web Player Preferences because when viewing on tablets, this should be set to "Adobe Flash" rather than "Silverlight, which is for desktop computers.

NOTE: - Amazon's HDX tablets provide what has been described by major tech-site reviewers as among 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.

  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 many users.

When shopping different makers and models and analyzing costs, note that a certain key competing tablet will cost an additional $100 to get to each higher level of storage space - to 32 and to 64GB - and that tablet series does not support Flash.

  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."

Back to the Google-owned Youtube:
  A brief history of THAT dilemma brought on by Adobe's dropping of Flash support and explanation for the workaround has been moved to its own page to shorten this blog entry.

  Amazon has been able to improve Experimental Streaming Viewer so that Youtube videos and many other websites using Flash can be viewed on the Silk web browser without any special work on the part of the use.  As mentioned earlier, Amazon uses the mobile version of youtube..

  When using Silk browser rather than Dolphin, look at Silk browser's web menu Settings options and check the box to use the experimental feature if you want the browser to try to to view Flash video on a website.

***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, earlier posts on Kindle Fire tablet capabilities
   (Descriptions of Kindle 7" features will apply to the 8.9" models also.)
    . Getting non-Amazon apps on Kindle Fire devices
      (The basic models of each Kindle Fire tablet line
        have smaller storage space, limiting apps that can be run.)
    . Google Maps, Street View and other apps on my Kindle Fire,
        via enabling one device setting
    . How to play Flash on Year 2012 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 on earliest Kindle Fire
    . 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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  1. I'm now giving a main link and the alternate Dolphin site link for the browser file, for reasons given in the article.

  2. After loading dolphin that you linked to for install. I see stuff like,installing this application it will be able to record using the microphone at any time. access and delete my sd card. and so on. This doesn't sound very safe.

    1. Anonymous, apologies for not finding this note for a few days.

      Dolphin is one of the most respected Android browsers. Permissions like this are usually meant to let us know that the app can do these things, when wanted, whenever we indicate we want that particular action done (without having to exit the browser and use a file manager to do it).

      I hadn't noticed the part about deleting files on an sd card, but a lot of apps do include that, assuming we may want to, in order to free up space for something needed while running another app.

      Which version of Dolphin did you get after choosing one of the links here?

  3. July 2 here. There is no mention of Jetpack in the dolphin settings. I have tried many variations of downloading Dolphin this week, and this version behaves best, but still no Flash. Thanks for the best formula for me so far. I feel like Amazon is working to block Flash as quickly as forums come up with new solutions.

    1. Matt in NH - I haven't downloaded the latest Dolphin because the one I mentioned still works well. Will take a look later though. Dolphin was building into their browser at the time.

      Amazon does nothing to block anything set up to get Flash to work, but Adobe did make Flash not supported and it's been tough on all Android devices, depending on the web sites and how they do i.

      AND sometimes ad blockers in fact will block the video if an ad is not allowed to show up! When I temporarily disable the ad blocker then the video will run. So a lot can get in the way.

      In fact, if you try "Web" at top menu to get the default Amazon Silk browser, you may find that it RUNS those videos where Flash-supported browsers may have trouble. Try it and let me know if you can.

  4. I don't know how to apply your advice to my Kindle, because you refer to "Kindle Fire HDX/HD, Yr 2013-2014 models and Yr2015 Fire tablets" but my "Device Options" page (under Settings) does not give a year -- it says "Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 (3rd Generation)" and under "System Updates" it says "Your device is running Fire OS installed Wednesday, September 7, 2016". So do I have a "Yr 2016" model now?

    1. To Unknown. Sorry for the delay. Your device, described by Amazon as HDX 8.9 (3rd Generation) was released in 2013. That's the model I use as well. It's a high-end one that Amazon no longer makes, which is too bad.

      Your tablet received updated software, but the tablet itself is a Year 2013 model and remains one. You have 2016 software updates, but the tablet is still a Yr 2013 one. Hope that helps.


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