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Install Google Apps and the Android Market on Your Rooted Kindle Fire

Once you're able to successfully root a Kindle Fire tablet, you can install Google apps and gain access to the Android Market from the device.
December 5, 2011

You can’t call the Kindle Fire an Android device per se. Although its system is based on the open-source code of the said mobile platform, it has been redesigned to suit Amazon’s purposes. The tablet is locked so that you can only get additional software from the giant retailer’s app store. Of course that never stopped creative programmers from finding a way to circumvent such exclusivity.

The procedure outlined below will work only on a rooted Kindle Fire. That’s the first important requirement and you can check out the guide on how to do this. Next you’re going to need:

  • A Google apps .apk package, which contains most of the Google services you’ll find in a typical Android device
  • The latest version of vending.apk, which is basically the Android Market program
  • A copy of marketopener.apk, which puts a functional Android Market icon on the Kindle Fire’s UI
  • A file management app like ES File Explorer or File Expert, which allows you to delve into the tablet’s directory and set permissions for the apps you plan to install

For the .apk files, it would be best to search for them in the XDA-Developers forum as it was actually some of their members that came up with this work-around and put together the file packages. The file management apps meanwhile are available on the Amazon app store.

1. Transfer the files into the tablet.

Since you probably need to download those necessary .apk files on a desktop, you’ll have to connect your Kindle Fire to it as a storage device using a micro-USB. Then you transfer those files into the device’s SD card, preferably in a folder you can easily identify.

2. Set up the file management app.

It’s important that you configure which ever file management app you use to have root access capability. This will allow you to navigate to the Kindle Fire’s /system/app directory and change folder and file permissions. This is easily set up through the app’s Menu and Settings screens.

3. Use the file manager to install the Google apps.

Start with GoogleServicesFramework.apk and use the file manager to install it. After installation reboot your Kindle Fire. You can repeat this process for all the other Google apps but leave out vending.apk and marketopener.apk for later.

4. Install the Android Market program.

The vending.apk file needs to be put into the tablet’s /system/app directory. If you did step 2 correctly, you should be able to turn this particular folder from “Read-Only” to “Read-Write.” Afterwards simply copy the file into this now accessible folder. Using the file manager once again, change the .apk file’s permissions to “Read-Write” for Owner, “Read” for Groups, and “Read” for Others. This is how all apps put in this directory should be set up. Finally tap the vending.apk file to install it and then reboot.

5. Put a functional Android Market icon.

Use the file manager to install marketopener.apk file just as you did with the other Google apps. This way you won’t need a separate launcher app.

Do take note that there are risks when you mess around with your mobile device’s root directory. So if you’re not used to this level of tweaking, you might want to do a little more research on the rooting process. The worst thing that can happen is you turn your Kindle Fire into a brick. The benefit on the other hand is that you turn the device into an enhanced Android tablet.