I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is after trying and failing to get several alternate homescreen launchers to work on the Kindle Fire HD—Nova, Apex, Go Launcher, Zeam, Launcher Pro, and others—I finally came across an alternate homescreen that works. The app is called ADW Launcher EX, and it doesn’t require any rooting, hacking, or anything like that.
The bad news is ADW Launcher EX is a paid app, and the only two places I can find to get it are Google Play and AndroidPIT. Too bad the free version of ADW Launcher doesn’t work…
Unless you root the Kindle Fire HD, Google Play isn’t compatible with the Kindle so obviously that provides some major complications for getting the app from Google. Ironically, rooting would likely be easier.
AndroidPIT is an alternate Android appstore that, in theory, should work with the Kindle Fire HD just fine. But I’m unfamiliar with that particular appstore so can’t comment on it one way or the other.
Regardless, the Kindle Fire HD was designed to keep alternate homescreen launchers from working so not everything works as it should with ADW Launcher EX. Given that, I wouldn’t exactly recommend buying it anyway.
For one, it doesn’t override the home button, so that still takes you to the regular homescreen. But unlike other launchers, ADW EX provides an app icon that you can access from the carrousel and add to the favorites list to get to it that way.
Another issue I’ve encountered is it doesn’t center properly when switching over to landscape mode; it requires a manual adjustment initially.
On the plus side, transitions are smooth, the apps are all accessible in the app drawer, and there are dozens of customizable settings. Amazon’s app’s all work fine from ADW, with the exception of the Kindle app: You have to use the regular homescreen to go to your ebook collection and to open a book, but you can add individual ebooks to the favorites menu and quickly access them from there.
ADW Launcher EX is definitely a nice change from the carrousel homescreen Amazon forces us to use because it’s open to a lot more customization. There are multiple homescreen windows where you can organize your apps how ever you like, and add folders, and widgets, and change the visual appearance entirely.
Some things make a lot more sense when witnessed than described, so rather than writing down everything, here’s a video review of ADW Launcher EX running on my un-rooted Kindle Fire HD.
Jim M says
I love the carrousel homescreen because I use my Kindle Fire to READ and listen to music. It seems the alternate homescreens present a view of apps. But as you said in your video review of the Fire HD and is true for me, the apps get little use. And when I do use Apps, they appear on the carrousel and can easily be added to my favorites.
I keep mulling over the decision to buy a Kindle Fire HD 8.9″. I would love the bigger screen, but it looks like the KF has a huge bezel now, making it seem almost too large when compared to its screen dimension. I just don’t think I could deal with the carousel and a tablet that actually TRIES to prevent certain apps from working, or from even appearing in their appstore. If I’m going to spend $299+ on an Andriod tablet, I might as well just save up another $200 and buy a Transformer Infinity.
I think you may try install the apps called “Launcher Switcher” to control which launcher you would like to enable by the home button. So, you may stick to ADWLauncher …
I gave a couple of apps like that a try and none would work; Amazon really did their best at locking down third party launchers.
While we’re on the topic, I found a couple of other launchers that kind of work, just not well enough to warrant a new post. 360 launcher looks good and is free, but a) parts of it are in Chinese and b) there’s an annoying welcome screen type thing you have to go through every time you launch it.
Another launcher that installs is EZ Launcher. It’s not very good though. It only works in portrait mode, and worse, if force closes frequently, like any time you try to add something to the homescreen. Yarg…
What tool are you using the change wallpapers under ADW Launcher EX? Taking a stock KFHD and only installing ADW Launcher EX will not allow for wallpapers to be changed. Selecting the “wallpaper” menu item results in “there isnt an application available to perform that function” pop-up dialog.
Thanks in advance.
It probably has something to do with the fact I had tried a bunch of other alternate launchers and some were still installed, so it was probably using one of their wallpapers.
