Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on Kindle Fire Review and How To (Video)

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Kindle Fire Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

For this review I’m going to show Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on the Kindle Fire and outline everything you need to know to install Android 4.1 on your Kindle Fire.

Since Google released the source code for Android 4.1 last week, Android developers have been working hard to get Google’s latest mobile operating system up and running on various devices, and the Kindle Fire was one of the first to get a Jelly Bean ROM—and it’s very impressive.

In the past I’ve posted tutorials about how to install CM7 for Android 2.3 and CM9 for Android 4.0 on the Kindle Fire. But the Android 4.1 ROM is the by far the best in my opinion. It runs surprisingly well for just being released a few days ago, everything is buttery smooth and most things work well, including HD Netflix and YouTube.

When it comes right down to it, Android 4.1 isn’t very different from Android 4.0—it doesn’t really seem like enough has changed to warrant calling it a goofy new name like Jelly Bean—but Google did a lot of behind the scenes performance enhancements that make Android 4.1 seem a lot smoother and zippier than previous versions of Android.

The web browser is noticeably faster, so is the Google Maps app, transitions are smoother. It’s all around a better Android tablet experience and it runs great on the Kindle Fire.

The only real negative with Android 4.1 is that Adobe has decided to ditch mobile Flash support altogether so Flash video doesn’t work (it never worked very well anyway). It doesn’t even show up in the Android Market. I tried downloading it elsewhere to see if it would work and it would not.

The other thing to be aware of when switching from the stock Kindle Fire software is you won’t be able to access Amazon’s videos with Android 4.1. You can install the Amazon appstore, the Kindle app, and Amazon’s MP3 app, but Amazon doesn’t have a video app for some reason so that’s out the window.

How to Install Android 4.1 on Kindle Fire

Installing Android 4.1 on the Kindle Fire is a surprisingly simple process. I used to think the Kindle had to be rooted to install ROMs but I’ve recently heard that you don’t even have to do that (I’m still not 100% sure though so let me know). You just need to install FireFireFire and TWRP Recovery, which takes all of about 5 minutes. So here we go…

1. Download the latest Android 4.1 Jelly Bean ROM and the Google apps package (Gapps) that goes along with it. There are currently two different Jelly Bean ROMs at XDA, one uses a phone interface and the other a tablet interface. I used the tablet one for this review.

Download Android 4.1 ROM – phone UI

Download Android 4.1 ROM – tablet UI

Place the ROM and Gapps ZIP files onto the Kindle Drive either with a USB cable or just download them directly with the Kindle Fire.

2. Plug your Kindle Fire into your computer with a USB cable to enter USB mode. Download the Kindle Fire Utility to your computer and extract the ZIP file. The Kindle Fire rooting guide explains how to use KFU and how to setup drivers. The weird thing is I’m using a new computer from when I initially rooted my Kindle Fire and the drivers were already working so I didn’t have to do anything. The main goal here is to get KFU to recognize your Kindle so it says ADB Status Online.

3. Once ADB Status is Online, all you have to do is hit the number for FireFireFire and hit enter. Then after that’s done do the same thing with TWRP Recovery. Some code will show on the KFU screen and it will tell you to hit a button—it’s all self-explanatory.

4. Now that you have FFF and TWRP installed, your Kindle Fire should show a blue logo upon boot up where you can hold the power button to to bring up booting options.

5. Head over to the TWRP Recovery guide to learn how to use TWRP to create a backup of your Kindle Fire in its current state so you can revert back to it at anytime. The TWRP guide also explains the exact steps needed to flash the Android 4.1 ROM onto the Kindle Fire. Just scroll down to the 7 Steps to Installing ROMs section and you’ll have Android 4.1 up and running on your Kindle Fire in no time.

Getting Started Tips

If you are having any trouble getting WiFi to work, restart the Kindle Fire.

Go to Security then check the box for unknown sources to install apps from outside of Google’s appstore.

