I don’t know about you guys, but I’m really liking the Kindle Fire and I haven’t even rooted it or installed any ROMs yet. But one thing I don’t like is the web browser.
The Kindle Fire comes with its own special web browser called Amazon Silk that was developed by Amazon’s engineers. It is supposed to be awesome and fast and revolutionary—that’s what Amazon wants you to think—but I don’t like it. For one, the viewing area is way too small. There’s about a half an inch of wasted space at the top and another half an inch of wasted space at the bottom.
In portrait mode it’s not so bad if you don’t mind zooming all the time, but I mostly prefer landscape mode for web browsing and with all the wasted space there’s only about 2.5″ tall of visible area.
What I find truly odd is all the pictures of the Silk web browser on the Kindle Fire description page at Amazon show the bar at the bottom of the screen closed. What a great concept. Maybe they should actually implement that idea so we can make use of it—right now it’s basically false advertising because there is no way to get rid of the menu bar in the web browser.
Another thing with the Silk web browser is that it is supposed to be really fast because it is a “cloud-accelerated” browser that uses Amazon’s servers to speed up loading times. A lot of folks have found that going into settings and turning off accelerated page loading actually increasing the Silk web browser’s speed. I just did a quick test and would have to agree.
To make matters worse, Amazon is forcing Kindle Fire owners to use the Amazon Silk web browser. Like with ereading apps, they’ve removed all the 3rd party web browsers from showing up on the Kindle Fire when searching the Amazon appstore—Amazon can be so frustratingly annoying sometimes; what difference does it make which web browser we use (before the conspiracy theories start, Amazon claims they don’t associate the Silk’s web browsing with individual persons, so they aren’t trying to learn what to sell us from using the Silk browser).
So if you are like me and don’t like the Silk web browser, you have to find somewhere other than Amazon to download alternate web browsers. Here’s a list of seven Android web browsers and where to download them. All of these except Firefox have the option to go fullscreen or minimize the annoying status bar at the bottom of the screen.
Before you can install any of these, you have to enable 3rd party installs on the Kindle Fire by going to Settings > Device > Allow Installation of Applications.
Seven Kindle Fire Alternate Web Browsers
Opera Mini – This link will only work properly on phones and tablets. Make sure to select “Other download options” and then the direct link downloads.
Opera Mobile – This link will only work properly on phones and tablets. Make sure to select “Other download options” and then the direct link downloads.
Update: Here’s #8 – Google Chrome Browser