Mike Eppley says
To get wallpaper options to show up, I downloaded (free) “ADWTheme MacOS” from 1MobileMarket. Once I’d done that, I went into the settings for ADW and selected the “wallpaper” menu item, as you did, but now 2 backgrounds (from which to choose) showed up immediately. I love the galaxy photo; it’s stellar! (ha-ha). And there’s the pinkish-purplish flashy thing as the other option that you often see as a Mac background/wallpaper.
By the way, the ADWTheme MacOS doesn’t make your icons or anything else look like a Mac; it’s just that the 2 wallpapers shown are the same as the default backgrounds on some Macs.
This app doesn’t work on my Kindle Fire HD 32GB with no ads. It flashes then closes and says “ADW Launcher EX has stopped”. I tried a cold start but it didn’t make any difference. I am on firmware 7.2.1
That’s weird. It’s still working on my 16GB KFHD with 7.2.1.
Works great! (on my US bought /UK registered 16gb fire),
Thanks for the feature and keep up the good work Nathan 🙂
Can you write up the exact process for installing ADW EX? Thanks!
Thanks for this article! Works really good. To set wallpaper I used MyKindleWallpaper app.
I have a Fire 2 and the free version of ADW Launcher works fine — I followed your tip about sideloading the 1Mobile app and got it from there. Better yet, I had emailed myself a jpeg I wanted to use as wallpaper, and when I installed ADW it automatically selected that image for my wallpaper! I think it may have been the only jpeg on the device at that point, sitting in the Attachments subfolder of Downloads. Much happier with my interface now, so thanks!
I have been successfully using ADWlauncher EX and love all of the added options now available on my Kindle fire hd. Truth be told I have become a widget junkie, adding something new to my home screen everyday!
Thankfully ADWlauncher EX still works following the 7.2.2 upgrade.
HOWEVER, I can no longer place widgets on the home screen. Shortcuts and folders are still available but the widget dropdown list no longer appears. ANY HELP ANYONE?
Need widgets says
I just installed ADW Launcher EX on my Kindle Fire HD 8.9 for the first time and everything seems to work perfectly…except no widgets. I don’t have the screen offset issue shown in video.
What was the last version that the widgets worked in?
The widgets were working with 7.2.1 then immediately after the upgrade I could no longer access them to place on screen. Everything else with ADWlauncher EX is still working with no problems, including still being able to place shortcuts and folders on the homescreen.
I am using ADWlauncher EX version 126.96.36.199
This is the same version I was using prior to the 7.2.2 upgrade and the widgets were working just fine until my kindle fire HD automatically rebooted with the Amazon upgrade.
hi all I have been trying to install adw launcher on my UK kindle fire hd for the past two hours with no luck so please some1 help
Just installed and works a treat.
Good job on the site I’m here all the time reading
is there a link someone can post so that i can download this to my kindle ive been searching and keep finding pages talking about it but cant find where i can actually get it
in your kindle web browser go to 1mobile.com and download the 1mobile market app, install it in your kindle and from that market download the ADW launcher. Its working on my Kindle Fire 2nd Gen updatud to the latest version to this date.
Don W says
ADW launcher EX will not open on the KFHD 8.9. Any fixes?
Don W says
Got it to work.
Hi fyi -hope I’m not breaching any terms by saying but over at xda developers there’s a post about using Titanium pro to turn adw launcher ex into your standard launcher. That means that you don’t drop back to the carousel each time you press home. There is still an icon so you can access carousel if you want it though. You do need root for this though I think. If you have that the process takes less than 2 minutes. My kindle fire hd 8.9″ no longer feels crippled!
I had been using ADWex with no problem until today because of this update. ver 7.1.4 ADWex still works except now wallpaper can be set at all now.
Can anyone confirm this??
Yep. Same problem here. The background is black now and there’s no way to set the wallpaper.
I can also confirm the black screen with no wallpaper problem. I am rooted and randomly when I was using Smart Launcher that glitch happened. I am on Kindle fire HD 7″ rooted running stock rom on 7.4.1