The tablet version of Android 4.1 came with the Amazon appstore pre-installed but it’s an old version and since it is a system app it won’t update or uninstall, and some Amazon apps won’t work unless it is updated. To fix this, download ROM Toolbox Lite from the Google Play store, open its app manager, and then uninstall the Amazon appstore from there. Then you can reinstall the newer version without a problem. No need to do this with the newer updated ROMs.

If you are using the tablet version of Android 4.1, don’t go into settings/display and hit the force phone UI button. It makes the touchscreen go crazy (I learned that the hard way). Once you get it to restart its okay, but getting it to power off with an inaccurate touchscreen isn’t easy.

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on Kindle Fire Video

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22 Responses to “Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on Kindle Fire Review and How To (Video)”

  1. Everything loaded great. Can’t seem to get the Kindle ebook reader to install. I get “Unknown error code during application install: “-24″. This is kind of an important app! Any idea what might be wrong?

  2. Also, the Amazon App Store App will not install rendering the apps I purchased from there unusable.

    • Are you using the phone version? The tablet version comes with the Amazon appstore pre-installed, albeit an outdated version. Hence the aforementioned fix. The Amazon appstore and Kindle app work fine on it.

  3. Tablet version. The instructions video advised to delete it and download the new version which I tried to do, but it wouldn’t install. I guess I should have kept the old version.

    • The ROM has been updated since then so there’s no need to do that anymore. Thanks for mentioning it. I made a note of it in the video. New version should still install, though…. I don’t know what the deal is with that.

  4. I’m having the same issue with installing the appstore and kindle app. Same error.

    • I was getting the same problem. I restored the system back to stock.. and when I loaded the ROM this time I made sure to wipe both caches and had no problems after that.. currently reading my books d/l’ed from the Amazon cloud.

  5. I have ice cream 4.0.3 On my nextbook 8se, can I download android jelly bean for it?

  6. I just installed the new update today and i noticed that the WiFi gets stuck on obtaining ip address. I’ve rebooted the kindle multiple times but it still gets stuck. what should i do?

  7. After installing 4.1 can I use the usb otg?

  8. I can’t get my Fire to be recognized in KFU, even though the drivers are installed correctly and display as: “Andriod Phone” & “Andriod Composite ADB Interface” in my device manager (no yellow triangle). Still the ‘Kindle Fire Utility’ displays “ADB Status: Offline”. I’ve tried on two computers. The Kindle shows as drive in My Computer. So I thought if I ‘tap’ disconnect on the Kindle the drive will go away, and it did, and the device still showed in Manager. So I’m at a complete loss as to what this utility needs, so I can use the tools.

  9. Very nice instruction. I just want to know how good is battery life because the use Kindle Fire to read books. Any idea? Thanks.

  10. Has anyone able to get Chrome & Instagram to work on the Tablet Rom? They both keep force closing on me as soon as I try to open the app.

    Thanks!

  11. What is the process of getting Google Play onto the kindle? Android runs perfectly, I just cant figure out how to get Google Play on there.

    • Never mind. I just downloaded the gapps.zip for my tablet and flashed using goomanager. Thank You for an easy write-up. I am happy with the outcome. :)

  12. Just wanted to say thanks for the write-up just did this to my Fire and it went great!

  13. I installed everything and it works fine but My Keyboard wont work so I can’t really sign in to use the Google app store or have any input at all PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!

  14. Used your guide and it works like a champ! Breathed new life into my Kindle Fire. Thanks again!

  15. Will the process work properly for the larger 8.9 version?>

    • No, this is for the original Kindle Fire only. There are some mods for the HD models at XDA. The 8.9″ is ahead of the 7″. Once they get Android 4.2 finished for the 7″ I’ll post a tutorial for it because I don’t have the larger one.

  16. I have downloaded the Amazon Appstore after installing the ROM, and it does not have my cloud apps. Any ides? Thanks.

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