Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Kindle Fire gets rooted but can sideload non-Amazon apps anyway - Nook Tablet confirmed to allow only 1 gig of internal memory for non-B&N content

First, what was reported here in the Kindle Fire/Nook Tablet face-off blog article on November 9, a week ago (and denied by a B&N customer rep to a comment-area questioner here who then ordered a Nook Tablet based on that) was based on a B&N website comparison page.  It wasn't rumor-based.   B&N restricts NON-B&N content to a 1-gig area of its 16-gig internal storage area.  It's similar to the new structure of the Nook Color effective May 2011.  See foonotes 5 and 6 at B&N.

  And now a mainstream news site has picked up that fact.
  Engadget's Brian Heater posted an article this morning with the headline, "Nook Tablet limits internal storage for non-B&N purchased content to 1GB" and opens the article with, "Well, this is definitely a bummer.

  He notes that B&N has been "talking up all of the Nook Tablet's internal advantages over the Kindle Fire" and writes that this "particular spec may not be quite as good as it looks on paper."  He keeps in mind that the Nook has a microSD card slot for an additional 16 gigs of memory.  From what I've seen, though, some non-B&N/non-Amazon apps expect to be installed in internal memory.

Sideloading of non-device-manager-approved apps
Amazon's Kindle Fire allows side-loading, though, by the checking of a box in Settings that allows the installation of non-Amazon-approved apps from unknown sources -- and that's allowed for internal memory.  B&N has been said NOT to allow sideloading of non-BN-approved apps.

Sideloading other-sourced apps, when allowed, vs rooting
The ability to sideload other-sourced, non-Amazon app files, as PC World's Ian Paul points out, is that you can install non-offered (by Amazon) apps such as B&N's Nook app on Kindle Fire or even Android tools such as the Swype keyboard.

I won't go into details of rooting the Kindle Fire, since it requires only a one-click rooting tool (SuperOneClick 2.2, linked by PCWorld) and the PC World article gives full details, but it requires a few other things be done and a larger need to do there is just not there with the Kindle Fire if all you want from rooting is the ability to install non-Amazon-approved apps.  That's already allowed.

  Others will want their own custom-interface, but with the ease of use that Amazon has programmed, few mainstream users (Amazon's target audience) will be wanting that.  My recommendation is just to go with the approved sideloading (a decision unexpected of Amazon), using caution about where you get your APK files).

  Amazon's decision displays a more "open" system and state of mind than B&N's although the latter actually proclaimed in their tablet launch that they were more open than Amazon in that they allowed apps like Netflix and Hulu Plus.  I found it really odd that they didn't merely monitor what the 'opposition' was publicly doing (Amazon announced partnering with Netflix, Pandora, et al, during the launch of Kindle Fire on September 28) before announcing Amazon would not allow access to 3rd party streaming apps.

  A key factor is that B&N relies on partners to stream media and Amazon does have its own media-streaming of it.  Amazon is just not restricting customers to its own material.

Netflix's Android app upgrade
Netflix upgraded its app for Android this week and will do one for the iPad next, and what has startled watchers yesterday was that they put the Android tablet audience before the iPad audience for such a big app upgrade.  My NookColor, I confirmed, is not eligible for the Netflix upgrade, but the NookTablet and KindleFire are.

Amazon releases source code for Kindle Fire (as required by use of Android OS)
PC World's Ian Paul reports also that Amazon recently released the source code for Kindle Fire and you can download that at Amazon.  I don't know how much is included in that, but the source code listed for its older Linux-based e-readers included mainly libraries and other unmodified code.  With devices built on Android, there's probably more, but I don't know.
  According to a discussion on this, Maakuth replies, "I think, because most of Android source code is licensed under Apache license, so they don't need to publish their modifications."

Kindle Touch 3G   Kindle Touch WiFi   Kindle Basic   (UK: KBasic)   Kindle Fire
Kindle Keybd 3G   (UK: Kindle Keybd 3G)   K3 Special Offers   K3-3G Special Offers   DX

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button

Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle

(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!


  1. Apparently 3rd party reading apps in Amazon Appstore like Aldiko and Mantano and Kobo are not available for Fire. The generous interpretation would be that they have not yet been 'certified' for Fire. I really would not think they could legally prevent the apps from being sold to any Appstore customer with compatible hardware. So I hope this situation is temporary.

    In any case they can be pretty easily side-loaded, so anyone sufficiently determined can get the apps, either from Market, or from other App stores like GetJar (which you can install on Fire). In the meantime, Amazon is missing out on potential app sales...

    Meanwhile, Kindle Touch has some unexpected limitations:
    - no landscape viewing
    - no ability to extend selection, or select from one page to another
    - no internationalization (Fr/Ge/Sp dictionaries, localized UI, etc.)

    I haven't gotten my KT yet, but already I'm thinking of sending it back until some of these things are addressed. Based on K4 I'd assumed all of those features would be on the KT also. But others have noted that KT is only available in US for now, so that may explain at least the lack of internationalization. I'm guessing there will be an update in a month or so to add some of these things in so they can sell it outside the US (selection functionality should be at least equal to what touch-enabled Kindle apps offer—selection starting on one page and ending on another is not something I've seen done via touch interface). But I don't like to buy things with the expectation that a given feature might be added in the future.

    I won't really have much time to play with either device until after Thanksgiving, which is rather frustrating as I like to be on the edge of discovery.

  2. Tom,
    Yes, 2 or 3 days ago, Nate's site had a conversation about this, and I was in one at teleread. People were easily able to use Aldiko or Mantano APK files from other places, Kobo too. Amazon cutomer svc has been telling people that they can do this.

    Some think they just haven't had one done to be specifically for Kindle Fire yet or it hasn't yet been approved by Amazon, where the workloads right now are probably staggering.

    I have a first-look (on my part) on the KTouch last night, in which I found that the lack of landscape viewing was not so bad considering the pinch-to-zoom capability but I prefer to be able to view more in Landscape and customer reps have said it's something being considered and that a problem was the grid or panel areas laid out for the Fire. Nook Tablet and Nook Color have the same limitation.

    I do miss selecting from one page to another

    Once you try it, you won't be sending your KTouch back. i didn't even want it but I really like it.

    I mentioned, by the way, last night, that New Window links are handled now by allow clickthroughs in whatever way.

  3. ok, I have a question about the Kindle fire... when reading an eBook, can you set the screen to auto scroll?
    to scroll through the text at a set speed (which can generally be sped up or slowed down) so that you can read continuously without having to touch the device?
    I understand why e-ink devices have lacked this feature, it has to do with the 'flash' of the page turn, but I think this is a huge plus to an ereader.


NOTE: TO AVOID SPAM being posted instantly, this blog uses the "DELAY" feature.

Am often away much of the day, and postings won't show up right away. Posts done to use referrer-links may never show up.

Usually, am online enough to release comments within a day though, so the hard-to-read match-text tests for commenting won't be needed this way.

Feedback and questions are welcome. Thanks for participating.

Technical Problems?
If you're having problems leaving a Comment, Google's blogger-help asks that you clear the '' cookies on your browser's Tools or Options menu bar and that will fix the Comment-box problems (until they have a permanent fix).

IF that doesn't work either, then UNcheck the "keep me signed in" box -- Google-help says that should allow your comment to post (it's a workaround to a current bug).
Apologies for the problems.

TIP: There's a size limit. If longer than 3500 characters or so, in a text editor, make two posts out of it.

[Valid RSS]